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  1. #1
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    q factor sensitive - need suggestions

    Hi all,

    I'm a 6'1" 170 roadie with narrow hips and history of injuries. My right knee had a number of knee procedures including a leg realignment. Good leg is bow legged and the bad leg is knock kneed. It doesn't bother me to spin 90+rpm on the road bike. But it took a while to adjust the cleat position and sole wedges to achieve comfort for 20+mile rides. Transitioning to a wider fat bike will not be seamless in my case. So I need the narrowest possible q factor to be as close to my road bikes as possible. I want to ride mainly on the beach so probably a 4" tire is needed. I'm ok with single speed/internal gear hub setup if external gearing can't give me a desired q factor. Any fat bike frames with 73mm bottom bracket can accommodate a 4" tire and a sub 170mm q factor cranks? Thank you!

  2. #2
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    I'm sure that others will chime-in, but I know that the Otso Voytek can get down to a 183mm Q-factor using Raceface Next SL crankarms. The Rocky Mountain Suzy-Q and the Canyon Dude, I believe, have been purported to have narrower Q-factors (for a fatbike), too.

  3. #3
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    thanks! have any numbers on Suzi Q or Canyon Dude?

    i don't mind going a custom route and build from the frame up...i emailed Tumbleweed today to get info on crank options their frame accepts. so far no response. any other manufacturers/builders i should be aware of?

  4. #4
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    I have really bad knees.
    Have you tried a fatbike yet?
    I ask because my fatbike, with my shoes and cleats set up right, feels better than my road bike ( and I have those cleats adjusted for the narrow Q)
    The Race Face Next cranks have the narrowest Q out of the cranks I've seen.

  5. #5
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    thanks for the reply. i had a regular mtb a few years ago and sold it. it didn't feel right to me with whatever crank setup i had. so that's my concern now. i need to find a frame capable of wearing a 4" tire, with a 73mm bottom bracket and chainstay clearance for Race Face Next...?

    and i have not tried a fat bike yet! it's on my to do list in the very near future.

  6. #6
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    The Voytek narrow Q helped a lot with my hip and knee pain. I used to ride a RM blizzard, the Q was huge.
    SuziQ has the same Q factor as the Voytek 183 with Next, 188 with Aeffect, 192 Turbine

    Waltworks also does a narrow Q fatbike

  7. #7
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    Ditch the cleats, get flats, you don't need them for riding on the beach.

    Narrowest BB that can take 4" tires is an 83mm unless you go to SS or IGH.

    The problem is no one makes a fat bike with a 73mm bb, a couple custom frame builders and high end CF frames make an 83mm bb.

    You ought to try a 100mm bb before drawing conclusions. At 6'1", your hips are no way narrower than a 5' waif or some of the kids riding fat bikes, and they do just fine.

    In other words, the whole q factor fear is mental

    But if you insist, try Waltworks, he'll tell you what is possible, you just need to write the check.

    Bikes, recipes and ranting

    Quote Originally Posted by dmitry View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm a 6'1" 170 roadie with narrow hips and history of injuries. My right knee had a number of knee procedures including a leg realignment. Good leg is bow legged and the bad leg is knock kneed. It doesn't bother me to spin 90+rpm on the road bike. But it took a while to adjust the cleat position and sole wedges to achieve comfort for 20+mile rides. Transitioning to a wider fat bike will not be seamless in my case. So I need the narrowest possible q factor to be as close to my road bikes as possible. I want to ride mainly on the beach so probably a 4" tire is needed. I'm ok with single speed/internal gear hub setup if external gearing can't give me a desired q factor. Any fat bike frames with 73mm bottom bracket can accommodate a 4" tire and a sub 170mm q factor cranks? Thank you!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Ditch the cleats, get flats, you don't need them for riding on the beach.
    For a lot of people , the knee pain is caused by a fixed foot position.

    Some flats holds the feet more than cleats.

    Not better IME
    There has to be floating.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  9. #9
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    i use speedplay X2 with 30 degrees of float. the only time i have knee pain on the bike is when the cleats are out of position. i would not use cleats riding a fat bike on the beach.

  10. #10
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    Be sure to choose flat that don't have pins
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmitry View Post
    thanks! have any numbers on Suzi Q or Canyon Dude?

    i don't mind going a custom route and build from the frame up...i emailed Tumbleweed today to get info on crank options their frame accepts. so far no response. any other manufacturers/builders i should be aware of?
    Here's another thread on this general subject:

    Q factor - such a concept as too *narrow*??

    I think there's yet another fairly recent Q-factor thread on this board, too (may be able to locate with search function). At this point, I seem to tolerate 190/197 hubbed bikes that accommodate 170/177 cranks (around 212mm Q-factor, max, as I understand it) as long as I don't let my footplant on the pedals (flats) get sloppy wide. Hard, steep, technical climbing requiring repeated high-watt bursts definitely leaves me with a narrow margin for comfort/safety. Medial, lower knee pain, often after the ride (or the following morning) is what I feel when I cross the line. Otso has a section of their website that explains Q-factor mechanics pretty well.

  12. #12
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    Q Factor and fat bikes is an old subject, it sees the rounds at least once a season, there are as many opinions as their fecal orifices.

    Talk to Walt, he'll set you straight, likely the best you'll get with a 4" tire is an 83mm bb, tire clearance and chain line are what they are.

    If you must have a 73mm bb, you can do odd things like offsets, obviously the single speed or IGH.

  13. #13
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    Thank you all for the feedback. I exchanged emails with Walt per your suggestions. He definitely knows his stuff. He said it's possible to get the q factor to as low as 165mm and still fit 4" tires. He suggested Rohloff IGH or even a rear derailleur with only ~5 gears(more than enough for my beach riding needs). The only thing that gives me cause to pause is the price tag. A full build would run well over $3k for a bike that will see occasional use and dedicated 95% to beach riding on some Sundays. I need to sleep on the idea of how cool it would be to ride along the southern shores of Long Island in spring and fall. Maybe those thoughts would allow me to pull the trigger.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    If you must have a 73mm bb, you can do odd things like offsets, obviously the single speed or IGH.
    Get freaky with an elevated chainstay too.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmitry View Post
    ..........occasional use and dedicated 95% to beach riding on some Sundays. ........
    Buy a cheap used or borrow and throw on a cheap pair of flat pedals with low/no pins to go for a test ride.

    There are fast guys and beach racing, but typically my impression of beach sand riding is a scenic spin at a moderate or slower pace. Geared for easy RPMs and consistent forward motion in soft surfaces, you're just not cranking out the watts. That plus a more upright position of a cruiser style set-up might be aOK for your knees. Something to think about.

  15. #15
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    The Tumbleweed Prospector and Crust Scapegoat both have 73mm bottom brackets and can run 4" tires. Although built for different purposes, both also have 135mm rear hub spacing, designed with IGH and international touring in mind with narrow q-factors.

    The Tumbleweed isn't cheap, but the Crust isn't horrendously bad for a frame, imho.

    (no affiliation...)

  16. #16
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    Thanks! I think a Crust build could be within my budget. And they claim it allows for a 170mm q factor.

  17. #17
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    Maybe something like this:
    Felt Float 3-SP - RevolutionBikeShop.com
    Latitude 61

  18. #18
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    Nice idea, but shite geo, bummer that. Seriously, a super narrow bb with super long chainstays, very slack STA, and steep HTA. The Crust is nutz, very old school geo. Clearly these guys are not reading MTBR!!

    I'd talk to Walk about a custom frame, you'll get exactly what you want, then you can spec the groupo as your pocketbook allows. I may be there in time, love my Wozo but I'd like to have a better overall geo, lower standover, steeper HTA, more dropper insertion. What's $1500 for a frame, chump change!

    A single speed is probably fine for beach riding, use a dinglespeed to spice things up. An IGH can be head for a lot less than 1k if you go with a Shimano.

    [QUOTE=nowhereyonder;13333548]The Tumbleweed Prospector and Crust Scapegoat both have 73mm bottom brackets and can run 4" tires. Although built for different purposes, both also have 135mm rear hub spacing, designed with IGH and international touring in mind with narrow q

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Nice idea, but shite geo, bummer that. Seriously, a super narrow bb with super long chainstays, very slack STA, and steep HTA. The Crust is nutz, very old school geo. Clearly these guys are not reading MTBR!!
    Lol. Crust is pretty eclectic and yeah, they weren't reading MTBR when they designed that bike. They were off on some year long bizarro land tour thinking about what they wanted in a bike. I think they'd be okay with it not being what you would want in a bike.

    I simply posted it because it has the requirements the OP asked about in regards to fat tires and low q factor. The Scapegoat has both those things, but in an all day lazy touring geometry. Still a fatbike.

    Any other design parameters, Dmitry?

  20. #20
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    i just want a sporty type bike i can enjoy riding on the beach and get a workout. i don't know a lot about geometry, but the standover height on Crust looks high to me. the guys at Scapegoat replied to my email and said I can use a 170mm q factor crank and still use an external derailleur with maybe ~5 usable gears with a 4" tire.

    waltworks bikes do look amazing...i would like to go that route even if i go singlespeed to stay within a conscientious budget for a 3rd bike that will see only occasional use. the next step is to rent a fat bike and actually see how it feels on the beach.

  21. #21
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    Sporty?

    Geometry primer:
    Short chainstays are more agile, allowing easier manuals (wheelies)
    Slack head tube abgles improve tracking and stability at speed
    Steep HTA reduce relative reach when the seat is dropped
    Low BB lowers center of gravity

    If you go for a custom, then Walt can try and work you through the geo, but it behooves you to try some factory bikes first and figure out what feels good; only you know what you want.

    Like Nowherebeyonder suggested, the bike frame designer is not always reading mtbr, many times they are shooting for mass appeal, but when you go custom you get what you want.

    For riding on sand, you really don't need a whole lot of bike, but if you plan to make the fat bike a regular trail bike or use it for snow riding, you may want to invest more.

    Personally, I can't see spending thousands on a fat bike I ride once in a while on the beach, but it's your money.

    If you wanted to get fancy and had access to a good shop, you could try and buy a 100mm bb fat bike in steel or aluminum, then have the bb cut down to 83mm. I believe an mtbr member did this, but the work was done by Walt. In this scenario, I'd start with something like a Surly ICT.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmitry View Post
    i just want a sporty type bike i can enjoy riding on the beach and get a workout. i don't know a lot about geometry, but the standover height on Crust looks high to me. the guys at Scapegoat replied to my email and said I can use a 170mm q factor crank and still use an external derailleur with maybe ~5 usable gears with a 4" tire.

    waltworks bikes do look amazing...i would like to go that route even if i go singlespeed to stay within a conscientious budget for a 3rd bike that will see only occasional use. the next step is to rent a fat bike and actually see how it feels on the beach.

  22. #22
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    For sure rent or demo a fatty before you get too involved. I demoed before I bought. I love mine, and it's my go to ride for almost 3 years now. I ride desert year round clipped in, and fatbikes change the game in sand! The wide Q doesn't bother me, BUT, everyone needs to address their own needs. Best o luck.

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