In search for the ultimate low maintenance MTB bike!!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    In search for the ultimate low maintenance MTB bike!!

    Hi All,
    I am planning on building a mountain bike and would like it to be as maintenance free as possible. So far I am happy to make the following "sacrifices" as long as my budget permits:

    +Singlespeed configuration
    +Belt drive
    +Hard tail (maybe w/ Thudbuster seatpost which is low maintenance)

    My dilemma is about the fork + tires. Immediate options are:

    A) Get a titanium or carbon rigid fork like the Carver + ~4" fat tires


    B) Get a German:A Kilo 90mm fork with coil spring + 27.5/29er 2.25" tires


    A "slim" bike, even with a coil-based fork would require greater maintenance than the fat bike (e.g., greasing fork bearings, replacing seals/oil). However, would the fat bike be comfortable enough for fun/light trail riding all year?

    Also, are truss forks better than regular rigid forks?

  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Fatbikes ride quite differently in the winter, fat tires do not make up for suspension in the summer IME.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  3. #3
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    Riding style and preferred terrain?

    If you like to shred in gnarly terrain, I think you're SOL. A little light singletrack from time to time...lots of options. Explain, please.

  4. #4
    The White Jeff W
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    Rigid singlespeed is about as low maintenance as it gets. Clean & lube the chain every few rides.
    No moss...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Fatbikes ride quite differently in the winter, fat tires do not make up for suspension in the summer IME.
    Well here in Austin we barely ever have snow, though we do have lots of big roots to go over!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldfatbaldguy View Post
    Riding style and preferred terrain?

    If you like to shred in gnarly terrain, I think you're SOL. A little light singletrack from time to time...lots of options. Explain, please.
    I am literally a rookie when it comes to mountain biking. I just want a bike that I can take to the trails and do some light riding on, say, twice a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    Rigid singlespeed is about as low maintenance as it gets. Clean & lube the chain every few rides.
    I agree that it would be a neat setup, my worry with rigid is that I do not want to cause my joints harm either, hence my interest in fat bikes as a potential compromise.

    Thoughts?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estuche View Post


    I agree that it would be a neat setup, my worry with rigid is that I do not want to cause my joints harm either, hence my interest in fat bikes as a potential compromise.

    Thoughts?
    Fatbikes do not make up for suspension. In the winter we get used to running ~2psi, which works in soft conditions, but when you try to run psi like that in the summer, the tires fold over in turns, they squat significantly when you try to pedal, sometimes the beads shift at that psi, tires tend to wear out their sidewalls fast, and they generally feel pretty horrible IMO. Apart from the big hit in rotational mass, at higher speeds that are much easier reached in the summer, the gyroscopic force tries to drag the bike outside of the turn, in more extreme situations, it'll keep going straight until you can slow it down enough. Lots of people continually try to make it work. The fatbike does give you SOME additional compliance obviously, but it's mostly like riding a rigid bike, which is traditionally a jackhammer. Other people DO make it work in the summer and just realize this, either by putting a suspension fork on there, going slower, or just riding it like a rigid bike, which can be quite fun. I'm not sure your reasons for getting a fatbike will work. Many people think 4" tires=4" of suspension. It's still a jarring ride on a rigid fatbike in the summer. A suspension bike is not even on the same planet.

    Fatbike or no, I'd suggest a nice suspension fork, it makes a HUGE difference in "the joints" and ability to ride comfortably longer. I rode a fatbike during my first summer in AK, but later that summer I got a FS bike again and noticed immediately how much happier I was on longer rides due to not being beat up all the time by the bike.

    Fatbikes are generally poor values compared to other mountain bikes. With the money you spend on a decent fatbike, you could probably get a decent 29er FS or a hardtail with an actually decent fork (cheap suspension forks are almost as bad, if not as bad, as rigid forks).
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  7. #7
    cmg
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    I wouldn't say a fork is high maintenance.....
    3yrs and ~9000kms and I've never touched it except to put more air in (once), or use the lockout.
    Any bike is going to require maintenance, especially if it gets wet/muddy.....
    on the other hand......
    any bike doesn't require maintenance, just ride, store, ride, store etc (not my recommendation)

    I think you need to buy/build a bike to ride for your conditions (fitness/type of riding/budget), not for whether you can be bothered or have the time to maintain it properly. Washing & lubricating a bike doesn't actually take that long.
    always mad and usually drunk......

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estuche View Post
    ...my worry with rigid is that I do not want to cause my joints harm either, hence my interest in fat bikes as a potential compromise.

    Thoughts?
    That's more a problem with riding position.

    Most MTBs (and road bikes) come configured with sports riding positions because that's what the market wants - as opposed to what it needs. The ideal rider for an mtb is athletic, supple and mid 20s, and has no problem adopting a racing position with a flat back. Most actual riders are past those years, and using a racing position starts knocking up the injury rate or causing assorted pains.

    To ride rigid without pain you need to use your body in the way it was evolved/designed to take impacts, ie with your weight concentrated on your feet. That way you can use the 10" or so of suspension in your legs. There should be no significant weight on your hands or your saddle - your wrists and spine aren't suited to jackhammer work. That means you need a far more upright riding position than is fashionable, but it means you can ride all day without pain.

    If you intend racing then ignore everything I have said and stock up on the painkillers.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  9. #9
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    Gearbox, belt, Jones Bike Ti Truss fork or new Lauf Forks Carbonara.

  10. #10
    The White Jeff W
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estuche View Post


    I agree that it would be a neat setup, my worry with rigid is that I do not want to cause my joints harm either, hence my interest in fat bikes as a potential compromise.

    Thoughts?
    I guess it depends on your perspective. I rode a rigid bike most of last summer, so when I got my fatbike (rigid fork) it was a huge difference because of the cush I got from the huge tires. Much less jarring ride.

    If I had ridden a full suspension bike all summer then the fatty probably would've felt harsh.
    No moss...

  11. #11
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    I would have to think the most qualified bike would be a single speed titanium.

    Carbon bars and seatpost for comfort.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Fatbikes do not make up for suspension. In the winter we get used to running ~2psi, which works in soft conditions, but when you try to run psi like that in the summer, the tires fold over in turns, they squat significantly when you try to pedal, sometimes the beads shift at that psi, tires tend to wear out their sidewalls fast, and they generally feel pretty horrible IMO. Apart from the big hit in rotational mass, at higher speeds that are much easier reached in the summer, the gyroscopic force tries to drag the bike outside of the turn, in more extreme situations, it'll keep going straight until you can slow it down enough. Lots of people continually try to make it work. The fatbike does give you SOME additional compliance obviously, but it's mostly like riding a rigid bike, which is traditionally a jackhammer. Other people DO make it work in the summer and just realize this, either by putting a suspension fork on there, going slower, or just riding it like a rigid bike, which can be quite fun. I'm not sure your reasons for getting a fatbike will work. Many people think 4" tires=4" of suspension. It's still a jarring ride on a rigid fatbike in the summer. A suspension bike is not even on the same planet.

    Fatbike or no, I'd suggest a nice suspension fork, it makes a HUGE difference in "the joints" and ability to ride comfortably longer. I rode a fatbike during my first summer in AK, but later that summer I got a FS bike again and noticed immediately how much happier I was on longer rides due to not being beat up all the time by the bike.

    Fatbikes are generally poor values compared to other mountain bikes. With the money you spend on a decent fatbike, you could probably get a decent 29er FS or a hardtail with an actually decent fork (cheap suspension forks are almost as bad, if not as bad, as rigid forks).
    Great perspective and enlightening report. I'm looking at a Fat Bike but I'm not purchasing anything until I ride what I'm buying a few times to make sure it's what I want and expect it to be.

  13. #13
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    Great insights from a great community, thank you and keep them coming!

    I had no idea about the Lauf Forks Carbonara, sounds very interesting and low maintenance...but that price!

    What is the main benefit/selling point of a Truss fork over a traditional rigid?? In case it makes any difference I am @ 145lbs.
    Last edited by Estuche; 03-28-2015 at 04:07 PM.

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