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  1. #1
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    Front shocks on fat bike -- needed?

    I'm half way into my third decade as a trailbike rider. My current bike is a 2011 Specialized Stumpjumper Elite (dual suspension). My previous trailbike (2001 Stumpie) was also dual suspension. I'm now starting to think about adding a fat bike to my arsenal (disclosure: I just survived Snowzilla 2016 in the DC area). A lot of the mid-priced fat bike options have no front shock. Are front shocks not needed because the low-PSI fat tires provide enough shock absorption? Or, because the terrain on which fat bikes are ridden (snow, sand) doesn't give any "shock"? Or is it just a question of cost?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    turtles make me hot
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    If you're going to ride mostly on snow and sand, especially with larger tires, you probably do not need a suspension fork. I've been riding my fat bike rigid year round on 4.8" tires. Haven't really missed a fork.
    I like turtles

  3. #3
    since 4/10/2009
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    It depends on how you ride a fatbike.

    If it's a winter-specific fatbike, especially used in deep snow on backcountry rides, a suspension fork is going to be of limited benefit. Probably similar if you spend your time on groomed trails, too.

    If you ride on trails shared with all sorts of users, where the trail may be littered by post-holed half-frozen footprints, packed down until it becomes ice, and so on, suspension becomes more helpful.

    If you ride year-round, suspension still isn't a 100% thing. Are you going to be getting rowdy in chunky terrain? Suspension may be a good idea. Will you ride the bike more slowly, deliberately, maybe loading it with bikepacking gear? Maybe suspension isn't quite so important. Are you looking for a fatbike to be as light as absolutely possible so you can race it in the snow, or even on the local summertime xc circuit? Maybe suspension adds weight you don't want.

  4. #4
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    The tires are undamped suspension and are not a substitute for the technology if you like/need suspension.

    Where do you ride in DC, what speeds are you expecting to reach, will it be used 4 seasons? I'm in MD and have ridden almost everything in the Metro catalog and ride mine all year. I've used suspension since 1997 and went out of my way to build a bike with front suspension when the offerings were sparse.

    FYI, you can't ride enjoyably in the snow we just received with the temps we've been having with non-existent grooming. I last rode Friday night at midnight with 8" on the ground. Difficult but fun and what fatbiking is about. May try again late tonight just to see what's possible, but am not expecting much. Next is early Saturday morning after a night's freeze cycle when the temps are still below 32.

  5. #5
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    My fatbike is rigid, and at times, it would be nice to have a suspension fork. undampened rebound is a B on dry rocky and rooty trails. It's also fun and a challenge.

    why do people run rigid singlespeed 29ers? because they can.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  6. #6
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    May I venture to say that the current offerings for suspension forks are slim/hardly worth the price of admission?

    I would imagine we will be seeing a few more good options for fattie forks and will personally be waiting to see what they are.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wreckster View Post
    I would imagine we will be seeing a few more good options for fattie forks and will personally be waiting to see what they are.
    I've been hoping for this for over a year. Bluto, rigid carbon, Lauf? Everything else is up in the $800 plus range. I'm waiting to see the rockshox recon or suntour XCR versions. Not like it would take much more than beefing up and widening the fork brace and head.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBJIM View Post
    I'm half way into my third decade as a trailbike rider. My current bike is a 2011 Specialized Stumpjumper Elite (dual suspension). My previous trailbike (2001 Stumpie) was also dual suspension. I'm now starting to think about adding a fat bike to my arsenal (disclosure: I just survived Snowzilla 2016 in the DC area). A lot of the mid-priced fat bike options have no front shock. Are front shocks not needed because the low-PSI fat tires provide enough shock absorption? Or, because the terrain on which fat bikes are ridden (snow, sand) doesn't give any "shock"? Or is it just a question of cost?

    Thanks!
    The answer is pretty simple. Get both.

  9. #9
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Front shocks on a fat bike -- needed?

    Shocks on a bike -- needed?

    Fat bike -- needed?

    Bike -- needed?


    These questions cannot be answered Except the last one. The last one is obvious. The answer is no because the word "bike" is not plural.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  10. #10
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    As others have said it depends on use; the terrain and your riding style may not demand suspension....think snow and beach sand. The one important think to bear in mind with snow however is on mixed use trails where hikers feel the need to walk 10 miles in knee deep snow. When their tracks or "holes" freeze and you have to ride over 10,000 of them in a row.....no Bueno.

    FWIW front suspension completely changed my fatbike (and every other mountain bike I've ever had) and I will never go back to rigid. I raced BMX as a kid and that was probably the only time I didn't care about suspension. My 13 year old body was the suspension. Now riding a rigid bike feels more like I was the new guy in a federal prison .

    The short answer: You won't regret suspension unless you only ride groomed snow or the beach. For all else do it asap.

    Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Forgot to say, I do really want a suspension fork to take care of the big hits, the tires don't cut it for that. I'm also planning on using mine all year for everything, your use may be different.

  12. #12
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    I'm happy with my 4.7" tires and rigid carbon fork on our Pacific Northwest single track. A rock here, a root there...I'm talking dry conditions, not snow - the bike rips and I don't need a suspension fork. However, if something is offered in the future at a price point I can accept and is an improvement of the Bluto I may add one.

    There's a lot to be said for the lightness, simplicity, precise steering, grab and go/ZERO down time due to problems, maintenance free nature of a rigid fork.

    Suspension forks are nice too - just waiting for now, and it may or may not happen.
    Both have their pros and cons.
    I'm slower on steep, rocky downhill stuff, but I'm not a downhill bomber kind of guy anyway. That is a legit limitation of a rigid fork - however don't let anyone tell you rigid forks are only for snow and sand - that's utter bull$hit. It does however require some skills to be fast on certain trails, which adds to the fun..for some.

    I have plenty of time on suspension forks going back a long time - they have their place, but fat bikes fair well without them, depending on who you are.

  13. #13
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    Mike
    Toronto, Canada
    2017 Trek Farley 9.6 with Lauf
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    2016 Scott Solace 10 Disc

  14. #14
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    Wow Swerny your right! I'll grab the pitch-forks you grab the lanterns. We can't stand for this nonsense.....

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  15. #15
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    What? Pitch fork party?

    Front shocks on fat bike -- needed?-898074d1401724034-help-carrying-trail-building-tools-my-pugsley-imag0934-1.jpg

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy43 View Post
    Wow Swerny your right! I'll grab the pitch-forks you grab the lanterns. We can't stand for this nonsense.....
    No need for pitchforks or lanterns when a simple grasp of the 'search' function is more than adequate.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  17. #17
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    I picked up my first fat bike in Dec. and for the groomed single track in my area my carbon front fork is just fine. Although I have really been considering selling my Trek X-Cal and using my new fat bike year round instead. Which has me thinking about a suspension fork for summer use. I think I will wait and see how it handles first. I am finding it a little hard to stomach paying as much for a front fork as I did for my X-Cal

  18. #18
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    I find front suspension to be of greater value in the winter than the summer for the trails I ride. The trails are shared with walkers, the temps are often above/below freezing and the re-freeze after having been walked on makes for an incredibly choppy ride. So if you ride fresh 4 inch powder all winter you will find no benefit in suspension, otherwise soften the blow and let the suspension take the punishment instead of your wrists.

  19. #19
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    Try riding rigid. Depending on what you're riding, it can be more difficult, but I think it's a lot of fun. I also have a full suspension bike, but love my rigid and rigid fat rides as much if not more and I have zero problems hanging with or dumping my buddies on their full suspension bikes at this point. You can just get a bike that will accept a tapered steerer tube and add a suspension fork later if you choose.
    “We bring Saturdays” ~ Homme

  20. #20
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    I ride the beach all the time on my Minn 3.0. Then I rode a friends Blackborow w/Bluto and it was like going from my Mustang GT to my granddad's Buick Roadmaster. What a smooooth ride. Even on the beach. Imagine dropping off a dune and crossing 200' of 4WD ruts. That Bluto soaks it up.

    But I don't really need it.

  21. #21
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    I like mine. Needed? That's opinion.

  22. #22
    All fat, all the time.
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    Yes.
    No.
    Maybe.
    Sometimes.
    Never.
    Always.

  23. #23
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    Need is such an interesting word

  24. #24
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    If there are bumps on the trail and you don't like abusing yourself then I say it is needed. I debated the extra cost to a Bluto on a bike and am very glad I got it. My friend's rigid is fun but I wouldn't want to ride it long.

  25. #25
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    I rode rigid for 3 winters before getting a lefty for my 9:Zero:7. It was a complete game changer. Do you need a shock for a fat bike? Not really. You also don't need a shock for a regular mountain bike. That said, after mounting the shock, I found that I was able to ride faster with less fatigue and in the summer time, I could put a little more air in my tires to reduce the rolling resistance. I'm a fan. ymmv

  26. #26
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    I bought a 'the-bike-that-shall-not-be-named' to replace my aged Pugs and it came with a Bluto. It has unequivocally changed my riding and trails I used to take a beating on are now loads of fun. In addition to going faster, the traction of less bounce is noticeable. It is definitely a ride changer. Even in winter where the postholing walkers ruin the trails it is enjoyable. I thought about getting a carbon fork for winter but am looking at the Turnagain ETR seals instead.

    Is it needed? Absolutely not.

    Is it more fun with it? It is here in Maine with our rocky, root infested, hilly trails that deer animals to make their own instead. If you're on flowy smooth single track, then stay with the rigid.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nothing to see here, move along folks.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Yes.
    No.
    Maybe.
    Sometimes.
    Never.
    Always.
    Can we get this pinned to the top as the appropriate answer to a number of recurring questions?
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  28. #28
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    Yes
    No
    Maybe
    Sometime
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  29. #29
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    I got 4th in our Super D race a week ago, no suspension, pretty good snow-pack.

    Most didn't have a suspension fork, but there were a few.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  30. #30
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    I'd say it's needed no matter what.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiro11 View Post
    I'd say it's needed no matter what.
    He's here all week folks!

  32. #32
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    Like I mentioned in a previous post here I just wished one new suspension fork did not cost almost as much as my Trek X-Cal I bought this summer

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I got 4th in our Super D race a week ago, no suspension, pretty good snow-pack.

    Most didn't have a suspension fork, but there were a few.
    You would have had 1st if you had a suspension fork.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

  34. #34
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    It's not worth riding without bluto. Might as well throw it in the garbage.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverat View Post
    It's not worth riding without bluto. Might as well throw it in the garbage.
    Agreed. 100%.

  36. #36
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    Fortunately I think most visitors here are too smart to listen to either one of you.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    Yes.
    No.
    Maybe.
    Sometimes.
    Never.
    Always.


    Can we get this pinned to the top as the appropriate answer to a number of recurring questions?
    Yep

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit21 View Post
    Fortunately I think most visitors here are too smart to listen to either one of you.
    Sarcasm detector status: broken.

  39. #39
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    Ahh...I see what you did there - sorry.
    You are redeemed.

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