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  1. #1
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    Decisions: bigfoot or '12 pug

    Tl/dr version: '14 bigfoot vs '12 pugsley, I test rode both

    I have been wanting to get a fat bike for a while, but with the recent good weather in calgary, I got a chance to ride a couple on some snow while picking up my other bike from the lbs.

    i tried a brand new pug and norco bigfoot, and was surprised at the price difference (pugs are $2100 in Canada). The pug felt more stable due to the Nate/Larry combo, but the steel frame, cable breaks, old school twist shifters all left me wondering why it was $600 more than the norco. new tires on the norco would put me around $1900 with taxes, etc. included, not far off the pug price.

    i decided to check kijiji, by chance there was a '12 pug for a couple hundred less than the bigfoot. It still has the older tire on the back (not the Nate, which REALLY helped traction), but looks basically unused.

    here is my dilemma, both bikes felt competent, and fit fine. The older hardware and Steel frame of the pug kind of rubbed me the wrong way as it will be a winter bike, and for that price, I wouldn't expect to need a lot of upgrades. The norco would have warranty, a full fit by the lbs, and has much more up to date hardware (including dot 3 hydro brakes that won't freeze up). Surly have made a name for themselves int his market, any have years of research behind their models. Norco is no slouch, it is an entry level bike but they know how to build a mountain bike. That said, the frame design has changed 3 times before it launched, and the tires are really crap.

    So what's the right move?

  2. #2
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    Only advice that I can think of is: "Sleep on it!"

    (Forgive me. I need to get my post count up so that I can post some pics of my cheaply built SS beer store cruiser, and other metallic laggards that are holed up in my garage).

    Myself, I can still hardly believe that, only today, I ordered a 2014 Pugsly frame set, a wheel set with rear built on Alfine 8 spd IGH, and most of the other components that I'll need to finish the bike. Some of the components are minor upgrades from what is offered with the stock Pugs. Hope to see the stuff arrive sometime in the first week of Feb.
    Feels good to have finally "pulled the trigger," and no, it does not seem like I'm playing "russian roulette."

  3. #3
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    Did you go to Bow's demo day at COP?

    Anyway, I would go for the Bigfoot, it's a decent spec for the $$$, just the tires could be upgraded to something studded for the ice after a chinook.

  4. #4
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    Bigfoot. I tested the same combo. The fit + specs + aluminum = sale. The standover has been a godsend. Upgraded the tires to a Nate back and Husker Du front. I haven't second-guessed the selection once. The Bigfoot is seriously fun. And the stock tires will be fine for hardpacked, flowy dirt trails if you ride in other seasons.

  5. #5
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    "here is my dilemma, both bikes felt competent, and fit fine. The older hardware and Steel frame of the pug kind of rubbed me the wrong way as it will be a winter bike, and for that price, I wouldn't expect to need a lot of upgrades. The norco would have warranty, a full fit by the lbs, and has much more up to date hardware (including dot 3 hydro brakes that won't freeze up). Surly have made a name for themselves int his market, any have years of research behind their models. "

    I strongly recommend the pugs!!! Have had an aluminum framed 907 for three years now (great bike by the way) but if I had to do it all over again I would grab either the pugs or perhaps the moonlander from a bang for the buck point of view. I have rode several pugs and can feel the nice steel ride immediately compared to the dead alum feel. People say you cant feel the difference in frame materials due to the size of the tires but I believe otherwise. Friends of mine have noted the same.

    Also, the twist shifters are a plus for winter riding. I am considering installing grip shifters at added expense since triggers are awkward with the thicker gloves worn in colder temps (-1 F as I write this) Believe me, there is a reason that Fatback runs grip shift. Now, I should mention that I would go for either the base pugs or the moonlander. i would not bother with the neck romancer/special ops/whatever the name is now model unless one really liked that spec for some reason. The base pugs is the better value and it can also run 29+ rims and tires for the summer if you wanted to go that route. Do a search for Krampug and you can read up on it if you wish.

    Oh, and I have become a huge fan of BB7 mechanical brakes. Better feel when wearing gloves and playing in snow. I actually like my BB7s better than the hydros on my 29er (Avid Juicys) and am considering replacing my hydros with the Avid BB7s!

    For me the tough decision (knowing what I know now) would be Moonlander or base pugs? These other "me too" lifeless aluminum bikes would not even be on the radar. However, this all assumes that the pugs fits you well. I have had ill fitting bikes and that can make every ride a chore. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Bikes both fit great, I suppose what the real dilemma is will be where are fat bikes going in the future? It seems like the last year or so a ton of new models have arrived, and a lot of advancements are being made. Would the pug be really out of date in a couple years? Is the Bigfoot going to have the ability to last more than a season or two?

  7. #7
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    I was in the same boat as you and ended up going with a Pugs Ops. One of the reasons I chose the Pug because of the steel frame. I love the supple feel of a steel frame on the road and for that same reason I chose the Pug. There is a damn good reason for the “steel is real” saying. I never actually got around to testing the Norco though I kind of wish I made the two-hour drive to do so. Norco really needs to get some more dealers on board here in New England.

    In addition to the steel frame and all the rack mounts, tires and wheels were instrumental in my decision. These are arguably the most important part of a fat bike to get right. The Nates are amazing tires the Holy Rolling Daryls are nice too. The double walled Wienmann rims I was not too crazy about. Immediately upgrading the tires on a brand new bike just so that it can properly ride the terrain it was designed to is a bit disappointing. Having said that the wienmans are 80mm where the Pugs you are looking at are almost definitely 60mm.

    Also there is no getting around it the Surlys are insanely overpriced new and that price for a 2012 used one seems really high.

    If your ok with a aluminum frame, buying new tires and heavier (?) wheels go with the Norco. I think its one of the best looking fat bikes out there. Throw a blue Race Face Turbine crank on there and some blue Race Face grips and that bike will looks amazing (actually can some one do that I really want to see what it looks like).

    So far I am very happy with the Surly. It is a super solid and versatile bike, a bit heavier than the Norco. I did not buy it to race, I bough it as a slow fun riding bike to train during the winter and the added weight will only make me stronger.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by finboy View Post
    i decided to check kijiji, by chance there was a '12 pug for a couple hundred less than the bigfoot. It still has the older tire on the back (not the Nate, which REALLY helped traction), but looks basically unused.
    Go for it! I've been on a Pugs since 2009 and if I was at all dissatisfied with it I would have replaced it in a heartbeat. Personally I think the steel frame is a bonus.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by finboy View Post
    Bikes both fit great, I suppose what the real dilemma is will be where are fat bikes going in the future? It seems like the last year or so a ton of new models have arrived, and a lot of advancements are being made. Would the pug be really out of date in a couple years? Is the Bigfoot going to have the ability to last more than a season or two?
    Funny enough, my friend and I had this same discussion three years ago. We were in "awe" of the "new technology" including symmetrical 170mm hub wheelbuilds, non rusting aluminum frames and "stronger" centered wheel sets vs. the "old" 135 mm goofy looking offset, rust prone, "weak" offset wheeled old outdated old school pugs.

    You know what, bottom line is that the those modern hubs left me walking out of the woods three or four times, few upgrade options at the time (there are more nowadays), regarding the frame rusting I can guarantee you the components will rust much quicker than the frame and you may have noticed that the 170mm is being outdated by the "new and improved" 190mm hubs.

    Meanwhile Surly still is able to run the widest rims and the widest tires without frame or chain rub (referring to the Moonlander of course) using "outdated technology" such as offset, steel frame and 135mm hubs. If anything, the pugs is the safer choice since the dust has not settled yet on hub and rim choices per se.

    I can truly understand the allure of the uber lightweight fatties such as the Yampa and other upcoming carbon models but at the mid level I see few real benefits to the "updated designs". Then again maybe I will soon be changing my name to "Team Retro Grouch" lol. The good news is that I think you will have a blast riding the bike regardless of your choice. Good luck,
    Last edited by Team Honeybadger; 01-22-2014 at 05:52 PM. Reason: pitiful paragraphs batman!!!

  10. #10
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    there are +'s and -'s for both ...I have owned both I had a pugs a couple winters ago but sold it to fund another bike build
    after missing the fat experience I was looking to get another pugs or moonlander this year when my lbs told me norco was coming out with one and the price point.... I ordered one I have had it for a while now and really enjoy it.
    For me I like the geometry of the norco better miss the steel frame....If you are riding anywhere it gets extremely cold the bb7 brakes are a plus even if they seem like old tech. the vee tires on the norco while good on dirt are not much fun on snow so figure on another $300 for tire upgrade..I went with nates and very impressed
    I like the stand over on the norco but I like the space for a frame bag on the surly.....the fact of the matter is
    both are fun

    which ever you get you will be happy cause fat bikes= fat smiles
    biking makes it better

  11. #11
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    Pretty even split, thanks for all the opinions, keep them coming!

  12. #12
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    Tools in the shed....

    Hmmm..I have NOT ridden, or owned either of these bikes.

    HOWEVER, If they both fit well, and you appear to like/dislike certain aspects of each, they are in your price range, and since this is your first fat bike, you may choose to prioritize how you will use it?

    For example, if you think you're gonna be a backcountry adventurer, then the pugs with all it's mounts might be a better option.

    If you're gonna ride a fat bike as another bike, just go out for a couple hours or more with no intent of any sort of bike packing, then maybe the Norco is worth consideration?

    I'm as detail oriented and analytical as anyone, so I always try to balance that with my intended use. Components are easily swapped, so think of it like tools in the shed, shovel or rake?

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