The Axiom Fatliner Rack fits on the first generation Trek Farley Fat Bike

I was looking up racks that would fit on my first generation Trek Farley Fat Bike. It took some research, but I found the Axiom Fatliner rack, which does fit on this first generation Farley. There wasn’t a ton of information out there, so I wanted to post this so that anyone in a similar position could use this as a reference, and you may also find this Bikepacking.com article of use, as I did. The Axiom Fatliner came with multiple mounting options. I imagine most bikes would use the dual mounting option for two braze-ons on either side of the seat post, but (as seen below) the first gen Trek Farley only has one single in-frame bolt hole. I have a dropper seat post, so I didn’t want to install a different clamp with mounting points, and it probably wouldn’t change much anyway.

I found the rack for a pretty good price locally at Milwaukee’s Bikesmiths shop (I think it was $45…?). They have a bustling internet sales business, and if you’re local you can also pick up in-store and save on shipping costs. This is a nice option and you can generally acquire your parts quicker than if they were shipped. Make sure to look up their shop hours if you’re in a hurry.

Detail of the included solo-bolt bracket, which you will have to bend to the desired angle. I used my workbench mounted vise, wrapped the bracket in a towel so it didn’t mar and easily bent it to the desired angle.

As you can see, it’s far from an elegant application. The rack is about 6 inches above the tire, meaning the weight of my saddlebags will be carried higher than preferable. But such is life when you’re making due with what you already own and are spending $45 on a rack instead of a more elaborately equipped $2,000 bike. I’m happy the Axiom Fatliner option exists for the Trek Farley.

The rear triangle mount is, again, awkward from a design standpoint, but it gets the job done. I generally don’t like all of my weight to be on bolts, but I don’t plan on using this but for a few trips and it should accomplish what I need.
The rear view of the
Axiom Fatliner on the
first generation Trek Farley.
Strangely tall, oh well. It’ll do.

I’m using this bike on a trip to False Cape State Park on the Virginia coast. One hikes or backpacks in about 8 miles to camp on the beach. I don’t know what the trails are like, so I figured I’d bring the fat bike in case I’d be riding on sand for some distance, instead of my regular touring ride. I’m pretty sure 3.8 inch tires will work better than 700×38. This way I can put the weight of our food in saddlebags instead of on my back…it will also be a lot quicker to get to the water station a few miles away for refills.

Anyhow, if you’re looking to rack equip your first generation Trek Farley, the Axiom Fatliner is an easily workable option.

Why I went Fat Bike instead of a Mountain Bike

Welp, I picked up a fat bike. Here are the reasons why I went fat, even though I might one day look back. This piece isn’t so much a fat bike review or comparison, but more of an observation of why I settled on a fat bike instead of a more conventional sized tire trail bike.

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In my head I’m smiling, instead displaying RBF: Resting Beard Face.

This summer I remembered I had an old 26” wheel triple chainring mountain bike hanging in my basement. I did a few things to it, got it riding ok, and started thrashing the heck out of it. Quite frankly, I was a little caught off-guard by how much I enjoyed riding on trails. I spent a few months riding two or three times a week and then started to feel that my skill had probably eclipsed the bike’s capabilities. I decided to begin looking around for a 29” wheel bike with modern geometry, gearing, and amenities like a dropper post and/or a lockout fork.

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Disc brakes are new-to-me. As is the accompanying banshee wail when using them.

Then it snowed.

I considered that I’d end up realistically waiting until April or May before being able to get out onto the trails again. Having felt such enjoyment riding on the trails, I didn’t want to wait for the trails to dry out before being able to ride again. Enter the fat bike.

I shopped around for awhile and found this used first generation Trek Farley. It’s got an aluminum frame and fork and the tires are 3.8” Bontrager Hodags. This is the largest width tire that the first gen Farley will realistically fit. Having such a wide tire allows for what riders refer to as “float,” this is when having such a large contact patch allows the tire to move above a surface with greater ease, such as snow or mud. This tire isn’t as wide as more contemporary fat bike frames will allow, but I’m happy with having paid one third the price of new to get to know this style of riding.

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Jackelopes and Hodags.

So how does it ride? So far I’ve only been out a couple times (I picked it up two days ago) but it’s definitely a different feel than a 2.1” mountain bike. You definitely feel like you’re driving a monster truck, whereas the 2.1” tire might have been a Subaru. It’s not as responsive or quick handling as a smaller tire, but you have the sense of being able to roll over everything.

Speaking of rolling over everything, I’ve definitely noticed that sense of floating. It’s been rainy and the trails are muddy but not overall waterlogged. Definitely conditions in which I wouldn’t have had a clear conscience about creating trail ruts with a 2.1” tire. With the 3.8” tires, however, I’ve been able to ride above without ruining the trail. Days in which a little bit of rain before would make me not ride, now I feel like I can go out on the trails without damaging them.

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I’ve enjoyed the grip offered by Bontrager 3.8″ Hodag tires and have been impressed by how little mud they retain.

When riding a fat bike, one definitely has a sense of requiring greater effort to turn the larger front tire, which isn’t surprising. Again, turning a monster truck compared with maneuvering a Subaru. I’m 5’10” and relatively stout so the greater effort required isn’t an overall issue for me, but it’s noticeable and something to consider if one happens to be more slight of build.

If you’re on the fence about riding trails or getting back on them after a long layoff, fat bikes can be a good option. I’m finding this one to be forgiving, confidence inspiring, and generally offers exceptional balance because the size of tire making contact with the ground is roughly about the same size as a human foot. You sacrifice razor-crisp handling to be able to ride year-round, and at the moment that’s a tradeoff I’m willing to accept.

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With the green accents of this bike, I think I’ll name it Slimer, after the ghost in Ghostbusters.