We were very excited when Rohloff called at the start of the summer to tell us they were sending us a pre-production sample of their new fat bike-specific SPEEDHUB XL. We had learned they were considering producing this 170mm wide hub only a few months prior, and now prototypes had already been built and tested and they were on to a pre-production run. Our sample hub showed up a week later and we marveled at how it dwarfed the standard SPEEDHUB 500/14.
The only problem on our end was finding a frame to use to build the new hub into a bike. Since we don't get snow in the San Francisco Bay Area, we planned to set the bike up for trail riding, which has become an increasingly popular use for fat bikes. This meant that the bike would be getting a suspension fork and dropper seatpost. It also needed to be belt drive compatible since we prefer the maintenance-free aspect of belts.