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Just In: Rocky Mountain’s Blizzard Busting Fat Bike

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Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (3)

To get an idea of how quickly the RockShox Bluto has been adopted by the fat bike scene, the launch of the Rocky Mountain Blizzard was a pretty good indication. At the time, it was one of just two bikes announced that would use the fork which were launched the very same day. Introduced right before the Sea Otter Classic, it was like Rocky Mountain was waiting for the perfect bike to give new life to the Blizzard name – and what better bike than a fat bike?

For their very first attempt at a fat bike, Rocky took the approach of many larger companies with cautious optimism. Instead of going all out with high end carbon rigs, the Blizzard would be a simple yet well thought out aluminum bike with a solid spec and an affordable price. Because of that, the Blizzard is extremely intriguing. On paper, the Blizzard seems to have just about everything you would want in a trail oriented fat bike with enough money left over to buy some Winter riding gear.

Even though we aren’t dealing with the same blizzard on the East coast, our own Blizzard just blew in for a first look…

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (5)

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (1)

Available in two complete builds and as a frame kit, we’re testing out the Blizzard model which retails for $2,699. If you prefer rigid over the Bluto or just want to save some coin, the Blizzard Deore runs a lower end build kit with a rigid 15x150mm thru axle fork and comes in at $1,899. The frame kit includes the frame, RockShox Bluto RL suspension fork, and Wheeltech Fatso hubs for $1,399. All three frames have the same Totem pole inspired graphics which continue through the fork and the Sun Ringle Mulefut rims on the Blizzard. Personally, I love the look, but as I’ve already found it’s a take it or leave it type of affair.

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (8)

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (11) Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (10)

Running a 12×197 rear axle, the frame and fork have clearance for bigger tires with the Blizzard shipping with Vee Bulldozer 26×4.7″ rubber. The seatstays and chainstays don’t offer a huge amount of additional room however, so 100mm rims are probably out of the question. While the Bulldozer tires are shipped with tubes, the Sun Ringle rims are tubeless compatible which should make converting to tubeless a matter of getting the right Gorilla tape and tubeless valves.

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (9)

Ironically, the same day we learned about Raceface’s new 24t 64 BCD chainring and bashguard, the Blizzard arrived sporting that very combination. Mounted to a RaceFace Team XC crankset in a 100mm threaded BB, the chainring gives plenty of low gearing when combined with a standard 11-36t Shimano HG50 cassette and XT Shadow Plus rear derailleur. The frames do have direct mount front derailleur accommodations, so if you find the single ring too limiting you can gear up.

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (13) Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (7)

Laced to the Sun Ringle rims with DT Swiss Competition spokes, you’ll find Wheeltech Fatso thru axle hubs. Interestingly, the front has one of the widest flange spacings of any of the 150mm specific hubs we’ve seen which should be good for stiffness and handling.

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (2)

It appears the Blizzards will not ship with frame bags, but they have the provisions to bolt one on directly to the top tube. The FORM alloy frame also has partially internally routed cables, as well as Stealth dropper post compatibility.

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (12)

Sold with quality Shimano SLX disc brakes that include the I-Spec mount for the SLX shifter, just about every component on the Blizzard is a solid choice including the Cane Creek headset. A Rocky Mountain house brand seat post and stem, WTB Volt Race saddle, and Race Face Flat Wide 710mm bar finish the package.

Blizzard Geometry

Available in S-XL, our medium test bike came in just under 33 pounds, (14.9kg). Compared to many fat bikes, the Blizzard looks to have typically dialed Rocky Mountain geometry with a slack 68.5 degree head tube angle, shorter 455mm chainstays, and a shorter reach to go along with it. Combined with the Bluto and the parts kit, the Blizzard should be a blast to ride on trails, or while slogging through back country.

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Alex K
Alex K
8 years ago

Not totally sold on the geometry. Longer chainstays than the surly, salsa, trek, ventana offerings, yet only clearance for big tires on 80mm rims. if the bike came spec’ed with a 24T chainring, you would think that would allow for some fairly short chainstays.

Tomer A
Tomer A
8 years ago

There’s a YouTube video out there showing a Rocky Blizzard sporting Surly Lou (4.8″) mounted on a Clownshoe (100mm) rim…reports vary regarding tire clearance though…

Charlie Best
Charlie Best
8 years ago

The “Totem pole style” graphics are actually Haida artwork, a nod to the indigenous people of the Pacific North West, the home of rocky Mountain bicycles.

1Adam12
1Adam12
8 years ago

I have a Blizzard with the Bluto build and this is the best riding fat bike I’ve been on (and I’ve ridden a few of them). RM nailed the geometry. Overall it rides just like a good hard tail. The Bluto is a game changer. There is no, I repeat, precisely zero, tramlining of the front tire which I’ve found to be the present on all other fat bikes I’ve ridden. I added some Dillinger 5’s to it since this will mainly be my winter ride and it has been a blast in the snow and on icy hardpack. Get one if you can find one – these have sold very well from what I hear.

dontcoast
dontcoast
8 years ago

warning: bluto no worky in blizzards. just buy the base model?

1Adam12
1Adam12
8 years ago

I’ve been riding it with the Bluto down to about 5 deg. F. Yes, it stiffens up. But it still works. In soft snow you’ll just lock it out anyway. The fact that it stiffens up when it gets colder is actually OK in my opinion since you may be using it in the snow a bunch.

jon posner
8 years ago
Biggermig
Biggermig
8 years ago

I stiffen up in the cold.

bob ragone
bob ragone
7 years ago

Lookin to by th pugops what’s a fair price

Marcello
Marcello
7 years ago

Can anyone tell me if a Fat Blizzard M size can really fit 4.8 tires with 100mm rims?

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

Rode the Specialized Fat boy and now have the Blizzard with Bluto. Not sure yet but may like the Fat Boy better–liked the 2 x 10 option, seemed easier to ride downhill as not as up right position.
Also, Fat Boy was a bit better using brake slide thru corners – Blizzard locked up and slid too easily and with less control-
May have to ride it more to really make a decision-
thoughts?

Vinnie
Vinnie
7 years ago

Just got a white 2016 model and this bike rocks

twodragunns
twodragunns
7 years ago

@Marcello: All the Fatboys sport a 190mm rear (odd size) and run a 135mm front hub with spacers to accommodate the Bluto or the carbon front fork on the rigid models.
The Rocky’s have a true 150mm front and the true fat bike 197mm rear. My buddy has a Fatboy and he rode my 2016 Blizzard -50 and sold his Fatboy immediately and went out and purchased the 2016 Blizzard -50.
He said the Blizzard felt more solid over rough terrain and the Rocky Mountain Fatties are cheaper to boot.
I was looking at the Fatboy models and was going to buy one until I saw the spacers on either side of the mini 135mm front hub and decided to pass.
Glad I did because this 2016 Blizzard -50 is the bomb of fat bikes.

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