Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Dilligaff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    358

    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event

    *This is not an endorsement for Bikeman, Carver bikes, or HVNC. This is merely my assessment of the bikes I rode during a Demo Days with the hopes it may help others out in their decisionmaking process.*

    Last Sunday I stopped by the Hidden Valley Nature Center in midcoast Maine to try some bikes that Bikeman brought for a Demo Days. It's a local fatbike riding hangout for me with 30 miles of varied trails and I wanted to try some of their bikes with different tire/gearing combinations. I've bought bikes from Bikeman in the past and know them personally since they're great people and are my LBS.

    Forrest Carver (of Carver bikes) brought 8 or 9 bikes to try out and I was only too happy to oblige. I'd been on the trails the day prior and knew how my fully studded tubeless Dillinger 5's rode so I wanted to try some other combinations. My bike has 22t/32t x 11-36t with a Bluto and rides very well at 33 pounds. The trail was a 1.2 mile woods loop with varying elevations, groomed and used single track, and the temperature was about 4F without the wind. It was so cold Forrest didn't even realize he had a nosebleed when he arrived back after a ride.

    The first bike I took out was a Carver titanium with Snowshoe 2XL's (mounted with tubes) and 26t x 11-42t. I've been itching to try the 2XL tires but there isn't much that will fit them. Well, Forrest got the specs for the tires and built a frame for them and they fit will plenty of clearance. To say it was weird riding them is an understatement but I was surprised at how well they went.

    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-xl.jpg
    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-x3.jpg

    I didn't get any pictures of the bike on the trail but did take these earlier at their shop.

    I found the tires rolled very well, better than I expected and it didn't require additional effort than any other bike. And while most things will roll well on groomed single track, I made it a point to ride near the edges and through the ruts created by narrower tires. Not being able to break them loose on anything, I purposefully went off-trail and into the deep powder, only then did they stop. The only issue is that they are out of balance so they wobble like crazy. When I spoke to Forrest about this, he said they got the initial batch and had problems with them. They mounted and dismounted every 2XL in stock (took a full day) to weed out the problem tires and have a number of them going back under warranty. All the ones they have on the shelf now are straight and true. He mounted these up because it's a demo bike and they were not for retail.

    The 26t x 42t gearing was nice and I had no issues going up any of the hills, mainly due to the abundant traction, but I did notice it was slightly higher geared than my 22t x 36t low that I'm used to. I'm trying to decide if going 1x10 is worth it. Part of it may be that the tires were so large. The jury is still out.

    Overall I was impressed with the tires and bike, and I'll be ordering up a set of the Ergon grips for my own bike since they were sweet.

    Next up was the Carver carbon with tubeless Snowshoe XL's on it, unstudded. It is also set up 26t x 11-42t.

    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-xl.jpg

    I'd never ridden carbon before so this was my first time. I have to say, this thing ROCKED! I was amazed at what a difference just a few pounds made on the bike and was riding much faster than normal as a result. The hills were easier despite the same gearing and the XL's hooked up well. I have to say I liked the way they rode much better than my Dillinger 5's. The traction was very positive whereas my D5's didn't feel nearly as trusting.

    I went down a hill faster than I should have but was able to save the bike before going down. The tires didn't break traction at all, or at least until I was into stuff I knew would be a problem. I followed the same track as the 2XL's and did have a few minor breakthroughs on the crust but far less than I had with my D5's. I have the regular Snowshoes on my Pugsley and these aren't even on the same planet as those.

    The third and last bike I tried was a Carver carbon, 26t x 11-42t, with the Lauf fork. Having a Bluto and a rigid, I was interested to see what a difference the Lauf made. It also had Jumbo Jim 4.0 tires set up with tubes.

    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-xl.jpg
    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-xl.jpg

    Since it was the same frame, with a light fork and thinner tires, I expected it to fly down the trail. I was completely disappointed. It rode worse than the other two by a longshot. The Lauf fork is good and I could feel and see it working to soak up the bumps but nowhere like a Bluto would. I am 225lbs in winter garb so I'm not exactly svelte but not too overweight either for my height. I feel that if weight is important, then the Lauf is a good choice. If weight isn't as important, then definitely consider the Bluto.

    But the JJ tires were the real hindrance. I had to pick my lines much more carefully and spun out a few times on the hills, where the other tires skated right up. Even going down the hills I found the tires wanting to wash out which meant I had to ride slower.


    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-x2.jpg
    (spun out and stopped)

    I wasn't racing at all but the ride was definitely much slower and a lot less fun. Forrest mentioned the JJ tires weren't the best in snow and I'd have to agree.

    Overall it was a very worthwhile time, despite the cold. Here are a few other bikes they had that I did not try out. The one with the crank arm removed obviously had issues but it's inevitable with used bikes, multiple riders, and cold temps.

    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-xl.jpg
    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-xl.jpg
    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-xl.jpg

    And they had some new tires on a bike that looked interesting, almost like someone mated a Knard and a Dillinger together. He said they were the 120tpi Arisun Big Fatty and they just got them in. He said they rode well and were much cheaper than other 120tpi tires.

    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-xl.jpg
    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-x2.jpg

    For the money I'd have to say the carbon frame was very nice, the Snowshoe 2XL and XL tires worth it, the Jumbo Jim's not for snow, and the Lauf fork if the wallet is thick enough. I am still undecided on the 1x10 setup since the range is much further spread out than I'm used to. I could definitely get used to riding it, sort of like the difference between riding Shimano and SRAM.

    I wish he had a bike with Bud/Lou on it but he did not. I would have liked to try that combination and I'll bet it does well. But studs were really needed at the beginning of the year and the D5's held their own in that regard. How the XL's would compare is an unknown. I may pick up some Bud/Lou's to try with Gripstuds since a little more float right now would make all the difference.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nothing to see here, move along folks.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    77
    Looks like a fun day.
    I recently put a 2xl on the front and a jumbo Jim on the rear of my bike. I don't ride much and don't have a lot of experience but the jj seems to be pretty grippy for me. I've gotten up hills I didn't think I'd get up. I did drop the pressure to some random low value though.

    Also I wish I had seen a white 2xl. Would have gone for that for sure haha.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    287
    The Arisun looks like a fantastic summer tread pattern.

  4. #4
    Rocking on a Rocky
    Reputation: RockyJo1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    1,336
    I learned that I really liked the Fatboy SL.
    It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyriverag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1,059
    Were you on the Carver O'Beast? And it fit both 5inch plus tires front and rear? I thought it only took 4.7s on 80mm rims?
    2015 Trek Farley 6
    2009 Fuji Cross Comp
    2001 Schwinn Frontier SS



  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Dilligaff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    358
    Yes, it was the O'Beast, but I think it was wider than the usual build to fit those tires.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nothing to see here, move along folks.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tyriverag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1,059
    Quote Originally Posted by Dilligaff View Post
    Yes, it was the O'Beast, but I think it was wider than the usual build to fit those tires.
    With a 170 rear hub? I could be interested in a new frame!
    2015 Trek Farley 6
    2009 Fuji Cross Comp
    2001 Schwinn Frontier SS



  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Dilligaff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    358
    About that I do not know. I would e-mail Bikeman and ask, I have received many e-mails directly from Forrest when I've sent in a question, so I know he gets them.

    I am unsure as to the exact specs on the bike so those questions should be directed to them. Sorry. I can stop in and ask but it'll be a few days. It rode very well though and their frames are known for being top notch titanium.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nothing to see here, move along folks.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,969
    Quote Originally Posted by alias View Post
    The Arisun looks like a fantastic summer tread pattern.
    You could do a closer inspection, but it looks to me exactly like the fat b nimble.

  10. #10
    passed out in your garden
    Reputation: cmg71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,516
    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post
    You could do a closer inspection, but it looks to me exactly like the fat b nimble.
    thats what I was thinking.......although I have the ChaoYangs (same as the fat b nimble)
    always mad and usually drunk......

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Dilligaff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    358
    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post
    You could do a closer inspection, but it looks to me exactly like the fat b nimble.
    Whoa! You are correct! Good call.

    Fat-B-Nimble:
    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-pr3e5165_mlg.jpg

    Arisun:
    What I learned from a fatbike Demo Days event-image-x2.jpg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nothing to see here, move along folks.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    30
    Gotta love design stealers

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,969
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo08 View Post
    Gotta love design stealers
    It's not really design stealing. It's the factory made the tire to sell the design rebranded to others.

    Everybody's just buying the tire with their own stickers on it.

    Unless panaracer actually designed it and didn't make some kind of contact with the mfr about them not selling it...

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    5,090
    How did the Ti feel compared to the Carbon? Was the rear end stiff enough on climbs?

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    5
    Arisun = Chao Yang. It's a part of the same company.
    Last edited by TyreGuy; 02-24-2016 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Added info

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Dilligaff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    358
    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    How did the Ti feel compared to the Carbon? Was the rear end stiff enough on climbs?
    Yes. I did not feel a lot of difference other than the few pounds of weight, if it was even a few pounds. Both bikes rode well but the carbon felt more flickable, like I could easily control it much more precisely. It may have been that the titanium had the massive 2XL tires on it. From what I have seen and for my type of riding, I am shying away from carbon. Not that there is anything wrong with it, just that my less than expert riding skills, our rocky terrain, and the cost are prohibitive for me. Not that I could afford a Carver titanium either.

    Keep in mind the hills were snow covered and not very steep, so perhaps the difference would be more apparent when the snow leaves.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nothing to see here, move along folks.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 42
    Last Post: 11-21-2014, 11:34 AM
  2. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-05-2014, 12:07 PM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-10-2013, 05:41 PM
  4. Replies: 25
    Last Post: 10-23-2013, 07:42 PM
  5. My first Demo Day: What I learned....
    By zephxiii in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-21-2012, 02:41 PM

Members who have read this thread: 4

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •