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  1. #1
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    School me on fat bikes - recommendation

    Hey guys,

    Went out for my first fat bike ride this weekend on a mixture of dirt, mud, snow, and ice. I was amazed at the traction (I think everybody probably has this first impression), even riding up icy hills. I rode a Beargrease with a carbon fork and 4" tires. As a result, I'm considering a fat bike for the winter.

    I don't need to have the latest and greatest - I'm happy to buy used or cheap (i.e. Diamondback or Bikes Direct), but was curious about whether it's worth trying to find a bike that could work with a standard 29er wheelset or if this is just dumb. Before that ride this past weekend, I was angling more toward finding a steel or Ti 29er (or 26er if I couldn't find a 29er cheap enough) to build up as a xc, bikepacking, all around bike that I could also use to pull a chariot for the next few years while kids are still small.

    If I want to be able to ride snow this winter, is it stupid to try to find a bike that can check both boxes? Budget says that I can't have both, and I would rather have one bike that does one thing well that I liked to ride vs one bike that does neither thing well that I hate riding. What size tires do I need? Is 5" overkill (probably)? Should I try to find something with suspension? Budget is probably ~$1000.

    I also own a Tallboy for general mountain biking, so whatever I get should compliment this.

    Thanks in advance,

    Seth

  2. #2
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    Dude, you've been around long enough to know. The Red one...always buy the red one.

  3. #3
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    I'm seeing the potential for some mods to that lawn tractor. What does a fat bike cost? How far can the lawn tractor be modded with that lump of cash?

    I rode snow & ice Sun pm on 26 x 2.5, only one spot where it was too polished & steep to climb. 15 feet of the pitch. But I see your point, people I know who have ridden a balloon-tired fatbike on actual snow-everywhere mid-winter say they're much easier to keep your momentum etc.

    Meanwhile, you could always see what this guy says about them.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackstraw View Post
    Dude, you've been around long enough to know. The Red one...always buy the red one.
    Right?!

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  5. #5
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    One thing to keep in mind is that all of the new budget fatbikes have crap tires and will ruin the experience. With that much rubber tires are a huge factor in ride and handling quality and new tires are really expensive. There are some great deals on used fatties so look around and find one that can handle at least a 26 x 4.6 because that means it can also take a 27.5 plus and regular 29 so it can be 3 bikes in one if you invest in a couple of wheelsets. There are lots of people right now ditching Fatboys because they use a pf30 bb and I've seen some crazy good deals because people get all emotionally unreasonable and just dump them.

    Will you want suspension? Ultimately, yeah, for all of the reasons that we wanted suspension in the 90's. Some things just won't change and for good reason. Fat high volume tires can be like basketballs and the only solution is proper damping.

  6. #6
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    You don't need suspension if you only ride snow imo.

    Last yr around here was the worst fat bike conditions we've had in a few. Too deep, too often. Hopefully someone starts grooming some hills ty. There's nothing more boring than riding flat groomed trails. Although ripping flat ice with studs is pretty fun.

    Buy a cheap fatty first and see how often you actually use it and then upgrade if needed. It's a completely different experience compared to dirt.

  7. #7
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    I went from a rigid beargrease to putting a Bluto on that bike then dumping it for a bucksaw. It gets ridden 12 mos/yr. GL speaks the truth about tires

  8. #8
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    I've been looking at the Framed 2.0 here pretty seriously, but am now going to do a little tire research before pulling the trigger.
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  9. #9
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    IME the best affordable fat bikes are from KHS although the internet fanbois seem to have a hard on for Framed. They really shouldn't for a bunch of reasons. If you can push the budget a little bit Growler has some nice stuff and they're using good rubber.

  10. #10
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    I have no opinion of their bikes.
    But I wouldnt plan on any support from The House, on any warranty issues.
    I snapped one of their CF masts and they told me pound sand.

  11. #11
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    My 29er wheelset is non boost. If I'm understanding correctly, there is no way to make that wheelset adaptable to work with a fat bike frame - is that correct? It would be more realistic to plan a second wheelset around the frame rather than the opposite?

    If it is possible, how?

    Seth

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tye 1on View Post
    I've been looking at the Framed 2.0 here pretty seriously, but am now going to do a little tire research before pulling the trigger.
    Two of my friends bought them and they've been fine, but they only ride snow. I would not ride mixed conditions and expect much. It certainly is a 'get what you pay for' deal.

    I think people like GL dislike them because of the direct route thru The House that they went. Dealers cannot compete with the pricing and have dropped the line.

  13. #13
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    Almost certainly you'll need new hubs. You can get spacers to make non-boost hubs into boost, but I don't think there's anything that'd bring non-boost to fat bike axle sizes.

    Slight thread hijack, anyone have comments on a plus bike in snow? Looking at a cheapo one to double as a 29er hardtail trail ripper...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anospa View Post
    Slight thread hijack, anyone have comments on a plus bike in snow? Looking at a cheapo one to double as a 29er hardtail trail ripper...
    I'll let you know as soon as it snows. My thoughts are it will be great for mixed conditions where you have snow in open areas and less to no snow in certain protected spots. When it's all snow, you really benefit from having at least 4" tires with super low lbs.

  15. #15
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    I heard tell of 3" studded tires coming

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ticketchecker View Post
    I heard tell of 3" studded tires coming
    Terrene already has the Cake Eater 27.5x2.8 studable/studded and I think that Nokian has a 3" now.

  17. #17
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    Hmmm... There are online accounts of Tallboy conversions up to 2.8" in the back. If a studded 2.8 would suffice for winter riding, I would strongly consider going that route.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by creaky fossil View Post
    I'm seeing the potential for some mods to that lawn tractor. What does a fat bike cost? How far can the lawn tractor be modded with that lump of cash?

    I rode snow & ice Sun pm on 26 x 2.5, only one spot where it was too polished & steep to climb. 15 feet of the pitch. But I see your point, people I know who have ridden a balloon-tired fatbike on actual snow-everywhere mid-winter say they're much easier to keep your momentum etc.

    Meanwhile, you could always see what this guy says about them.
    That was really funny.

    My daily ride dejour latetly, has been up cat roads and down the untracked DH trails.
    You could get up them fine with skinny tires, but youd eat shit coming down.
    It hasnt snowed for a few days and the snows really variable. This was one of the few days, I wished I was on a 4.8

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tye 1on View Post
    I've been looking at the Framed 2.0 here pretty seriously, but am now going to do a little tire research before pulling the trigger.
    I had a MN 2.0 and broke the chainstay on the drive side right behind the weld. I had a friend that broke his MN 2.0 in the same spot. The House did warranty each bike and were easy to work with (I work close to the shop). I've seen one other rider on the local trails with the same brake in the frame.

    Don't plan on railing on it if you go this route. I've since moved away from Framed due to other issues I've experience with some of their other bikes. Good intro fat bike if that's what you're looking for. My wife now rides the MN 2.0.

  20. #20
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    ^good info.

  21. #21
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    I have a Surly Ice Cream Truck and got a 27+ wheelset with Schwalbe 3.0 Moto GP tires for it this summer. Mostly so I could commute on it because it looked so lonely and forsaken in my garage.
    Its a blast to ride around and I considered getting some trail tires for it, but with the wide B.B. the Q factor is kinda crazy. Im not sure Id want to put normal to big days on it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    One thing to keep in mind is that all of the new budget fatbikes have crap tires and will ruin the experience. With that much rubber tires are a huge factor in ride and handling quality and new tires are really expensive. There are some great deals on used fatties so look around and find one that can handle at least a 26 x 4.6 because that means it can also take a 27.5 plus and regular 29 so it can be 3 bikes in one if you invest in a couple of wheelsets. There are lots of people right now ditching Fatboys because they use a pf30 bb and I've seen some crazy good deals because people get all emotionally unreasonable and just dump them.

    Will you want suspension? Ultimately, yeah, for all of the reasons that we wanted suspension in the 90's. Some things just won't change and for good reason. Fat high volume tires can be like basketballs and the only solution is proper damping.
    I agree with pretty much everything you've said. Depends what and where you ride, though. I keep my tires ridiculously low...can't even find a gauge to go that low but I'm guessing 3 psi? 4 psi? At that low psi, no tire will be great at tight cornering. Suspension...yeah that would be cool...but fatties are the one bike where you get a lot of absorbtion in tires alone....nothing is normal about 4" wide, 3" inch sidewall tires...the damn things are apes!!! So suspension would be cool for the extra travel, but there is so much traction and flotation that you can get by without....I'm thinking trying front forks though if I can find a a set to fit my calipers without too much a mod not paying like $900 for a set! (I think the calipers are standard hole dimensions, though, so shouldn't be any modding at all). Any good recommended fatty shocks?

    My dream fatty would be carbon frame....full suspension...4" carbon wheels, Chris King headset, topline BB specifically emgineered for fatties...but coupled with super durable old school Deore XT well cause I like them ...just like I like my Dura Ace group set on my road bike...but unlike the Dura Ace roadie groupo, old Deore XT stuff is cheap. I'm thinking even with all that carbon weight savings, the bike would still come in at 22 lbs?? Just a guess. Never even bothered weighing my 4" tires. That would be an expensive 22 lb bike ...even running old Deore XT!
    Cracking 20 lbs for a fatty would be awesome...I'm sure it's already been done...at what $$$$$?

    Industry Nine sells a carbon 4" fatty wheelset for about $2699. Didn't catch the weight on them. Worth it?

    Bottom line, though...you don't need to go big money......riding anything with those big bulbous 4" ape tires is pretty much a blast!! Even a $199 Mongoose fatty!!!! it's just a 48 pound blast with ultra crappy groupset versus a sub-20 pound blast.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Rover View Post
    I agree with pretty much everything you've said. Depends what and where you ride, though. I keep my tires ridiculously low...can't even find a gauge to go that low but I'm guessing 3 psi? 4 psi? At that low psi, no tire will be great at tight cornering. Suspension...yeah that would be cool...but fatties are the one bike where you get a lot of absorbtion in tires alone....nothing is normal about 4" wide, 3" inch sidewall tires...the damn things are apes!!! So suspension would be cool for the extra travel, but there is so much traction and flotation that you can get by without....I'm thinking trying front forks though if I can find a a set to fit my calipers without too much a mod not paying like $900 for a set! (I think the calipers are standard hole dimensions, though, so shouldn't be any modding at all). Any good recommended fatty shocks?
    Keep in mind that running the pressure so low puts a real hurt on the sidewalls and significantly reduces their lifespan. It also leads to tire squirm, self steer and potential rim damage. Adding a fork starts to bring damping into the picture so that you can run say 7-9psi and avoid the problems that ultra low pressure brings.

    What bike are you riding? The less expensive forks are going to have all of the drawbacks of less expensive parts from any other segment of the industry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Rover View Post
    My dream fatty would be carbon frame....full suspension...4" carbon wheels, Chris King headset, topline BB specifically emgineered for fatties...but coupled with super durable old school Deore XT well cause I like them ...just like I like my Dura Ace group set on my road bike...but unlike the Dura Ace roadie groupo, old Deore XT stuff is cheap. I'm thinking even with all that carbon weight savings, the bike would still come in at 22 lbs?? Just a guess. Never even bothered weighing my 4" tires. That would be an expensive 22 lb bike ...even running old Deore XT!
    Cracking 20 lbs for a fatty would be awesome...I'm sure it's already been done...at what $$$$$?
    That's just starting to become a reality. Growler has a full squish carbon fatty frameset on sale for under $3k this weekend. That bike could be built out to be somewhere in the 25-26 pound range pretty easily if that's your desire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Rover View Post
    Industry Nine sells a carbon 4" fatty wheelset for about $2699. Didn't catch the weight on them. Worth it?
    Well, sort of. You could spend a LOT less and get an equal quality wheelset, have I9 hubs and they're hand built in Austin TX but the rims are still produced in the far east. https://www.dirtcomponents.com/thumper

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Rover View Post
    Bottom line, though...you don't need to go big money......riding anything with those big bulbous 4" ape tires is pretty much a blast!! Even a $199 Mongoose fatty!!!! it's just a 48 pound blast with ultra crappy groupset versus a sub-20 pound blast.
    ^*This*^
    Last edited by gravitylover; 11-24-2017 at 07:04 AM.

  24. #24
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    School me on fat bikes - recommendation

    Could use a second set of eyes on the diamondback el oso Grande. Thinking about picking one up today with black Friday sales combined with other discounts. For those who know, is this an upgradeable platform? I'm already planning on putting an XT front and rear derailleur and shifters on there from the parts bin. Might also have a set of hydraulic discs.

    I probably wouldn't upgrade the tires this season, but now that might be weak part of the build. At minimum, maybe a fattystripper tubeless strip to lighten the wheels a little.

    Thoughts? Is the a better value around that $800 range?

    Seth

    Here's the link.

    https://www.diamondback.com/el-oso-grande-6820
    Last edited by sethschmautz; 11-24-2017 at 01:11 PM.

  25. #25
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    Looks like you could do worse. That bubble top tube will reduce the standover though so make sure you'll clear it. Keep in mind when you're in snow and have to put a foot down you need a few extra inches.

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