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  1. #1
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    DIY snow bike without breaking the bank

    Hi. I want to build something that will work in the snow well without going to a fatbike (Mukluk or Pug) due to the cost. I just can't afford it now.

    I have a FS and a rigid SS setup. I would like to max out the tire clearance to go from 1.9/2.1 to 2.5/2.7 inch wide tires. Will the extra width really get me much? Will I have to swap out the rims? What tires does anyone have experience with?

    Note: I am a solid 230 # with all the gear for playing in the cold and my own blubber.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I'm no snow riding expert, but anything that increases the tyre footprint is going to be heading in the right direction. Big tyre as you can fit at low pressure would be the first step, then wider rims would be my next choice.
    Before going fat, I was using 2.4" tyres that measured up closer to 2.6" for snow duties..



    I'm sure the snow riding guys will be along soon with some better advice than I can offer
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  3. #3
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorman View Post
    I'm no snow riding expert, but anything that increases the tyre footprint is going to be heading in the right direction. Big tyre as you can fit at low pressure would be the first step, then wider rims would be my next choice.
    Before going fat, I was using 2.4" tyres that measured up closer to 2.6" for snow duties..



    I'm sure the snow riding guys will be along soon with some better advice than I can offer
    FWIW I measured the Fire FR 2.4 at 2.5" (tread width) on a 26mm rim.
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  4. #4
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Big and supple is what counts. On snow, rim width matters more than tire width when you're under 3".

  5. #5
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Just because you didn't put an actual price on "the bank", any thoughts to just slapping a fat fork and front wheel on? The bulk of the benefits in snow riding come from a fat front anyway.

    Depending on your deal sniffing prowess (and wheel building ability), it should be pretty straightforward to do for 4 bills or a good bit less....

    Not raining on the parade, (just being honest) I run 2.4 or 2.5 tires on the front of most of my bikes, and they still suck in the snow compared to an actual fatty like the Larry.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  6. #6
    It aint gonna ride itself
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    I had pretty good luck with WTB Weirwolf 2.55 race tires on 47mm trials rims. But still, there's little comparison once you get into the soft stuff...

  7. #7
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    It's all about tyre volume IMO and even a 2.5" tyre comes nowhere near the volume of a 3.8". Current 3" tyres have pretty rigid sidewalls and I don't think they'd spread out enough on a soft surface .

    Some volumes 26" tyre:
    2.1" 4.3 litres
    2.35" 5.4 litres
    3.0" 9.1 litres
    3.8" 15 litres
    4.5" 21.7 litres
    Some volumes 29er tyre:
    2.1" 4.7 litres
    2.35" 5.9 litres



    (These calcs are based on where I set the centreline of the torus, so if you do your own calcs you may get slightly different answers.)
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  8. #8
    turtles make me hot
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    Last winter, I was running Salsa Gordos and a 2.3" Bontrager tire front and rear. I was great in snow up to 5 or 6". After it got really deep, I tried riding in snowmobile tracks with my tires aired down. It kinda worked but wasn't great.
    I like turtles

  9. #9
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    It's all about tyre volume IMO and even a 2.5" tyre comes nowhere near the volume of a 3.8". Current 3" tyres have pretty rigid sidewalls and I don't think they'd spread out enough on a soft surface .

    Some volumes 26" tyre:
    2.1" 4.3 litres
    2.35" 5.4 litres
    3.0" 9.1 litres
    3.8" 15 litres
    4.5" 21.7 litres
    Some volumes 29er tyre:
    2.1" 4.7 litres
    2.35" 5.9 litres



    (These calcs are based on where I set the centreline of the torus, so if you do your own calcs you may get slightly different answers.)
    When comparing tires (of similar diameter--26/29) I think cross section is a better guide than total volume. Floatation of a 29x2.35 is not that much different from a 26x2.35.
    mtbtires.com
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    The bulk of the benefits in snow riding come from a fat front anyway.

    :
    That hasn't been my experience FWIW. When I'm riding in really marginal conditions it seems like the back punches through about the same amount as the front, and either way it sucks. That said fat front is a start and you could always use the parts later when you make the move to all fat.

  11. #11
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by sryanak View Post
    That hasn't been my experience FWIW.
    Yeah, it's totally condition related. Obviously, when it's soft and deep, dual fat is where it's at. Varying conditions, some ice, etc, I can run a stud in the back and get great drive traction. I'm still well ahead of dual skinny guys, due to the front wheel getting up and on the surface, allowing me to ride "quietly".

    If your front end is diving down into the crust cause it's skinny, you're steering all over the place fighting to keep straight. My rear can dig in, and not cause me the same issues.

    That's what I meant really, I don't see anyone running just a fat rear, but plenty see the fat front benefit. And on a budget, a fat front is a substantive improvement....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



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  12. #12
    will rant for food
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    Yeah, it's totally condition related. Obviously, when it's soft and deep, dual fat is where it's at. Varying conditions, some ice, etc, I can run a stud in the back and get great drive traction. I'm still well ahead of dual skinny guys, due to the front wheel getting up and on the surface, allowing me to ride "quietly".

    If your front end is diving down into the crust cause it's skinny, you're steering all over the place fighting to keep straight. My rear can dig in, and not cause me the same issues.

    That's what I meant really, I don't see anyone running just a fat rear, but plenty see the fat front benefit. And on a budget, a fat front is a substantive improvement....
    I could see that. My first winter of commuting was along a route that was generally plowed, but with major interruptions. It wasn't so much sinking that was the problem, more like constant fighting with the front end (pedestrian prints that froze up).

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the responses. Good information. Unfortunately, I think it would take me all winter how to get a decent wheel built on my own. Good news though: I came into a little money - $700, that I am keeping my wife/CEO out of the loop on. I thought about getting a used pug, but I thought the offset design would maybe cost prohibitive once I started getting into upgrading. Then I can't find a used a mukluk.
    How about getting either a used decent 29er or one of the motobecane 29 frame/forks on the ebays, then getting something built up around the salsa 26" gordos by my LBS and run the fattest tire I could afford? Would I have the clearance to run 3+inch tires? In a pinch I could part out the 175 crankset off my single speed (frame is really old/threaded headset) and maybe sniff out the rest of the components.

    Think I can come close for $700?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogar73 View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. Good information. Unfortunately, I think it would take me all winter how to get a decent wheel built on my own. Good news though: I came into a little money - $700, that I am keeping my wife/CEO out of the loop on. I thought about getting a used pug, but I thought the offset design would maybe cost prohibitive once I started getting into upgrading. Then I can't find a used a mukluk.
    How about getting either a used decent 29er or one of the motobecane 29 frame/forks on the ebays, then getting something built up around the salsa 26" gordos by my LBS and run the fattest tire I could afford? Would I have the clearance to run 3+inch tires? In a pinch I could part out the 175 crankset off my single speed (frame is really old/threaded headset) and maybe sniff out the rest of the components.

    Think I can come close for $700?
    Good luck keeping your CEO out of the loop when the bike arrives at home. I'd like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!

  15. #15
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    BTW if you look through this forum, you'll find that most of the regulars on the fatbike threads started by mucking around with compromises.

    Save yourself a lot of time (and money) and go directly to fat.

    It's unlikely you'll regret it, and if you do, you'll find a queue wanting to take your unwanted fatbike gear from you, so you won't be out by much.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogar73 View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. Good information. Unfortunately, I think it would take me all winter how to get a decent wheel built on my own. Good news though: I came into a little money - $700, that I am keeping my wife/CEO out of the loop on. I thought about getting a used pug, but I thought the offset design would maybe cost prohibitive once I started getting into upgrading. Then I can't find a used a mukluk.
    How about getting either a used decent 29er or one of the motobecane 29 frame/forks on the ebays, then getting something built up around the salsa 26" gordos by my LBS and run the fattest tire I could afford? Would I have the clearance to run 3+inch tires? In a pinch I could part out the 175 crankset off my single speed (frame is really old/threaded headset) and maybe sniff out the rest of the components.

    Think I can come close for $700?
    IMO your going to spend $700 on that stuff & still not have a fatbike.A fatbike is what you want right? not just a bike you can ride in winter & snow.I would keep my $700 & save till I could afford a real fatbike.I think there are some mailorder shops that still have some last year Muks hanging around .I think it was that HUk-N ROLL .com had some med ,if thats your size.Maybe sell some other stuff off,you know there is some guys & girls that just have a fatbike as their only year round bike KP

  17. #17
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    the CEO would not notice a bike in our mess of a garage. i'd like to say that is intentional but it is not. I told her of my diabolical plan and she winced a little. so i think i am good.

    KP, I think your right. the mukluk sounds ideal to me. I do find myself on my rigid SS more. It is a POS too. I will look around more. Thanks.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogar73 View Post
    I thought about getting a used pug, but I thought the offset design would maybe cost prohibitive once I started getting into upgrading. Then I can't find a used a mukluk.
    Think I can come close for $700?
    I think if you watch E Bay or Craigs list you can find a used Pugs for less than anything else. It will be more than $700.00 though. If as your are watching E Bay a Mukluk or whatever comes up that is close enough to your price you can go for it. Many people here started with a Pug and then moved on but many others started there and stayed there.

    It should not be that big a deal cost wise to upgrade a Pugs or any other offset bike compared to a nonoffset bike. Hubs are cheaper for the offset designs and many of the newer rims are drilled so you can go both ways. Most other parts are the same.

    I agree with the previous comments about just going for full fat and not messing around with trying to cobble together a sorta fat.

  19. #19
    @adelorenzo
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    You can ride anything in the winter when the conditions are good enough. I used to ride my singlespeed 29er everywhere I could. The fatbikes just really expand your horizons in terms of conditions that you can ride.

    I agree with other people here, a fatbike is the only real way to go for a serious upgrade. I tried some different things but in the end I should have just saved the $$$ towards the Pugsley.

    In the meantime, throw the fattest tires you can fit on your singlespeed, ride it whenever you can until you can get your hands on a Pugs or whatever.

  20. #20
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    Thanks all for the solid advice. think I will save aside from picking up a studded tire for the rear and as wide a tire as i can fit on the front. Maybe Santa will hook me up if clean up my act.

  21. #21
    Stubby-legged
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    I had some LargeMarge rims(non offset) built for my 1x1. Rode it for my first winter. Still have the rims hanging up in the garage. The bike was fun...until I rode real fat. No going back. I think I need to have a garage sale..gotta figure how to post pics and buy a classified add here on the forum.

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