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  1. #1
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Do you use a fatbike to commute?

    Santa left his and hers Pugsleys under the Christmas tree (I'd love to know how he got them down the chimney). These are meant to be trail bikes; however, I decided to use mine for some commuting. It is a beast on the roads, much slower and more work than the old winter beater (SS MTB with studs).

    Question: If you are commuting on a fatbike, what pressure to ride at?

    I've been learning a lot about fatbike tire pressure, totally different than any other bikes I've had. I had the pressure up to max (30PSI), but found it too hard to ride on snow but good on hard surfaces. Now, I've got the pressure at 12PSI and it's good on the snow, but a hog on the pavement. I'd love to know what others are doing.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

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    I do a 36 mile RT commute on my Mukluk. Tire pressure depends on road conditions. 8-12 or so if I'm in lots of soft gravel, snow etc. If things are dry and firm, I add pressure.

    I made some studded tires for it by running screws through from the inside and running them tubeless. This has worked great on ice and snow/ice combos. Unfortunately, I did an extended commute (53 miles) with much of the route being dry and the screws are pretty much worn off.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
    Santa left his and hers Pugsleys under the Christmas tree (I'd love to know how he got them down the chimney) . . .
    Dang! Y'all must have been very, very good for the Jolly Old Elf to come through with his and hers Pugsleys.

    Alas, no fat bike here. I'd love to have one, but I can't figure out when/where I'd ride one without driving 100 miles first.

  4. #4
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenshiBiker View Post
    Dang! Y'all must have been very, very good for the Jolly Old Elf to come through with his and hers Pugsleys.
    Very, very good = EMPTY NEST!!! (those dang children just drain the checkbook) And the wife tried an Origin8 Crawler on vacation in November on sandy beaches, she was blown away by what it could go through. So if the wife wants to add bikes to the stable, who am I to argue??? So now she's having fun winter-biking for the first time.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  5. #5
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    Tires and rim width? Running tubeless? Rider weight? 10-15 psi for starters.

  6. #6
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    What to go Santa!!

    As you are discovering, tire pressures are really the key variable in fat bikes and how they handle various conditions. I do most of my fat bike rides off road in the winter, but I do commute on my Moonlander once in a while. Such as if it's snowing hard or the plows haven't come by or the conditions are particularly slushy or if I want to do an off road excursion on the way to or from work. Otherwise most days I commute on my skinny studded tire bike.

    Depending on the winter conditions I usually start out at no more than 9psi front 10psi rear. That's on knobby 4.8" bud and lou's, and less psi if the snow is deep. When I winter trail ride I start with it set up 9F/10R as well and air down if the conditions warrant it as I go. I've learned that I never need more PSI than that off road, and it's easy to let some air out on the trail compared to pumping up those mothers. It's all in the feel and the temperature and the trail conditions on any given day. One PSI can make a big difference in grip, and handling. Too much and you are bouncing around, too little and it gets really sluggish and slow and you have to muscle it through turns.

    Alternately riding at 30psi is like riding a bucking bronco with beachballs for feet. Not good for off road. I have done 30psi with my Big Fat Larry tires in the summer on smooth roads and it's about as fast as you can get but then again I really don't use my fat bike that way. I have other bikes for that type of riding.

    The thing is you have to temper your mindset a bit and not expect a lot of speed, that's not what these things do best. They float, and they can do things other bikes really can't, but speed is not really one of them. Embrace the slowness and enjoy the ride. It sure beats the riding trainer in the basement, or being in your car.

  7. #7
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
    Tires and rim width? Running tubeless? Rider weight? 10-15 psi for starters.
    Rims - Marge
    Tires - Nate
    with tubes
    I'm 165 lbs

    The irony, I posted this and the snow just has not STOPPED. The 1 inch in the forecast is over 2 inches and continues to come. So... I'm not gonna pump up the tires to ride home tonight or for tomorrow morning.

    @modernjess I excited to get the Pug out at Theo for some snowy trails. And I need to get the old winter commuter back up and running for easier commutes. Pug is fun, but too much work for every day commuting.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  8. #8
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
    @modernjess I excited to get the Pug out at Theo for some snowy trails. And I need to get the old winter commuter back up and running for easier commutes. Pug is fun, but too much work for every day commuting.
    Yeah, agreed not a great daily commuter in my book. Also the salt and crap wreaks havoc on the drivetrain and is perfect for seizing your seat post. (take my advice and grease that sucker!)

    Yes, Wirth is fun these days and with the new south section added it's a pretty solid loop for a trail that is right in the heart of the city.
    Last edited by modernjess; 01-12-15 at 11:00 AM.

  9. #9
    I love the rolling hills. ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    There's a guy at my company who commutes and does most of his fun riding and tri training on a Pugsley. He's a beast.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
    Pug is fun, but too much work for every day commuting.
    Looking over my last year's miles, I commuted over half the time on the Mukluk. We have some pretty rough gravel roads around here that made that the way to go.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bicyclelove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
    Rims - Marge
    Tires - Nate
    with tubes
    I'm 165 lbs

    The irony, I posted this and the snow just has not STOPPED. The 1 inch in the forecast is over 2 inches and continues to come. So... I'm not gonna pump up the tires to ride home tonight or for tomorrow morning.

    @modernjess I excited to get the Pug out at Theo for some snowy trails. And I need to get the old winter commuter back up and running for easier commutes. Pug is fun, but too much work for every day commuting.
    You are getting snow?! You lucky dog. Up here in St. Cloud it started to snow a little. We got about 1/2in dusting and then it quit. Now the wind has come up to 20mph. It's not looking hopeful for me.....

  12. #12
    Senior Member jdswitters's Avatar
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    commuted on my Framed minnesota 1.0 today. 15 PSI on the hard stuff, but that does not give much float on the soft white stuff. fat bikes tires are a trade-off even if you are constantly changing tire pressure. Then there is the tread pattern differences which will also vary by pressure. I've had some small closely spaced blocks that rolled great on pavement and had no grip in soft snow. right now I have older missions on and they kinda suck at everything, which is one of the reasons I'm riding it to work every once in a while when there is some snow, so I can wear them out.
    Torker Graduate, 288 rods a day without pub detours.

  13. #13
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    After years of riding single speed bikes, I purchased a single speed fat bike for commuting in snow. We'll see how it works out.

  14. #14
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
    I'd love to know what others are doing.
    I used to commute 17 miles each way on a Pugsley. It was tons of fun, unless I got a puncture...then I might as well kill myself.

    Back then (2008) there were not many tire options and those available from Surly were more like heavy duty inner tubes with tread on them. They flatted really easy around town. I tried Stan's No Tubes and a host of other tire sealing products. Finally I just gave up and saved the Pugs for playing in sand at the beach. Once I got a chunk of tempered glass in the front tire and before I could stop I was completely hozed down with Stan's sealant as the hole went round and round spraying the milky substance like a freaking fire extinguisher on a maypole.

    My Pugs has a rear derailleur and 9 speed cassette paired up with horizontal dropouts (for those who want single speed setups) and a disk brake. To remove a rear wheel for flat fix I would have to take the QR skewer all the way out and set it aside, Then grab a handful of chain from the cassette and wrap it around the derailleur hanger. Then grab a multi-tool and loosen both bolts holding the disk brake caliper so I could tilt it all the way up to free the path of the brake rotor as I slide the rear wheel out on the horizontal dropouts. After that, the wrestling match involved in removing the tire from the wide rim was always an adventure. Replacing the tube and tire on the rim was a chore. Then re-assembling everything, adjusting the brake caliper position, etc., etc. Just a freaking nightmare especially after dark in the freezing cold.

    As for tire pressure I ran between 5 and 15 psi depending on terrain. I weigh 150 lbs. The Fat Bike Mantra is "When in doubt...let air OUT!"

    Oh yeah...just carrying a spare tube and flat fix kit requires a small backpack. Bring lots of canned air (Co2) unless you like hunkering down with a tiny hand pump for about 10,000 pump strokes.

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by JoeyBike; 01-08-15 at 09:28 PM.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  15. #15
    Senior Member TenSpeedV2's Avatar
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    I have a Framed Minnesota 2.0 and I have commuted with it to work, 8.5 miles each way, and I dread it. Heavy, slow, lots of work, gears, flat bar, everything that I despise about riding all wrapped up into one package. It rides nicely in the snow from what I have done so far. Snowing right now but not riding it as it is just too cold here, currently 2F with wind chills in the -18F range with gusts up to 45mph tomorrow.

  16. #16
    Senior Member corwin1968's Avatar
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    I don't have a fatbike but 99% of my riding is around the subdivision with a split between the streets and the sidewalks that criss-cross our greenbelt areas. I would love to try a SS Pugsley with Black Floyd tires. It's an in-progress subdivision so there is always some area where construction is going on and my riding is primarily a way to get exercise while having as much fun as possible so a Pugs SS with street tires might be the perfect bike for me. The problem is that the only LBS I know that carries Surlys on the floor doesn't have any fat bikes. They do have a Mukluk so I may need to make the drive down there (about 1 hour, 1-way) and try it out.
    Currently riding a 1983 Takara Highlander converted to a single-speed.

  17. #17
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    If there's loose snow on the roads, I lower the pressure to about 10 PSI. If I ride on bare pavement, I pump it up to about 25 PSI. I've not been doing it for long, so I don't know how this will work out long run. I've not had to add air at work yet with my small pump. My guess is if I do that a few times, I'll be going to our maintenance department and borrowing a full size pump or buying an extra to keep at work.

    If it's icy, I take my regular MTB with studded tires. Although I'm having so much fun on my fat bike, the $180 tires with studs are actually starting to look affordable and use that as my only winter bike.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  18. #18
    Senior Member intransit1217's Avatar
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    Currently, I'm about the 10-12 psi range. I went for a ride at the beach to get a better feel for the bike. When the ground breaks loose, it's awful. Hard to turn. No studs on my tires.

    Goiing to do the coffee shop run tomorrow morning. Granted the cold and snow should minimize traffic but I'm still going to swap the lights onto the moose for that added level.

    Most of the trip will be side streets but there will be sections of main streets and some light trail. Let you know more when I get back

  19. #19
    Another MN Bike Commuter icyj's Avatar
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    I have been commuting (around once a week unless the weather is nicer) on a fat bike this winter. My normal summer route is 13 miles (x2 for a round trip) of paved roads on road bike. Using the fat bike I tend to ride gravel back roads to work rather than the paved roads I generally take the rest of the year. The fat bike is perfect on the back roads most of the time, although last night I had a run-in with a long patch of ice... ice won. I am running around ~15PSI and feel like a slug riding down any paved road at 12-15mph.

    The fat bike gives me a reason to explore all those low-traffic back roads I normally wouldn't ride otherwise. There is something magical about riding down a gravel road, in the dark, in the snow, on a fat bike. You just forget anything that happened at work and just pedal, serene.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Todzilla's Avatar
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    Road bike. Way more fun.

  21. #21
    Senior Member intransit1217's Avatar
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    My spouse needed me home today so I could't make the coffee run this morning.

  22. #22
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    Road bike. Way more fun.
    Y'all come on up here and try yer road bike on these icy/snow roads

    I pulled the pedals off the Pugsley and put them back on the old Marin MTB for tomorrow's commute. With 10 to 12 miles one way, the Pugsley is too slow of the average day. I have a new set of pedals ready to pick up at the shop the next time I'm in, 'cause the Pugsley is still the right bike on a snowy day (like last Thursday).

    Once the new pedals are on it, I will air it up to 15 psi and try again.

    I have used my Kona Dew Drop (kinda touring/commuter road bike) on the snow many times, it's not a bad option. My biggest issue is lack of studded tires for it. Just not been a priority.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  23. #23
    Senior Member intransit1217's Avatar
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    After a 20 miler in mixed snow media, I would probably prefer a fatty to commute on, if I had a commute. On the groomed parts, full pressure was fine. When it turned to single track, I had to drop back to 10-12psi. I love the fact that the "cheapo" brakes are adequate because I'm not going that fast. And that the stock tires (Framed minnesota 26x4) do well in most conditions wet slush, dry slush, hardpack, softpack. Only in the deeper stuff did I have any problems. And that seems to be about traction. If I found shallower snow on grass, it was slower, but I could move because I got some bite.

    Most of this I consider "learning curve." So I still like fatbiking so far.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ussprinceton's Avatar
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    I have a Gary Fisher Tassajara, but currently have slick road tires on it

  25. #25
    Senior Member intransit1217's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ussprinceton View Post
    I have a Gary Fisher Tassajara, but currently have slick road tires on it
    Are you commuting on it?

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