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Help me choose!

Old 10-30-20, 10:10 AM
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Help me choose!

I'm in the market for a new fat bike. I am looking primarily at the Yukon, Beargrease, and Mukluk, but open to others. I'm getting both confused and overwhelmed with q factor and how they each my impact my already bad knees. I'm looking for something very versatile that I could enjoy recreationally all year. I'm more of a road guy but winter is upon us in Wisconsin. Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 10-30-20, 07:58 PM
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Hands down - the Otso Voytek. It's the most versatile fat bike made. They're made nearby in Burnsville, MN by great people and they provide great support. They are affiliated / co-owned with Wolftooth Components. I have a fully loaded Voytek. I live in a hard core biking neighborhood and a great majority of the people I ride with are on Voyteks with a mix of a lot of other brands after that.

Voyteks are fully customizable and have the smallest Q-Factor of any fat bike. I don't know that a wide or narrow Q-Factor would affect your knees strongly one way or another but I do know the narrower Q-Factor will work much better for your body alignment and comfort overall.

I recommend giving Otso a call as they occasionally have great deals on demo bikes.

If you do buy one, pick it up at Otso and schedule the pickup to coincide with a fitting at Bicycle Fit Guru in Minneapolis for both your fat and road bikes. I guarantee you will feel way more comfortable on your bike, will improve any issues with your knees and will likely increase your performance as well. My wattage went up quite a bit after my fittings. Chris is probably the best fitter in the upper Midwest. Schedule early as his wait times reflect his expertise. It will be one of the best investments you've made in cycling.

Also, plan on getting a lot of gear from 45NRTH. Winter fat bike gear (and tires) adds up quickly. I will say as a Minnesotan - it's the best winter sport I've ever tried. I get out 2 to 3 times a week and love it. It was just to hard to get to downhill ski areas and I don't care for cross country skiing.

Good luck!
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Old 10-30-20, 08:39 PM
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Wow, thanks for the info! Those bikes are sweet but dang pricey. I'm going to try a trek farley a bit more in my price range. I'm still open to other ideas.
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Old 10-30-20, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wirides
Wow, thanks for the info! Those bikes are sweet but dang pricey. I'm going to try a trek farley a bit more in my price range. I'm still open to other ideas.
In more "normal" years, you'll find a few Otso Voyteks at attractive prices on CraigsList in MN and WI. You may want to see if you can find a temporary, inexpensive used fat bike as a holdover and keep an eye out for a blinged out Otso at a great price.

Otherwise, the Farley is a great bike I'm sure you'll enjoy. If you're near the Twin Cities, Freewheel Bikes is great to work with (they have a lot of Farleys in stock) and they have a Freewheel Fanatics program which will help with the cost of fat bike gear. Alternatively, consider REI with their 20% off sale coming up for your 45NRTH gear. Sign up multiple family members to get the discount on more items. The nice thing about REI is the 365 day return policy and it's hard to get discounts on most things for cycling.

#1 thing - get that fat bike! You'll love it, extend your season and keep fit all year long.
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Old 10-30-20, 11:01 PM
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The Otso has the old skinny 177m hub. That is dying out and limits you to 4" tires.

I'd go for a real fatbike, 197mm hub. That allows 26x4.8 or 27.5x4.5 tires.

All the old school 177mm bike owners have threads about how they wish they could fit wider tires. At least the ones in snow.
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Old 10-31-20, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
The Otso has the old skinny 177m hub. That is dying out and limits you to 4" tires.

I'd go for a real fatbike, 197mm hub. That allows 26x4.8 or 27.5x4.5 tires.

All the old school 177mm bike owners have threads about how they wish they could fit wider tires. At least the ones in snow.
Yes - the Otso does have the 177mm hub. However, it will actually fit larger tires. I'm running Dillinger 5s (27.5 x 4.5) in front and Dillinger 4s (27.5 x 4) in the rear for my winter riding. The 5 in front is great and I'm plenty satisfied with the 4 in the rear. If the snow is too deep or fluffy for that combination, my old man legs say "Wait until someone else breaks that trail!"

I just wanted to clarify in case someone else checks this thread.

While it's not factory approved due to clearance issues, a Dillinger 5 can be squeezed in with minimal frame and chainline clearance. I didn't even know you could get fat bike tires bigger than the 5s (at least for studded winter tires.)
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Old 10-31-20, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by zorax2
Yes - the Otso does have the 177mm hub. However, it will actually fit larger tires. I'm running Dillinger 5s (27.5 x 4.5) in front and Dillinger 4s (27.5 x 4) in the rear for my winter riding. The 5 in front is great and I'm plenty satisfied with the 4 in the rear. If the snow is too deep or fluffy for that combination, my old man legs say "Wait until someone else breaks that trail!"

I just wanted to clarify in case someone else checks this thread.

While it's not factory approved due to clearance issues, a Dillinger 5 can be squeezed in with minimal frame and chainline clearance. I didn't even know you could get fat bike tires bigger than the 5s (at least for studded winter tires.)
Rear hub size has nothing to do with front (fork) tire size. I stand by my statement: the outdated 177mm rear hub limits rear tire clearance. Most new fatbikes have 197mm rear. Only the low level bikes (think of the $500 BD bikes) have the 1770 (or worse, 170mm QR) hub. And their owners go in much detail how happy they are they can at least squeeze a 4.2 in with occasional rubbing. Lol. Also most wheelsets you can buy are 197mm.
if you already have a 177mm bike and are happy with it, no need to throw it away and buy a new one. but when you buy a new one, why not get the modern standard for the same money?

Obviously anyone can buy whatever bike one wants.... but I wouldn't invest in a platform that limits the one thing a FAT bike is for, FAT tires. You always can install skinnier tires. Hard to upgrade to accept wider tires.

My bike (RSD mayor) accepts up to 5" tires. I don't have them, but maybe some day I get the idea 5" is the best thing ever and then I'm happy I didn't limit myself. It is really hard to re-weld the rear end of a bike to accept wider hubs and tires......
I think there are Terrene Johnny 5 studded, it is a valid idea that some day I may want those.

If the goal is to ride in deep snow (a valid assumption with a fatbike), then not being able to do so, is a severe limitation. Same for sand beaches etc.

I'm a biker, not a hiker. So I choose a bike based on being able to ride where I ride.

Also note the bikes built for 4" tire only have shorter chain stays. while that may sound good, that prevents you from running 29+ rear wheel. I'm not saying you should, but maybe after 2 years of fatting around you change your mind and want a summer set and then it would be nice to have that option to have sliding droputs.

This all doesn't matter for people who swap bikes annually. but I keep my bikes long.
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Old 11-03-20, 08:17 PM
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i ride ican sn04 fat bike with 3 s spoke. pretty good then.
https://icancycling.com/collections/...s-spoke-wheels
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Old 11-03-20, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Sembikes
i ride ican sn04 fat bike with 3 s spoke. pretty good then.
https://icancycling.com/collections/...s-spoke-wheels
Tell us more! I've been looing at FS bikes and the ICAN seems to be the best deal.

How do you like the rear suspension? Doe sit bob/squat?

And are the hubs replaceable in the tri-spoke? How are the hubs? do they have good engagement and do they last? I already destroyed a Novatec Hub.
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Old 11-03-20, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
Tell us more! I've been looing at FS bikes and the ICAN seems to be the best deal.

How do you like the rear suspension? Doe sit bob/squat?

And are the hubs replaceable in the tri-spoke? How are the hubs? do they have good engagement and do they last? I already destroyed a Novatec Hub.
Thank you. i like the full suspension, which made me can ride drop to flat like mtb, not limit to snow bike. this bike use Powerway Hub M74, they also fit me well.
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Old 11-04-20, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
The Otso has the old skinny 177m hub. That is dying out and limits you to 4" tires.

I'd go for a real fatbike, 197mm hub. That allows 26x4.8 or 27.5x4.5 tires.

All the old school 177mm bike owners have threads about how they wish they could fit wider tires. At least the ones in snow.
^^^This. The q-factor will not affect you knees on a Farley or other fat bike.
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Old 11-04-20, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
Tell us more! I've been looing at FS bikes
See these?

https://www.framedbikes.com/collecti...-5-fs-fat-bike

https://growlerbikes.com/collections/double-stout

https://www.lamerecycles.com/dopamine-fs-fat-bike
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Old 11-04-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Sembikes
Thank you. i like the full suspension, which made me can ride drop to flat like mtb, not limit to snow bike. this bike use Powerway Hub M74, they also fit me well.
I mean more if the hub has high engagement and is durable?

And what tires fit in there? Does it clear 27.5x4.5?

Are the pivot bearings serviceable/replaceable? How long have you had it?

The Lamere geometry is far from modern. 69.5 HA! Growler is a bit better (basically a copy of the ICAN) I have an RSD Mayor with 67 HA and 74 SA. I'm already on my second fatbike (upgraded from a Motobecane with old geo) and definitely don't want old geometry anymore.
You can upgrade bad brakes, drivetrain. Really hard to upgrade the geometry. A FS fatbike is a large investment, it better has good geo.

I think the Framed only clears 27.5x3.8. It is 177mm rear... i guess since it is FS that could be fine. I wish they sold the frame-only since the components are crap/overpriced. My personal problem would be, it would be hard to swap wheels with my rigid Fatbike.
They could have gone for 157mm rearhub to make the bike narrower to get the RD away from rocks. That still would allow 27.5x4" tires.

My ideal FS fatbike has a Mastodon fork, Shimano Drivetrain/brakes, decent rear hub and modern geometry. Seems for that I need to build from frame up.

ICAN seem to be the only ones selling a bare frame at reasonable cost.
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Old 11-04-20, 01:17 PM
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I am happy to say I enjoy the Farley 5 as much or more than any bike I've ever had. Only a few shorts rides, but no hint of knee irritation. Bring on the Wisconsin snow.
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Old 11-04-20, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
I mean more if the hub has high engagement and is durable?

And what tires fit in there? Does it clear 27.5x4.5?

Are the pivot bearings serviceable/replaceable? How long have you had it?

ICAN seem to be the only ones selling a bare frame at reasonable cost.
Yes. the hub is durable and no problem for 1 year, and also no need to upgrade.
they fit with Maxxis 26*4.8 inch, but 27.5er maybe can not fit.
the bearings are replaceable.
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Old 11-05-20, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
I mean more if the hub has high engagement and is durable?

And what tires fit in there? Does it clear 27.5x4.5?

Are the pivot bearings serviceable/replaceable? How long have you had it?



The Lamere geometry is far from modern. 69.5 HA! Growler is a bit better (basically a copy of the ICAN) I have an RSD Mayor with 67 HA and 74 SA. I'm already on my second fatbike (upgraded from a Motobecane with old geo) and definitely don't want old geometry anymore.
You can upgrade bad brakes, drivetrain. Really hard to upgrade the geometry. A FS fatbike is a large investment, it better has good geo.

I think the Framed only clears 27.5x3.8. It is 177mm rear... i guess since it is FS that could be fine. I wish they sold the frame-only since the components are crap/overpriced. My personal problem would be, it would be hard to swap wheels with my rigid Fatbike.
They could have gone for 157mm rearhub to make the bike narrower to get the RD away from rocks. That still would allow 27.5x4" tires.

My ideal FS fatbike has a Mastodon fork, Shimano Drivetrain/brakes, decent rear hub and modern geometry. Seems for that I need to build from frame up.

ICAN seem to be the only ones selling a bare frame at reasonable cost.
Most fat bikes are geared toward winter groomed trail riding...which doesn't involve a lot of downhill or climbing. Being the case that's why there are very few fat bikes with a 67 HTA. My fat bike sits in the garage until the snow flies. The 70 HTA works just fine.
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Old 11-05-20, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71
Most fat bikes are geared toward winter groomed trail riding...which doesn't involve a lot of downhill or climbing. Being the case that's why there are very few fat bikes with a 67 HTA. My fat bike sits in the garage until the snow flies. The 70 HTA works just fine.
I assumed we are talking about bikes for riding. For being stored in a garage, old geometry will be fine.
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Old 11-05-20, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
I assumed we are talking about bikes for riding. For being stored in a garage, old geometry will be fine.
It's called the right tool for the job.

I have a road bike for road riding. 2 mountain bikes for summer trail riding and fat bike for winter riding. Pretty simple concept. Road bikes and mountain bikes stay stored in the garage when the snow flies. Fat bike stays stored in the garage when it's summer.

I know some people ride their fat bikes in the summer and I have also...but it's just not as enjoyable as my full suspension 29er.
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Old 11-05-20, 10:30 AM
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Here's my fatty in the proper elements...



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Old 11-05-20, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71
It's called the right tool for the job.

I have a road bike for road riding. 2 mountain bikes for summer trail riding and fat bike for winter riding. Pretty simple concept. Road bikes and mountain bikes stay stored in the garage when the snow flies. Fat bike stays stored in the garage when it's summer.

I know some people ride their fat bikes in the summer and I have also...but it's just not as enjoyable as my full suspension 29er.
Right, if you have 4+ bikes you can have each to only be in a niche. Each bike you buy should fit into a good "fleet strategy".
But we ended up talking about FS fatbikes, so it is safe to assume this thread went away from only groomed trails :-)

I'd say un-groomed snow and double-track summer trails are typical fatbike applications. And in each application a better geometry will help. Even if one really only rides in the snow, better cornering, more stable riding etc. still will be a benefit.

Looks like you have a fatboy based on the picture. Yeah, with the head tube angle that looks like it was in a frontal crash, it basically is a snow bike and nothing else. No offense, and you have other options for the remainder of riding.

I'm using my fatbike all year inc. single track that goes beyond my capabilities. I totally understand the want for a separate FS bike. On the other hand, the better grip of a fatbike benefits a noob rider. And my riding includes excursion on construction sites with lots of loose dirt.

I'm not telling anyone what to buy, but what to consider for THEIR riding situation and plans. Just be aware of the limitations for future options.
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Old 11-06-20, 09:23 AM
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If I rode my fat bike in the summer I would add a suspension fork to the front. This would slacken the head angle a degree or two.

My hardtail Niner Mountain bike has a 71 degreeg HTA with a 100 mm fork!!!

Ned thought the Fatboy was good choice...

https://fat-bike.com/2015/03/ned-ove...ie-bike-setup/

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/sp...at-bike-birkie

Last edited by prj71; 11-06-20 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 11-06-20, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71
If I rode my fat bike in the summer I would add a suspension fork to the front. This would slacken the head angle a degree or two.

My hardtail Niner Mountain bike has a 71 degreeg HTA with a 100 mm fork!!!

Ned thought the Fatboy was good choice...

https://fat-bike.com/2015/03/ned-ove...ie-bike-setup/

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/sp...at-bike-birkie
In 2015, maybe. And racers ride what their sponsor provides. If the sponsor provides a red bike, they will ride it and say red is the fastest color. Looks like that guy is riding on groomed trails in a race, that has nothing to do with most most fatbikers. And if you have one and are happy with it, fine. but we are talking about a new bike in 2020/21. Many better choices. Rumor even has it they discontinued the fatboy (didn't follow up on that rumor). In 2020 no serious rider would consider an HT with 71 modern. Even the cheap HT from BD and other outdated geos are under 70 degrees. I'm not saying slacker is better, but modern HT are at the 64-66 these days.

Sure the longer fork slackens the front, but also the seat tube, and raises standover. You also could use an angle headset. I don't know the standover, but the top tube is not bent, so it may be high. High standover was one of the reasons I upgraded my frame. if you make meaningful changes to fork length, you change the overall design. In many cases to the worse. andif you start with a modern geo to begin with, you also have the choice to slacken, but may not have to.

if your old bikes work for you, that is perfect. Nothing better than enjoying a bike that you already have. But honestly, would you re-buy your old bike in 2020 or look for something modern?
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Old 11-09-20, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun
if your old bikes work for you, that is perfect. Nothing better than enjoying a bike that you already have. But honestly, would you re-buy your old bike in 2020 or look for something modern?
I'm not sure what you mean by old bike. My bike is a 2018.

For a Fat Bike...I would buy the Fat Boy over and over. I love the way it rides and like the geometry and it's comfortable. I don't get hung up on the geometry too much.
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Old 11-09-20, 07:53 PM
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I have a 2016 Specialized Fatboy SE and find it to be pretty good for a mid grade all rounder. I've switched a few things on it like adding a dropper post, rear rack and swapping the 11-36 for an 11-40 cassette. I use it year round for mtbing, snow and off road touring/bike packing.

The Q factor feels weird at first, when you are used to the narrow spread of modern road bikes but it won't hurt your knees in itself. You just have to adapt to the feel. More like chop chop chop than sprint sprint sprint.


The discussion above highlights two pathways in off road bike selection IMO, neither of which is wrong but definitely different.

One way tries to find a bike or two that can do several things fairly well, usually with a few modifications. In the case of a fatbike I could see a winter 4+ tire and a second 29r wheelset for summer use, which gives you a rigid mtb and a snow capable fatbike using one frame. What you lose is a fully technical capable mtb. Adding a suspension fork gives you a hardtail mtb but is mostly pointless for snow use. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

If a complete second wheelset isn't in the cards or one wants some suspension sometimes but still one frame you could go for a mullet system using a rigid 4+ setup in winter and a suspension fork with a 29'r front and 4" back for summer. If you had to have one bike for year around use though, the fatbike fits the bill, especially with two wheelsets.

The other idea has multiple bikes, one for each activity. A FS DH mtb, a fat bike, an enduro or trail mtb. That's great as a concept but if one wants a quality bike for each activity it could wind up costing well over 10K and doesn't even address the road side of biking. Add a quality road bike and a quality gravel bike and things really begin to add up. Many people just don't want to invest that much money or storage space into bikes. But.. In that case one would probably choose a 4+ rigid fatbike as that maximizes what a fatbike offers in terms of float for snow and sand while rejecting the useless (for that application) suspension.

Trail



Snow



Sand



Bike Packing


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