It comes as no surprise that carbon fiber has found its way into fat bike frames. It does come as a surprise that a company like Fyxation—better known for practical steel frames and urban accessories— would be one of the early adopters of carbon frames.
I asked Ben Ginster, Fyxation’s co-founder, about the decision to go with carbon for a fat bike: “A big driver behind carbon for the Blackhawk was our goal of a producing a true four-season bike. While steel fat bikes are a great entry to the fat biking world, a carbon build allows you to build a sub 30-pound winter rig that’s quick when the snow is flying, but can also be a capable trail bike year round. We’ve done builds down to 23 pounds, which is feathery even for bikes that never touch snow.” Seems legit to me.
The Blackhawk isn’t a Fyxation exclusive design, but it hit all the targets of a four season bike: modern axle standards (197/150), clearance for five-inch tires, suspension corrected, and capable of running 29plus tires on a second wheelset in the summer. Shift cables are internally routed through the top tube, and the 31.6 mm seatpost diameter is ready for a dropper post, but you are on your own for cable routing.
After consulting the Blackhawk’s sizing recommendations, I chose a medium (17”) frame, and was comfortable from the get-go, but riders with long legs might need something longer than the stock 375 mm seatpost, as I was almost maxed out with my 32-inch inseam. The rest of the bike fit very well, a good thing since my first real ride was over six hours long.
The build kit is a smart blend of affordable and sturdy. Some standouts are the aggressive Surly nate 3.8 tires, Sun mulefüt rims, and Hayes prime brakes. I rode quite often in single digit temps, and the prime brakes seemed completely unaffected. My tester was set up with a 1×10 drivetrain and 28 tooth ring.
If you aren’t happy with one of the multiple stock builds, Fyxation offers a custom build program through its dealer network. From mild to wild, you can get almost anything you can dream up, from racerboy builds to super-fat trail bikes with suspension forks, Fyxation can scratch your carbon itch.
Geometry is a happy medium between cross country and trail, and it’s easy to set up with a riding position that is efficient and all-day comfortable but ready to rip. I was surprised by the playful nature of the Blackhawk, some of that might be attributed to the bouncy nature of the fat tires, which can be timed to spring off and over trail features.
There is plenty of room to run 29 or 29plus tires in this frame. I was concerned the taller 29plus tires would raise the bottom bracket to an undesirable level, but even another inch taller wouldn’t drive things into the tippy range, and may actually improve things in tight, technical terrain.
The stable geometry is well suited to icy conditions and long rides, making this a strong contender for wintertime endurance racers or long haul winter riders. The lack of rack mounts and a second bottle cage may limit the touring and commuting aspects of this bike, but frame bags and hydration packs aren’t bad options. All in all, I had a smashing good time on this bike, and would have no problem recommending it to riders looking for a lighter weight way to get fat.
- More info from Fyxation
- Price: $2,795 (complete); $1,795 (frame + fork)
- Weight: 29.8 pounds
- Sizes: 15”, 17” (tested), 19”