Now THAT was a bike: 1992 MBS Clark-Kent Fat Bike
Photos by The Pro’s Closet / Words by Mike Levy, Pinkbike
While Clark-Kent’s name might sound like it was lifted from the undercover superhero, it actually got its title when Pat Clark and Dean Kent, the two owners who founded the brand back in 1989, combined their surnames.
Steel was really real back then, not in just the hip ‘I don’t care’ way that it is now, with Clark-Kent building most of their road and mountain frames out of steel tubing, as well as using titanium for their high-end models. All of these frames were put together by five welders when the Colorado-based company was in its prime, and those assembled by master welders Don Herr and Ivo Vinklarek are still sought out by collectors to this day. Olympic gold medalist Alexi Grewal was a top racer who was on one in the early 1990s, and Herr and Vinklarek even welded LeMond’s early road and mountain frames before production was moved to Litespeed and then Trek.
Before that, and many years prior to Clark-Kent closing their doors, top welder Don Herr created two wild looking fatbikes. The one you see here is from sometime before 1992 and is in The Pro’s Closet’s museum in Boulder, Colorado. It’s also said to be the sole surviving example, making it an especially important piece of history. But while Clark-Kent’s storied past and unfortunate demise are well documented, the tale of their wild fatbike is much harder to piece together.
Here’s what little we do know about it.
True mega-wide fatbike rims were many years off, however, so small-time frame and component manufacturers improvised by pairing two, or even three, rims beside each other and mounted up multiple tires in order to create the wider footprint that would keep the bike and rider from knifing through soft snow and losing speed or control.
It’s been at least twenty-four years since Herr welded up the first Clark-Kent fatbike, and to say that things have moved on a bit would be a massive understatement. Now you can buy full-suspension fatbikes employing the latest technology, or even a carbon model, complete with matching carbon wheels, that weighs in around (or even under) the 20lb mark. But all that was kicked off by machines like Clark-Kent’s fatbike, among others, that tested builders’ ingenuity during a time when there were no off-the-shelf solutions.