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Thread: New to fat!

  1. #1
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    New to fat!

    Hello! I've been a member for a long time but never posted much. My name is Dan and I'm from Northern Westchester County, NY. I have been mountain biking for about 25 years on and off and recently gave up my 2006 Gary Fisher Paragon 29er to go fat. I'm primarily a roadie and a gravel rider. I have three bikes... A 2016 54cm Trek 720 Disc set up for gravel and cross and general banging around all over, a 2017 54cm Trek Domane S6 with a whole bunch of mods, and my newest baby is a 2017 Trek Farley 5 19.5". I would say I am 80percent road and cross and 20% mtb on singletrack, and fireroads. I'm not into gnarly stuff anymore due to a previous injury, so fat seemed perfect. I have put 30 miles on the bike in the past 2 weeks that I have had it. I work for a local bike shop in my spare time when I'm not teaching in the summer, so that's why I am lucky enough to be able to finance this hobby. My question is this: My bike is 2x10 with the standard stock gearing 36/22 and 11/36...I was riding with a friend this weekend and he was saying that I should really go to 1x10 with an 11/42 on the rear and a 30 or 32 tooth front chainring. I am a spinner in the truest sense of the word due to my riding road primarily and my build. So do you guys think this gearing setup would work for me? The front derailleur is already being annoying and going out of adjustment, so I'd like to get rid of it and have the bike be even lower drama than it already is. Will I have a fairly similar range of gearing with the 1x10 set up like this? I dont push huge gears on mtb and there are a lot of hills where I live. I'm thinking a Raceface Narrowide 30 tooth on the front to match the crank and a Sunrace MX3 11/42 rear cassette as well as a Raceface Atlas handlebar with a 30degree rise and 785 width....Input appreciated and so sorry for the long rant! Pics of all bikes eventually 8)

    ***** Upon further research, my rear mech can only handle a max of a an 11/36 rear cassette, so how many teeth on the front should I be running in order to see the same results as I would with a, 11/42 rear and a 28-30 tooth front?

  2. #2
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    I think you might have an answer in search of a question here. This is all based on your friend's assertion, that you should be on a 1x, is a correct statement. I'm not so sure it is. For one, FD's typically work fine. If it's already "out of adjustment", to me that sounds like it's probably just cable stretch on a new bike.

    I just got my first 1x drivetrain a few weeks ago- SRAM GX. So far I love it. I think it is extremely well executed- very useable gear range, great shifting. I also like the cleaner cockpit and increased simplicity of the bike because of it. However, I wouldn't necessarily go 1x for 1x's sake. FD's are typically one of the most functional/least finicky components on a bike.

    If I were going 1x, I would not do it with a 36 in the back. 40 minimum, 42 preferred. Especially if there was a hill where I lived.
    Crashing mountain bikes since 1990.

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    Awesome thanks for your honest opinion. Fat is unlike anything I have ever done, especially in the snow. I love it, and this is all good info. We don't sell a ton of them yet, and everyone is still experimenting with their own setups in our area, so I appreciate the expert advice. If it's road, cross, or gravel, I can give advice all day. Looking to gain this much knowledge about fat as well.

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    Almost the same amount of years as you on a bike. That said I have done 1x9 and 1x10 on my two Mtn bikes and love it. Not for any performance upgrade, but more of a simplicity upgrade (if that makes sense) I run a standard 30tth front into a 36tth back. (Not crazy hilly here in Delaware) but if I run out of gears I simply walk a bit. Not having the front der, extra chain rings, shifter, seems to put me more in touch with the trail.
    If you can, easy way to do it if your crank will allow is simply get a single. Chainring from wolf tooth or comparable company and try it. Go a bit lower if you are limited by hills and stock 36tth rear setup. But an investment of 50-65 dollars to try it isn't too bad. IMHO.


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    I'm not that far from you -- I'm in northern Fairfield County, so my terrain is similar.

    My fat bike has a 2 x 10 with a 26 x 42 lowest gear and the highest is a 36 x 11. For comparison, my full sus mountain bike has a 1 x 11 with (I think) a 46 rear and a 26 front. The highest gear on the mountain bike is a 26 x 11, about 40% less than the highest gear on the fat bike. That's losing a LOT of high-end speed on easy summer carriage roads, which I enjoy taking the fat bike on when I'm going somewhere too easy for a full sus mountain bike.

    So I now think of 1x as appropriate for very technical riding where reliability is more important, but 2x as appropriate for spinning on relatively consistent terrain or where you want a higher top end for roads or easier trails as well good low ratios.
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossracer View Post
    Almost the same amount of years as you on a bike. That said I have done 1x9 and 1x10 on my two Mtn bikes and love it. Not for any performance upgrade, but more of a simplicity upgrade (if that makes sense) I run a standard 30tth front into a 36tth back. (Not crazy hilly here in Delaware) but if I run out of gears I simply walk a bit. Not having the front der, extra chain rings, shifter, seems to put me more in touch with the trail.
    If you can, easy way to do it if your crank will allow is simply get a single. Chainring from wolf tooth or comparable company and try it. Go a bit lower if you are limited by hills and stock 36tth rear setup. But an investment of 50-65 dollars to try it isn't too bad. IMHO.


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    Thank you! Some of the charge Cooker bikes I noticed come with a 1x10 with an 11/36 rear and a 30 up front. My friend has one and raves about it. I haven't seen it in action yet but it seems to work well for him. I would be doing this for a simplicity upgrade as well.

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    Thanks! I am going to ride Farrington woods soon actually with a friend of mine who lives up there. Have you ever done it? I've never been! Also, very interesting what you are saying about 1x vs 2x. I think I will probably pick up the front ring and convert it just to check it out. It's cheap enough where if I don't like it, I can convert it back and sell the ring if I don't want it anymore. Now that I know I don't need to spend the dough on a rear cassette, I don't feel bad about wasting much money since it won't cost much for just the front.

  8. #8
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    Welcome to the Fatbike forum! I'm in Westchester as well, so know exactly what kind of trails you are riding. The way I see it, you have a couple of options.

    My suggestion would be to just ride the bike the way it is for a while. As Boo Bear said, a front der. is pretty simple and should not cause much issue. Bring it to the shop and make sure it's adjusted right. After spending some time with the bike and getting a feel for it, and getting a feel for what and where you like to ride, you can make a better decision. I think going 1x10 with an 11-36t cassette is not the best choice, as your gear range will be pretty limited. I know you said your rear der. can only go up to 36t, but they can usually handle more than that. Check out Wolftooth Components, they will be able to tell you if your current rear der. will work with a wider range cassette. The cheapest way to do it is buying one of the cassette expanding cogs from Wolftooth, One up, or others. Then you need a chainring, and I would suggest a 26t or 28t considering the fat tires and local terrain. Depending on what kind of cranks are currently on the bike, that may, unfortunately, require a new crankset. Keep in mind that whole setup is a bit of a kludge and will never work as well as a modern 1x11 setup.

    So my suggestion would be ride the bike the way it is until your current drivetrain is worn out and in need of replacement. Then spring for a low to mid level 1x11 setup. Either SRAM NX or GX, or Shimano SLX or XT. I'm a fan of the Shimano stuff and have XT on my current bike. When you make that upgrade, you will need: rear shifter, rear derailleur, cassette, chain, and maybe a new 1X crankset.

    Enjoy the bike, and let me know if you have any more questions. Local weather has been a bit challenging lately!

    Mark

  9. #9
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    I built a couple of bikes with 1x11 drivetrains. I used a 28 tooth ring and Shimano 11-44 cassettes. They have SLIGHTLY less range than my 2x10. 24/33 and an 11-36 ten speed cassette.
    Like BooBear said, you probably just need a cable adjustment.
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  10. #10
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    My primary reason for using 1x drivetrains is also simplicity. It allows me to use a dropper post lever in the front/left shifter location, too (which I like a lot).

    But I don't use 1x drivetrains on all my bikes. My road/gravel/touring bike is a 2x10 and it works well. I had it set up as SS first, several years ago when I first built it. Then went to 1x10 on it for longer rides. But when that wasn't quite enough, I went 2x10 and that's got me happy for that bike now.

    My wife's bikes are set up similarly. Her mtb is 1x11 and her gravel/cross bike is set up as a 2x10.

    Frankly, for your bike, I'd keep it 2x10, keep it tuned/adjusted (agree it sounds like basic break-in). Based on the way you describe your riding, it sounds like your terrain biases you towards stuff that'll beg for a wide range. At least when I think of the fire roads around here, there's lots of flat with short but SERIOUSLY steep grades that beg for a really wide range of gearing. But set up in such a way that you use the extremes of the range, and not a whole lot in the middle of your range of gears.

    One nice thing about 2x that's not going away is that you can make big jumps in gearing with just a single shift. On my mtb with 1x11, when I'm connecting bits of singletrack with the aforementioned gravel/fire roads, I really have to work the shifter to dump a lot of gears quickly. Not so on the gravel bike (though if I had to, the shifters I have on my gravel bike dump lots of gears faster than trigger shifters can - yay for thumbies!). On most singletrack, at most I need to change a couple cogs at a time, so 1x works well there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zukfanatic View Post
    Thanks! I am going to ride Farrington woods soon actually with a friend of mine who lives up there. Have you ever done it? I've never been!
    Oddly, despite living in Danbury, home of Farrington Woods, I've never gone. I most often go to Huntington State Park in Redding, which has about 800 acres and trails ranging from easy carriage trails to a wide range of fairly technical stuff with roots, rock gardens, near-vertical hills, or all of the above. Given that Ward Pound Ridge doesn't allow bikes, Huntington is the next best thing in terms of size and trail quality.

    I also go to Bennett's Farm in Ridgefield which is smaller but nice. My club has lots of mountain bike rides there.
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  12. #12
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    cart before horse or tires before ratios

    Quote Originally Posted by Zukfanatic View Post
    I think I will probably pick up the front ring and convert it just to check it out.
    Fat bikes are largely about tires; how confident are you about widths and pressures that you are currently running and terrains over which you may use them? Running out of ratio range can spoil a ride. Consider 1x if/when you discover lowest and/or highest ratios are going unused or snow and ice clog your der.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    One nice thing about 2x that's not going away is that you can make big jumps in gearing with just a single shift. On my mtb with 1x11, when I'm connecting bits of singletrack with the aforementioned gravel/fire roads, I really have to work the shifter to dump a lot of gears quickly.
    Agreed. This is one of several reasons that I personally prefer 2x designs, especially on fat bikes. If you're OK using two shifters, stick with 2x.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zukfanatic View Post
    Hello! I've been a member for a long time but never posted much. My name is Dan and I'm from Northern Westchester County, NY. I have been mountain biking for about 25 years on and off and recently gave up my 2006 Gary Fisher Paragon 29er to go fat. I'm primarily a roadie and a gravel rider. I have three bikes... A 2016 54cm Trek 720 Disc set up for gravel and cross and general banging around all over, a 2017 54cm Trek Domane S6 with a whole bunch of mods, and my newest baby is a 2017 Trek Farley 5 19.5". I would say I am 80percent road and cross and 20% mtb on singletrack, and fireroads. I'm not into gnarly stuff anymore due to a previous injury, so fat seemed perfect. I have put 30 miles on the bike in the past 2 weeks that I have had it. I work for a local bike shop in my spare time when I'm not teaching in the summer, so that's why I am lucky enough to be able to finance this hobby. My question is this: My bike is 2x10 with the standard stock gearing 36/22 and 11/36...I was riding with a friend this weekend and he was saying that I should really go to 1x10 with an 11/42 on the rear and a 30 or 32 tooth front chainring. I am a spinner in the truest sense of the word due to my riding road primarily and my build. So do you guys think this gearing setup would work for me? The front derailleur is already being annoying and going out of adjustment, so I'd like to get rid of it and have the bike be even lower drama than it already is. Will I have a fairly similar range of gearing with the 1x10 set up like this? I dont push huge gears on mtb and there are a lot of hills where I live. I'm thinking a Raceface Narrowide 30 tooth on the front to match the crank and a Sunrace MX3 11/42 rear cassette as well as a Raceface Atlas handlebar with a 30degree rise and 785 width....Input appreciated and so sorry for the long rant! Pics of all bikes eventually 8)

    ***** Upon further research, my rear mech can only handle a max of a an 11/36 rear cassette, so how many teeth on the front should I be running in order to see the same results as I would with a, 11/42 rear and a 28-30 tooth front?
    There is some consideration on 1x. With a 36-11 it gets down to how you ride and how strong are you.
    For instance, I live in the Rocky Mountains where there is no such thing as level ground. I personally run a 28t with my 36-11 with a short cage RD in order to keep the drivetrain outta the dirt and debris. This might be limiting on the top end for some peeps. I run a cadence range of
    125-175 to not piss my blown knees. A 30t as you mentioned should work well unless you need lower range.
    Do you find yourself using the 22? Is it actually necessary or just cause it's there?

    I did not want a dinner plate to pizza pan for a drive train when I built the fatty. Moreover, it was intended to be a Jeep and not a Ferrari .

    Handlebar choice is another topic worthy off mention. The short stem/wide bar combo is nice cause a fatbike's fat front tire can be cantankerous at times and the leverage of a 785 or 800mm bar limits that.

    Being that you are affiliated with a bike shop, borrow a couple chainrings to experiment. 28t, 30t and 32t. Give em a test ride and see how it goes. Don't disturb the front derailleur until you have experimented and made the decision to go 1x. Hopefully with a chainring change you don't need to replace any components on the rear to save a little coin.

    I also have 6500' of elevation at base and high country riding is 10-11k' elevation.

    Simplicity, yes but is it really for everyone, no. It is worth experimenting to find out if it is worth the effort to bring it all to be.
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    Hey guys,

    First of all THANK YOU for all of the advice and comments. I truly appreciate it. Upon reading this forum and talking to my buddy who works with me at the shop and rides exclusively fat for his mtb's now, I have decided to keep the 2x10 and re-adjust the derailleur up front. I am sure it will be fine. I can't justify getting rid of it because I have only put 30 miles on the bike so far, but have truly used almost every gear available on the bike. NY terrain where I live is so varied as many of you know, that I need options because one day I might be cruising a snow covered rail trail or fire road, and the next I might be climbing rocky trails on Blue Mountain. I have, however, ordered the race face atlas bars with a 30mm rise and 785 mm width. If they are too wide, which they very well might be slightly, I will just cut them down by 10mm on each side until I get the desired width, but first plan on moving the grips and shifters inward before I cut to check and make sure I'm comfortable before making any permanent changes. The bike is wild looking with what I have done so far and I plan on sharing pictures as soon as it's all set up the way I want it. Thanks again for all the help and please inbox me if you live in Westchester and would like to do some non-technical trail or snow riding. When I am not riding road or gravel, I am always down if I have the time!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Bear View Post
    I think you might have an answer in search of a question here. This is all based on your friend's assertion, that you should be on a 1x, is a correct statement. I'm not so sure it is. For one, FD's typically work fine. If it's already "out of adjustment", to me that sounds like it's probably just cable stretch on a new bike.

    I just got my first 1x drivetrain a few weeks ago- SRAM GX. So far I love it. I think it is extremely well executed- very useable gear range, great shifting. I also like the cleaner cockpit and increased simplicity of the bike because of it. However, I wouldn't necessarily go 1x for 1x's sake. FD's are typically one of the most functional/least finicky components on a bike.

    If I were going 1x, I would not do it with a 36 in the back. 40 minimum, 42 preferred. Especially if there was a hill where I lived.
    I would disagree with your FD assertions. They can work "fine", but they traditionally have been very finicky, shifting across such a wide spread, sometimes extremely large tooth difference (22/38) or more and such. It is many times impossible to set it up without a little bit of rub on the extreme combinations and there is often a bigger delay in a front D shifting gears than a rear D, simply because the tooth difference is so large. Having set up dozens upon dozens, if not hundreds, of front Ds in a shop, 1x drivetrains were a godsend to not have to deal with the front D system that simply never worked as good as a rear D. Modern 2x are a bit better than older 3x, but even still, many of the issues are still there, just reduced. It's not that it doesn't work, so this isn't necessarily a reason to switch out a front D just because it's not as good of a system as the rear D, but I definitely take issue to front derailleurs being "less finicky" and one of the more solid components on a bike. These were never great IME.
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  17. #17
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    Welcome to the club! I'm a 2016 Farley 5 owner so virtually the same bike as far as I can see. Personally I love and need the 2 x 10. I do a fair bit of riding to and from trail centres or natural trails so I would be lost without the extra gearing. I run 3 x 10 on old Hardrock, and 3 x 9 on an Anthem. 2 x 10 on the F5 was my first foray into doubles although have ridden a fair few single ring demo bikes. I really should move with the times but I'm convinced the bike business just exists to sell us new shit we don't really need. The F5 is a cracking bike and I researched a lot before buying it. Only thing they dropped the ball on was the 135mm front hub/fork but not really an issue if you just want to ride rigid. Only upgrades I've done on mine are SDG Han Solo lock on grips - wanted something a bit tackier to hold on to. Bars are wide enough for me and shortening the stem probably wouldn't make it climb as good. There's little or no snow where I am so the Barbegazis are total overkill for me but always get a laugh. They're also an unwelcome magnet for small thorns. Possible upgrades I'm considering are: Rougarou 3.8 tyres when the Barbs wear down, Shimano disc brakes (not a huge fan of Avids/SRAM) and a Lauf Carbonara fork....which is of course silly money and will also require a front wheel rebuild.


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    Here she is.

    Here is Bertha the Farley 5 (I name all my bikes after Grateful Dead Songs)

    Extras include RaceFace Atlas Orange 785mm 30mm rise bars, ODI Oury Blue Lock on Grips, Blackburn Two Stage Frame Pump, Tubeless Setup, Bontrager Blue Cages, Sks Fat Board Fenders, and a Timbuktu Large Seat Bag as well as A trek Waterproof Tool Carrier shaped like a water bottle to hold the goods.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New to fat!-20170215_193923.jpg  

    New to fat!-20170215_193855.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by Zukfanatic View Post
    Here is Bertha the Farley 5 (I name all my bikes after Grateful Dead Songs)

    Extras include RaceFace Atlas Orange 785mm 30mm rise bars, ODI Oury Blue Lock on Grips, Blackburn Two Stage Frame Pump, Tubeless Setup, Bontrager Blue Cages, Sks Fat Board Fenders, and a Timbuktu Large Seat Bag as well as A trek Waterproof Tool Carrier shaped like a water bottle to hold the goods.
    Nice! I used the Bontrager RL bottle cage as well. Matches the blue highlights on the 5 perfectly. Also paired with some Nukeproof Neutron flat pedals. Will try and put up a recent pic when I get a chance. What rim strips did you use?


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  20. #20
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    New to fat!-image1-2-.jpg

    here's mine here. I called him... 'Gator.


    2006 Specialized Hardrock Disc
    2012 Giant Anthem X4
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  21. #21
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    I really like the simplicity of 1x.

    My 7 is 1x stock 28/10-42. I ride a lot of roads/bike trails and steep single track. I almost never find myself looking for another gear. And if I do I just say to myself....

    "What would the pioneers do" and pedal harder.

    Thank You Jerry!
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    Lol my rimstrips are good old gorilla tape with blue duct tape over it that matches the blue on the bike and water bottle cages and grips perfectly. The bars are orange because race face blue does not match trek blue so I went with the orange just for the bars.

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