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  1. #1
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    fat tires skinny tires touring questions need answers

    I had a friend who recently rode his Surly 1x10 Fat bike on Ragbrai. He has been saying for quite some time that he was planning on this so he swapped out his knobbies last spring for some fat straight treads. So he rode it with straight bars. I currently have one MTB that I converted to rigid 1x8 and I got rid of the knobbies for some 42mm straight treads for road and gravel. The reason is that i don't own a road bike and this seemed cheaper than buying a new bike. I always thought for touring and pavement a person wanted skinnier higher pressure tires so that is why I put some on my bike.

    So after Ragbrai got over last week my friend said that was the best ride he's ever had on Ragbrai. He said he felt a lot better riding that thing than he ever felt riding his drop bar road bike. I said but the rolling resistance should have been higher. He said yea it is but the cushion he gets from those tires didn't beat the hell out of his body like he always got riding skinny high pressure tires. A fat bike is in my sights in the future but not any time soon. I still got upgrades to do on one of my current bikes. But I just had to ask about this. I knew he could ride that bike across the state successfully but I didn't expect him to say it was more comfy with fat tires and flat bars. But he did. Any other fat bike riders follow his way of thinking?

  2. #2
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    More comfy than a road bike?

    That's not saying much, but of course a larger volume of air inside of a larger volume of rubber is going to insulate the rider from road buzz much better.

    As long as he isn't claiming it was faster or more efficient, then yes, he's correct.

  3. #3
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    One thing that is nicer is that you can totally relax. There is seldom anything on the road that I can't or don't ride over.

  4. #4
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    Was he drunk? I only know of team SKA for Ragbrai and they turn it up.
    ptarmigan hardcore

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Co-opski View Post
    Was he drunk? I only know of team SKA for Ragbrai and they turn it up.
    LOL what? He claimed that he was less worn out after every day than he had been in the past riding his Madone. I just wondered if this was a common experience in general or if his experience was unique.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    More comfy than a road bike?

    That's not saying much
    So your saying a road bike is not very comfortable? I can't argue either way but I thought everyone always says drop bars are so much more comfortable than straight bars on long trips. I think it depends on the individual.

  6. #6
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    Multiple positions are nice with drop bars but I always rode the hoods because on the lower position it was uncomfortable. Especially with my neck bent to look down the road.

    With any tire you adjust pressure for ride, roll, and rim protection.

    On my road bike I used to run 700x25 at 80 to 90 psi. Smooth and efficient.

  7. #7
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    I've toured with skinny tired road bikes, a Fargo(cyclocross tires, marathon mondials, 2.4 contis), suspension 29er, two rigid fat bikes, and a 27.5+ suspension bike and basically agree with your friend, but with a caveat. Any amount of cushion helps you feel better after lots of miles, even on the road, which is frequently less smooth than it would ideally be. That being said, suspension works better than just fat tires, and it's easier to get low rolling resistance with non-fat tires.

    I would suggest that full fat is too much of a trade off unless you are on very rough stuff. Similarly, too much sloppy suspension is just going to rob energy without help. The plus sized tires seem like a better balance between cushion and low rolling resistance. I've never tried the thud buster, but that might also help a ton, in theory. In the end, probably pick whatever's the comfiest ride that isn't too slow

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