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  1. #1
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    When does wider become...too wide?

    I am curious about peoples thoughts around this. It seems to me that the current fat bike was built around tires under 4 inches. As with most things that begin to gain popularity, the limits are being pushed...now it seems that tires up to 5 inches and wheels like the clownshoe are becoming more commonplace. At what point do you guys/ladies think wider becomes too wide? In other words, big fat tires have a tradeoff....mainly nimbleness and speed. What is the realistic maximum width that you think can be achieved before this tradeoff becomes to great? I am sure that 10 years ago, most would have thought that 4 inches would be too far......
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  2. #2
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    Depends on what you're using it for.

    Summer? Already plenty wide. Hence 29+ tires this year which really are not fat and are named appropriately.

    Snow? They barely work in a variety of conditions. I'd like to pack fresh powder up to the pedals and not have to walk. I'm a little sour on the subject of fat bikes right now because they aren't fat enough.

    Search for "jackshaft" on this subforum and you'll find that this has been discussed already, you'll find a variety of thoughts in those threads. Theoretical limits have to do with chainstay length, the existince of chainstay yoke / tire / cranks / human legs all existing in one place at the same time. If you throw chainstay length out the window you can do crazy jackshaft stuff.

    I'm working on those drawings right now actually!

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  3. #3
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    diminishing returns rings a bell on said subject just as it does with others, that said me believes 5 is plenty for those in fresh powder or sugar sand with 3-4psi.
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  4. #4
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    They're already too wide.

    They're too wide for suspension forks.
    They're too wide for your frame.
    They're too wide for your rack.
    They're too wide for your pump.
    They're too wide to shred singletrack.

    I know these things are true because I read them here.

    They're too damn wide!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    They're already too wide.

    They're too wide for suspension forks.
    They're too wide for your frame.
    They're too wide for your rack.
    They're too wide for your pump.
    They're too wide to shred singletrack.

    I know these things are true because I read them here.

    They're too damn wide!
    did you stay @ a holiday inn express lastnight??
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    did you stay @ a holiday inn express lastnight??
    Yes. Out back behind the Dumpster, as usual.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    Yes. Out back behind the Dumpster, as usual.
    thats my spot ya fuggah so get out!!
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  8. #8
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    Bunch of guys discussing width, ask any woman and 3.8 is wide enough.
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  9. #9
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    Oh no! Here we go again. I didn't pay this guy to start this thread!
    Just go with what you like and forget it. There are too many opinions here that will not agree with yours.

  10. #10
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    Every man knows all that matters is having the right (size) tool for the job...

  11. #11
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    Re: When does wider become...too wide?

    And how you wiggle it...
    ...Be careful what you're looking at because it might be looking back...

  12. #12
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    yup
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  13. #13
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    Its kinda funny, when I was buying my 9zero the salesman was totally against the moonlander tire width. "That's overkill" he said!! What a liar. I would have loved to be able to fit bud and Lou on some clownies last winter. The wider the footprint (in snow) the better. Knard and hudu on rd in the summer is just about right IMHO.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniTrail View Post
    This ...

    The soft surfaces will direct growth. More options in the current sizes for sure but wider should be a choice for those that need it
    the question becomes how does one(or two) ascertain / quantify if a 6" on 120mm rim is superior to a 5" on 100mm in 4" of fresh powder??
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  15. #15
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    Going wider than current offerings is an interesting topic. Obviously we don't know for sure if we have reached the limits of diminishing returns. The things holding us back from going wider are practical (Q-factor, chainstays etc.) instead of any proof that a 4.8" tire is the largest size that works well. Some say even a Moonlander is a bit too wide, but I beg to differ.

    The front has much more room for going wider easily. Shifting the weight forward would allow to make use of extra float in the front, and with a Lou in the rear you'd still go forward instead of slipping due to reduced weight in the back.

    The chainstays could be elevated outside of the crank radius to get more room in the rear without increasing Q-factor. I've been told this frame design is easily quite flexy, but we're not talking about a mountainbike you ride hard, but a floating snow bike that requires some finesse. Having cruised on untouched snow over some local bays, I can tell if there's one thing that kills the float, it's mashing the pedals.

    I'm happy with my Moonlander, but I'm eagerly waiting to see future offerings as well.

  16. #16
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    I like to ride over boggy ground so I have an opinion or two on this...

    I've been saying for ages that 6" would do the trick. It's probably the max we could get out of current bike design without excessively wide Q-factors. The volume increase of a 6" over a 4" tyre can be roughly estimated by the ratio of the square of the tyre cross-section radii (the circumference of the centrelines would differ), so a 4" tyre would have a cross-section radius of 2", which squared is 4sqin, and a 6" tyre similarly would be 9 sqin.

    In other words the 6" tyre would roughly (very roughly ) have over 2 times the volume of the 4".


    If we look at alternative pedal systems such as the Alenax, then 8" or more would be possible.

    Float also depends on so many different factors other than the tyre width, eg inflation pressure, width of rim, etc.

    The other factor is that once you're able to ride on ultrasoft surfaces, you need to be able to do so without stopping, because you are likely to sink up to your neck once you put a foot down.

    Maybe we won't reach the width limit until we can ride on water.
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  17. #17
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    boggy ground being??
    plus+, plus+ = win:

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    boggy ground being??






    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  19. #19
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    Yep, that is boggy ground!

  20. #20
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    swamp comes to mind but yes.
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  21. #21
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    the wider the tires the crazier places we will find to ride I think there is no such limit as too fat, well only if you want to talk yourself into not needing to go bigger which is fine, but then you also wont be able to venture out on the most extreme terrain.

  22. #22
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    i think wide tires are going to do the same thing that suspension did. just get bigger and bigger until it's overcome by limmitations, then it will downsize to wherever worked best. for suspension that was about 8" or 200mm.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    They're already too wide.

    I know these things are true because I read them here.

    They're too damn wide!
    The sad truth is that *most* bean-counting manufacturers agree. Why build them fatter when 99% of people who've bought them in the last ~2 years are riding them on hardpacked singletrack, gravel roads, or pavement?

    Or not riding them at all?

    5" ain't wide enough, but it's a damn good start.

  24. #24
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    Since manufacturers of tires and rims will stop building them when they can't sell enough to justify the costs it's unlikely we'll get much larger than where we are now.

    The photos of older AK fatbikes had multiple rims/tires hacked together to get more float out of existing products.

    Dual 5" tires on dual 100mm rims gives you a lot more float than a Moonie if you can get a custom frame built to handle the uber wide wheels.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    ...
    Dual 5" tires on dual 100mm rims gives you a lot more float than a Moonie if you can get a custom frame built to handle the uber wide wheels.
    Who's going to be first?

    It actually has some advantages. The drive can be centralised which obviates the Q-factor so long as the chainstays are long enough to keep your heels clear off the tyres.
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  26. #26
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    Does the bike have to float solely on the tires? I'm thinking of short and wide skis on the sides of the tires, supported by suspension swing-arms. They could be folded for regular riding and extended when you encounter snow that's over the flotation capability of your tires.

    Sorry, off-topic.

  27. #27
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    That was...

    ...kind of the concept behind the "Six-Pack"...The center tire was taller and wider than the outer tires so that on hard-pack the
    rolling resistance was approximately the same as a standard wheel...when things got soft and the center tire settled into the snow, the outboard
    tires would contact and add to the contact-patch.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails When does wider become...too wide?-billy-rodger.jpeg  

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  28. #28
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    As long as it's pedal powered I'm in.

    One of the things I like about FB's is that there's no "rules" or "tradition" to adhere too like in some areas of cycling... If 5" works better for you than 4" on the surface your trying to navigate... groovy! And if 6" proves even better... Awesome! Knowing what I know about high floatation though, I would like to see rim options keep up w/ tires. For maximum float of any given tire (even road bike tires), the rim needs to be as wide as or nearly as wide as the tread. Unfortunatly the trade off is poor handling on anything but soft sand/snow/etc. and that turns the folks that aren't pushing the limits Surface wise off... I have a feeling that, like the folks that put giant tires/wheels/lift kit on they're truck and then drive it 95% of the time on pavement, that some folks are buying FB's just because the look "monster" and "bad a$$". And bike company's are probably counting on that... and hence the push to make them handle better on "all around" surfaces. I believe rim width is as important as tire size! In fact on soft sand, I think endo's on 100's will beat BFL's on 80's just because of the "profile" shape or "cross section". How those sidewall's "stand" does matter. Long story short... I'd like to see a 120mm rim next...

  29. #29
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    ...or maybe this would "float your fatty" Saul...Jwheelz - a new bolt-on attachment for ATVs and UTVs
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnitman View Post
    ...or maybe this would "float your fatty" Saul...Jwheelz - a new bolt-on attachment for ATVs and UTVs
    Now that's floatation!!

  31. #31
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    Haha! Great stuff!

    How about a three-pack front: Rabbit Hole and Knard in the center with a regular Krampus fork, Clown Shoes and BFLs on both sides. The side wheels could have Lefty hubs so the conversion shouldn't all that hard. I think you'd only need a custom machined axle. Fork legs would be in between the wheels. Shift weight forward and enjoy the insane float, only lean back enough to get traction without sinking the rear.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnitman View Post
    ...or maybe this would "float your fatty" Saul...Jwheelz - a new bolt-on attachment for ATVs and UTVs
    Works for lefty forks, when do we get a single sided rear swingarm fatbike so we can have one on the back too? wait, then we'll need a "righty" fork instead of a lefty
    Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't

  33. #33
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    There is the Hanebrink with 8" tires that has been around for many years. However it never seemed to cause too much excitement.

    UR

  34. #34
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    4.8" apparently

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleRobin View Post
    There is the Hanebrink with 8" tires that has been around for many years. However it never seemed to cause too much excitement.

    UR
    I suggest that is because the tire diameter was too small.

    Keep the 29 - 30 inch ish diameter. Add several inches of tire width. That'd be exciting to some.
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  36. #36
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    No point having a fatbike with uber wide float that is hard to pedal. Human power only goes so far. If your fatbike isn't efficient it is just a toy for showing off or stunt riding.
    Safe riding,

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  37. #37
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    The situation at the moment is that for certain surfaces I need more float - and pedaling is still quite light where I do move forward. To me it means that there's room to make things wider.

  38. #38
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    If a wider tire was made I'd buy it. We don't know what is too wide, not yet.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    No point having a fatbike with uber wide float that is hard to pedal. Human power only goes so far. If your fatbike isn't efficient it is just a toy for showing off or stunt riding.
    exactly, all this talk of wanting wider rims/tires but easy to forget the fitness level to spin them.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    No point having a fatbike with uber wide float that is hard to pedal. Human power only goes so far. If your fatbike isn't efficient it is just a toy for showing off or stunt riding.
    That's true up to a point.

    That point being where the surface is so soft that your 4" tyre is sinking in. At that point a fatter tyre is much easier to pedal.

    BTW was not that same argument used a few years ago about why 4" tyres weren't as good as 2"?
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    That's true up to a point.

    That point being where the surface is so soft that your 4" tyre is sinking in. At that point a fatter tyre is much easier to pedal.

    BTW was not that same argument used a few years ago about why 4" tyres weren't as good as 2"?
    Given that people are covering expedition distances on the existing 4" and 5" fatbikes we are not at a point yet where fatbikes are too inefficient relative to human power to be useful tools for covering ground.

    My point is that we cannot simply assume that wider and wider tires will continue to be useful.

    I don't know where that limit is precisely, but I do know that human power is finite and we can easily reach that limit. The reason that the Hannebrink isn't popular is that its not efficient enough to be useful.

    From a practical point of view the cost of designing, building and selling fatbikes and their parts is likely to mean we'll never see a production fatbike that approaches these human limits. There just wouldn't be the market for it so companies would kill the idea at the feasibility study stage.

    That's why I brought up the idea of using multiple wheels on each end of a custom fatbike to get more floatation using existing parts.

    If you are someone that really wants/needs more floatation that's probably the approach you'll need to take to get to your objective.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    From a practical point of view the cost of designing, building and selling fatbikes and their parts is likely to mean we'll never see a production fatbike that approaches these human limits. There just wouldn't be the market for it so companies would kill the idea at the feasibility study stage.

    That's why I brought up the idea of using multiple wheels on each end of a custom fatbike to get more floatation using existing parts.

    If you are someone that really wants/needs more floatation that's probably the approach you'll need to take to get to your objective.
    Agreed
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  43. #43
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    Imagine replacing 4 tyres at a time, my bank balance is winching just thinking about it!

  44. #44
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    I think fatbikes are only viable while they share a big percentage of parts with normal bikes.
    We are already witnessing tires/rims becoming too wide for most std drivetrain components.

    IMO one of the greatest things about the Pugsley is how it uses so many std mtb parts

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    I think fatbikes are only viable while they share a big percentage of parts with normal bikes.
    We are already witnessing tires/rims becoming too wide for most std drivetrain components.

    IMO one of the greatest things about the Pugsley is how it so many std mtb parts
    The evolution of mountain bikes did the same.

    But I agree about the Pugsley.
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  46. #46
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    Ze_Zaskar: We are? My Moonlander has a long spindle in the BB, no other proprietary parts in the drivetrain. Rear hub, cassette, derailleur, chain, BB and cranks are all bog standard stuff compatible with regular bikes. With symmetric rears you need a wide hub but everything else is as above. If there are standards that boggle my mind it's the 1.5" steerers that may or may not taper down, 142 mm hubs and 15 and 20 mm axles you see in 'conventional' mountainbikes.

    Good practical viewpoints from vikb. I don't expect manufacturers to go significantly wider anytime soon and even the 4.7"-range will remain small compared to 4", which seems to become the norm.

    My longing for more float is what you could call stunt driving in the sense that I'm not looking to get from A to B (well I do that as well, but current offerings are more than enough for that), but just to ride around for the hell of riding on stuff that would sink even a fatbike. I want to roll and float over snow that covers me up to the chest if I get off the bike. Not because I need to be there but because it would be fun.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saul Lumikko View Post
    Ze_Zaskar: We are? My Moonlander has a long spindle in the BB, no other proprietary parts in the drivetrain. Rear hub, cassette, derailleur, chain, BB and cranks are all bog standard stuff compatible with regular bikes. With symmetric rears you need a wide hub but everything else is as above. If there are standards that boggle my mind it's the 1.5" steerers that may or may not taper down, 142 mm hubs and 15 and 20 mm axles you see in 'conventional' mountainbikes.

    100mm BBs, 170mm hubs, 190mm hubs, OD cranks...
    A hub is "just a hub" but try to get a 170mm hub fast in europe...

    I'm with you on the circus that mtb standardization is becoming

  48. #48
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    Ya'll still talking? It does look like I agree with the general concensus -

    1) For softer surfaces you need wider tires
    2) The current max 5" tires are not wide enough for some of the surfaces that I and other wild eyed types want to ride
    3) Mfg's are approaching the limits of the standard bicycle layout and components.


    Going up another 1" in tire width will require another 1" in BB width, which means at least a longer spindle and more spacers or a new BB width. And a wider rear hub or more rear frame offset. Moonlanders got more offset, a longer BB spindle and spacers. I think a MaxieMoonie (6") is within reason, but look at the time gap between Pugs and Moonlanders. Even the Pugsley followed a lot of grassroots experimentation.

    I'm hoping that the 5" width gets more support from existing mfg's in terms of tires, hubs, and cranksets - oh and framesets.

    If I get the time&money, I will experiment with wider - but that means hacking tires, at the least. Buy 2 BFL's or Lou's(ouch). Cut one bead off each (while gritting teeth). Baseball stitch them together and get something in the 7-8" range. Mount them on a 100mm rim? Or hack two rims together (more $ouch$). WhooHoo! Now go build a frame to support this. Gonna be a while.
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Given that people are covering expedition distances on the existing 4" and 5" fatbikes we are not at a point yet where fatbikes are too inefficient relative to human power to be useful tools for covering ground.

    My point is that we cannot simply assume that wider and wider tires will continue to be useful.

    I don't know where that limit is precisely, but I do know that human power is finite and we can easily reach that limit. The reason that the Hannebrink isn't popular is that its not efficient enough to be useful.

    From a practical point of view the cost of designing, building and selling fatbikes and their parts is likely to mean we'll never see a production fatbike that approaches these human limits. There just wouldn't be the market for it so companies would kill the idea at the feasibility study stage.

    That's why I brought up the idea of using multiple wheels on each end of a custom fatbike to get more floatation using existing parts.

    If you are someone that really wants/needs more floatation that's probably the approach you'll need to take to get to your objective.
    Nice response. I agree with you.

    I think the Ultrasport was won on a 100mm rim with a 3.8" tire...

  50. #50
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    wadester, I like your thinking. As I was riding down a shallow river yesterday my mind wondered to a place with wider tires.

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    By Kaizer in forum Singlespeed
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    Last Post: 05-19-2011, 11:46 PM

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