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Fat Bikes - Now I Get It!

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Fat Bikes - Now I Get It!

Old 12-05-23, 06:21 PM
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Fat Bikes - Now I Get It!

So my fat bike experiment on the sandy fire roads in the wildlife refuge was sort of a bust (see Fat Bikes and Sand thread). 1 mile of pavement and another mile of gravel to get there - these bikes suck for that kind of riding (not exactly a surprise). Once in the refuge, riding the sand was OK but not something that compelled me to come back every week. And then there were the thorns/goat heads covering the tires The pedal spacing bothered me and I couldn't get all that rotating mass out of my head. Maybe I should just sell the bike and move on But I don't give up that easy.

Took it to the local MTB trails today and ... holy crap. I had more fun than I've had on a bike in many years. More fun than my old full-suspension MTB. Never once thought about rotating mass, pedal spacing, weight of the bike or anything else. Was too busy throwing the thing around, riding over roots and logs, skidding the back end around tight turns and even crashing twice Now I'm thinking dropper post. And not a single thorn. This bike's a definite keeper and may eventually lead to a higher-end fat bike!
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Old 12-05-23, 09:46 PM
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Nice. And now you can come vacation in Canada for some prime snow riding.
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Old 12-05-23, 10:04 PM
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Skinny tires: "Here comes a tree root, I need to adjust the angle to cross it at near 90 degrees or the tire might slip!"

Fat tire: "Here comes tree roots from every direction with rocks the size of grapefruits! CHOO CHOO <explicative deleted>!!!"

"But fat tire bikes are only for snow and sand!! Stop having fun on the trails!!!"

Tell the haters that their bikes do more damage to the trails than you do....
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Old 12-05-23, 11:01 PM
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My saying is; MTBs are good for single track, Fat bikes are good for no track
But, sorry to say, your bike looks a little too clean
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Old 12-05-23, 11:56 PM
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I don't have a true fat tire bike, but I do have a Gravity 29+ that is my go-to bike when I don't know what I may have to ride on. I rode across drift debris along the river bike path that stopped everyone else
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Old 12-06-23, 05:52 AM
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I would've loved to try the snow when I lived up in Michigan. And, yeah, I was a little disappointed in how clean the bike was at the end of the ride. But the trails were very dry. Maybe next time Crimson - I was amazed how you don't really have to set up your line, whether it's crossing roots and rocks or a tight turn - you just sorta stick it wherever, turn it and it works. My 2 minor crashes were due to handlebar width. Way too wide for my liking and these trails have many narrow gaps between the pine trees. Took 50mm off the bars last night and dialed in the brake levers positions for 1 finger operation.
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Old 12-06-23, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by plumberroy
I don't have a true fat tire bike, but I do have a Gravity 29+ that is my go-to bike when I don't know what I may have to ride on. I rode across drift debris along the river bike path that stopped everyone else
I've got the same bike in single-speed. Love the bike and I've got it set up for gravel with drop bars. It's my most-ridden bike lately. I may give it a try sometime on the trails.
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Old 12-06-23, 08:25 AM
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I have one word for you...


SNOW.

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Old 12-06-23, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by cegerer
I would've loved to try the snow when I lived up in Michigan. And, yeah, I was a little disappointed in how clean the bike was at the end of the ride. But the trails were very dry. Maybe next time Crimson - I was amazed how you don't really have to set up your line, whether it's crossing roots and rocks or a tight turn - you just sorta stick it wherever, turn it and it works. My 2 minor crashes were due to handlebar width. Way too wide for my liking and these trails have many narrow gaps between the pine trees. Took 50mm off the bars last night and dialed in the brake levers positions for 1 finger operation.
I have a very specific line with my skinny bike.
When I started riding my fat bike, I attempted to ride the same line, in which I would needlessly guide to the inner part of a curve, leave the trail, crash through the brush like a rabid moose taking a short cut, lose almost no momentum, and continue on as if nothing happened.

I saw your bars and thought they were a bit wide, but some people like that.
Mine are 21" (~533mm) bar ends and all.
A little more effort at first, but I learned to keep my elbows in and change muscle groups from the trapezius to the triceps and lower pecs.

Then there is putting downward pressure on the handlebar opposite of the turn....

Your evolution is wonder to watch. Please continue the updates.
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Old 12-06-23, 11:37 AM
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533MM width huh? Even cut off, mine are still 725MM. They feel better already but I'll get back on the trail and see. More room to cut if needed. I'm only 5'8" (shrinking with age ). Also need about 10mm more height on the seatpost. I've got the 350mm post maxxed out. Need a 400mm and may actually get a dropper. Also need to ditch the pedals that came with this bike. Developed a click on the left. Took it apart and the bearings are tiny. I guess they had to cut corners somewhere to offer value in other areas.
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Old 12-06-23, 08:58 PM
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There aren't many fat bikes around here, and even fewer human-powered ones, so when I ride mine anywhere where people see it, I almost always have to stop and chat with a few curious bystanders. And they always ask how hard it is to ride, which I'm sure everyone hears. After explaining that it isn't really harder, you just don't travel as fast, the topic of simplicity usually comes up -- and they are typically very interested in the idea of bike that you just ride. Other than smashing directly into a tree, you really don't have to worry about much of anything. Roots, rocks, curbs, potholes, small mammals, mudholes, etcetera all become mostly meaningless.

I have ten bikes, and by far, the most relaxing to ride is the fat one. All you have to do is pedal, and try to miss the immovable objects.

By the way, OP, some fat tires make your unpleasant experience on pavement and gravel far less of an ordeal. There exist fat tires -- like Schwalbe's Jumbo Jims and Surly's Nates -- that do almost everything well. I put 60 miles of all kinds of surfaces under my fat bike a couple weeks ago, and the tires on it are not, in my opinion, even as good as those two.
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Old 12-06-23, 11:15 PM
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Re: The bars. I have are 600mm and are just about right. I tried bar ends but they kept on getting hung on branches.
The wide bars IMHO, 700mm+ are geared towards gnarly downhills for more control. Not sure how many of those you have in Fla. You may want to consider shortening or getting a new bar
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Old 12-07-23, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cegerer
I've got the same bike in single-speed. Love the bike and I've got it set up for gravel with drop bars. It's my most-ridden bike lately. I may give it a try sometime on the trails.
I had a Gravity single speed fat bike but once I got the geared 29 plus bike it was not getting ridden so I sold it
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Old 12-08-23, 01:59 PM
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This post is uncanny as I've been looking at Strava posts from people I know who are enjoying the early snow falls on fat bikes up here in the north and I'm thinking, that looks like fun. I normally X country ski or play hockey in the winter but thanks to climate change, the ski season is hit and miss. A fat bike would be great for those periods between good ski conditions. I think they would also be good for riding along the rocky shores of the lakes in the summertime.
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Old 12-08-23, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson
This post is uncanny as I've been looking at Strava posts from people I know who are enjoying the early snow falls on fat bikes up here in the north and I'm thinking, that looks like fun. I normally X country ski or play hockey in the winter but thanks to climate change, the ski season is hit and miss. A fat bike would be great for those periods between good ski conditions. I think they would also be good for riding along the rocky shores of the lakes in the summertime.
​​​​​​I was an avid X-Country (and downhill) skier in MI. I was thinking today that a lot of the more moderate trails remind me of XC ski trails. I think you'll like it!
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Old 12-08-23, 05:01 PM
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Day 2 on the Trail: was Day 1 a fluke? Was it just over-enthusiasm on a shiny new bike? Or maybe a one-and-done novelty ride? No, no, and no. Day 2 was even better than Day 1. The bar width was down to 680mm and I like it - way more confidence going fast between the trees. I went over all the log piles at speed this time - no pass-arounds like Day 1. Really starting to explore the handling of the bike and getting very comfortable with it. Taking all the narrow wood bridges and approaches at speed, unlike Day 1. I have to say, no complaints with the Mongoose (other than the low-end pedals and the grips that have already been replaced). The geometry and fit seems suited perfectly for me and these trails. It doesn't feel heavy out on the trail (i'm guessing it's around 35 lbs). It does exactly what I want. Shifting is very good with the SLX. Brakes are excellent (Shimano Hydraulic w/ 180mm rotors). The Juggernaut tires seem very good (but I have nothing to compare them to ... ). And I'm converting to tubeless next week. At this point, I plan to replace one road riding day and one gravel riding day with 2 fatbike trail days each week
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Old 12-09-23, 01:03 AM
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Welcome to the enlightened
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Old 12-10-23, 07:39 AM
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When I got this bike, I considered it a non-serious fun bike. Didn't really think I'd be doing much of anything regarding fit, save for basic seat height. Now? I'm completely dialing this thing in. The bar height seemed too high for me (too upright) so I flipped the stem over and took a few spacers out. The brake levers & shifters were just not right. To get true 1-finger operation with the brakes, the shifters were difficult to access. So I flipped them around, mounting the brake levers inboard and shifters outboard. Narrowed up the reach. Much, much better. Luckily, I didn't shorten the bars any more because the brake levers are inboard as far as they will go due to the taper of the 35mm bars. Considering carbon bars to give me some amount of vibration dampening for the trails.



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Old 12-10-23, 07:48 AM
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Oh, and I've got an old-school Mongoose headtube sticker being made up They should've kept this design.

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Old 12-11-23, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cegerer
Considering carbon bars to give me some amount of vibration dampening for the trails.
Not sure how much vibration dampening you can expect from a CF handlebar. CF is fine with road vibration but never noticed much difference off road.

I know I shouldn't encourage you... but:
Looks like your frame can take a suspension fork.

I thought my fatty could go without a squishy fork until a few unexpected obstacles rang my bell, even at 5 PSI.

Edit, just checked prices.... crap they got expensive!
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Old 12-11-23, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
Not sure how much vibration dampening you can expect from a CF handlebar. CF is fine with road vibration but never noticed much difference off road.
More than the damping effects of carbon bars, the value is the ability to not radiate cold temps. It's the #1 upgrade left on my list for my fat bike. 🥶
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Old 12-11-23, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by purpurite
More than the damping effects of carbon bars, the value is the ability to not radiate cold temps. It's the #1 upgrade left on my list for my fat bike. 🥶
Cold is never "radiated". Heat is conducted away from your hands.
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Old 12-11-23, 07:03 PM
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Cold where I live is 60 deg F

I've been looking at forks. I mean it pretty much looks like this is going to be a trail bike. But I need to get a bunch more trail rides in with the current setup first. This MTB park is nearby and I plan to check it out soon - probably won't be on much of the black diamond stuff in this vid right away. But I want to see how it does at a park like this.


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Old 12-11-23, 11:05 PM
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Winter Haven... Nice!
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Old 12-11-23, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cegerer
Cold where I live is 60 deg F

I've been looking at forks. I mean it pretty much looks like this is going to be a trail bike. But I need to get a bunch more trail rides in with the current setup first. This MTB park is nearby and I plan to check it out soon - probably won't be on much of the black diamond stuff in this vid right away. But I want to see how it does at a park like this.

Loyce Harpe Park
I wonder if those handlebars are mounted backwards
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