December 18, 2016 at 2:21 pm #203187
I got into mountain biking a year ago and got my dream bike, Trek Fuel ex 7. I thought it couldn’t get any better, 29er with full suspension. I had fun riding all summer. Then it happened, snow. I sadly put my bike into the basement and it kills me not using it. I am from Minnesota and go to School in Wisconsin so it snows from Nov/Dec – Mar. I am thinking about replacing my bike with a fat bike. I am 5’8″ and cornering the 29er felt hard and I had to slow down quite a bit so I would slid out. I started looking at Trek Farley for fun and eyed up two I like and that are in my price range, Farley 7 and Farley 9.6. One thing I like about fat bikes is that the opportunity to run fully rigid makes room for other things like a carbon frame and better components. I have two questions. What are advantages of a carbon frame on a fat bike? Is it practical to have a fat bike as my only bike for year round shredding?
December 18, 2016 at 8:26 pm #203192
Also what is the best fat bike tire size?
December 18, 2016 at 10:28 pm #203194
It is very possible to fatbike year round. It really depends on the terrain. If you ride rocky technical trails perhaps a dual suspension fat bike like a salsa bucksaw or a trek farley ex.
You may want to consider spending a little less than you would for all year bike. In the snow you don’t need a bluto or 1×11 transmission but something that you can pedal in the snow. Motobecane and Framed make good bikes for about $1000
Tire size, for snow I use 5″ for snow and 4″ for the dry.
December 18, 2016 at 9:39 pm #203193
Very timely discussion. My brother-in-law and I were just discussing this very topic as our locals have been hit with snow? It is killing us not to ride, but I am not sure I’d want to ditch my regular bike yet. I’ll be interested to hear input from the forum. I’m not as far North as you but still far enough to be socked in, off the trails. I hate that. But our winter is shorter. This was the first week of snow. Maybe moving South is the answer…
December 18, 2016 at 11:03 pm #203195
I live in Alaska and ride my fat bike year round. I also have a full suspension 29er. It’s nice having both. If I was going with just one I’d take the fatty and have a 27.5 plus wheel set for summer. The fat bike is great for bike packing and the most fun I’ve had on snow. I ride a 5″ studded Dillinger in winter and a 4″ Husker Du in summer.
December 19, 2016 at 6:59 am #203196
To answer your question about the advantage of a carbon fat bike frame, it’s all about weight savings. Fat bike tires and wheels can be heavy, so it’s good to find weight savings wherever you can.
It’s definitely possible to use a fat bike year round and I’ve considered it myself. However, I’m guessing it would get old after a while, especially when riding summer trails. If you do end up keeping the Fuel and adding a fat bike, do as others suggested and stick with a rigid fat bike to save $$. You generally won’t need any kind of suspension for riding in the snow.
December 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm #203308
I ride fattie all year round. Its maybe 36-38 lb? Havent checked, and its a hefty 9zero7 alloy with 4″ 26er tires. The only carbon in there is the handlebar. I ride for fitness, so my go to for fun/workout ride is the fattie. If I got the rare urge for speed, theres always my carbon hardtail.
December 20, 2016 at 9:54 am #203342
I came very close to purchasing a fat bike and was intent on doing so in March. Until I stopped by a LBS and jumped on a 27.5+ with 3″ tires and bought one the very next day! I was content on my 29er up until that point. It just seemed to me that a fat bike would be ideal to have year around but, I live in north Georgia where we hardly ever have any snow and certainly no sand. And as heavy as they can be/are, it just didnt make sense in the end. As bad as I hated making that decision. My point is this: make certain you throw ALL your marbles in the bag on the pros and cons to make the right decision that you will not regret a few months later. Maybe forego a carbon frame fatty and instead get carbon rims and 4.8 tires? I saw a Motobecane the other day as I was leaving a ride. It had a titanium body with the 26″ carbon rims and I think a carbon handlebar. It was one of the sickest fat bikes I had seen. Definitely worth looking at in your choices. Jeff above really gives some sage advice and wisdom to follow.
December 21, 2016 at 12:42 pm #203461
If you already have a regular mountain bike, I would recommend just adding a fatty to your stable and use it during the winter.
However, if someone totally new to the sport is reading this and knows that they want to ride 12 months a year in a snowy climate, I’d highly recommend purchasing a fat bike as your first and only bike. I was recently having a conversation about this with a friend from high school who still lives in the upper Midwest. For a budget-minded rider who can’t afford multiple bikes but knows they want to ride during the winter, purchasing a fat bike–ideally, with a suspension fork on it–is the best possible solution for the least amount of money.
Down the road if you have the cash, you can even purchase a set of 29+ wheels for a faster summer setup, and swap in the big 26×5″ fat tires/wheels during the winter.
December 21, 2016 at 1:36 pm #203471
I have a Trek 2017 Farley 7. It weighs in about 28 lbs. I ride it all the time. It is the most fun I have had on 2 wheels in my life! It is aggressive and fast. Traction out the wazoo! If I had to sell all my bikes but 1 it would be the one I keep. They are amazing. I have a C-dale flash AL1 lefty that barley sees the light of day. The only thing I may do is go 27.5 w/hodags for the summer. They also have the Farley ex fs. Try it you’ll like it!
December 23, 2016 at 1:23 am #203522
I’d try riding your normal bike in winter first and then, if you like it, buy a fatbike. I was riding my 29er in winter – it’s easy after few fat bikes break the trail. It was a lot of fun and great opportunity to sharpen your skills. Fatbike gives better traction and flotation.
As others said, it’s possible to ride fatbike year long but better to have something lighter and with suspension for summer fun.
December 30, 2016 at 8:09 am #203706
My personal take on it is depending on where and how you ride and what your goals are you could very easily ride a fat bike year round.
I have a 2015 Farley 6 and have ridden it year round for the last couple of years. I came from a full squish 29er and there are plenty of days that I miss the 29er. Some days I feel like I’m getting lapped on long grinding climbs and getting destroyed on fast rocky decents. And to be honest I’ve pretty much gotten used to letting my friends by and telling them I’ll see them at the bottom.
Don’t get me wrong the farley is a really really fun bike and it’s been super low maintenance and those are the exact reasons I wanted it. I ride with some reasonably fast friends and pay the price on the farley, but, I’m always smiling while ripping through singletrack and even catching pretty good air from time to time.
I’m finally in the financial position to pickup another bike and am planning to keep the farley and add a full suspension bike to the stable by spring.
December 30, 2016 at 9:17 am #203711
I recently picked up a Salsa Mukluk GX1 w/Bluto Fork. It only took one ride for me to realize that I needed to sell my Giant Trance 2 full squish. I was able to get out 3x on drier trails since I bought it in October: Little Scraggy, Staunton, and Waterton. However, I only rode it for 1/2 of the trip on Waterton as my friend was thinking about buying a fat/+ bike, so I let him take her out for 1/2 of our trip. After riding his hard tail on skinnier tires, I realized I never want to go back.
Stock the bike was roughly 32lbs, with the wheel, tire, cassette weight accounting for roughly 1/2 of that weight. I set up as tubeless added a carbon handle bar, harrier platform pedals, and oveja negra bag. But that being said, I have never ever climbed so easily (highly recommend Nate 3.8’s). On top of the climbing, the lines that I am able to take with the fat tires allow me to just bomb through things.
I went for my first winter ride a few weeks ago after we had roughly 6 inches of freshies here in Littleton. It was -3 below outside, and I was one of 3 footprints on the Lee Gulch Trail. It was amazing hearing nothing other than the snow crunching below my Nates and not being bothered by anyone on the trails.
I had to make some slight adjustments to my riding style in the snow (weight back, slight pull up on the front handle bars) in the powder. On hard packed pavement be careful when you use your rear brake while turning.
January 5, 2017 at 7:21 am #204014
Absolutely! Ride in the Spring mud, Summer sand, Fall leaves and Winter snow!! My husband and 10 year old are hooked! My hubby views summer Fat biking as cross-training!…Totally different work out! When you’re getting bored and your riding is becoming too common place switch bikes!
Better than an indoor trainer in the winter…said the one family member without a Fat Bike!
January 6, 2017 at 9:42 am #204141
I get a lot of funny looks riding my Rock Mountain Blizzard here in Southern California. No snow, dry and a lot of climbing. But it’s such a blast to ride. My Santa Cruz Tallboy doesn’t even come close. Yes the climbs are brutal and lonely, but when you get going downhill and can monster truck over obstacles it’s just so much fun. I haven’t even tried it in the snow yet. So to answer your question yes it can be practical year round if you aren’t that concerned with keeping up. Or you can just get twice as fast. Good luck.
January 12, 2017 at 9:15 am #204724
Update: Put a new Bluto and a set of 27.5 Jackalopes with 3.8 Hodags on the 7 and the bike hauls butt! I think the Bluto is going to make the 7 and my back play well together. Keeping the 26×4.7 Barbi’s with 80mm mulfut wheelset for snow and crappy weather. I did not like the Hodags on the snow. Both sets are set up and ready to roll Quick change of wheels and a different characteristic bike! Love it. That is one of the great things about a fatty. It can be what you want it to be.
January 16, 2017 at 6:27 am #205001
My fat bike (Surly Pugsley) has become my dedicated mountain bike. I’m 5’8″ and live in New England where the temperature and terrain are as predictable as a Rhode Island drivers. Steel frame, carbon fork, when I get the air pressure right in the 3.8″ tires I’m having an absolute blast.
On carbon: it’s lighter, doesn’t flex, and gives some the unjustified paranoia of breaking your bike.
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