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  1. #1
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    How fat is fat enough for sugar sand?

    I am looking to get into this fat bike thing and I am not sure just how fat I would need to go. My main reason for wanting one is to go exploring around the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, which is a really flat, sandy, swampy Pine forest with hundreds of miles of sandy two-track roads as well as singletrack splitting off in every direction. The sand is often like the loose stuff you find high up above the water line on beaches. I rode the roads there for several years on a dual sport motorcycle and think the area is beautiful, so I'd like to go back, but under my own power at this point (need to combat the effects of a desk job).

    Should I just be going straight for the Surly Moonlander or would the slightly narrower tire bikes be ok too?

  2. #2
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    If you are trying to ride loose deep sand as the mainstay of your fat biking get a Moonlander.

    I ride my Pugs all over the beach in Baja including the deep loose sand far from the water. However, that's where it's pushed hardest to float me [175lbs]. If that was what I was riding all the time and I was buying a new fat bike I'd go for the most floatation I could get.

    If that deep sand is just part of the equation you may want to consider some of the 4" fatbikes that can still run pretty wide rubber/rims and also narrower rubber/rims for versatility. You'll still be able to explore that area it will just require more work.
    Safe riding,

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  3. #3
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    I've done a bit of bikepacking out there (Oct. 2012: Pine Barrens of NJ - Julian Bender - Travels and Photos), mainly in the western parts of Wharton State Forest (close to Atsion Lake) and found that the trails vary between really bad, unrideable sand, and quite rideable with a normal mountain bike. The latter is especially the case when there's a layer of pine needles on the ground. It wasn't actually that often that I had to get off because of the sand, and I was riding a Troll with 2.35 inch tires. Still, a fatbike would definitely help.

    I also find (and this is a personal thing) that the Pine Barrens, though they are nice, and it's great to have such a huge natural area near Philadelphia, tend to get kind of old towards about noon on the second day of an overnighter. Something about those scrubby little trees that I can only enjoy for a limited time...in any case, not the kind of area I'd base an entire bike purchase on.

  4. #4
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    No question about it, for loose sand, you just can't beat the 100mm rims regardless of what bike they're mounted on. IMO rim width is as, if not more, important in sand than tire choice.

    However, if your mixing it w/ lots of dirt or firm surfaced stuff, might consider a more all around set-up w/ 80's or even 65's. My "100mm bike" absolutely out performs my 65mm bike in the loose sand, but the 65mm does make it through the same routes... just a little more work. And it (the 65) performs better for all around riding.

  5. #5
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    For that type of sand, you will want the widest contact patch you can find. Big Fat Larry, Bud, Lou on 100mm rims. Pressure around 5psi to maximize grip and float.... loose sand is all about flotation.

  6. #6
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    I ride my Moonlander around the New Jersey pinelands and the beaches.
    The 100mm wide rims make all the sand I have found rideable. But, I have also ridden some of the deepest softest sand with a friend who was on 80mm rims and 4" tires and he was riding right through the the same stuff. Going through the deep stuff is also noticeably easier on Big Fat Larry's than on Bud and Lou's. It isn't all deep sand down there, I think you'd be fine with 65's and 4" tires unless you really plan on riding a lot of the deep soft sand, than go as big as you can.

  7. #7
    Chris Bling
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    Whats the fattest tire you can get for a Pugsley? I have heard you can use BFL's, but not sure. Probably the limiting factor is if it allows you to use all of your gears.....
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  8. #8
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    I think one thing that needs to be considered is the conditions of the sand. I ride a bike with 3.8 tires on 65 mm rims. I don't know how a wider setup would compare. But I will say that mine works for pretty much all sand and I have ridden a lot of it. The only condition that I struggle with is on beaches where the sand is loose, dry, deep, and stirred up by foot traffic. The same sand is much more rideable when it is allowed to sit and compact. I also ride sandy wilderness trails and I will say I haven't found anything that any fat bike couldn't handle. So unless you are riding the most soft sand possible, any fat bike should work fine.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyduke22 View Post
    Whats the fattest tire you can get for a Pugsley? I have heard you can use BFL's, but not sure. Probably the limiting factor is if it allows you to use all of your gears.....
    You can fit BFL's on 82mm rims in a Pugs. However, check in on some of the Endo threads. Having the widest tire is not the only issue. Getting the right profile on the tire is important as well. It's possible an Endo on an 82mm rim might work better than a BFL on that rim.

    I can't speak to the chain/tire interference issue as I run an IGH.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  10. #10
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    I ride the pines(Batsto/Wharton areas) every weekend on my Mukluk 2, with Surly Nates front and back....So much more fun in the pines than my 29er's...in fact I haven't ridden anything out there but the Muk since I got it! It may be heavier/slower, etc...but what it lacks in speed/stealth, it makes up for in gobs of traction, and "Get the Hell Outta My Way" momentum! I swear I feel like i'm 12 again every time I get on it, and the smile has yet to leave my face! I mostly ride single-track throughout the pines, but as an example, just last week decided to do a little dirt road ride...30 miles later I was ready for more...I definitely would have ended up pushing my niner, but the Fatty just plows through the pines and sand roads with ease! Some people do not like the pines, it's definitely not for everyone, and can get boring (especially if you're from the city). I've spent nearly 45 years playing out in the pines and it has never gotten "Old" at any point. There's so much to do, so much to see (not just sand and pine tree's), it is what you make of it. It's up to you where to go...do I want to go muddin today? Maybe just a short ride around a lake, follow a stream, just cruise a dirt road, or blast through the pines on some single-track...it's all there. Yeah, it's nothing like screaming down the side of a mountain, or climbing up your favorite rock pile. But to me it is a blast, and definitely one of my favorite places to ride! Sorry for the long post, guess what I should have said was, hell yeah, get yourself a Fatty, you'll love it!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davesnhere View Post
    I ride the pines(Batsto/Wharton areas) every weekend on my Mukluk 2, with Surly Nates front and back....So much more fun in the pines than my 29er's...in fact I haven't ridden anything out there but the Muk since I got it! It may be heavier/slower, etc...but what it lacks in speed/stealth, it makes up for in gobs of traction, and "Get the Hell Outta My Way" momentum! I swear I feel like i'm 12 again every time I get on it, and the smile has yet to leave my face! I mostly ride single-track throughout the pines, but as an example, just last week decided to do a little dirt road ride...30 miles later I was ready for more...I definitely would have ended up pushing my niner, but the Fatty just plows through the pines and sand roads with ease! Some people do not like the pines, it's definitely not for everyone, and can get boring (especially if you're from the city). I've spent nearly 45 years playing out in the pines and it has never gotten "Old" at any point. There's so much to do, so much to see (not just sand and pine tree's), it is what you make of it. It's up to you where to go...do I want to go muddin today? Maybe just a short ride around a lake, follow a stream, just cruise a dirt road, or blast through the pines on some single-track...it's all there. Yeah, it's nothing like screaming down the side of a mountain, or climbing up your favorite rock pile. But to me it is a blast, and definitely one of my favorite places to ride! Sorry for the long post, guess what I should have said was, hell yeah, get yourself a Fatty, you'll love it!!!
    "Like"! I think I'd like to ride there!!

  12. #12
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    Wow thanks for the replies everyone. So, it sounds like bigger is better for what I'm talking about. Ive spent quite a bit of time in the Atsion and Batso area, and also up in Brendan T Byrne, although not on bike. I love it out there so it sounds like a Moonlander or the like is in my future. Not interested in camping out there....a couple hours in the fire cuts is all I'm after

  13. #13
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    Necro pugs. Big Fat Larry front....Endo rear. Discussion closed

  14. #14
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    On the "Will width continue to expand..." P2 post #29: Godlikedog put out some figures as
    to how much tire width is needed for rider weigth,+gear & bike...1" per 47.3lbs. He also gave a
    figure of 41.9% of rider height for wheel diameter.

    It would be useful to know how these figures were derived.

    With this knowledge, any rider could figure out what is needed for any given task. A light rider would
    not be weighting themselves down, nor a heavey rider be over working themselves due to lack of
    proper float.

  15. #15
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    I think he used a dart board method to determine the amount of pounds per inch of tire. All of the different conditions will require different tire widths and a varying amount of pressure.

  16. #16
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    How fat is fat enough for sugar sand?

    I live near the beach and 90% of my fat rides are on deep sand and the remainder of the little snow we get. I went with a Moonlander. I have a rigid 29er for single track.

    If I could only have one bike a Pugs would be an option but for my needs I didn't see a downside to going Moonie.
    Last edited by racefit; 02-15-2013 at 04:36 AM.

  17. #17
    Icebiker
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    I've taken my Muk 3 with 3.8 Nates and 82mm RD rims on the North Shore of Long Island, from the water's edge wetpack, through the mid-beach hard pack, to the sugary stuff above tide line. I'm 200+, running 8-10 psi, no issues...Like a few others have posted above, I never felt like I needed a fatter tire. Would love to try the Pine Barrens one day..I'm in Northern NJ...might be worth a trip down there....north right now is either wet packed snow, or soft dirt prone to damage.....how're the sandy trails at the Pines?

  18. #18
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    Alright, so started getting the itch again and did some window shopping...

    Basically Moonlanders are hard to find and rarely if ever are on sale....found a Beargrease that the shop owner would sell me for the same price as a Moonlander. So, the question is 29lb bike with 4" tires (80mm rims) or 38lb bike with 4.7" tires (100mm rims). I am thinking the lighter bike could make life easier in many other ways...not to mention I can actually test ride it first.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    Alright, so started getting the itch again and did some window shopping...

    Basically Moonlanders are hard to find and rarely if ever are on sale....found a Beargrease that the shop owner would sell me for the same price as a Moonlander. So, the question is 29lb bike with 4" tires (80mm rims) or 38lb bike with 4.7" tires (100mm rims). I am thinking the lighter bike could make life easier in many other ways...not to mention I can actually test ride it first.
    the 29lb 4' will impress you with its capabilities.

  20. #20
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    I recall riding my Fatback with 100mm rims and 3.8 Larry's alongside a friend on a stock Pugs compete (65mm rims/endo rear/larry front) along the Rio Grande sand pits. We both did OK in firmer sand, but had to air down for the sugar sand. I could do as well as him without almost flatting my tires - I recall him at 3psi, me at 6psi. Riding the Levee back, he had no choice but to reinflate his tires where I could still ride on hardpack.

    Fast forward - Now we're riding sand/gravel arroyos, and I've added a BFL to the front. Again, I can run "high"er pressures, go faster and easier.

    Then I got a Moonlander, but built as a 3spd/fixed gear - and the improvement in soft was so much that he went and bought a Moonie complete. OK, now the difference between 2x9 vs 3spd gives him the advantage, but we both have the same float and can ride at about the same rate thru the really soft stuff.

    When we go for a ride with his Moonlander complete vs my Fatback with 4.8fr/3.8r (3x9), I have to work harder to keep the rear "skinny" Larry going.

    Those who say you can do it all with 65/3.8 are right, but it's more work - and you will need to run really low pressure. I'm saying 100/4.8 for very soft/loose conditions until something wider comes along. As soon as I can swing an offset double crank for the Fatback, it'll have a BFL on the back.
    Fatbikes are much more fun than they should be allowed to be!

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  21. #21
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    Thanks for that info! Sounds like bigger is better, and since I am shooting specifically for soft stuff, the moonie would bet the better option. Still, that beargrease is one sweet bike!

  22. #22
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    If it were me to do it all over again, I'd go with the Beargrease. I'm in the process of trying to lighten up my pug after realizing how I really want to use it. The BG is a great compromise in tire width between the pugs and moonie, in a super light awesome handling package. I think that's a no brainer.

    I've run BFL on the 65 on the front of my pugs. I like the way it rides around town. Tons of squish using pressures I was used to on a regular larry. Bashing up square curbs at 15mph without even thinking about it was amazing fun. I never tried it on the rear or in the dirt/snow. But I would like to eventually. A BG with BFL's might work nicely for your intentions. You can always mount the rear on backwards for a bit more traction in the deep stuff. I see several locals using their moonie with a backwards BFL even on the hard single track around here.

    My vote is for BG.
    http://twofattires.com - Fat Bike community, forums and resource.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    Thanks for that info! Sounds like bigger is better, and since I am shooting specifically for soft stuff, the moonie would bet the better option. Still, that beargrease is one sweet bike!
    I'm a big fan of the versatility of the 4" fat bike and generally not a bigger is better supporter, EXCEPT where the mission is so clearly focused on really soft stuff at which point there is no way to beat the really FAT rubber of a Moonlader.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  24. #24
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    I've ridden my Pugs with 65 rims & 3.7 tires and my Ti fatbike with both 65 and 82 rims with 4" tires in the pine barrens. Both are fine, and I never found myself wishing for more fatness. I like light bikes, so BG is my vote.

    That said, Andy74 is the fatbike king of the Pineys, and he rides a Moonie.

  25. #25
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    How fat is fat enough for sugar sand?-100_0099.jpgHow fat is fat enough for sugar sand?-7851.jpgHow fat is fat enough for sugar sand?-7852.jpgHow fat is fat enough for sugar sand?-100_0498.jpgHow fat is fat enough for sugar sand?-100_0086.jpgThat said, Andy74 is the fatbike king of the Pineys, and he rides a Moonie.[/QUOTE]

    I'll take the king on any day. That would be ride vs ride, not equipment vs equipment. That guy has more toys then KB. We have done some rides in the deep stuff, and lived to tell. By the way, has any one heard from Andy? One more thing, can we get a 40 mile ride this summer with out it going to 105f.deg.

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