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  1. #1
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    Otso Voytek vs Fatback Skookum

    Looking to build up a carbon front suspension fat bike with a Mastodon. These two frames have sifted to the top of my list. Any pros/cons on one versus the other?

  2. #2
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    Not really that comparable other than both being made from CF.

    Otso has a flip chip drop out, 430mm - 450mm CS, 83mm bb, 177 rear hub spacing. This is a modern geo sport fat bike for mixed use.

    Skookum has a single 440mm CS, 100mm bb, 197mm rear hub spacing. This is a dedicated 5" snow bike.

    Why CF? In my expereince, CF rides harsh, you miss out on a bunch sweet of aluminum and steel choices. Also worth considering custom at the price point you're shopping.

    Ursa, Wozo, custom Ventana El Gordo or Walt's Works?

    I'd also be cautious buying an expensive frame where the Mfg has stated that it is spec'd for "up to a 120mm suspension fork", esp when it's CF. You also need to make sure a Mastodon crown will clear the downtube in the frame size you need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    ......
    Skookum has a single 440mm CS, 100mm bb, 197mm rear hub spacing. This is a dedicated 5" snow bike.

    I'd also be cautious buying an expensive frame where the Mfg has stated that it is spec'd for "up to a 120mm suspension fork", esp when it's CF. You also need to make sure a Mastodon crown will clear the downtube in the frame size you need.
    The Skookum is not a dedicated 5" snow bike. A Mastodon fork will work on it. I have a few friends that really enjoy riding theirs all year round.

    I don't know much about the Otso but a couple of friends seem to like their bike too. Tough choices!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post

    Why CF? In my expereince, CF rides harsh, you miss out on a bunch sweet of aluminum and steel choices.
    I just switched to a CF fat bike after spending 3 years on aluminum. I find it to be just the opposite.


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  5. #5
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    Ben, I'd appreciate your further thoughts. Regarding frame material, I have a Ti/Carbon road bike, a carbon gravel bike, and aluminum mountain bikes. My general thought on anything with suspension is to have it as stiff as possible, so the suspension can do its thing. On a front only bike there is the question of where stiffness is good versus bad (generally good in the front, probably good at the bottom bracket, perhaps not as good in the rear triangle in terms of making the ride feel rough).

    But my main reason for looking at carbon is to try to keep the weight down. My usage is going to be mostly snow to start (ungroomed trails) so I'd like the ability to run 26x4.6 (or something similar) for flotation (I think). But I can also see this as a year round bike on certain sandy and major loose over hard stuff, preferable with a pair of 27.5 hoops and something fat, but perhaps not as fat.

    The big challenge is I am trying to plan for the snow I know I will ride, but also to have something good for year round riding as well. I'm 56 and don't intend on riding gnarly drops, lift assisted runs, etc. I'm more of a cross country guy (not in the racing idiom, but more of flowy up/down kinda stuff).

    This thinking is being driven somewhat by a change I made this year on my 29er. Had somewhat older tires and it was washing out a lot. Put Maxxis Minions as wide as would fit (2.5 in the front, 2.3 in the rear) and I am loving the traction and stick, but also clearly noticing the weight. Thus looking for something that will handle enough tire to float on the snow, but also have the ability to go lighter for the summer.

  6. #6
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    Well, Iím not Mikesee, but I do tend to seek a fair amount of ungroomed, which means I hike a lot

    The thing is, even five inch tires dig holes, so ďungroomedĒ is a misnomer because only snow with a bottom will be rideable. In my experience, what constitutes fun is a variety of surfaces from fresh over packed to firm to slickers; no one wants to hike all the time. For these conditions I am quite satisfied riding 4.5ís.

    The idea of a stiff frame makes sense, but the cf frames are just too jarring for me. Having ridden fat in steel, aluminum, and cf. I found steel the most comfortable and the heaviest, cf the harshest riding and lightest, and aluminum the best of both worlds. I donít think you save more that 10% weight going from aluminum to cf.

    If you want multipurpose, changes in B.B. height can dramatically reduce B.B. height, just something to keep in mind.

    In terms of weight and how a bike rides, your best weight savings will be your tires and rims, rotational weight is the thing on a fat bike. Same goes for that 29er, try some light tires and see how it rides.

    You might want to borrow a fat bike and try riding snow before making the jump, snow biking is kinda harsh, esp ungroomed. If you were going to ride tracked, groomer, snow covered roads, snowmobile trails, Iíd get the funnest riding bike, funnest on all conditions.

    Many fat bikers like their bike so much that it becomes a ride choice on dirt, outside of the snow season. I rode my Wozo last night on sand, rock, dirt, dusting of snow, it was s hoot, but I could have gotten by on skinny tires.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyferrari View Post
    Ben, I'd appreciate your further thoughts. Regarding frame material, I have a Ti/Carbon road bike, a carbon gravel bike, and aluminum mountain bikes. My general thought on anything with suspension is to have it as stiff as possible, so the suspension can do its thing. On a front only bike there is the question of where stiffness is good versus bad (generally good in the front, probably good at the bottom bracket, perhaps not as good in the rear triangle in terms of making the ride feel rough).

    But my main reason for looking at carbon is to try to keep the weight down. My usage is going to be mostly snow to start (ungroomed trails) so I'd like the ability to run 26x4.6 (or something similar) for flotation (I think). But I can also see this as a year round bike on certain sandy and major loose over hard stuff, preferable with a pair of 27.5 hoops and something fat, but perhaps not as fat.

    The big challenge is I am trying to plan for the snow I know I will ride, but also to have something good for year round riding as well. I'm 56 and don't intend on riding gnarly drops, lift assisted runs, etc. I'm more of a cross country guy (not in the racing idiom, but more of flowy up/down kinda stuff).

    This thinking is being driven somewhat by a change I made this year on my 29er. Had somewhat older tires and it was washing out a lot. Put Maxxis Minions as wide as would fit (2.5 in the front, 2.3 in the rear) and I am loving the traction and stick, but also clearly noticing the weight. Thus looking for something that will handle enough tire to float on the snow, but also have the ability to go lighter for the summer.

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    Ben, my carbon gravel bike doesn't seem to stiff (yes it rattles my teeth, but 25 mph on washboards would, I think, do that on anything without any suspension and narrowish tires). If there was an "da bomb" aluminum frame that was perfect except it weight 200 grams more would I do it over carbon--of course. I have no specific affinity for carbon other than it is light and can be formed in complex shapes to good benefit.

    I have rented and ridden fat tire bikes on snow. I even ride my 29er on snow (which, as you would imagine, doesn't go very well but is fun anyway). The thing I learned from my test rides is that I want front suspension, and I think I want to make sure I end up with a four season bike (and it is a bonus if I can just swap tires and not wheels).

    My plan is to pony up for carbon rims, SRAM Eagle drivetrain, Mastodon Pro, and appropriate quality light bits elsewhere.

    And I know I could downsize my current 29er tires, but I can't get over loving the ungodly good grip.

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    Okay, you did the leg work and it sounds like you have the cash:$

    A 177 rear hub and 100mm B.B. have some limitations in regards to tire-chain clearance. Unless you want to deal with a terrible chain line or risk breaking your chain in the tire, the widest you can go with a 177/100 is 4.8 on a 80mm rim.

    Whatís the fattest tire youíve ridden? Do you think you need 5Ē tires? If so, you need a wider hub and B.B. Ursa is s fairly progressive frame, 197/120, shortish chainstays, $1250.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyferrari View Post
    Ben, my carbon gravel bike doesn't seem to stiff (yes it rattles my teeth, but 25 mph on washboards would, I think, do that on anything without any suspension and narrowish tires). If there was an "da bomb" aluminum frame that was perfect except it weight 200 grams more would I do it over carbon--of course. I have no specific affinity for carbon other than it is light and can be formed in complex shapes to good benefit.

    I have rented and ridden fat tire bikes on snow. I even ride my 29er on snow (which, as you would imagine, doesn't go very well but is fun anyway). The thing I learned from my test rides is that I want front suspension, and I think I want to make sure I end up with a four season bike (and it is a bonus if I can just swap tires and not wheels).

    My plan is to pony up for carbon rims, SRAM Eagle drivetrain, Mastodon Pro, and appropriate quality light bits elsewhere.

    And I know I could downsize my current 29er tires, but I can't get over loving the ungodly good grip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Well, Iím not Mikesee, but I do tend to seek a fair amount of ungroomed, which means I hike a lot
    Why hike when you have a perfectly good bike to ride?


  10. #10
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    The one thing the Voytek offers that no/few other fat bikes do is a relatively normal/narrow Q-factor. This would be a particularly important feature on a bike that you hope to use year round if the wide stance of most fat bikes bothers you . I recently ordered a Voytek for this very reason. I've been enjoying winter riding on my 2012 Mukluk for years but it's become increasingly uncomfortable to ride to the point where I'm afraid I'll do damage to my knees/tendons.

  11. #11
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    If you haven't hiked your bike in the snow, you ain't been riding in the snow.

    I like to think of biking as a dual sport, except the times when I'm flying in which case it's a trifecta

    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    Why hike when you have a perfectly good bike to ride?


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    My Voytek doesn't feel harsh at all, but at 6psi, why would it. I really like the narrow Q factor, I feel like its easier to get a good spin going with it

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    I guess Voytek isn't available as a frame only and sold only via Otso website? Voytek Frankset is a little bit redundant and pricey. I am looking for modern frame to run 27.5" 3.8"-4.0" tires max both for trails and 3-season bikepacking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebaru View Post
    I guess Voytek isn't available as a frame only and sold only via Otso website? Voytek Frankset is a little bit redundant and pricey. I am looking for modern frame to run 27.5" 3.8"-4.0" tires max both for trails and 3-season bikepacking.
    Otso offers what they call the Frankeset which includes frame, fork (w/several options), crankset and headset. I purchased my Frankset from Hubsessed here in Utah. What do you mean by redundant?

  15. #15
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    disregard
    Last edited by Volsung; 12-05-2017 at 10:54 PM.
    You change your own flats? Support your LBS and pay them to instead.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    If you haven't hiked your bike in the snow, you ain't been riding in the snow.

    I like to think of biking as a dual sport, except the times when I'm flying in which case it's a trifecta
    I have hiked my bike. But if I want to hike thru snow I'll wear snow shoes.

    If I'm on my bike, I want to ride it. Not carry it thru snow. Call me silly, but there it is.

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    In ungroomed snow, you canít always ride, esp on the up or on the first pass, ďriding in ď a trail after a fresh snow is often a mix of pedaling and hiking. Itís rare that the groomer gets on the trail before me, more so since we moved to Nevada; no one grooms here.

    Hiking your bike is not a chore, itís just a variation on a theme. I hike my mountain bikes also, sometimes the trail is impassable or just to rough to ride, getting to the goods requires compromise.

    Last summer I hiked my bike a couple miles up an old dozer cut to access trails above Carson Valley, wouldnít recommend it to a friend, but it needed doing, so I did it

    There are some amazing places to ride a bike in this land.

    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    I have hiked my bike. But if I want to hike thru snow I'll wear snow shoes.

    If I'm on my bike, I want to ride it. Not carry it thru snow. Call me silly, but there it is.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashTheDOG View Post
    Otso offers what they call the Frankeset which includes frame, fork (w/several options), crankset and headset. I purchased my Frankset from Hubsessed here in Utah. What do you mean by redundant?
    It's redundant for me because I need frame only. I don't need fork, next sl cranks and other things from their build kit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebaru View Post
    It's redundant for me because I need frame only. I don't need fork, next sl cranks and other things from their build kit.
    You can get just frame and crank, what crank are you planning on using? Their BB is different then any other out there. They will let you order the frame and spindle if you already have the Race Face crank. No other crank will work on that frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LargeMan View Post
    You can get just frame and crank, what crank are you planning on using? Their BB is different then any other out there. They will let you order the frame and spindle if you already have the Race Face crank. No other crank will work on that frame.
    I have several direct mount cranks, Race Face and SRAM. Basically, I am interested in frame only because I have everything from their frankset.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebaru View Post
    I have several direct mount cranks, Race Face and SRAM. Basically, I am interested in frame only because I have everything from their frankset.
    Just order the frame and spindle then. Talked to them a few days ago and they offered me this option.

  22. #22
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    Received my Voytek yesterday and got it put together last night! It's a beauty and feels really quick and lively riding in circles in my basement workshop (scared the hell out of the cat!) and my driveway! I hope to get it out and try it on a trail this evening or this weekend at the latest. It arrived just in time-our weather is taking a turn for the wintery and there's snow in the forecast...

    Otso Voytek vs Fatback Skookum-38156663644_9e35001c38_b.jpg

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    Steve, which wheels (Mulefuts?) and tires are you running? Also sizes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottyferrari View Post
    Steve, which wheels (Mulefuts?) and tires are you running? Also sizes?
    They're Otso's brand of rims, "Lithic," but appear to be made by SunRingle. They're about a cm narrower than the Mulfuts on my Mukluk. I'm running Cake Eater tires, 4.6" front and 4.0" rear. The 4.6 didn't quite clear in back according to The Otso rep which was kind of a bummer but there's at least as much clearance in back as on my (1st generation) Mukluk so I'm ok with it as a trade off for the Voytek's lower Q-factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LargeMan View Post
    Just order the frame and spindle then. Talked to them a few days ago and they offered me this option.
    What was the cost for frame and spindle?

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    I like the general philosophy of the Otso. A trail bike with fat tires. Narrow q factor with custom options available. I am still debating between this bike and the Suzi Q.

    Carbon wise -- like any material, you can make it harsh or plush. I have to say, I like stiff frames. Even on a mountain bike, it's nice to ride down the chunky and techy sections on a stiff frame. The bike goes where you point it with minimal deflection.

    And you have to remember. You've got 4"+ of rubber you're riding on. Too harsh of a ride? Drop a psi.

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    So Steve, to clarify do the 4.6 Cake Eaters in the back rub, or do they fit without rubbing but don't allow much mud/debris clearance.

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    I don't think that is true.

    The spindle is an 83mm which RF makes. What I remember from the initial Otso media pub was that the spindles were hard to get, and because they are the right length for the frame, the company found it was easier to just package them together.

    There are other cranks that will work, you just need to check with Otso.

    It is an 83mm bb, so "other cranks" may not work unless you have an 83mm spindle.

    Quote Originally Posted by LargeMan View Post
    You can get just frame and crank, what crank are you planning on using? Their BB is different then any other out there. They will let you order the frame and spindle if you already have the Race Face crank. No other crank will work on that frame.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I don't think that is true.

    The spindle is an 83mm which RF makes. What I remember from the initial Otso media pub was that the spindles were hard to get, and because they are the right length for the frame, the company found it was easier to just package them together.

    There are other cranks that will work, you just need to check with Otso.

    It is an 83mm bb, so "other cranks" may not work unless you have an 83mm spindle.
    For clarification, the spindle length is not 83mm. It's 156mm for Aeffects and 149.5mm for Next SL. 83mm refers to the BB shell width (for BSA), which again, for clarification, is not what is spec'd on the Otso, either. (It's a PF107)

  30. #30
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    Yup.

    Take a look at this nice table, it explains all the bb configurations:

    BB Standards

    83mm bb is a DH configuration, there are a number of very nice cranks and bb that fit.

    Here's a simple google list of who sells a BB for this frame:

    https://www.bing.com/shop?q=83mm++bo...0F15FDD0F39250

    Personally, I'd go with RF because I like their cranks and you know that they fit. That said, I prefer a shorter crank, 165mm, which is not available from RF in an 83mm bb except in the SixC.

    So Mebaru, you will need the spindle, regardless of whch crank you use. SRAM doesn't generally have a removeable spindle, whereas RF does. Get the frame and spindle combo and you're good.

    Hey, thought police! Did you see that this frame is press fit? Heavens to Betsy, yet another poorly designed frame

    Of course, for that kind of cash ($2300) I'd get a custom frame, like a Ventana El Gordo with a Pinion I believe Waltworks will do a custom for ~$1500, aluminum or steel. CF is expensive, gotta pay for the mold.

    Have you all noticed that the Wozo has a tighter rear geo, 10mm shorter CS to accomodate same tires sizes, sliding drops are infinitely adjustable, and with the price difference of $1500, you got enough cash to buy a killer set of wheels or a Mastodon Pro plus a bunch of parts.

    Anyway, don't want to get in trouble from the thought police for talking about the Wozo in yet another post

    Started building a Wozo for my son, 29+ to start, Mastodon Comp STD 140, left over bin parts for the balance. I'll build him a set of 27.5 x 4" after the move.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2:01 View Post
    For clarification, the spindle length is not 83mm. It's 156mm for Aeffects and 149.5mm for Next SL. 83mm refers to the BB shell width (for BSA), which again, for clarification, is not what is spec'd on the Otso, either. (It's a PF107)

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    I have heard those spindles are hard to get. But remember Rocky Mountain Suzi Q comes with the same cranks, so maybe a visit to a RM dealer would solve that issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    So Mebaru, you will need the spindle, regardless of whch crank you use. SRAM doesn't generally have a removeable spindle, whereas RF does. Get the frame and spindle combo and you're good.

    Hey, thought police! Did you see that this frame is press fit? Heavens to Betsy, yet another poorly designed frame

    Of course, for that kind of cash ($2300) I'd get a custom frame, like a Ventana El Gordo with a Pinion I believe Waltworks will do a custom for ~$1500, aluminum or steel. CF is expensive, gotta pay for the mold.

    Have you all noticed that the Wozo has a tighter rear geo, 10mm shorter CS to accomodate same tires sizes, sliding drops are infinitely adjustable, and with the price difference of $1500, you got enough cash to buy a killer set of wheels or a Mastodon Pro plus a bunch of parts.
    Absolutely makes sense. For now, I just gathering options on available frames. $2300 is much more than I want to spend.

    I want to build a singletrack/trail-focused bikepacking bike for 3-season riding. Want modern geo with narrow Q-factor, if possible. I like to stay fat so have a plan to fit 27.5" wheels with 3.8"-4" tires. Also, rigid or lauf for reliability. No suspension. Though I have mastodon pro I am going to put on my Farley this week once I get Mattoc service tool kit (need to reduce travel), maybe I will change my mind

    Wozo seems to be great and affordable frame. But it is designed for use with front suspension.

    For same money as Wozo, I can get Surly Wednesday frame, I think it can be qualified as semi-modern.

    Waltworks pricing is $1500-1850 for a custom fat-bike frame. While being the best option, unfortunately, it's pricey.

  33. #33
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    The Wozo would ride fine rigid or with a Lauf. No such thing as a ridgid bike designed for suspension, they all work fine rigid as long as the geo is what you want.

    If the 69deg HTA is a concern, then add an Angleset, which would reduce the HTA by up to 1.5 degrees.

    Low bb is an issue with the Wozo, so it'd make more sense to run taller wheels for bikepacking like 29+, at the minimum a 27.5 x 4. A shorter crank would also help, 165mm.

    Why wouldn't you use your Farley for these purposes?

    The Wednesday is a nice bike, steel is real and real heavy, not sure you gain much as the prices are comparable between the Wozo and Weds.

    Have you considered an FS fat like the Farley EX? Not exactly a bikepacker, but it'd surly work and the ride would be comgy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mebaru View Post
    Absolutely makes sense. For now, I just gathering options on available frames. $2300 is much more than I want to spend.

    I want to build a singletrack/trail-focused bikepacking bike for 3-season riding. Want modern geo with narrow Q-factor, if possible. I like to stay fat so have a plan to fit 27.5" wheels with 3.8"-4" tires. Also, rigid or lauf for reliability. No suspension. Though I have mastodon pro I am going to put on my Farley this week once I get Mattoc service tool kit (need to reduce travel), maybe I will change my mind

    Wozo seems to be great and affordable frame. But it is designed for use with front suspension.

    For same money as Wozo, I can get Surly Wednesday frame, I think it can be qualified as semi-modern.

    Waltworks pricing is $1500-1850 for a custom fat-bike frame. While being the best option, unfortunately, it's pricey.

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    The 4.6 Wazias fit the rear on the Lithic Rhyolite rims (65mm) in the middle or rear chip position. 4.6 Wazias fit in the rear on Other Brother Darryl rims as well but with only about 2mm of clearance which is too close for comfort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Why wouldn't you use your Farley for these purposes?

    The Wednesday is a nice bike, steel is real and real heavy, not sure you gain much as the prices are comparable between the Wozo and Weds.

    Have you considered an FS fat like the Farley EX? Not exactly a bikepacker, but it'd surly work and the ride would be comgy
    Well, I already use my Farley for bikepacking and have ridden it a lot last warm season. I don't like 197 rear hub and I want to build something less fat, 27.5 3.8" or 4" seems a perfect spot. I know that 29"+ is considered best for long unpaved rides but I enjoy riding fatter tires, also with 27.5" on 80mm rims I will have much more tire options with one wheel set (at this time I cannot afford two nice wheel sets).

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    Received my Voytek yesterday and got it put together last night! It's a beauty and feels really quick and lively riding in circles in my basement workshop (scared the hell out of the cat!) and my driveway! I hope to get it out and try it on a trail this evening or this weekend at the latest. It arrived just in time-our weather is taking a turn for the wintery and there's snow in the forecast...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You made quick work on that, looks like a nice build. Did you happen to measure the Q factor. I am a little curious.

    Thanks!
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoo View Post
    You made quick work on that, looks like a nice build. Did you happen to measure the Q factor. I am a little curious.

    Thanks!
    Yeah, I paid the extra $120 to have them do most of the assembly so it came pretty ready to go. I swapped in a bar/stem/grips combo I had on hand, got the saddle position sorted, added my bike computer and some sealant to the tires and it was pretty much ready! It's hard to precisely measure Q when the cranks are installed but it seems to be right around 185. On the trail, it feels great! Not notably different from my regular mtbs, and I had none of the knee/hip/hamstring pain and tension I've been having with the Mukluk (which has a Q-factor around 210)

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    Yeah, I paid the extra $120 to have them do most of the assembly so it came pretty ready to go. I swapped in a bar/stem/grips combo I had on hand, got the saddle position sorted, added my bike computer and some sealant to the tires and it was pretty much ready! It's hard to precisely measure Q when the cranks are installed but it seems to be right around 185. On the trail, it feels great! Not notably different from my regular mtbs, and I had none of the knee/hip/hamstring pain and tension I've been having with the Mukluk (which has a Q-factor around 210)
    Thanks for the Q.

    Enjoy!
    Lucky neighbor of Maryland's Patapsco Valley State Park, 39.23,-76.76 Flickr

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    Iíve been riding my Voytek since July and I donít have anything negative to say about it. Itís been a great bike and the guys at Otso/Wolftooth are fantastic to deal with. Yes, the frame was a little pricey, but you get a $400+ crankset, the CAMO spider thatís necessary to get that right chainline on this frame, and a headset. When you figure in the add ons, the cost isnít much/if any more than other carbon frames on the market.

    I ran the bike rigid 29+ all summer with 3Ē Chupacabras. It weighed just over 23# and was a ton of fun. Itís now setup with 70mm Lythics (made by Alex I believe, not Sun Ringle as mentioned above) and 4.6 Cake Eaters. The 4.6 Cake Eaters, while on the same casing as the 4.6 Wazia, have wider outer lugs (by about 4mm) and they donít work with the 37 and 42 cogs on my cassette. They fit in the stays no problem, but the lugs rub on the chain. To possibly fix this issue, Wolf Tooth is producing a different CAMO spider that will gain an extra mm, Iím also going to add 1mm spacer to the driveside of the crank set. That might be all that I need. Iíve got a 4.6 Wazia ready to mount up if those two things donít rectify the issue. Iím bound and determined to run a 4.6 tire in the back.

    To the OP. If youíve got any other questions let me know. You wonít be dissapointed with the Otso. For your intended purposes it sounds like a great choice.

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