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Bigger than Balloon tires?

Old 08-18-15, 05:24 AM
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baronvoncatania
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Bigger than Balloon tires?

What's up with the HUGE tire bikes I'm seeing now? The ones that are bigger than balloon tire bikes which are 2.125" Are these something for snow? or sand?

I ride original balloon tire bikes from the 1930s-1950s and my bikes are much smaller than these monster tire bike now.

What are their intended use?

Last edited by baronvoncatania; 08-18-15 at 05:25 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-18-15, 05:45 AM
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Are you talking about the so-called plus sizes like 27.5+ and 29+ that are appearing for mountain bikes? These allegedly provide the benefits of narrow tires without the downsides of fat tires. For example, you get better traction without the bouncy moonwalk effect from riding a 5" wide tire.
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Old 08-18-15, 06:11 AM
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Fat tires

I'm not quite sure what these measurements are, but the standard balloon tire is 26" x 2.125" and what I'm seeing is Huge fat tires that I can just barely fit my hand around. I only see them on the mountain bikes.

I'm wondering are these what people are calling "fat bikes?"

Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Are you talking about the so-called plus sizes like 27.5+ and 29+ that are appearing for mountain bikes? These allegedly provide the benefits of narrow tires without the downsides of fat tires. For example, you get better traction without the bouncy moonwalk effect from riding a 5" wide tire.
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Old 08-18-15, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by baronvoncatania View Post
What's up with the HUGE tire bikes I'm seeing now? The ones that are bigger than balloon tire bikes which are 2.125" Are these something for snow? or sand?

I ride original balloon tire bikes from the 1930s-1950s and my bikes are much smaller than these monster tire bike now.

What are their intended use?
These bikes have been popular in Minnesota for many years, thanks to the Minnesota-manufacture Surly making the first mass produced fatbikes 10 years ago: the Pugsley

Fatbikes are for snow, sand, other soft surfaces, and people who like to have fun with ear-to-ear grins:





We got a pair of Pugsley last winter, and have had a great time riding conditions that you'd never ride on 2" tires. It all started renting a pair of Crawlers on Oahu, riding them on sandy beach (middle pic). We got back to Minneapolis and bought a our own fatbikes, hardly stopped riding them since. We just got back from the Gunflint Trail, brought the bikes to ride the XC ski trails (last picture).

You honestly can't ride 5 miles in Minneapolis without seeing a fatbike, year-round. I fact, I'll be riding mine to the LBS today, needs a little tune up after the trip up North. The Pugsley is the 'small' tire options, for 'big' tires, step up to the Moonlander with 4.8" tires.

Edit - one afterthought, to the those new to fatbikes, they run on extremely low pressure in the tires. I run 7-8 psi in summer conditions, on snow I run them lower, for fresh snow I run 4-5 psi to get max footprint and float. You never run the tires over 15 psi.

Last edited by Hypno Toad; 08-18-15 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 08-18-15, 06:45 AM
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Hey Hypno Toad

Thanks for the info. I was an avid cyclist in the 90s, and got away from it. Now I've come back to riding and am amazed at the advances!

You must have strong legs for these fat bikes!
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Old 08-18-15, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by baronvoncatania View Post
I'm not quite sure what these measurements are, but the standard balloon tire is 26" x 2.125" and what I'm seeing is Huge fat tires that I can just barely fit my hand around. I only see them on the mountain bikes.

I'm wondering are these what people are calling "fat bikes?"
I'm guessing you're talking about bikes like Hypno Toad shows in the his photos. Yep. Fat bikes. Tires approaching five inches wide, and maybe exceeding that by now. They've blown up in nearby Marquette, Michigan. There's at least one snow-bike trail that's groomed there in winters now.

They seem to be common in certain regions, for example in Alaska, northern Minnesota, Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I would not really expect to see very many in, say, Manhattan.

There is also an in-between class of bikes having those plus-size tires I wrote about. Not as fat. Not as thin.
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Old 08-18-15, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by baronvoncatania View Post
You must have strong legs for these fat bikes!
My neighbor kids of 12 and 13 years of age recently demo'd one -- a Salsa Mukluk -- on a trail in Marquette. They didn't find the bikes difficult to pedal and my impression of their speed was that it was more or less normal for them. They did comment on difficult steering though. They had to work harder to overcome the front tire and steer the bike.
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Old 08-18-15, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by baronvoncatania View Post
Hey Hypno Toad

Thanks for the info. I was an avid cyclist in the 90s, and got away from it. Now I've come back to riding and am amazed at the advances!

You must have strong legs for these fat bikes!
The fatbike is a workout but not as bad as you'd think. Obviously, they are not the fastest bikes on flats. However, on downhills, you can really let it fly. Last week on the Canadian boarder, I was downhilling a gravel road and had it up to 30 mph on gravel (fast than my car on that road). I ended up running out of gears and coasting. The gearing is designed to climb, and it is GREAT at that. I've done some huge/steep climbs.
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Old 08-18-15, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
My neighbor kids of 12 and 13 years of age recently demo'd one -- a Salsa Mukluk -- on a trail in Marquette. They didn't find the bikes difficult to pedal and my impression of their speed was that it was more or less normal for them. They did comment on difficult steering though. They had to work harder to overcome the front tire and steer the bike.
Funny, I found the same thing with the Origin8 Crawler, tough to steer. However, I've never felt that way about the Pugsley. I think it's either the tire tread or the pressure or both. I take my Pugsley on tight single tracks around town and it handles great (just like the 26" MTB), only issue is the wide bars clipping trees.
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Old 08-18-15, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
Funny, I found the same thing with the Origin8 Crawler, tough to steer. However, I've never felt that way about the Pugsley.
I've only ever tried the Pugs, and then only around the parking lot once or twice. I let the kids have all the time on the Mukluk. They had great fun and each did a 1.5 mile loop on single track. They were running over roots and rocks with impunity. Not sure they even felt half what they ran over. The one kid did make the one comment about the steering. Was pretty clear they were having lots of fun though.
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Old 08-18-15, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
I've only ever tried the Pugs, and then only around the parking lot once or twice. I let the kids have all the time on the Mukluk. They had great fun and each did a 1.5 mile loop on single track. They were running over roots and rocks with impunity. Not sure they even felt half what they ran over. The one kid did make the one comment about the steering. Was pretty clear they were having lots of fun though.
That is exactly why Lisa fell in love with the fatbike, ride over ANYTHING! She's never been a mountain biker, but after getting the Pug, she loves riding rough/crazy terrain. Fatbikes are fun turned up to 11!
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Old 08-18-15, 08:56 AM
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They do alright in snow, 4-5" of fresh powder on a path is really ideal. A foot? Not so much.

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Old 08-18-15, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post

.
Is this June or September in Minnesota?
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Old 08-18-15, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
Is this June or September in Minnesota?
That was last week.... Minneapolis, not for the weak!
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Old 08-18-15, 10:06 AM
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Minnesota Series Dealers | Framed Bikes, these are selling well out here , a Lot lower cost than

What Surly (part of QBP) gets made in Taiwan to sell thru QBP distribution ..
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Old 08-18-15, 10:23 AM
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Yep. Fatbikes. I bought my Fatback in '08, first generation Ti frame. It changed winter riding for me (and living in Anchorage, winter riding is a big chunk of my riding).

No, they won't work if you have a foot of fresh snow. But riding on packed trails is a he'll of a lot more fun on a fatbike than on a regular mountainbike. Lower pressure, lower rolling resistance. And fat tires are the perfect trail grooming tool. There must be thousands of fatbikes here, and the trails that used to take a week after a snow storm to get packed now are packed in a day.

For summer use, yes they are fun but not a replacement for a mountainbike for me. A Fatbike on regular trails is more of a monster truck, plow over things feel. Fun, but not the same as a mountainbike to me.
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Old 08-18-15, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Minnesota Series Dealers | Framed Bikes, these are selling well out here , a Lot lower cost than

What Surly (part of QBP) gets made in Taiwan to sell thru QBP distribution ..
I have personal friends at The House (parent company of Framed) and at QBP (parent of Salsa, Surly, etc). Framed it a good lower-priced option for sure, and another Minneapolis company. I believe all fatbikes are being made in Asia, like almost all other bikes we buy in the US. There are a small number of craft brands manufacturing in the US (i.e. Appleman in Minneapolis)

I got a great deal on my Pugs because of my relationship with the LBS. I went with Pugsley for the 'original' flavor, and supporting my local brand.

Another low price entry is Cooker - Minneapolis shops are carrying these too.

Hell, you can get a Mongoose at Walmart for $250.

There is a price point to fit everybody's ego - right up to the CF full suspension Bucksaw for $6,500
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