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  1. #1
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    Lightening up fatbike...how much realistically can wheels/tires save?

    I love me some light wheels, I have several pairs for my 29er XC bike. The stock wheels on the bike were not heavy, but I was able to knock off almost a pound with some carbon race wheels.

    So now I'm looking at my heavy fatbike and wondering if there are bigger opportunities to knock off real weight, or if fat wheels are all about the same.

    I have a Rocky Suzi Q, so 27.5x3.8 wheels/tires. 65mm Mulefut rims, tubes as of now. Minion FBF front and rear.

    The back end of the bike is an anchor. The 11-46 XT cassette doesn't help, that's heavy I know.

    I saw some HED carbon wheels, but I'm not willing to spend $2500 for a set, that's more than my whole bike cost.

    But going tubeless, lighter tires (are there many?), what else?

    I'm partial to DT wheels, and they have a nice prebuilt set of fat wheels, but strangely, they are only 26". They claim to be lightish, but I guess I have to take my wheels/tires off and weigh them to get some idea where I'm at.

    I'm looking for generic ranges, would I drop 2-3 pounds easy with new wheels tires? Or am I better off just buying a new Otso Voytek that's already in the 25-27 pound range stock, and selling the Suzi Q?

  2. #2
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    I would keep the Suzi Q for the time being, cross my fingers and hope that Schwalbe would release a 27.5"x3.XX Jumbo Jim

  3. #3
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    I was unfamiliar with these bikes. The Suzi Q and the Otso look like great bikes. I like the fact that they are both modern geometry and they maintain to have 177mm rear hub.

    Do you have the Suzi Q -70 or the -90?

    If you have one of the carbon versions of the Suzi-Q, I would keep that. Maybe some chinese carbon rims (Next Rims?). Or, wait until some light tires come out in 27.5x3.8.

    The minions are between 1400 - 1475 grams. If a good new tire comes out at around 1100, then you could save maybe a 1 1/2 pounds for $200 by getting the lighter tires.

    If you have the -50 or -30, the aluminium Suzi-Q; I would not change the wheels, it would just be over-kill for the aluminum frame bike.

  4. #4
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    Tubeless is the easy place to start. That alone should save around 2# assuming you are running 27.5 x 4" tubes.

    Changing from Mulefut to Whisky or Nextie carbon rims would save about 1.25#.

    I would choose tires more on function than weight.

    With a little patience you could lace up a set of Nextie hoops on DT hubs for about $1k.

    I have an Otso that came with Whisky rims. It tips the scale at about 25# XL size frame, tubeless and 26 x 4 tires and rigid fork. Had the bike not come with carbon hoops, I doubt I would opt for them. Mulefuts are fine rims.

  5. #5
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    I dropped 4.5 lbs by changing out the crappy wheels, tires, & tubes that came on my bike. $500 got me a set of Surly "other brother Daryl" rims, Salsa hubs, & DT Swiss spokes. I switched over to tubeless and instead of using heavy gorilla tape I went with a super thin and light "Orange Seal" tape. The tape is wide enough and air tight so you only need 1 wrap around the rim. I also went with a light nylon rim strip instead of heavy rubber. The tires I switched to also weighed 1/4 lb. less each.

  6. #6
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    27.5" fat bikes are not as mature as 26" and the product offerings not as robust. You will be more hard pressed to find lightweight tires significantly less than what you have. They may be the way the industry is going (?) but there are not many tires out there.

    Food for thought:
    26" marge lite rim = 720g
    26" Light bicycle 65mm rim = 508g

    26" Surly Nates 3.8 ultralite 120tpi =1300g
    26" Schwalbe Jumbo Jim LiteSkin 4.0 = 1050g
    26" Kenda Juggernaut Pro 4.0 = 850g

  7. #7
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    I run tubes in my Surly Wednesday. But I lightened them up dramatically by running Surly Superlight 26x2.5". They work fine in my 4" tires. I got this idea from Surly's website, but then I think they took that recommendation down because they didn't want the legal liability of recommending 2.5" tubes for 4" tires.

    I forgot how much I saved using the superlight 2.5", I want to say that the regular 4" tubes were over 400 grams and the superlight 2.5" were under 200 grams, so I think it was about a pound of weight savings.

    By the way I am 240lbs and the superlight 2.5" still worked.

  8. #8
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    I've been looking at getting an aluminum bike with a 5.5-ish lb frame down in weight and it looks that going "all out" and still making it fully functional, I can only get it down to about 26lbs, any lighter isn't really possible without huge sacrifices of function. XTR brakes or brakes that weigh the same and use DOT, 500-650g carbon rims, 1500g for tires, 780 carbon handlebar, Next or SRAM xx1 cranks, time pedals, selle italia SLR, and so on. While it is possible to save weight on all of these, the function starts to go down quickly and I've hit a wall around 26lbs or so. That appears to be my theoretical limit for an aluminum frame of that weight.
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  9. #9
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    I second the Surly My Other Brother Darryl as a super cost effective light rim. Use a spoke like DT Swiss Supercomps, Bike Hub Store hubs, tubeless and Jumbo Jims.

    What crankset is on the bike? Raceface Aeffects are light and inexpensive.

    My XL 907 has a 2x10 drivetrain, 5" tires on Other Brother Darryls and a Surly OD crankset which is HEAVY and my bike bike weighs 30 and 3/4 pounds. I'm waiting for the drivetrain to wear out so I can change it to 1x12.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I second the Surly My Other Brother Darryl as a super cost effective light rim. Use a spoke like DT Swiss Supercomps, Bike Hub Store hubs, tubeless and Jumbo Jims.

    He's looking for B Fat wheels. No MOBD's nor JJ's in that size. Yet?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtlo-dork View Post
    So now I'm looking at my heavy fatbike and wondering if there are bigger opportunities to knock off real weight, or if fat wheels are all about the same.

    I have a Rocky Suzi Q, so 27.5x3.8 wheels/tires. 65mm Mulefut rims, tubes as of now. Minion FBF front and rear.

    Even just swapping the tires can/will make a big difference as FBF/FBR are both heavy and slow. If you can tell more about the way/places you use this bike, I can make a suggestion.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    Tubeless is the easy place to start. That alone should save around 2# assuming you are running 27.5 x 4" tubes.

    Changing from Mulefut to Whisky or Nextie carbon rims would save about 1.25#.

    I would choose tires more on function than weight.

    With a little patience you could lace up a set of Nextie hoops on DT hubs for about $1k.

    I have an Otso that came with Whisky rims. It tips the scale at about 25# XL size frame, tubeless and 26 x 4 tires and rigid fork. Had the bike not come with carbon hoops, I doubt I would opt for them. Mulefuts are fine rims.
    Good advice, the Mulefuts are not a heavy rim and the 65mm carbon hoops probably only 100grams less. Going tubeless may drop that much depending on the tubes and you get a better ride.

    I will be dropping two lbs from the front of my Motobacon with a $130 Bontrager Jackalope but my old 100mm double wall Weinman wheel is a real boat anchor but that is another story.
    Last edited by Mr. Doom; 1 Week Ago at 06:13 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    He's looking for B Fat wheels. No MOBD's nor JJ's in that size. Yet?
    I see. Thanks.
    I like turtles

  14. #14
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    lighter hubs and double-butted spokes used for the wheels?
    I replaced novated rear hub for bitex and saved 150g in rear.

    analyze everything you have.... a fatbike will be heavier than a normal MTB. Making it very light will be costly. Unless you weigh 140#, you won't notice the improvement from where you are now.
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  15. #15
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    Last year , got a pair of 80mm carbon rims , a carbon fork , a RF Next to replace aluminium counterparts.

    My bike lost 4 pounds.
    I lost $$$


    The weight loss in wheels is a very positive thing.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    Unless you weigh 140#, you won't notice the improvement from where you are now.

    I'm sure there's some sort of "logic" at work in this statement. Care to point it out for those of us whom can't see it?

  17. #17
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    I have the -50 aluminum model Suzi. So DT Swiss 350 rear hub, decent spokes, generic front hub. It came with the Aeffect crankset. I guess Iím just used to my carbon top fuel thatís all carboned out around 23 pounds.

    The suzi feels like a pig. The back end especially. Thereís not really any cheap parts on it stock. Full Xt drivetrain, carbon fork.

    I could always go tubeless, that canít hurt. The most cost effective route might be just to go tubeless, wait or find lighter tires, and call it a day.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtlo-dork View Post
    I have the -50 aluminum model Suzi....I guess Iím just used to my carbon top fuel thatís all carboned out around 23 pounds.

    The suzi feels like a pig.
    THERE'S YOUR PROBLEM...

    here is the solution. go to walmart and ride the piggie fat bikes they have there. then come home and go straight to the suzi. won't fee so bad then...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtlo-dork View Post
    I have the -50 aluminum model Suzi. So DT Swiss 350 rear hub, decent spokes, generic front hub. It came with the Aeffect crankset. I guess Iím just used to my carbon top fuel thatís all carboned out around 23 pounds.

    The suzi feels like a pig. The back end especially. Thereís not really any cheap parts on it stock. Full Xt drivetrain, carbon fork.

    I could always go tubeless, that canít hurt. The most cost effective route might be just to go tubeless, wait or find lighter tires, and call it a day.
    First step is to go tubeless. Then revaluate and go from there. Big difference and near free.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeepRage View Post
    First step is to go tubeless. Then revaluate and go from there. Big difference and near free.
    If you go tubeless DO NOT use gorilla tape or some other brand of duct tape. Duct tape is too heavy and it will end up being a wash on weight savings.

    spend $12 for a good roll of Orange Seal or other tape made specifically for tubeless set ups. Orange seal tape is wide enough for your specific rims so you only need one complete wrap, super thin yet totally air tight, and super light. Donít use a rubber rim strip either. Go with a nylon rim stripes they weigh about 50% less.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtlo-dork View Post
    I have the -50 aluminum model Suzi. So DT Swiss 350 rear hub, decent spokes, generic front hub. It came with the Aeffect crankset. I guess Iím just used to my carbon top fuel thatís all carboned out around 23 pounds.

    The suzi feels like a pig. The back end especially. Thereís not really any cheap parts on it stock. Full Xt drivetrain, carbon fork.

    I could always go tubeless, that canít hurt. The most cost effective route might be just to go tubeless, wait or find lighter tires, and call it a day.
    Go all out and get some nice fat wheels, keep your current ones as backup. This would be the most bang for the buck IMO, plus, you can use them on another bike in the future.

    Light Bicycle or Nextie carbon rims at 85-90mm, DT swiss 350 hubs, this prices out around $1100 with decent spokes and nipples, built. I was looking it up for a buddy recently. If you want to build your own, you can do it for a little less. I see those Suzy Qs have a 177 axle, that may mean when it comes time down the road for a 197 bike you have to de-lace and re-lace with a 197 hub, but you should get a long long life out of what you currently have and there's no reason to upgrade as long as you can fit the common tires like D5s. Many 177 bikes can, it's only when you try to run a 2x setup that you run into trouble.

    The tubeless thing is also good, the chinese carbon rims are a match made in heaven for tubeless, many of the aluminum setups are "kind of" tubeless, they work, but it takes a lot more work and steps. Change the wheels though and IMO you are going to get the biggest bang for the buck, most everything else will be a lot of money for very little gains and not a great investment.

    Keep the stock wheelset for another set of tires. This is very helpful on a fatbike IME.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    lighter hubs and double-butted spokes used for the wheels?
    I replaced novated rear hub for bitex and saved 150g in rear.

    analyze everything you have.... a fatbike will be heavier than a normal MTB. Making it very light will be costly. Unless you weigh 140#, you won't notice the improvement from where you are now.
    I weigh 200 pounds and lost almost 2 pounds of rotating weight by going tubeless and it felt like I was on a new bike.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I've been looking at getting an aluminum bike with a 5.5-ish lb frame down in weight and it looks that going "all out" and still making it fully functional, I can only get it down to about 26lbs, any lighter isn't really possible without huge sacrifices of function. XTR brakes or brakes that weigh the same and use DOT, 500-650g carbon rims, 1500g for tires, 780 carbon handlebar, Next or SRAM xx1 cranks, time pedals, selle italia SLR, and so on. While it is possible to save weight on all of these, the function starts to go down quickly and I've hit a wall around 26lbs or so. That appears to be my theoretical limit for an aluminum frame of that weight.
    I completely agree with your conclusion. I have an aluminum size med 907 that I've been riding for 7 seasons and it's stuck at 26 pounds. I don't think you can go much lower than 26 with an aluminum platform without getting silly.

    I have carbon rims, SLR saddle, carbon post, carbon bar, Formula T1 brakes, phil wood BB with old race face next cranks, XT 1x drivetrain, Jumbo jim rear and bud front.

    There is weight to come off, but not a lot without spending big $.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I'm sure there's some sort of "logic" at work in this statement. Care to point it out for those of us whom can't see it?
    My point was that a light rider will notice a pound difference, a heavy rider won't. OP already has carbon rims, and tubeless is a no brainer. Really hard to make significant difference after that. what i suggested (hub, spokes) only matters if you replace that anyway.... one wouldn't rebuild a wheel just to get lighter spokes.

    I ride sometimes with my 3 liter hydration bladder, sometimes without. That is 7 pounds I don't seem to notice (I'm 180#).

    Since this isn't the weight weenie forum I can say it: It doesn't matter how much your bike weighs. If you can lift it easily, it is light enough.

    when I buy something for replacement reasons (wear or broken) it usually is a higher grade than original and ends up a bit lighter. But replacing relatively good fatbike parts for sake of weight alone is an expensive adventure. Better off to start with a light bike like the Canyon Dude.
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  25. #25
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    I have 2 Bucksaws. One has everything and weighs about 30 pounds. One is stock and weighs about 36 pounds.

    It was fun to make the bike lighter, and it looks and feels more fun when riding it, but I go about the same speed on both. If I didn't have the lighter Bucksaw, I wouldn't know the difference.

    A fatbike will never feel like a 23 pound xc race bike, without falling apart if used often on anything more than buffed urban singletrack (if you can even call it that anymore).

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    My point was that a light rider will notice a pound difference, a heavy rider won't. OP already has carbon rims, and tubeless is a no brainer. Really hard to make significant difference after that. what i suggested (hub, spokes) only matters if you replace that anyway.... one wouldn't rebuild a wheel just to get lighter spokes.

    I ride sometimes with my 3 liter hydration bladder, sometimes without. That is 7 pounds I don't seem to notice (I'm 180#).

    Since this isn't the weight weenie forum I can say it: It doesn't matter how much your bike weighs. If you can lift it easily, it is light enough.

    when I buy something for replacement reasons (wear or broken) it usually is a higher grade than original and ends up a bit lighter. But replacing relatively good fatbike parts for sake of weight alone is an expensive adventure. Better off to start with a light bike like the Canyon Dude.
    Rotational weight is always noticeable. High weight (saddle, seatpost, bars) can also be noticed when you're hammering out of the saddle and tilting the bike to the side.

    Forget light hubs though, just take out another mortgage or sell a kidney and get Onyxes.
    You change your own flats? Support your LBS and pay them to instead.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volsung View Post
    Rotational weight is always noticeable. High weight (saddle, seatpost, bars) can also be noticed when you're hammering out of the saddle and tilting the bike to the side.

    Forget light hubs though, just take out another mortgage or sell a kidney and get Onyxes.
    Yes, rim weight is like 4-times non rotational weight. But that only applies only to acceleration (and deceleration).
    OP already has carbon rims, tubeless is a no-brainer, not much left to do. Others have mentioned tires... possibly true. I'd just replace tires when they wear out. There is more to tires than just weight, they also need to be durable, though.

    On all the weight discussion.... i still have 10-15 pounds to lose to my perfect weight. Before I do that, spending any $ on a lighter bike seems to be a distraction of the real problem :-)
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    Yes, rim weight is like 4-times non rotational weight. But that only applies only to acceleration (and deceleration).
    OP already has carbon rims, tubeless is a no-brainer, not much left to do. Others have mentioned tires... possibly true. I'd just replace tires when they wear out. There is more to tires than just weight, they also need to be durable, though.

    On all the weight discussion.... i still have 10-15 pounds to lose to my perfect weight. Before I do that, spending any $ on a lighter bike seems to be a distraction of the real problem :-)
    OP has aluminum Mulefut rims, not carbon but like I mentioned above they are relatively light. On the other hand the 3.8 minion FBR is most likely a slow roller with the widely spaced lugs. I would think a 3.0 rear tire with a XC pattern would roll much faster on hardpack.
    The wheel is a extension of the foot

  29. #29
    fat guy on a little bike
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    i just added 3lbs to my fatty, and it is a rocket ship now!

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    You should start yourself a spreadsheet. Put in items and weight savings v cost.
    For instance Sram xx1 drivetrain compared to Gx, amounts to $3.50 per gram
    Chinese carbon frame vs throwing out your 5.5 lb frame is $0.70 per gram
    Titanium pedal axles for $30 saves you 48 grams for $0.62 per gram
    12 Ti M5x10mm brake rotor screws for$10 saves 15 g. or $0.67 per gram
    BFL pair vs say Bud/Bud (on sale $49 at Universal cycles) $0.19 per gram
    etc etc.

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