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  1. #1
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    Fat vs Suspension

    I'm looking for views and experiences from all fatbikers regarding the comparison of a 4" + tire to riding a full suspension rig - and this question pertains to regular mountain biking through the warm weather.

    My fatbike experience is only about 3 weeks old but I have well over 20 yrs. on mountain bikes of all flavors, and I'm really liking my new bike.

    I'm convinced the beauty of not having to deal with suspension and all the headaches that goes with the complexity of it, trail grip, and just the fact that a fatbike gives all-season riding should and already is a game changer in the industry.

    I know that fatbike manufacturers are going to try to convince riders that we need a full suspension fatbike, but I don't think we need it. I'm not just resistant to change, I think a larger tire, maybe even 6" with the weight designed out of it, would be great. Tire weight is obviously an issue.

    Anybody else?

  2. #2
    MaverickMotoMedia.com
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    I don't need a FS Fatbike, but for a lot of the riding that I do, I want an All Mountain/Trail fatbike with 100-120mm of squish, plus 4" tires. That would rock.
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  3. #3
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    Suspension enables you to go faster on rugged terrain with more comfort and bit more control. I thought I would keep my fat bike rigid but after 3 months I started feeling a few new aches. Decided to get a lefty conversion and now a happier trail rider.

    Different terrain, age, ride length etc all add to the equation of what is best for you.

  4. #4
    Wizard of the Trail
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    Fat vs Suspension

    Quote Originally Posted by Montster View Post
    Suspension enables you to go faster on rugged terrain with more comfort and bit more control. I thought I would keep my fat bike rigid but after 3 months I started feeling a few new aches. Decided to get a lefty conversion and now a happier trail rider.

    Different terrain, age, ride length etc all add to the equation of what is best for you.
    Pretty much sums it up. I started riding on a rigid mongoose. I have gone to hardtail to full suspension and back to hardtail. I currently ride a rigid 907 fat bike. I seldom wish I had suspension. There are very few times I wish I had a fork, but never for a fully setup. I love the low maintenance of the rigid fat bike. I have also been leaning towards another fat bike setup single speed.


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  5. #5
    ouch....
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    Exactly...nobody "needs" suspension...but it sure is nice!!! Bring on the squish.
    Riding.....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montster View Post
    Suspension enables you to go faster on rugged terrain with more comfort and bit more control. I thought I would keep my fat bike rigid but after 3 months I started feeling a few new aches. Decided to get a lefty conversion and now a happier trail rider.

    Different terrain, age, ride length etc all add to the equation of what is best for you.
    60 yrs old... I just look for better line, and let the fast guys beat themselves to death.

  7. #7
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    I ride a fully rigid Ti fatbike with 4" tires and carbon fork. I'd equate it to something like a 3" travel FS skinny tired bike. I say "something like" because there are differences, pro and con. To me, the fatbike seems more inclined to hold a line going downhill, even in the face of decent sized obstacles. But to get the best suspension-like feel requires a fairly low tire pressure (around 7 psi for me), which puts you at risk of pinch flats. For now, it's a good tradeoff in terms of reduced weight and complexity. If reliable lightweight forks come on the scene, I might be tempted.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Testmule View Post
    game changer
    Means "hahaha these people are going to buy this sh$%!" ;-)

  9. #9
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    A little story to add to this. I think it was around '07 when a friend of mine who owned a LBS ordered a Pugsley in. We all had a ride on the bike and put off as interesting, but who would really want one, with all of its oddities. Who knew.

    A fellow who was headed to Africa bought the bike and said it would be perfect for where he was going - apparently lots of sand and dust. Kind of sorry I didn't hear a follow up.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Exactly...nobody "needs" suspension...but it sure is nice!!! Bring on the squish.
    yea squish squish

  11. #11
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    Fat vs Suspension

    Full suss has its place, I really like my hard tail, and I love my fat.

  12. #12
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    To compare the fat tire ride to a fs 29er I would say that you can tune the fs 29er to exactly what you need including rebound. The fat tire has some good cushion but there is really no way to control rebound. The higher the pressure in the fat tire the more bounce (lack of rebound control). Less pressure and you reduce the bounce but if you are ridding a hard packed trail you want higher pressure. I ride a 9-0-7 with a Lefty front fork. This completely controls the bounce from the front tire and gives great cushion. I imagine a small amount of cushion on the back end would do the same.

  13. #13
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    Ok, suspension has its place even on a fatty. I have notice the rebound factor, but the squish from the 2 or 3 inches certainly smoothes out the ride on washboard.

    Not having ridden snow yet, and I do live where we usually can count on lots, how would suspension apply then. It's obviously a different style of riding.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Testmule View Post
    I'm looking for views and experiences from all fatbikers regarding the comparison of a 4" + tire to riding a full suspension rig - and this question pertains to regular mountain biking through the warm weather.
    I ride rough technical rocky/rooty terrain and there is no comparison between my fatbike and my regular MTB which has over 6" of high quality travel at both ends.

    I ride my Pugs on the trails from time to time for a change of pace, but my FS bike is better in every way for summer trail riding.

    Having said that when I go to Baja to beach camp I take the Pugs and would never even think of taking my FS bike.

    They are both excellent machines that are good at different things.
    Safe riding,

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  15. #15
    Nemophilist
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    I'll quote myself from another current thread;

    Of course there is the weight. However, if a trail or course is anywhere near rough with constant roots, rocks, long gravel sections, and such, I think the benefits of going fat are in the decreased wear & tear on your body. Better concentration, LESS concentration required, less energy expended overall because of the continuous low level absorption. Lots of climbs? Well... duh. Yes, the big bumps are ones to be taken into serious consideration on a Fatty, particularly at speed. However, leveling out the smaller noise really changes the tenor of the ride to a startling degree.

    I rode my RIP9 in just such a venue this week after riding my Fatty for months previously. Tons of glacier dumpings... like rocks everywhere standing straight up on end... with rock outcropping thrown in for good measure. Real tire poppers. The ride was much more difficult with 5" of travel than on a Fatty with "none." Let's not talk about the CONSTANT low BB peddle strikes! The Fatty just cuts all the crap, and you also don't have to be so careful not to wander a few inches off the trail tread and nail one of the vertical stone glaciers.
    There are times when I also wish for a fork, as that is where the beating comes from. Much less deleterious with a Mary bar installed, but still some front squish would help. No need on the rear in my year-round experience. I've got to get back to my fork project!
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
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  16. #16
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    I went on my maiden ride of my Leftified Pugsley today (and Marge Lites, not a fan of the RD's for anything other than winter) and while I was super happy to have the front suspension now, on the tech-y trail I was on today, my Transition Bandit 29 would have been way faster and more controlled. The benefit to the Pugs was, as usual, it's surefootedness on wet off camber roots, and wet rock crawling.

    It really really depends on how and where you ride, I suppose, that's why people will have differing opinions here. I had a rigid Pugsley before getting my full squish 29er, and at the time when the Pugs was my main mountain bike, I would say "this can do anything I'd want it to do." Now, after becoming semi-proficient at thrashing a 5" 29er, I know that to definitely not be the case.

    Well, it CAN do everything, just not very fast. But sometimes, that's ok.
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  17. #17
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    To me a full suspension fatty would have to be built up fairly light to be enjoyable and efficient (like in the low 30's).
    And I love beer!!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    To me a full suspension fatty would have to be built up fairly light to be enjoyable and efficient (like in the low 30's).
    Good point! 3 or 4 lbs. is a lot when you're dragging your ass up that nasty mountain trail. I just spent plenty of $$$$ to put a rigid Carver fork on my new bike. It's so light I'm lifting the front end on climbs.

  19. #19
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    I think Cannondale needs to do an am/trail geo fs with 2"r, 3"f designed around their DYAD shock and their Headshock. It should utilize 26"x3.25" on 65's..of course it would have to accomodate 4.0's on 80's as well because, well...just because...

    It would be really cool if the air/oil shocks could be removed and the bike converted to rigid and/or Ti coil springs (no air or oil) as then there would be no seals to worry about in the cold.
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  20. #20
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    I go back and forth between my Pugs and my FS bike this summer and it has been an awesome season in BC this year so far. Slower on Pugs for sure but slower does not have to equal less fun.

    For me the added grip of Fat more than makes up for added weight of Fat.

    If I am looking for a fast, jumpy, downhill oriented ride I go FS. If it is a slower less downhill ride or if conditions are not ideal I go Pugs. I tend to ride Pugs for solo rides.

    I do wish for a front Sus fork on the Pugs fairly regularly.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselFuelOnly View Post
    I tend to ride Pugs for solo rides.
    I think this is the huge thing for me- when I ride solo, it is a very scenery-oriented, ponderous, relaxed ride. The Pugs bumbling along fits this pace perfectly. When I am with friends, we tend to really rip it, so my FS is better.
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  22. #22
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    I don't remember who posted a similar thread a little over a year back, but someone mentioned a rigid fatbike being "un-damped" suspension. So far where I normally ride or race, I've only encountered one long bumpy downhill where I had to seriously hit the brakes to avoid bouncing out of control. Quite a few people that have never ridden a fatbike always ask me if it's a good downhill bike. I always tell them it has it's limitations without a front suspension fork, otherwise you can bounce out of control on the really big hills.

  23. #23
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    Most of the trail riding I do with my fat bike is on the snow. One of the reasons I bought it was to save the suspension components of my FS rig I was riding in the winter. So for me, a FS fatty defeats the purpose. I'm quite happy with a fully rigid ride on the snow covered trails around Durango.
    Craig, Durango CO
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  24. #24
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    What's involved in mounting a Cannondale Lefty? Are the crowns the same or different?
    I owned a Scalpel a few years back and enjoyed the Lefty - no problems over a couple of years of hard riding.

  25. #25
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    Around me (SE Michigan), there are some trails that seem purpose-built for rigid fat bikes, and there are others that turn them into instruments of torture. I've yet to find one where the big tires weren't welcome, but the lack of suspension is a different story.

    So I guess I'm saying "It depends..."
    Let the market decide!

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