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  1. #1
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    Fatbikes and XC bikes

    I've been riding a Surly Ice Cream Truck for over a year, and I kept thinking about how much I'd like to have a steeper head angle (The ICT HTA is 68*)

    Recently I got a 2015 9:Zero:7 Whiteout and I like it noticeably better because of the 69* HTA.

    I really like XC bike geometry around the midwest area where I live so my question is this:

    What is the steepest HTA production fatbike frame available? (I don't have custom build funds)

    I know the Pugsley has XC geometry which I like, but I'm wondering if there is something more up to date (thru axles, symmetrical frame) available.

    Seems like all XC geo MTBs are fading away slowly...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    I've been riding a Surly Ice Cream Truck for over a year, and I kept thinking about how much I'd like to have a steeper head angle (The ICT HTA is 68*)

    Recently I got a 2015 9:Zero:7 Whiteout and I like it noticeably better because of the 69* HTA.

    I really like XC bike geometry around the midwest area where I live so my question is this:

    What is the steepest HTA production fatbike frame available? (I don't have custom build funds)

    I know the Pugsley has XC geometry which I like, but I'm wondering if there is something more up to date (thru axles, symmetrical frame) available.

    Seems like all XC geo MTBs are fading away slowly...
    XC geometry and 68° HTAs are not mutually exclusive. Plenty of XC bikes in that 68-69° range. I think anything above 69.5° is dead/dying, and a handicap.







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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    XC geometry and 68° HTAs are not mutually exclusive. Plenty of XC bikes in that 68-69° range. I think anything above 69.5° is dead/dying, and a handicap.







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    Good point, I should have been more specific. I mean an XC race bike geometry, meaning 71-72* HTA...

    And it won't handicap you depending where you live. If your trails are mostly flat and climbing having a bike with a steep HTA would be that handicap for snappy handling and climbing. YMMV.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    Good point, I should have been more specific. I mean an XC race bike geometry, meaning 71-72* HTA...

    And it won't handicap you depending where you live. If your trails are mostly flat and climbing having a bike with a steep HTA would be that handicap for snappy handling and climbing. YMMV.
    Yeah, again, the Olympic XC race was won on a bike with a 68° HTA. Both the mens' and womens' races, actually.

    I'm a pro XC racer, racing a bike with a 68.5° HTA.

    That's the way bikes are moving. For good reason.

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  5. #5
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    How long is your stem?

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    77 or 88mm, depending on the day.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    I've been riding a Surly Ice Cream Truck for over a year, and I kept thinking about how much I'd like to have a steeper head angle (The ICT HTA is 68*)

    Recently I got a 2015 9:Zero:7 Whiteout and I like it noticeably better because of the 69* HTA.

    I really like XC bike geometry around the midwest area where I live so my question is this:

    What is the steepest HTA production fatbike frame available? (I don't have custom build funds)

    I know the Pugsley has XC geometry which I like, but I'm wondering if there is something more up to date (thru axles, symmetrical frame) available.

    Seems like all XC geo MTBs are fading away slowly...
    Probably something else going on there besides the 1 degree. I have an angleset headset and tried it in both positions to see if I liked a XC or more slack angle on the 29er. Ended up liking the 65.5 better even though I mostly rode XC bikes for twenty years. Not sure I would be able to tell the difference of one degree.
    The wheel is a extension of the foot

  8. #8
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    RMB Head Tube Angle 67 (deg)
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Doom View Post
    Probably something else going on there besides the 1 degree. I have an angleset headset and tried it in both positions to see if I liked a XC or more slack angle on the 29er. Ended up liking the 65.5 better even though I mostly rode XC bikes for twenty years. Not sure I would be able to tell the difference of one degree.
    The difference wasn't huge but it was noticeable, especially when climbing.

  10. #10
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    I really like the feel of the Fatboy with the 70.5* HTA and 468mm fork, I just have had terrible luck with every Specialized I've ever had and don't want to get another one...

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    Silverback Fatbikes have really steep head tube angles. For example Scoop Single geometry chart says it's head tube angle is 71.5 degrees. All rigid models have 71.5°, front suspension models have 70.5° and full suspension model has 69.5° head tube angle respectively. I am not sure if the geometry charts are 100% accurate as i have not seen proper in depth reviews with bike handling characteristics explained.

    There is the thing that Silverback is located at Germany so i dont know how easy it is to buy them in the US.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShredFIN View Post
    Silverback Fatbikes have really steep head tube angles. For example Scoop Single geometry chart says it's head tube angle is 71.5 degrees. All rigid models have 71.5°, front suspension models have 70.5° and full suspension model has 69.5° head tube angle respectively. I am not sure if the geometry charts are 100% accurate as i have not seen proper in depth reviews with bike handling characteristics explained.

    There is the thing that Silverback is located at Germany so i dont know how easy it is to buy them in the US.
    Cool stuff!

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    I was thinking of maybe having Walt make me a 15x150 fork with an A/C or 450mm. That would take my HTA from 69* to 70.25*.

    Does anybody know of a production 15x150 fork with an axle to crown length of 450mm or so? I only know of 468-490mm lengths.

  14. #14
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    Shorter stem and narrower bar will quicken the feel of the existing bike. I, on the other hand, used an Angle Set to slacken my hta even more. From 69d to 68d. And 68d works fine for what I like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Shorter stem and narrower bar will quicken the feel of the existing bike. I, on the other hand, used an Angle Set to slacken my hta even more. From 69d to 68d. And 68d works fine for what I like.
    Good points, but a steeper HTA also helps with climbing.

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    " steeper HTA also helps with climbing" I've heard that point made. But for the life of me, I don't see how a steep head angle helps a bike climb. It seems harder to keep a good line climbing steep rocky single track on a very twitchy bike. A more forgiving front end seems better to me when you are hopping up ledges and crossing ruts on a climb. I agree that if you are extreme on the slackened head angle, and you put a lot of weight on the front wheel at low speed, you can get a feeling like the wheel wants to flop over . I don't get that effect at 68 degrees. But since the cross country guys like steep geometry, there must be something I am missing.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    I've been riding a Surly Ice Cream Truck for over a year, and I kept thinking about how much I'd like to have a steeper head angle (The ICT HTA is 68*)

    Recently I got a 2015 9:Zero:7 Whiteout and I like it noticeably better because of the 69* HTA.

    I really like XC bike geometry around the midwest area where I live so my question is this:

    What is the steepest HTA production fatbike frame available? (I don't have custom build funds)

    I know the Pugsley has XC geometry which I like, but I'm wondering if there is something more up to date (thru axles, symmetrical frame) available.

    Seems like all XC geo MTBs are fading away slowly...


    I can tell you that my 2015 Trek Farley steers 1000% better than the Ice Cream Truck I had, especially at low speed. I don't know what the H/A is, but the new ones are 69*.
    No moss...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    I can tell you that my 2015 Trek Farley steers 1000% better than the Ice Cream Truck I had, especially at low speed. I don't know what the H/A is, but the new ones are 69*
    The Fatboy handles the best IMO, the Farley handles well too. For some reason the way the brake caliper is set up on the Farley I always rub my heels on it. I'm very duck footed

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    The Fatboy handles the best IMO, the Farley handles well too. For some reason the way the brake caliper is set up on the Farley I always rub my heels on it. I'm very duck footed
    70.5* on the Fatboy. Can't say I've noticed any heel rub on the caliper.
    No moss...

  20. #20
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    That's why I like the Fatboy is the 70.5 HTA. Feels great, but every Specialized I've ever had has had countless issues and poor service.

    And most people don't rub the caliper, I do because I'm super duck footed.

  21. #21
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    HTA isn't messing with your climbing it's where your weight is when climbing. My fat bike is 71 iirc (older mukluk) and my new plus bike is 68. No difference in climbing as I have cockpit measurements matched exactly. The only gain to the fat bike is the longer stays, which usually comes with steep HTA. My plus bike is far more responsive in twisty stuff of our Midwest trails. Going shorter stem helped the fat bike a lot.

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  22. #22
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    What I noticed before slacking my head angle on my Les Fat was that it was very hard to keep the front tire on a narrow snow packed trail. When there is 36" or more inches of snow on the ground, you may only have a 6" sweet spot in the middle of the packed trail. Get off that sweet spot and the front tire dives. A squirrely front end just doesn't want to stay on the trail. And similarly, a squirrely front end gets pushed around on a rocky single track at high speeds. A steep head angle also makes it easier to get pitched over the handle bars on a steep rocky descent. I don't like getting pitched over the handle bars.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    I can tell you that my 2015 Trek Farley steers 1000% better than the Ice Cream Truck I had, especially at low speed. I don't know what the H/A is, but the new ones are 69*.
    I had a terrific time when I demoed at Farley in the fall, 2014 (so I think this was a new, 2015 model). If I recall correctly, the head tube angle that year was 70* (I believe that Trek slackened the HA to 69* starting in 2016). The bike was nimble and quick in the characteristically twisty singletrack we have here in the northeastern US. The front end stayed down and was manageable on the many short, steep, rocky climbs that we have where slacker bikes would have a greater tendency to wander. Ultimately, I ended up getting a 2015 Fatboy, which, at 70.5*, shared the same nimble ride as the Farley and is appropriate for the trails that I ride. I also like that I have greater control *picking* lines through rock gardens and other technical sections rather than having to barrel over obstacles. Certainly, inn other areas of the country, a slacker front end may be preferred.

    So, despite what the "authorities" in this thread have suggested, bike frame geometry DOES make a difference. I don't know what production frames are out there that still top 70* (other than the Spec Fatboy), but if that's what you like, ChargeCookerMaxi, I'd keep looking. If nothing turns up, I'm sure that a custom frame builder could accommodate you...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by FitmanNJ View Post
    I had a terrific time when I demoed at Farley in the fall, 2014 (so I think this was a new, 2015 model). If I recall correctly, the head tube angle that year was 70* (I believe that Trek slackened the HA to 69* starting in 2016). The bike was nimble and quick in the characteristically twisty singletrack we have here in the northeastern US. The front end stayed down and was manageable on the many short, steep, rocky climbs that we have where slacker bikes would have a greater tendency to wander. Ultimately, I ended up getting a 2015 Fatboy, which, at 70.5*, shared the same nimble ride as the Farley and is appropriate for the trails that I ride. I also like that I have greater control *picking* lines through rock gardens and other technical sections rather than having to barrel over obstacles. Certainly, inn other areas of the country, a slacker front end may be preferred.

    So, despite what the "authorities" in this thread have suggested, bike frame geometry DOES make a difference. I don't know what production frames are out there that still top 70* (other than the Spec Fatboy), but if that's what you like, ChargeCookerMaxi, I'd keep looking. If nothing turns up, I'm sure that a custom frame builder could accommodate you...
    That's been my experience, too. Quick in the corners, climbs well but doesn't feel like it wants to endo on steep descents and doesn't wander at low speed like riding in snow or picking your way through a rock garden.

    I should clarify that I bought mine 2nd hand and it came with a Sarma carbon fork. Im not sure what the length or offset is, and currently I have a 100mm Manitou Magnum fork and 27.5+ wheels on it for the summer.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    " steeper HTA also helps with climbing" I've heard that point made. But for the life of me, I don't see how a steep head angle helps a bike climb. It seems harder to keep a good line climbing steep rocky single track on a very twitchy bike. A more forgiving front end seems better to me when you are hopping up ledges and crossing ruts on a climb. I agree that if you are extreme on the slackened head angle, and you put a lot of weight on the front wheel at low speed, you can get a feeling like the wheel wants to flop over . I don't get that effect at 68 degrees. But since the cross country guys like steep geometry, there must be something I am missing.
    Most of them can't go down the hill to save a puppy.
    So that 71* really helps them climb very well.

    I went a few laps in a XC race were the guy would kill me up the climbs. but I would blow past him in the DH and he needed flats to catch back up. damn dirtroadies. lol
    Too Many .

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    I bought a Niner SIR with a steeper HTA, rode it, loved it, but it was like most other bikes I had ridden geo-wise. Bought a Niner ROS, with a much slacker HTA, and don't understand why anyone rides with a steep HTA. I used to be completely against even trying anything below 70, but I now climb better than ever, and am far more stable. No issues in techy stuff at all. Do what you want, but I agree with Le Duke that over 70 HTA is a handicap these days.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by FitmanNJ View Post
    I had a terrific time when I demoed at Farley in the fall, 2014 (so I think this was a new, 2015 model). If I recall correctly, the head tube angle that year was 70* (I believe that Trek slackened the HA to 69* starting in 2016). The bike was nimble and quick in the characteristically twisty singletrack we have here in the northeastern US. The front end stayed down and was manageable on the many short, steep, rocky climbs that we have where slacker bikes would have a greater tendency to wander. Ultimately, I ended up getting a 2015 Fatboy, which, at 70.5*, shared the same nimble ride as the Farley and is appropriate for the trails that I ride. I also like that I have greater control *picking* lines through rock gardens and other technical sections rather than having to barrel over obstacles. Certainly, inn other areas of the country, a slacker front end may be preferred.

    So, despite what the "authorities" in this thread have suggested, bike frame geometry DOES make a difference. I don't know what production frames are out there that still top 70* (other than the Spec Fatboy), but if that's what you like, ChargeCookerMaxi, I'd keep looking. If nothing turns up, I'm sure that a custom frame builder could accommodate you...
    Thanks for the support dude!

  28. #28
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    I know that people like slack angles, but I prefer choosing a line rather than just bashing through stuff knowing that I won't go over the bars.

    Another thing most people don't realize is *WHY* bikes have slacker head angles. For example a bicycle with 200mm of travel and a 62* HTA will have a 72.7 HTA when bottomed out. If it had something like a 70* HTA to begin with the HTA would be 80.5* bottomed out which would be really bad.

    Rigid bikes have no considerable travel hence why a steeper head angle is good. IMO YMMV.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    I know that people like slack angles, but I prefer choosing a line rather than just bashing through stuff knowing that I won't go over the bars...
    You don't really believe that a 2 degree difference in HTA doesn't allow you to pick lines, do you? Or forces you to bash through stuff? Ridiculous.

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    I don't believe that no, but I do believe that it does help.

    I would post a comeback but I'm not a jerk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    Thanks for the support dude!
    I really don't post much, but I do bristle a little when I see persons posting up strong opinions based solely on their OWN trails and reasons for riding. If bombing technical downhills is your "thing" (or apparently, if you're an Olympic racer), then by all means, a slacker geo makes sense. One of my closest trail systems, though, has about 2 miles of what they call "The Twisties." I've tried riding a slack bike in that section, and it doesn't work too well.

    I'm glad I read this thread because I hadn't realized until now that for the last 2.5 years I've been riding "handicapped" -- sure *seemed* like great fun all of this time. I had a 29er before my Fatboy, and I used to endo more regularly than I'd like to admit. But you can't compare 29er geo to fatbike geo -- the tires make a difference. Since I got the Fatboy, riding the very same trail systems (and more aggressively, I might add), I've endoed...not once! Shift your weight back, and for the steepest downhills that I encounter, all is well...

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    I prefer the same type of bike as it sounds that you do. I went with the Dengfu FM190 frame set. they have a new one now called the FM191 with slight changes and updates. the overall get is still very race oriented. I live in the Minneapolis area so i wanted a bike the climbs and handles very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    I've been riding a Surly Ice Cream Truck for over a year, and I kept thinking about how much I'd like to have a steeper head angle (The ICT HTA is 68*)

    Recently I got a 2015 9:Zero:7 Whiteout and I like it noticeably better because of the 69* HTA.

    I really like XC bike geometry around the midwest area where I live so my question is this:

    What is the steepest HTA production fatbike frame available? (I don't have custom build funds)

    I know the Pugsley has XC geometry which I like, but I'm wondering if there is something more up to date (thru axles, symmetrical frame) available.

    Seems like all XC geo MTBs are fading away slowly...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fatbikes and XC bikes-thumb_img_8805_1024.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    I prefer the same type of bike as it sounds that you do. I went with the Dengfu FM190 frame set. they have a new one now called the FM191 with slight changes and updates. the overall get is still very race oriented. I live in the Minneapolis area so i wanted a bike the climbs and handles very well.
    Now this is more like it!!! I just need to overcome my carbon fear

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    Not sure where you are located but I have a 19" and a 15" frame built up (mine and my wife's) that you are more than welcome to test out. I was apprehensive at first of carbon but seeing how well this bike handles my excessive mass I am confident in the material now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    I know that people like slack angles, but I prefer choosing a line rather than just bashing through stuff knowing that I won't go over the bars.

    Another thing most people don't realize is *WHY* bikes have slacker head angles. For example a bicycle with 200mm of travel and a 62* HTA will have a 72.7 HTA when bottomed out. If it had something like a 70* HTA to begin with the HTA would be 80.5* bottomed out which would be really bad.

    Rigid bikes have no considerable travel hence why a steeper head angle is good. IMO YMMV.
    The slacker head angle allows the bike to feel comfortable descending at higher speeds. When you are descending, even a slack geometry looses a lot of it's head angle relative to flat ground and the direction of the force of gravity. A steep descent pushes the rider's center of gravity forward such that a relatively small error can lift the back wheel up. Or over load the front wheel causing it to lose traction.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    Not sure where you are located but I have a 19" and a 15" frame built up (mine and my wife's) that you are more than welcome to test out. I was apprehensive at first of carbon but seeing how well this bike handles my excessive mass I am confident in the material now.
    Wow that is very kind of you! I live in the MKE area, so quite a ways away from you, but thank you very much for the offer!

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    [QUjOTE=ChargeCookerMaxi;13126913]Cool stuff![/QUOTE]
    I have last year's Silverback Double Scoop. Similar specs, though the 2017 is upgraded to carbon fork and thru axles. Geometry feels fine to me, pretty nimble without being twitchy. Mind you I don't really have anything to compare it too. The only other fat bikes around here are other Silverbacks or similar geometry Fatboys. The brand is pretty popular in Southern Africa

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    I've been riding a Surly Ice Cream Truck for over a year, and I kept thinking about how much I'd like to have a steeper head angle (The ICT HTA is 68*)

    Recently I got a 2015 9:Zero:7 Whiteout and I like it noticeably better because of the 69* HTA.

    I really like XC bike geometry around the midwest area where I live so my question is this:

    What is the steepest HTA production fatbike frame available? (I don't have custom build funds)

    I know the Pugsley has XC geometry which I like, but I'm wondering if there is something more up to date (thru axles, symmetrical frame) available.

    Seems like all XC geo MTBs are fading away slowly...
    I just happened to view the current Borealis Flume thread and clicked through to the manufacturer's site. Several of the Borealis bikes seem to have geometry similar to what you've mentioned an interest in. Could be worth a look...

  39. #39
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    I found what I wanted! Crust Scapegoat. 71.5* HTA

    And its steel as a bonus

  40. #40
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    My old Kona Explosif's steering never felt the same after i put a long travel fork on it. (Atom 80) long travel, Ha Ha! It was designed for 60mm.

    It was 71* HA. With the fork and larger front tire (compared to rear max 2.1) it changed to ~69* HA. It changed the seat angle too. Too much for that frame.

    Glad you got the right frame! Congratulations! It can feel so right!

    I did a lot of research before i bought my 907 Whiteout. Now I love it!

  41. #41
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    I'd love to hear some real experience with the Scapegoat. A production fatbike with a low Q factor sounds pretty appealing.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChargeCookerMaxi View Post
    I found what I wanted! Crust Scapegoat. 71.5* HTA

    And its steel as a bonus

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