February 20, 2013
A peculiar looking fork, Salsa's Enabler first caught my eye a few years ago when introduced as their rigid 29er "adventure fork." It has since become the stock fork on their Mukluk line of fat bikes and it is becoming a go-to option for a fatbike frame build. While putting together a fatbike build earlier this winter, I took an opportunity to purchase one and put it to use with my setup. Although I haven't tested it to it's fullest potential for overnight adventures and gear hauling, it has steered wonderfully so far and I have thoroughly enjoyed some of the features of this unique fork.
Equipped with a 1 1/8” threadless steerer tube, 135mm hub spacing, and disc-brake mounts, this chromoly fork can run a standard 29er rear wheel or a fat front wheel. When paired up with a fat bike front wheel, it gives you the ability to turn a 29er mountain bike into a “snow bike lite" or "half fat bike" for enhanced handling on snow, sand, and similar terrain that would cause trouble for an ordinary mountain bike tire. Mounted on a 29er or fat bike, the fork offers a variety of braze-ons for the touring cyclist.
Versatility and Utility
The Enabler is incredibly versatile and has been described as the "swiss army knife" of forks. Much like the features of the Salsa Fargo's fork, the Enabler has a variety of braze-ons, allowing you to carry an assortment of cargo and accessories including dual back-of-blade, triple-boss waterbottle cage mounts and Salsa Anything Cages. The fork also has mid-blade eyelets for use with low-rider front racks, and dual eyelets at the dropouts for racks and fenders. All of these features can help you turn an ordinary fat bike or 29er into an adventure-ready rig for bikepacking or loaded touring.
The fork is capable of handling a variety of tire widths, from skinny 29er rubber (on a rear 29er wheel) up to some of the widest fat bike tires currently available on the market. With larger tire/rim combinations, tire deflation may be required for clearing the disc brake caliper during installation.
This is where things get tricky. Since the fork dropouts are spaced at 135mm, you can't mount this on a 29er and expect to run your front wheel on this. If you have a spare rear wheel, you can use that. For fat-front mode, you'll need a zero offset or symmetrical fat bike front wheel with a 135mm hub.
Surly also now offers a similar product, the Moonlander fork, which can be paired up with a Pugsley for additional front wheel/tire clearance, and hosts plenty of braze-ons for dual bottle cages and front racks. The Moonlander fork comes stock on Surly's Moonlander and Neck Romancer Pugsley complete bikes.
Photo by Paul Hansbarger.
BIKEPACKER is written by Casey Greene and Paul Hansbarger, Adventure Cycling staff, part-time adventure seekers and gear nerds alike.