Winter is coming, fat bike research

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Winter is coming, fat bike research

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    • #250158

      This is a list of fat bikes. 103 models, 33 brands.  It is not all of the bikes, but might help someone who is looking.

    • #250175


      Some things I’ve learned if it’s any help:

      For snow primarily:

      -Racing bike:  Essentially only good at perfectly groomed snow due to geometry and skinnier tires with lesser tread.  Light weight.  Rigid seatpost usually. Many have high top tubes to rack your nards on if you put a foot down in the powder.  Get this if going fast on groomed trails and getting an intense workout are your priorities.

      -Adventure bike:  Better at subpar snow conditions/powder.  These bikes will have big meaty tires with big tread.  The wider the tire/rim the better (100mm wide rims are the best but are becoming harder to find).   The lower the psi the better usually.  Dropper post a must.  Very low gearing preferred.  More playful geometry.  Low top tubes = better.  Get this bike if screwing around and exploring and going where there are no trails per se are important to you.

      -Suspension:  Seems to only be a benefit if you run higher pressures and/or snow conditions are hard and you ride faster over rougher conditions.  If you run 2-4 psi, the suspension usually does little except add weight and complexity.

      -Touring/bike packing:  Could have any/all above characteristics.

      -26″ vs 27.5″:  Not sure there’s much difference honestly.  You can have a large contact patch on a 26er with a 5″ tire OR a large contact patch on a 27.5 with a 4″ tires.  Still relatively new, so less tire choices?

      -Tube vs tubeless:  Fatty tubes are srsly HEAVY.  That said, they are easier to deal with in many respects.  Some wheels do not convert to tubeless easily if at all.

      Q-factor:  All but a few (the Pivot for example, I believe) will have a wider Q-factor than a trail bike.  Be careful as some bikes have a very wide Q-factor and will add to your fatigue (and knee problems with some people).

      1x vs double/triple chainring:  Same as trail bikes.  1x = simpler and lighter.  You generally don’t need taller gears in the snow as much as you do on the dirt.

      Clips vs flats:  Flats save you $ as you don’t have to buy dedicated boots that’ll work with clips.  If you’re comfortable with flats on the trail bike, get flats on the fatty.

      Real boots:  Unless it’s quite warm where you Fatbike and you have the circulation of the Gods, you’ll enjoy yourself immensely more with proper boots. Plan on this in your budget (~$150-300).   Using your trail bike shoes with covers and extra socks is usually a bandaide that falls off in the wind, so to speak.

      Clothing:  Keep it simple and use what you already have.  A larger Camelbak and/or frame bags are nice to carry extra layers.

      Obviously these are my opinions.  I’d like to hear what others think on the matter.  I personally think it’s silly to ride a fatty in the Summer as your trail bike, but to each their own.




    • #250221

      Great resource, thanks for sharing!

    • #250229

      Dude, you are the man!  Great resource.   But where were you when I needed this list last year?? Lol.

      I pulled the trigger on the 2018 Salsa Beargrease last January.  I thought I did my research by comparing about 10 different bikes.  Obviously there’s much more I could have done.  Lol

      I use the BG with two different wheelsets, the stock 27.5 mulefut for snow and a custom 29+ Stans Baron (both set up tubeless) for trail use.  The bike is fairly light and capable in the snow with the stock 27.5 wheels.  I’m 6’2″ and went with the XL.  I find it to be very stable but obviously less playful and more than a bit sluggish on dry trails.  The bike feels more capable and lively with the 29+ wheels on trails but not as fun to ride fully rigid.  Just picked up a Bluto fork so it’ll be interesting to see what impact that has on the fun factor.

      Would be good for others to post their fatty experiences to add some real-time experience to what @iliketexmex has pulled together

    • #250256

      I pretty much agree with everything “Zoso” wrote. So here is what that Fatbike would look like.

      Hardtail aluminum frame.—Doesn’t rust. Lighter than steel but much cheaper than carbon. Carbon hardtail not much lighter than aluminum hardtail. On a Fatbike, it makes more sense to get carbon rims than a carbon frame. Suspension not needed.

      Rigid Carbon fork.—Much lighter than steel or aluminum forks. Suspension fork not needed.

      26×4.8in tires.—Many more tires choices in 26. 4.8in width good for the greatest range of conditions.

      Tubeless-ready non-drilled e80mm (e=exterior width) rim.—Drilled rims can be difficult to convert to tubeless. e80mm rim good for all tires in the 4.0-4.8in range.

      1x drivetrain.—Snow and mud pile up on and freeze a front derailleur. 1x easy to switch to a smaller chainring for lower gear.

      Flat pedals.—Clipless pedals get jammed with snow, ice, and mud. Wide Q-factor doesn’t matter as much if your not clipped in. You can ride with any shoe/boot you want.

      That’s how I think a great Fatbike should be built.

    • #250321

      If anyone who wants to add a brand or model sends me a table organized in the same way, I will gladly add it.  I know I slighted a couple brands but just ran out of gas.


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