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  1. #1
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    Fatbikes 202: Upgrades gone wild

    So I picked up my first fatbike the other day (a stock 2011 pugs) and have been enjoying taking it on a couple of trail rides. It's totally true that fatbikes aren't the fastest, but they certainly are a lot of fun.

    Here's my question though, do lighter, more "aggressive" fatbikes blur the lines between fatbikes and traditional mountain bikes?

    The reason I ask is that while I like the pugsley, it's a TANK. It's seriously heavy. It hurts to pick up. Because of that, it also hurts to climb, and to accelerate. I have the stock setup, which means 27tpi tires, surly toobz, and undrilled rims. I could presumably lose several pounds with new tires, q tubes, and a hole saw. I guess I'm just wondering if it makes a noticeable difference, and are people replacing their traditional bikes as a result? I could totally picture a 28lb, front suspended, hi-zoot fatbike in my future, but if I'm always going to be struggling to make it go up, I'd probably rather just keep the pugs as is, and lower my expectations.

  2. #2
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    Unless you are ready to drop a whole pile of money, I doubt you will ever get to the 28lbs. front suspension fatbike... for me Fatbiking is about riding my ride,, not trying to keep up with those on the skinny wheels. although at least for the most part, I am not at the backend of the pack.. since riding my necro pugs most of the summer, I have seen an increase in my ability (legs and lungs) no matter if I am on my fatty or 29'er hardtail.

    I'd suggest do what you can, if you can drill out the rims, do so,, if you can go tubeless do so. if you can spend the money on lighter tires do so. ... it was never meant to be on par with a 29'er hardtail as far as weight goes...

  3. #3
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    I have a Marge lite wheelset with American Classics hubs if you are interested.

  4. #4
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    Until you get a wheelset that has is the same weight and tires that provide the same coefficient of friction as your standard mtnbike, a fatbike will be harder to climb with.

    With regards to lifting a 32lb bike....you might want to hit the gym dude!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    Until you get a wheelset that has is the same weight and tires that provide the same coefficient of friction as your standard mtnbike, a fatbike will be harder to climb with.

    With regards to lifting a 32lb bike....you might want to hit the gym dude!
    i'll be damned if this bike weighs 32lbs. Much closer to 40. It weighs similar to my DH bike. Maaaaaaybe 36 and I'm just silly.

  6. #6
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    First off, you just got the bike the other day. It is a TANK compared to what you were riding and your body is protesting the difference. I have a 2011 Muk so it's not even close to being on the light end of fat bikes either but give it some time and the weight won't bother you so much.

    Or you invest some big bucks into lighter parts to make it lighter but remember you still bought a tank.

    Enjoy the ride and give it time. It's not always about speed and weight.

  7. #7
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    I have a 2012 red Pugsley frame, large marge lite rims, 120tpi nates, 26" q-tubes, 1x9 setup, carbon bars, carbon seat post and it still weights 33 lbs.
    I was just reading the Beargrease review for 2014. The stock beargrease(not the XX1) is 29lbs. Salsa Beargrease fat bike - first look - BikeRadar

    Just ride it and maybe lighten it up bit by bit. If you want a race rig you should buy a XX1 beargrease at $6xxx.00

  8. #8
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    Alright, so my numbers are off, I apologize...

    So let me rephrase:

    will taking weight off these bikes get them to ride better, or are they always going to be a bit doggish? Does that just come with the big squishy rubber territory?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post

    will taking weight off these bikes get them to ride better, or are they always going to be a bit doggish? Does that just come with the big squishy rubber territory?
    yes it is part of the fat bike scene however one can trim weight to improve the ride but generally speaking squishy territory is just that.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    Alright, so my numbers are off, I apologize...

    So let me rephrase:

    will taking weight off these bikes get them to ride better, or are they always going to be a bit doggish? Does that just come with the big squishy rubber territory?
    I rode a full carbon $$$$ kinda fat bike at a Salsa demo, and it took off like a rocket as close to 29er-ish feeling as you're going to get.

    It was more than twice as expensive as the '98 Legacy wagon I bought instead.

    Accept the notion that fat bikes are not for "slow in, fast out", rather that they are suited more to "fast in, hang on", and you'll be happier.

    Since the 29+ thing came along and they are looking to have deeper tread options soon, that's what I'm looking at for summer riding next year.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  11. #11
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    27 tpi tires are notoriously sluggish. go 120, ultra light preferably, and you'll notice the difference.

    my fat bike isn't slow, i am.

  12. #12
    ejj
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    Dog like? Well, bikes like these are bigger. Bigger stuff is heavier.

    I rode the new Beargrease carbon models. They are awesome. The top ride is close if not lighter than the El Mariachi 2. It is amazing.

    I have a Muk 2. It is a nice fatbike. It is lighter than the pug, but the handling was a little slower. The geometry was more touring oriented when I bought mine--Salsa has changed this a bit.

    Advice? Sell the pugs in a year or two and get something else. There are so many options now.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volsung View Post
    27 tpi tires are notoriously sluggish. go 120, ultra light preferably, and you'll notice the difference.

    my fat bike isn't slow, i am.
    I have my eye on the on-one tires. The knobs look setup for great cornering and traction. 120tpi and 1450 g should shave like 300g? per tire.

    Thanks for the tip...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    I have my eye on the on-one tires. The knobs look setup for great cornering and traction. 120tpi and 1450 g should shave like 300g? per tire.

    Thanks for the tip...
    Those are good tires, especially for the price considering competition. No complaints.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  15. #15
    try anything on a bike
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    Fatbikes 202: Upgrades gone wild

    I can tell you the best thing a fat bike does for you is teaches the importance of momentum. I am much faster on my 29er now that I have learned how important a little momentum is on a fatty.
    The most freeride like fat bike I could make with available parts...

  16. #16
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    Let me help you with a little perspective:

    - I'm used to riding a 15# carbon fiber BMC Team Machine road bike.
    - I'm 55 years old.
    - I'm recovering from a total hip replacement I had earlier this year from a crash.
    - I ride a 37# Moonlander.
    - It rides like a tank going up rocky, root-filled trails.
    - I'm still having fun!
    - Mark Ehlers
    The Prodigal Cyclist

  17. #17
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    I bought a 2013 pugsly a year ago. It was a tank, 35 or so pounds. This summer I put it on a diet, which means $$$. It is at 30.5 pounds now, and still has a little room to come down. The difference between then and now is astounding. This is my favorite trail bike now. I do not ride my 6 inch FS or my hardtail much, the pugsley rules.
    It comes down to how you want to spend your money; lighten the Surly, or start all over. It is not a easy choice.
    ****

  18. #18
    be1
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    I must be the only who thinks this way.

    I have always felt that my 907 with marge lites climbs better than my other bikes. I confirmed it today after riding my ti 29er this weekend and riding fatbike today. It seems the 29er requires constant input while the fatbike - I don't know - maybe loses less momentum for the effort expended. I can also climb in a higher gear than other bikes. (Btw, my cranks are 170 mm. ) A few pounds of bike weight don't seem to matter that much.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    I bought a 2013 pugsly a year ago. It was a tank, 35 or so pounds. This summer I put it on a diet, which means $$$. It is at 30.5 pounds now, and still has a little room to come down. The difference between then and now is astounding. This is my favorite trail bike now. I do not ride my 6 inch FS or my hardtail much, the pugsley rules.
    It comes down to how you want to spend your money; lighten the Surly, or start all over. It is not a easy choice.
    Diet is mostly on the rotating weight or elsewhere? .. I'm pondering if its worth the moolah to reduce the weight on my Moon now.

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    You can save some weight with a different set of cranks and BB - I swapped mine for e13 cranks. I don't know the weight difference but you easily feel it when holding the cranks side by side.

    Like everyone else says, marge lites are the way to go. Lighter hubs are available too because the stock XT hubs weigh quite a bit.

    I would try to set a budget and stick to it because it can get out of hand pretty quick.

    My current pugsley build is
    Easton XC70 bars
    100mm Truvativ alloy stem (pretty light, way lighter than stock stem)
    Thomson elite seat post
    Sette saddle (very light, comfortable to, and way cheaper than name brand saddles)
    E13 Cranks and BB
    Marge Lite rims laced to Surly New SS hubs (built by hand spun, you can find these for about 200)
    Surly stainless steel chain rings - a 34 and a 36
    White Industries Dos Eno 20/22 freewheel (simply brilliant)
    HuDu front, Knard rear - lightweight 120 tpi versions
    XT brakes and rotors
    Espresso cup bell so I don't scare the children

    Even with all those changes it still feels heavier than my Tallboy LTa, though I haven't actually weighed either of them. I will say the LTa gathered dust all summer while I rode the Pugs, I've given it to my girlfriend whom loves it. Despite the weight, I have set several personal records aboard the Pugs in this form on local XC trails. Definitely not as fast on the rough stuff, but it will still roll through all the same places.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 292beach View Post
    I have a 2012 red Pugsley frame, large marge lite rims, 120tpi nates, 26" q-tubes, 1x9 setup, carbon bars, carbon seat post and it still weights 33 lbs.
    I was just reading the Beargrease review for 2014. The stock beargrease(not the XX1) is 29lbs. Salsa Beargrease fat bike - first look - BikeRadar

    Just ride it and maybe lighten it up bit by bit. If you want a race rig you should buy a XX1 beargrease at $6xxx.00
    I'm surprised yours isn't lighter - what size frame? I've got an 18" and with old school large marge double wall rims, XT hubs (ie: boat anchors), 27tpi larry's (front tubeless, rear surly tube), 2x10 slx with race face ride cranks, loaded carbon bars, loaded XC stem, king headset, kona cheapie seatpost, pedals, and 2 water bottle cages - and it comes in at 34lbs.

    I've got a lot of weight to be lost in the wheels.

    To the OP: Don't worry so much about lightweight bits, upgrade as you need for breakage or to improve fit of the bike (dial in cockpit, etc)...

    That said, drilling your wheels and going tubeless is a cheap way to loose some weight where it makes the most difference. Tires (even 27tpi) roll noticeably better when setup tubeless, too.

    Also, you'll get used to it. I always get the question when running into people on trails: "Well, isn't it slower?" And yea, sorta...but then I normally don't have any problems keeping up with them, and then they're surprised I'm right on their ass on technical sections of trail, despite them being on some lightweight XC rig. Run what you brung...just keep pedaling and smiling.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by anvil_den View Post
    Diet is mostly on the rotating weight or elsewhere? .. I'm pondering if its worth the moolah to reduce the weight on my Moon now.
    I am using Q-tubes and the ultra-light casing Nates, so yes, a lot of the weight came off the wheels I also got rid of the front shifter and derailleur, both wheels were rebuilt with lighter, better hubs, a lighter cassette, a lighter seatpost, a carbon handlebar. I will be getting a white brothers fork today, and in the near future, an E-13 crankset. I should be down to 29.5 pounds after that.
    ****

  23. #23
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    The hell with the weight. I'm in it for the workout. I have lighter bikes but never seem to ride them.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcaino View Post
    To the OP: Don't worry so much about lightweight bits, upgrade as you need for breakage or to improve fit of the bike (dial in cockpit, etc)...

    That said, drilling your wheels and going tubeless is a cheap way to loose some weight where it makes the most difference. Tires (even 27tpi) roll noticeably better when setup tubeless, too.

    Also, you'll get used to it. I always get the question when running into people on trails: "Well, isn't it slower?" And yea, sorta...but then I normally don't have any problems keeping up with them, and then they're surprised I'm right on their ass on technical sections of trail, despite them being on some lightweight XC rig. Run what you brung...just keep pedaling and smiling.
    I'm not too worried about the overall diet. It takes a LOT of expensive weight savings to try and drop weight via stem, bars, saddle, etc. It's a much faster and easier to drop and notice via rotating weight and via major items, like cranks, pedals, cassette, hubs etc. 50g via a carbon bar and 15g via a stiffer stem adds up, but it takes a lot.

    I will say these bikes roll like crazy once up to speed. Mashing through the woods at a good clip is no problem on this bike...it's just the technical climbs afterwards that make you pay...and the endomorph tire I have is terrible for traction.

  25. #25
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    My 2x10 pugsley is just under 30lbs with holy Rolling Darryl. However, I don't think the rotation weight will have huge difference.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwcheung View Post
    My 2x10 pugsley is just under 30lbs with holy Rolling Darryl. However, I don't think the rotation weight will have huge difference.
    And what are the specs? I'd like to see a picture of this on a calibrated shop scale... otherwise I call BS. Maybe you have it built as a singlespeed with a carbon fork and rims to get a steel pug under 30lbs though for all I know.
    ...Be careful what you're looking at because it might be looking back...

  27. #27
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    A couple weeks ago, my friend and I each rented a Moonlander that weighs 37 pounds. I was miserable riding it uphill (I should say that I am out of shape even though I was doing well only a month ago - it sucks that it takes so little time to get fat). I had some fun going down, but thought it really wasn't very cool.

    After the ride, we went for a burger and I locked my keys in my truck. While waiting to be rescued, we rode around the parking lot. It was awesome. I felt like I was driving a monster truck and I wanted to run over everything.

    Despite the fun I had in the parking lot, I was ready to forget about fat bikes. However, I think I should try one with 3.8 inch tires that weighs under 32 pounds (total bike weight, not tire weight ). It seems like that would be quite different on the trails compared to a Moonlander. Also, I rode on mostly smooth single-track with jumps and roller coasters (Corner Canyon in Draper, UT). I wonder if I should ride a rocky, tree-rooted trail.

  28. #28
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    My 29.xx lbs Pugsley

    18" Frame & Moonlander Fork
    CK Headset & BB
    XTR, OD Crank
    Rolling Darryl Wheelset
    Tune & Schmolke Cockpit
    Last edited by cwcheung; 12-24-2013 at 05:56 PM.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timpanogos View Post
    A couple weeks ago, my friend and I each rented a Moonlander that weighs 37 pounds. I was miserable riding it uphill (I should say that I am out of shape even though I was doing well only a month ago - it sucks that it takes so little time to get fat). I had some fun going down, but thought it really wasn't very cool.

    After the ride, we went for a burger and I locked my keys in my truck. While waiting to be rescued, we rode around the parking lot. It was awesome. I felt like I was driving a monster truck and I wanted to run over everything.

    Despite the fun I had in the parking lot, I was ready to forget about fat bikes. However, I think I should try one with 3.8 inch tires that weighs under 32 pounds (total bike weight, not tire weight ). It seems like that would be quite different on the trails compared to a Moonlander. Also, I rode on mostly smooth single-track with jumps and roller coasters (Corner Canyon in Draper, UT). I wonder if I should ride a rocky, tree-rooted trail.
    I got a Moonlander because I wanted to use it primarily for winter snow riding. I've only had mine for about 2 months now, and have had it on long beach rides and a lot of single-track mtb trails. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, it climbs more like a Jeep than a mountain goat, but the gearing is low enough that I have been very surprised at how steep I'm able to climb, even while maneuvering around rocks and roots.
    I could see getting a lighter fat bike sometime in the future, but for now the 37# is still do-able.
    - Mark Ehlers
    The Prodigal Cyclist

  30. #30
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    Next upgrade: XTR M987 (and waiting the XTR I-Spec Upgrade Kit SM-SL98-B)

    F:190g (uncut 1000mm hose), R:206g (uncut 1700mm hose). Save 54g.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fatbikes 202: Upgrades gone wild-xtr-m987.jpg  

    Last edited by cwcheung; 11-11-2013 at 12:19 PM.

  31. #31
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    Sweet looking Pugs. I like it!

    Nice build, you should post it in the build thread.

    Cheers,
    Steven

    Quote Originally Posted by cwcheung View Post
    My Pugsley spec.

    18" 2014 Pugsley Frame w/Seat Clamp (2538g)
    Moonlander 135mm non-offset Fork /w Ti Bolt (1088g)
    Chris King Headset w/Top Cap, Ti Baseplate, Ti Bolt, Expander & 15mm Spacers (135g)
    Chris King Ceramic BB (104g)
    Sub-Total: 3865g

    Shimano XTR Race Brake & F01A Resin Pad (217g+233g+20g)
    Shimano XT RT-86 Ice Tech Rotor F180mm + R160mm w/Adapter & Ti Bolt (132g+115g+52g)
    Sub-Total: 769g

    Surly OD Crank w/Tune Chainring 32/22 (850g)
    Shimano XTR i-spec Shifters (228g)
    Shimano XTR F.Derailleur (134g)
    Shimano XTR Shadow R.Derailleur (176g)
    Shimano XTR 10 spd Cassette 11-36T (272g)
    Shimano XTR 10 spd Chain (265g)
    Shimano XTR Pedals (310g)
    Sub-Total: 2235g

    Surly Holy Rolling Darryl
    Surly Ultra New F.Hub 32h
    Chris King ISO R.Hub 32h w/Ceramic Bearing & FunBolts
    DT competition Spokes
    DT Pro Lock Nipples
    Surly 64mm Rim Strip (90g x 2)
    Q-Tubes Superlight Tube 26 x 2.4-2.7" (240g x 2)
    Surly Larry 120tpi Folding (1294g x 2)
    Sub-Total: 2884g (wheelset only) 6132g (wheels with strip, tube & tyres)

    Only the whole wheelset on scale, so no actual weight of individual rim, hub, spokes & nipples.

    Tune Vorbauten Geiles Teil 4.0 Oversize 85mm (106g)
    Schmolke Lowriser DH 650mm w/Bar Plugs (126g)
    Ritchey WCS Ergo Grip (32g)
    Sub-Total: 264g

    Tune Sättel Speedneedle Marathon (100g)
    Schmolke TLO Seatpost 320mm (90g)
    Sub-Total: 190g

    P.S. Use the higher weight to count if the parts are in pairs
    Lucky neighbor of Maryland's Patapsco Valley State Park, 39.23,-76.76

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