It turns out that Salsa wasn’t the only brand with newer, bigger fat bikes at Saddle Drive. Along with the Barghest full suspension bike, Heller was showing their new Bloodhound fat bike which is quite a bit like the old one, but also quite different. It seems that 27.5″ fat will be a bigger category than expected, and the Bloodhound is joining in on the fun…
Just like the new Salsa Beargrease, the Bloodhound frame does not change for 2018. It’s still a carbon fat bike frame with 197 x 12mm spacing, a threaded 120mm bottom bracket, 1x only drivetrain with internal cable routing, and rear rack compatibility. While the colors change for this year, Heller simply reversed the colors of the last model so if you have a rigid fork from the previous bike it will still match.
The Bloodhound Trail build is quite similar, though with slightly different components like a mixed 1x drivertain with a Shimano SLX rear derailleur and Shimano hydraulic brakes. There’s also a Rock Shox Bluto 100mm suspension fork, TranzX dropper post, and Sun Ringle Mulefut 80 SL rims. The Bloodhound Rigid obviously goes with a matching rigid fork instead of the Bluto.
Those rims are part of the biggest change to the Bloodhound – the move to 27.5″ wheels and tires. More bikes seem to be switching over to the size, and in the case of the Bloodhound, the wheels have simply been dropped into the existing frame, counting on the fact that the 27.5 x 3.8″ tires have a similar diameter as the previous 26 x 4.5″ tires. In this case, the tires are an all new option from Vee Tire Co. with a 27.5 x 3.8″ version of their Crown Gem MTB trail tires.
According to Heller, the motivation behind the change was to make the Bloodhound feel more like a mountain bike since the tires offer a stiffer sidewall and better roll over. On the flip side, Salsa was saying they were also great for snow since bigger riders could run lower pressures without as much squirm. Whatever the reason, there are more and more bikes moving to the size so we’ll have to wait and see what it’s actually like on the trail. Details on the tire itself are still pretty limited, but the Crown Gem is tubeless ready, and comes with their MPC Multi Purpose Compound which puts it more in the trail category since Vee’s fat bike tires have mostly used their Silica or Purse Silica compounds.
Even with the wheel change, the Bloodhound Trail keeps the same price at $2,599.