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Price level where one can get to a decent fat bike?

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Price level where one can get to a decent fat bike?

Old 11-01-17, 12:44 PM
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Price level where one can get to a decent fat bike?

Sorry, not really sure if this should go to MTB or Winter Biking, feel free to move it if so.

I've recently gotten a career opportunity that will allow me to spend far more time in Northern Michigan in the winter months, and am viewing it as an excuse to finally get a fat bike. As the fat bike thing is still more or less a recent trend, there isn't exactly a huge used market to take my normal path of buy a cheap used one, and then buy something nicer when I really know what I like or dislike.

What level does one need to bump up into to get a decent fat bike option if I am buying new? This will primarily be used for recreational snow biking on groomed MTB trails and in cross country ski areas that allow them. I was originally looking at the Motobecane Boris X7, which one can get off the scratch and dent site for $625. Nashbar has the Fuji Wendigo 2.3 for $650. A shop on eBay also has a pile of Framed Minnesotas in the $600 range, depending on exact options. Are any of these options to a serviceable level that I will get enjoyment out of for a year or two, or are they too bottom of the barrel?

Alternatively, my local Specialized dealer has 2016 and 2017 Fatboys clearanced out at the $1000-1100 mark, which I've test ridden and feel good. I'd prefer to keep my budget a bit lower than that, but if this is a considerably better way to go I'm not against it. I have never bought a new-new bike, could be fun!

I'm mechanically inclined, can fit myself, and work on my own bikes, so just looking for input on the bikes themselves, not LBS v Internet sales models.
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Old 11-01-17, 01:07 PM
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You on a spending spree? Me likey. Stuff to think about? Front sus? Great for boosting all around, all year riding. Make sure you can run 4.8 tires front and back. Better choices there, a 190 or 197 rear hub for that. 100 mm rims for winter, I like 80 mm rims for all year stuff. I think to run tubeless is key, need the rims to do that, not some hack. My Farley tubes weighed 1 pound each. That said, in the Boston area, lots of used fat bikes for sale, some don't take to it. And can get good deals. On to your question. For me, the point is $ 1,000 to say 1,400. As always, it's the little details. Wheels and rim weight. Hubs take more of a beating. 1 x drivetrain is the way to go. Brakes and drivetrain can be worked on later. Don't spend good money to fix and try to lighten a junky frame, imho. Do some demos? Now is the time to find used stuff with riders upgrading to the new stuff. Wait until you get there to find something? Salsa is very popular in my area. Test ride some, compare weight. And for me, 1,000 to 1,200 would be my low.
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Old 11-01-17, 01:15 PM
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Hey jef, the wife and I bought ourselves the Motobecane Boris X5's for our wedding anniversary last year. They were our first fattys and we surely enjoyed them in the winter months, but they are dogs on dirt, and that's my personal opinion - a lot of people feel very much to the contrary. The X5's each were $499 delivered. They arrived in great shape and after I meticulously set them up they were excellent bargain for the price, and introduced us to fatbiking. They rest on hooks from the ceiling of my shop nine months out of the year though. Would I but these again? Surely. The fit/finish and quality of the frame and components is good. If you aren't a pro, they'll be serviceable for a long long time.
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Old 11-01-17, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo
You on a spending spree? Me likey.
...
Do some demos?
Ha, not on a spending spree, just not much of an option to buy my preferred beat up and used bikes in this manner, I've actually been keeping an eye on CL for a few months. There is a Boris X7 on my local CL I may try to lowball, tho.

I did a demo day last year, but needless to say they were showcasing their higher end models (rode a carbon Farley and Stache). Past that, I've played around on the generic Performance Bike offerings. They felt decent, but I just don't have much of a frame of reference to go off in this manner.

Originally Posted by NoControl
The X5's each were $499 delivered. They arrived in great shape and after I meticulously set them up they were excellent bargain for the price, and introduced us to fatbiking.
Good to hear. As you mentioned "introduced" you to fat biking, are you still riding them, or have you upgraded to something else?
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Old 11-01-17, 01:34 PM
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About $1000 to $1500 is the mark. Below that you get crappy tires and tires are everything.

The Specialized Fatboy is a great value at that price. I'm almost certain that the tires and rims that come on them will work tubeless. And the Specialized whatever-they-are-called tires are nice.

The Boris offer of either Pana racer Fat be Nimble or unknown VeeRubber tires... Uh... I'll pass on that one. Or count on spending ~300 extra on new tires. At that point, might as well buy from the shop.
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Old 11-01-17, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK
The Boris offer of either Pana racer Fat be Nimble or unknown VeeRubber tires... Uh... I'll pass on that one. Or count on spending ~300 extra on new tires. At that point, might as well buy from the shop.
Not going to lie, tires have been a primary consideration of mine, but without digging into each and every model I haven't been able to find a good consolidated source of information on which ones are better for snow. The Ground Controls that come on the Fatboys do inspire far more confidence than the tires on the Performance Fuji/SE/Framed offerings.

Also found a LBS that still lists a 2016 Salsa Beargrease in my size marked down to a grand, that can tentatively be tossed into the mix.
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Old 11-01-17, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
Not going to lie, tires have been a primary consideration of mine, but without digging into each and every model I haven't been able to find a good consolidated source of information on which ones are better for snow. The Ground Controls that come on the Fatboys do inspire far more confidence than the tires on the Performance Fuji/SE/Framed offerings.

Also found a LBS that still lists a 2016 Salsa Beargrease in my size marked down to a grand, that can tentatively be tossed into the mix.
Ground Controls, yes that's what they are called. (I actually have a pair of them, embarrassed to admit I couldn't remember the name) They do fine on snow, not the best for traction when it is loose but good volume -I have the 4.6 version. And they roll nicely.

I think the Beargrease came with Husker Dus, those are not a bad all-around tire. Again, not the best for soft conditions but good for packed snow. Just make sure you are getting the 120tpi version. 45Nrth's 60tpi tires are no good. It isn't about weight, it's about sidewall flex and rolling resistance.
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Old 11-01-17, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
Good to hear. As you mentioned "introduced" you to fat biking, are you still riding them, or have you upgraded to something else?
We still have them, and they will definitely be our winter bikes from now on.
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Old 11-01-17, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK
About $1000 to $1500 is the mark. Below that you get crappy tires and tires are everything.
How critical is the tire choice if the bike is used where it snows... never? We get one day where the temps might even hit freezing. I'm just looking to add something like a fatbike for tooling around with the kids-- and that $500-600 area is relatively comfortable.
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Old 11-01-17, 08:29 PM
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Motobecane Sturgis NX has all the modern features like good 4.8" tire, tubeless, 1x11, internal cable routing.... also very well reviewed.
At $1,100 this seems the cheapest entry into the 197mm class.. and since you need it for snow, wider tires are good.

If for some reason you can't or won't afford that and just try one of the outdated 170mm rear axle bikes, just get the cheapest one. Looks like you did your research.
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Old 11-01-17, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope
How critical is the tire choice if the bike is used where it snows... never? We get one day where the temps might even hit freezing. I'm just looking to add something like a fatbike for tooling around with the kids-- and that $500-600 area is relatively comfortable.
I don't use my fat bike for mountain biking much because I have a nice mountain bike. But I'd say that tires are still a big deal.

Crappy tires will still be heavy and roll slow. Now, for a bike to tool around with the kids it is probably all good.
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Old 11-01-17, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
At $1,100 this seems the cheapest entry into the 197mm class.. and since you need it for snow, wider tires are good.

If for some reason you can't or won't afford that and just try one of the outdated 170mm rear axle bikes, just get the cheapest one. Looks like you did your research.
Hmm, that's something I missed I'll have to look at. 197 is the new standard, 170 is the established? Is 197 fairly well established at this point?
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Old 11-02-17, 04:31 AM
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Winter riding in the lake effect snowbelt - oh, He** yes, you need a fat bike! That is what they were made for, and you can also navagate all of that loose sandy soil on the trails when the ground isn’t white. I’ve been up there in Luddington, Manistee, T.C., Petoskey and Cheboygen during ongoing lake effect weather events, and a fat bike is the only thing that is going to keep you riding, IMHO, when there is 8-12 inches of new powder every night for sometimes 4-5-6 nights in a row.

The right tires do make a difference. My Pug came with their own branded tires, and a slightly different tread on the rear vs front. I thought the rolling resistance was pretty high. I really only use that as a snow bike, so I put on the studded 45NRTH Dillengers, but the 120 tpi version, and I think the resistance is actually less even on dry pavement, not much but a little. I have been really happy with them. Last summer I was trying to figure out a derailleur problem and just rode around my sub a little and also across my yard on both turf and woodland with leaf litter and low undergrowth; other than the hum the studs make on dry concrete or asphalt, which I find a little annoying, the ride quality was good. They are shockingly expensive for a bicycle tire, though - I paid about $250 each - kinda eye popping in light of the fact I put 4 fairly high-end Michelins on my SUV end of July and that worked out to be about $215 per tire after a $60 Belle Tire coupon.

[MENTION=406915]jefnvk[/MENTION] - a few places you might check online, but also call and see if they have anything older on clearance or even used that doesn’t show uo in their online inventory are the American Cycle and Fitness outlet store in Pontiac, Howell Bicycle Shop in - obviously- Howell, Jack’s Bicycles on Michigan Ave in Dearborn, KLM in Birmingham or Rochester, or Fraser Bicycles in Canton and/or Fraser. Howell Bicycles is actually really part of a motorcycle shop, out on Grand River almost where it meets M-59, if you know that area. They carry mainly Cannondale in Mt bikes, but often have 2-3-4 year old new bikes at discounts as much as 60% off original list. If they did have something that would work for you, you would get a lot of bike for the money spent if it’s one of their older models.

Just a thought, might be worth a try.

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Old 11-02-17, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24
American Cycle and Fitness outlet store in Pontiac, Howell Bicycle Shop in - obviously- Howell, Jack’s Bicycles on Michigan Ave in Dearborn, KLM in Birmingham or Rochester, or Fraser Bicycles in Canton and/or Fraser.
Yep, ACF in Pontiac is my normal go-to, but being the outlet store they don't have much as the bikes are "in-season" right now. They did have some used, but not really that great of a deal compared to new clearance. The regular ACF start well above my range, as I suspect Fraser will as well (although I may swing in the Brighton one on the way home just for the heck of it). KLM was where the Fatboys are, my fiancee bought a bike from them last year and I liked dealing with them.
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Old 11-02-17, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk

Alternatively, my local Specialized dealer has 2016 and 2017 Fatboys clearanced out at the $1000-1100 mark, which I've test ridden and feel good.
This is the much better deal than any of the other bikes you mention. Go for it. You won't be disappointed.
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Old 11-02-17, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK
About $1000 to $1500 is the mark. Below that you get crappy tires and tires are everything. .
You also get crappy heavy rims. That's how Bd sells their fat bikes so cheap.
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Old 11-02-17, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
At $1,100 this seems the cheapest entry into the 197mm class.. and since you need it for snow, wider tires are good.
So, if I am understanding this correctly, 190/197 are the same, just QR/Thru axle, correct? The Fatboys seem to have 190mm QR.

Is thru axle a necessity if my plans are to have the wheels on the ground 99+% of the time?
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Old 11-02-17, 10:38 AM
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The wheels also lock n better with the through axle, stiffen things up as well. Would jump on that Salsa, good bike and popular here in MA. Yes ,get the 197 mm rear, that way you can run a true 4.8 to 5" tire, can't do that with a 170 mm rear end, float is everything in snow.
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Old 11-02-17, 10:44 AM
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One more thought about price and weight. The cheaper bikes might weigh as much as 4-6-8 lbs more, esp in the wheels, tires and rims, where it is noticed more. Plus you will want the ability to run tubeless.
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Old 11-02-17, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo
Would jump on that Salsa, good bike and popular here in MA. Yes ,get the 197 mm rear, that way you can run a true 4.8 to 5" tire, can't do that with a 170 mm rear end, float is everything in snow.
Seems the 2016 Beargrease were 177mm, though. I'm going to make an attempt at getting to the shop it is at tonite to check it out in person, AFAIK they are the only Salsa dealer in the area.
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Old 11-02-17, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
Yep, ACF in Pontiac is my normal go-to, but being the outlet store they don't have much as the bikes are "in-season" right now. They did have some used, but not really that great of a deal compared to new clearance. The regular ACF start well above my range, as I suspect Fraser will as well (although I may swing in the Brighton one on the way home just for the heck of it). KLM was where the Fatboys are my fiancee bought a bike from them last year and I liked dealing with them.
Well, we frequent the same haunts anyway. I've bought 2 bikes from ACF at the outlet store, and one bike from KLM in Birmingham. I used to use a Specialized dealer out in Waterford for service, but recently started going to KLM for my Specialized service issues because it's really close to my office. Not the biggest shop, but friendly staff - and the world's WORST parking. I avoid Birmingham at all cost just because of the parking situation.

I've only been to the Howell shop one time, but have looked at their website from time to time. Kind of a weird place, it's primarily motorcycles, mopeds, and ATV's, with a small bicycle area. They only carry Cannondale, Felt, and a couple of minor brands I am not very familiar with. The reason I went out there was because they had a high-end, full suspension Cannondale Mt. Bike that I was interested in deeply discounted - it was a 2014, I got it in July 2016 - it was about 57% off of list. They seemed nice enough, they didn't have a tremendous selection of bikes on the floor, but almost all of them were older and discounted except for some entry-level current-year models and kids shiny BSO's with typical Disney/Marvel type color schemes and cartoon-ish graphics - basically just like the kids bikes at Wal-mart or Meijer or any other big box. I had 10-15 minutes to wander around after I tested the bike and decided to buy, while the mechanic prepped it and adjusted it a little for fit. I would go back there -- but only if they had something in stock, at a great price, and in my size - too far for routine trips and not a "destination shop" the way some bigger ones are, in other words, "worth the trip."
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Old 11-02-17, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24
I avoid Birmingham at all cost just because of the parking situation.
Parking is fine. It is the pulling back out onto Woodward, especially if I am heading to the south, that PO's me! Well that, and I went back with every intention on buying the 2016 Fatboy, and it had been sent to Rochester pending sale....

Good call on Cyclotherapy too, forgot about them. Have to stop in tomorrow. My Hometown Bike shop in Brighton is having a fat bike sale/demo day this weekend too.
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Old 11-02-17, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
So, if I am understanding this correctly, 190/197 are the same, just QR/Thru axle, correct? The Fatboys seem to have 190mm QR.

Is thru axle a necessity if my plans are to have the wheels on the ground 99+% of the time?
All the "good" bikes and most LBS bikes have 197 mm thru-axle and 150 mm thru axle in front. thru-axle (TA) really is the way to go and I doubt it really adds much cost if any. The thru-axle becomes a structural part of the frame and gives more stability unlike QR. I don't even think " good" fatbikes even offer the QR option. On the (old design) cheap 170mm bikes you get QR. But that eliminates 4.8" tires, and sot good wheels. And since winter riding is your goal, you want to keep the option of studded tires open (and all I've seen are 4.8" )

The frame will be different for 190mm QR and 197 TA, so you really will be stuck with wtth you buy. If you buy used and really cheap, compromising on the standard may be wise. but for a new bike you may as well get the current standard. Why buy new and pay new money for an outdated design? You can get old for less money used.
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Old 11-02-17, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
Why buy new and pay new money for an outdated design? You can get old for less money used.
Merely going off the assumption the Specialized Fatboys would be a "good" option, they are varying combos of QR and nutted axle. Really not that knowledgeable with new tech, let alone mountain bike tech.
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Old 11-02-17, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
All the "good" bikes and most LBS bikes have 197 mm thru-axle and 150 mm thru axle in front. thru-axle (TA) really is the way to go and I doubt it really adds much cost if any. The thru-axle becomes a structural part of the frame and gives more stability unlike QR. I don't even think " good" fatbikes even offer the QR option. On the (old design) cheap 170mm bikes you get QR. But that eliminates 4.8" tires, and sot good wheels. And since winter riding is your goal, you want to keep the option of studded tires open (and all I've seen are 4.8" )

The frame will be different for 190mm QR and 197 TA, so you really will be stuck with wtth you buy. If you buy used and really cheap, compromising on the standard may be wise. but for a new bike you may as well get the current standard. Why buy new and pay new money for an outdated design? You can get old for less money used.
There are plenty 4 inch studded tires. The 45Nrth Dillinger, Terrene Wazia and Cake Eater, Arisun Sharktooth and Bontrager Gnarwal all come in 4.0 (well, 3.6 to 3.8) versions. And depending on the rims, and drive train you can fit many of the 4.6/4.8 tires on some 170mm frames.

170/177 is not the most popular thing these days, but there are still plenty of hubs in the market -so getting new wheels won't be a problem. Not that there is anything wrong with 190mm but 170mm is far from obsolete.
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