The skinny – The Trek Farley 5, is the brands “entry level” Fat bike. It comes equipped with everything you need to rip up the powder or sand or dirt. When I say everything, I mean everything, this bike is hands down the best value and most versatile Fat machine I’ve ever ridden.
It comes with Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame and Bontrager Haru 100 mm suspension corrected Carbon Fork. Meaning, the geometry will let you add a 100 mm suspension fork for summer riding if you want to keep this as your summer rig.
Trek believes that bigger wheels roll faster, and the 27.5 Mulefut 80 SL’s are equipped with a Gnarwhal 4.5 in the front and a Barbegazi 4.5 in the rear. It’s kind of like a reverse mullet…lots of beefy traction in front and a less agro lighter tires in the rear that roll fast. Not to mention the front tire is stud-able for like 60$ of studs (if that’s a word). The wheels set up tubeless with the 68 mm tape and an air compressor in about 30 minutes. The crew at Bushtukah usually have the rim tape in stock and can set them up for you if that’s out of your comfort range. The Gnarwhal gives you great traction when you need it, I tend to ride it about 6-7 psi on fast days and down to 3 psi in the powder, you could probably go lower, but I don’t like when the front tire folds beneath me. The Barbagazi feels fast, it’s pretty light and I usually run about the same pressure or even a little less than the front since its less aggressive and the nobs are smaller and you need it to catch. The fact that the tires are 4.5, you can definitely ride in some pretty soft conditions and once they are firmer they not only roll really nice, but they feel good and set up tubeless allowing for pretty unreal ripping traction, I’ve had the bike almost side ways before they let go. Way better than the Jumbo Jim’s that just feel like a drift battle.
Drive Train is 1×10, Deore Shimano, 11-42 with a Race Face 28 tooth 1x. Sure this isn’t a super fancy fancy drive train, but if you have to ride to where you “ride” fat bikes, you really won’t care if after a year or two you have to spend 100$ to replace the cassette and chain right? The beauty of lower end tech that works well, is once you trash it, just upgrade! That being said I have XT on my 29er and I think that the Deore actually works a bit better, as it shifts easier. Sure there’s nothing really blingy about the drive train, but as long as you have a good range on a fat bike, you don’t really need much more do you?
So the ride…Trek’s aluminum is awesome. Let’s face it, riding in the snow, the tires do most of the dampening, so I’m hard pressed to tell the difference between full carbon rides and the weight difference is maybe 1-2 lbs. The bike handles like a dream, the big wheels do roll really fast, it’s actually noticeable. They also did a really great job going 160mm rotors, as the SRAM Level brakes let you stop more than sufficiently. A little thing I do, is fill an empty spray bottle with isopropol alcohol and just spray the brake pads to clean them. I like to be able to really modulate the rear for speed changes in the trail.
The bike esthetic is good, I wasn’t super stoked about the color online, but I really like it, and it grew on me really fast. For whatever reason the Trek bikes always look so much better in person, most bikes in general never really look that awesome photographed..well except Toon Aert’s Belgian National Champ’s Boone…that’s just incredible. You can check that out here.
Back to the Farley..at 2099$, you can use this as your MTB. The front tires accepts studs (that still sounds weird) and you could upgrade with a suspension fork for the summer. It’s everything you need in a Fat bike and once set up tubeless it hovers at about 30 lbs. I did have some XXX carbon bars kicking around that I threw on and a seat post so mines about 28.7 lbs. You could also use it to commute on Snowmagedon days and be the only person smiling on the road. It’s really fun to commute on the fat bike at night too, as feels like an adventure and you can pretty much ride over anything you want and do some jumps to get the days frustrations out. For whatever reason 1x bikes are easier to clean, it just seems like there’s less junk in the way. Usually when it’s covered in snow, we put 2 plastic winter boot trays under to let the snow melt and store it in the basement, then it auto cleans itself.
The only thing I don’t like are the grips, their loud and obnoxious and given the fact that I’m loud and obnoxious, we just didn’t get along. Good bye Yellow grips! But overall I’d say that’s pretty minor. Overall , the “money” of your purchase is going to a super light frame, light wheels and tires with a groupo that works better than you would expect. This bike will have you smiling all year. There’s even racks for a bunch of water bottles and fenders and all that stuff if you want to go slow for really long time. Oh and routing for a dropper post if you need to get super sendy! #sendit