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Fat tires roll into Outdoor Retailer Winter Expo

Published January 22, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — David Bach is manning a booth at his first Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Expo Wednesday. It's the first day of a four-day show and Bach hopes he can convince retailers that riding a fat-tire bike on snow with a ski strapped to the front tire is a sure-fire sale.

Meanwhile, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell opened the show Wednesday morning as the keynote speaker at an industry breakfast. Jewell, REI's former CEO, named Interior Secretary last year, spoke on the future of recreation, conservation and youth engagement in the outdoors.

As for Bach, founder of BikeBoards.Net, he figures with fat bikes surging in popularity, getting more mileage out of them during winter is a no brainer. Bach had several bikes on display—a Surly and a Trek—to show off his ski system at Tuesday's Outdoor Demo at Solitude Ski Resort.

The $375 kit is easy to install. The front tire is stuffed between two rails attached to a short ski. Two "jaw pins" secure the tire and cinch it between the rails. Bach also recommends using a pair of straps threaded between the rails and over the rim. Outdoor retailers who typically don't sell bikes—fat or otherwise—can easily stock the compact package of a short ski, pins and straps.

Depending upon how the rails and jaw-pins are set, the system can accommodate 29ers, 26-inch mountain bikes and BMX bikes. No need to buy a fat bike, he said. Bach makes the system, including the skis, at his shop in Montrose, Colo. Bach said he wants to be part of creating a new sport. Last year a friend of his rode his system at fat tire race held at Ski Cooper, near Leadville, Colo., in mid winter. The race went up a series of Nordic touring trails and with the front ski floating on the front was able to carve downhill turns while other riders were struggling.

Bach's system works great with bikes that also sport front suspension. "It really handles well," he said. New riders should lock the front brake so the front tire is secured solidly between the rails. But once a rider gets some miles in, Bach recommends letting the front brake go and let the wheel "work" with the ski. "It just give you a greater feel for the snow," he said.

Bach said he's talked with a number of ski resort operators about allowing them on the hill. Resorts are interested but safety remains a concern, he said.

Topics associated with this article: Tradeshows and conferences

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