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  1. #1
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    Deciding on a New Fat Bike - Looking for input (snow flotation/year rounder)

    I am reaching out to the fat bike community requesting input on a fatbike purchase this fall for either winter only or year round depending on how the research goes. I live in MN and get a full four season of weather, and live 1 mile from a singletrack trailhead which allows me to bike between 1 and 3 times a week, most weeks of the year.

    Rider weight with hydration pack, gear, etc. is ~170ish lbs. Target bike weight 34 lbs or less.

    Budget would be ~$3k

    My current set up for winter is a 27.5+ hardtail Cujo 2 which I run 3.0" tubeless with about 400 screws though each tire. Works perfectly when the trails are packed or sheer ice. But if there is more than 2" of fresh or "mash potato" type snow, forget it.

    I also use the hardtail on pavement (less studs) when the off-road is closed and on occasion when my FS is in the shop or if I just feel like it. When it is used for dirt, it is set up with 2.8 tires.

    Ideally, I would like a hardtail fat bike which can run "fast" 4.0 or 3.8 tires for the summer, and wide enough studded (factory or home brew studs) to provide me access to the trails when flotation is required or when ice is an issue.

    Now we get to the crux of my issue and ignorance. What width tires are needed for flotation for both 26" and 27.5" diameter fatbike rims? I am seeing some information out there based on my weight, that 26x4.6 on 80mm rims should be fine, and I can run 4.0 on those in the summer. As for what width is needed for 27.5, the data is limited and muddied with "marketing" spin. Will a 27.5 x 4 provide the float needed and benefit me with a better summer ride on the shorter sidewall? Is there significant rotational weight advantages one way or the other for summer (not concerned that much in winter)? Have I provided too much information to where you eyes have glazed over and you are off to check OddStuff magazine for today's funny images?

    If I can find the right recipe for a Fat hardtail that meets my needs and allows me to stick to just two bikes, perfect. If I am asking the impossible, then I will probably just buy a less expensive rigid bike with 4.6 / 4.8 tires and just use it for winter and have three bikes, or wait until fall 2019 and see what the industry does.

    So far my considerations have been:
    Get a Fat Caad 1 on clearance from my LBS and spike the 4.8 tires on it and ride 4". Or trade up the rims/tires for 27.5 assuming it can run 4.5 for winter and then 3.8 for summer (potential for after market wheel compatibility issues with the offset lefty hub, etc.).
    Get a Heller Bloodhound and hope the 27.5 x 4 will work in the deeper snow.

    Whatever I do, I would prefer to purchase from my LBS as their support on the other six bikes we have purchased in the past has been fantastic. They typically have Cannondale, Heller, 9:Zero:7, KHS, Felt, Cogburn, Cooker, Momentum, Norco, and Surly.

    So, advice?

  2. #2
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
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    Have a look at the new Ice Cream Truck. I have two 9 Zero 7's and I love em but I just got a Krampus and like it so much I think I want an ICT now.

    I love 907 but their website has been radio silence.
    I like turtles

  3. #3
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    Iím also in MN (Minneapolis area). Iím just a bit lighter than you and Iíve been very happy using a Kona Wozo as a year round fat bike. I run the fork at 120mm and a dropper post which allows for some surprisingly aggressive riding regardless of the season. 4.6 wrathchild studded in winter and 4.0 jumbo Jim in summer on the stock 80 mm tubeless wheels. The change in B.B. height is matched to the seasons, and while I have to slide the dropouts back to clear the bigger tires I also find the longer chainstays useful in winter. Itís a pretty great setup, and I got it from a local shop, although it sounds like your preferred shop wonít have it

  4. #4
    aka bOb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lic-Niner View Post
    Iím also in MN (Minneapolis area). Iím just a bit lighter than you and Iíve been very happy using a Kona Wozo as a year round fat bike. I run the fork at 120mm and a dropper post which allows for some surprisingly aggressive riding regardless of the season. 4.6 wrathchild studded in winter and 4.0 jumbo Jim in summer on the stock 80 mm tubeless wheels. The change in B.B. height is matched to the seasons, and while I have to slide the dropouts back to clear the bigger tires I also find the longer chainstays useful in winter. Itís a pretty great setup, and I got it from a local shop, although it sounds like your preferred shop wonít have it
    Central WI and this is spot on and I run about the same tire combos^^^ I have had my fair share of fat bikes and the Wozo is the only one I have loved to shred in the summer. A little Wozo in action https://youtu.be/IOHEOjSz4Pw

  5. #5
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    You could go with a local bike manufacturer like Otso
    https://otsocycles.com/pages/voytek

  6. #6
    blood in / blood out
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    Or stop down to the House and check out the Framed Alaskan or Wolftrax. There are many on sale right now. With your budget, you could get a carbon frame bike and carbon wheelset. Just another bike for you to think about.
    RICOH for LIFE
    Pain is Weakness

  7. #7
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    I live in central Minnesota. We have about 40 miles of groomed winter trails locally. I ride a Farley EX8 full-suspension. I've found it's 27.5 wheels with 3.8 tires work great on our trails in summer and winter, as well as riding the ungroomed railroad grades around here, and tooling across the lake we live on. Full suspension isn't necessary on the snow, but I just lock it out. It's really nice in non-winter riding.

    Framed makes a nice bike but pay attention to the cranks and hubs you get, which tend to be suspect (carbon Pubs and DT Swiss hubs are nice). Personally, I have no interest in carbon, but it's true that lower rolling weight is definitely noticeable on snow. And I have found that going tubeless on a fat bike, especially in the winter, makes a HUGE difference. I'd definitely be looking for a bike with tubeless-ready tires/wheels.

  8. #8
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    my only input is, i would get something with suspension fork. My Blizzard came as rigid fork, and was fun, until i put a bluto on it, and completely transformed the bike into something awesome. i ride it anywhere, from simple trails, to downhill runs. just my two cents
    2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy LT
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    2000something canfeild Jedi

  9. #9
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    Lic-Niner - The Wozo looks good. The price point may provide some wiggle room for extra tires too. That is the first one I have see that comes with a 4.8 up front and a 4.0 in the rear. Nice that the drop outs are adjustable. Thanks for the feedback!

    Thanks for the vid link bdundee, you can sure tell when the tires leave the trail

    Bacon Fat - Did not realize there were that many local bike companies in the Twin Cities. Those also look good.

    I have not decided how I feel about Framed yet, but they are looking better.

    Keep the feedback coming. I appreciate it!

    Here is my current HT for winter:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Deciding on a New Fat Bike - Looking for input (snow flotation/year rounder)-winter-mtb-black-white.jpg  


  10. #10
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    I have a Fat Caad 1 as my only bike and am very happy with it for all season use. I use the stock 4.8 JJ tires in the summer and switch to a studded Wrathchild/Snowshoe XL F/R combo in the winter. With 4.8 tires on 80mm rims, there is over 1/4" of clearance between the tire and rear triangle/chain and 1/2" of clearance on the Lefty up front. Fat Caads have the lowest Q-factor of any 197mm spaced frame that I have seen if that is important to you, and the Lefty Olaf is amazing.

  11. #11
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    If you can get by with a 4.5 max tire in the rear, check out the Otso Voytek. The trail version is at the upper end of your price range. It has a narrow Q factor, adjustable stays, very light and is well thought out.

  12. #12
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    PolarMonkey - thanks for the info. The JJs are light from what I can tell, the 4" are almost the same weight as the 4.8". My FS has a lefty 2.0 and has been great. Q factor is something I have been looking at too. Have you made any changes to the bike, such as tubeless, gearing, dropper, etc? Anything you would change?

  13. #13
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    Really I think most fat bikes out there would fit your requirements. You may not need 5" tires at your weight but it's nice to have the option so a 190mm rear end would be preferred.

    Personally I would (and did) pick a Surly Wednesday but that's due to a weakness for steel bikes. It is limited in that it can only run 4.6" tires max but I haven't run into a spot yet that the extra .4" would have kept me from pushing the bike.

    If my budget was $3K I would go straight for a carbon bike. The salsa Mukluk or Beargrease are both great options and come with 12speed eagle at that price point. Both have fairly aggressive geo and if you really want to rip in the summer you can fit both with 27.5x4" tires and/or a Bluto fork for a ton of fun.

    Don't discount how capable these bikes can be in the summer. My Wednesday with Bluto rips almost as hard as my more aggressive 2.8" tire hardtail bikes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PUGlife View Post
    If my budget was $3K I would go straight for a carbon bike.
    Agreed. I just picked up this one. Carbon frame,carbon crankset, tubeless ready wheels, SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed.

    A little wheel and deal and I got this one for $2500.

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/fa...=239956-128867

  15. #15
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    More great info, thanks!

    prj71, are you running the stock 4"? Do you known if it can take a 4.6?

  16. #16
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    Yes it can. I took off the stock 4" and put on the 4.6 Flowbeist and Dunderbeist.

    I also had some 4.8 Jumbo Jims on there and there was still clearance for wider tire.

    Here is a pic with the Jumbo Jim 4.8 on Back and the Flowbeist 4.6 up front.

    Deciding on a New Fat Bike - Looking for input (snow flotation/year rounder)-20180309_124737%5B1%5D.jpg

    Here is one with both of the Beistyboys...

    Deciding on a New Fat Bike - Looking for input (snow flotation/year rounder)-20180415_141630%5B1%5D.jpg




    As a side to this...My Stock 26 x 4.0 Ground Control tires are for sale if anyone is intersted. Only about 30 miles on them. $125 plus shipping for the pair. These tires are $100 each new.

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