Trying Fat Bike

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Trying Fat Bike

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    • #511791

      Hi all. So finally I’ve decided to build a year-end bike for my self – amidst this pandemic we all deserve something better. Been in road bike since 2015, and MTB with 2 years experience and always curios on what discipline is needed for riding a fat bike. (hUGE TIRESS)

      What I got is this Norco bigfoot frame and my question, is it okay for me to use a flared drop bars and use Shimano GRX as groupset or is it better to go with the usual flat bars and install it with Shimano Deore XT?

      Also, I have this bike rack got from and I don’t think it can handle 2 bikes (1 fatbike and 1 mtb?) Do you have any fatbike bike rack recommendations that will fit on my Subaru Crosstrek?

      Thank you all.

    • #511808

      Here are some of my experiences with Fatbikes.

      1. For a Fatbike to be truly useful, you need to live where it is cold and snowy enough for enough months of the year. Your trails must also be groomed in some way because it is quite difficult to ride in deep unpacked snow. If you live in the southern two-thirds of the U.S. or anyplace where it is mostly dry, a Fatbike doesn’t get enough use to be worth buying.

      2. Unless your trails are very well groomed, you want to put on the widest tires possible.

      3. Snow, ice, and mud pile up on a front derailleur rendering it useless. It is best to use a 1x drivetrain.

      4. Pedalling those big heavy tires through deep snow requires a very low gear. With standard 1x Mountain bike cassettes with a largest cog of 50-52 teeth you will likely want a 26-28 tooth chainring.

      5. Unless you intend to use your Fatbike on dry trails, a suspension fork is not needed. I don’t think suspension forks help much on when riding on snow.

    • #511812

      TinyBubbles, it is time to begin experimenting! Fatbikes are a blast for any time of year in any temperature. I ride my Mayor year round along with three plus bikes.

      Do you need a wide range cassette? Perhaps. It is personal preference. For example, I run a 28T chainring with a 36-11 cassette, in the Rocky Mountains, in 10° weather or 90° weather. It goes up, it goes down in elevation and doesn’t require 16′ of chain to do it! Short cage RD serves nicely and keeps my bike’s junk outta the dirt, snow, mud etc.

      Snow/sand… Tires in 4.5-4.8″ range do better than 3.8/4.0. Tire pressure! Lower than you expect… For snow/sand, you want them to squish down some when you get on the bike. The intent of fat is a comfortable ride with massive flotation for loose/soft conditions. This is very different from any other discipline in that max pressure might be 12 PSI for dirt trails. Minimum pressure might be 3 PSI in powder over groomed. In snow, the tire flattens out and makes a larger footprint to limit sinking in, sand is similar. On tarmac, you air em up enough that they don’t flatten out but carry you with a slight compression with 5% rim drop under load.

      I refer to tire compression in terms of rim drop % since no two riders are the same weight. PSI is less meaningful with rider weight and the silly low pressures a 4.8 requires vs. 23mm or 2.4 might require.

      I run a carbon fork without drama 12 months a year. A suspension fork is an option but not a requirement.  Keeping weight under control with a fatbike can improve fuel economy!

      Hell, you can live in Florida and a fatbike would be awesome on the beaches, just sayin’. It isn’t a federal offense to ride a fatty on a 90° day on a nice sugar sand beach! They work in high and low temps.

      Drivetrain, 1x is preferred for simplicity as well as reliability.

    • #511886

      I prefer a flat bar for the fat bike just because the big wheel acts like a heavy gyroscope.  It makes the most difference if you are on tight singletrack. Most of my riding is between close trees. If you are on wide groomed trails or beaches it is probably less important.

    • #511890

      Tex,  if I could be slouched over on my bike without pain in the range of 15-20 on  a scale of 1-10 I could just use a length of EMT!

      Actually, I am looking to have riser bars made in 40mm rise, 12° back, 8° up. That will affford a good riding position as well as stave off the chiropractor.

    • #576571

      @ Sunspot I’m with you and agree.  Fat bikes can be good for any weather and any terrain.  I bought a cheap one and threw some better parts at it just to have something better in the snow.  I still ride it any time of the year whether on trails or urban.  However, it is my more “go-to” bike for when the weather is nastier.  Where I am, there can still be some muddy spots and some people just go thru them, trail leader says to “just go straight thru”  He’s always out there and we have many people in the community to help.

      Fat bike is just another bike to have fun with.

    • #576676

      While fat bikes can be ridden anywhere, they really shine when riding sand and snow.  They can also provide really good traction on wet rocky trails as well.  The downside to fatbikes, as stated above, is the increased rolling resistance.  If you’re considering going fat I would recommend purchasing a bike with the capability of running “plus” tires.  For my Beargrease, I have an extra set of wheels that I swap out (27.5fat vs 29plus).  In fact, I run the bike with 29+ on single track since it’s way faster for me and I’ll only run 27.5F when there’s more than 2-3″ of snow.

    • #578402

      Well, I have been on fattys for years now. I totally love my Farley. I have 2 sets of wheels for it, one with my studded 27.5 x 4.5 snow tires and one with 27.5 x 3.8 go fast tires. The Farley will move. 3.8 is as small as I go on my Farley and she is a great singletrack machine. To me it is the most fun I have had on 2 wheels.

    • #579430

      Although I dont own a fat bike a buddy has a earlier specialized carbon fatty.  My goal is to get his fatty at some point when he had enough as  he only rides it a few times a year.The frame size is perfect for me so I’m hoping to buy from him. He does like nice equipment so it has some nice upgrades one being a carbon set of bars. I think rise is good as I have the pnw bars on my plus hardtail (great bars). What I feel is most important is the upsweep and back sweep. Rise can be changed by swapping different stems and reversing them and stacking or unstacking spacers also. Fatties are by far the most fun in off road or road. Riding in  any terrain, weather, temperature and condition and very little maintenance makes a fatbike so much fun. I might add that they roll pretty darn nice and certainly are very good climbers.

    • #580241

      Fatbikes, the ultimate bikejeep…

    • #591977

      I prefer a flat bar for the Carbon Hardtail Mountain Bikes just because the big wheel acts like a heavy gyroscope.  It makes the most difference if you are on tight singletrack. Most of my riding is between close trees. If you are on wide groomed trails or beaches it is probably less important.

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