Cycle aficionados identify the fat tyre trend as starting with the groundbreaking Pugsley. Introduced by US-based company Surly in 2005, it had 3.8in-wide tyres and rode its way over everything in its path, leaving a trail of titters and people pointing in its wake. That laughter subsided once you gave the Pugsley a ride.
Designed for snowy trails and mountain paths, the massive volume of the tyres created a large contact area with the ground so they could be inflated using barely-there air pressures. They might have looked a bit comical, but they made the rider feel like they were floating – whether crossing rock, stream, sand or ice.
Fat tyres were soon responsible for luring non-cyclists into cross-country and off-road biking, and more established manufacturers like Trek and Specialized quickly got in on the act, as have others from around the world.
Deus Ex Machina is an Australian motorbike and cycle company with a throwback philosophy that celebrates the custom culture that first appeared in Europe and the US in the Forties, before surfing, skateboarding and riding were each, as Deus puts it, “marketed into fundamentalist factions”.
Deus now has offices in Sydney, Bali, LA and Milan. Its cycles are handmade and feature customisable colours and carefully-selected details with various optional extras such as a three-speed rear hub and a surf rack (possibly more useful on Bondi than in Bermondsey). Its new Deus Fat Tyre is perhaps the finest example of a fat tyre bike we’ve seen. It features an Italian handmade aluminium frame that comes in two versions, street or cruiser, and is equipped with a Selle San Marco leather saddle, Ambrosio DH rims and a coaster brake rear hub. Plus, of course, fat 2.35in tyres.
“It is a bike that was born around the wheels and the fat tyre,” says Emanuele Vicinanza, global sales manager at Deus. “It’s perfect for city riding, for small tours and for off-roads because the ride gives a feeling similar to a bike that has a small suspension.
“Plus,” he adds, “people like to show it in their house. Bikes are not for sleeping in boxes or garages anymore.”
Photo credit: Lisa Gee
Deus Cycleworks bikes are available custom-built exclusively in the UK at rocketsandrascals.com