New Otso Arctodus - The Phattest Fat Bike at Contender

Written by Joseph Bonacci, on December 02, 2022

Otso is a brand that has long been known in the bike industry but under a few different names. Their frame brand is Otso, but you may be more familiar with their components brand Wolf Tooth. Born out of Minnesota, They have long established themselves as a brand that provides top-quality components with a high standard of craftsmanship. 

The Minnesotan company has had skin in the fat bike game for years now, starting with the release of the Otso Voytek. However, the U.S. brand refuses to rest on its laurels, and as such comes their addition to the adventure category: the Otso Arctodus gravel bike. While the Voytek has put an emphasis on low weight and superior handling, the Arctodus is built to be as capable and durable as possible for adventures both long and short. 

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What Separates Arctodus?

A bike built for winter exploration and tours has a different set of expectations than a bike like the Voytek. The base is a durable steel frame built to withstand the demands of exploration, take a beating, and keep on going. Paired with the steel tubing is optimization for adventure: plenty of mounts for racks and bags and plenty of space for a frame bag.

The Arctodus aims to feel at home even on the most technical terrain or deep snow. As such, Arctodus supports both a 26 x 5.05” or a 27.5 x 4.5” tire, the widest tires available with room to spare. Further, Otso was able to clear tires this big while utilizing a standard MTB drivetrain without any chain interference. When fresh snow is on the horizon, bringing a pair of wide tires matters, and this bike makes sure you’ll have it.

Otso chose to pair their steel frame with their Lithic Carbon fork.  This was to drop weight and add stiffness and responsiveness to the bike's front end. This makes the bike snappier which will help with handling and climbing ability. The fork also comes with mounting points for frame bags, making it already equipped to take you on the most extreme backcountry expeditions. The frame, however, is also set up so that it is fully compatible with a suspension fork with up to 120mm of travel. We would be happy to help you get a suspension fork for the bike, so the bike would be ready for whatever you would want to throw at it.

If you’re a long-time fan of fat bikes, you’re likely familiar with the idea of Q-factor. Simply put, it is the distance between pedals; the wider they are, the more you might feel like you’re waddling more than you’re pedaling. Fat tires generally mean a wide Q-factor. While the Arctodus has a wider Q-factor than a standard mountain bike, Otso was able to keep this distance to just 100mm. Not only is this 30 to 40mm narrower than other fat bikes with this amount of tire clearance, but it is makes pedaling the bike feel much more natural and uncomplicated. 

Arctodus has dedicated rear rack mounts, external cable routing, thru axles, dropper post routing for a internally routed 31.6mm seatpost, and Otso’s adjustable Tuning Chip rear dropout. 

Arctodus geometry is designed with low speed stability in mind, particularly when you're riding in soft conditions and snow. A key component of this is the Tuning Chip allows riders to change its wheelbase length by up to 20mm. Further, it allows riders to raise and lower the bottom bracket heigh by up to 4mm as well as adjust the head tube angle by 0.2 degrees either way. Choose the rear position for when you need the most controllable ride feel, be it for rough terrain or when the bike is loaded up. The front position makes the bike more playful and quicker to accelerate. 

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for a durable fat bike, a bike to ride on any terrain, or a bike that would take you on the gnarliest expeditions, the Arctodus would be the perfect choice for you. We are excited to announce that we have these in stock and built up if you want to come to check them out. Give us a call as well with any more questions, we are happy to answer.

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Words by Joseph Bonacci. Images by Carter Hall.


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