Thinking of getting a fatbike: opinions requested
I'm a 29er singlespeeder (GF rig) and am thinking about getting a fatbike. I'm not hip to all the weird fatbike peculiarities. Seems like there's a lot of variables at play in terms of frames, tires, wheels and especially hub spacings that are different than what I'm used to from many years of 26/29 mountainbiking. Let me explain what I'm looking for:
1. A lightweight, singlespeed ready fatbike. I prefer a frame and wheelset that I choose and then transfer the components from my existing bike over to the fatbike.
2. I know these things are hogs, and although I'm not a weight weenie, I don't have Paul Bunyan legs or power. I'd like to keep it as light as practically possible. I run an aluminum GF Rig right now with pretty high end stuff all the way around. Would like to have a sub-30 lb fat bike in XL size.
3. So far after looking around it seems like the Pugsley, although nice, is not my first choice. First it's steel, which is obviously on the heavier side. Second, I like a roomier cockpit with longer toptubes (I'm 6'2" with long legs and fairly ape-ish arms). I ride an XL Gary Fisher Rig and it fits me well. From what I've read the MukLuk has a longer toptube and roomier feel. It's also aluminum and therefore lighter than the Pugsley. So it seems like the MukLuk might be what I'm looking for. I'm thinking the more rigid ride of aluminum is much less of a factor with those fat, squishy tires.
4. I'd like a light wheelset, but want a durable singlespeed hub and freewheel. Right now I'm using a White Industries SS disk hub with White Industries sealed freewheel. Love that combo and would like to stick with it if possible, but open to other options. I don't really understand the spacing thing. I know that they make 170mm and 135mm. I can't get the WI SS hubs in 170. Would prefer to stay away from the freewheel hubs (for cassette). My experience is that they don't last with SS duty. I definitely want to stick with sealed cartridge bearings too. Open to ideas here. As far as rims and tires? Are Marge lights the lightest but still strong? Not sure what to get here, but I'd like a light option while still being strong and durable. I'd also like to run tubeless. I've been running Stans for several years now with good success and would like to continue on that path if possible. I'd also like a lighter tire, but still durable and good grip on corners and low rolling resistance on straights. I've had good experiences with single butted DT Swiss spokes w/brass nips, probably plan on staying with that unless there's a good reason not to.
Anyway, what do you guys think? Any and all opinions appreciated. Thanks in advance.
9zero7 makes a 135mm offset frame with sliders. You could relace your hub to a fat rim and be ready to go out back.
FatBikes.com sells snow bike frames, components, accessories, and clothing for all styles of fat tire snow bikes.
I'm relatively new to the full fat experience and no way consider myself an authority on the subject. What conditions will you be riding? If it's going to be ridden year round lighter would be better. Probably marge lites with a lightish husker do combo might be the ticket. If you're going to be like me and ride it almost exclusively in winter snow and deep spring mud, flotation is the name of the game and fatter and knobbier are the way to go, but it will add weight and rolling resistance. In the latter conditions speed is less of a priority IMO than all out monster truckability through the worst conditions. I have a mukluk 3, it's not much lighter than anything from surly. When comparing frames the aluminum might save a few grams but it's the overall parts package that will determine weight. Sure I could build up my muk to be sub 30lbs easy, but I'm not willing to compromise reliability or overall performance in tough conditions to save weight. Even though it's a little tankish and slowish compared to my "skinny" bikes, when I'm floating over several inches of snow and everyone else is hiking I've got a smile a mile wide on my face.
I've only ridden the Pugsley and the Mukluk and a 9:Zero:7. For me, a Pug rides like a mountain bike and my Muk rides like a bloated Cadillac..nice and comfortable but steers like a bus. I have an older Muk with the Fat Sheba rims, so I'm hauling a lot more weight. The newer models are lighter as they've come out with more rims. I'd probably opt for Marge Lites and I'm torn between Knards and Nates if I upgrade.
Nothing wrong with steel so don't rule out the Pugs. Steel is nice and comfortable but flexible. Your biggest weight is through the rims and tires. I looked at getting a 29er summer wheelset for my Muk and the cost ran around 500 by the time we added everything up.
You don't need Paul Bunyan thighs to ride a fat bike. Nakedbabytoes weighs 115 and she powers through trails like a champ. If we girls can haul fat bikes around a trail, anyone can. She's wanting a Beargrease..which is an option if you are looking for lightweight, but you'll pay the price for it.
I think 9:zero:7's have the choice of 170 and 135 for the rear. Muks have 170 in the back and I think the Pugs is 135 front and rear. I don't know enough about SS to know whether or not your parts will work.
Your other option may be a Surly Krampus. It's a 29er bike with 3 inch wide tires. I don't know if you can SS on it or not but it's lightweight and the test ride was a blast.
Actually; I'm not sure I'd want a SS fat bike. That would kill me especially if on single track. I'd keep your bike and buy a fat bike getting the best of both worlds. If you haven't ridden a fat bike, do so before making a decision. Beware though; once you go fat, you'll never go back.
Thanks everybody for the informative posts and feedback. The 9 zero 7 looks pretty good too, although quite a bit more $$ than the Mukluk and Pugsley. Plus it seems like you're paying a bit more for the detachable chainstay thing that enables belt use. I'll never need that for my purposes, plus I'm suspicious it may weaken the frame in a critical area. The Muk and Pug also come with forks so that's an even bigger price diff. I called the Salsa dealers and apparently the frames are hard to come by. No known delivery date for 2014 frames either other than "late fall", even then it's iffy. Looks like a Pug could be picked up without too much trouble. Still not sure about what the best wheel build would be though in terms of rim and tire. Want as much lightness as possible, yet I also want it durable and long lasting too (for normal XC riding purposes, not hucking or anything insane). Some of these fat tires are like $150 a pop, which is insane. I definitely want them to last at least 2 seasons each. Any suggestions on light + fast roller + good grip on corners + durable? I'd like to run Stans too.
Thinking of getting a fatbike: opinions requested
The Pug would fit your wants...aside from being a bit heavier. Marge Lite rims built up could cut some weight...double butted DT Swiss spokes, whatever you wanna pay on rear and front hub. If your offset vs symmetrical that might change spoke choice...and Im no pro there. Tires you could go Vee or On One and they can be found for around 70 a pop. Not sure on their weight...but I think they are on the heavier side.
I see 9:Zero:7 frames on eBay a lot, and I believe they have the 135mm frames on sale. Might not be available anymore. You can get just the frame then a Carver carbon fork.
Personally I don't dwell on fat bike weight. It's just an oxymoron to me, especially since I use frame bags and never a hydration pack. If your balling on a budget why fret over weight just build one up and cut some of the weight later when it makes $ense. Either way you be grins just riding it wether it's 29lbs or 33lbs.
Fargo Ti + Moonlander + Necro Pug + Nature Boy
Yeah, I think that if you are dwelling on the price difference to get a 907 frame, and the $150 tires, you might consider the OnOne frame and wheelset.
It is kind of heavy, but I think you could still reach your sub 30 lb single speed goal, if you drill out the wheels, and select the other components properly. It would be easier to spend some more on lighter parts with the savings over the other brand frames and wheels/tires.
It is a 170 mm cassette hub, but I believe the stock hubs have a steel freewheel body, which should handle the extra torque on a single rear cog, or you could use one of those wide based single speed cassette cogs. Or you could use your freewheel on one of these hubs: Wide Hub - Freewheel/Disc BLK - Cycles U.S. LLC/Choppers U.S.
I wouldn't recommend using a $30 hub on this project though.
If price was not an issue, I would recommend a custom made frame, like the custom Ti O'Beast, which you could get made to your perfect fit, with whatever hub mounting and even eccentric BB if you want it.
It sounds like, ideally, If you want a freewheel SS hub, you should go with a 135mm offset frame with sliding dropouts or an EBB. I am sure someone will eventually make a 170mm high quality SS freewheel hub, if it isn't already available though.
As far as rims go, The Marge lites are very nice, and go tubeless fairly easily, and the Speedway UMAs are even nicer and tubeless ready, both very expensive though.
If you aren't looking for max flotation though, you might consider some 47mm NEON trials rims. They are ~150g lighter than the Marge lights, and can be had for $45 from nwtrials.com. They don't look well suited for tubeless, but at that weight, with a light tube it would still be lighter than any tubeless setup on a wider rim.
I think Speedway used to have some 50mm rims, but I don't think they are available any more, and weren't made for tubeless.
Tires: Knards in 120 tpi
Rims: Velocity Dually in 26". Not available yet but will be ~September. About 90g lighter each.
Hubs: Just run standard Fatbike hubs. The benefit of an SS specific hub is the better dish, but that's negated by the massive OLD. Plus you're ready for gears when they're needed.
You'll want to 2014 Mukluk. They come with an alloy fork that will drop a bit of weight.
Maybe I am missing something, but if weight is a concern because of your power....You dont want a SS fat bike...Seems like you would be intentionally making it more difficult.
I love my fat and couldnt care that it weighs about 39 lbs....it is a lot of fun.
Also, dont really care to ride my ultra light SS at this point. Jump in....you are going to love it
2009 MOOTS Mooto X
2009 Salsa Fargo
2012 Surly Pugsley
2012 Cannondale SL4 29
Don't rule the Pug out yet. I recently got a 2011 white pug SS with a white industries DOS freewheel and I love it. I feel like you could get to 30lbs with the right wheels/tires. I have the older large marge wheels and 27tpi Larry tires with surly tubes. My bike weighs 34.2lbs so if you got marge lites and 120tpi Nates and run them tubeless you would be saving a lot of weight. Plus I have some pretty heavy pedals, handlebar, and seat post. BTW my frame is a XL
I think you could make the bike under 30lbs, whichever frame you use, if you use some light wheels like the Marge lites or neon trials rims with light tubes, spokes, hubs, crankset, etc.
The weight difference between a super light beargrease and a heavy pugs, Muk or On One fatty is probably only about 2 lbs. The 907s and fatback aluminum are going to be in between or about 1 lb heavier than a beargrease. You see bigger differences than that in just one wheel between a Rolling Darryl/Nate 27tpi/Mukluk hub that comes on a stock Mukluk and a Marge lite/husker du/Hope fatsno.
I think there are geared Beargreases in the 26 lb range on this forum, so add a couple pounds for the cheaper frames, and take some off for derailleurs, cassette, etc. and you could easily be under the 30 lb weight with any frame.
There's also the Fatback rocker frame. I've seen some light builds.
You could go with an aluminum beargrease and use a tensioner. I'm sure there will be some for sale this year with the carbon coming out.
I would go with the Pug, in fact I did go with a Pug.
If you want a fat bike, weight should not be a determining factor.
Climb into the sky, never wonder why - Tailgunner
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I am running a Pugs with marge lites, super light q tubes, cheapo carbon bars, not so light seatpost and otherwise stock drivetrain. With ultralight Husker Dus it weighed in at 32lbs. It wouldn't be hard to get it below 29 with a Carver fork, Seatpost, and lose all the drivetrain. Even lighter with lighter SS hub and cranks and lightweight chainring up front. 28lbs would be easily attainable. There are other options for tires in the same weight range as Husker Du's that will last longer too. Like any of the newer ultralight Surly casings. Knards for summer trail duty and Nates for gnarlier stuff. My rear Knard is wearing quickly but nothing near as fast as the Husker Du. But I've had a lot of pavement miles on the Knard.
So to echo previous posters, you can't discount the pugs because it's steel. Marge Lites and smart crank and cockpit choices will make a huckable light fatbike especially being SS. While of course ticking all your checkboxes for 135mm rear hub and SS compatibility.
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I'd go with a 170/190mm rear fatbike that is known to be able to take the Krampus 29er+ 3.0 tires. Maximum fun value right there. It blows riding around a fatbike in the summer time, so that makes it much more bearable and the fun factor would be very high. If you ride SS, you probably won't have too much problem with a fatbike though.
You'd be better off keeping the stock gears with an on-one. It's ALREADY like SSing because of the heavy wheels. You need long bars to generate leverage while standing to pedal the thing, it's darn near impossible to generate the torque necessary to really move it if you are seated. Yes, you "can" ride it seated, but it's actually significantly harder IMO, so you end up riding it like an SS, whether it has gears or not. I switched to a road cassette, because I ride "like an SS" and it saves a bit of weight. The real low gears aren't as useful to me because you just don't go anywhere when you pedal, so everyone else takes off down the trail while you are trying to get up to speed. Having some lower gears (30t and less, mine is a 11-28t) +leverage of long bars while standing goes a long way to give you some hope of keeping up as they take off. Obviously you are working harder, but again, if you're a SSer you are somewhat used to it.
"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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