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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 11-29-12, 12:18 PM   #1
Captlink
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Looking at a Fat Bike

I can't ride my classic road bike anymore I'm 330# and in my 50's.
I saw the fat bikes and I am thinking about a build as I don't like whats available for my weight.I had a Workman and the frame was all wrong plus it weighed 50+lbs
Most of the time I will be on paved roads or trails but I need a little suspension for pot holes and maybe some lite off road.
My plan is to buy a frame and fit it with non offset 29" wheels and a shock seat post and bar stem.My question is about the frame.I'm sure that chrome Molly would be fine and titanium would be great but what about aluminum I may never push the limits of the frame but my weight will stress it just the same, are they a consumable item or will it last with my riding needs.
My other question is about frame size. I have short legs and a long body.I had to go with a very large frame to get the top tube length I needed with the penalty of not being able to put both feet on the ground(road bike). I know off road bikes are differently built but I'm concerned about a long seat stem being a weak link should I go with a XL frame to keep the post length down and my confidence high.TNX
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Old 11-29-12, 02:30 PM   #2
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330 lbs. isn't uber clyde for the weight and in general, though, I wouldn't worry too much about aluminum frames within 10-15 thousand miles. But if you ride a LOT, then you may think about replacing aluminum frame every so often. I more worry about forks, steers, and such and shy away from CF or Aluminum since most bond the steel steerer to the blades and I've broken frames before. YMMV.

You could choose 2 alternatives. One would be to get an old, mid 90's MTB maybe made from steel, w/ 26 inch beefy rims and wide range off road gearing. To ride roads, swap the tires to semi-slick or inverted tread 26 x 1.5 or 26 x 1.9 if you want more support. Yes, there's more rolling resistance, but still lots of fun to ride, quiet, and smooth. And you don't need much modification. You'll look for things like standard English 68 or 73 mm BB width, standard 135mm vertical rear drop-out spacing, oversized down tube and re-inforced 1 1/8th inch head tube. These features will help when you get the urge to upgrade.

The second choice is to look into a touring bike with canti/V brakes/disc brakes, 130 - 135mm rear axle spacing, and sufficient clearance for 700x40 tires. (allows for 700x35 plus fenders usually). Again, if you can find a steel frame, great. If not, go with CF or Aluminum and note the mileage. You can get a steel fork easily enough in either case.

And since I was around 13, I haven't been able to touch the ground with both feet and barely could tippy-toe on one foot while on the saddle, so I haven't considered this a penalty. Technically, if your seat is lower so that both feet can touch the ground, you're either on a semi-recumbent bike or your seat is too low for proper length extension and that can be painful and damage muscles and joints.

show off the new ride when you get one! Good luck!
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Old 11-29-12, 04:23 PM   #3
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I was pretty much in your spot a few months back with an extra 20 lbs. I was thinking about a Phat cruiser with 3" tires. If I could have gotten that bike with at least 21 gears I would be riding it today. I wound up with a cromoly hybrid and had to replace the back wheel with a stronger wheel.

If you go to 29" wheels, they will need to be even stronger than 700c wheels. Meaning there is a good chance you will have to have a rear wheel built for it.

I went with a rigid fork because I didn't want to spend the money to get a better quality suspension that I wouldn't bottom out. If you do go suspension get one that you can lock out for road riding. I also replaced the suspension seatpost with a regular seat post, which translated to easier to pedal, but less comfort.

Don't worry about hitting the ground from the seat, I have never been able to do that from most of my bikes (except the recumbents). A lean to the side or a curb work just fine and are second nature now. (I have a 29" inseam and am 5'9")

From what I have been reading and what I have seen the frame is the strongest part. Off road usage could change that, but for on road wheels are much more of a problem. I was breaking a spoke every hundred miles or so.

Last edited by Fangowolf; 11-29-12 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 11-29-12, 05:27 PM   #4
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I'm a low-weight Clyde (220) and I LOVE LOVE LOVE my fat bike. I've got about 10 bikes, half of them very high-end, and the fat bike is my favorite.

The model I ride has an aluminum frame (2012 Salsa Mukluk 2) and it's been great. If you didn't like the weight of your Worksman, an aluminum frame may be best for you. Despite the fat bike's monstrous appearance, the aluminum fat bikes are fairly light. Mine was somewhere around 25 pounds before I added front & rear racks, fenders, etc. Steel framed fat bikes generally weigh more.

The two major bonuses for a fat bike (as far as I'm concerned) is: 1) added weight loss. It takes a little extra energy to push the bike around, but you'll be having so much fun you won't notice it until you step on the scale. Along those lines you'll also get into better shape, as I learned there's "in good shape from a lot of bike riding" and then there's "in fat bike shape." The other major bonus is 2) how much fun they are to ride, even in urban environments. It's the bicycle equivalent of driving a monster truck. Fat bikes are also geared really low, because they're designed to ride up hills in the snow, so that makes it easier for us bigger riders to start from a stopped position on pavement.

Most fat bikes don't need a suspension because the tires are so big they act like shock absorbers. I constantly adjust the PSI in the tires to match the terrain and the conditions. A bigger Clyde may or may not have the same range of PSI as a lighter Clyde like myself, that would be a good question for the LBS.

The downsides to fat bikes are that they can be a challenge to lock up because no bicycle U lock will fit around the massive tires (I use a NY Kryptonite chain, which is extremely heavy), and the front wheel doesn't fit under or in some types of bike racks.

I can't tell you anything about the body/frame size fit because I'm fairly average in terms of proportions. I did have a shock absorbing seat post on a different bike and I didn't like it one bit. There really wasn't much range to it, it was either all the way up or all the way down. I was about 50 pounds heavier at the time which may have had something to do with it.
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Old 11-29-12, 06:31 PM   #5
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The strength of a frame depends on the design, not just the material. If they made all frames from tubing of identical sizes and thicknesses, then a stronger material would give you a stronger frame. But in actuality, if they're using a stronger material, they'll make the tubes thinner, etc., and a high-end steel bike is not necessarily any stronger than an aluminum Walmart bike.

Your comment about both feet on the ground is not so clear. You normally can't but both feet on the ground while seated, which is the point of the responses above- you step off the saddle when stopping. If you mean, you couldn't straddle the top-tube while standing with both feet on the ground, that's a different issue. I'm not a bike-fit guru, but I would think that you could go down a frame size and adjust stem and saddle adjustments to make it work.
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Old 11-29-12, 07:46 PM   #6
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I can't put both feet on the ground when straddling the top tube.The large size was needed and outside of any adjustment range.My road bike is a custom built sport touring bike that I have used all over the world it's as strong as they come but not on trails or off road at 330#.
I have been looking at a mukluk 3 sans wheels and hope 29" rear wheel built on a 170mm hub should be plenty strong with a 135mm front hub.I figure I could have fun with a little less rolling resistance now then spend the big bucks for a pair snowshoes with matching tires later.No worries on lockup but a real good point.I could handle a 40 lbs bike but 50+ is just no fun.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:20 PM   #7
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I thought the Mukluk took 26 inch wheels. Wouldn't the 26'ers help you with standover? The mukluk does have a pretty reasonable standover in proportion to the rest of the bike. I am 4'11" and I can even ride the smallest Mukluk with no issue.

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Old 11-30-12, 08:01 PM   #8
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A fat bike tire is 29" tall on a wide 26" rim.A 26" tire on one would decrease your BB height and cause other problems.
These are mountain bike frames and should be strong enough for a Clyde.
I hope to ride one soon and follow with a build.
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Old 12-01-12, 07:21 PM   #9
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What is the bennefit of getting a fatbike, just to run 29" tires? There are lots of 29er options out there that won't need to be special ordered.
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Old 12-01-12, 07:49 PM   #10
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I am still confused. The Mukluk has offset rims which are stronger than non-offset rims. Why change? Is it because you want skinnier tires than their wheels will allow? Why not a regular mountain bike if that is the case, or even a hybrid

Here is an article that says a non offset rim on a Pugsley (somewhat similar to the Mukluk) would be weak: http://phatdivide.wordpress.com/category/wheels/
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Old 12-03-12, 12:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
I am still confused. The Mukluk has offset rims which are stronger than non-offset rims. Why change? Is it because you want skinnier tires than their wheels will allow? Why not a regular mountain bike if that is the case, or even a hybrid

Here is an article that says a non offset rim on a Pugsley (somewhat similar to the Mukluk) would be weak: http://phatdivide.wordpress.com/category/wheels/
The mukluk & pugsley are very different.The mukluk has a 170mm rear hub that uses a centered rim.The pugsley uses a 135mm hub w/ a offset.You have your facts mixed up.
These Fat bikes were designed so you can build up summer wheels on a 29" rim when you don't need a 4" wide tire for snow.
The cost of a 4"X26 rim and tire is very expensive.Some folks are buying bikes just to strip the wheels off of them and reselling whats left.
I can build a stronger set of 29" wheels than any 29" bike made today by using a fat bike with its large hub-sets and have a frame-set that allows growth.These bikes are geared low and that's a advantage for me as well.Strong frame strong wheels and a light weight is much better than the heavy mountain bike I have owned in the past.
I went to a ride this last weekend six people were on fat bikes.All of them were experienced riders.Every one claimed that the combination of a mountain bike frame with the large tires are almost magic.They are soft to ride with out the problems suspension has for a larger rider.Most of the riders claimed that the other bikes they owned are gathering dust.The fat bike may be the ultimate Clyde bike I may now just buy one large tires and all.
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Old 12-03-12, 01:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Captlink View Post
The mukluk & pugsley are very different.The mukluk has a 170mm rear hub that uses a centered rim.The pugsley uses a 135mm hub w/ a offset.You have your facts mixed up.
These Fat bikes were designed so you can build up summer wheels on a 29" rim when you don't need a 4" wide tire for snow.
The cost of a 4"X26 rim and tire is very expensive.Some folks are buying bikes just to strip the wheels off of them and reselling whats left.
I can build a stronger set of 29" wheels than any 29" bike made today by using a fat bike with its large hub-sets and have a frame-set that allows growth.These bikes are geared low and that's a advantage for me as well.Strong frame strong wheels and a light weight is much better than the heavy mountain bike I have owned in the past.
I went to a ride this last weekend six people were on fat bikes.All of them were experienced riders.Every one claimed that the combination of a mountain bike frame with the large tires are almost magic.They are soft to ride with out the problems suspension has for a larger rider.Most of the riders claimed that the other bikes they owned are gathering dust.The fat bike may be the ultimate Clyde bike I may now just buy one large tires and all.
Thanks, I understand better now what you are doing.
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Old 12-03-12, 02:05 PM   #13
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Thank you for your response and hope to post a thinner me.
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Old 12-03-12, 02:50 PM   #14
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At 310 lbs (wet) I was riding my road bike and other than having to deal with some pinch flats I had no issues with the bike. You sure you cant just ride your road bike?
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Old 12-18-12, 02:29 PM   #15
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Just curious, how do you transport a fat-tired bike around, do they make a special adaptor for a fork-mounted bike carrier? Even an upright carrier, the ~4" tires wont seem to sit nicely in a standard tray...

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Old 12-23-12, 06:45 PM   #16
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I have a 2012 Mukluk 3 and just put it on my regular rack. No problems. Or I can just put down the seats of my Santa Fe and stuff her in. I can fit two other bikes with my Muk as well on a rack.

I ride my fat bike year round. My first time in the snow the other day was a blast as you just "glide" over the snow. It's harder on single track as the BB sits low and getting up hills can be harder, but that's about it.
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