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  1. #1
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    New question here. How Important is a Carbon Frame?

    I've been shopping for a used Specialized Fatboy Comp Carbon (21"/XL) but haven't had much luck. On the other hand, non-carbon models appear somewhat regularly, including some that have been upgraded with carbon rims, tubeless tires, etc.

    So, I'm wondering, what is the difference in weight between an alloy and carbon Fatboy frame (XL)? Would I maybe be better off purchasing a nicely upgraded alloy bike, or should I risk missing a season waiting around for a well-loved Comp Carbon?

    For the record, I live in Tahoe and do a lot of climbing with my ancient hardtail Rockhopper, but my only experience with fat bikes is a demo ride on a KHS, which sold me on the fat bike experience - what a kick! - minus the weight. The KHS was very comfortable for my tall physique, but I've not demo'd a Fatboy because none of our local shops carry them - carbon or otherwise. Plus bikes? Yes. Fat bikes? No. So, I'm operating solely on my (positive) experience with other Specialized bikes. This is the other reason I'm shopping for a good deal on a used bike - if it shows up and I don't like it, I can always turn around and resell it. Any advice in this regard is also welcome. My budget is around $1,400 and I've seen Comp Carbons go for $900 on Craigslist, but never in my neighborhood - usually a couple hundred miles away (or much more). Either the seller is unwilling to ship or the bike is sold before I can arrange to get there. [Cripes, being broke sucks.]

    Any help is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    The weight difference is probably about 1.5 pounds between carbon and aluminum. "Alloy" doesn't tell us anything; steel is an alloy.

    How important is it? It's not. I rode with a bunch of people on fancy carbon conventional mountain bikes yesterday on my hardtail steel fat bike. Find yourself a bike you like to ride and push the pedals.

  3. #3
    Fat Is Where It's At Moderator
    Reputation: DiRt DeViL's Avatar
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    Not important at all, happy with my Al frame.

  4. #4
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    In the case of the Fatboy, Alloy would be of the aluminum variety.

    Agree with Dirt Devil, it's more of a preference than a necessity. Especially so if you are not a racer. I'm just fine with my Alu too. I don't worry about knockin it around where I might be self conscious with the carbon, but that's just me.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  5. #5
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    The priority place to save weight on a fatbike is the wheels.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57ļ36' Highlands, Scotland

  6. #6
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    Personally, if you have the funds I suggest Carbon. Yes, the wheels will make the biggest impact, but starting with a nice frame motivates any upgrades. Due to the bulk of these machines I'm happy save a little along the way so the overall stays at or under 30lbs. Then again, I pack my bike in my car frequently and sometimes even carry or push, so saving a little weight makes a difference in my life.

  7. #7
    roots, rocks, rhythm
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    There is a video that I believe Pink bike had posted when they visited Santa Cruz Bikes and did a strength test between a Aluminium frame and a carbon frame.......pretty impressive.

    But I find bang for your buck you can't go wrong with Aluminium.
    I still ride mine and they are still awesome!
    Even though some ask why I am still riding 26 inch wheels.......

    I am waiting till they will be cool again......LOL

    k
    97' Brodie Expresso
    00' Turner RFX
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    15' Surly ICT

  8. #8
    All fat, all the time.
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    If you are on a budget, is put the extra$ towards good wheels or fork before extra on a frame.

  9. #9
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    Thanks, everyone! That helps a lot.

  10. #10
    Nutrailer
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    Even with a Aluminium frame on my Cube Nutrail I've still got the weight below 28lbs with lighter wheels and tyres, a carbon saddle and bars, changing to 1x10 and a few other changes. Even without going full weight-weenie, you can find ways to drop the ounces here and there, and they soon add up.
    I was looking at buying a Chinese carbon frame but have decided to stick with what I've got, save some money and get fitter instead.

  11. #11
    Rocking on a Rocky
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    I got my Aluminum Farley under 28 carbon rims tubeless.
    It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyJo1 View Post
    I got my Aluminum Farley under 28 carbon rims tubeless.
    Same here with a 2016 Farley 7; carbon wheels. I think the carbon fork stock on these helps😬

  13. #13
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    I have an aluminum Fatboy that I upgraded with I9 BigRig carbon wheels, set up tubeless (no tape needed) and a Bluto fork.
    The wheels and tubeless made a huge difference. So did the fork. Dropper post added as well.
    I don't feel a need to get a carbon frame.
    My Santa Cruz Tallboy 1 doesn't get a lot of action these days.
    I'm as fast or faster downhill on the Fatboy as I am on the Tallboy. Stiff wheels+huge traction= confidence and speed.

  14. #14
    Stubby-legged
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    hash tag (I'm not a dorky-nerd)

    Buy the fatbike, any fatbike. Don't fret about the latest and greatest wonder material.

    Don't wait for the season to get away from you.

    Don't listen to internet experts.

    Don't listen to me. I have an aluminum Fatboy (love it).

    I have a steel Moonlander (love it more!).

  15. #15
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    I value a thru axle in the rear more than a carbon frame, having said that, I have a carbon frame with a thru axle and really can't see myself ever buying another bike that doesn't have both.

  16. #16
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    I couldn't find a Fatboy with either aluminum or carbon frames to test ride when I was looking, but my goal was a Fatboy Comp Carbon anyway for the light weight and the nicer feel of the carbon frame and forks. I managed to find a 2017 model, new in the crate, that a shop in Alabama had and were willing to ship to me in California.

    Bought it, upgraded the brakes and the drive to my spec. I'm really glad I went for it. My impression from riding other models with aluminum frame is that the carbon gives a nicer, more compliant ride, but I can't say that specifically about the Fatboy.

    I haven't gone the full carbon wheels, seat post, stem, bars, etc route. My bike set up as it is now weighs 29.1 lbs. I'm happy with that.

  17. #17
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    Do not discount what will make you happy. If you are the type that has carbon in your head, for whatever reason, and you:

    1.) Will feel that you "settled" for aluminum and
    2.) It will bug you that "settled"...

    then hold out for carbon.

    I have an aluminum Mukluk and a carbon Otso. Comparing the two is probably not fair since they are so different. I do enjoy riding the Otso more thus the Muk is up for sale.

    Since you are going used and for a less typical size, I would recommend broadening your brand horizon. There are plenty of good fat bike manufacturers that make bikes at least as good as the Fatboy.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    hash tag (I'm not a dorky-nerd)

    Buy the fatbike, any fatbike. Don't fret about the latest and greatest wonder material.

    Don't wait for the season to get away from you.

    Don't listen to internet experts.

    Don't listen to me. I have an aluminum Fatboy (love it).

    I have a steel Moonlander (love it more!).
    Perfect post! Nailed it.
    2016 El Oso Grande
    2018 Stolen Zeke
    90's Skykomish

  19. #19
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Some marginal benifits that may not me worth it for everyone. Carbon fork is easier to lift over obstacles and I can notice this, itís due to the weight. Frame is lighter, due to the rather large surface area/volume of a fat bike, this can easily be a few pounds. Another nice thing is if you ride in real cold temps, the frame doesnít feel ice-cold like the aluminum heat-sink versions. You usually donít ďtouchĒ a frame like this when riding, but sometimes you do to carry it, or putting it on the rack. Again, usually not super important for everyone, but some small benifits.
    "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.

  20. #20
    Is it time to ride yet?
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Lots of good advice posted here and agree the carbon is not needed but hold out and get a carbon bike if that is what you really want or you will regret it. Really no downside to the carbon Fatboy, the frame is stiff, light and damn sexy when you see the sculpted tubing up close. The massive down tube and bottom bracket area is super stiff and acts like a built in front fender it's so wide. And love the internally routed cables and brake hoses.

    I held out and bought a lightly used XL Fatboy Carbon Expert and couldn't be happier with it. It came with full carbon Syntace bars, seat post, HED carbon wheels and running tubless its only 24 lbs. Pretty amazing bike that it's all I'm riding this year as my other bikes just sit now.

    How Important is a Carbon Frame?-20180408_173728.jpg

    How Important is a Carbon Frame?-20180318_192945.jpg

  21. #21
    mtbr member
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    a carbon frame is definitely needed...for bragging rights.

    Mike
    Toronto, Canada
    2017 Trek Farley 9.6 with Lauf
    2017 Diamondback Haanjo Trail Carbon
    2016 Scott Solace 10 Disc

  22. #22
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    How much fast carbon fat bikes compared to lightweight aluminium fat bikes?

  23. #23
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guanzo View Post
    How much fast carbon fat bikes compared to lightweight aluminium fat bikes?
    Three
    "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.

  24. #24
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    After seeing 2019 Trek Farley offerings imma stick with my 16 Farley 7 AL 😮

    I donít want rage red and I do expect ISO on my 5k ride! Maybe Iím missing something but does not seem to be any additional from 2018. Love the geometry so Iíll wait 🤕

    A wheel set from Mikesee will fix it all.

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