Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Fatbikes for Touring on Dirt and Gravel Roads?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Fatbikes for Touring on Dirt and Gravel Roads?

Old 11-16-16, 12:57 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 379
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Fatbikes for Touring on Dirt and Gravel Roads?

What would be your first choices among bikes and tires for months of touring on hardpack dirt roads? (Typically roads with some gravel, both embedded and on the surface.)

(Comfort and minimal jolting are important. And all-day longterm sustainability.)
lightspree is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 01:54 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 9,002

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Liked 2,006 Times in 1,256 Posts
Just MHO, I'd take a standard-ish MTB. Going for months on end, I'd be looking for fairly firm roads to make some miles, so I wouldn't need much, if any, suspension.


I'd have to live near something like the Arizona trail to justify any wider tires (3-4"?), or perhaps live near some groomed ski trails that allowed wide-tired bikes. To be honest, that would either be something I'd write off as a one-time trip expense or I'd call it a backyard play bike.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 01:55 PM
  #3  
Full Member
 
engineerbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Land of Eternal Winter
Posts: 289
Liked 17 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by lightspree
What would be your first choices among bikes and tires for months of touring on hardpack dirt roads? (Typically roads with some gravel, both embedded and on the surface.)

(Comfort and minimal jolting are important. And all-day longterm sustainability.)
Last month, I rode roughly 200 miles on the KATY Trail, using a Salsa Mukluk. The Mukluk still wears its original "Nate" tires. The KATY is mostly hard-packed gravel, but with a few sections that were rutted. In terms of comfort, that bike could not have been better. However, even with elevated tire pressure to compensate for two loaded panniers, rolling resistance was significant. At the end of the day, I was tired.

YMMV

Bob
engineerbob is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 02:50 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,977
Liked 190 Times in 129 Posts
Fat bikes are best left for singletrack, snow and sand. Fatter tires on a standard rim/frame would work fine for what you are considering.
alan s is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 05:01 PM
  #5  
Expired Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 11,979
Liked 5,904 Times in 2,978 Posts
Yes, Fatbikes are kind of special purpose. Where specifically are you planning to tour? Someone here may have experience with those roads. Also, you might want to say whether you will have baggage support or be self contained.
shelbyfv is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 05:54 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 379
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Self-supported, mainly in high-desert and mountain Southwest, on Forest Service and other unpaved backroads.
lightspree is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 06:23 PM
  #7  
Expired Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 11,979
Liked 5,904 Times in 2,978 Posts
Since it will be mostly dry, maybe you don't feel the need for discs. In that case, you might look at the Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross Monster Cross Frames - Black Mountain Cycles It is steel, has rack mounts and takes up to 50mm tire. For a complete bike with discs, our very own Squeezebox seems happy with his Trek 920. Ooops, looks like Monstercross is sold out, more coming the first of the year?

Last edited by shelbyfv; 11-16-16 at 06:39 PM.
shelbyfv is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 08:01 PM
  #8  
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 16,797

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Liked 7,738 Times in 4,301 Posts
Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Ooops, looks like Monstercross is sold out, more coming the first of the year?
Still available, though not all sizes. Based on time frame from previous versions, itll probably be february/march or so before the next version will be in stock as they were ordered at the start of september. New frames will be unchanged in design, but will come in gloss black and red.
The links show what sizes are available in various colors and versions.
Monster Cross V5 - Black Mountain Cycles
Monster Cross V3, V4 Frames - Black Mountain Cycles

Ill take this chance to post up mine which i flippin love! Its a v4, so no 3rd water bottle spot and no sweet pacenti crown like the newest version.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 08:06 PM
  #9  
Expired Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 11,979
Liked 5,904 Times in 2,978 Posts
Cool! One of the nicer colors.
shelbyfv is offline  
Old 11-16-16, 09:07 PM
  #10  
Banned.
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2,077
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by engineerbob
Last month, I rode roughly 200 miles on the KATY Trail, using a Salsa Mukluk. The Mukluk still wears its original "Nate" tires. The KATY is mostly hard-packed gravel, but with a few sections that were rutted. In terms of comfort, that bike could not have been better. However, even with elevated tire pressure to compensate for two loaded panniers, rolling resistance was significant. At the end of the day, I was tired.

YMMV

Bob
The Trek 920 with 35mm tires was a good choice for the Katy. Also I used a 15-25 cassette with 28-42 chainrings. Where you are going, would the stock low gear of 28-36 work for you? Stock tires are 2". On the Katy I saw all kinds of stuff that worked for the individual rider. Except I don't think I saw any tubulars.

Last edited by Squeezebox; 11-16-16 at 09:12 PM.
Squeezebox is offline  
Old 11-17-16, 04:55 AM
  #11  
Membership Not Required
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On the road-USA
Posts: 16,855

Bikes: Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG

Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 15 Posts
This is what I use for everything from paved roads to fire trails. It is currently outfitted with "city" tires. If I plan a trip that is going to be mostly off pavement, I might swap them out for something a bit more aggressive.

Aaron

__________________
Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
wahoonc is offline  
Old 11-17-16, 05:13 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Aushiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Walyalup, Australia
Posts: 1,427

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Salsa Mukluk, Riese & Muller Supercharger GT Rohloff (Forthcoming)

Liked 43 Times in 36 Posts
My preferred touring is "chasing the dirt", i.e., dirt roads and beyond over bitumen roads. I have completed a 3,000 km tour of such an ilk on my Surly Long Haul Trucker and for the main it did the job well, however it was never fun on the corrugations and on some days that could be a day's riding.

My other "touring" bike is my Salsa Mukluk fatbike which I use in a bikepacking setup. My first outing on this bike was in September when I completed the Holland Track which is a four-wheel drive only track. However I had some dirt road sections either side of the Holland Track itself.


Holland Track Day 1: Lake Carmody Road
by Andrew Priest, on Flickr

Personally I would probably be more inclined now to take the Salsa Mukluk over the Surly Long Haul Trucker as I could still do an easy 100 km day, I can pump up the tyres for the long days on hard-pack and I could average around 20 km/h plus it just gave me the option to lower the tyre pressure to take on the corrugations (and I coped them a lot on the Holland Track) and of course opens up other options on the ride.

It was also simply more fun to ride.
Aushiker is offline  
Old 11-17-16, 05:17 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Bali
Posts: 2,244

Bikes: In service - FSIR Spin 3.0, Bannard Sunny minivelo, Dahon Dash Altena folder. Several others in construction or temporarily decommissioned.

Liked 17 Times in 17 Posts
Surly Ogre
Surly Straggler
Soma Wolverine
VO Piolet
Abu Mahendra is offline  
Old 11-17-16, 08:17 AM
  #14  
Its only pain
 
dannwilliams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Hammond, WI
Posts: 930

Bikes: '18 Salsa Marrakesh, '14 Salsa Colossal, '89 GT Timberline

Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra
Surly Ogre
Surly Straggler
Soma Wolverine
VO Piolet
And maybe the Surly Krampus?
dannwilliams is offline  
Old 11-17-16, 08:34 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I believe that a fat bike can be an excellent touring choice for gravel/dirt. I have done a couple of short tours and some long day rides on my Mukluk with much success. I think one of the keys is to use lighter tires than the Nates, unless you are going to be riding very difficult terrain. I have about 2500 miles on a pair of Panaracer Fat b' Nimbles and have really liked them. I put the Nates on for the Winter. Another idea is the Salsa Fargo. I have been riding mine with an Ardent 2.4" in back and a 3" tire in front and it works very well. Have not had a chance to tour with this setup. Joe Cruz at Pedaling in Place has some great thoughts on touring with a fat bike.
rjl33 is offline  
Old 11-17-16, 08:49 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,207

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
I do most of my riding on hardpack dirt rail trails, and don't use anything special. 32-ish wide tires. I wouldn't hesitate to use it on a long trip on well maintained dirt roads.

If you get in to rutted roads or soft sand, not so much.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 11-17-16, 11:29 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,173

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle, Tubus racks - Duo front/Logo Evo rear, 2019 Dahon Mariner D8, Both bikes share Ortlieb Packer Plus series panniers, Garmin Edge 1000

Liked 115 Times in 99 Posts
I am surprised no one here has mentioned the Surly ECR yet. I am pretty well set on building up one of these myself when I can make it happen. The best part for my purposes is I can run a 3" or so tire if I want, or swap out for anything else down to a road-duty 700C wheel set. Though, I anticipate my Disk Trucker will still do the main work of pavement and hard packed trail. I need more flotation than I can possibly get on a 700C rim and clear the Disk Trucker frame, but I don't want to sacrifice the touring capability any.

The Surly Troll would be another decent option, though it won't clear as wide of tires as an ECR.

I don't like Surly's trekking bars. A lot of people really like them. My preference is still a drop bar like the DT I have, even for a wider tire bike - more hand positions for me. I see some here have those on bikes they tour with off-pavement also so I am not the only one.
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 11-18-16, 04:08 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Bali
Posts: 2,244

Bikes: In service - FSIR Spin 3.0, Bannard Sunny minivelo, Dahon Dash Altena folder. Several others in construction or temporarily decommissioned.

Liked 17 Times in 17 Posts
Not in my book, for the Krampus lacks rack braze-ons and eyelets.

Originally Posted by dannwilliams
And maybe the Surly Krampus?
Abu Mahendra is offline  
Old 11-18-16, 04:11 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Bali
Posts: 2,244

Bikes: In service - FSIR Spin 3.0, Bannard Sunny minivelo, Dahon Dash Altena folder. Several others in construction or temporarily decommissioned.

Liked 17 Times in 17 Posts
The ECR is too much for the intended terrain. An Ogre with 2.5" meat would be more than enough. Heck, even an Ogre may be overkill, and a Straggler with 41mm Ķnards could be more than enough.

Originally Posted by KC8QVO
I am surprised no one here has mentioned the Surly ECR yet. I am pretty well set on building up one of these myself when I can make it happen. The best part for my purposes is I can run a 3" or so tire if I want, or swap out for anything else down to a road-duty 700C wheel set. Though, I anticipate my Disk Trucker will still do the main work of pavement and hard packed trail. I need more flotation than I can possibly get on a 700C rim and clear the Disk Trucker frame, but I don't want to sacrifice the touring capability any.

The Surly Troll would be another decent option, though it won't clear as wide of tires as an ECR.

I don't like Surly's trekking bars. A lot of people really like them. My preference is still a drop bar like the DT I have, even for a wider tire bike - more hand positions for me. I see some here have those on bikes they tour with off-pavement also so I am not the only one.
Abu Mahendra is offline  
Old 11-18-16, 08:26 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,709

Bikes: Downtube 8H, Surly Troll

Liked 22 Times in 21 Posts
Never cared for gravel or dirt with my LHT. It could handle it, but even with 700 x 40 tires, I felt I was bouncing around too much. That's one reason I switched to a Troll. Currently commuting on 2.15 tires, and I'm building up a wheelset that will be closer to 3". I feel like this bike will easily handle just about any road or trail I'm likely to try to follow. I rode a fat bike for the first time the other day, and I was loving how it rolled over everything, including curbs, and hardly noticed it. But it was more work to push it along. If I were to spend an extended time off-road, I could see really enjoying the fat bike, but I don't think I'd be tempted to take it places where I'd primarily be on roads, no matter what their condition. I agree with some of the other suggestions of a mountain bike or a plus bike, and I'll add that the Troll is a very capable touring machine.
Rob_E is offline  
Old 11-18-16, 08:39 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,721

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Liked 111 Times in 66 Posts
Originally Posted by lightspree
What would be your first choices among bikes and tires for months of touring on hardpack dirt roads? (Typically roads with some gravel, both embedded and on the surface.)

(Comfort and minimal jolting are important. And all-day longterm sustainability.)
For me, something in the 2.5 to 3" works well. Currently running 2.3 slicks with 35 mm rims on the Karate Monkey. There will be a tradeoff between speed, comfort and sustainability. Suspension fork is one answer. Surly and Maxxis both make sort of smooth 29x2.5 tires. For me, that would be the sweet spot.
Leebo is offline  
Old 11-18-16, 09:37 AM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
mdilthey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,923

Bikes: Nature Boy 853 Disc, Pugsley SS

Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 6 Posts
3" was perfect in Iceland. Like, really perfect. My girlfriend's 2.4" were too narrow- she now rides 3" as well.

mdilthey is offline  
Old 11-18-16, 09:48 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,977
Liked 190 Times in 129 Posts
Fatbike or Troll for touring? I'm taking the Troll.



alan s is offline  
Old 11-18-16, 09:55 AM
  #24  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Liked 1,360 Times in 866 Posts
my Trekking bike and my Bike Friday have 1.75" wide tires, either would do ..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 11-18-16, 12:27 PM
  #25  
old fart
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: PA-US
Posts: 379
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
My current tourer I built a few years ago.
It runs 42 mm wide 650b tires.
IK_biker is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.