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  1. #1
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    Let's Talk About FS Fatbike Current "Market"

    There a few threads about "what" you can still get new, but I am just scratching my head at Salsa/Trek's decisions to pull out their offerings. I could understand one of them getting out because it is a fairly niche market, but with the withdrawal of both major brands they are leaving a decent size hole in the market. There is an ongoing theme of posts looking for FS Fats that periodically show up on this board.

    I get a lot of questions when my son and I are out riding the Farley EX and Salsa BS2 together. People ask me where they can buy one and I have to tell them craigslist as they aren't being manufactured anymore. I also have started mentioning the Framed Montana since that is the only non-$4K+ option other than the chinese DIY option. Yes I know there are a lot of other offerings but once again they are all in ~$5K when you're done with the build type of thing.

    Yes I also know 27.5/29" +s are eating into the market, but I just can't seem to think that I'm missing something on the decision. Do people really feel like FS Fattie market will continue to shrink?

    What are other people's thoughts on this issue?
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  2. #2
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    Large companies like trek and salsa need to sell a lot of bikes, likely the FS fat market is just not performing as well as the other platforms.
    Last edited by Shark; 1 Week Ago at 10:45 AM.

  3. #3
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    My lbs has a heavily discounted 2017 ex they havent been able to sell and its winter atleast 7 months a year so fatbikes are very popular. No one I ride with wants to ride a full time fat bike as "XC race" or "trail" bikes are lighter and faster to ride in our trails in the summer.

    I still like to occasionally ride my fatbike in the summer but a full suspension sub 27 pound carbon 29er is 10x the fun to ride on 95% of local trail.

    Personally I wouldn't want to ride fat year round.

  4. #4
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    For the big guys it all comes down to margin, as you mentioned. They have a certain margin that they need to have and it's not there with the FS Fatties, the smaller companies don't produce as many and therefore have higher production costs.

    You nailed it with the niche market comment. Also with the emergence of 29ners and 2.6 - 2.8's I'll prob become even more niche.

    However selfishly for me I would just assume they were all still being produced.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    , but with the withdrawal of both major brands they are leaving a decent size hole in the market.
    I'm guessing that hole is not as big as you think? I'm sure they ran the numbers and didn't see much of a profit to be made or at least not enough to gamble against a possible loss.

  6. #6
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    Salsa i heard is remaking one. Just like they didnt offer the spearfish for 2018 their is one in the works for 2019.

    Maybe they pull stuff for demand?

    Trek i believe found more people bought the ex to 29+ it so the dropped the full stache.


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  7. #7
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    The majority of fat bikes are ridden on groomed trails. Therefore suspension isn't really needed. My guess is Salsa and Trek realized that after selling low numbers of those bikes considering the rigid versions of the same bike sold for a lot less and more of them were sold.

    I haven't found a need for any suspension riding groomed winter trails so I would never buy one. And as mentioned earlier in this thread...put the fat away for the summer riding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post

    I haven't found a need for any suspension riding groomed winter trails...
    They weren't designed or marketed to be ridden on groomed snow trails, as you mentioned there are plenty of rigid options that are lighter and cheaper for that.
    Original intention was for exploring off the beaten track, they're definitely not for everybody but I love mine! YMMV
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  9. #9
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    Amen! When conditions aren't perfect, and the local groomed trails aren't open - I always find somewhere off of the beaten track to ride. And when you are off the beaten track, suspension sure is nice.

  10. #10
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    I might have been interested if there was a 110-120mm one that could be built light, had good geometry to convert to 29er tires in the summer, and could take "4.8" tires. I've seen some prototypes around Anchorage, but there's a lot of things that would have to come together for me to want such a machine. Basically, I'd like it to have an efficient and decent linkage setup, be able to convert it for XC racing, and so on. I think this could be done with a minimal weight penalty (to the frame, using carbon fiber). Something like the Turner King Kahn, but carbon fiber, etc.

    I'm not very interested in suspension for a winter fat-bike though, they do well without it for several reasons. I think it's a correct assumption that the market here is pretty limited. What I wouldn't want it for would be to ride fat tires in the summer, I have no want for that, they only slow me down. Still, I think it'd be cool to have a rig that can go both summer and winter with just a wheel-swap.

    Unfortunately, we are probably a few years away from something like that, front suspension has a long ways to go (on fat-bikes) before I'd even consider it, let along rear suspension, which may be best served in the winter with a coil shock, rather than an air-shock. I don't think we are going to see anything soon and I won't be losing sleep over it.
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  11. #11
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    The Farley EX 9.8 (carbon) is still available - only as just a frame, and not a complete bike. But not sure about going forward...

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    I am probably a decent example for this case study.

    I was very excited about the Bucksaw announcement. At the time I already had a fatbike in the works, and still have the hardtail Ti bike with Bud/Lou on it. My friend got the blue Bucksaw when they first came out, and I was super impressed with it. Said it was one of the best production bikes they had come up with for years. I really wanted one of my own, but had to wait a while since I had spent enough on bikes for a bit. The Trek was kind of neat too, but I never really liked them quite as much as the Salsa when I rode them. I have to admit, for winter riding, I wouldn't trade the fatbike I have for a Bucksaw.

    I finally was ready to buy a bike a couple of years ago. This was around the time the Bucksaws were on a fire sale. I ended up with a Pony Rustler. It just fit the bill better for what I was looking for.

    So, for someone who still stands by the statement that I thought the Bucksaw was one of the more clever and all around better production bikes ever made, I don't have one in my garage. I imagine that illustrates the problem with the viability of the product in the end.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat-in-Fundy View Post
    They weren't designed or marketed to be ridden on groomed snow trails, as you mentioned there are plenty of rigid options that are lighter and cheaper for that.
    Original intention was for exploring off the beaten track, they're definitely not for everybody but I love mine! YMMV
    Are you sure on that ?

    When fat bikes caught my attention in 2014 and I started reading about them, researching them and watching YouTube videos about them...everything and I mean everything I read or saw was all about riding them on groomed snow trails. And being able to ride a bike on a groomed snow trail is what caught my attention and led to me purchasing one.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    Are you sure on that ?

    When fat bikes caught my attention in 2014 and I started reading about them, researching them and watching YouTube videos about them...everything and I mean everything I read or saw was all about riding them on groomed snow trails. And being able to ride a bike on a groomed snow trail is what caught my attention and led to me purchasing one.

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    Agreed that the Fat Bike market is primarily focused on snow/sand riding with some using them year round for trail riding but this thread is about Full Suspension Fatties.
    If you go back and search the Salsa Bucksaw you'll see that they never designed it to be a snow bike, it was designed for adventure and exploring off the beaten path.
    Like I said, they're not for everybody but those that have them seem to enjoy the ride.
    It's now my main bike but for snow I still prefer my rigid Norco Ithaqua. YMMV
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  15. #15
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    I'm not sure where this "groomed trail" thing comes from, although there are a few groomed XC trails, they aren't groomed all that often, sometimes barely at all, and most of our stuff is from people snow-shoeing, snow-machining, xc-skiing, hiking and of course, fat-biking. With a packed trail, you don't need a lot of suspension usually, but conditions can be quite variable, such as frozen post-holes. I don't think the intent of fat-bikes was to ride groomed trails, they didn't even exist (for fatbikes) when the bikes came out, like the Pugsly. What a lot of places did have were packed winter routes that were sometimes hard enough to go out with wide 26" mountain bike tires or hard frozen for use of studs. And people tried to ride those with varying success, until fatbikes came out.
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  16. #16
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    The main point most seem to miss is this, suspension for bikes is not made for the cold temps. That is why RS will only say there rear shock is good to 25 degrees. Anything lower than that and they don't stand behind the product. This is the part that is holding FS fatties back, plus there really is not as big of a market for them as the bigger companies have found out.
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  17. #17
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    Here in MN, most trails are groomed as smooth as a baby's bottom. If anybody rides the trail when conditions aren't perfect, they leave a rut, then people flip out.

    I did a test on one of these trails a few years back. On a 10ish mile loop (in the summer) I was able to do a lap on my Carbon Spec Tarmac that was 11 seconds slower than I did on my carbon Spec Epic 29er - just to give perspective on our groomed trails... These trails are groomed to be even smoother in the winter. No need for suspension on stuff like that.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    Are you sure on that ?

    When fat bikes caught my attention in 2014 and I started reading about them, researching them and watching YouTube videos about them...everything and I mean everything I read or saw was all about riding them on groomed snow trails. And being able to ride a bike on a groomed snow trail is what caught my attention and led to me purchasing one.

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    Marketing material for the Bucksaw had almost no snow in it.

    I got one from the first shipment, so you're not going to be finding too many people who have had one longer than I have (I still have/ride mine). It hasn't touched groomed snow once. It's seen its share of ungroomed snow (less than I'd like, but I can't control the weather). But mostly it's been ridden on whatever trails I've been riding.

    It's best suited for fairly slow speed loose/chunky conditions. I've probably enjoyed it most for bikepacking in Pisgah. It is not nearly as much fun for high speed chunky/chattery downhills. It's frankly exhausting for those kinds of situations. Tire rebound overwhelms the capability of the suspension pretty quickly. I have no doubt that all FS fatbikes are suffer from this problem. I could see MAYBE longer travel being at least a partial solution, but too much would turn it into a bike that I simply wouldn't want to ride.

    I think a big part of the problem is that FS fat came before FS plus and before 2.6 tires. There's certainly a market for people who wanted a little more tire than what their 2.35-2.4 ish tires offered. But FS fat was too far. Frankly, if plus had come first, that would have better suited what I wanted out of the bike. I enjoy the bike I have for what it is, but other bikes (available now, of course) would have suited my riding conditions a bit better.

    And it's part of the reason I'm building a new bike right now. 140mm steel 29er hardtail with 2.6 rubber. Pretty much, it's everything the Bucksaw isn't.

    And for that matter, pretty sure the fatbike market overall is contracting a bit. It expanded very quickly and hit a plateau. Lots of manufacturers had extra stock sitting around because the plateau caught them with their pants down. So a number of brands have been bleeding off extra models and simplifying their lineups to better match the plateau conditions and simply sustaining the market that's there.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Marketing material for the Bucksaw had almost no snow in it.

    I think a big part of the problem is that FS fat came before FS plus and before 2.6 tires. There's certainly a market for people who wanted a little more tire than what their 2.35-2.4 ish tires offered. But FS fat was too far. Frankly, if plus had come first, that would have better suited what I wanted out of the bike. I enjoy the bike I have for what it is, but other bikes (available now, of course) would have suited my riding conditions a bit better.
    I think you hit the nail on the head, the plus bikes have pretty much taken over this market. Lots on here seem to have converted their Bucksaw over to 27.5+ and not gone back to the 26 fat.
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    FS fatbikes are a small market and always will be. The 30lb mark is where people desperately want there bike to be and you just can't do that with a fatbike. But if you are willing to hump the weight they are awesome but get someone to understand that when they want to brag about their 28lb bike is just not going to happen.

    I have thought about doing the 27.5+ thing but finding a wheel set with rear 177 spacing seems to be an issue. I have found some but the cost does not justify the weight change for me.

    Plus my bike seems to be known on trails since I am one of the few FS fatbikers in the area. Who does not like attention.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat-in-Fundy View Post
    I think you hit the nail on the head, the plus bikes have pretty much taken over this market. Lots on here seem to have converted their Bucksaw over to 27.5+ and not gone back to the 26 fat.
    I have for the summer riding for sure. Still enjoy the fat for spring and fall sometimes.

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    One of the best things about my fat bike is that it doesn’t have any suspension therefore nothing to maintain. I like the back to basics concept of a Fatbike, it’s like what the original mountain bikes were in the 80’s, a simple rugged, rigid frame with big tires.

  23. #23
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    Guy that wrenches in his dad's bike shop a few miles from my house has some Cannondale fat fully with a Lefty. Every time I see this bike I wonder why anyone needs it. I've been riding rigid fat for six or seven years now. Haven't felt the need for suspension.
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  24. #24
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    Ok let’s introduce a new aspect to the conversation, switching the lockout switch on front and back into “on”. That’s the piece a lot of peeps forget. You can lock out a FS and in essence have an almost rigid. You can’t “unlock” a rigid...
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Ok let’s introduce a new aspect to the conversation, switching the lockout switch on front and back into “on”. That’s the piece a lot of peeps forget. You can lock out a FS and in essence have an almost rigid. You can’t “unlock” a rigid...
    That’s true but I also don’t have any old, leaky rigid forks sitting in the corner of my shop either. Almost every suspension fork I’ve had over the years starts leaking at the fork seals. Rock Shox were the worst. I also don’t miss squeaky pivots or serving linkage or swingarm bearings. I still have several FS bikes but found I ride my rigid fatbikes way more often. Funny how disconnected from the trail I feel with suspension nowadays..

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Ok let’s introduce a new aspect to the conversation, switching the lockout switch on front and back into “on”. That’s the piece a lot of peeps forget. You can lock out a FS and in essence have an almost rigid. You can’t “unlock” a rigid...
    So then you have an overweight rigid bike with small (for fat) tires.

    Not going to lie, the lack of suspension can suck on a rigid fatbike, but in snow, the snow compresses and absorbs some energy, even when there's not much of it, you run low pressures, your tire absorbs some, and you generally don't travel as fast as in the summer due to traction, so IME, it's a totally different game on the snow in the winter, which is why I have no real want to go FS. Then, for the summer, I notice that as soon as the snow leaves and the ground is hard, the fatbike pounds you into submission, there's a slow speed where you can "absorb" some terrain, but this is more easily exceeded in the summer and the rigid bike pounds you just like a rigid bike does. For this, I grab one of my XC FS bikes, it's faster, more flickable, I can jump it off things easier, and of course it claws up loose or technical climbs.

    For those that use the fatbike as their "one bike", in both winter and summer, at least a suspension fork makes a lot of sense to combat the rigid issue. For those that never approach any kind of soft conditions, IMO the bike is more of a novelty and that's not a very big market. With so much of the use of fatbikes being directed at soft conditions, I agree with the people above that suspension is largely not needed, that was kind of the point of fatbikes. I do agree that there's a niche for some suspension, but full suspension is stretching it IMO, especially when it sacrifices some of the better characteristics of fatbikes, like the fattest tires, reliability in arctic cold, the ability to pack frame-bags on it for ride support, etc.
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  27. #27
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    Let's Talk About FS Fatbike Current "Market"-a712d4a8-1140-4224-861b-6ac04b39b0b1.jpg

    Literally today I woke up and thought, “snow or trail”. You can see what I decided on. Both decisions would’ve had the same bike in the picture. One bike to rule them all. I’m not hunting KOMs, I’m hunting good times
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    I agree that a rigid fatbike can definitely pound you into submission. The only time I experience that is in the summer and that’s okay, I don’t use my fatbike for that type of riding. In winter I think rigid is way more practical and efficient since there is no power loss. Jayem brings up a ton of other great points, he pretty much sums up why full suspension fatbikes are going the direction they are.

  29. #29
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    The Foes Mutz (“classic” and 150mm) continues to be in production as far as I know. Wish that it had a 197mm rear to add to its versatility.

  30. #30
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    I have a ‘13 Mukluk and ‘15 Bucksaw. Having to choose just one fat bike it’d be the Mukluk w/ Lefty, I ride it more all 4 seasons.

    Like the Bucksaw but the initial fork options left lots to be desired. Market saturation in ‘15-16. Also around that time tire development dropped off and hurt the market as well.

    Eventually I’ll build up an alternate wheel set.

    They are a niche of a niche. People who really need/want one will find a away.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    I have a ‘13 Mukluk and ‘15 Bucksaw. Having to choose just one fat bike it’d be the Mukluk w/ Lefty, I ride it more all 4 seasons.

    Like the Bucksaw but the initial fork options left lots to be desired. Market saturation in ‘15-16. Also around that time tire development dropped off and hurt the market as well.

    Eventually I’ll build up an alternate wheel set.

    They are a niche of a niche. People who really need/want one will find a away.
    Any pics of that Mukluk/lefty set up? I have a '14 rigid Mukluk and a '15 Bucksaw. When I ride them back to back - that makes me realize just how much of a beating my arms take with no front suspension.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I'm not sure where this "groomed trail" thing comes from, .
    The midwest is full of groomed trails. As are other parts of the country that receive snow and seem to have a good population of fat bikers and volunteers/clubs that groom them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfat View Post
    One of the best things about my fat bike is that it doesn’t have any suspension therefore nothing to maintain. I like the back to basics concept of a Fatbike, it’s like what the original mountain bikes were in the 80’s, a simple rugged, rigid frame with big tires.
    I suppose if you like getting your balls busted by the seat on rocky rooty trails.

    Tried that one summer with my fat bike. Never again. Fat tires don't replace suspension.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    The midwest is full of groomed trails. As are other parts of the country that receive snow and seem to have a good population of fat bikers and volunteers/clubs that groom them.
    Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio? Or basically just Michigan UP, Wisconsin and Minnesota?
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio? Or basically just Michigan UP, Wisconsin and Minnesota?
    Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota for sure. Don't know about the other states.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio? Or basically just Michigan UP, Wisconsin and Minnesota?
    Where snow falls and sticks around, so obviously MN, WI, and MI.


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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota for sure. Don't know about the other states.
    Missouri does not get enough snow that sticks around long enough to make groomed trails. Now if you want to call the katy trail groomed that would be true, but riding a fat bike on that talk about a suck fest.

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    Can anyone explain to me the negative about locking out a FS on snow? Yes I know no lockout is 100% and you are carrying the extra FS weight for in essence nothing at that point while on the snow, but that seems to me a small negative given the upside of having full suspension access for the majority of the year where snow is not on the ground.
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Can anyone explain to me the negative about locking out a FS on snow? Yes I know no lockout is 100% and you are carrying the extra FS weight for in essence nothing at that point while on the snow, but that seems to me a small negative given the upside of having full suspension access for the majority of the year where snow is not on the ground.
    To me, that sounds about right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Can anyone explain to me the negative about locking out a FS on snow? Yes I know no lockout is 100% and you are carrying the extra FS weight for in essence nothing at that point while on the snow, but that seems to me a small negative given the upside of having full suspension access for the majority of the year where snow is not on the ground.
    I built a rigid for snow and mud since I did not like all my pivots getting all the crap on/in them.
    Last edited by KenPsz; 5 Days Ago at 04:26 PM.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Can anyone explain to me the negative about locking out a FS on snow? Yes I know no lockout is 100% and you are carrying the extra FS weight for in essence nothing at that point while on the snow, but that seems to me a small negative given the upside of having full suspension access for the majority of the year where snow is not on the ground.
    For myself at least I never wanted a full squish for winter just due to the limited tire size that they accept. I wouldn't mind having suspension available if I wanted it and I don't really care about weight so.... But like I said the limited tire size rules out the one bike to rule them all, maybe get the job done sometimes but not a true king....there isn't one.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by RYNOFREERIDE View Post
    Where snow falls and sticks around, so obviously MN, WI, and MI.


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    So a few Northern Midwestern states. I know there are some sporadic places in the West where they may "groom" trails, but I don't think that's a big thing outside of the states you mentioned. It's definitely not here in the far North. There are lots of places in the West where fatbikes are being ridden on snow, as well as the East coast/NE.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenPsz View Post
    Missouri does not get enough snow that sticks around long enough to make groomed trails. Now if you want to call the katy trail groomed that would be true, but riding a fat bike on that talk about a suck fest.
    Depends on what part of the Katy. I rode out of Defiance a couple years ago. There were real mtn bike trails along the route.

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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    For myself at least I never wanted a full squish for winter just due to the limited tire size that they accept. I wouldn't mind having suspension available if I wanted it and I don't really care about weight so.... But like I said the limited tire size rules out the one bike to rule them all, maybe get the job done sometimes but not a true king....there isn't one.
    This is where Im coming from. I need the equivalent or greater of Bud and Lou with grip studs for winter riding here in western MT. But if I could get that on a full suspension fatbike, I dont know why I wouldn't want FS. I also wouldnt be so sure that Salsa is done with the Bucksaw. I don't have any insider info on it, but they are certainly due to release new FS bikes soon.

  45. #45
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    Full Suspension Fat Bike Lenz Sport Fatillac



    Lenz will make you a FS fatty.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Yes I also know 27.5/29" +s are eating into the market, but I just can't seem to think that I'm missing something on the decision. Do people really feel like FS Fattie market will continue to shrink?

    What are other people's thoughts on this issue?
    FS fat is a very niche product so it's not shocking that the bigger brands like Trek are backing away. The tidal wave of fat enthusiasm a few years ago was not sustainable. I am a bit surprised that Salsa wouldn't stick it out. FS fat seems right up their alley. If they don't come back to the market with a new FS fat than I think you can give up hope for one from anybody, but the custom/niche builders.

    If you can accept that FS fat is very niche then the fact there are some options still is pretty nice. You can't send someone to the LBS to grab one, but for folks that really want one you can get one.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by RYNOFREERIDE View Post
    Where snow falls and sticks around, so obviously MN, WI, and MI.


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    Where snow falls and sticks around , so obviously WI, MI. MN because they have grooming equipment from when they used to get snow

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    A lot of trails here get bootpacked and can turn buff ST into a pretty uncomfortable ride. Airing down my tires and dropping sag to around 30-35% makes that dissapear on my bucksaw.

    Let's Talk About FS Fatbike Current "Market"-59c9faa8-ad7f-429c-94ed-e289e41251ee.jpg

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by pOrk View Post
    A lot of trails here get bootpacked and can turn buff ST into a pretty uncomfortable ride. Airing down my tires and dropping sag to around 30-35% makes that dissapear on my bucksaw.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Awesome shot pOrk!
    2018 Trek Farley Ex 8 - One bike to rule them all!
    2015 Salsa Bucksaw 2 - Also pretty frickin’ sweet!

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by letitsnow View Post
    Any pics of that Mukluk/lefty set up? I have a '14 rigid Mukluk and a '15 Bucksaw. When I ride them back to back - that makes me realize just how much of a beating my arms take with no front suspension.
    mine.
    Let's Talk About FS Fatbike Current "Market"-img_0042%5B2%5D.jpg

    Early pic from the Salsa people during suspension fork experimentation.
    Let's Talk About FS Fatbike Current "Market"-7833663758_64d683f203_o.jpg

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat-in-Fundy View Post
    ...Original intention was for exploring off the beaten track, they're definitely not for everybody...
    That is the a major part of my mtb riding. For that I want the simplest bike possible, and there is the prospect of having to lift it over a 7' deer fence, so lightness is good if possible. I don't need a rocket, so the cush of the fat tyres on a fully rigid bike is enough.

    Like for many here, my fatbike use extended into the other seasons, but then came plus size tyres which gave most of the advantages and my fatbike use has been squeezed back into mainly winter use - or what I bought it for, riding boggy ground.

    Because most of my riding is for where speed is not a concern, all my bikes are fully rigid because I prefer the simplicity.

    My first impression of FS fatbikes is they would be great fun on the downhills in a trail park and that would be a very niche market. I think the introduction of FS plus bikes killed that niche.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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