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Thread: Fat SS curious

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    Fat SS curious

    alright guys, I'm looking at either building up a fat front steel Jones as an SS or setting up a Pugs or Mukluk as a full fat SS.

    You guys that have ridden 29" SS and full fat SS, how do they compare?
    Do you run the same gear combo?
    Do you notice the weight on climbs and short burst type moves?
    Also what is weight on a stock Pugs in SS mode?

    Come on pull me to the dark side!
    Last edited by nitrousjunky; 02-14-2012 at 09:45 AM.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

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    I think I can comment here.

    Been running 29ers SS for years. Tried out a half-fat about 2 years ago and this convinced me to go full fat.

    My opinion is that half-fat is better than 29er - you get the advantage of the steamroller effect front end and straightline over stuff you used to think of as technical. However you'll always be aware of the back wheel banging away on stuff the front has cruised over.

    But the best of all is if you can go full fat right from the start.

    Handling differences - the geometry on the fat bikes I have ridden is not nimble on tight singletrack. A custom built frame, or possibly the recently announced On-One fatbike may be the answer for nimbleness. Also the low pressure front can have a strong steering drag effect - which varies according to the tyre pressure. You end up not noticing these factors in a short time as you adapt to the bike.

    Gearing - normally the same (Larry, Endo, BFL), but I reckon SS on Nates requires gearing down or the use of gears. (Just did a 24 hr solo SS with a Nate on the front and wished I'd geared lower)

    Weight - You don't notice the weight when you're rolling. The extra 10-15lbs magically disappears. However on longer rides (several hours) with significant elevations, you will eventually notice it. Where it bothers me most is hike a bike sections or when I have to lift it over 7' high deer fences. Doesn't bother me enough to revert back to 29ers though.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  3. #3
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    29 ss: Karate Monkey, previously '07 GF Rig

    Fat ss: Fatback

    For gearing, It depends on your trail conditions in the winter. Up here the groomed trails and singletrack in town get pretty hardpacked and are often actually smoother in the winter, so the same gearing as summer in town. On snowmachine trails, or trails that aren't so well packed, I gear two teeth lower out back.

    Handling. My Fatback feels pretty nimble. I find it to handle alot like the '07 Rig I had, and I really liked the handling of that bike. I come from a trials, bmx and endurance racing background.

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    One of my main fears of going full fat is the nimble factor. I don't have the funds for a custom right now and I'm needing to build something up right away.

    My experience in fat front was my custom Stickel with a fat front. It was very nimble with 16.5" CSs.

    I'd prefer the Jones have a little shorter stays, but going to 17.6+ concerns me a bit.

    Sean- what was CS length on your version Fatbacks? I know the current ones are about the same length as the Mukluks.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

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    I just measured them right now at 17.75", axle to bb spindle(not 'effective'). On a 29er, that would generally be too long for my likings, but I think with the slightly smaller tire diameter, made effectively smaller still by the low tire pressure, it ends up feeling a lot shorter. It has a similar handlebar/saddle/pedal geometry to my Karate Monkey, but bunnyhops a little more easily.

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    Seeing as we're talking about nimble, I better add I haven't ridden a Fatback.

    BTW I like short stays too but one disadvantage of them is that there is less clearance for snow and slush, so it will build up more readily at the BB bridge.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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    Witty McWitterson
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitrousjunky View Post
    alright guys, I'm looking at either building up a fat front steel Jones as an SS or setting up a Pugs or Mukluk as a full fat SS.

    You guys that have ridden 29" SS and full fat SS, how do they compare?
    Do you run the same gear combo?
    Do you notice the weight on climbs and short burst type moves?
    Also what is weight on a stock Pugs in SS mode?

    Come on pull me to the dark side!

    A] Yes. they ride different. vastly different. 29" are fast. Obviously. Fat CAN be fast, once you learn to ride them. Those huge tires handle wwaaaay different than 2.4" do.

    ii} Yes. I ran the same gear. Just worked for me I guess. I'm not some super picky type A racer guy though. YMMV.

    3| Yes. I noticed the tire weight most on long grinder climbs. Not so much on shorter climbs where momentum is your friend. Technical climbs were also different because of all the traction enhancement you have. Again, on bursty moves, once you learn the way the tires handle, those moves are accomplished pretty easily.

    IV)My Pug was right about 35lbs. Set up was Race Face cranks[heavy], Large Marge [heavy], Ritchey bar stem post [average], Avid BB7 [average] and XT, Surly hubs[again, average]. For tires, tubes, I used 2.7 free ride tubes and 120tpi tires. The tubes save a bit of weight, especially over the anchor's that come stock.

    Just do it. I've never had so much fun on a bike as I have my fattie. I've even raced in 24 hr team events, and proven that these can be ridden fast and smooth. Fat's are easily the best development in mountain bikes in like, ever. ATMO.
    Just a regular guy.

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    I'm running my Sandman as a ss, too, and I have to say it feels quite nimble. The Sandman frames were designed to feel like 'regular' bikes, not snowbikes, though, so that's something to consider.
    I do notice the weight after a while, but the comfort of the fat tyres seems to balance that out quite nicely. Gearing wise, I started out quite a bit lower than my regular ss, but I'm going to move up, even though that might mean more walking. I'm keen to explore areas further from home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ~martini~ View Post
    ...Just do it. I've never had so much fun on a bike as I have my fattie. I've even raced in 24 hr team events, and proven that these can be ridden fast and smooth...
    That's a good point.

    There's a 24 hour that I've done as a solo for the last 7 years so I have some comparison. I've always done it singlespeed, first on 26", then 29ers, and this year I thought I'd try the Pugsley in it. Rode it singlespeed with low gearing, and was certainly feeling the weight by the end.

    I managed 1 lap more than my previous best.

    Maybe this was simply me being contrary because there was some amusement at me turning up to race on it.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

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    I rode my Pugs SS for about 50 miles. Mixed terrain, varied conditions (soft, dry, snowy) and it felt fine, just a little sluggish because of the weight and rolling resistance. I loved the simplicity of it, but ended up going back to 1x10 (32 front, 12/28 rear) just to make it a little more versatile. I was running it 32 and 18,19 or 20 as a SS- yeah sliders! My other three bikes (29er, CX and Monster CX) are all SS as well.

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    Even though I a fairly dedicated SS rider, I think that fatbikes do benefit from gears.

    You will be riding into places that you wouldn't normally try, and you'll find deep snow or soft boggy terrain requires an ultra low gear. Gearing for that on a SS would mean some unpleasantly spinny rides on the firmer stuff.

    The Alfine 8 speed is the best system so far IMO (unless you can afford a Rohloff). If you fit a derailleur, then you may get it ripped off if you want to ride through dense undergrowth - eg heather on a moor.

    My ideal would be an ultra robust but light 3 speed hubgear with an extremely wide range. One for crawling, one for normal SS type riding, and a higher one for road transitions.

    Alternatively, and doable right now, I'm thinking of setting up one of my fatbikes with 3 cogs front and rear 22/32, 32/22, 38/16 and simply dropping the wheel and manually changing the chain between them as conditions warrant (same chain length, so no significant tension differences).

    I suppose that would be a tringlespeed
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Even though I a fairly dedicated SS rider, I think that fatbikes do benefit from gears.

    You will be riding into places that you wouldn't normally try, and you'll find deep snow or soft boggy terrain requires an ultra low gear. Gearing for that on a SS would mean some unpleasantly spinny rides on the firmer stuff.

    The Alfine 8 speed is the best system so far IMO (unless you can afford a Rohloff). If you fit a derailleur, then you may get it ripped off if you want to ride through dense undergrowth - eg heather on a moor.

    My ideal would be an ultra robust but light 3 speed hubgear with an extremely wide range. One for crawling, one for normal SS type riding, and a higher one for road transitions.

    Alternatively, and doable right now, I'm thinking of setting up one of my fatbikes with 3 cogs front and rear 22/32, 32/22, 38/16 and simply dropping the wheel and manually changing the chain between them as conditions warrant (same chain length, so no significant tension differences).

    I suppose that would be a tringlespeed
    I agree with this too. quite highly actually. If I know I'm going to be riding on more 'developed' terrain, I prefer single speed. If I'm riding locally, this means lots of sand, lots of steep climbing, and lots of creek crossings/muck holes. Gears work better there for me. Also may just end up riding cross country too, and gears help there as well.
    Just a regular guy.

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    Thanks for the input guys. Velo and martini, I'm kinda thinking along the same lines. The added traction and exploration the fat bike brings just sounds better with some kind of gears (either IGH or 1x).

    I'm going with a steel Jones fat front for my SS. Then I'll just plan to do a full fat geared bike as my second bike later on. I'm more interested in something along the lines of the On One type geometry anyway.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

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    I ride a raleigh XXIX SS with a pugs fork, large marge, larry combo. I only feel the weight of the front wheel on long sustained climbs. The bike is also quite heavy to begin with. Most of the summer I rode 32/20 switched to 32/22 for the winter(more clothes, less traction, snow). I love the way the bike handles in everything up to 3in of snow. After 3in I wish I had a full fat. I have never ridden a full fat. If I were to get a full fat I would look for something with more aggressive geo like the pugs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nitrousjunky View Post
    Thanks for the input guys. Velo and martini, I'm kinda thinking along the same lines. The added traction and exploration the fat bike brings just sounds better with some kind of gears (either IGH or 1x).

    I'm going with a steel Jones fat front for my SS. Then I'll just plan to do a full fat geared bike as my second bike later on. I'm more interested in something along the lines of the On One type geometry anyway.

    I have a Pug that was a 2x9 and now is a 1x9. In my opinion Fat bikes are heavy (heavier) so they are not going to shine at acceleration, deceleration or quick direction changes. So, just based on the physics, I would say a Fat SS is not going to be very efficient. Sure you can do it, and maybe you'll have legs the size of tree trunks ... or you might have a heart attack ...

    Just my opinion. And don't get me wrong, I love my Pug but I don't think I would love it SS.

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    IMO fatbikes are fine SS on the same trails you'd ride SS on an ordinary bike. The ease of rolling from the tyres makes up for the extra weight. Besides my 907 in SS mode comes in under 27lbs ready to roll, so that's not a lot heavier than a 29er.

    It's just that they have the capability to handle a much wider range of conditions, such as soft surfaces, and that's where the option for a different gear is useful.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

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    I just built my first Fatbike (Mukluk Ti) as my first SS, and I'm hooked on both!

    You don't build an SS to maximize performance (gears generally win) - for me it's about simplifying and focusing on enjoying the trail (it's so zen). Similarly, my Fatbike isn't about speed, it's about having a blast on what others might call a crappy day. I see two complementary ideas there.

    I've been running a set of Nate+Large Marges (for agressive/wet/summer riding) and just got a set of BFL+Clown Shoes (for winter/snow riding). Until we get more snow, I think 33x21t will end up being my regular ratio (flirting w 22t for soft snow and harder climbs).

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