Project Light Fatbike - daft ideas thread.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Project Light Fatbike - daft ideas thread.

    Suba's thread Tying and Soldering got me thinking about ideas for Project Light Fatbike.

    So here we have it. Official Daft Idea No 1


    The wheels are the biggest contributor to the weight of a fatbike, so anything that saves weight there is going to have a significant effect on the weight.

    Light spokes on their own won't do it, but what Suba's thread got me thinking about was the sorts of wheels I used to see this on. Lightweight racing wheels, usually with wood rims and tubular tyres. Back then clincher tyres and rims (road) were much heavier and more fragile than they are now. A tubular rim was much stronger and usually lighter.

    So why not use this old technology to do the same job on a fatbike?

    OK, there's no tubular fat tyres, but resorting to a bit of DIY could produce one.

    In my impecunious youth we used to scrounge dead old tubulars from the racing guys and remove the ultrafine inner tube (and patch it). The beads would be cut off a clincher tyre, tube put in, a bit of canvas sewn in to convert it into a tubular. The results were awful, but it made us feel we had real race tyres. (Bear in mind that a good set of tubulars like Milremo Invulnerabiles were 72.5 shillings which was more than I earned in a week.)

    With the much larger dimensions of a fat tyre, minor variations in a sewup wouldn't throw the concentricity of the tyre out whereas they have large effects on a skinny tyre.

    Thus for instant fat tubular:
    Old Larry/Endomorph - cut off bead neatly.
    Ultra lightweight tube - eg Maxxis - well stretched, so no bumps or lumps
    Strip of canvas about 70mm - 100mm wide sewn to each side of the tyre

    Has anyone spotted the snag? we need rims.

    Luckily the rim doesn't need any fancy shape, just so long as the cross-section inner surface follows the curve of the tyre. It would be relatively simple to laminate up a wood rim. It could be made quite light so long as it had sufficient material to resist spoke pull, and from previous experience with wooden rims, I know that that is not a big deal.

    Advantages:
    Much lower weight.
    Resistant to pinch flats at low pressures (one reason CX riders use tubulars)
    Improved ride

    Ok lads, go for it!
    Last edited by Velobike; 07-10-2011 at 12:38 AM.
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  2. #2
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    You may be on to something there VB!!

    With the lower pressures than we run, snake-bites are an issue, but I never experienced snake-bite punctures with tubs. I think to run tube-less on a fat-bike is going in the wrong direction!

    We need to 'wrap' the large volume of air in our tyres, with tubeless, some of this 'wrapping' would be done by a "heavy" alloy rim. Where as with a tubular tyre, it's all wrapped with "lighter" rubber" The rim could still resemble a collander and be drilled of excess material, as long as there was sufficient area for a glued contact patch between tyre and rim; or indeed use wood, heck we ain't using rim brakes, so the rim's only keeping the tyre round and true!!

    I love it how technology sometimes goes round in circles!!

  3. #3
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    Some tubular manufacturers used to offer a service where they would take your preferred road clincher tyre and turn it into a tubular. For some reason, I think Tufo may have been one.

    I wonder what they'd think of a Larry?
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  4. #4
    How much does it weigh?
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    Just make a carbon rim?

    You can easily make a mould for one with a current rim, then reshape it into what you want.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borgschulze View Post
    Just make a carbon rim?

    You can easily make a mould for one with a current rim, then reshape it into what you want.
    This leads me to my "daft idea", which would be this: Cut a Rolling Darryl's bead seat sections off, or in other words, slice out the middle of a rim. Mold a completely flat carbon hoop in a matching diameter to the part coming off the bead seats on the two halves of the Rolling Darryl. Bond or rivet said molded carbon hoop to aluminum rim bead seats.

    Not sure about the "how" of this, just a theory that it might lead to a lighter weight rim in carbon without doing the hard part of molding a clincher "hook" and bead seat for the tire.

    Feel free to laugh. It is a "daft idea", after all!
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borgschulze View Post
    Just make a carbon rim?

    You can easily make a mould for one with a current rim, then reshape it into what you want.
    Did I mention that I have recently bought 2 kilos of moulding substance, resin and carbonfibre....

    However I figure for a tubular, it would be just as easy just laminating up a circular rim with wood and with the advantage that it could be carved into shape where necessary.
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  7. #7
    How much does it weigh?
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    Awesome.

    FYI: There is a trials rim out there that somebody cut the center section out and replaced it with carbon, it looks terrible because the dude probably doesn't know what he's doing.. but it's a "proof of concept" in a way.

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    VB One problem I see is stretching the Maxxis evenly. I gave up using them conventially because when they stretch they stretch in all directions. They become like 36 er tubes so when you inflate them in an Endo or Larry they tend to fold up and you have major discontinuities in tire profile. If you could stretch them then cut out a section and reglue it might work.

    Good luck with carbon rims, the weight weenie in me wants to see that work. Meanwhile I'm running 600 gram V!Z rims for summer and they work great. Now if we can figure out how to make the Maxxis superlights work.....
    Last edited by sryanak; 07-10-2011 at 04:36 PM.

  9. #9
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    Further thoughts

    Forget the tubular idea - too many hassles. As sryanak, getting rid of the bump in a super light tube would be a problem.

    But why have an inner tube at all? Paint the interior of the tyre with latex and it's probably got sufficient material to stop 8psi leaking out.

    Then using something like boatbuilding Sikaflex, glue the tyre to a wooden or carbonfibre rim. The Sikaflex will have enough flexibility for the job and it is extremely tough.

    The rim will be light because it has no need to be anything other than a plain circle.

    A bit of Stan's or similar would fix any mistakes.

    This sounds more do-able

    Repairs would involve using a sharp knife to cut the Sikaflex enough to get a hand in. Then it could be resealed.
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  10. #10
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    Good God, what a great deal of work.

    Waaaah, my bike weighs 34 lbs.

    Just get off your computer and ride more. You'll get stronger.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by western high plains View Post
    ...Just get off your computer and ride more. You'll get stronger.
    Unfortunately I won't. I have a residual weakness in my shoulders from a paralysis and have difficulty lifting a 40lb bike over a 7' deer fence. As for my riding, it's good enough for me to be riding solo 12 and 24 hour races on rigid single speeds and not disgracing myself against geared and suspended riders 20 - 30 years younger.

    Anyway what's wrong with trying to push the boundaries?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Unfortunately I won't. I have a residual weakness in my shoulders from a paralysis and have difficulty lifting a 40lb bike over a 7' deer fence. As for my riding, it's good enough for me to be riding solo 12 and 24 hour races on rigid single speeds and not disgracing myself against geared and suspended riders 20 - 30 years younger.

    Anyway what's wrong with trying to push the boundaries?

    A man's got to know his limitations.


    The carbon rim idea is way doable but would be $$$$.

    A carbon frame would be even better. nudge nudge

  13. #13
    How much does it weigh?
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    I'd pay lots for a good stiff carbon frame.

    The only thing I like more about the Pugsley over my Fatback is the stiffness in the frame...

    The fork is the opposite, I like the reduction in vibration of the carbon fork.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by western high plains View Post
    Good God, what a great deal of work.

    Waaaah, my bike weighs 34 lbs.

    Just get off your computer and ride more. You'll get stronger.
    Right now my Pugsley weighs in the neighbourhood of 42 pounds, and my body seems to be comprised of all muscle— I race (cross country) and I’d like to find out about getting the hoops lighter, as high rotating mass kills speed. I have not yet raced on my Pugsley (have only had it since early June) but I think winning races with it is possible, just have to slim down the rotating mass. I find this thread to be inspiring.

    Ideally, light-yet-strong hubs/rims, coupled with a light-ish front suspension fork would really seal the deal for me in terms of being serious about entering races with my Pugsley, although I am eager to try out one with the fully rigid (the ladies love that) setup.
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    I'm trying to build up a light and simple SS fatbike for riding singletrack in central NC (couldn't care less about snow or sand). While it's on my mind, why is the Pugsley the only easily-attainable fatbike that doesn't need a chain tensioner? That bothers me. A Fatback or 907 would be great....if it wasn't designed for a derailleur and derailleur only. Bah. Rant over.

    What I'm trying to do is a bit more extreme in setting up a Surly SS hub on a drilled 47mm rim with a 135mm non-offset rear spacing. This way an Alfine 29er wheel could be put on for gear-requiring excursions, but have a simple SS fatty elsewhere. Chainline will clear the tire well enough on a skinny rim, could even use an 83mm crank to open up much lighter options (like the new X0 DH crank...that's nearly a pound lighter than something like a RF Atlas). Front fork would likely be the Fatback carbon, then wheels would still be swappable front/rear.

    Blah blah blah more details and ultimately it's going to be as light as possible with available parts...except for the frame, since I'm comfortable working with steel, not carbon, and my carbon fiber guy won't have time to build a custom fatbike for a while. That could cut ~2.5 lbs off my conceived frame immediately and probably a pound or so off anyone's Ti or aluminum frame around here easy.

    The problem right now is there aren't options for super light frames (that aren't super-flexy) and light crank options with 100mm BB. The tires obviously aren't getting any lighter, so the biggest points of weight reduction that can be easily addressed are either attempting tubeless (which may be dangerous at such low pressures) or using the flyweight tubes and then some noodly single-wall, drilled/machined <50mm rims to drop a couple of solid pounds of rotating mass, which is by far the most important place to lose it.

    SO...someone get to making some custom carbon frames, forks, and hoops so we can see a 20-lb fatbike...that will be the key to getting something light that doesn't rely on severely weakening the bike (like super-ghetto tubeless conversions or rims drilled to nothingness. Until then I think the lightest build I've seen on here or anywhere is the Ti Fatback with 50mm Umas that was ~23 lbs. Can anyone do better?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by aTomOfAllTrades View Post
    SO...someone get to making some custom carbon frames, forks, and hoops so we can see a 20-lb fatbike...that will be the key to getting something light that doesn't rely on severely weakening the bike (like super-ghetto tubeless conversions or rims drilled to nothingness.
    I plan on it, but straight carbon frames I estimate to be (realisitically) at least half a year before I make my first stab at one. Carbon rims would be at about the same time. Some concerns I have:

    1) Testing
    2) Testing
    3) Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by aTomOfAllTrades View Post
    Until then I think the lightest build I've seen on here or anywhere is the Ti Fatback with 50mm Umas that was ~23 lbs. Can anyone do better?
    I've thought the same: now that fat carbon forks exist... visit the Weight Weenies forum, find an insanely light bike, add a half pound for the long / wide chainstays and seatstays (assuming this is some hypothetical carbon fat frame), and then add the difference in the weight of the rubber. Then add a pound for good measure.

    Lightest mountain bike I've read of there was 14 pounds with 26x13 SS gearing on a Niner frame set. So add 6 pounds (wild guess). 20 pounds?

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    I would be more than happy with a 30 pound Fat bike [with gears]

    for now at least I will be keeping the Pugsly frame and fork, and of course I don't expect to reach that range.

    I have and existing stock pugs.. and will replace parts over time. I have done bars.. stem and seat post. The next step is replacing my hubs with something stronger [and lighter].

    I will let you more experienced guys experiment with the daft stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenlason View Post
    I would be more than happy with a 30 pound Fat bike [with gears]
    Not going to happen.

    EDIT: I read that as 20, haha.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenlason View Post
    I would be more than happy with a 30 pound Fat bike [with gears]
    Mines 29 lbs

    1x9 33:11-34

  20. #20
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    My 907 is at 31 and some change with a steel fork. Just for reference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenlason View Post
    ...I will let you more experienced guys experiment with the daft stuff
    As for being more experienced, how do you think we got to that stage? I have tried some odd things on my bikes over the years - most didn't work, but it's fun to try. It's pretty hard to outsmart an established evolved product like the bicycle, even if it is still basically Victorian era technology refined a little.

    From the weight angle, if I could get the fatbike to come to the same figure as my 29er + the tyre weight difference, I'd be happy. My SS 29er varies around the 20lb mark depending on what I have done to it - with the fat front for my last race it was about 25lbs. The weight increase was entirely due to the weight of the wheel because I used a Ti fork.

    We're stuck with a substantial wheel weight unless one of us comes up with a successful homemade tyre/tubular. Hence Daft Idea No 1 to see what comes bubbling up to the surface.

    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    My 907 is at 31 and some change with a steel fork. Just for reference.
    That's good. Where have you made the biggest weight saving?
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  22. #22
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    I built up a ti Fatback that weighed in at 22 lbs in a 1X9. This was with the old Endos and the 50mm rims.
    As for the tubulars, I made several sets of those and had them in the Phil Wood booth a few years ago at Interbike. Unfortunately they were crazy expensive. The casings were about 80mmm wide. My cost was way more than anyone is willing to pay though, which brings me to the next point.
    Carbon rims. I have worked on them for several years, and in the end, just too spendy, and not enough weight savings to justify them. They would need to be $850-$900ea to make it worthwhile. My current ti Fatback weighs in at 25lbs with a 3X9. I think the weights of all the fat bikes are pretty competitive all things considered.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by thirstywork View Post
    ...As for the tubulars, I made several sets of those and had them in the Phil Wood booth a few years ago at Interbike. Unfortunately they were crazy expensive. The casings were about 80mmm wide...
    Any pics and details of the tubulars?

    Do we have to have a big spend to get our bike weight near yours? I know it's possible to get the bike weight down if enough money is thrown at it, but I always prefer using ingenuity to spending lots of money. You may save me from inflicting more daft ideas on this forum .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    Not going to happen.

    EDIT: I read that as 20, haha.

    ha ha...

    actually 30 ain't gonna happen either. For fairly hard riding on rocky rooty terrain, I don't dare go with a rim lighter than LM cross countries.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenlason View Post
    I would be more than happy with a 30 pound Fat bike [with gears]

    for now at least I will be keeping the Pugsly frame and fork, and of course I don't expect to reach that range.

    I have and existing stock pugs.. and will replace parts over time. I have done bars.. stem and seat post. The next step is replacing my hubs with something stronger [and lighter].

    I will let you more experienced guys experiment with the daft stuff
    My Sandman was 31 lbs when I built it, with 3x9 gearing, 47 mm rims, and an SC32. The rims are 632g each, and the bare frame was 3lbs. 15 oz. I have since switched the brakes out for XTs, which probably took a little weight off (haven't weighed it since then). Other than the Fatback cranks I didn't make any effort to build it super light in terms of component spec. I could drop a couple more pounds easily with a lighter rear hub, drivetrain, carbon bars, ect.

    The bike would be at least a pound heavier with wider rims (such as Rolling Darryl), but it's still totally possible to build a light fat bike with what is currently available. The route you take to get there just depends on how much money you want to spend vs. how much you like to tinker.
    Sandman might be willing to do a SS/IGH specific frame- be worth emailing to ask.
    Last edited by fc; 01-28-2013 at 03:52 PM.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by thirstywork View Post
    Carbon rims. I have worked on them for several years, and in the end, just too spendy, and not enough weight savings to justify them. They would need to be $850-$900ea to make it worthwhile.
    That's close to what Enve gets for their rims, so I don't see that as being out of line. I'm betting a lot of fat bike owners would pony up for that.

    It isn't just weight either, as those carbon rims could be so much stiffer and tougher than aluminum, one could reasonably expect that you could use your floatation set up for summertime XC trail riding without issue.


    My current ti Fatback weighs in at 25lbs with a 3X9. I think the weights of all the fat bikes are pretty competitive all things considered.
    Very competitive. I think what we're really after though is lighter wheels, since that's where most of the weight is. But yes, you are right that these bikes can be very competitive with 29"er bike weights if built with high end spec.
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    Couple questions for Andy and Drew: looks like you're both using the TrialTech SL single-wall rims (or something very similar), any strength issues with these? Seem like they would be pretty similar to the 50mm Umas which some have zero issues with, some wad up in a weekend. I'm not sure I could get away with anything less than double-wall, but that's adding at least half a pound back into the wheels, if not more.

    Thirstywork, I remember seeing that Ti one up on your blog a long time ago (that's the one I was referencing, obviously). It seems you're doing something magic with the kit though, since most people are in the 30-33 lb range at best with similar bikes...the Ti frame is only saving maybe a pound over the aluminum, right? Where are the other 5 lbs coming from? I want it

    I think Velobike has the right idea, getting something comparable to a similar 29er + fat tire weight (and my 29er has 1,100g tires, so really it wouldn't be all that different). Looking at what is different between them, it all comes down to frame/fork clearance (more frame material), wider cranks (weight of a longer spindle and BB shell), wider front (and possibly rear) hub, rim weight, and tire/tube weight. Fatback and 907 have gotten frame weights pretty comparable, or close enough across the board, so we can call that more or less a wash, especially with the carbon fork. Hubs and cranks add a little weight, but lighter options are becoming available and it is possible to use 100mm standard front hub and 135 rear, so that's a wash. For lighter/gentler riders there's rim options like those mentioned above that are ~630g each, which are still 100g more than a Flow 29er rim (which I use as a standard of comparison), but that's not that bad.

    Seems like what you're looking for Velo is already possible more or less (just not in SS, dammit...). Of course you add up all those little differences in weight above and that probably accounts for a pound or so...As far as I'm concerned, there's not really much room for improvement in most of those places without making the parts dangerously underweight. Given the low demand for carbon rims and exorbitant cost, seems like we just need someone to make a carbon frame (SS compatible, of course). Who wants to be the first to try it? Eh?
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by aTomOfAllTrades View Post
    Couple questions for Andy and Drew: looks like you're both using the TrialTech SL single-wall rims (or something very similar), any strength issues with these?
    No issues. On the other hand, I'm only 170 pounds, and don't have balls for anything greater than a 2 foot drop, so I'm not really abusing them.

    I'm using V!Z single wall rear 26" rims, 47mm wide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Any pics and details of the tubulars?

    Do we have to have a big spend to get our bike weight near yours? I know it's possible to get the bike weight down if enough money is thrown at it, but I always prefer using ingenuity to spending lots of money. You may save me from inflicting more daft ideas on this forum .
    VB, I had my old Fatback down to 26 3/4 # before I swapped out the superlight tubes. I have barends and bottlecages and a cyclo computer on it too so I could lose those and save some more weight. I'm using the V!Z rims like Drew and they say thet weigh 583 so thats where a lot of the savings comes from. My winter setup with drilled Fat Shebas is a shade under 29 #.

    I've been wondering if I could take one of the superlight tubes split it and then glue it into the tire at the beads. This way it wouldn't have to stretch so much and with sealant in the tire it might work like a tubular clincher. Anybody have any thoughts on a good glue?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    As for being more experienced, how do you think we got to that stage? I have tried some odd things on my bikes over the years - most didn't work, but it's fun to try. It's pretty hard to outsmart an established evolved product like the bicycle, even if it is still basically Victorian era technology refined a little.

    From the weight angle, if I could get the fatbike to come to the same figure as my 29er + the tyre weight difference, I'd be happy. My SS 29er varies around the 20lb mark depending on what I have done to it - with the fat front for my last race it was about 25lbs. The weight increase was entirely due to the weight of the wheel because I used a Ti fork.

    We're stuck with a substantial wheel weight unless one of us comes up with a successful homemade tyre/tubular. Hence Daft Idea No 1 to see what comes bubbling up to the surface.

    That's good. Where have you made the biggest weight saving?
    At the moment I feel as if I am still trying to get up to speed. I am still learning what is available off the shelf... and at the moment I really would be happy with my bike's weight in the low 30's. [of course that may change once I have been at that point a while]

    I have been amazed at all the innovation and craftsmanship that some of you are doing.

    In thinking back.. I was mountain biking [on those skinny wheeled ancestors of ours] fairly early on, and at that time we had to sometimes make our own parts. It was at times a very exciting time..but in other ways frustrating. Wanting stuff that did not exist.

    In some ways it seems frustrating that we don't have more stuff available off the shelf now... but we are also at the birthing stage of the next evolution in bikes.. and in that way it is exciting also. Today with the internet it makes it so much easier to toss "daft" ideas around.. to find out that some are actually brilliant.. and some are daft... It is an exciting time.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenlason View Post
    ...but we are also at the birthing stage of the next evolution in bikes.. and in that way it is exciting also. Today with the internet it makes it so much easier to toss "daft" ideas around.. to find out that some are actually brilliant.. and some are daft... It is an exciting time.
    Fatbikes are a revolution in mountainbiking IMO. These are the first bikes that are actually capable of genuine offroad use for almost all conditions.

    The difference between a brilliant idea and a daft one? - a brilliant idea is a daft idea that worked
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    I am all for less wheel/tire weight. I rode the Remolino sand tires and rims and it was night and day different then either Larry or Endomorph tires. Instantly was two gears fasteronce I upgraded. Kind of makes me wonder if BFL is going to be too much of a good thing?

    For all the bickering about Surly/Salsa out to steal ideas from some great innovators here in Alaska, we fat bikers owe them a lot in taking the risks to produce the Endomorphs and now much more in the way of tire choices. Whether you are riding a Fatback, Sandman, 907, or even your own custom frame, you are rolling on Surly product.

    That said, keep the innovation rolling. It is just the dawn of the fat bike era.

  33. #33
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    tubular pic

    Here's a pic of the fat tubulars.

    Velobike- that 22lb bike had some nice stuff on it. It was 1X9 with a single Hope Mono Mini, and 50mm Uma's. The old tires were considerably lighter, so hard to get close to that weight these days. Fun to play around, but I like having the gear range and two brakes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Project Light Fatbike - daft ideas thread.-tubular-2-001.jpg  

    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Fatbikes are a revolution in mountainbiking IMO. These are the first bikes that are actually capable of genuine offroad use for almost all conditions.

    The difference between a brilliant idea and a daft one? - a brilliant idea is a daft idea that worked
    And a daft one is at the end of the trail of bodies.

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