Otso Voytek

With the hid­den ben­e­fit of less out­rig­ging, the bike han­dles much more like a moun­tain bike, which in­creases the winter-rid­ing stoke fac­tor ex­po­nen­tially.

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by Mike Sar­necki


Otso Cy­cles is a new bike com­pany cre­ated by the en­gi­neers at Wolf Tooth Com­po­nents in Min­nesota who are ded­i­cated to pack­ing in­no­va­tions, at­ten­tion to de­tail and new ideas into their fun-to-ride bikes.

The Voytek is Otso's car­bon-fi­bre hard­tail moun­tain bike en­gi­neered around the Plus-Fat con­cept and de­signed to be rid­den as a 27.5+, 29+, 29'er or fat­bike with the abil­ity to ac­com­mo­date up to 26x4.6” tires on 70mm rims. Tested was the rigid fat­bike con­fig­u­ra­tion with 26x4.0” Ter­rene tires.

Otso's en­gi­neers have been rid­ing fat­bikes ever since they have been read­ily avail­able as mass-pro­duc­tion bi­cy­cles, and with their ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise, de­cided to try and im­prove the slug­gish feel that fat­bikes tra­di­tion­ally have. In­stead of de­sign­ing the bike around the size of tire, Otso en­gi­neered the bike from the bot­tom bracket out. By us­ing the 83mm DH bot­tom-bracket stan­dard, Otso is able to nar­row the Q-fac­tor by 20mm over the nor­mal fat­bike stan­dard, thus bring­ing the rid­ers' feet within a nor­mal pedal­ing range un­der the hips.

The high-end car­bon Tai­wanese-built frame fea­tures more car­bon and less fi­bre­glass and filler, a de­tail you re­ally no­tice when you pick up the de­ceiv­ingly light frame and look closely at its con­struc­tion and aes­thet­ics.

Not only does a nar­rower Q-fac­tor im­prove your biome­chan­ics, but it was also my ex­pe­ri­ence that the bike han­dles bet­ter. When rid­ing the Voytek, I no­ticed the bike cor­nered bet­ter than a tra­di­tional fat­bike due to the re­duc­tion in lever­age pro­vided by the nar­rower Q-fac­tor. Imag­ine an out­rig­ger boat – the “out­rig” sta­bi­lizes and pre­vents the boat from tip­ping. On a fat­bike, the wider Q-fac­tor acts like an out­rig­ger, mak­ing it harder to tip the bike into a cor­ner. The Voytek rides more like a tra­di­tional moun­tain bike, mak­ing it eas­ier to lean into and rail cor­ners.

Speak­ing of rail­ing cor­ners, the Voytek is equipped with the short­est chain­stays of any pro­duc­tion fat­bike (430mm). The patent-pend­ing Tun­ing Chip rear-dropout sys­tem al­lows the chain­stay length to be changed from a nim­ble 430mm to an in-be­tween po­si­tion of 440mm to a sta­ble 450mm length. I tested the Voytek in the 430mm po­si­tion and found the ride ex­tremely play­ful and fun. Cou­pled with the added ben­e­fit of the above-men­tioned nar­row Q-fac­tor, I ripped cor­ners that I reg­u­larly ride so swiftly that it gave me a perma-grin.

The mod­ern ge­om­e­try, with its slacker head­tube an­gle and shorter

chain­stays, re­ally does blur the line be­tween a plus bike and a fat­bike, as Otso sug­gests. With the nar­row­est Q-fac­tor of any pro­duc­tion fat-tire-com­pat­i­ble bike, the Voytek feels like a moun­tain bike, and opens up a new di­men­sion in sum­mer or winter rid­ing with its po­ten­tial to be the one moun­tain bike for all sea­sons. I found the ge­om­e­try spot on, and its han­dling re­ally does feels more like that of a moun­tain bike than that of a tra­di­tional fat­bike.

The Voytek has been built with a “no com­pro­mise spec,” and fea­tures a Shi­mano 1x11 driv­e­train and disc brakes, DT Swiss 340 177 and 150mm hubs, cus­tom 70mm Lithic Rhy­o­lite alu­minum tube­less com­pat­i­ble rims and Ter­rene Wazia tires. Th­ese fun­da­men­tal parts have been care­fully se­lected to de­liver a su­pe­rior ride, while cus­tom­iz­a­ble op­tions are avail­able that up­grade cranks, cock­pit, wheels and tires. The shift­ing and brak­ing was flawless, even in sub -20°C tem­per­a­tures, and the Ter­rene tires, set up tube­less, hooked up ex­cep­tion­ally well in snow-packed sin­gle­track.

The Voytek was a plea­sure to ride. In winter-rid­ing con­di­tions, it per­forms as you would like a fat­bike to, with­out any slug­gish, heavy feel. The nar­row Q-fac­tor is a sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit, as it also does away with any knee pain that may arise from pro­longed wider-leg pedal­ing. With the hid­den ben­e­fit of less out­rig­ging, the bike han­dles much more like a moun­tain bike, which in­creases the winter-rid­ing stoke fac­tor ex­po­nen­tially.

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