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Thread: Too Much Float?

  1. #1
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    Too Much Float?

    Silly question, I know, but this morning's ride had me second guessing a lot of things I thought I knew.

    I was riding 29+ Chronicles on 47mm rims in 4" of light snow over frozen. Air pressure was "near wrinkled". I realize the Chronicle is not a snow tire, but you'd think it would just go. However, I found myself floating if I got going too fast - and that wasn't very fast. I was on a tight schedule so I was trying to make good time, and I was doing pretty well with the bike not going straight, but eventually, rather than fighting with it, I just slowed down. I had power to burn today, but it seemed like a lot of extra effort to put it to the ground AND stay upright.

    Is this more just the tires, or does this happen to everyone?

    -F

    PS - at low speed, the tires seemed very capable and traction was good
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  2. #2
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    "Too much float" made me think instantly of the old saying that you can never be too rich, too thin, etc.

    I'm nearly 250 lbs. geared up on 4.8" tires/100mm rims aired down to like 3-4 psi dealing with heavy, wet Northeast U.S. mashed potatoes snow. Can't have too much float.

  3. #3
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    I believe there could be too much at times. There are times your technique and how you finesse the bike have a significant impact on efficiency of forward motion. Just as much as or more than the equipment does.

  4. #4
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    Riding on dust covered ice with Chronicles.

    ^^ there's your answer. Worst tires ever.

  5. #5
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    Funny how car snow tires of ole were usually skinny aggressive tread tires. Sometime a tire just needs to punch through the crap to find the traction below. Might be blasphemy to say this here but sometimes my cross bike will go through more than my fat bike

  6. #6
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    Is float inversely proportional to traction?
    I would advise not taking my advice.

  7. #7
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    Fleas - I'm a little confused by how you're using the term "float." Normally in these discussions, it means the amount of surface area of tire/psi combo needed to more or less "float" on the surface of the snow.

    That doesn't sound like what you were experiencing.

    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Funny how car snow tires of ole were usually skinny aggressive tread tires. Sometime a tire just needs to punch through the crap to find the traction below. Might be blasphemy to say this here but sometimes my cross bike will go through more than my fat bike
    That's because you are no longer describing a situation where "float" is at a premium. Hardpack and ice, while they may be conditions frequently encountered while fat biking, are not really what fat tires were created for. They are just secondary conditions we have to be prepared to deal with, if you're only going to ride one bike in the winter.
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  8. #8
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Funny how car snow tires of ole were usually skinny aggressive tread tires. Sometime a tire just needs to punch through the crap to find the traction below.
    For generally low amounts of powder snow.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    Fleas - I'm a little confused by how you're using the term "float." Normally in these discussions, it means the amount of surface area of tire/psi combo needed to more or less "float" on the surface of the snow.

    That doesn't sound like what you were experiencing.


    ...
    I am thinking this is specific to certain tires because I have experienced it even with narrower tires, but never with tires with tall knobs nor narrow tires w/ tall knobs.

    I think what is happening is that, at lower speeds, the snow has just enough time to either pack or plow aside from the front tire. As speed increases, the tire starts to ride up on the snow faster than the snow can get out of the way ("floating"). Without big knobs like Bud/Lou the surface under the tire is unstable/moving, creating a control problem.

    There were times when I was climbing mild, off-camber trail sections with the rear tire at least 4" off-line from the front tire and still going forward, but coming down a similar slope at speed it was very difficult to keep the front tire online. It was fine in a straight line, but any curves/angles/slopes required me to slow down to allow the front tire to hook up.

    The Chronicle so far has worked well in mud, rocks, light snow, dry, and hardpack. But snow over snow is where it quits doing its job. It's just enough to go, but not ideal. Proper fat tires are needed ("duh" right?). This is why I'm not too hot on 29+. I would've done as well or better on my 29er because I know those tires would've bit into the snow better. Having a 29er and fattie I think will be my complete quiver for my style of riding. If I go plus, it might be 27.5+ just for bashing into things, but the 29er is so good I will have it for a long time.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    Fleas - I'm a little confused by how you're using the term "float." Normally in these discussions, it means the amount of surface area of tire/psi combo needed to more or less "float" on the surface of the snow.

    That doesn't sound like what you were experiencing.



    That's because you are no longer describing a situation where "float" is at a premium. Hardpack and ice, while they may be conditions frequently encountered while fat biking, are not really what fat tires were created for. They are just secondary conditions we have to be prepared to deal with, if you're only going to ride one bike in the winter.
    this. You weren't experiencing float, you had a profound lack of traction and your tires were pushing.

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