Can Black Floyds on your fatbike replace a road bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Can Black Floyds on your fatbike replace a road bike?

    This question has been asked and answered a few times, but usually based on opinion rather than actual evidence.

    So I put it to the test. I have a nice loop I do in summer - I call it the Ledmore loop - it's over 120 miles and crosses 4 or 5 ranges and takes me from one side of Scotland to the other and back with lots of "interesting" climbs. I usually do it on my track bike fitted with a freewheel which gets along nicely when you drop the hammer. The weather has been very sunny recently so I figured today would be a good time to try it on a fatbike. The forecast showed sunshine and clear skies - first mistake. So I grabbed my summer backpack - second mistake.

    The first 30 or so miles were fine - sunny, but through mist.



    Struie lookout - fairly significant climb



    Bonar Bridge - turn west here. This is where the 3rd mistake was made. There was a strong wind coming from the west. I hoped it would die off later in the day. Fat chance, but I was ahead of schedule and optimistic. I should have turned back here.



    Carbisdale Castle - hiding behind viaduct and hidden by scaffolding. (Hostel, loads of good highland style riding in the vicinity)



    Winding singletrack roads. The wind was getting stronger. If I stopped pedalling on the downhills the bike simply stopped. I couldn't have ridden against them on the singlespeed. Most of the time I was in the lower 3 gears of my Alfine.



    Reaching the Ledmore Junction was a great relief, turning side on to the wind. Only problem I was knackered from climbing against the wind. It was like the world had been tilted an extra 10º. The wee lochs along the way had whitecaps, and once when I stopped the steel snow pole beside me was fluttering in the wind. The traverse to there had taken me twice as long as I had expected. I also had difficulty seeing where I was going because the wind caused my eyes to stream if I looked up, so a lot of this part of the ride was focused on 10 feet ahead.



    Creag a Chnocain. By now the wind was just a steady breeze but the damage was done - the bonk had arrived to stay.



    11,000 years ago the ice was above the height of those mountains. Raises the question about restorative conservation - which epoch are we trying to restore? (Getting a few thousand feet of ice can be tricky )



    I think the term "frabjous joy" describes the eventual sight of the sea. And no, CK, I didn't ride that beach. I was only just managing to turn the pedals on the flat. At least the downhills were now freewheeling.



    And then it was Ullapool. Only 40 miles to home, but 2 hours behind schedule.



    Only problem with that was there wasn't enough daylight left. Also Ullapool has a pub that sells the best fish and chips in Scotland. Not a difficult decision - the LSW* was summoned to enjoy a delicious meal, and it would be a good idea to bring the car

    Conclusion:

    1. it's not the tyres that make the difference, it's the road conditions.
    2. at no stage did I feel restrained by the tyres. The sections where the wind wasn't killing me were ridden to schedule.
    3. judging by the occasional rubbing noises from the disks, they seemed to have warped on the ride. They were creating friction, and I suspect that has a greater effect on rolling resistance than the tyre.

    The really really big mistake: reliance on outside sources for fuel. I left the house with 2 Snickers bars and figured I could stop for tea and scones at several places on the traverse. Unfortunately they all close for winter - oops. So I ended up riding for 10 hours on 2 Snickers bars.

    The almost as big mistake - grabbing the summer bag. No cold weather gear. Fortunately at the last moment I chucked a thin fleece in. That combined with a Pertex rain shirt saved my bacon, but my hands froze in fingerless gloves. (Bear in mind I left home expecting to be lashing in sweat)





    *Long suffering Wife


    Edit: just checked the weather summary. The winds were 15 - 20mph blowing directly against my line of travel. Gusts obviously higher, and in some places the mountains make a wind funnel. Also average speed was 7mph, which is a big drop from my usual pace.
    Last edited by Velobike; 03-28-2012 at 03:49 PM.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  2. #2
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    That is hardcore!, but you did indeed get to one of the best chippys in Scotland!,
    well done
    plan it...build it....ride it...love it....
    http://coastkid.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    I was on the fence about getting some of these tires. Thanks for the push off.

  4. #4
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    But it still looks like you had a lot of Fun! Nice pics like always!

  5. #5
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    I'll have another go at the whole loop on a nice windless summer day to compare like with like.

    I'm pretty convinced the BFs are the do it all tyre for hard surfaces.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  6. #6
    Geordie biker
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    i was just thinking about a set today, again i may add......after thinking of your past posts while buzzing along on my BFLs.

    im coping ok, but worried about wearing £180 worth of rubber in a few months!
    2014 milage so far - 2,485
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  7. #7
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    No.

  8. #8
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    Great report, glad the LSW was there for you.

  9. #9
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    Those fenders probably slowed you down a mile or two per hour with the added wind resistance.

  10. #10
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    Nice report!
    Tuff workout!

    I ride larry's on the road, they roll verry nice at high pressure as well but I can imagine floyds are even better. For me it are mainly the added weight and additional wind resistance that slow me.

  11. #11
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    I should add what I meant by a road bike is a general purpose run around or touring type bike not something that's single purpose like a race bike.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    I should add what I meant by a road bike is a general purpose run around or touring type bike not something that's single purpose like a race bike.

    Single purpose race bike?
    What is wrong with riding in the mud with a race bike?

    But I understood you'r not comparing to riding a 10 lb road racer!

  13. #13
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    Velobike, What kind of pressure was in the tire?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post

    ...What is wrong with riding in the mud with a race bike?...
    Nothing. My skinny tyred track bike has been up more mountain tracks than a lot of mtbs in this area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loewa View Post
    Velobike, What kind of pressure was in the tire?
    About 8psi
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  15. #15
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    My answer to the title-as-question: no. They're not the same. Road bikes are smooth rolling, light, accelerate on a dime, and want you to rip their cranks off, if you can.

    A slick tired fat bike is smooth rolling (this is where the similarities end), comfortable, takes a while to accelerate, and has very strong brakes. Great for touring, as you've evidenced. I can jam the rear wheel into curbs or potholes without worrying about a pinch flat. The lean is different, more insistent, than skinny slicks. So, it's my kind of bike to ride on the road. But it doesn't feel overwhelmingly fast or nimble like a road bike.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    ...it doesn't feel overwhelmingly fast or nimble like a road bike.
    Definitely a different feel.

    What I was hoping to test was how it handled a day out. I'm not interested in top speeds but averages, ie miles per day rather than per hour for short bursts. The weather on the day made things really difficult so I'll try again, or pick a better route. I figure if it will handle 100-120 miles in a day, I can call it a road bike.

    Next time I'll take more Snickers bars to avoid the bonk.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  17. #17
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    Great post, Thanks for sharing!

    I had Hookworms on my Mukluk this last summer and it worked fine for me, but to each his own! I consider it my road/mtb/trail bike. :
    2011 Salsa Mukluk / 2006 KTM 400 EXC

  18. #18
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    ...to present a fair and equatable comparison you're going to have to do the trip again on your skinnies...two snickers, headwinds and all...
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  19. #19
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    I can't see why you only put 8 psi? I didn't ride floyds yet, but I cannot imagine that they roll best on the road at such low presure?
    Deforming a tire must costs energy and more contact area must means more drag?

    I would just inflate them to 30 or 40 psi, works fine for the larry on the road!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post
    I can't see why you only put 8 psi? I didn't ride floyds yet, but I cannot imagine that they roll best on the road at such low presure?
    Deforming a tire must costs energy and more contact area must means more drag?

    I would just inflate them to 30 or 40 psi, works fine for the larry on the road!
    I read somewhere for Black Floyd "ideal for street and hardpack conditions
    18-25 psi is the sweet spot for on-road use"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loewa View Post
    I read somewhere for Black Floyd "ideal for street and hardpack conditions
    18-25 psi is the sweet spot for on-road use"
    Makes more sense to me than 8 psi!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post
    I can't see why you only put 8 psi? I didn't ride floyds yet, but I cannot imagine that they roll best on the road at such low presure?
    Deforming a tire must costs energy and more contact area must means more drag?

    I would just inflate them to 30 or 40 psi, works fine for the larry on the road!
    I thought about putting more pressure than 8psi in but didn't because I haven't noticed any significant drag at my all day pace - also I knew I would be riding on some rough roads.

    I think blowing them up harder would simply just feel faster because of the greater transmission of road vibrations etc, but on smooth roads possibly worthwhile. It would be worth trying a roll out test to check various pressures - another thing for my to do list .

    At 8psi in BFs I feel confident in the bike's handling whatever surface I'm on - away from the highways our roads are pretty rough, single lane roads needing laybys for cars to pass each other, cattle grids, winter ice damage, poor repairs etc.

    On the single lane roads it's often necessary to get off the road to let traffic past - with the Floyds, I simply keep riding whereas on a normal bike I would have to stop or get off because the verges are often rocky or with a dropoff. I don't think the Floyds at high pressures would be any better than an ordinary tyre in those circumstances.

    One thing I have noticed in retrospect, my body does not feel as beat up by this ride as when it is done on skinny tyres.

    Edit: What would be interesting is if other people put in a long ride on BFs at their chosen pressures and give us their comparison with their previous similar ride, ie we could build up a body of tested information rather than theory.

    Also in retrospect, when considering what to change when I do it again, it's not the tyres performance that comes to my mind but the wind and the subsequent bonk. It might need a more aero position and 4 Snicker bars.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post

    On the single lane roads it's often necessary to get off the road to let traffic past
    In all the cycling I've done around Scotland, I've never once had to pull off the road to let other traffic past.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by druidh View Post
    In all the cycling I've done around Scotland, I've never once had to pull off the road to let other traffic past.
    The drivers up here are friendly and will pull into a layby and wait while while you trudge towards them, or crawl along behind you. I like to extend them the same level of courtesy by not impeding them if possible.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  25. #25
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    Rolling resistance is less noticable than wind resistance, but it is still there!
    It is a bit like a bit of headwind, you hardly feel it in the beginning, but after a while it really counts!

    I rode inbetween road racers on training with larry's at 40 psi on the flat, and as long as I am not in front taking the wind it works out fine, at 30 psi it works for a while but I notice that my heartrate creeps higher, under 20 psi I just can't keep up more than a few km's.

    If i ride with 2.35 supermotto's on a rigid fork 26" hardtail it is a similar story, at 4 bar I can keep up nicely and take over for a while, at 2 bar they still feel like they roll well but I can't keep up with road racers for a whole ride.

    The "just in case of" strategy sounds a bit strange for me. I tend to do the opposite!

    How much times do you have to get of the bike if you ride that trip with an ordinary bike? How much time doe sit cost?
    Versus how much time do you loose by riding flat's?

    Also, do you have to get of the bike for some small road obstackles with 25 psi in floyds?
    15 years ago i had (like most people) a 26" hardtail without suspended fork and 2.0" were the biggest tires available, always inflated well over 30 psi to prevent snakebites, and guess what, back than we rode lots of trails that, today i still consider big fun with the fully on 2.4 or the sandman!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post
    Rolling resistance is less noticable than wind resistance, but it is still there!...

    I rode inbetween road racers on training with larry's at 40 psi on the flat, and as long as I am not in front taking the wind it works out fine, at 30 psi it works for a while but I notice that my heartrate creeps higher, under 20 psi I just can't keep up more than a few km's....
    Agreed.

    When you're keeping up with road racers you are probably riding at least 10mph faster than my cruising speed and there's a whole different set of dynamics come into play at those speeds. My pace is one I can maintain for 12 or so hours* and I avoid bursts of speed because it sucks too much energy (for me).

    You are probably covering big distances when training with roadies. How about giving us your impressions of the BFs one of your longer rides (say 100-160km) to give a perspective on the speed? A comparison with the same ride done on another bike would be great.

    Once I get a chance to get a good ride on a windless day, I may notice the tyres even at the sort of speeds I do, in which case I'll mention it here.


    *if I have enough Snickers bars


    Quote Originally Posted by Nothing's impossible View Post
    ...Also, do you have to get of the bike for some small road obstackles with 25 psi in floyds?....
    A lot of the time trucks have cut gouges out of the dirt at the edge of the single lane roads so there are often deep ruts and plenty loose rocks. No great problem with BFs at 8psi at my speed.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  27. #27
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    I don't have BF's, so it's difficult to compare! But i can imagine they run better than the larry's!

    But the advantage of the larry's for my is that the same tires work OK on the tarmac and on trail. And just by inflating or deflating jou can optimise.
    I can imagine that the floyd works ok on dry trails hardpack, but in Belgium dry seldom lasts long!

    I can keep up in a disciplinned group on a flat ride without any problem, as long as I am hiding it only changes a few beats/min with the rad racer, almost nothing with well inflated super motto's.
    On windy days it is difficult to hide well.

    BUT
    Climbs, the turns in front certainly , accelerations,... they take much more energie.

    If there is some hot shot trying to show of by pulling in a climb or behind a turn it is hard or impossible to follow, and once there is a hole, closing it alone is verry hard or impossible as well.
    Even following a hot shot on a normal XC bike on the road is difficult!

  28. #28
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    Ok, Saturday I did a 133 km trip that held a big part of the paris roubaix final.
    As I was going for a comfy ride I had set the larry's to around 1.2 bar, and it took me over 6 hours!!

    I guess that is an hour slower than with any of the other bikes I have, but much more comfy!

    I gues a black floyd would have been faster, but a 29'er wheels with a super motto's would have been the best compromise for that kind of ride I guess.

  29. #29
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    Who made those fenders?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicyclerust View Post
    Who made those fenders?
    They are mudguards for a trials motorbike that I have modified with a heat gun and then made stays for.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  31. #31
    R.I.P. Pugsley.
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    Don't forget the classy pinstriping !

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabies010 View Post
    Don't forget the classy pinstriping !
    That's just a few minutes work and no hesitation...
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  33. #33
    9:zero:7
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    If anyone is interested I have a pair of 120 tpi BFs. I used them three times before my HuDus arrived. PM me if interested.
    Only the dead fish swims with the current!

  34. #34
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    nope.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morej View Post
    If anyone is interested I have a pair of 120 tpi BFs. I used them three times before my HuDus arrived. PM me if interested.
    not meaning to steal the thread but how do you compare the way the hudu's roll to the bf's? I assume that since your getting rid of the bf's that the hudu's roll nearly as well?
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  36. #36
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    No contest unless you like pain.
    These 2 road guys were showing pain. Me on the fat bike? No so much. This was taken during a 72 mile gravel grinder in western WV*.


    *With short sections of pavement between the gravel/dirt/mud sections.


  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by t0pcat View Post
    not meaning to steal the thread but how do you compare the way the hudu's roll to the bf's? I assume that since your getting rid of the bf's that the hudu's roll nearly as well?
    Not really, the BFs roll much better, but for trails and dirt roads I need the HuDus. I live in Florida where we have a lots of rain, mud. I just dislocated my shoulder because the BF washed out in the mud.
    Only the dead fish swims with the current!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by redline814 View Post

    Thanks for sharing, this photo has so much WIN to it for me!

    I wasn't in a race but I rode my Moonlander 80 miles on the 4th wearing BFL's and if I only had a quarter for all comments on how "Crazy" I was or the forlorn looks I received. I have been on the fence about getting a set of Black Floyd's for my Pugsley, might have to try a set.

    Anyone mounted a set on Clown Shoes yet?

  39. #39
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  40. #40
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    Nice! Thanks Volsung

  41. #41
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    I have 600+ miles on my Pugs with Black Floyds. I run 30psi and I'm having a blast..

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelzbycks View Post
    nope.
    That surly looks mean

  43. #43
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    Absolutely. Just depends on how hard you want to work. Many years ago (20+), I rode a hard tail mtb (with 2.0 slicks) from Pittsburgh to Erie Pa in 2 days (MS 150). It was the only bike I had, and it worked fine. Comfortable, zero mechanical problems, sluggish on climbs but ripped the downhills.
    My pugs works well as a commuter, with 3x9 gearing. If it is set up with 2x9, or 1x Alfine, not so much. The big tires (UL Larrys) seem to have a flywheel effect, and steering is definitely its own thing, nothing like a road bike.
    To me, gearing is much more important than tire size or bike weight. Having a 3x up front is the key, get up on the big ring, and the big tires roll.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Nothing. My skinny tyred track bike has been up more mountain tracks than a lot of mtbs in this area.



    About 8psi
    8!!!!! Wow!!! That's just plain torture. I rode 1600 miles last summer at 30psi. Handled like a Ducati

  45. #45
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    I'm a huge fan of Floyds! They are great for pavement or any other summer surface but greasy mud. They are best at double digit pressures mounted on 65mm rims. Low pressures and wide rims amplify the self steer characteristic and they become unpleasant. Without question (IMHO) they are probably the fastest rolling fat bike tire available, and quiet too. HuDu's are good also, much better on slick surfaces, but much slower on smooth firm surfaces. For me floyds in the summer, Bud/Nate in snow, and HuDu's in between.

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