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  1. #1
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    Fat Bike Rim vs Tire Size

    I've got a 2019 Norco Bigfoot 1 fat bike on order which is stocked with Vittoria Cannoli 4.8-inch tires on Sun Mulefüt 80SL rims. These rims have an 80mm outer width and 74..4 inner width.

    My question is what tire widths can I go down to on these rims, i.e. 4-inch tires? And what is the typical rim size for running 4-inch tires?

  2. #2
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    I run 45Nrth Vanhelgas (4") on those rims with no problem. My wife ran 3.8" Nates on 80mm rims (My Other Brother Darryl) again with no problems, which isn't surprising since those were the stock rims and tyres on her Surly Wednesday.

    People run 4" tyres on 65mm, 80mm and 100mm rims but I'd say 80mm is probably the most common (non-scientific wet thumb in the air sort of data).

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    My Scott Bg Jon came with 4.8" JJs on 80 mm rims. They were (and still are) pretty much perfect for what I do.

    I also use some 4.0" JJs on the same rims and they work as expected but I wouldn't want to go any smaller.

    Switching from 4.8 to 4.0 makes my bike feel noticeably less 'fat' and more like the primitive rigid hardtail it really is YMMV

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    3.8 is about as narrow as you want to go on an 80mm rim, but that's about as narrow a "fat" tire as there is. I suppose you could rock one of those 3.5" cruiser tires if you wanted. A 3 or 3.25" tire is a plus tire and needs a narrower rim.

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    Apologies for my extreme tardiness in not getting back and acknowledging posts earlier. Thanks for taking the time to reply, the posts were very helpful.

    I've since learnt some folks even use 3 inch tires on 80mm rims, and even down to 2 inches in a couple of cases! However from what I understand, going under 3.5 on 80mm rims is probably only good for street commuting as the too-thin tyres could be liable to unseat with more rigorous off-road riding. One rider also mentioned that his 3-inch tyres have an effective width of 3.5 inches on his 80mm rims, which to me in a way seems somewhat self-defeating!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    3.8 is about as narrow as you want to go on an 80mm rim
    +1
    To put this in perspective, a 3.8 tire on an 80mm rim would be the same tire to rim width ratio as a 2.4 tire on a 50mm rim. This isn't outlandish but most people wouldn't do this unless looking to maximize stability and/or float.

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    the 3.8" has a great profile on 50mm rims!

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    Quote Originally Posted by david.p View Post
    +1
    To put this in perspective, a 3.8 tire on an 80mm rim would be the same tire to rim width ratio as a 2.4 tire on a 50mm rim. This isn't outlandish but most people wouldn't do this unless looking to maximize stability and/or float.
    That is not that far off from what we had back in the Snocat rim days. I still remember totally bogging down but seeing the tracks of those new fangled fat bikes continuing to infinity and beyond.
    Latitude 61

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    My bike also came with the Sun Mulefüt 80SL rim with 4.8 JJs, I studded those for winter and put on Maxxis FBF and FBR 4.0 which physically measured out at 3.8 for non-winter. No issues running the 4.0 on the 80mm rim. Big change in overall tire height though.
    Fat Bike Rim vs Tire Size-20180919_211809.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    My bike also came with the Sun Mulefüt 80SL rim with 4.8 JJs, I studded those for winter and put on Maxxis FBF and FBR 4.0 which physically measured out at 3.8 for non-winter. No issues running the 4.0 on the 80mm rim. Big change in overall tire height though.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Whoah that picture really illustrates the overall wheel diameter difference between 4s and 4.8s!

    I've done a similar thing with my Norco Bigfoot, it came with these 2.1kg (each) Vittoria Cannoli 4.8s and I swapped them out with JJ 4s for trail riding. I'll save the Cannolis for the hardcore bikepacking trips. The JJs took the bike from 17kg to 15. Now to go tubeless and improve things a little more!

    Do you think there's much of a difference in agility or handling running 4.0s on a 5-inch fat frame as opposed to a 4-inch frame?
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    This is my first fat bike, but I assume that the frame geometry of the rest of the bike will be a bigger factor in agility than if it can fit a 4 or 5 inch tire. Mine is a 2018 Cannondale Fat Caad 1 with a Lefty fork. It feels way more agile and quick than I thought it would. I do not think it will fit a full 5" tire. But even though the 4" Maxxis tires are heavier than the 4.8 JJs, the traction and ride quality were huge improvements. The added fun of a dropper post was a bonus. This fat bike replaced my plus hardtail and I do not regret it. The fat one is actually faster on singletrack than the plus I had. Looking at swapping the Mulefuts for Fatback Big Su to save 200g per hoop to make up for the heavier Maxxis tire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    This is my first fat bike, but I assume that the frame geometry of the rest of the bike will be a bigger factor in agility than if it can fit a 4 or 5 inch tire. Mine is a 2018 Cannondale Fat Caad 1 with a Lefty fork. It feels way more agile and quick than I thought it would. I do not think it will fit a full 5" tire. But even though the 4" Maxxis tires are heavier than the 4.8 JJs, the traction and ride quality were huge improvements. The added fun of a dropper post was a bonus. This fat bike replaced my plus hardtail and I do not regret it. The fat one is actually faster on singletrack than the plus I had. Looking at swapping the Mulefuts for Fatback Big Su to save 200g per hoop to make up for the heavier Maxxis tire.
    I'm happy to hear your new fat bike performs so well! I've got a dropper post on my new fat bike too and it's a bloody stayer!

    Have you heard of the "BicycleRollingResistance" guy? He is a chap in the Netherlands who has a machine that measures the rolling resistance of lots of popular tyres. Here is a link to the list of fat tyres he's currently tested, as well as a second link directly to the Jumbo Jim Snakeskins. The Jumbo Jims come out as the fastest rolling fat tyres and compare to a lot of standard mtb tyres:

    https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...t-bike-reviews
    https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...snakeskin-2017

    Interestingly, the Kenda Juggernaut Pro which is perhaps the lightest fat tyre in production, and comes stock on the lightest and most expensive race fat bikes out there, is the highest rolling fat tyre he's tested, almost twice the rolling resistance of the Jumbo Jims! He believes it may have to do with the compound they use.

    Based on the tests I've looked at not only with fat tyres but other categories too, Schwalbe really seems to know what they're doing with tyres.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    I'm happy to hear your new fat bike performs so well! I've got a dropper post on my new fat bike too and it's a bloody stayer!

    Have you heard of the "BicycleRollingResistance" guy? He is a chap in the Netherlands who has a machine that measures the rolling resistance of lots of popular tyres. Here is a link to the list of fat tyres he's currently tested, as well as a second link directly to the Jumbo Jim Snakeskins. The Jumbo Jims come out as the fastest rolling fat tyres and compare to a lot of standard mtb tyres:

    https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...t-bike-reviews
    https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...snakeskin-2017

    Interestingly, the Kenda Juggernaut Pro which is perhaps the lightest fat tyre in production, and comes stock on the lightest and most expensive race fat bikes out there, is the highest rolling fat tyre he's tested, almost twice the rolling resistance of the Jumbo Jims! He believes it may have to do with the compound they use.

    Based on the tests I've looked at not only with fat tyres but other categories too, Schwalbe really seems to know what they're doing with tyres.
    I think most take his results with a good pinch of salt. His tests are conducted on a drum covered in aluminium checkerplate. That arguably is not a realistic reflection of how a given tire performs in the wild.

    I know from my own experience and other reviews, that the likes of the Mammoth roll much better than the 2/5 rolling resistance review would suggest.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MozFat View Post
    I think most take his results with a good pinch of salt. His tests are conducted on a drum covered in aluminium checkerplate. That arguably is not a realistic reflection of how a given tire performs in the wild.

    I know from my own experience and other reviews, that the likes of the Mammoth roll much better than the 2/5 rolling resistance review would suggest.
    Damn you're probably right, thanks for saying it. My father is a big fan of his tests and originally introduced me to them. I initially said the exact same thing to him as soon as I saw it however ended up turning my discernment off as well.

    What kind of ground do you think that aluminium simulates? At best it looks as smooth a ride as tarmac or even a wooden velodrome. I think a concrete velodrome could have more resistance than that aluminium.

    Maybe the test might work well with thin road or track tyres, however it's a very long way from the soft snow and sand that fat tyres trudge around in. It's also a long way from the rocks roots and somewhat compliant dirt of a standard mtb trail, and the jittery uneven ride of the gravel tyre.

    It's also running on a curve, perhaps that also causes a variation from real results.
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    I did run across his tests and read a lot of reviews on different tires before deciding on the set I purchased. As some already pointed out, where you ride and how you ride will be hugely important for which tire works for you. Being a lighter rider (165lbs with kit) the 4.8JJs were too lively in the back, bouncing all over unless I ran them at 7psi. But at 7 psi, i rode too aggressively and would flat. I was also washing out the front tire with the JJs. This was was on hard pack singletrack with a covering of fine silt. The thicker walled and narrower Maxxis eliminated the rear end bouncing around and the more aggressive tread pattern and rubber compound helped the front tire grip in the corners (run these at 8 PSI tubeless). For the winter, the JJs do well in the hard packed snow and ice (400 screws per tire now, tubeless), but not so well in the fresh deep snow due to the tread pattern (all knobs, no paddles). But this is only an issue until the trails are groomed and does provide a great workout (1,050 calories in 6 miles, 1 hour 45 minutes, 5" of fresh snow) when cutting new trail.

    Sorry we have gotten off rim topic. BTW, plenty of lighter Fat Bikes out there than mine which are going to be faster and more agile. Mine is aluminum and when stock, weighs about 34 lbs.

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    My bike was 37.5 lb stock as it was running the heaviest thickest and most aggressive quality fat tyres in production, Vittoria Cannoli 4.8s, 2.1 kg a piece, as well as 536 g tubes. After putting on the JJ4.0s the bike went down to almost 33 lb, and after the tubeless conversion it should be close to 31 lb.

    I had a look and I like the geometry of your Cannondale fattie. I haven't completely figured out the geo on my fat bike, as far as I've seen so far it's not quite like anything else on the market.

    Firstly the sizing is half a size larger than normal. I'm 5'9 and usually ride a Medium, but my size is a Large with this bike.

    Massive wheelbase (118) and front centre (733) for a fattie. Slack-arse 67.7 degree head tube angle, and that's rigid. Slacker again if putting a suss fork on the front. This is veering towards full suspension trail geometry. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not, but when I got out there I couldn't help but go full throttle and had lots of fun so I suppose it must work in some way.

    The one thing that boggles me a bit is the seat tube angle which is a full-suspension enduro-slack 71.7 degrees. Unique geometry on this fat bike, I took a punt and hope it ends up being a good thing lol! https://www.norco.com/bikes/mountain...num/bigfoot-1/
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    Have heard a lot of good things about the Norcos. My LBS carries those along with fat bikes from Fatback, 9:Zero:7, Felt, Cannondale, Giant, Borealis, and KHS. Ultimately I liked the bike after the test ride, and "last year's model" sale price sealed the deal.

    The experimentation of this hobby is one of the fun parts too. Swapping tires, forks, stems, bar widths, etc. and getting exercise, day trips to new trails, and chatting with others are all bonuses!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sb1616ne View Post
    the 3.8" has a great profile on 50mm rims!
    Yes they do!

    On the right is a 4" Jumbo Jim on 47 mm rim. No problems whatsoever, and the bike feels nimble and playful. Almost a shame it's my gf's and, like, three sizes too small to me.

    (On the left is a 4.8" Bud on 80 mm rim and I have to say that the said Bud steered better when it was on a 65 mm rim.)

    Fat Bike Rim vs Tire Size-14593164.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    Have heard a lot of good things about the Norcos. My LBS carries those along with fat bikes from Fatback, 9:Zero:7, Felt, Cannondale, Giant, Borealis, and KHS. Ultimately I liked the bike after the test ride, and "last year's model" sale price sealed the deal.

    The experimentation of this hobby is one of the fun parts too. Swapping tires, forks, stems, bar widths, etc. and getting exercise, day trips to new trails, and chatting with others are all bonuses!
    I was really looking into a Bigfoot, test rode a couple last summer and really liked it. Might still get one for my wife and kid. The geometry is very trail ready for summer. How is it in snow? The price point on them is very hard to beat, and the all around nature really makes them attractive. I did a short single track test on one and it was a fun playful bike. Really fun, balanced.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyttyra View Post
    Yes they do!

    On the right is a 4" Jumbo Jim on 47 mm rim. No problems whatsoever, and the bike feels nimble and playful. Almost a shame it's my gf's and, like, three sizes too small to me.

    (On the left is a 4.8" Bud on 80 mm rim and I have to say that the said Bud steered better when it was on a 65 mm rim.)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I only have 80mm MF wheels and have tried a few combo's. Bike came with minion 4.8 which I liked on dirt. Tried JJ 4.0 snakeskin to get a snappier feel. I didn't like it, the range for tire pressure got much narrower. Too firm and my hands got beat up, too soft and, it wasn't self steer but the profile was too flat and just felt wonky. Settled on JJ 4.8 for summer use. Suspect a 45-65mm rim would be better for the JJ 4.0, at least for summer use on dirt. In snow I just throw on studded Wrathchild 4.6 and run them all winter. If the snow is fresh and deeper than what the Wrathchild can handle, then I let someone else break the trail or wait for it to be groomed. Which seems to be around 6-8" of dry powder aired down to about 2psi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sherwin24 View Post
    How is it in snow?
    I don't live in snow country however have read reviews about it. Norco is a Canadian company who apparently understands the demands of fat bike riding in the snow and designed the bike accordingly.

    Apparently most fat bike designs are pretty nonsensical when it comes to snow riding. A fat bike needs a very steep sloping top tube for extra standover clearance as when you get bogged down in the snow and have to put your feet down, your feet sink while the bike doesn't and you need that extra standover room.

    The Bigfoot also has a high bottom bracket height even for a fat bike which I think is another intentional snow design to give that necessary clearance in the really soft stuff. And the higher bottom bracket is another reason why it's important to have an aggressively-sloping tube tube for standover height.

    As well, cold weather folk need a 1x as front derailleurs are apt to seize up at those cold temperatures. The other good thing about the Bigfoot at that price range is it's an 11 speed 1x. And if going with the Bigfoot 1 version you have a dropper post which after riding I can't praise enough!
    Last edited by BobBracket; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    (run these at 8 PSI tubeless)
    This will be my first time doing a tubeless conversion.

    What width is the tubeless rim tape you needed to use for the Sunringle Mulefut 80SL rims? The rims have a 74.4 internal diameter so I was going to order Orange Seal 75mm Rim Tape https://www.bicyclesonline.com.au/or...EaAnbBEALw_wcB.

    However I've just come across this dedicated Sunringle Mulefut 80SL Rim Tape https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/NEW-Sun-...5.c10#viTabs_0 although it's 78mm wide, 3.6 mm wider than the rim's reported internal diameter.
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    You'll need to pull it taught and then it will stretch some and become slightly narrower in diameter. Personally, I like to run my tape a tiny bit up the sidewall.
    Deflated - buy parts to sell parts to buy more parts.. bikes are my drug of choice

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Rides Bikes View Post
    You'll need to pull it taught and then it will stretch some and become slightly narrower in diameter. Personally, I like to run my tape a tiny bit up the sidewall.
    Ok so Sunringle probably have it right. How much sealant do you use in your fat tires? Orange Seal recommends 6-8 oz per tyre. Are Orange Sealant and Stans sealant much the same when talking about fat tyres?
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    I use Orange and should be about the same. There are different formulas for winter and summer depending on your climate. The small bottles of Orange normally come with a tube that threads into the bottles and the other end fits over your valve stem for less mess install. The idea on the tape is that the tire bead overlaps the tape creating the seal. Use a bit of soapy water or window cleaner to help the tire slip into the rim. Mount the tire without sealant and air up so the bead seats. Once seated, pull the valve cores again letting the air out. Add sealant through the valve stem, replace the cores and air up. Swish the sealant around and take it for a ride. It sometimes takes a few rides to get the inside totally coated and will depend on how porous your tires are. It is worth it!

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    No worries yeah I've just ordered all the shit I need or hope I have. Inflator, sealant, injector, core removal tool, rim tape, 35mm tubeless valves.

    That makes sense about the bead needing to go over the tape because if it doesn't then I imagine the sealant would lean into the tape edge and start tickling the adhesive and bringing the tape up. I'm glad you told me that. I ordered the 78mm Mulefut tape, it's made for the rim so should fit just so. I saw on another thread they were using that tape for those rims.
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    One other thing to look at with single wall fat rims. Note how much thread there is on your valve stem. Sometimes you run out of thread before it seals. If this happens, cut a patch of old tube, double it up, heat up a nail and burn a hole through it. Use this as a washer on the inside of the rim to ensure you have enough thread on the outside. This is what the FattyStripper instructions state.

    Good luck! Setting up tubeless is a sort of right of passage 😀

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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    One other thing to look at with single wall fat rims. Note how much thread there is on your valve stem. Sometimes you run out of thread before it seals. If this happens, cut a patch of old tube, double it up, heat up a nail and burn a hole through it. Use this as a washer on the inside of the rim to ensure you have enough thread on the outside. This is what the FattyStripper instructions state.

    Good luck! Setting up tubeless is a sort of right of passage 
    Oh darn I should have ordered the FattyStripper instead of the tape! Well you can't always have it all lol. Geez we really need to spread the word about that stuff, looks like it'd save a lot of fat tubeless headaches!
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    So here is my take on the FattyStripper. I utilized it for my fat bike. Was fairly easy to set up. Light weight and I love the bling strips. Sealed perfectly. When I changed tires over to winter, something occurred to me. Running very low pressures in snow and ice increase the chance of burping a tire or having it come off the bead. With the fatty stripper, if that happens on the trail, you are screwed. The latex snaps back into the rim area. I'm not so sure I could streatch it back out beyond the bead when my fingers are frozen. I carry a tube just in case, but when I put the summer tires back on, I will probably go back to tape. For the winter season, I did not trim the excess back as some extra insurance. Maybe i am over thinking this. I have not had a tire come off the bead before, but have been on rides with those who have. What thoughts do all of you have on this?
    Fat Bike Rim vs Tire Size-20180919_203202.jpg
    Fat Bike Rim vs Tire Size-20180919_224552.jpg

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    I'm not sure if I'm missing something as the FattyStripper does claim to be a light weight alternative. However the FattyStripper weighs 38g per wheel (trimmed), while tubeless rim tape apparently weighs around 5g per mtb rim (I suppose 10g per fatbike rim).
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    Guess I had never bothered to weigh the tape 😀. Interesting data point. I wanted to give it a try and dont regret it, but it is also holding me back from swapping tires more frequently. Like a lot of things "bike" it will depend on what you like, where and how you ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    Guess I had never bothered to weigh the tape . Interesting data point. I wanted to give it a try and dont regret it, but it is also holding me back from swapping tires more frequently. Like a lot of things "bike" it will depend on what you like, where and how you ride.
    You probably already know this but on the FattyStripper site they suggest that for swapping tyres you take the tyres off leaving the strip and valve attached, like it's a tubular. Put that whole unit aside for next use. For the second set of tyres use a new strip and valve and repeat. You'd need one pair of strips and valve for each set of tyres as each respective strip and valve remains with their tyre permanently as they go off and on the rim.
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    When I took the summer tires off, most of the stripper stayed attached on one tire, but then other came 90% off. I suppose if some adhesive were applied it may work, or my experience was not typical. But it is nice to see inside the tire to see if additional sealant is needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    When I took the summer tires off, most of the stripper stayed attached on one tire, but then other came 90% off. I suppose if some adhesive were applied it may work, or my experience was not typical. But it is nice to see inside the tire to see if additional sealant is needed.
    That's true. And while the FattyStripper might be heavier than the tape, I guess in winter you also don't need near as much sealant to seal the tyre. Would I be right in saying that for summer riding you'd need about the same amount of sealant due to puncture protection, or does the FattyStripper allow the same puncture protection with significantly less sealant as it's not doing double-duty having to seal around the rim?
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    I only ran 4 oz in each 4" tire for summer (FattyStripper) . Dont recall having to add air either. On my plus bike, one set of "tubeless compatible" tires leak right through the sidewalls and need more sealant (rim tape).

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    I'm just speculating here but another bonus or possible bonus I see of the FattyStripper is you don't need to trim the rim cutouts understrip. That might make things a bit stronger with the cutout protection.
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    Jim Simon's video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96dE4jjtJm0 demonstrates the "tubular tyre" he'd created from FattyStrips. At 1:00 he writes: "The rimstrip is sticking to the tire due to the latex-based sealant. No glue required".

    Perhaps different sealants sometimes produce different results for adhering because of more or less latex in the sealant.

    I have ordered the FattyStrips. I still plan to run the Sun Ringle 78mm tubeless rim tape over the cutout strip like per usual, but then use the FattyStrip over the top. Using that extra layer of Sun Ringle rim tape will create some additional cutout protection and I have also observed from forums and videos positive results when the Mulefut 80 rims are built up ever so slightly with one additional very thin layer of tape, such as is demonstrated in this video of a bike mechanic installing Maxxis FBF/FBR tyres onto Mulefut 80s rims: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZiui5OapQA

    This combined with the fact that when pumping my tubes up with Jumbo Jims 4.0s onto the Mulefut 80s I've had to overflate too much to get the whole tyre to seat (like 30-40 psi). As you know pressures like that on tubeless-ready fat tyres can negatively affect bead integrity. I could be wrong but I'm thinking this indicates the tyres would benefit with a smidge more building with one very thin additional layer to aid the seating process.
    Last edited by BobBracket; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:03 PM.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    I only ran 4 oz in each 4" tire for summer (FattyStripper) . Dont recall having to add air either. On my plus bike, one set of "tubeless compatible" tires leak right through the sidewalls and need more sealant (rim tape).
    I ran with dried out sealant in my fat summer tires during the entire latter half of the summer. Doesn't mean it was a good idea, but they held air and I just thought I'd see how far they would go. Used pretty much just for commuting and some bike-path rides in the shoulder season.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    That's true. And while the FattyStripper might be heavier than the tape, I guess in winter you also don't need near as much sealant to seal the tyre. Would I be right in saying that for summer riding you'd need about the same amount of sealant due to puncture protection, or does the FattyStripper allow the same puncture protection with significantly less sealant as it's not doing double-duty having to seal around the rim?
    The initial seal between the bead and rim interface requires very little sealant. Sealant seeps between the tire and the fatty stripper too, that is why it usually becomes glued to the tire. They make zero difference in the amount of sealant needed regardless of season in my experience.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    I'm just speculating here but another bonus or possible bonus I see of the FattyStripper is you don't need to trim the rim cutouts understrip. That might make things a bit stronger with the cutout protection.
    I have never had a trimmed rim strip cause a problem, nor have I heard anyone else having a problem. It seems to be a non-issue.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by nibblecuda View Post
    I only ran 4 oz in each 4" tire for summer (FattyStripper) . Dont recall having to add air either. On my plus bike, one set of "tubeless compatible" tires leak right through the sidewalls and need more sealant (rim tape).
    Latex, like a fatty stripper, is more permeable than rubber. I can assure you that a full latex tube will leak air MUCH faster than a rubber tube, so the idea that your tires lost less air because of a fatty stripper is misguided. It is more the function of the tire casing. Also, consider the fatty stripper only accounts for 1/4 to 1/3 of the surface area of the inside of the air containing vessel.

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