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Suspension fork on fatbikes?

Old 11-19-20, 11:13 PM
  #1  
cubewheels
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Suspension fork on fatbikes?

I'm looking to have a fatbike MAYBE, next year or two when I have saved enough money for it and after our paranoid lockdowns.

I only plan to ride it over sand dunes and mountain gravel roads in remote areas where it tends to have deep layer of very loose dirt (definitely 4x4 territory).

So I don't think I'll ever need suspension fork for the kind of riding I'll be doing...The problem is the only fatbikes available in the LBS and online have suspension forks in them. Even many of the very cheap models have suspension forks and I really really doubt anyone will be going technical on those!

So I'm just wondering and curious why the cheap fatbikes have suspension forks knowing for sure, nobody's going technical on them?? What's the use? It will only add weight you don't need, added maintenance, and point of failure.
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Old 11-20-20, 06:38 PM
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Either a CF fork, or a Mastodon. Nothing else. Don't get one of those cheap suspension forks, nothing good will come from thsoe anchors.

The Mastodon cost $600, so I doubt it would be on cheap bikes. I don't know what you mean by cheap, though. Maybe you won the jackpot and now think a $5K bike is cheap....

I've been riding with Maxxis Minion for years and got convinced I need a suspension fork on single track. Then i switched to bud/Lou and it rides very smooth and now i don't think i need a suspension fork. So start out with really good tires. FYI, if the tire cost less than $100+, it likely isn't good. So before you try to improve comfort with a fork, get really good tires. I didn't believe it, you need to experience it.
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Old 11-21-20, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Either a CF fork, or a Mastodon. Nothing else. Don't get one of those cheap suspension forks, nothing good will come from thsoe anchors.

The Mastodon cost $600, so I doubt it would be on cheap bikes. I don't know what you mean by cheap, though. Maybe you won the jackpot and now think a $5K bike is cheap....

I've been riding with Maxxis Minion for years and got convinced I need a suspension fork on single track. Then i switched to bud/Lou and it rides very smooth and now i don't think i need a suspension fork. So start out with really good tires. FYI, if the tire cost less than $100+, it likely isn't good. So before you try to improve comfort with a fork, get really good tires. I didn't believe it, you need to experience it.
They're cheap like the whole bike is under $400.

I'm actually quite used to rough rides as I often take my CX bike with 35mm wide tires for rides in the gravel. Anyway, our LBS's used to sell cheap fatbikes with rigid fork. Now those fatbikes with rigid forks are now very hard to find. Most of the fat bikes selling now have suspension forks. I really don't like cheap suspension forks due to the weight. I'd rather have rigid fork.

Many cheap fatbikes (still under $400) are even coming with full suspension!!! I'll never need those as the fatbike riding I intend to do won't be technical.
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Old 11-21-20, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
They're cheap like the whole bike is under $400.

I'm actually quite used to rough rides as I often take my CX bike with 35mm wide tires for rides in the gravel. Anyway, our LBS's used to sell cheap fatbikes with rigid fork. Now those fatbikes with rigid forks are now very hard to find. Most of the fat bikes selling now have suspension forks. I really don't like cheap suspension forks due to the weight. I'd rather have rigid fork.

Many cheap fatbikes (still under $400) are even coming with full suspension!!! I'll never need those as the fatbike riding I intend to do won't be technical.
$400 fatbike? Is your LBS called "Walmart"?
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Old 11-21-20, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
$400 fatbike? Is your LBS called "Walmart"?
No argument about that but some had mixed but decent quality groupsets that are better than Walmart standards. China-branded bikes though and only available in Asian region.

The only thing that really kinda ticks me off why the vast majority of them had suspension forks. Many with full suspension!! If I look at >$1000 fatbikes, there's a lot more of those using only rigid forks. Ironic.

Anyway, you think I really should avoid fatbikes with suspension fork in the type of riding I'll do? My budget is under $500. So I'll have very limited options. I've been looking at used market locally but prices of the same used bike of same components is about the same price as brand new version of it so screw it, I'll probably be getting brand new!

Last edited by cubewheels; 11-21-20 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
No argument about that but some had mixed but decent quality groupsets that are better than Walmart standards. China-branded bikes though and only available in Asian region.

The only thing that really kinda ticks me off why the vast majority of them had suspension forks. Many with full suspension!! If I look at >$1000 fatbikes, there's a lot more of those using only rigid forks. Ironic.

Anyway, you think I really should avoid fatbikes with suspension fork in the type of riding I'll do? My budget is under $500. So I'll have very limited options. I've been looking at used market locally but prices of the same used bike of same components is about the same price as brand new version of it so screw it, I'll probably be getting brand new!
If used is not an option, I see no way to get a decent fatbike for $500. The cheapest fatbike is the Bikesdirect Monster for $500. but you end up upgrading a lot, and are limited in tire size. for sand/snow you want 26x4.8 or 27.5x4.5 tires and the cheap frames don't clear them. they also often don't have tubeless rims.

But the more I ride, the more i turn into a bike-snob. A good rigid fatbike cost $2,500 built from frame and without labor. But I ride all the time summer/winter.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
If used is not an option, I see no way to get a decent fatbike for $500. The cheapest fatbike is the Bikesdirect Monster for $500. but you end up upgrading a lot, and are limited in tire size. for sand/snow you want 26x4.8 or 27.5x4.5 tires and the cheap frames don't clear them. they also often don't have tubeless rims.

But the more I ride, the more i turn into a bike-snob. A good rigid fatbike cost $2,500 built from frame and without labor. But I ride all the time summer/winter.
Most of them have 26x4.0. I think I can live with that. I'm only 120 lbs in weight.

We don't have winters here due to tropical climate. Sand riding will mostly be the beach or volcano treks. Good advice about frame clearance. Sadly very limited options atm due to very high demand for fatbikes here.

I also will put dropbars on the fatbike using the same shifters (via mods) as I'm totally uncomfortable with flat bars on long rides.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Most of them have 26x4.0. I think I can live with that. I'm only 120 lbs in weight.

We don't have winters here due to tropical climate. Sand riding will mostly be the beach or volcano treks. Good advice about frame clearance. Sadly very limited options atm due to very high demand for fatbikes here.

I also will put dropbars on the fatbike using the same shifters (via mods) as I'm totally uncomfortable with flat bars on long rides.
Very few people use drop bars. I never tried, but would think the narrower drop bar will make steering more difficult and squirrely.
At your weight 4" should be fine.
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Old 11-21-20, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Very few people use drop bars. I never tried, but would think the narrower drop bar will make steering more difficult and squirrely.
At your weight 4" should be fine.
I'll be using gravel drop bar, 500mm wide. I'd sacrifice some steering difficulty as I always get sore hands on flat bars no matter what I do.

I always use the same bike in the entire trip so if I'm going for a trek in the beach or volcano, I'll use also the same bike to commute to the site, so will also be using them on the road, in city traffic. I never like wide handlebars for the city part of the commute, difficult to squeeze between cars.

In a sense, the bike will be used as an on and off-road touring bike, not for blasting down MTB trails.
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Old 11-25-20, 11:35 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I'm looking to have a fatbike MAYBE, next year or two when I have saved enough money for it and after our paranoid lockdowns.

I only plan to ride it over sand dunes and mountain gravel roads in remote areas where it tends to have deep layer of very loose dirt (definitely 4x4 territory).

So I don't think I'll ever need suspension fork for the kind of riding I'll be doing...The problem is the only fatbikes available in the LBS and online have suspension forks in them. Even many of the very cheap models have suspension forks and I really really doubt anyone will be going technical on those!

So I'm just wondering and curious why the cheap fatbikes have suspension forks knowing for sure, nobody's going technical on them?? What's the use? It will only add weight you don't need, added maintenance, and point of failure.
Why do they all have them? Because everyone thinks they need one. It's a customer driven reality, and it's much more about a want than a need.
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Old 11-25-20, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
Why do they all have them? Because everyone thinks they need one. It's a customer driven reality, and it's much more about a want than a need.
Same way most Walmart bikes have one, or even full suspension. The real question is, why would you buy a $3K Hard tail when Walmart sells you a $150 Full suspension bike? You get so much more for 5% of the cost! Who would be so stupid to pay more?
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Old 11-26-20, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
Why do they all have them? Because everyone thinks they need one. It's a customer driven reality, and it's much more about a want than a need.
In here, the rigid fork fatbikes ran out before the suspension fork ones. Clearly, the majority of customers wanted rigid fork even if the price is the same as one with suspension fork.

But now, the manufacturers are only making suspension fork fatbikes even if their sales are more towards rigid fork fatbikes.

It makes no sense, unless the suspension fork is so unreliable, the user will replace them soon enough and thus, generating more revenue for the manufacturers.
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Old 11-28-20, 07:51 PM
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It really depends on what you will do with the fat bike. If you are riding snow or sand, or reasonably groomed trails, a suspension fork is a waste of money.
For technical mtbing, fat tires themselves don't give the same ride as a good quality suspension fork. I think most would agree a cheap suspension fork or a fat bike isn't worth anything.
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Old 11-28-20, 08:04 PM
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The reality of inexpensive bikes is that they either get used up quick or never used at all. Either way, the suspension fork doesnít hurt it much.

For bike store quality fat bikes in the USA, most do not come with suspension forks. As an aftermarket upgrade, there are basically two suspension forks. One is the Bluto which is basically a wide version of the Reba. That means it can have a lot of nice upgrades, but itís not very burly. It fits with the conception of a fat bike as being a touring bike or a cross-country bike with really big tires. The new pike came out about the same time as SRAM was pushing boost spacing and plus tires, so I think they never really pushed fat very hard. The other is the Manitou Mastodon, which is burly as anyone would need.
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Old 12-04-20, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
As an aftermarket upgrade, there are basically two suspension forks.
I just purchased an aftermarket Wren fork for a fatbike I am building. I haven't received or ridden it yet, so I can't comment on the fit and finish, how it rides or on the long term reliability. It seems that some people love them and some don't. One review indicated that they work better for larger people which nudged me in their direction, and the price I paid was less than a Mastodon Pro.

Also, they claim that their new damper works down to -27F, while the Mastodon is rated for down to 0F, and a lot of Bluto owners complain of issues with cold temperature operation. Beyond that, I know nothing. All the complaints against any of them may be due to misuse or abuse. I know that I will probably abuse the fork when I start riding it.
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