I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fired up my ATV before sunrise and stopped to think of how nice it would be to get t to my hunting spot without all the noise and exhaust fumes. Hunting with a mountain bike would be just perfect.
Recently a story about a group of a subsistence hunters in Alaska caught my eye. They were getting into the backcountry around Denali National Park by mountain bike to hunt caribou, preferring the peace and quite and lack of fuel to other modes of transportation.
Not that the concept is new or anything. The Coburn CG4, which offers a mountain bike specifically geared toward hunters and their equipment, came out in early 2013 and has had mixed interest and sales. It seemed that the hunters who were already riding mountain bikes and into fitness (not a whole lot of folks unfortunately) loved the concept.
You could put your gun, your bow or even your fly rod in the scabbard and head out to your favorite spot without waking up the entire forest. It took a good amount of work and you needed to be in pretty good shape already if you were to have the stamina to ride through the mud and grass in your hunting outfit.
And then, just as I was loading up my Yamaha Kodiak for another trip, thinking of how much fuel I had and when the last time I serviced the air filter was, I got an email from my cousin in Minnesota. He had found the Holy Grail! It was a fat bike for hunters that had an electric assisted motor called the Felt Outfitter. I ran back inside to my computer to check it out.
A little over five years ago, a guy named Jim Felt, founder of Felt Bicycles, had an idea. An avid fly fisherman and bowhunter, he and his son had been hauling all their gear out into the wilderness on their trips, always carrying what they needed on their backs. Jim had been building custom bikes professionally since an athlete won the 1991 Ironman on one of his bikes. Throughout the years, Jim never considered building a bike for hunting and fishing. Then one day, according to Jim, “a lightbulb went off.”
The “Outfitter” is an electric assist, fully accessorized, super cool hunting and fishing rig. It uses the same dependable Bosch e-bike system that Felt has been using on its other electric assist bikes but has a beefed up aluminum frame, high end components, camouflage paint and of course, fat tires to get you through the snow and muck. All the cables are stored in the frame which is nice if you’re going through the brambles. Tipping the scales at 53 pounds, this thing is not light, especially when you add all the accessories.
Jim had one of his bikes at the Interlake Outdoor Expo last year as a demo and it included a killer matching BOB trailer, beefy enough to haul a weeks worth of gear. Unfortunately, the price tag is one that will make you want to sit back down.At $5,499, that only gets you the bike. I can imagine that you’d probably tack on quite a few more pesos if you want the racks and the cool green headlight.
Although it is less (slightly) than a new ATV, it will be interesting to see if this idea catches on. I’m about 50/50 right now. The true test for me will be whether the electric assist motor will be enough to do the job and not leave me exhausted before I get to my spot. I’m going to see where I might get a chance to demo one. Stay tuned!
Photo credit: Dreamstime