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  1. #1
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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Except when it, uh, makes sense for them to.









    New bike time. Most important thing to remember is that any fatbike, for me, is always going to be meant for snow ~90% of the time.











    I may get a wild hair to do something requiring added float in the non-snow months, but those trips are the exception, and pretty much any geometry will work on soft, unfrozen surfaces.











    Key word above=geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.



    No way.











    Pictured here with summer kit (fork, post, grips) and wheels.











    Heirloom stem. Single pinch bolt for ease of turning the bars sideways--when strapping the bike onto a packraft, or stuffing the whole thing into a bush plane.











    Heirloom bars. They hold ~12oz of liquid, most often denatured alcohol.











    Horizontal strut for ease of portage. Fatbikes can be ridden lots of places that normal bikes cannot, but they still have their limits. And since I usually ride with a framebag in place, that strut becomes my suitcase handle.











    Proto? Hopefully not for long. Running 'em tubeless at ~13psi on Derby rims.











    26t ring is plenty for where/how I ride it.

















    It's the little things.











    Love the clean functionality of this cockpit.

















    Rack TBD.











    Honestly, I do not and will not ride this bike much for 10 months of the year. But I cannot imagine being entirely without a floaty chassis. Those other ~2 months it'll get used enough to justify it's existence many times over.











    More details to come as I put more miles on it.



    Thanks for checkin' in.
    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:47 PM.

  2. #2
    PRETENDURO
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    Jeez… the teaser shots… I was just wanting the full frontal, which you saved until last (my broadband is limited to 183KB/sec—NO JOKE—for the time being, until PacBell/AT&T/etc. upgrades their sh¡t in my neck of the woods; the upside is that I spend less time on teh intarwebs and more time riding the trails). HOWEVER, very artsy fartsy stuff going on there. Looks like an awesome-ass setup. I’d almost pay extra to have that prototype tire warning stamped onto all my tires, just for sh¡ts and giggles.
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  3. #3
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    Nice welds!

  4. #4
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    That's a well thought out masterpiece.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  5. #5
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    been interested to see how this one came out since NAHBS....sweet as!....the details are (pedictably) thoughtful and well executed....interested to see how the geo is compared to your last one with the actiontec shock.

    also looking forward to your appraisal of the chronicle especially on derby 35s in dirt...i do wonder if 35mm is enough to keep the tyre edge in play...

    sweet.

  6. #6
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    Re: Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Pretty sucky bike. Ugly bushes, too. You're a bad man, Mikesee. May your teeth fall out and hair grow in their place.

  7. #7
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    Key word above = geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.
    Mike - do illuminate, for the ignorant patzers like myself who are stumbling around the world in the dark (for me, on a Pugs), what the enlightened few (read: you, "The Chosen One") has determined to be geometry that truly works in the snow.

  8. #8
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    Please provide a geometry chart ( rudimentary is fine) for us goobers that ride our fat bikes so cluelessly without a proper understanding of what is the "best".

    Btw, nice looking bike.

  9. #9
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    Fools.......

    Snow is for shovelin'

    Sand is for ridin'!
    It's all about the firecuts

  10. #10
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    Angles look very slack....Look at the seat in relation to the rear tire..could just be the fork.
    The bike is never to heavy, you are just to WEAK!

  11. #11
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    "Key word above = geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing."

    WOW!!! I'm glad you are here to explain every thing.

  12. #12
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    very nice
    Mongoose product development

  13. #13
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    Damn. That's a mighty fine machine there. Nice pics as always too. Aside from a custom frame, which production frame comes closest to your idea of "perfect" geometry?
    Jason
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  14. #14
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    How does the liquid in the bars feel, or for that matter your old frame which filled all the main tubes? No different than a 1/2 full bottle in a cage, or can you feel/hear it sloshing about?

    Interesting no PF 120 BB which is all the rage to max stay clearances.

  15. #15
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    Nice looking rig.
    A 3.0 tire doesn't do much to support your anti-non-snow fat rhetoric however.

  16. #16
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    I was expecting something with a ski or a hovercraft.

    99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.

  17. #17
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    Time for a boring question - hot as hell bike btw - what grips are those? They don't exactly look like Ergons. I liked the flare at the palm that Ergons had but the otherwise cylindrical diameter proved too much for my apparently tiny hands to hold onto in the rough (squishy bike or not).
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  18. #18
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    Key word above = geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care.


    Sah-weeet rig. That attention to detail makes me superpumped to be getting my hands on a set of wheels you built for me...iffn the FedEx man ever gets to mah house

    As I am a fat bike noob (in N. CA and my bike will most likely never see the snow unless I hit up Tahoe in winter) I would like to learn more about what would make better snow geometry than what is currently being offered by most/all manufacturers.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Key word above = geometry. *I had a custom frame built because although <i>everyone </i>seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. *99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. *Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.
    Of course I'd tell you what actually does work, but then I'd have to kill you... Bask in your ignorance minions!!!

  20. #20
    All fat, all the time.
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    Mmmm, clean! like the full cable housing, nice choice in cranks and little ring up front too.

    Needs fatterer tires though!

  21. #21
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    Sweet looking ride, Mike. Custom ti is way outta my price range, but those rims may be just the ticket for a future 29+ build I have I mind. How do you like em so far? Re snow geometry, I'm unfortunately in both groups: the 99.9% without a clue and the 10% who care. Could you, um, elaborate a little?
    Veni vidi velo!

  22. #22
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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    Time for a boring question - hot as hell bike btw - what grips are those? They don't exactly look like Ergons. I liked the flare at the palm that Ergons had but the otherwise cylindrical diameter proved too much for my apparently tiny hands to hold onto in the rough (squishy bike or not).
    I want those grips whenever Mike posts his builds . But rest assured , he ain't going to give up the geo or the grips.

  23. #23
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    Have SRAM figured out the twist shifter problems? Seems like they were all blowing up last year.

  24. #24
    All fat, all the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Have SRAM figured out the twist shifter problems? Seems like they were all blowing up last year.
    Any specific versions?
    I have a 10 speed X0 twist for new build....hope it holds up ok....

  25. #25
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    Love the Ti. I bet it rides like a dream

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjedoaks View Post
    I want those grips whenever Mike posts his builds . But rest assured , he ain't going to give up the geo or the grips.
    Ye of little faith. I've always found Mike to be responsive, just not immediately so, on account of ...being busy.

    Frame note - I like the top tube to seat collar strut. I have similar on my pavement bike, and it is featured on the Kona "Wo" fat bike (edit actually this is wrong, it looks like they changed their design from what I remembered) and the RSD "Mayor" fat bike. Useful.
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  27. #27
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    Fancy bike, those chain stays look nice and short.

  28. #28
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    Bent seat tube = short chain stays.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    ...Frame note - I like the top tube to seat collar strut. I have similar on my pavement bike, and it is featured on the Kona "Wo" fat bike...
    I like that feature too. As a person who does a fair share of hike-a-bike I would find it useful. A handle is really useful with something as unwieldy to carry as a bike.

    I have found it useful on my full suspension bike when off road....

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Any specific versions?
    I have a 10 speed X0 twist for new build....hope it holds up ok....
    Timely question! I just blew up my XX 10spd rear Gripshifter. As a big fan of the old, simple design I was worried about the new ones with all those little parts. Turns out I was right. Part of the new design is their so-called Speed Metal, wherein the indexing parts (pawl spring and detent ring) are made of steel. Unfortunately, the pawl is retained by some delicate plastic parts, which appear to be what broke. I'm giving them a second chance, but I'm not happy about it (@ $150 for one shifter). XX and X0 are identical inside BTW. XX just comes with Gore cables.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johanneson View Post
    That bike is as fat as anything out there. (Just defending the bike)
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."

    A bike like the one pictured in this post, with 29x3" tires, is by definition NOT a fat bike.

    So while all the rest of us are "happy looking down on our gee-whiz bulbous tires", the op is deluding himself into thinking he is on a fat bike, when in fact, he is riding a 29+ bike.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."

    A bike like the one pictured in this post, with 29x3" tires, is by definition NOT a fat bike.

    So while all the rest of us are "happy looking down on our gee-whiz bulbous tires", the op is deluding himself into thinking he is on a fat bike, when in fact, he is riding a 29+ bike.

    EFIS,
    like I said, not defending the OP, just the very fat bike that happens to be set up with a skinny wheel/tire combo in the pics. That's all.

  33. #33
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    Awesome bike. I put skinny tires and rims on my fat bike in the summer, too. It's still a fat bike.
    --Peace

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."

    A bike like the one pictured in this post, with 29x3" tires, is by definition NOT a fat bike.

    So while all the rest of us are "happy looking down on our gee-whiz bulbous tires", the op is deluding himself into thinking he is on a fat bike, when in fact, he is riding a 29+ bike.
    Totally. The OP has no idea what he's talking about......he's probably never even ridden on snow.....let alone done any of those races with mandatory tire sizes.....

    I also heard he's from Iowa.

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  35. #35
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    Not saying the OP doesn't know what he's talking about, just don't understand why he feels the need to insult "99.9% of the people".
    Looks like a great bike, and we all know he is a great rider. Sorry if I offended anyone's sensibilities.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Not saying the OP doesn't know what he's talking about, just don't understand why he feels the need to insult "99.9% of the people".
    Looks like a great bike, and we all know he is a great rider. Sorry if I offended anyone's sensibilities.
    I'd be offended if I had sensibilities. Anyone have some they want to get rid of?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dRjOn View Post
    been interested to see how this one came out since NAHBS....sweet as!....the details are (pedictably) thoughtful and well executed....interested to see how the geo is compared to your last one with the actiontec shock.

    also looking forward to your appraisal of the chronicle especially on derby 35s in dirt...i do wonder if 35mm is enough to keep the tyre edge in play...

    sweet.
    A few random answers, starting with the questions above:

    -Geo is virtually identical to the old YBB, but this one can fit Lou on a hundie. FTW!

    -On the Chronicles in particular I'm not sure how much rim width matters, as the edge and transition knobs are stacked so tightly together. Not getting the true benefit of an edge knob regardless of rim width.

    -Grips are Phorm, any shop with a QBP account can get 'em.

    -Fuel in frame was never noticeable, half-full bars are noticeable but I don't think they really change anything. Fun to note sloshing noises emanating from cockpit when hauling the mail.

    -Folks seem to be getting their undies in a bunch re: my 99.9%/90% comments. Sorry you're choosing to take 'em that way.

    I'll be happy to explain my take on geo, and a little on how I've come to the conclusions I have over the last 20 years and ~20,000 miles of riding on snow. But first, I'm going to indulge in a summer weekend.

    Sounds like some of you need to do that more than I do.

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:49 PM.

  38. #38
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    I find that bike to be aesthetically very pleasing. I especially like the angle of the seat tube brace against the top tube. Some kind of feng shui of tube angles going on there.

  39. #39
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    Re: Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    ^ Is there a mass produced bike that you think has good geo for snow?

  40. #40
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    Key word above = geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.

    The first statement in bold is very true, the rest feels smug and elitist. Just the way it came across, thats all.

  41. #41
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    Gotcha. Can't control the way what I write is interpreted, but if you'll give me the benefit of the doubt for the next few (days? weeks?) I'll explain what I meant and you might look upon those words in a different light.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    cuz he's a pompous twit as i stated earlier. funneh how says that folks should stay off the internet. and thinks that riding fatbikes more than 2 months a year is stupid/beneath him. then he get's on the internet, posts a blog about his better than anyone else's bike with hey look at me i'm cool cuz i test tires that no one else gets to ride all the while coming across as an i'm better than 99.9% *****bag.

    sad thing is he put way too much time and dime into a bike that is, in fact, just a fvcking bike. and will prolly crack at a weld sooner than later.

    rog
    I think you are failing to understand the difference between an internet "expert", and an actual expert.

    I also suspect that mikesee's "2 months of a year" riding fatbikes exceeds most folks annual mileage.


    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."...
    Ah, racing! The boys with rulebooks telling us what our bikes should look like. There's more to fatbikes than the tiny world of going fast. That's the same mindset that has retarded bike development over the last century.

    I think most of the regulars on here are happy to accept 3" bikes* as being in the fatbike family - this is certainly the case amongst the UK fatbikers.



    *ie, any bike that takes a tyre that too wide to fit in a normal bike.



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  43. #43
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    For a guy like mikesee, tires probably don't matter that much. He is an elite rider. For the remaining 99.9% of us, tires are the most important thing.
    Internet forums are problematic this way, it is hard to infer tone.
    That said, if I was making money selling fat wheels and tires to people who are less capable / accomplished than I am, I would be extra careful about how I addressed my potential customers on the internet.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    I'd be offended if I had sensibilities. Anyone have some they want to get rid of?
    Sorry, sold all mine years ago. For way too cheap
    It's all about the firecuts

  45. #45
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    The bike is new. The bike is sweet. I like bikes. I'm sure Mike will share his geometry numbers and riding impressions once he puts in some chamois time on his bike. Some people are too easily offended.

    Rog, you are entitled to your opinions, but why result to insults about a sweet custom Ti frame? Value is in the eye of the beholder. What kind of bike do you ride? I'm sure people could also criticize what you ride, but what does that accomplish? I hope you love your bike, but I feel that it's pretty uncool to imply multiple times that this frame is going to break. Did you drink your Metamucil recently because you seem pretty unhappy. Cheer up dude. Maybe if you ask nicely Mike will let you ride his new bike and you will see the light. Peace out!

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    Mikesee had to know writing it that there would be some jimmies rustled. Regardless, I would be one to ask what about the geometry makes it better in the snow. With the geometry of the YBB, is it shifting your weight in a different manner, or putting you in a different riding position? Or does it remind you of a smoking hot old girlfriend, and keep you warm....even on the coldest of rides?

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    Yeah, Mike strikes me as one who does not make such statements without context, if I do not understand or agree, holding his opinion in reserve seems wise.

    It is interesting that rog lists his only bike as a rigid Independence Fabrication Ti 29er; nothing wrong with that...save for the present context?

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    expert schmexpert, the guy comes across as a bit of a *****. and clearly i'm not the only one not confused about that fact...
    I read mikesee's posts because it is accurate information. I don't give a stuff if he is a bit acerbic - I'd sooner hear his opinion than gee whizz warm fuzzies elsewhere.

    If you don't like him, it's easy to put him on your ignore list, but before you do that, I suggest you read through this forum and concentrate on what he has contributed.


    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    ...drive side chainstay/dropout weld will be the 1st to fail....
    As a matter of interest, what would be the reason? (I couldn't see any obvious flaw)<script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/fee4c2e/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>
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  49. #49
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    Re: Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    For a guy like mikesee, tires probably don't matter that much. He is an elite rider. For the remaining 99.9% of us, tires are the most important thing.
    I would like to simultaneously agree and disagree. An elite rider is more likely to notice a loss in cornering traction because they can ride at or near the traction limit. They may notice the subtle differences in the way different tires corner. But they may also need less ultimate traction in climbing and other situations due to better body position, preservation of momentum, and other factors relating to experience. I know I put a lot more on my tires as I improve. While my precision and consistency improves, the difficulty of features and terrain I ride increases commensurately.

  50. #50
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    Word a read (all bazillion pages) to see how mikesee sees things "differently" than everyone else. Very one-sided and sometimes judicious use of numbers that aren't quite correct, lots of other people with valid differing opinions. The bike that started it all just got even better...

    It's good to see some balance though, and that post (above) has a lot if you read it all. Nothing wrong with mike showing us a new bike and how cool it is. The execution is what people remember though.
    "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

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    With all the questions about secret geometry I had to go back to the beginning and make sure I wasn't in a Sandman thread by accident.

    I get the ruffled feathers. I also look at people's contribution to MTBR in its totality when considering a specific post.

    Mike C adds a lot to this site and backs up his ideas/opinions with riding.

    MTBR is too full of people arguing about geo charts or theoretical BS and not actually getting hard stuff done that pushes their limits and demonstrates the points they are trying to make with pedal strokes.
    Safe riding,

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  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey View Post
    I also heard he's from Iowa.

    BB
    I'm from Iowa, but then I married a Montana woman. Now I wonder how I lived without mountains for so many years.

  53. #53
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    Keep it civil, if you don't like his opinion or whatever unsubscribe. We have a million threads on MTBR, I'm sure there is one on here that is your cup of tea.
    Try this: HTFU

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    Keep it civil, if you don't like his opinion or whatever unsubscribe. We have a million threads on MTBR, I'm sure there is one on here that is your cup of tea.
    If you ever need a new sheriff for the Fat Forum, personally I wouldn't pick me but I'm here for ya if needed.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    Nice looking rig.
    A 3.0 tire doesn't do much to support your anti-non-snow fat rhetoric however.
    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."

    A bike like the one pictured in this post, with 29x3" tires, is by definition NOT a fat bike.

    So while all the rest of us are "happy looking down on our gee-whiz bulbous tires", the op is deluding himself into thinking he is on a fat bike, when in fact, he is riding a 29+ bike.
    "Pictured here with summer kit (fork, post, grips) and wheels."

    If only I could read as well as look at pretty pictures.
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  56. #56
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    I'm sure Mike has his geometry preferences, but I'd have to think that Speedway and 907 have a pretty good idea what works on snow, but what do I know, I just ride my bikes.

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    That's a beautiful bike!

    So, was that moots you were selling some time back. It must be nice to live in that gray area. I'm stuck with black or white but, im happy with that because, that's much better then clear. LOL!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    It is interesting that rog lists his only bike as a rigid Independence Fabrication Ti 29er; nothing wrong with that...save for the present context?
    that bike is loooong gone.

    rog

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    good on snow? think long.

    rog

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    Low latitude winter (and jungle!) mode.





    Interesting that in the last ~3+ months of collecting dust the tires have wept sealant but not (that I can tell) air. I'll worry about that in November...
    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:55 PM.

  61. #61
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    That triangular space formed by the handbag grip/strut - is it big enough to fit a hand with gloves in? The smaller front angle sure makes the space even tighter.
    I'd worry that my knuckels would get stuck like that:
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    Acerbic...had to look it up. His statement that many take issue with; is.

    For what purpose...a tease...that likes to be sly about it.

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    Sweet ride. Welds are gorgeous.

    There is no denying mikesee's palmares. His preferences for his bicycle design and setup are honed by his journey. Take away what you can from it. I'm particularly impressed with the fuel in the bars trick, which he has used before on the Snoots. I also like other tricks he used previously like heat shrink on his cable housings to prevent shattering/cracking in extreme cold. His point about having a handle is valid too - I'll take that idea and try to replicate it with webbing.

    That said, I really enjoy my Ti Salsa Mukluk. While not as radical or personal a design as Mike's, it's very proficient as a summer trail bike with a Bluto. Also capable of taking a 29+ wheel set in the other 10 months thanks to the foresight of using the alternator dropouts. Smart design. Geometry seems to work just fine on steep snowy trails here in the Northeast (Ontario, Quebec and Vermont). It also seems to work very well in the big fat bike races for folks like Jay and Tracy Petervary, and they also know a thing or two about what works in long distance snow racing.

    That's the beauty of getting totally custom designed bicycles. You can get whatever you dream up, whatever your reasons are.

  64. #64
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    Hey it's got Bud & Lous on it. It's a fat bike now!

    Gorgeous rig, man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobKong View Post
    Hey it's got Bud & Lous on it. It's a fat bike now! Gorgeous rig, man.
    I think I'm getting indoctrinated. It looks better with fat tires.

  66. #66
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    I'm impressed with the dropper cable routing. It goes into the down tube, then its all internal? I guess you need to have the BB out to route it up the seat tube? Neat.

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    There are a couple of take-aways from Mike's new ride.

    What appears to be the non-stop conversation about tire size and what tires fit on what bikes is tough to wade thru. Rightfully, some of the conversation should be around how the bike rides and that begins with geometry.

    Secondly, for someone of Mike's riding skill and attention to detail off the bike is a benefit for all of us. He built up a set of wheels for me a few years ago and has been a great resource in helping me get the most out of the bike I ride.

    I was getting nervous with all of the boating adventures he was posting for a while. Thought he was going to give up on the bike...ha

  68. #68
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    Damn, that is one hot bike.

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    First real off-road, soft-surface ride yesterday. Started easy, turned into a muddy slugfest.

    Before the mud:





    Some punchy, chunky climbs with constantly greased tires required attention and deliberateness.





    And then the mud began...





    Shot a little bit of vid--will try to get that up soon.


    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:56 PM.

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    Is the geometry still secret?

  71. #71
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    I would guess short chain stays, with a not to slack head tube .... sure makes bdundee's custom feel nice when I took it for a short spin , wish I could wheelie like bOb
    I am slow therefore I am

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    Disclaimer: Below I've shared a bit about the journey I've taken with respect to riding fat tired bicycles on snow. I do not purport that any action I've taken or design I've settled on is the only, one, true, undeniable way forward. The world is big, conditions vary drastically from region to region and even hour to hour, and I am just one person with limited finances and time, doing what I can to notice things, think about them, improve upon them. A lot of the conclusions I've drawn and solutions I've found were based on extensive trial and error on a series of ever-improving bikes, tested in extremely variable conditions. I've verified that the changes I detail below are indeed substantive improvements by hopping onto most of the commonly available fatbikes and taking them out on the same trails, in the same conditions, to compare. Still, I'm just one rider with my own set of experiences and biases, and I don't expect anyone to take these tests or conclusions as indisputable proof of anything. Rather, I hope that the ideas give you reason to thinker on and experiment with your own setup, in your own conditions, and to draw your own conclusions.

    * * * * * * *

    Snow. Kabloona say that eskimos have a hundred (a thousand?) words for it, but that's sort of inaccurate because what they really have are a heap of descriptors for the different ways that snow manifests itself in their daily lives: round and styrofoamy snow skittering across the ice, heavy snow that's wet from overflow, wind-driven snow that gets up into your eyes, snow that bends then breaks branches, snow that snowmachines get stuck in.

    Of these, the one that I am most interested in is that light, dry, airy, almost moistureless snow that falls in the early winter in my backyard--the mountains of Colorado. This snow falls in decent quantities--a foot or two at a time--and then the skies clear for a day or a week, or even two, and the dry, cold air above sucks what little moisture there is in the snowpack right *out* of the snowpack. Skiers refer to what's left as 'sugar' or 'rotten'. Drop a ball bearing into it and that BB will keep moving downward until it hits bedrock, as there is absolutely nothing to slow it down--no crust, no moisture, no layers of thicker and thinner.

    Run over it with a snowmachine or even a snowcat, and it packs down somewhat, but it does not stick together. Try to make a snowball out of it and you'll soon find yourself either frustrated or laughing, because unless you add water this snow will simply not adhere to itself.

    Why belabor this point?

    Because if I'm riding a bike, on snow, these are the conditions I get ~90% of the time. This kind of snow is difficult to ride, at best, and more often difficult to wade through while smacking your shins on the useless bike you're dragging next to you. And of this moistureless snow my backyard mountain gets copious quantities: 33 feet a year, on average. Riders trying to learn this medium need to think about it three dimensionally, for they will be within it more often than atop it.

    To be clear, when I speak of snow I'm not referring to that moist, packable stuff that you lucky bastiges get in Anchorage or Minneapolis (aka the twin centers of the fatbike diaspora) or coastal BC--the kind that quickly sets up into white concrete and that you could ride a MTB or even a CX bike on. That simply doesn't happen here.

    Not coincidentally, the snowpack of my backyard is also somewhat common in...

    (wait for it...)

    ...Interior Alaska. They don't get as much of it up there as we get down here, but the end result is the same: snow that doesn't pack well, blows around often, and has little to no base beneath.

    I've spent a good portion of my adult life fanatically (not too strong a word) obsessed with finding ways to be efficient when riding on and in this medium. Specifically, I set as a goal over 20 years ago, before I'd ever been to Alaska, that I wanted to ride every inch of the Iditarod Trail.

    To date I've ridden roughly 6500 miles on that single trail, including 4
    complete Knik to Nome traverses, all in winter conditions. With each passing year I delved deeper into learning how to be safer, faster, and (most importantly) more efficient so that I could go still further, with less of a safety net, and yet feel confident that I'd emerge out the other side.

    The net result of that fanaticism is an acute awareness that what works to keep a rider upright and pedaling through this kind of snow is very different from what the major players are pushing right now.

    They've got the unenviable task of trying to please all the people, all the time. Think about that for a second: They have to compete on price first and foremost, now that everyone's vying for a piece of the pie. And they don't want to alienate a potential customer, so right off the bat they're convinced that they need to make their bike fit 6 different racks and 12 different bags and 7 different front derailleur standards, plus have 13 different bottle cage mounts as well as remain compatible with every crank and chainring and q-factor option. Plus fenders! In trying to please everyone they're making too many compromises, chief among them is that in order to fit 3 chainrings *and* a 5" tire, they have to lengthen the rear center by over an inch. An inch is a significant number when it comes to bike geometry, and in this case it means that the rider's center of gravity is another inch removed from the rear axle. That arrangement works fine on hardpack and singletrack. But this is a fatbike, in my case a snowbike, and how it handles on hardpacked singletrack is of little interest. You can ride *any* bike on a hardpacked surface, but if you take just any bike to the above-described soft surfaces you will be disappointed. And you won't ride much.

    I'm grossly overgeneralizing on this next sentence, simply to make a point. What the manufacturers are doing is making average bikes for average people. That is, the bike that doesn't offend anyone's sensibilities while still remaining somewhat attractive and reasonably affordable.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with that. In fact from their perspective it's just good business to make a product that appeals to the masses, not a teeny, tiny niche.

    They're also gambling to a large extent that few buying these bikes will ever ride them on snow and discover that:
    1. Snow riding is difficult, slow, and unexciting, and,
    2. The geometry they just sold you sucks frozen monkey ass.

    And while length (chainstay, wheelbase, cockpit) is not the only consideration, the amalgamated blend of those big three is the top of the heap. (For those of you speed-reading through this in hopes that I'm going to come right out and say "X head angle with Y BB drop and Z chainstay length is *the* magic ticket, just stop. It's not ever that simple.)

    When I wrote the initial post, way back at the tip-top of this thread, I stated that:

    '99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care'.

    In that statement I was referring to the fact that few people are riding these bikes on snow to begin with. And of those very few that are, almost all of them assume that tire size and pressure are 'the whole deal' when it comes to being able to ride instead of push your bike. It's becoming more understood that pressure *is* hugely important ("when in doubt, let air out") but what happens when you're struggling along at 2psi, virtually riding on the rims, and that's still not low enough?

    In the last two decades I've been in that scenario countless times, and each time I've asked myself 'what can I do to make the conditions underfoot rideable, given current rim and tire technology'?

    To the end of finding answers to that question, I've designed, paid to have built, and extensively ridden 8 different snowbikes. By extensively I mean tens of thousands of miles in the last 18 years, mostly in the above described conditions. With each new bike I had to go in knowing that no matter how much we tweaked the design, what we would arrive at this time was still going to be a compromise in some way. Every bike is.

    The first custom had 18.9" chainstays. If you ever want to know if a certain change in geometry will make a difference, exaggerate it. The next one had 17.2" stays, and although the rims and tires were identical between the two, on the shorter bike I could maintain traction effortlessly by comparison. Soon rims got fatter and tires got more volume, yet not until almost a decade later did tires get fat and have reasonable tread. In that interminable "Remolino/Endo/Larry/BFL" vortex it was a given that while your tires would have some float, they'd have zero effective traction at any pressure. My succinct way to describe the handling of a bike with Remo's or Endo's on snow was, "It goes sideways almost as fast as it goes forward". So I did everything I could within those constraints to make my bikes float, dig, and track better.

    Wider rims helped a lot, by squaring off the profile of the tire. You still didn't have actual edge knobs with which to lean and/or dig, but by removing the round profile you could at least gain a measure of consistency. Wider rims meant that in sugary or wind-affected snow, your wheels were less likely to squirt out from beneath you.

    Shortening the rear center was big. Think about it this way--the medium on which you are riding is dynamic: Shifting, changing, moving beneath your tires. You, as a human, are pathetic and weak, able to put out a whopping average of one horsepower on a warm, sunny, scantily-clad June day. But in January, entombed as you are in layer upon layer of Windshopper, Poor-Tex, and Primacost, and with subzero air on offer to your torched lungs, no way you're putting out even that much. So you have to maximize what you can put out, and you do that by bringing the rear wheel up under your center of gravity, the better to keep it from slipping and spinning when the snow can barely hold itself together. Put differently, by bringing the rear wheel more underneath your body weight, you minimize the amount of body english needed to maintain forward momentum in marginal conditions, which means you move forward more, using less energy.

    The thing about shortening the rear center is that while it gains you massive amounts of traction out back, it also changes the handling of the front end of the bike. Now (all else equal) there's not much weight over the front, so the front wheel wants to wander and wash. No free lunch. What to do?

    You do two things.

    First, drop the BB. This brings more weight forward over the front wheel, without having to resort to long/low stems, or excessively short front center measurements. Snow is quite tolerant of a low BB, with the ancillary benefit that a low BB means added standover. Next time you're riding in soft snow, and you're forced to dab, and your foot goes more than ankle deep, and keeps going...

    ...then you'll probably realize how important a healthy amount of standover really is.

    Next, pick your favorite blend of HTA and offset to net yourself a LOT more trail than you're used to. I like a trail number of about 100mm on my snowbikes. That amount is a compromise like any other number picked out of thin air, but it's a compromise that allows the bike to track straight on flats, carve corners when properly weighted, and remain neutral in ruts and off camber. At the risk of redundancy, we're talking strictly about soft, baseless, marginally-rideable-at-3psi snow.

    Once we'd experimented with these three big changes and saw the general direction we wanted to go, it was time to do further experimentation to determine how far to go. To that end we experimented with seat tube angles to mimic the effect of shortening the rear end--and learned that getting weight directly over the rear axle is probably the Most Important Thing. How you achieve it (slack STA with straight post? medium STA with a setback post? steep STA with super setback?!?!) is debatable, and probably always will be.

    This is getting long winded and there are probably all of 3 people left reading, so I should wrap it up. How much to shorten the rear end, how low to go on the BB, how slack to make the front end--these are all questions to be answered by individuals and smaller builders, the people that actually see the value in faffing about with bikes, and then going out to see what their faffing has achieved. Leave those questions (and answers) up to the bigger players and you'll continue to get average bikes that struggle where the hardpack ends. Beaten men follow beaten paths, and all that.

    For my part, I have yet to find the point of diminishing returns with respect to a short rear center. The bike pictured here has a chainstay length of just a hair over 17". That was as short as we could go while still maintaining clearance for a 5" tire on a 100mm rim, as well as a 29+ tire and rim. Someone should go shorter still.

    Eventually, I'm sure I will.

    Thanks for reading,

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 08-28-2015 at 09:45 PM.

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    Great read MC!!

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    Very interesting. Thanks, Mike.
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    Great stuff. We don't get snow like mikesee's but I think a semi parallel is some of the desert trails I have ridden when I lived in Australia, stuff called bulldust that is like slow liquid.

    I used to reverse the fork crown on suspension forks to increase the trail.

    The 100mm trail figure also seems to be my magic number. I have tried various permutations in experiments and usually come back to this regardless of HA.

    One way to get a back wheel closer is to use a duplex/truss downtube. The early "safety" bikes had huge back wheels and they solved the problem that way.







    I think ultimately we are going to see a split in the fatbike ranks. Fatbikes for trail centres will need geometry tuned for stunts, and there will be fatbikes for actually going places. Both perfectly valid types.

    Hopefully there will be a few manufacturers listening to mikesee.<script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/5b14a092/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/5b14a092/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/5b14a092/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    I used to reverse the fork crown on suspension forks to increase the trail.
    This was one thing we did to manipulate geo on existing chassis'. Own a Moonlander? Flip the fork around and ride it for awhile that way.





    In the end it wasn't what we were after, but many might be surprised at how well it rides. Eye opening.

    One of my previous bikes had a dual-crown rigid fork, with ~2.5" of up/down adjustability. That's more than 2* of head angle, and I forget how much change in trail and BB height. Learned lots there too.





    I think folks tend to forget that swapping tires can result in substantive changes in geo. 3.8" out back and 4.8" front yields a slacker front end and an (effective) shorter rear center.





    Big tire out back and small up front will show you how a steep(er) front end is counterproductive to over-snow efficiency. The differences aren't tremendous, but they do provide insight and the ability to extrapolate.
    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:59 PM.

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    That is some badass bike geekery right there MC. Thanks for taking the time to put that down in prose for the whole wide world. As a semi-professional ski bum much of the dynamics make sense. Nice work and a beautiful and practical rig.

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    Still new to the FB world but that was quite a lesson. Thanks for sharing! :-) I wish the Bluto were like the older RS forks where you could adjust travel with some spacers, but then we wouldn't have to spend $100 to find out if 100/120 or even 110 fits our riding style and bike better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    First, drop the BB. This brings more weight forward over the front wheel...
    How does it do that?

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    Mike;

    Thanks for the well written, easily understood explanation of your findings. No matter how one may use a fat bike, your findings, with your reasoning behind them, provide a measure upon which to work with.

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    One thing that occurs to me is that over the last few years fat-bike head angles have been decreasing while fork rakes have been increasing. The net result is that trail has not increased much at all and seems well short of the 100mm Mike is recommending for snow riding.
    --Peace

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    Such a sweet new ride mikesee!! I can only aspire to that level of badassery in framebuilding. Beautiful work by those guys.

    I've nowhere near the experience on fat tires as mikesee, but having built myself a few bikes and my latest fatty that is the very similar in geometry as the Snoots and Eriksen, I can vouch almost entirely for his claims.

    I too thought that a longer wheelbase and longer chainstays would make a bike better able to float in soft conditions but in side-by-side testing I found the opposite. The short chainstay bike had better traction on climbs and didn't swerve or wash out at all. I also have around 100mm of trail due to the slack HTA and a fork I made for this bike. The long front center is unsettling at first but adjusting your riding style on both up and down you can *feel* why it handles better in soft snow than a more normal geometry. On descents it was a bit harder to keep the front wheel weighted but I was able to adjust my riding style to account for that. I'll also build my next frame with a shorter front center next time.

    Salsa has kinda figured this out with their newer frames although not as short in the rear as mikesee's preference, and not with all the sweet custom stuff you just can't get with a stock frame.

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    Mike, you just solved a mystery for me, thanks! Velobike has made a few posts about this subject of "Rake and Trail" before, but I failed to see what's been staring me in the face for years. I have a 2007 Wildfire that's mystified me ever since I bought it, it steers better than any MTB I've ever owned. I've corresponded with other Wildfire owners who have told me the same. And that's on dirt and snow for me. The frame is slightly too small for me, but the next size up would not have had the top tube clearance I needed - it's an issue I've had with stock frames forever - I have a short inseam for my height/torso length (Greg Matyas pointed this out to me).

    The Wildfire does not have a slack 70 degree HT angle that so many fat bikes have nowadays. After looking at your pics, I looked at my Wildfire and my Fatback, and saw the smaller rake in Mark's fork. There's more to Mark's fork than just this rake, but I believe the smaller rake is what I missed all along. Right now I'm in the process of having a new custom Ti frame fatty built for me, I've always preferred shorter stays on MTB's and that's what I'm looking to do on my next build. I have a custom-built 29r, which was the only way at the time I was going to switch from 26 to 29, as stock 29r's back then rode or fit like crap for me.

    Question: If 100MM seems to be an ideal trail for snow, what would be a good one for riding a fatty on hardpack? Just looking for the "ball park" to work with. I've got two fatties I can analyze myself, would welcome other opinions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Destr0 View Post
    Still new to the FB world but that was quite a lesson. Thanks for sharing! :-) I wish the Bluto were like the older RS forks where you could adjust travel with some spacers, but then we wouldn't have to spend $100 to find out if 100/120 or even 110 fits our riding style and bike better.
    It cost about $30 to change Blutos travel.
    Universal Cycles -- Rock Shox SoloAir Travel Adjustment Air Shafts

  85. #85
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    Thanks for taking the time to write and post this, it is interesting reading.

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    "To that end we experimented with seat tube angles to mimic the effect of shortening the rear end--and learned that getting weight directly over the rear axle is probably the Most Important Thing. "

    This might be a dumb question - but a lot of your discussion seems to be centered on shifting the weight backward to the rear of the bike, and the photos of the bike seem to have your seat really far back. So my question is - I don't understand bike geometry all that well, but doesn't this effect the float negatively? In conditions requiring float I often end up shifting my weight forward, attempting to keep my back wheel from breaking though, and the center of mass (or at least your seat) on this bike seems to be quite a bit further back than on my snow bike.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    This was one thing we did to manipulate geo on existing chassis'. Own a Moonlander? Flip the fork around and ride it for awhile that way.

    In the end it wasn't what we were after, but many might be surprised at how well it rides. Eye opening.

    One of my previous bikes had a dual-crown rigid fork, with ~2.5" of up/down adjustability. That's more than 2* of head angle, and I forget how much change in trail and BB height. Learned lots there too.

    I think folks tend to forget that swapping tires can result in substantive changes in geo. 3.8" out back and 4.8" front yields a slacker front end and an (effective) shorter rear center.

    Big tire out back and small up front will show you how a steep(er) front end is counterproductive to over-snow efficiency. The differences aren't tremendous, but they do provide insight and the ability to extrapolate.
    I agree that one of the best ways to experiment with bike geometry is with an adjustable fork.

    The beauty is that it is a method available to anyone with even the most basic of skills and you don't need the expense of a custom frame. I did it by butchering a couple of old telescopic forks DIY Fat Bike fork from junk.


    That had its limitations in terms of the size of the tyre I could fit, but it enabled a wide range of adjustments.

    Ride height could be altered by about 3", and there was a number of rake/offset options by simply reversing the fork crown with the axle forward, or reverse the lowers so the axle was rearwards, or other combinations.

    What Mike says about different tyre sizes is a reminder not to get too pedantic about fatbike geometry because that changes everything just like that. Also people forget that simply airing their tyres right down is changing figures like trail etc in a way that doesn't happen on a normal mtb because you can easily lose an inch out of your ride height that way.

    I do like steeper head angles though. I think it reduces the self steer effect of some tyres at low pressure.

    The thing about steep headangles is that this tends to reduces the distance of the front wheel from the BB, and that of course is not a good thing when you want it to float.

    Steep HAs really need a frame that allows the front wheel to be in the same position relative to the BB as a good performing slack HA bike. In turn that means a longer TT and shorter stem, and also a fork with less offset.



    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Balogh View Post
    ...Question: If 100MM seems to be an ideal trail for snow, what would be a good one for riding a fatty on hardpack?.
    I think what works in snow works elsewhere. In snow you have loads continually being input from the sides of your tyres, much like striking an obstacle on the trail, so for normal riding it is ok - a racer will have different needs of course.

    Its a shame no-one makes a fork with a little bit of adjustment in it. I'm sure I saw (many years ago) a BMX fork with 2 axle positions, and it was a simple thing. Add a bit of height variation to that and you have removed much of the need for custom frames.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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    MC is aiming for a geometry that will work in unconsolidated snow. There is no breakthrough in those conditions as there is no base to work off of. Picture the snow conditions you see in ski movies with "bottomless" powder. You are talking about 50/50 even weighted riding to stay on top of consolidated snow packs, which is the proper way to ride that stuff. MC is looking to tackle an all together different animal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    or you could just ride a 'standard' tried and true 71/73 and like move about and around the bike as you ride different types of terrain. you know, a bit forward for this, a bit back for that, hover here, stand there, sit, spin, mash...........nice and simple...
    Perfectly valid point and one I think it taken as read by most folk who fiddle with their bikes. Also changes to stem length, seat setback, type of bars, and crank lengths have subtle effects.

    I would rate trail as being more important than head angle - so long as your front wheel is in the same position relative to the BB. (Personally I like steep HAs)

    I have ridden some truly awful permutations of geometry by keeping my body mobile on the bike.

    The problem comes when you are tired and reactions are slower. You simply can't move your body fast enough. Or a time when you come upon a hidden obstacle at a speed where there is no time to react.

    A bike that has a more forgiving geometry stays upright, and the less optimal one has you in the bushes.

    I learned this by using one of my more "nimble" bikes in a 12 hour race.

    I loved the ultra quick accurate feel of it and was flying (by my standards), but after about 6 hours I was a positive danger to the scenery. <script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  90. #90
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    everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow

    Should say then: everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on the type of snow I ride.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow

    Should say then: everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on the type of snow I ride.
    I suppose when you have snow that is similar to ride on to ordinary loose conditions, there's no need for any changes.

    But with different needs comes experimentation, and with that comes improvements.

    Otherwise we'd all still be riding these Dreadnoughts




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    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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    I would so rock that VB!!

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    Thanks Mike for putting fingers to the keyboard and giving us all a glimpse into your thoughts regarding this. I appreciated all of it.

    Your snow conditions are much the same as mine much of the time here in Iowa. Sand-like snow, no base, hard to ride through. Due to this, I grasped much of what you were trying to get across and found myself nodding in agreement throughout. I have intuitively found several of your points to be true just through my own trial and error.

    Now I know that you may not yet have a definitive answer to this, but as you referred to lateral traction of fat bike tires and rim widths, you didn't really bring a conclusion to that thought. So, what have you found so far that has made that issue better? The Bud on a hundy with a certain geo? Or.....?

    By the way, I had to chuckle when you wrote about high trail figures. Remembering a certain ride you graciously provided some years ago for me. Thanks again for that lesson.
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  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post


    I think folks tend to forget that swapping tires can result in substantive changes in geo. 3.8" out back and 4.8" front yields a slacker front end and an (effective) shorter rear center.

    Big tire out back and small up front will show you how a steep(er) front end is counterproductive to over-snow efficiency. The differences aren't tremendous, but they do provide insight and the ability to extrapolate.
    I experienced this recently. I took some time off of riding and when I started again I hated how my bike handled, especially in technical terrain. I listed it for sale and was ready for something else. A friend of mine wanted to go ride some really rocky trails, so I threw a big tire on up front, and it completely changed the bike. The geo went from something I hated enough to sell the bike, to feeling absolutely perfect with this simple change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    I experienced this recently. I took some time off of riding and when I started again I hated how my bike handled, especially in technical terrain.
    I've come back to a bike after not using it for months and had WTF? moments where the fit or the handling seemed really off despite it being great last time I rode it. Often a few long rides is all it takes to rediscover why you liked it so much.
    Safe riding,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy74 View Post
    Like your brain,........simple
    simple is not a bad thing. especially in an ever increasingly complicated world.

    thanx for the compliment tho. i strive for simplicity in all facets of my life, including riding a bike. throw a leg over and pedal the ****ing thing. simple.

    the best back and forth is whether a trail has flow or not, that a trail with "no flow" is not a good trail. fvck that $hit, it ain't the trail that has no flow, it's the rider that can't adapt and make the trail flow with their riding.

    ok that was super off topic but i was thinking about while out on my daily ride this morning, sofvckit

    rog

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Perfectly valid point and one I think it taken as read by most folk who fiddle with their bikes. Also changes to stem length, seat setback, type of bars, and crank lengths have subtle effects.

    I would rate trail as being more important than head angle - so long as your front wheel is in the same position relative to the BB. (Personally I like steep HAs)

    I have ridden some truly awful permutations of geometry by keeping my body mobile on the bike.

    The problem comes when you are tired and reactions are slower. You simply can't move your body fast enough. Or a time when you come upon a hidden obstacle at a speed where there is no time to react.

    A bike that has a more forgiving geometry stays upright, and the less optimal one has you in the bushes.

    I learned this by using one of my more "nimble" bikes in a 12 hour race.

    I loved the ultra quick accurate feel of it and was flying (by my standards), but after about 6 hours I was a positive danger to the scenery. <script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>
    This is such a huge part of why geometry matters so much. The owner of the bike shop I work at has been trying to get me to ride a more "nimble" 650b over my prefered 29 or 29+ bike for ultraendurance racing and my home turf is in North Central PA. While I enjoy the nimble and darty feel of a smaller, lighter wheel, at mile 70 of a 100 mile race or mile 240 of a 350 mile bikepacking race, I don't care to put the extra effort in to manuever a smaller wheeled "nimble" bike through the tech and the gnar. I just want to plow over it with wagon wheels and be done with it. The same thing applies for snow bikes. Sure, I can man handle just about any fat bike through the snow for a short distance by being active on the bike, but riding that way hastens the onset of physical fatigue, which then causes mental fatigue, which results in a lot of pushing.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    or you could just ride a 'standard' tried and true 71/73 and like move about and around the bike as you ride different types of terrain. you know, a bit forward for this, a bit back for that, hover here, stand there, sit, spin, mash...........nice and simple.

    rog
    How is it tried and true if it doesn't work for the application? Or are you implying that we should all just give up and take our bikes for a simple, soothing walk in the woods?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    Now I know that you may not yet have a definitive answer to this, but as you referred to lateral traction of fat bike tires and rim widths, you didn't really bring a conclusion to that thought. So, what have you found so far that has made that issue better? The Bud on a hundy with a certain geo? Or.....?
    Because we had no choice but to choose Remo/Endo/Larry for so long, my task became to make the geo work best within those constraints. Once you settle on the best compromise there, and adapt to riding it, and *then* you get tire choices? Pffft--gravy.

    Personally, I've settled on 90mm Nextie rims (note the snow shedding V-shape) with Bud and Lou for local riding. If (ugh, when) my Sweetie drags me back to AK, I'll likely opt for a Bud out back for less rolling resistance. Ideally I'd go with 100mm rims, but no one makes one with a rational snow-shedding shape as yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spruceboy View Post
    "To that end we experimented with seat tube angles to mimic the effect of shortening the rear end--and learned that getting weight directly over the rear axle is probably the Most Important Thing. "

    This might be a dumb question - but a lot of your discussion seems to be centered on shifting the weight backward to the rear of the bike, and the photos of the bike seem to have your seat really far back. So my question is - I don't understand bike geometry all that well, but doesn't this effect the float negatively? In conditions requiring float I often end up shifting my weight forward, attempting to keep my back wheel from breaking though, and the center of mass (or at least your seat) on this bike seems to be quite a bit further back than on my snow bike.
    Great question. If we were still riding 2.5" tires on snowcats the answer would be yes--float is negatively affected. You'd just dig holes while pedaling in place. With the massively increased air volume of modern rims and tires, it does work. Key to that is also tires with some tread--meaning that when we were stuck with treadless meats, and the rear started to break through, we were pretty well hosed right there. Now, with some tread at our disposal, we can shift our weight forward briefly to unweight, then back if needed to add traction, until we find that sweet spot and get the wheel back up on top of the crust. The shorter rear end means your weight shift is less exaggerated, and more effective: You simply don't have to move as far to make the difference needed.

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