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Appleman Bicycles

Paul Skilbeck

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Appleman Bicycles: The 20lb fat bike

The 18lb fat bike is a distinct reality, and Matt Appleman's project bike for the HED fat bike wheels is ready to ride at just over 20lbs, without going all weight weenie on it.

Appleman Bicycles: The 20lb fat bike
The 20lb Appleman fat bike featuring HED 24" wheels. Photo: Appleman Bicycles.

Matt Appleman thought he might be able to build a fat bike might weighing under 18lbs. It turned out the carbon fiber rim and fork products available for the very wide tires in the 24” wheel size are not quite ready, so - without losing any sleep - he built a bike weighing 20lb 6oz. “Weight has never been a driving factor in my frame designs,” he said, adding, “Weight is a result of matching the frame stiffness, geometry and ride characteristics to the rider.”

Matt Appleman

Caption: Reasons to be cheerful: Matt Appleman is a gravel riding enthusiast who's just built a 20lb fat bike. Photo: Appleman Bicycles

This particular bike has a 2.2lb carbon fiber frame, made to highlight HED’s new 24-inch fat bike wheels. Frame size is 16.5” for a rider around 5’7” (170cm). Each tire weighs around 1100g.

Off-road cyclists are now offered a bike with the popular 24” wheel size and tremendous handling and traction qualities provided only by the oversize tires.

The genesis of this bike was a string of questions over the years from HED’s Andy Tetmeyer, along the lines of “When are you going to build…?” Appleman, who during those years rented space in the Peacock Groove workshop, which Tetmeyer used to frequent, usually answered: “When somebody orders one.” Well this time Tetmeyer ordered one and the project began.

“My process is extremely flexible, so building a 24” fat bike for the first time didn’t seem so very different from a lightweight road bike,” said Appleman.

The 20lb Appleman fat bike will be on display in the HED booth at NAHBS (#519), while Appleman’s booth (#631) will feature a gravel grinder and a fast road bike. Both bikes sporting Appleman’s raw, no-paint aesthetic and the non-traditional logo materials of wood, titanium and brass.