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  1. #1
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    Fat bikes in 5 years

    Its really fun to watch the fat bike craze start to really grow. I am new as an owner, but have been aware since first seeing them about 7 years ago.
    it is a great time to be a company that is in the fat bike market because it seems that supply cant keep pace with demand. That said, with big companies jumping in the game, the market will soon be plentiful and people will be looking closer at value and quality.
    I am really curious to see what the norm is in 5 or so years....will it be rigid, full sus, front sus, 5 inch tires, carbon frames?
    I realize that regular mountain bikes have tons of options and all have their place, but up until very recently full rigid was the only real option for fat bikes unless you wanted to modify yourself a lefty or something.
    Pricing should also be interesting...as companies start to recoup their initial investments and tooling , you would think the mass produced products will get much less expensive. Items like wheels, frames, tires, etc should become commonplace, and the more expensive bikes will be the ones that continue to push and innovate just like in regular mtb.
    Will we see $250 carbon frames on ebay from Asia? I dont see why not...
    any thoughts on the future of what seems to be the end of a niche market?

    Or will this be a flash in the pan and go back to snow and beach only? Will everyone look back and laugh at this era like they do with outdated hairstyles and sweaters?
    2009 Salsa Fargo
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    2012 Cannondale SL4 29

  2. #2
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    Good question, and only time will tell, but I think there will be a separation between the types of fat bikes, just like there is in the MTB world. I can see light, carbon 1x11 rigid race bikes and slack geo trail bikes with all sorts of "standard" hubs and BB's. The problem now is everybody has their own vision of what a fat bike should be, so there is a lot of tweaking going on to make them fit their owners needs. I think it's a mistake to believe that a $5,000 carbon fat bike will be perfect for everyone, when a Pugsley-type bike will serve many peoples needs just fine. In the end, the only people who will win are the bike company marketing guys, who treat every micro-evolution as a revolution, and dole out the products in small dollops to keep the fervor going.

  3. #3
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    I kinda remember a time when you only had one bike. Now with so many sud- groups. 650b, 26er, 29er, single, 27, 30 speeds, front suspension, full suspension, fat bikes.

    I wonder how much the market can support.

  4. #4
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    I will add, fatbikes are visually appealing and can be ridden in all types of situations.

    So unlike 69ers or 36ers. Fatbikes, will be around a long time. Just need to make them more affordable to the masses.

  5. #5
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    Both good points. It will be interesting to see if in the long run all fat bike raiders relate to one and other, or if they fall more in line with the already established sub groups.
    So, for example, will a fat bike SS rider relate more to fat bikes in general, or with the singlespeed folks...
    To the next point, I agree there are an abundance of choices right now. I think many niches are being supported by riders that own multiple bikes. I think I am in the majority in owning more than one bike, aside from my fat. I know some people only have one bike and it is a fat bike, but I believe that is not the common scenario.
    2009 Salsa Fargo
    2012 Surly Pugsley
    2012 Cannondale SL4 29

  6. #6
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    Current fatbikes will be the normal mtbs.

    Future fatbikers will be debating whether there is a handling problem with the 50mm offset chainstays on the 8" tyre SuperPug.

    Packraft companies will be going broke because fatbikers are riding straight across the water on their 8" tyres.

    We'll be complaining that there's no carbon rims over 120mm, and whether foamed polycarbonate is a suitable material for rims.

    There will be a Walbatross which weighs 80lbs, which will be popular with the yachting community for its anchoring properties.

    Gates will introduce the Carbon Drive chain which will be promoted as replacing old hat belt drive, but it will be an odd metric size and only fits their proprietary chainrings.

    Shimano will introduce an electronic 179mm hub gear which doesn't fit anything.

    Chainrings with all teeth the same thickness will be patented by one of the big Bike Cos.

    Jones will at last discover that straight tubes are lighter and make a stronger structure than curly ones but nearly goes broke because everyone with a fat wallet prefers curvy bikes.

    And I'll still be trying to prove steep head angles are better than slack for handling in ruts....
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  7. #7
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    Thats good stuff...
    I particularly like the line about Jones.
    Also, your point about normal mtb may be true...this could be the revolution
    2009 Salsa Fargo
    2012 Surly Pugsley
    2012 Cannondale SL4 29

  8. #8
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    I just hope that the 10" 20 pound Mars Carbon Rover is out soon.

  9. #9
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    Re: Fat bikes in 5 years

    Fat bikes will hover in the future. Kind of like those hoverboards from the movie "back to the future". We will all be comparing how fat our hover is... or how we need lighter flux capacitors... or something.

  10. #10
    will rant for food
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    Velobike, knowing your tastes, I like how you mixed in a bit of serious and bit of satire. Love it.
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  11. #11
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    We will make our own frames at home using 3D printers that extrude a carbon nanotube/ceramic/titanium matrix suspended in a soy-based bio-resin. Tire compounds will soften/stiffen according to the terrain and will be self-healing. Rim tape will use backlit e-ink.

    And a big name manufacturer will show a prototype suspension fork at the Galactibike 2018 show, but won't actually put it into production.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post

    And I'll still be trying to prove steep head angles are better than slack for handling in ruts....
    And somewhere in the highlands of Scotland a beloved gent nearing his mid...will still be struggling to lift his now sub 20lb fat bike over a fence...

    The more things change...the more things stay the...
    Just like Fat Bikes...the posters on here can go anywhere...and do.

  13. #13
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    Lets be honest if anyone actually is still riding and not typing, they will have discovered this antiquated standard of '135mm offset' with these dinky 4" tyres and rave about how little drag they have with an 'all rounder' appeal they have.
    After agreeing that the 6" tyres were'nt that necessary and the 32" overall diameter limited it to riders over 6'5. They decide to make something for the masses.

    I love technology but it has to be progress (rider upgrading from a purple pugs to a preordered fatboy)

  14. #14
    will rant for food
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    We will make our own frames at home using 3D printers that extrude a carbon nanotube/ceramic/titanium matrix suspended in a soy-based bio-resin. Tire compounds will soften/stiffen according to the terrain and will be self-healing. Rim tape will use backlit e-ink.

    And a big name manufacturer will show a prototype suspension fork at the Galactibike 2018 show, but won't actually put it into production.
    I belly laughed.

    You win, man. You win.

    EDIT - BTW the super sophisticated printing of bike frames will probably arrive some day.
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by duggus View Post
    Fat bikes will hover in the future. Kind of like those hoverboards from the movie "back to the future". We will all be comparing how fat our hover is... or how we need lighter flux capacitors... or something.
    I think the prototype is already out there judging by Drevil's photos
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  16. #16
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    On a more serious note I'd like to see:

    Large diameter through axles as standard.

    A hubgear to fit 170mm and 190 axles. Wouldn't need too many gears but a wide ratio, and a through axle would be nice.

    A frame that breaks down for easy transport (eg like a Ritchie)

    A trailing link suspension fork with the brake arm adjustable so that you can dial in the anti-dive characteristics.

    If we are to get 8' tyres, then low profile please.

    If we are to go really fat on our tyres - say 10" - then we'll need a method of transmitting drive to the back wheel that doesn't interfere with the tyre, maybe something like the Alenax?

    And for those who think really fat tyres aren't feasible, I refer you to similar recurring discussions in the history of bicycles over the last 100 years (eg 1930s when tyres the size of mtbs were proposed). It just depends on the technology used to make the carcass.

    A realisation that the bike geometry and fittings that suits an XC racing whippet aren't necessarily the best option for a somewhat less fit rider with no sponsored parts.

    A derailleur museum so the next generation can stare in wonder at the kludges once used to change gear.*



    And some retro improvements:

    A reintroduction of grease nipples and oil ports and the concept of maintenance.

    Loose balls on all bearings so no one needs to spend a fortune fixing duff bearings.

    Big drum brakes so that we never need to buy another over priced brake pad.

    Oilbath full chaincases.



    *sorry, had to get that in
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  17. #17
    mighty sailin' man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    If we are to get 8' tyres, then low profile please.
    bingo. We've hit the breaking point diameter wise already. for runts like me at least

    I wanna play too
    Quote Originally Posted by davidarnott
    wheelies, beyond being the best way over any sort of obstacle, both above or below, are are the steedliest expresstion of joy

  18. #18
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    in 5 years I will have mint vintage super rare Moonlander for sale, limited edition, all original for sale on craigslist for just $25000

  19. #19
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    In the five years the latest trend will be the 29" sized fat rims. In another 5 years the 27.5" fat tire rim will be all the rage.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  20. #20
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    (For Dirt trail riding, which is the future for these bikes as they take over and become the benchmark) We will see full suspension, light weight frames and rims will be the norm(alum and carbon) tires will cap at 3.8 doen to 3.3, rims down a bit to 50mm range. IG hubs will prevail, or even better be placed mid frame. High wide bars 3-4" rise, and 30-32" width will provide the leverage to handle the big tires like a regular trail bike.
    2012 SC NOMADc
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  21. #21
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    Quote Originally Posted by mongol777 View Post
    in 5 years I will have mint vintage super rare Moonlander for sale, limited edition, all original for sale on craigslist for just $25000
    Mine is already for sale for a lot less than that.

  22. #22
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    My take on all this (I'll use all-mountain in my argument because it covers most MTBing):

    A fat bike rim/tire combo shines at lower pressures. Inflated to a firmer pressure gives a 29er-like experience. If riders intend to shred them like AM bikes, they'll likely become disillusioned by frequent pinch flats at lower PSI. If running higher PSI, riders will realize the bike is just a 29er with massive tires that bounce too much, even with suspension. If running tubeless, I don't know what kind of abuse a fat wheel can take compared to the average MTB wheel. But at that point, why even have a fully AM fat bike?

    In other words, a fat bike is not the right bike for serious MTBing. Now don't get me wrong, I firmly believe in "it's the rider, not the bike", but like anything there are exceptions. A road bike wasn't the ideal equipment for offroad use, hence the MTB was born. That same logic is applicable here.

    That leads my thought experiment (and personal experience) to the conclusion that like any other bike, fat bikes will eventually settle into a few niches and stay there. Wider rims (up to 40mm I surmise) will become the norm with most MTBs, essentially following the enlightened view that fatter/wider=better because of increased traction and decreased rolling resistance/tire deflection.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupremeDork View Post
    ...In other words, a fat bike is not the right bike for serious MTBing...
    Well it depends what you call serious mtbing.

    To me all the jumping and shredding etc is just play biking, a sort of offroad bmxing in circles*, and serious mtbing involves getting your bike across mountainous terrain or heading off on expeditions.

    There a long established organisation in the UK called the RSF.org.uk and the emphasis is using the bike to get places offroad, and their sort of riding is what I do.

    What we will eventually see is bikes provided for all shades of fatbiking, like the difference between a road race bike and a touring bike, and lots of stuff in between.


    *There's probably a better way to put that, it's not intended to sound like I'm knocking that sort of riding, it's fun.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  24. #24
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    Can we quickly settle on a definition of "serious"?
    I only ask because I'm heading out for a ride on my clown bike soon, and I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Well it depends what you call serious mtbing.

    To me all the jumping and shredding etc is just play biking, a sort of offroad bmxing in circles*, and serious mtbing involves getting your bike across mountainous terrain or heading off on expeditions.

    There a long established organisation in the UK called the RSF.org.uk and the emphasis is using the bike to get places offroad, and their sort of riding is what I do.

    What we will eventually see is bikes provided for all shades of fatbiking, like the difference between a road race bike and a touring bike, and lots of stuff in between.


    *There's probably a better way to put that, it's not intended to sound like I'm knocking that sort of riding, it's fun.
    I hear ya! I'm not a big-hit rider, but I love to go fast. All is well on the fat bike until the terrain gets excessively bumpy.

    We all buy/build bikes for our intended use. From a mass-market perspective a fully fat bike seems improper and unnecessary when I consider my above musings. Do I want one? Hell yes, but the reality in my head is that mid-fat is where MTBs are going. I think Surly figured this out.

    I don't know what a FS fat bike would be like. Maybe the bouncy tire problem would be minimal? But, if you consider that same bike ridden into fat bike territory, crawling along, I imagine it would be too much bike and negate the whole ATB aspect.

    Also, I can see why some fat bikers have a second wheelset for trail riding.

    This is the best solution to the "can a fat bike be a MTB" dilemma!:

    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    We will make our own frames at home using 3D printers that extrude a carbon nanotube/ceramic/titanium matrix suspended in a soy-based bio-resin. Tire compounds will soften/stiffen according to the terrain and will be self-healing. Rim tape will use backlit e-ink.

    And a big name manufacturer will show a prototype suspension fork at the Galactibike 2018 show, but won't actually put it into production.
    Perfect, now give me the option to convert it full-rigid to hard tail to FS with my choice of fat or skinny hoops, all without it looking like a transformer.

    As for "serious" MTBing, we all have different ideas of that. For me it's mainly long climbs up that are a blast to bomb down, punctuated with rocky/rooty sections, if they're there.

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