Fat Bikes and Mud- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fat Bikes and Mud

    It's been pretty bad around here for a while. Mud wise that is.

    In the old days I wouldn't have worried about it and probably ridden anyhow but over the last 5 years people have put a lot of work into some trails and they are very protective of them. Personally I think they might be overreacting and 90% of the time you could have a race in the mud and in a year you couldn't tell anything happened, let alone lasting damage from a few riders, but there are certain areas were I suppose it could accelerate erosion or at least tarnish the reputation that has been built with the parks commissions, so I pretty much stay off when it's wet.

    But a couple of days ago I had to go see for myself as it had been warm and sunny with no moisture for a while, so I headed out to a trail. For the most part is was fine and with the big fat tires I wasn't causing any damage but then I got to an area that was kind of loose and in the sun and it was pretty soft. I turned around in a short time and headed out defeated in that it was in fact too muddy to ride. In the process I picked up some mud on my tires. Not enough to cause any kind of slowing down but it was enough to cause quite a bit of trouble with my drive train. I got the worst chain suck that I have ever experienced in my life. The chain was doubled over and wedged between the chainstay and the big ring which happened when I tried to shift down to the small. I thought I was going to have to carry the bike out but eventually I pushed down hard on the pedal backwards after getting the rear der in the smallest cog to relieve pressure and it popped out taking some aluminum with it. I cleaned everything off the best I could and limped out mindful of shifting as little and as gently as possible.

    I've ridden when it's slightly wet without any problems but I guess unless I want to set up the bike as a single speed for mud that is not going to be the choice of bikes if it's wet and I decide to brave it.

    I've read lots of posts about guys riding in mud and not having any issues. At least they never talk about it. How can this be?

    I did have good climbing traction with the Nate. Larry a bit slick on the front.

  2. #2
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    I have had some similar problems with my bike when it first arrived, with really bad suck in the granny ring when riding in wet sand & mud.
    I sorted my issue by replacing the Alu rings with Deore steel ones, which are slightly narrower & since then I have never had any chain suck no matter how gloopy things have become.
    Shifting, can be an issue, but if you are going to be spending any time in the mud, then Alfine is the only real solution IMO.

    Good traction until it sinks so far you can't turn the pedals, the rear mech disappears & the bike stays upright when you get off

    Drink coffee....ride bikes....eat cake
    http://morayfatbike.blogspot.com

  3. #3
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    That's a good idea. I have a steel or ti ring on the inside but the outside is aluminum and more than being thicker, aluminum is more grabby.

  4. #4
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    Hmmm...

    The steel rings are probably a good idea. Aluminum is indeed "sticky" compared to steel. Another thing that has helped me in the past is chain tension. I had real issues this Summer with my new RIP9, totally dry conditions, but some more miles and one less chain link and I have had NO issues since, even in mud. I had a Fisher Sugar that would suck the chain past the stay and I had to REMOVE the rings to get it back out. I made a guard plate that would not allow passage. It would jam when it tried to suck, but back chaining released it.

  5. #5
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    Hmmm...

    On my Muk 2, I rode it until the frame packed full of mud and the tires wouldn't spin. Cranks looked something like this:

    Even then, didn't have any problems with chainsuck. No matter what I do with it, chainsuck hasn't been an issue at all.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawfarm View Post
    Hmmm...

    On my Muk 2, I rode it until the frame packed full of mud and the tires wouldn't spin. Cranks looked something like this:

    Even then, didn't have any problems with chainsuck. No matter what I do with it, chainsuck hasn't been an issue at all.
    That was the first time i had ever seen a six mile long road made entirely out of peanut butter.

    Once again, corn husks are evil.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailMaker View Post
    Hmmm...

    The steel rings are probably a good idea. Aluminum is indeed "sticky" compared to steel. Another thing that has helped me in the past is chain tension. I had real issues this Summer with my new RIP9, totally dry conditions, but some more miles and one less chain link and I have had NO issues since, even in mud. I had a Fisher Sugar that would suck the chain past the stay and I had to REMOVE the rings to get it back out. I made a guard plate that would not allow passage. It would jam when it tried to suck, but back chaining released it.
    Well that is another possibility although I've never encountered it on any other bike. I have a long cage derailleur and to keep a tighter drive train I do have my chain short to the point that I can't go big big and also a chain guide welded to the chainstay that was clogging with mud too. The setup works in all other situations well, I have a lot of other bikes to ride and if it's very muddy I don't ride in it anymore anyhow. So I guess I'll just leave things alone and maybe eventually change the ring to steel when it wears out. If it becomes an issue in not so muddy conditions too I'll lengthen my chain.

  8. #8
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    I've been trying a different approach with the "mud" issue, which would most probably upset the purists!!

    Quite a few of the tracks and trails that I use are also used by horses and even a small horse with a tiny girl on it's back is going to churn the ground up more than a fatman on a fatbike!! I've had chain-suck a few times and been in a similar mess as the pic of the Mukluk (Muck-luck?!).

    I've tried 29er wheels with 29x2.0 tyres, which got round the mud problem, but I churned up the ground more than the horse and didn't have the same traction and grip as my tired old endomorph!

    I tried 26x2.5 on my LM's, which again got round the mud problem, but it lowered the bottom-bracket height and I kept striking the ground with my pedals as the tyres churned up the ground! Again I lost some traction and grip!

    I agree with Motorman, if you're going to be in mud a lot, which I am, then an Alfine IGH is the way to go!

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