Aluminum Fatbike: first impressions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Aluminum Fatbike: first impressions

    My beautiful red 16" aluminum Fatbike arrived to my house in Western Massachusetts about 2 weeks ago, just hours before the predicted huge snowfall, which never came! The bike has Speedway 70mm rims, endomorph tires, Speedway cranks, XT derailleurs and shifters (dual control) and weighs in at 30lbs. We already had a few inches of snow and I rode around my yard with about 5 PSI and promply pinch-flatted my rear tire, which was discouraging since I only weigh 140lbs and didn't do any large bumps. I repaired the flat and headed to the local snowmobile trails. My previous snowbike is a BlurLT with snowcat rims and Freddie Revenz lite tires. I am used to full suspension and was somewhat surprised by how much trail bumps were palpable through those huge endomorphs (I now had 8PSI) but was thrilled by the acceleration of full rigid. The traction and float was amazing, much better than my previous set-up. My big concern was how these tires would perform on sheer ice, which is quite abundant in our region. My question was quickly answered as I brushed the snow off and picked the bike back up. The real test was this last weekend when I rode with my buddies. On Saturday I brought my Blur because I was told the trails were all sheer ice. My friend was riding a hardtail 29er with Nokian extreme tires. There were 2 main conditions we had to contend with: 3" of light powder over hard-packed snow, and 3" of light powder over sheer ice. My snowcats/Freddies usually rule in all conditions, but that day the narrower Nokian 29" extremes were much better. They were able to cut through the fluff and the studs engaged the ice, while my fatter Freddies couldn't engage the ice and I had no control or grip. At first, I just though my friend was riding better, but I was vindicated when I switched bikes with him and left him in the snowy dust. So I wondered how the Fatback would do; would the endomorphs float on the snow and never contact the ice, providing better traction? I found out the next day (yesterday). I brought my Fatback, and met 3 friends, the 29er Nokian extreme, and 2 guys with 26" 2.1" Nokians. One guy avulsed his rear dereailleur and was finished in the first 1/4 mile. Between the remaining 3, the Fatback ruled!!!! They were flipping and flopping through the snow and I was effortlessly hammering on top of the snow. When we got to the snow-covered ice I lost the advantage. The endomorphs did stay on top of the snow and did not contact the ice unless I hit an off-camber section or large bump. Then the front wheel went right out under me. The Fatbike still did much better than the snowcats/Freddies. The other condition where the 29" extreme ruled was on very steep climbs where the endomorphs just spun on top of the snow, but the narrower tires dug in.

    So my conclusions are as follows:
    First, I LOVE my Fatback; it is a blast and I am still smiling from my ride yesterday. The endomorphs rule on soft stuff but are worthless on sheer ice, and treacherous on snow-covered ice. The shallow Chevron tread does not give enough traction on soft stuff when climbing steep hills. I think there would be a huge market for studded endomorphs and knobby endomorphs, especially after reviewing the others' threads. After several years of snowbiking, I remain absolutely amzed by the variety of conditions, and no single rig will be perfect for all conditions. I just hope the tire companies come through and provide move diverse fatbike options. Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    is buachail foighneach me
    Reputation: sean salach's Avatar
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    Nice review! It'll be interesting to here some of the more in depth reviews on the Larry tires once they've been in use for a few months.

    Now post some pics or noone will believe you.

  3. #3
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    I run my endos tubless and screwed some 38 inch hex head screws into tread.I have atleast 200 miles on this set up with no problems.Great on ice and snow

  4. #4
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    you cant just come up here and talk about your tubeless endos and not explain how you did it.
    2013 mongoose Fat bike
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    http://undergroundvelo.proboards.com/

  5. #5
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    sorry Iam running a ghetto tubless system using a 24 inch tube split down center.Non presta valve.I then picked a pattern and just screwed the hex head screws into tread at highest point.I cannot get pictures small enough to show but http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...3-Winter-tires might show them

  6. #6
    Dog is my co-pilot
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    +1 on the aluminum fatback i live in sw new hampshire so our conditions are the same as campykids and the endos are not a very good tire for powdery snow on top of ice. I studded mine with 3/8 screws put in from the inside and it helped a lot but the tread is too shallow to dig in as much as i need it to. I cant wait for the larrys to arrive so we can studs some up!
    race bicycles not dogs

  7. #7
    is buachail foighneach me
    Reputation: sean salach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnelson
    sorry Iam running a ghetto tubless system using a 24 inch tube split down center.Non presta valve.I then picked a pattern and just screwed the hex head screws into tread at highest point.I cannot get pictures small enough to show but http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...3-Winter-tires might show them

    You need a bikeforums password to see them. Are you on a PC? Open the photos in Paint(it's under 'Accessories'). Click on 'Image'. Click on 'Resize/Skew'. on an older computer it might be 'Stretch/Skew'. In the 'Resize(Stretch)' box, reduce the image to 50% in both dimensions. Click 'File', 'Save As', and enter a different name for the now smaller photo. All of this should take no more than 3 minutes per photo(more like 1 minute). Easy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniTrail
    pictures?
    Pictures are so 2009. How about some video and helmet video camera coverage of the event.

  9. #9
    I Shot a Man In Reno
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    Pic from bnelson's bikeforums post (hope ya don't mind). Nice bike!


  10. #10
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    For the new Al Fatback what size hub is required for the rear? The Speedway websit says 165mm but I'm guessing now that might be for the Ti Fatback as it is listed under the titanium frame specs., they're sketcky at best in how they list them. I know the 9zero7 Ti & Al are two different animals when it comes to rear hub sizes. I've just heard back from an email from Speedway on available colors for the Al Fatback and am leaning hard on purchacing one this Spring in Blue.

  11. #11
    Dog is my co-pilot
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniTrail
    pictures?
    A couple from this afternoon on NH snowmobile trail #4
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Aluminum Fatbike:  first impressions-fatbackicewall1.jpg  

    Aluminum Fatbike:  first impressions-fatbackicewall2.jpg  

    Aluminum Fatbike:  first impressions-fatbacktire.jpg  

    race bicycles not dogs

  12. #12
    Dog is my co-pilot
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniTrail
    Sweet ride clunkin.

    Sorry but your backdrop is distracting. What is that wall of ice?
    Its an area where the snwomobile trail (an old rail bed) goes through some ledges that leak out water and cause huge ice walls
    race bicycles not dogs

  13. #13
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    165mm rear

    Quote Originally Posted by dudicus
    For the new Al Fatback what size hub is required for the rear? The Speedway websit says 165mm but I'm guessing now that might be for the Ti Fatback as it is listed under the titanium frame specs., they're sketcky at best in how they list them. I know the 9zero7 Ti & Al are two different animals when it comes to rear hub sizes. I've just heard back from an email from Speedway on available colors for the Al Fatback and am leaning hard on purchacing one this Spring in Blue.
    The Fatback Ti and Al frames have essentially the same specs, I believe. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. My orange Al is on order and should be here this month (I hope). Never had a chance to see the blue. What shade?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by clunkin
    A couple from this afternoon on NH snowmobile trail #4

    Very nice, clunkin! Did you go with the standard hubs from the spec sheet: Speedway rear, Surly front?

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the poop veloborealis.
    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis
    The Fatback Ti and Al frames have essentially the same specs, I believe. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. My orange Al is on order and should be here this month (I hope). Never had a chance to see the blue. What shade?
    Quote Originally Posted by The following email from Speedway
    The colors are red, orange, black and blue. Let me know when you are ready.

    Adios,

    Greg Matyas
    Owner Operator Speedway Cycles
    speedwaycyclesak.com
    Since the orange,red and pink newer drop TT Fatbacks which I have seen are anodized, I'm only thinking the blue ones must also be anodized? If I find a pic of one I'll post it here. The Race Face Atlas FR Cranks come in anodized blue with 100mm BB's, I'll pick up those along with Atomlab's Limited Edition 2010 Aircorp Pedals which are blue anodized also. That will set the "Bluer than Blue theme" I'm going for with Blue Chris King Hubs and Hope ano blue hardware, Headset, Seatclamp, etc. The newer drop TT Fatbacks are so beutiful in whatever color one picks. All black makes for a very ominous standout for any bike but since I allready have a black https://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j...Picture025.jpg Brodie Holeshot I'll pass on anther black steed in my stable.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis
    Very nice, clunkin! Did you go with the standard hubs from the spec sheet: Speedway rear, Surly front?
    Yup
    race bicycles not dogs

  17. #17
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    Fatback update

    Since I studded my front tire, my Fatback is even more awesome. Eats ice and in the recent softer conditions, my buddies cannot keep up with me, which is good and bad. Now they have to buy fatbikes! I'm including some photos as previously requested. One of the photos shows the endomorph next to my Snowcat/Freddie set-up.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Aluminum Fatbike:  first impressions-picture-089.jpg  

    Aluminum Fatbike:  first impressions-picture-073.jpg  

    Aluminum Fatbike:  first impressions-picture-083.jpg  

    Aluminum Fatbike:  first impressions-picture-076.jpg  


  18. #18
    Ologist
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    Quote Originally Posted by clunkin
    A couple from this afternoon on NH snowmobile trail #4
    Looks like the tracks near Frankenstein?

  19. #19
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    studs

    that ride is hot what's the stud material and how'd you do it?
    i'm interested b/c after my ride 2 nights ago i fell on my ass on the glare road ice right before i got home and almost got runned over. good thing i was shining my 600 lumens in the dirver's eyes so he knew i was there.
    sorry, i'm dumb. just saw your other post.

  20. #20
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    Check out my "Studded Endomorph!" post where I explain the stud installation.

  21. #21
    No, that's not phonetic
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    So far it seems like you have only offered feedback on Endomorph tires and your local snow conditions, but really have not mentioned the frame/bike/fork. I suppose you may not have much (fatbike-wise) to compare it against, but do you have any thoughts on geometry, handling, stiffness, material feel, design, standover, etc? Things specific to the frame?

    Thanks.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
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    My only other bike for comparison is a full susp Blur LT with (relatively) "skinny" tires. My impressions of the frame are all positive. The workmanship is beautiful and it is quite stiff. The curve on the top tube definitely affords extra clearance which is welcome. It seems quite stiff, but then it is an all-rigid set-up so anything will feel stiff after the blurLT. I rode trails yesterday that were quite pock-marked with foot-prints, and I have to say that I missed my suspension. I thought those big fat tires would afford a little more cushion. Perhaps titanium would offer a softer ride, but the cost of admission is not worth it to me. Standing up on the pedals on a climb, it feels like a stiff road bike, which is a rush. As far as handling, it feels quite stable. The front endomorph does start to plough on turns; I guess that's why there is a Larry. I hope this helps.

  23. #23
    runs with scissors
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudicus
    I know the 9zero7 Ti & Al are two different animals when it comes to rear hub sizes.
    Incorrect on the 9 zero7 Ti this last production run and I believe all moving forward will have the 135 offset rear. I think this decision was driven by the number of customers wanting to run 100 mm rims and 3 gears up front ,9 or 9 -1 in the rear. The160 rear end was problematic with that combo of parts.

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