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Thread: 96er fat bike?

  1. #1
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    96er fat bike?

    With all of the new wheel options available to fat bike riders, I've been wondering if a 96er style wheel setup on a fat bike would have any advantages.

    Most dual sport and motocross motorcycles mix a 17" or 18" rear wheel with a 21" front, and they run a much bigger tire on the rear wheel than on the front wheel. This is my reference model for the 96er fat bike question.

    So, for example, for trail riding on a fat bike, would running something like a 4" tire on a 65mm-80mm fat rim in the back with a 3" tire on a 29er rim provide good rear traction, and accurate steering and good rollover in the front?

    I would imagine that adding a suspension fork, or perhaps even having full suspension would make this more practical for technical trail riding. But let's assume it's a full rigid bike.

    I'm getting a new fat bike in a few weeks to ride this winter. I'm also considering the purchase of a 29er or 27.5+ wheel set to run in warmer months. Maybe a complete 29er front wheel setup and a faster fat bike rear tire would work...

    Surely somebody must have already tried this, no?

  2. #2
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    Motorcycles are a whole different thing. They run very wide tires in the back since they have a lot of power that they have to transfer to the ground. The front tire doesn't need to be as wide because stopping can use both tires. Also bikes steer better with narrower tires on the front. So the front wheel has a larger diameter so that both tires end up with about the same diameter, as that does make getting the geometry right easier.

    On a bicycle the requirements are different. 4" tires are about flotation. If you are running them in the dirt they are about traction and small bump absorption. To me traction and small bump absorption are more important in the front than the back. If I am going to reach the limits of traction while cornering I want to slide my rear wheel first. When I put the brakes on when descending I care more about traction with the front tire. I think that the best setup for a fat bike in the dirt is to run the same size front and rear and have a stickier tread pattern on the front.

    So you should get your fat bike and ride it this winter in the snow. And also ride it on the dirt. And then by next summer the 27.5+ tires will be out and I think they will rock for dirt.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    by next summer the 27.5+ tires will be out and I think they will rock for dirt.
    Yep...stick with same size whichever you choose. I will wait for the mid size and hope for more rim selection too.
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    I've been playing with a 26x4" front on my 29+ The bigger front tyre really helps in really soft conditions like foot-deep loose sand - the wheel doesn't wash-out and provided I can maintain drive from the rear wheel I can make progress. With a 29x3" front, it was often impossible to ride in these conditions.

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    Yes, I guess I'll just have to ride the new bike and see how it goes in all conditions. I'm sure I'll have it on the trails before we get snow here. Things are developing quickly in the new fat tire and plus tire categories. By next year I'll know if I want to try a different wheel format.

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    I had the thought that a 96er may be a way to do a mid-fat on a budget. Use a 26x3 or 27.5x3 in the back of a 29er frame, and a rigid fork with clearance for a 29x3 in the front. Larger wheel in the front for taking the bumps, and the BB wouldn't be too far off with the front going up and the rear going down. I have heard the claim that some 29ers can fit a 26x3 in the back, but I haven't seen it proven.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tinkerbike View Post
    Surely somebody must have already tried this, no?
    96er fat bike?-image.jpg
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

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    Re: 96er fat bike?

    Motorcycles are not the same as pedal bicycles...the force vectors and values are different.

    It always amuses me when people compare motorcycles to pedal bikes. Makes me think they spend a lot of time with a motor, and not much pedaling.

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    Re: 96er fat bike?

    I've thought about doing something similar with a Pugsley. A 29+ front, and 26+ rear. There are some folks out there that swear by 69er trail bikes.

    The Trek 69er (circa 2007ish) has sort of a cult following:



    But, I'm not sure if I'm willing to drop the necessary cash on such an experiment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iscariot View Post
    Motorcycles are not the same as pedal bicycles...the force vectors and values are different.

    It always amuses me when people compare motorcycles to pedal bikes. Makes me think they spend a lot of time with a motor, and not much pedaling.
    Do you ride both?

    They're not all that different. Much of the technology used on today's mtbs can be found on motocross and enduro motorcycles. Yes, I do ride both, and I spend more time on my pedal bikes.

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    Re: 96er fat bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by tinkerbike View Post
    Do you ride both?

    They're not all that different. Much of the technology used on today's mtbs can be found on motocross and enduro motorcycles. Yes, I do ride both, and I spend more time on my pedal bikes.
    Lol. Technology. I said the forces and vectors were different. Yes, I have ridden both competitively.

    They are not the same.

    A Simple Example.

    When you roll the throttle on a motorbike, the bike moves relatively forward and your body relatively backward. ie. Because of the throttle and motor, the bike can and will move independently of your weighting and body position.

    On a pedal bike, in order to move forward, your weight must be neutral, or forward, before you will move forward, because you have to pedal.

    The force values and vectors are different, as per my original post. They are about as similar as skiing and snowmachines.

    You may do similar things on them, jumping, leaning, turning, accelerating, etc... however the way that these are physically accomplished are very different because one has a much more powerful motor.

    The force values and vectors are different. That's why you don't need a fat rear tire and a skinny front on a mountain bike. On a motorbike the fat rear translates the otherwise unmanagable spin into the ground to give traction and move the motorbike forward.

    The force values and vectors are different and that setup makes no sense, because you have to pedal a bicycle and you can't generate the same forces as a motor on a rear wheel. And even if you somehow could generate the same amount of force on your pedal bike, your weight is necessarily in a completely different place to make that force happen because you have to pedal.



    And all of this only describes front to back weighting. It doesn't describe the downward forces necessary to move a pedal bike forward due to the fact that you have to pedal. These forces and vectors are non necessary on a motorbike because it has a motor.

    It also doesn't cover the tip and turn. On a motorcycle you tip in and catch yourself with the motor, no need to close the turn raduis. In fact you can open it up with the throttle and still maintain in upright bike. On a pedal bike you necessarily tighten your turn radius or square off your turn to catch yourself. As soon as you pedal, you are imparting high downward forces. Because of this far more of the steering force comes from the rear wheel of a motorbike when compared to a pedal bike.

    All this barely scratches the surface, but I have to get on with my day.



    As per my original post, if you want to run a fat rear, go for it. It amuses me when people compare motorbikes to pedal bikes.

  12. #12
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    Fwiw i think about it the other way around from the OP- bigger on the front than the rear. I have a wtb trailblazer 27.5x 2.8 on its way to try on the rear wheel of my jones that will run either a 26x3.8 Nate or a 29+ Knard on the front. I have a suspicion that IF much more aggressive ( think Nate style ) 27.5+ tyres become available, a mixed wheel size bike might be the ideal non snow, mid fat, non distance touring bike platform. We'll see. Should be fun.
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  13. #13
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    Re: 96er fat bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by dRjOn View Post
    Fwiw i think about it the other way around from the OP- bigger on the front than the rear. I have a wtb trailblazer 27.5x 2.8 on its way to try on the rear wheel of my jones that will run either a 26x3.8 Nate or a 29+ Knard on the front. I have a suspicion that IF much more aggressive ( think Nate style ) 27.5+ tyres become available, a mixed wheel size bike might be the ideal non snow, mid fat, non distance touring bike platform. We'll see. Should be fun.

    That makes sense. A narrower rear on a pedal bike can certainly give you more bite for acceleration in certain trail conditions.

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