Frame material ride differences- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Frame material ride differences

    So I have a long background in hard tail mtb's and have owned them in all four of the major materials commonly used today. I know that I like steel best. That being said can those of you who have ridden aluminum fat bikes and a steel fat bikes tell me if there is any difference in the ride between the two? I told my self long ago I would never own a aluminum hard tail again. Actually I told my rear end and spine I would never again. I like all the ride qualities of steel and other than weight can't complain about the material. And another question about the two materials in fat bikes. In standard mtb's aluminum is usually much lighter than steel. Is that the same case as in fat bike frames? I see a couple of companies even use aluminum for their forks. This practice was abandoned long ago for rigid forks in regular mtb's because of terrible ride and they would without warning fail because of fatigue. I kind of have it in my head that because of the ginormous tires most of the trail vibrations that would normally loosen fillings is absorbed in all that rubber but please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Rode the same trail Wed on my Al Fatback w/carbon fork and then again Thursday morning on my RM Vertex carbon 29er w/ SID XX fork. Both are set up tubeless. Fatback running 12 psi endomorph front, larry Back . RM around 27psi with IKONs. Both have carbon Bars and the RM has a carbon seat post.

    My soft compliant RM felt like a harsh old rigid compared to my Fatback in the chunky sections especially with tree roots. I think the more I ride the Fatback and remember that it doesn't have any front travel It will be even smoother.

    I have it in my head that the fatback is my ride of choice now for comfort. My 29er hardtails are going to get lonely I think. That said I am already thinking about getting the steel Fatback frame next year

  3. #3
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    I have a steel Fatback and steel Waltworks fork. Compared to the Aluminum Jamis Trail X3, I much prefer the Fatback. I did ride an aluminum Fatback back in March, but I can't give an accurate comparison. What I like the most about the Fatback geometry is the mountain bike feel. It maneuvers well and is very comfortable to ride. When I spoke to the Speedway guys about a steel frame, they all stated that the feel is more complaint than an aluminum, so that's the direction I went. According to Greg, he can tell the difference between frame material, but he's got way more riding experience on the different frames. It's also lighter than the Jamis too. I wouldn't change a thing. Love the bike and the Jamis is collecting dust.

  4. #4
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    With my tyres at 8psi my rear end can't tell the difference in feel between my 907 and Pug.
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  5. #5
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    Good point ! Ive had many rigid mountain bikes, steel, alu and carbon. Steel is definately the nicest feeling ride. But i have not noticed any difference between my Alu Mukluk and my Ti obeast, i suppose i havent thought about it yet. The tyres must suck it up.
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  6. #6
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    Not quite what OP is asking for, but thought I should mention it...

    I can tell an immediate difference between my Surly Moonlander (steel) and full-sus Giant Reign X1 (alum). Even with all that travel on the Giant, it still feels like a stiffer bike. It's really interesting!

    I've taken the Moonlander on the same trails I normally bomb with the Giant. I only have to slow down a little bit. I get bounced around a bit more, but my body isn't begging for suspension like I know it would on an aluminum hardtail.

  7. #7
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    I don't think you're gonna feel the difference in frame materials on a fatbike. Fork is another story. I feel the difference between my steel Surly fork and my carbon White Bros. IMHO, 2 psi of tire pressure affects the feel more than $2k worth of frame material.

  8. #8
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    Between fatbikes I can't imagine there's much of an actual difference in ride quality based on material- yer talking about a bike sitting on 4" wide tires with 10psi- you could probably ride an i-beam comfortably with that kind of tire and pressure combo.

    Biggest difference from material is prolly gonna be weight.

    Biggest other noticeable difference is gonna be geometry.

  9. #9
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    My bamboo fatty vs a Pug - a little bit, sure. But tire pressure adjustment on these big tires is the lion's share. My wife's Muk is stiff as a board, but if the tires are squishy, yes, squishy is what you feel.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  10. #10
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    I actually do notice the difference, as I often times swap bikes with riding partners throughout the winter just for fun. I can feel the difference in ride quality between my Pug and the various Mukluks I've ridden. However, with low tire pressures, in snow, the difference is less profound than comparing a normal steel vs aluminum hardtail mtb.

    I rode with a friend who built a 26 lb Mukluk, and that was a big difference in ride quality. His bike felt a LOT harsher than my Pug (but it was a LOT faster too ). It has a carbon fork on it, which I'm thinking was the major contribution to the larger difference with the harshness.

    I personally plan on sticking with steel fatbikes, because I can definitely tell the difference and I like steel better. I'm like you (OP), where I can't even ride an aluminum hardtail anymore, and don't even like most FS bikes, (I ride an El Mariachi in the summer) so I'm naturally a steel hardtail guy as well. But again, the difference in ride between an aluminum and steel fatbike isn't as much as normal mtbs, at least in my experience.

  11. #11
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    There is a difference in ride in all the frame and fork materials. Not trying to up-sell any one of them as better, just a little different. Having all of them sitting side by side helps. My favorite so far is the stainless frame/fork. All that being said, tire pressure is always the biggest factor in the perfect ride.
    Last edited by thirstywork; 09-26-2012 at 11:45 PM.
    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  12. #12
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    I would love a Reynolds 853 fatbike frame set - offset ala Pugsley or inline 170mm rear hub.

    Not just for the improved ride quality over 4130, which would be noticable more when on a 29er wheel set, but also for the less corrosive properties of that higher quality steel...

    So when some wants to/ can make one give me a shout
    plan it...build it....ride it...love it....
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  13. #13
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    Why stop at 853, a 953 stainless steel fatbike would be awesome!

  14. #14
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    Thank you everyone for all the helpful info. Now that I know that a aluminum fat bike won't punish me I have a even harder decision to make. What bike do I want. This is a good problem to have compared to some of life's other decisions we have to make right? I am leaning towards the green mukluk 3 that Salsa is offering since I will be using it to ride in the sand at the beach looking for good fishing holes. I am afraid that if I go steel it wont last long. I will post pics when I get it and hopefully some pics of the fish. Thanks again.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris View Post
    Why stop at 853, a 953 stainless steel fatbike would be awesome!
    These things are available . . . I'd suggest a look at :

    Quiring Cycles

    616 Fab
    Quiring KVA MS2 29er SS
    Quiring XCr Road
    Tallboy Carbon
    Fisticuff
    ARR | IMBA NMBP

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecthelion View Post
    These things are available . . . I'd suggest a look at :

    Quiring Cycles
    enjoyed browsing the site.

  17. #17
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    Seen a pic of a stainless fatback at Interbike too
    plan it...build it....ride it...love it....
    http://coastkid.blogspot.com/

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