I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that excited about fatbiking. I had already put 130+ days on a mountain bike, Killington had opened up, and the snow had been great for skiing and snowboarding. Biking just wasn’t on my radar… except that my closest friends were all into it, and I wanted some cardio in the winter. So I made the plunge, did some research, and ended up with the Rhino FLT from Fatback. For those who can’t stand undefined acronyms (me), “FLT” stands for Fast, Light, Technology. And the Rhino screams all three.
My first few pedals on this bike and my immediate thought was, “wow, I forgot how much I love biking.” Despite the 4.8″ Jumbo Jims, the bike felt light, nimble, and ready to play. In fact, the first thing I did was bunny hop and track stand all over my very snowy and icy driveway, with no problems whatsoever. I did not expect the bike to get off the ground as easy as it did, and on a surface I’d be horrified to ride my normal 2.5″ DH tires on.
My expectation was that the bike would feel heavy and slow- and the Rhino FLT feels exactly the opposite. I’m actually excited to ride this baby on dirt and see how fast I can really push it. I imagine this is in large part secondary to rather aggressive geometry for a fatbike. With a headtube angle of 69° and a chainstay of 17.5″, it feels solidly in the off road trail bike if not pushing a little into enduro bike feel. I’ll be interested to see how 4.8″ tires handle drops and berms!
Fatback is a cool company. They are based out of Alaska, and this is prominently displayed on the downtube. One thing that immediately caught my attention was how many of the components on the bike were Fatback. I like supporting American made product, and love that they also make some of the smaller components on bike. There is clearly love poured into this bike. It’s adorned with little features such as internal routing and built in frame mounts for racks that make the Rhino FLT just scream quality.
I elected for a build with a Manitou Mastadon Comp front fork, and a SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain. Fatback claims that one of their goals is increasing cold weather performance, and I have yet to be disappointed. So far, the coldest day I’ve ridden this bike was -17°F, and the bike performed flawlessly. The Mastadon kept a smooth fluid feel throughout its 100mm of travel, and the bike pedaled, shifted, and ripped like it was a beautiful summer day. Given that the breeze made it feel like my face was falling off, I thought it was quite impressive that the bike shrugged off the cold temps.
While I purchased this bike for the bluebird, warm days with perfectly groomed snowy trail, I’ve already found that I’m riding it way more than I expected. I imagine a hundred uses for it. Riding to my trails or my local park adorned with equipment to cut trees or maintain trail, wetter days where riding a normal size tire is borderline, or even loaded up with supplies for multi-day trips. Perhaps the best surprise, though, was that attaching a trailerbike to it works really well if the snow is firm, and my 3 and 4 year olds can join in on the winter biking.
I recognize that perfect scores should be rare, but I have to give this bike a perfect 10/10. As I was writing this article, I was trying to figure out the positives and negatives regarding the Rhino FLT… and I couldn’t come up with a negative. I literally have no complaint, no negative feedback, nothing I would change about this bike. It’s exactly what I want out of a fatbike, and exceeded my expectations in a way that has me searching for more times to ride it. If you’re thinking about making the plunge to a new fatbike, check out Fatback!