The largest and most well known parts supplier in the US, QBP is at it again. To reflect, Quality Bicycle Products purchased Salsa Cycles back in 1997, brought us the Surly brand shortly after in 1998, developed the first ever “main stream” fat bike with the Surly Pugsly in 2005, and now brings us Heller Bikes, to fit somewhere in between the premium Salsa and all steel Surly line of bicycles.
With winter closer than many of us like, the first Heller off the line likely won’t surprise you, but the price just might. Roll on through and check it out…..
The Heller Bloodhound is a carbon framed fat bike that….. I know – why would they go to the trouble to create another brand just to make another carbon fat bike when they already have the Salsa Beargrease? Of course that was my first thought, but I reserved my opinion as knew there was probably something genius behind their reasoning.
According to Heller’s Product Director, Tim Gallant, many folks have one or two prized possessions that they sink a small fortune into, but what if they wanted something just for fun that was still pretty fancy without breaking the bank? This is Heller. Salsa is a brand that fits well into the “premium” category Surly are for the steel loving purists that give zero cares about weight, and Heller is for all of the fun in between.
Even after about a 5 minute introduction, I was still curious as to what made Heller that different. Its a great looking bike and has a pretty good build kit for what seems to be a good price. I take out my phone and start slowly searching Salsa’s site via Mandalay Bay’s insufferable internet connection to see what the deal was. Well, the deal was big. Though at first glance, they seem similar in stature, these are not at all the same bikes.
The Beargrease X7 has just a slightly better build kit, (X7 vs X5), so you would expect them to have a similar price, but to my surprise the Heller Bloodhound was a whopping $500 cheaper. But it isn’t just about price. The Bloodhound also sports the more robust 4.5″ width tires rather than the slightly more competitive width 4″ tires that come on the Salsa. There are also rack mounts making it usable for more adventurous types. The little tweaks all add up to a really nice fat bike that is centered on just having fun. Also, we can’t overlook the fact that Salsa dealers are still a select bunch. One advantage Heller will have over Salsa is that the bikes will be available to all QBP dealers. With Heller, QBP is certainly trying to capture more of the budget carbon market.
For $2,199 you get a full rigid fat bike with a carbon frame and fork and an X5 build kit, (available late October), and for $2,599, you get an X7 build with a RockShox Bluto fork, (available late November). There was also pricing available for frame only at $1,249 for those with parts looking for a home. Tim said there are many fun things coming down the pipeline starting with bikes for the trail in 2016 so we’ll be keeping our eyes open.