Variable Conditions: A Panorama Cycles Torngat Ti Fat Bike Review

This past winter, Hailey Moore got a primer in fat biking while test riding Panorama Cycles’s Torngat Ti. Her review assesses both the bike and the challenge of finding ideal fat biking conditions.

Since moving to Colorado over seven years ago, I’ve been getting more into winter. I’ve taken up ski touring on low-risk terrain and (most days) am no longer as embarrassed to descend the hill in front of more seasoned skiers. I’ve developed an appreciation for the little bubble world that gets created in my own head when I’m bundled up and plugged into a podcast, or music, while running through a blizzard; and I’ve even managed to summit a few 14ers on these shortest days of the year.

Still, while I’ve gotten better at layering for winter riding and have found more equanimity when going out to face a cold day, I’ve noticed that, in contrast to all of the aforementioned activities, riding my bike in winter largely feels like an act of avoidance instead of acceptance. The search is for dry, clear roads and the priority is to maximize riding at the warmest part of the day. Being a cyclist is about getting through winter rather than being part of it.

So when Panorama Cycles reached out to ask if I’d be interested in testing out their Torngat Ti, I wondered if having access to a fat bike would change that. Based in Quebec, Panorama Cycles began envisioning and designing adventure bikes in 2010, with their first bike being the Chic-Chocs carbon fat bike.

They now offer eight models across the gravel, hardtail, touring, and fat biking categories. The word “backcountry” appears frequently on their website, and the concept of self-powered, self-sufficient exploration seems core to the brand. Their stated values reject the “N+1” bike phenomenon, and their frame designs seek to provide the rider with multiple use-case scenarios.

Released this year and named for Canada’s northerly subarctic range, the titanium update to the Torngat is Panorama’s most recent addition to its multi-purpose stable.

Quick Hits

•3Al-2.5V Titanium construction
•Swappable crankset spindles provide q-factor spacing options of 185 mm or 205 mm
•Clearance for 27.5 x 4.5” with 205 mm q-factor
•Clearance for 27.5 x 4” or 29 x 3.0” with 185 mm q-factor
•Sliding drop-outs
•Rohloff and belt-drive compatible
•Internal dropper-post routing
•Suspension-corrected geometry (for 120 mm fork travel)
•12 x 177 mm rear; 12 x 150 mm front hub spacing
•PF107 bottom bracket
•Frame weight: 2,400 grams (size Medium)
•Frameset (includes: Panorama carbon fork, FSA headset, axles, and seat post collar): $3599
•Complete: $5594+

On paper, the Torngat is an intriguing bike. It offers the possibility of four-seasons of adventuring: suspension-corrected geo and dropper-post routing, sliding drop-outs, belt-drive compatibility, two q-factor stance options, and a carbon fork with three mounting points per blade. But, true to the brand’s origins, it is first a fat bike and that’s how I planned to ride it.

Variable Conditions

I should go ahead and say that I’d never ridden a fat bike before the Torngat Ti showed up on my doorstep. From reading previously published fat bike reviews and reports about backcountry fat biking missions—from the Iditarod Trail to Wyoming’s Gros Ventre (thanks Kurt Refsnider for largely filling this content niche)—I’d gathered that finding ideal conditions could be challenging.

My experience trying to ride the Torngat ultimately confirmed this: at the risk of undercutting the validity of this review, I’ll admit that I rode this bike just five times. And, somewhat poetically, the combination of these individual rides seemed to illustrate the spectrum of possible conditions: from a gratuitous townie snow-day spin, to a (mostly snow-free) singletrack ride, to what was ultimately a peak fat biking experience in my book, a jaunt up to the Continental Divide via Cottonwood Pass (12,126’).

Incidentally, the rides also fell in this culminating order. I almost can’t help approaching bike reviews from this kind of chronological perspective and this tendency feels even more unavoidable with a fat bike: each time I rode the Torngat, I learned more about its own demeanor but also felt like I gained a little more insight into the endearingly bizarre subculture of fat biking writ large.

Fat Biking as Fun

After unboxing the Torngat, of course the first ride I took it on was from my doorstep: a buzzy-rubber sandwich shop ride on a day where the morning’s fresh snowfall would have otherwise kept me off the bike. I threw on some platform pedals and a pair of Gore-tex running shoes with an integrated gaiter (which I’d end up wearing on all subsequent Torngat rides) and threw a leg over—the wide stance felt like pedaling an Elliptical gym machine. Charging through thick snow banks at intersections and bulldozing undeterred down unplowed side streets provided my first lesson aboard the Torngat: fat biking as fun.

This may sound flip but for non-multi-sporters and/or riders who abhor the trainer, the fat bike opens up more days for commuting or from-home riding on a platform that’s so overbuilt for the job that you can’t not have fun. Or at least that’s how I felt. And, after riding sloppy, slushy bike paths to a favorite lunch spot, I tacked on a nearby, paved ~600’ hill climb just for kicks—on a day when I wouldn’t really want to ride any of my other bikes, it all felt like bonus miles anyway.

Fat Biking as HABing?

After getting an initial feel for the Torngat on an urban snow day, I was keen to test it on some real snow. Unfortunately, there are no groomed snow trails in close proximity to where I live in Boulder that allow fat bike travel (though I know there would be some excited riders if the Eldora Ski Resort—*ahem*—decided to open up their Nordic trails to fat bike users. There’s a backcountry hut accessible from this off-piste portal that would be a ton of fun to ride to in winter.)

As such, my buddy, Josh, offered to show me a local zone that can be decent for riding depending on how many snow-shoers have helped to pack down the trails. Josh has a few seasons logged on his creatively curated Surly Moonlander, so I was grateful to rely on his prior fat bike reconnaissance.

Clip courtesy of Josh Uhl

To cut to the chase, we got a bit skunked by the trail conditions: high winds had drifted most of the trails, and the first half of our ride included a lot of voluntary and involuntary, on-and-off the bike transitions.

On my first tumble, I tried to put a foot down before losing balance, and I sank up to my knee in the unconsolidated off-trail footing. My appreciation for the included KS E20 i dropper post immediately increased three-fold.

It was on this day, too, that I began to question the 27.5” wheel size; Josh’s Moonlander is outfitted with 26” wheels and, even singlespeeding, I was impressed by his maneuverability and the apparent ease at which he pedaled through some of the fluff under our wheels. Meanwhile, I felt like I was all but gassed trying to keep my massive 27.5 x 4.5” boots turning over.

Fat Biking as Mountain Biking

The next ride I turned to the Torngat for was a social ride with Jason Winkler of Spruce Cycles. As I share today in a separate Q&A, Jason is a fat bike enthusiast and makes pogies (and two handlebar bag models) out of his home workshop in Evergreen, Colorado. He’s super active in the winter fat bike racing scene of the upper Arkansas River Valley and his pogies adorn the bikes on the floor at Leadville’s Leadvelo Bicicasa, which is how I happened upon them. Jason was kind enough to provide me with a set of his small-batch pogies to use in tandem with the Torngat for this review so it only seemed fitting to get out for a ride together.

We met at a trailhead equidistant from our respective homes and gamely set out on our fat bikes on what appeared to be all-but-snow-free trails. The initial two-mile climb up to a ridgeline gained about 1,000’ in elevation—pretty standard Colorado mountain biking terrain. Lower down, a series of water bars guarded smoother riding and I got some idea of how the Torngat might handle as a dedicated mountain bike: I cleared a few of the water bars but also walked a few more.

To be clear, I’m not a great, or even good, mountain biker. I think there are also some subtle body-english differences that come when riding rigid (even fat-tire but rigid) bikes over small features versus letting the travel of a hardtail or full-suspension bike do some of that work for you. And, of course, if I were cashing in on Panorama’s promise of the Torngat being a reliable four-season adventure machine, I wouldn’t be riding summer trails with the 27.5 x 4.5” wheel-tire combo that came on the bike. For my preferences, at least, making the Torngat a true four-season bike would entail having a separate set of 29er wheels with fat bike hubs that I’d pair with 3″ tires.

However, on this climb, I was left feeling that the task of easing the front wheel onto the water bars was pretty dang arduous. At these slow speeds, I wanted a steeper than the advertised 74.5° seat tube angle and a lower front end (which, going down to 29 x 3” would provide). But I mainly wanted a lighter bike.

Meanwhile, as I was questioning the nuances of bike geo and also telling myself I need to get back on my pull-up/push-up regiment, Jason danced up the trail ahead. With its current build spec, my review Torngat tips the scales at 34.5 lb. At the top of the climb, I would learn that Jason’s race-curated Salsa Beargrease weighs a sprightly 24 lb in its singlespeed iteration! I was learning that there are levels to this fat biking thing.

On that note, I’ll interrupt this riding log play-by-play to offer a quick overview of the Torngat’s build spec. The Torngat I received sits on SUNringlé’s Mulefüt 27.5” 80 mm alloy rims—laced to SRC hubs, setup with 45NRTH’s Dillinger 5 4.5” tires—paired with Sram Level brakes. Raceface Turbine cranks (170 mm) turn a 28T Raceface chainring, with the rest of the drivetrain comprising a SRAM SLX derailleur and 11-50t cassette.

A Ritchey cockpit, KS E20 i dropper (125 mm), and WTB Pure Saddle tie the room together. Doing some back-of-the-napkin math, I figure that upgrading the rims would be the most impactful way to shave some non-trivial weight off the build—the swap from alloy to carbon would alone save you about 600 grams, not to mention jettisoning the tubes, which would double again those weight savings.

Other upgrade options—bars, derailleur, cassette, cranks, seat post—might each shave an additional 100 grams here or there, which in total could amount to another pound, or more. And, as Jason pointed out, carbon components on a fat bike don’t transfer the cold the same way that metal bits do.

Still, I think these additional considerations should be weighed in the context of the bike’s backcountry intent—I might feel confident having carbon bars or cranks on a bike that I’d use primarily as a day-to-day winter rig, but would I feel equally confident venturing off on a multi-day winter adventure with lightweight componentry? Personally, I don’t have enough winter fat biking experience to say definitively.

After some ridge surfing and then ogling Jason’s build at the top of the climb, we flipped the bikes around to head down. The Torngat’s weight tax on the climb became a benefit on the descent—feeling the bike’s planted nature and 4.5” of traction through the sweeping corners is an experience I’d recommend every rider have at least once.

Fat Biking as Daily Riding

My penultimate outing on the Torngat gave me a glimpse of what it might be like to live in Leadville, or another high mountain town, where a fat bike becomes your daily driver for a few months of the year. Leadville sits at an altitude of over 10,000’ and, perched on a hillside overlooking the Arkansas River Valley, offers a front-row view of the Sawatch Mountains. It’s home to a lot of great riding, from nearby singletrack networks, to the fire roads made famous by the Leadville 100 MTB race and the Colorado Trail, which descends into town from the north via Tennessee Pass. In winter, though, the surrounding Mineral Belt trail offers immediate fat bike and Nordic skiing access.

I happened to be passing through Leadville a couple weeks ago with the Torngat in tow. After waiting for the overnight single-digit temps to rise into the 20s, I ventured out onto the Mineral Belt for a 90-minute spin. Several inches of fresh snow had fallen overnight, but the trail was already streaked through with half-a-dozen Nordic tracks.

Riding what would otherwise feel like a gradually climbing bike path with fresh snow under the tires felt surprisingly athletic (I’m sure the altitude was playing a role, too). It felt kind of like riding through sand—where you’re constantly making micro steering adjustments to account for the less-than-solid riding surface—but only kind of.

The fun thing about this outing was that on any other bike, in any other conditions, it would have felt completely unremarkable; a “better than nothing” kind of hour ride that you squeeze in on a busy day. But, aboard the Torngat, plowing through the snow while climbing, then careening through it on the descents, it felt like a worthy in-and-of-itself micro-adventure.

In part, this is the novelty of such a platform for me—a first-season fat biker. But I think it also speaks to the improbable delight of truly mixing it up with winter rather than wishing the season would just hurry up and move along.

Fat Biking as Fat Biking

The second coolest thing I could think of doing during my time reviewing the Torngat was riding up to the Continental Divide by way of Cottonwood Pass outside of Buena Vista, CO. (The coolest thing I could think of was also riding Cottonwood Pass, but in the context of the annual fat bike race in February, the Cottonwood Crusher, which makes a double-crossing of the 12,000+ passage. Alas, I chickened out of the 40+ mile day. Maybe next year!) On the first full day of spring, I decided it was now or never to ride Cottonwood on the Torngat.

During the snowy months, the paved road up and over Cottonwood (which connects Buena Vista to Gunnison and Crested Butte) gets closed about halfway up. Beyond the winter closure, the season’s snowfall gets routinely packed down by a grader, in service to recreational and guided snowmobilers, but fat bikers get to benefit from the grooming, too.

I was treated to an absolute bluebird day on my Cottonwood Pass ride. The warm weather and brilliant sun made the ambient temperature quite pleasant, even if the riding surface lower down was a little soft. On the seven-mile ascent, I again thought that a 26” wheel size might be more preferable, though the current setup felt serviceable for the job. Aside from a few snowmobilers, I had the pass to myself and it was pretty glorious to feel so in the mountains.

While the calendar had technically just moved beyond the bounds of winter, I felt like I was experiencing the integrated relationship with the alpine off-season that I’ve found elusive as a cyclist, but present in other activities. Additionally, it was pretty satisfying to think that a fat bike actually felt like the best tool for this outing: I was still moving faster than a hiking/snowshoeing pace; without the added flotation of big tires, the snow surface would have likely been abysmal to run (and, a long foot-travel outing); and the grade wasn’t steep enough to make for great ski touring. Finally rolling up to the top of the pass felt like peak fat biking for me, in terms of where it could take me.

Side-by-side views from Cottonwood Pass; September 2023 (left), March 2024 (right)

While I might have wished for spinnier 26” wheels on the climb, the 27.5” SUNringlés felt squirrely enough on the descent as the day, and snow, continued to warm. I managed pretty well for the first half of the descent, fish-tailed a lot for a couple miles, then finally dropped the saddle and essentially push-biked the last, and steepest, mile back to the car. Fat biking may giveth the mountains but it also, at times, trieth the patience.


Where I live right now, having the Torngat at my disposal for a few months kind of felt like if someone had offered to loan me a stand-up paddle board: it’s a bulky item to store and transport (the small triangle is awkward on the rack on my hatchback, and the tires don’t fit in standard tray racks), and I don’t have great nearby spots to go to. But I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to try out this novel sub-category. But, under different life circumstances, it’s a novelty that I could see becoming more normal, at least for a few months of the year.

If it seems like I’ve been describing the conditions I rode in as much as assessing the Torngat itself, I don’t think that’s by accident. From my limited experience, it seems like fat biking is as much a game of conditions as it is finding the ideal machine to meet your needs. As far as the machine went, I felt mostly satisfied with the Torngat as adventure bike: sure, I’d want to make it a bit lighter, but it offers so much versatility that I can’t find many other nitpicks; I think both 26” and 27.5” wheels on a fat bike require compromising somewhere, and I was never bothered by the wide q-factor, a common complaint of fat bikes.

Concerning conditions, I don’t think I experienced completely ideal fat bike riding, but the terrain it opens is enough for me to understand the appeal. I’m not sure if it makes sense for me to own a fat bike while living in Boulder, but if I lived somewhere with more reliable and accessible winter terrain, I would heavily consider it. And, like other heavily conditions-dependent sports—bouldering in climbing, enduro racing, skiing—you might muddle through a lot of days of subpar or middling conditions before being graced with truly sublime ones. But those sublime ones are what set the hook and keep you coming back.


  • Versatile platform that allows for different q-factor and wheel-size setups
  • Non-corrosive, durable titanium frame
  • Stable descender


  • 27.5 x 4.5” setup felt cumbersome while climbing
  • Heavy frame and build spec
  • Not a fan of top tube cable routing, and the symmetrical look on the Torngat

See more at Panorama Cycles.