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  1. #1
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    Why the big ring on the front?

    I have a Salsa Mukluk 3. My wife has a Puglsey. Neither of us ever use anything other than the 22 tooth gear in the front. Even on roads, we don't go fast enough to need higher gearing. In the woods/snowy singetrack-we could actually use lower gearing...

    What good is that high gearing on a fat bike?

  2. #2
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    In your case, it'll keep the chain from falling off the outside of the crank.

    A lot of us do use the "middle" ring, but IMHO anything larger than a 34 tooth, or maybe 36 tooth for a person racing on dirt instead of snow, is over the top, too high of a gear for a fatbike. People tend to overestimate their gearing on a fatbike.
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  3. #3
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    None of my MTBs have anything bigger than a 36 on them - if I leave the big ring on it becomes a bashguard, not a very good one, but a bashguard nonetheless. I guess there are people who live in flatter, smoother places that would fine a big ring useful, I presume that's why bikes keep coming with them on there. Around here its the first thing you change when you get a new bike. In thinking about it, its kind of ridiculous that bikes don't come with a bashguard.
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  4. #4
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    I use the big ring in the summer when I put on road wheels. When I am in deep snow I only use my 20T little ring. I have three rings so I only need one bike. I really get annoyed when people say "you don't need X on a fat-bike." What you need on a fat-bike (or any bike) depends entirely on where and how you ride.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    None of my MTBs have anything bigger than a 36 on them - if I leave the big ring on it becomes a bashguard, not a very good one, but a bashguard nonetheless. I guess there are people who live in flatter, smoother places that would fine a big ring useful, I presume that's why bikes keep coming with them on there. Around here its the first thing you change when you get a new bike. In thinking about it, its kind of ridiculous that bikes don't come with a bashguard.
    After a scary puncture/gouge in my leg a few years ago I remove the big ring on a triple for all my trail bikes. I run a bash in that location on my most used bikes. On one I ground the teeth off the big ring. How often do I actually pedal to over 20mph in a year? When I do, I just use a crazy cadence for a minute or two. It is much better than trying to ride out of a trail system while simultaneously applying pressure to my leg to avoid bleeding to death. Maybe I'm incompetent, but I just don't want a dull greasy saw blade near my leg anymore.

  6. #6
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    On a slippery icy ride this winter, I found that being in my Moonlander's big rig; even at crawling speeds, delivered less torque to the wheel. Kind of a slow cadence roll-along-momentum way of riding. It worked that day with those particular snow conditions.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lars_D View Post
    I use the big ring in the summer when I put on road wheels. What you need on a fat-bike (or any bike) depends entirely on where and how you ride.
    That makes sense. We only use our fat bikes in the winter, so I should have been more specific. They are awesome bikes! We just returned from a 1.5 hour long ride on the plowed roads, after a 6" snowfall last night.

  8. #8
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    We have some trails in Anchorage with sustained downhills that I totally spin out my 36/11, not enough for me to go to a third ring but I can see how younger stronger riders would. And yes this is in the winter on packed snow.
    I am continually amazed by how many people are convinced that fat bikes can not be ridden fast. Just becuase you or I can't doesn't mean others can't. It seems to me if people are only riding their fatbikes in places where all they need is a 22 tooth chainring then they are missing out on some very fun riding. It's OK if that's what floats your boat but don't think everyone else should ride just like you.
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  9. #9
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    Generally on snow I use the small ring most of the time and on dirt I use the middle ring most of the time. I would very rarely use the big ring and prefer a bash guard in that position. But that's just me, old and slow. For sure, especially in race situations, there is a need for a bigger ring but that doesn't apply to me.

  10. #10
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by sryanak View Post
    I am continually amazed by how many people are convinced that fat bikes can not be ridden fast.
    To be fair, riding down the final bit of Resurrection Pass there are several places to get going "fast" that then have a 30-45° turn. 29er, normal 26er? No problem, keep going and keep the speed. Fatbike? No way, it simply will NOT turn at those speeds with that kind of gyroscopic force. I'm not sure how fast you've gone on one, but there was no way my bike could make those turns at that speed, it would just fly off the mountain in a straight line, it wasn't a matter of being "convinced", it was a matter of gyroscopic rigidity.
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  11. #11
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    Why the big ring on the front?-1012774_10153547110175456_864208562_n.jpg

    what big ring?
    Front Range, Colorado
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    To be fair, riding down the final bit of Resurrection Pass there are several places to get going "fast" that then have a 30-45° turn. 29er, normal 26er? No problem, keep going and keep the speed. Fatbike? No way, it simply will NOT turn at those speeds with that kind of gyroscopic force. I'm not sure how fast you've gone on one, but there was no way my bike could make those turns at that speed, it would just fly off the mountain in a straight line, it wasn't a matter of being "convinced", it was a matter of gyroscopic rigidity.

    Rider error?

    I've "made turns" on tight single track on the above bike at speeds above 30mph with Bud/Lou on Clown Shoes. When it's mostly dirt I run about 10psi and it handles great. If anything there's too much traction because I can't slide the rear. Gyroscopic force argument is pretty irrelevant too if you've ever ridden or watched motorcycle racing.

    Lean and get off the brakes….
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    Rider error?

    I've "made turns" on tight single track on the above bike at speeds above 30mph with Bud/Lou on Clown Shoes. When it's mostly dirt I run about 10psi and it handles great. If anything there's too much traction because I can't slide the rear. Gyroscopic force argument is pretty irrelevant too if you've ever ridden or watched motorcycle racing.

    Lean and get off the brakes….
    Agreed. Just want to add body position, moving yourself fore or aft while in attack position, changes weight bias on the tires. Body back for long fast sweepers, more forward to whip the tail around. The latter takes more practice and learning all your bikes handling traits.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sryanak View Post
    We have some trails in Anchorage with sustained downhills that I totally spin out my 36/11, not enough for me to go to a third ring but I can see how younger stronger riders would. And yes this is in the winter on packed snow.
    I am continually amazed by how many people are convinced that fat bikes can not be ridden fast. Just becuase you or I can't doesn't mean others can't. It seems to me if people are only riding their fatbikes in places where all they need is a 22 tooth chainring then they are missing out on some very fun riding. It's OK if that's what floats your boat but don't think everyone else should ride just like you.
    Even if we had hills here that were that big, I'd be going down them slower, to stay warm.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    To be fair, riding down the final bit of Resurrection Pass there are several places to get going "fast" that then have a 30-45° turn. 29er, normal 26er? No problem, keep going and keep the speed. Fatbike? No way, it simply will NOT turn at those speeds with that kind of gyroscopic force. I'm not sure how fast you've gone on one, but there was no way my bike could make those turns at that speed, it would just fly off the mountain in a straight line, it wasn't a matter of being "convinced", it was a matter of gyroscopic rigidity.
    ?!? Most fatbikes are designed for snowbiking, but this sounds weird... Anyway, guys on a Sandman "trail fatbike" have repeatedly raced to top spots in lots of big gravity oriënted races, beating all but the top pro racers on factory fullies. So not making a turn hasn't got anything to do with the gyroscopic effect of the big wheels.

    As for the necessity of a big ring, it all depends on your fitness and the terrain you're riding. If you're an occasional biker and do nothing but singletrack riding in the mountains, or only take out your fatbike out for a spin when it snows, you probably don't need even a double ring.
    But the fitter you get and the more fireroad-like terrain you bike, the more gears you'll need.

    As an example: a friend won the fatbike category in last years La Ruta de los Conquistadores by a pretty wide margin, on a 3x10 setup, beating a guy which was physically probably just as fast or faster, but with a 1x11 setup (and no front suspension).
    To get an idea of the speeds: the last stage of La Ruta was allmost all gravelroads, which my friend all did on the big ring - apart from the hiking parts over railroad bridges. He finished that stage in a time that would have landed him a 15th spot among the elite men racers with an average speed of almost 17mph on an 80-mile stage. If you know fatbikes don't respond well to high-rpm pedalling, you know you need a big ring to get such averages, pedalling at close to 25 mph where you can.

    He was pretty mad at first, because the race officials didn't allow him in the elite category... because he was on a fatbike - when is this discrimination going to end ;-) ?

  16. #16
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    I ride mostly dirt and I use my 36 all the time to keep my chain line correct (centered), as much as possible. There are a lot of times my speed is over 20 mph depending on the terrain. Staying in the small ring makes no sense and is not good for your drive train in these circumstances.

  17. #17
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    salsa mukluk 3 stock build doesn't have a big ring.
    it has a 22/36.
    OP is wondering why anyone would every use what the rest of us consider a middle ring.

    Quote Originally Posted by letitsnow View Post
    Neither of us ever use anything other than the 22 tooth gear in the front. Even on roads, we don't go fast enough to need higher gearing. In the woods/snowy singetrack-we could actually use lower gearing...

    What good is that high gearing on a fat bike?
    Higher gearing is good because other people go fast enough to need higher gearing. If you don't want it there, take it and the derailleur off and shorten your chain.
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  18. #18
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    When i see a big nasty bear , sasquatch,etc , i can use my big ring , with a surge of adrenaline .
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRAIL CRANKER View Post
    When i see a big nasty bear , sasquatch,etc , i can use my big ring , with a surge of adrenaline .
    If you can push a 42t or larger ring, most predators will leave you alone out of respect for your superior power.

  20. #20
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    It really depends on the power you make, I use my 36t ring most of the time, only need the 22 for steep hills or deep snow.

  21. #21
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    I rode to the top of our big ski hill last week and used the big ring all the way down from the top. I was mostly on cat tracks and the big gearing was needed to pass the skiers that needed to pole their way down the not so steep trail. Living in the mountains, any bigger downhill is nice to have a big ring to get going.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetpaint View Post
    It really depends on the power you make, I use my 36t ring most of the time, only need the 22 for steep hills or deep snow.
    I love the combo and spacing on my mukluk. 36 is for road/flat/fast rolling and 22 is a nice climbing setup. In the limited snow I've seen this year, I'll plow along in the 36 until I need to get to the last 1-2 sprockets in the back. It's nice to dump the front chain ring for a surge if you need it.

  23. #23
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    I ride the mountains of Colorado and have a 36x22 with a 10 speed 11x36 cassette. I use all of my gears even in the winter time depending on snow conditions.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    I rode to the top of our big ski hill last week and used the big ring all the way down from the top. I was mostly on cat tracks and the big gearing was needed to pass the skiers that needed to pole their way down the not so steep trail. Living in the mountains, any bigger downhill is nice to have a big ring to get going.
    Which top, Storm or Sunshine? Best thing about working Wally World lifts was clearing the mtn at the end of the day, while the sun was setting. Had to get to the 2nd job, bouncer at bw3 (tap house, now), wish I could remember my top-to-bottom time. Yeah, not so steep, but still 2,000 uninterrupted vertical feet! Can't beat that for a commute. I need to get back in shape to do it on the bike I haven't built yet, but someday...
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by byknuts View Post
    salsa mukluk 3 stock build doesn't have a big ring.
    it has a 22/36.
    OP is wondering why anyone would every use what the rest of us consider a middle ring.



    Higher gearing is good because other people go fast enough to need higher gearing. If you don't want it there, take it and the derailleur off and shorten your chain.
    Yep - We only use the 22 tooth front ring. I've already spaced the BB cup over to make the chain line better, and removed the front derailleur/shifter.

    I don't have the fitness (or desire) to go faster than 17-18 mph on this thing (with the stock 27 tpi Nate's). Me being a top 1/3 cat 2 mtb racer - some of you guys must be BEASTS!!!

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