I was always fascinated by long-tail fat touring bikes and tried to gather all existing photos on internet of those unique machines. There aren’t that much of them, so I will try my best to post it here, all in one place, and write few words about owners, builders and adventures they’ve been. Long-tail series, here we come.
So let’s start in the beginning. First time I heard about long-tail-bike was on legendary ridingthespine.com website. Three friends took on a challenge to ride from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego on as much offroad as possible. Weapon of choice: mountain bikes with Xtracycle extensions. They had some problems on the way with Xtracycles braking down and one of the guys, Goat, decided to go for custom frame of the ~same design. That’s how Chupacabra was born.
Made by Spencer Wright from Traffic Cycles (not in business anymore) this machine was eye-catching not just because of extra long wheel base, but also because of fat tires and unique problem solving of the trouble that was coming and the time with fat tires. You see, it was created when first Surly Puglsey appeared in the market, so no fat hub standards yet. What we have here is standard 135mm hub with a goal to keep low Q-factor with typical BB length – normally it would never work cause fat tire would simple rub the chain. Surly solved that with 100mm BB, but Goat wasn’t happy with that so Chupacabra got additional hub or the transfer point.
And here is close-up, showing the problem it’s solving.
Bike was built with IGH (Rohloff) in mind so 2 chain tension points were necessary: from rear wheel to transfer point and from transfer point to the crankset. As you probably see, transfer point was installed on horizontal dropouts so that way it was possible to adjust it for perfect chain tension from wheel to transfer hub and EBB for crankset.
Of course bike had bunch of bottle mounts for carrying enough water and fuel (for cooking stove) – true adventure machine.
The trip took 3,5 years and was beautifully documented on the website with photos and videos. This expedition is still considered by many as the one which revolutionized or even invented bicycle offroad touring and set the first steps for fat bike traveling in remote locations.