Moose 3 Fat Bike | Complete Ride Report


After completing the First Impression & Detailed Overview of the Moose 3 by Moose Bicycle . . . it was time to hit the trails. Arriving in early fall I realized there would be plenty of time to put quality dirt time on the Moose 3 before the ground turned to a blanket of white.

Based on the Moose sizing charts my 5'11" frame recommended a size large bike, and with the seat and bars adjusted for comfort I found the cockpit quite comfortable. I did not feel cramped or stretched out, all levers and shifters were in easy reach and my 32” inseam gave me oodles of room between the top tube and delicate body parts.

NON-WINTER RIDING

My first ride on the Moose 3 was on an overcast afternoon with a hint of dampness in the air. On my first date I wanted to ride somewhere familiar to get a feel for the bike and see how the sum of the parts worked together.



Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

I originally hit the trails with 9-10 psi, but part way through the ride I dropped it to a 7-8 to take better advantage of the stiffer 72 TPI of the Vee Snowshoe XLs. Having ridden other fatties with a dropper post I did find myself stabbing for a non-existent seatpost dropper lever.



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When I adjusted my riding style for a rigid seatpost the playful nature of the Moose 3 really shone. 


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

The slackish 69 degree head angle, longish 448 mm chainstays and overall geometry made me feel like the bike could tackle anything. I was left with a positive first impression and was looking forward to date number two.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

Heading into uncharted territory exposed me and the Moose 3 to a solid mix of terrain and weather.  The day started with a nice looking trail . . .



Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

. . . that turned into some water crossings.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

The Snowshoe XLs and 11spd drivetrain - with 28T chainring - easily provided the traction and torque needed to keep moving.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

As the day progressed, the weather cooled which resulted in an early unexpected snowfall and an unexpected surprise - I love exploring.  The Moose 3 continued to impress.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

I then decided to mount up a rear rack so I could strap on some panniers filled with trail building gear. The Moose 3 carried the extra weight with no complaints, so it should do well as a bikepacking machine especially with its large frame triangle.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

The Bluto 120 RL front fork did an excellent job of soaking up all the trail obstacles in its path and made the Moose 3 a capable trail bike. And with its unique white and orange color scheme the beast was bestowed the nickname “Creamsicle” by several local riders.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

After repeated dunkings in water that gave me soggy feet, the M615 brakes failed to complain.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

As the dirt (mud) testing continued into late fall, the capable and playful nature of the Moose 3 continued to impress me - climbing hills, fording water, tackling rocks and roots, hitting trails - the Moose 3 did it all. 


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

As the temperatures started dipping and white flakes started filling the air, I came to the following observations about the Moose 3:

  • Chunky style grips were comfortable with gloved hands;
  • Good tire selection - although the 120TPI version would prove more supple;
  • Dog-legged brake levers were super convenient;
  • A dropper post would not feel out of place – although the QR clamp does work;
  • The 740 mm bars seemed the perfect width;
  • My Presta tire gauge would not fit the Schrader valves in the tires; and
  • Shifter and derailleur worked flawlessly through the 11 speed transmission.

WINTER RIDING 


By the time I hit the wintry trails the Moose 3 had proven itself and was well broken in – it was ready for some serious snow and ice riding.


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Studded tires are pretty much mandatory when winter riding in my neck of the woods. The Moose 3 came with studdable 72 TPI Snowshoe XLs without studs, so I swapped them for studded 120 TPI Snowshoe XLs that I had augmented with Grip Studs.



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During the several months of winter riding I took the Moose 3 out on many adventures – loose snow, groomed single track, fast and flowly mountain bike trails, large expanses of frozen water and cold barren tundra.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

Temperatures ranged from warmish low single digits (Celsius) to teeth chattering double digit negatives.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

One of my initial concerns was the mineral oil that Moose runs through its Shimano M615 braking system. There had been some reports of the brakes getting sluggish in the cold – however I did not experience any such problems during my winter travels. The brakes worked just fine with no stopping issues.



Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

While I did swap out the stock tires for studded, they were the exact same tread pattern. Having reviewed the XLs in the past I knew what to expect – good all around winter snow traction. However, I did notice a slight difference in the overall smoothness between the stock 72 TPI and the more supple 120 TPI tires when running into particularly rough trail sections.


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The Bluto 120 RL also performed well taking the “ouch” out of any sharp trail edges as well as soaking up chatter on rough frozen sections. I did not detect any freezing or sluggish behavior.


Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

The cold winter conditions did not impact the shifting of the Deore XT M8000 derailleur or the SLX M7000 shifter. The push/pull nature of the shifter moved through the gears regardless of the cold or snow build-up.



Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

Still with the cockpit, I found that the somewhat chunky nature of the Moose 3 grips were quite comfortable when wearing heavier gloves and the attachment of pogies when the weather got really cold was quite easy.



Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615

During the winter months I tend to ride longer distances than in the non-snow season. I did notice that when pushing 30km of continuous riding that the stock Vader seat started to lose its comfortable nature - or maybe it might have been the extra layers of winter clothing.


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I also had the opportunity to get the opinion of a few other riders on the Moose 3: 



C’était la première fois que je roulais un vélo moose. J’étais bien positionné avec une bonne distance entre la selle et le guidon. J’ai trouvé le vélo très nerveux et maniable. Les changements de vitesse étaient rapides et fluides. Bon vélo pour passer du bon temps sur les sentiers difficiles.

Moose Bicycle Moose 3 Fat Bike Review Fatbike Republic Bluto Snowshoe XL Shimano 615


I had the chance to demo the Moose 3 on my local single track in ideal snow conditions. While my ride window was short, the bike handled very well and I felt that it would be a great bike for an all day ride. 

The Moose 3 proved to be a very reliable winter ride. Having no mechanical issues, with the only adjustments being tire pressure, my overall experience with the Moose 3 fat bike during winter conditions was again very positive.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Buying a fat bike sight unseen can sometimes feel like a leap of faith, especially when the specifications are pretty good and the price fits your budget with room to spare. 


I do agree with supporting your local bike shop, but if there are none within a reasonable distance and/or they do not have or cannot get what you are looking for . . . buying from a direct to consumer company like Moose Bicycle may be a viable option.

What I liked about the Moose 3:
  • It felt very playful when climbing, descending and carving
  • Size large fit my 5”11’ frame well
  • Brakes and transmission operated without issue
  • Snowshoe XL was a good all-round tire selection
  • Bluto soaked up the bumps
  • With more than 250 km of seat time there have been no hints of mechanical issues
Areas for consideration:
  • Dropper seatpost with internal cable routing
  • 120 TPI version of the Snowshow XL would be a little smoother
  • Switching to presta valve stems - personal choice
  • Possibly revisit saddle options for longer rides.
I put in considerable seat time on the Moose 3 - in both winter and non-winter conditions - and have to say that the Moose 3 proved to be a solid fat bike that should not disappoint.

If you are venturing into the world of fat biking or adding to your stable, I would not hesitate to recommend that the white and orange beast be placed on your short list.


RIDE FAT !


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