Spesh Fatboy vs. "budget" fat bikes?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Spesh Fatboy vs. "budget" fat bikes?

    So I've been wanting a fatty for awhile, but hadn't looked into them too closely.

    I happened to check out a LBS yesterday that has the Fatboy on ale. I took it for a rode and really liked it. They're asking $1,600 for the black & gold base bike. Plus its in NH so no sales tax.

    It seems like a good price for that bike, but a quick search brought up a bunch of options for less that I hadn't known about.

    Is there any reason the Fatboy would be better than a Boris. Framed 3.0, etc?

    I also rode a Charge Cooker Maxi that was okay but handled horribly. The LBS guy said it was probably because of the Vee rubber. The spesh had those great 4.6's that retail for $160 each(!).

    Thanks! And sorry if this topic has been brought up before.

    Oh, and I'd mainly use the bike for around town riding to the beach and winter use on the street, trail, and bike paths. Not sure I need suspension for that.
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
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  2. #2
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    Spesh Fatboy vs. "budget" fat bikes?

    I'm waiting on a BD Lurch myself but I'm also realistic about what 900.00 buys. Definitely a good buy for the money. Plus these bikes have no proven record. I basically like the steel and the looks.
    The FB components are not much better if at all. What you are buying into is a well proven bike that doesn't have many faults. Depends if you have the extra cash


    Pedaling
    Last edited by rjedoaks; 08-20-2014 at 06:01 PM.

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    Having ridden both the Fatboy and the Framed Minnesota 2.0, I am probalby going mid-level with the Framed Alaskan Alloy.

    I rode the 2.0 to see what a $900 dollar budget fatbike feels like, and I was impressed. Impressed enough that If the Alaskan wasn't coming out, I'd be on a 2.0 right now.

    Though the Fatboy was pretty sweet. And at $1600, it would be hard for me to not cough up the extra $200 (from the Alaskan) to get it.

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    Advantage for the fatboy- you've actually ridden it, you know how it handles.

    Advantage for the Lurch, it costs less.

    As you saw from the Cooker Maxi, different fatbikes handle differently.

    For winter use on street, trail and bike paths you'd be better off investing in a decent pair of studded tires for your current MTB or just buying a beater off craigslist...

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    buckfiddious is right. If those paths, trails, and streets are semi-plowed, studded tires work really well. I studded my old mtb's front tire last winter with nails, and it worked really well.

    Though now I want to ride the ski trails and single track, so I need a fatty.

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    The way I look at it mainly because I like to upgrade and play around is you can build the $hit out of a budget bike and you still have a budget bike, you can build the $hit out of a Fatboy and the end result is much better. Just the way I look at it but I'm a bike snob but only when it comes to my own bikes. I don't look at the small components because they can be replaced, I look at the big ones i.e. wheels, fork, and frame the rest wont kill the wallet when spread out over time.

  7. #7
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    FYI the geometry on the Fat boy and the Cooker are almost the exact same. Except you will not hit your brake levers on the top tub on the Cooker.
    :thumbsup:It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    The way I look at it mainly because I like to upgrade and play around is you can build the $hit out of a budget bike and you still have a budget bike, you can build the $hit out of a Fatboy and the end result is much better. Just the way I look at it but I'm a bike snob but only when it comes to my own bikes. I don't look at the small components because they can be replaced, I look at the big ones i.e. wheels, fork, and frame the rest wont kill the wallet when spread out over time.
    Funny, I usually go the other way- start with a cheap bike, upgrade everything and then upgrade the frame.

    It's all good.

    I had an old GT MTB frame that launched a dozen better bikes...

  9. #9
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    1600 OTD for a fatboy is dirt cheap, it comes with decent gear and a good warranty. I wish mine had been that cost. My local shop still has them at $1900+tax, less haggling. you also get the ground control tires which I find to be excellent tires. I have tried different tires on my fatboy and GC's are the best.

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    i've ridden both the fatboy and the cooker and both fit me great. the fatboy however felt like most alu bikes. nothing special. the cooker just felt smoother and sweeter with that steel frame. the vee's don't handle very well compared to many other tires out there. i replaced mine with knards once i wore my vee's out. huge difference in the handling department. a friend of mine just bought a cooker maxi online for $1350.00. for those that don't ever pine to go bigger than 4" tires (this includes me), the 135 rear end is great.

    rog

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    The Fatboy looks like at nice bike for the money. $1600

    Highlights:
    Carbon fiber fork
    X7 derailleurs
    Ground control 120tpi tires

    However, the Motobecane Night Train is a close competitor to it. $1499

    Highlights:
    Bluto fork
    X7/X9 derailleurs
    X7 shifters
    Avid Glide RS brakes
    Vee snow shoes 120tpi tires.

    They both have the same crankset.

    Enjoy whatever you choose.
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    RSD mayor is a winner for under 2k. lighter and set up damN near perfect.

    rog

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    I rode a bunch of fat bikes in my purchase process and narrowed it down to the Minnesota 2.0/3.0 and the Fatboy. I was really surprised at how nice the Minnesota bikes were made for the price. I expected a flexy flyer frame and non functional components, but was pleasantly surprised by a decent fatbike. If I was on a limited budget, I would have snatched one up. I would have been perfectly happy riding one, until I rode the fatboy that is. The Fatboy just felt like a more complete bike. Better quality, brakes, handling, tires, gearing, etc. it just seemed to be a more complete bike. Granted for the price I could probably upgrade the Minnesota to similar or better components, but I'd have no guarantee it would feel as nice as the Fatboy. Add in the lifetime no hassle parts warranty and free two year servicing at my LBS and it was easy for me to justify the price jump and I ended up going with the Fatboy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyJo1 View Post
    FYI the geometry on the Fat boy and the Cooker are almost the exact same. Except you will not hit your brake levers on the top tub on the Cooker.
    FYI: the 2015 Fatboy's have several fixes, including a stock riser so the levers no longer hit the frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paochow View Post
    FYI: the 2015 Fatboy's have several fixes, including a stock riser so the levers no longer hit the frame.
    I own a fatboy.. Easiest fix, move the brakes up.. Done.. No more lever hitting the frame..

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    RSD mayor is a winner for under 2k. lighter and set up damN near perfect.

    rog
    Yes not has pretty as the fatboy but a nice build. It's works good in the single track.
    :thumbsup:It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all the info.

    The Charge seems like a nice bike, but the tires ruined it. I now know what the tern "self steer" means. Not fun. I know tires can be changed, but at how much additional cost? At 1350, just replacing the tires put it at the same cost as the Fatboy.

    Now how are the wheels on the FB in comparison to the other bikes? The frame and fork seem of good quality, and I was surprised at how light it felt. A quick search had guys getting these under 30# by just changing tubes and seat post. That's lighter than my Salsa!

    The FB components seemed to work well, although I'm unsure if the brakes. But at least they are hydro. I wasn't a big fan of grip shift, but it worked fine on this bike. I can also see it being a plus in the winter with gloves.

    I also like the 4.6 tires. If your going fat, you might as well go FAT right? Are there other bikes at that price with that size tire stock? Also a few mentioned future upgrades...I'm more of the type to by the bike specced how I want and don't want to have to upgrade till something breaks.

    Oh, and the 1600 +zero tax is definitely a good price for it?

    Thanks!
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post



    Now how are the wheels on the FB in comparison to the other bikes?


    I also like the 4.6 tires. If your going fat, you might as well go FAT right?

    Oh, and the 1600 +zero tax is definitely a good price for it?
    The rims are very very nice plus they are light but it seems like the rear hub might be a weakness but warranty should take care of that if there are any problems.

    So far the Ground Controls have been my go to tire and I don't have a Fatboy and yes if you are going to get fat why not go big you can always put smaller tires on it if you wish.

    And yes $1600 is a great price.

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    $1600 is a great price, especially for a 2015 model. The new MSRP is $2100.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paochow View Post
    $1600 is a great price, especially for a 2015 model. The new MSRP is $2100.
    I'm pretty sure its the '14 model, hence the discount. Its the black & gold one.
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
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  21. #21
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    I paid over $1800 for my FatBoy last winter and I thought that was a good price at the time considering its features, weight, etc. A friend of mine got a Nashbar fat bike and although he's happy with it, it must weigh 10 pounds more. I've upgraded a few parts on the bike and got it down to exactly 30 pounds. If I had to do it over and saw a FatBoy for $1600, I'd jump right away on it with no hesitation. Winter's coming (was summer ever here in New England?) and these will start selling like hotcakes with prices going up for sure.

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    Looking at the Framed bikes....the Minnesota 3.0 with Bluto for 1,399 looks tempting!

    Not sure I want/need suspension though. That's gotta be a heavy bike!
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
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    Looking at the Framed bikes....the Minnesota 3.0 with Bluto for 1,399 looks tempting!

    Not sure I want/need suspension though. That's gotta be a heavy bike!

    And yeah, not much of a summer. That's okay though, I hate the best. Though it makes me wonder if its foreshadowing a cold winter.
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride
    '11 Santa Cruz Driver 8

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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    I'm pretty sure its the '14 model, hence the discount. Its the black & gold one.
    Could be either one, the 2015's have a stack of spacers under the neck so that is the easiest way to tell. Either way even if it is the older version, rotating the brake levers up as mentioned previously or getting a taller stem, will fix the issue.

  25. #25
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    I have a Fatboy without the spacers (and I am amazed that Specialized would send bikes out like that!) after my first crash on ice the lever hit the top tube and pulled brake lever out of the brake assembly (luckily it was an easy fix), I put a riser stem on to bring the bars up right after the second ride.

    I don't understand the advice of rotating the levers, your brake levers should be in a position that keeps your wrist straight while using them. Maybe I'm just an old guy who has his fingers on the brake lever too much, but if my levers are rotated like they would have to be to prevent them from hitting the top tube I would have very sore wrists at the end of a ride.

    Much like moving the seat to get the proper reach to the handlebars, it's an adjustment that CAN be done, but it's not what SHOULD be done.

  26. #26
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    "Much like moving the seat to get the proper reach to the handlebars, it's an adjustment that CAN be done, but it's not what SHOULD be done."

    Stupid question, Jisch or anybody, to get the proper reach to the handlebars (aside from the right size bike), is that best achieved by swapping stems (length and rise)?

    Reason for my inquiry, I just added a thudbuster to my hardtail, and it set the seat back a bit from what it normally was, and I had to push the seat all the way forward to get to almost feel the same (which prior, I felt was a great fit). Thinking about adding a shorter stem to get it just right.

  27. #27
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    That does seem like a pretty big oversight on Spesh's part.

    I wouldn't touch the brake levers, like Jisch said, I like them positioned in a day that keeps my wrists at a certain angle.

    I'd run a riser bar on it if it didn't have spacers. I like risers anyway, so I'd prob do that either way. Maybe I could get the shop to switch it out for me n/c if I bought it.

    And come to think of it, the one I rode had a hairline scratch across the top tube, the brake lever must have been the cause.

    Jisch, how are you liking your FB? Did you compare it to any others before buying?
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
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  28. #28
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    I owned a Motobecane FB4 prior to buying the Fatboy, I had a friend's Pugsley on a two week loan prior to getting the Motobecane. To me the Pugsley and stock FB4 (with On One Floaters) were on par with each other from a riding perspective. The Pugsley had undrilled rims and tubes, so there was a few pounds of extra rotating weight there.

    The Fatboy is a way better bike than either of those two bikes. The Ground Control tires are awesome, the stock fork is really light. I absolutely love the bike - after adding the Bluto for summer riding in the rocks/roots it has become my go to bike for most rides. I hate to be all gushy, but I love this bike!

    I was planning on waiting for the Chinese carbon bikes to come out, but my wife convinced me that having a bike with a locally executable warranty was important based on my track record in breaking bikes. My rear hub failed last week, so she was proven correct (yet again!).

    @tyriverag: to adjust reach you can add a longer stem - be aware that changing the length of the stem will affect the speed of the steering, but a 10 or 20mm difference will be barely noticeable. On my Niner I went from a medium to a large frame and shortened the stem by 40mm, it was really noticeable on the first ride, but I got used to it pretty quickly. A shorter stem means faster turning.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    I don't understand the advice of rotating the levers, your brake levers should be in a position that keeps your wrist straight while using them.
    agreed. and i don't know why folks would harp on such a thing. do people really go out riding worrying about such things? my bars are so low on my charge that my my rear shifter and both brake levers could hit the top tube full on, but i don't ride to hit my top tube with my controls, i just ride. i suppose if i didn't run my stem negative with a flat bar that i'd have clearance, but i'm not gonna fvck with my position for something like that.

    rog

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyriverag View Post
    "Much like moving the seat to get the proper reach to the handlebars, it's an adjustment that CAN be done, but it's not what SHOULD be done."

    Stupid question, Jisch or anybody, to get the proper reach to the handlebars (aside from the right size bike), is that best achieved by swapping stems (length and rise)?

    Reason for my inquiry, I just added a thudbuster to my hardtail, and it set the seat back a bit from what it normally was, and I had to push the seat all the way forward to get to almost feel the same (which prior, I felt was a great fit). Thinking about adding a shorter stem to get it just right.
    The seat needs to be at the correct place in relation to the bottom bracket so that your pedaling is correct. Sliding it forward to try to duplicate the position that you liked before is the correct thing to do. The correct way to adjust the reach to the handlebars is to have exactly the right length of the top tube. Since that is impractical for fine tuning, adjustments with the stem and handlebars are used to get it perfect. The stem length has a big effect on the steering, so it is important that the length of the top tube is close to correct. In your case getting a slightly shorter stem to fine tune the fit sounds like the way to go. It would correct the fit and speed up the steering at the the same time.

  31. #31
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    Well after a crash on my first ride that wiped out the brake lever and scraped paint off my top tube I realized it is something I needed to address. Not that I plan on crashing, but I can't count on it not happening.

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    Thanks for the detailed answer, Welnic.

  33. #33
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    I just went out and looked at all of mine and they all make contact even my road bike <a*href="https://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php" title="Smiley"><img src="https://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-laughing021.gif" alt="Smiley" border="0" /></a>

    On a serious note I think I will continue to ride the h*ll out of them except for maybe the road bike that one scares me.
    Last edited by bdundee; 08-21-2014 at 12:29 PM.

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    you only need to rotate the brakes ever so slightly so as not to touch the top tube.. it is not that big of a significant turn /twist that it will affect how you brake or hold the brakes... if you notice, and you own a fatboy, the bottom part of your shifter will hit as well anyway.. just ride it, have fun.. and don't crash too much so you don't mess up your brake lever and blame the poor design on the bike.. and if your'e worried about getting scrapes on your bike, might as well not ride it.. you'll get scrapes, paint chips everywhere eventually..

  35. #35
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    While I won't lie, I'm bummed I chipped paint off the top tube on the second ride, that's not really what bugged me about it. It's that they left no room for me to add spacers, I see Specialized rectified that in later versions, so it looks like I wasn't the only one with that complaint. Selling a LARGE framed bike with no room for spacers is a bit ridiculous. I have long legs (as do many people who would buy a large bike) spacers just make sense.

    Anyway, would I buy it again without spacers? Yep, in a heartbeat.

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    If you have a black bike with with a chipped top tube or want some extra protection, I'd get some black vinyl (I used factory effex 16mil) and put a strip across the top tube. I also used it on the chain stays and outer edges of the fork and frame to protect against scratches. It matches very well with the gloss black paint and is difficult to see once installed. You can also use clear over the down tube or parts with graphics. I've used it on many motorcycles and it did a great job protecting against nicks and scrapes.

    To aid in installation, use Stick on or a water/light soap mix to mist the area and float the vinyl on. A hairdryer will assist in getting the vinyl to wrap or lay down on curved surfaces. Note when using clear vinyl, you will have many bubbles/white areas after installing, but they will disappear after a few weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    While I won't lie, I'm bummed I chipped paint off the top tube on the second ride, that's not really what bugged me about it. It's that they left no room for me to add spacers, I see Specialized rectified that in later versions, so it looks like I wasn't the only one with that complaint. Selling a LARGE framed bike with no room for spacers is a bit ridiculous. I have long legs (as do many people who would buy a large bike) spacers just make sense.

    Anyway, would I buy it again without spacers? Yep, in a heartbeat.
    i totally agree with you.. about buying the fatboy in a heartbeat.. just kidding.. point well taken.. i have a large fatboy too and hate to have it scratched up in the first mos... hell in the first year.. it's that nice.. i would wrap it up in plastic if i could then ride it just to keep it nice and clean.. but then i would be falling off the bike everytime.. my advice was just a simple solution which might not work for all but it did work for me.. plus the fact that it is the first gen fatboy and spesh has rectified the problem on the 2015 model.. i'm pretty sure it's not gonna be perfect again.. new complaints will pop up.. design flaws or not.. anyway.. loving my fatboy, an upgrade from my kona wo which i had for only 3 mos..

  38. #38
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    Thanks for all the replies!

    I like the idea of the vinyl wrapping, I had thought of that as a possible solution, and also as a way to cover the graphics on the down tube....I really don't care for them. I think the bike would look good all blacked out.

    So I've been reading reviews, and it seems one of the big features of this bike is the handling....it handles more like a XC MTB than a typical fatty. I like the idea of that, as I like that style bike.

    One thing I m wondering about is front suspension. With the Bluto out is a rigid bike obsolete? Do you guys on rigid bikes lust for suspension?

    Oh and sizing .... I'm 5'9 with a 31" inseam. They had a small and a large. I didn't ride the small but felt fine on the large. Does that sound about right?
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
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    are you sure you guys are mountain bikers? bummed about scratches? really? i'm serious.

    maybe special-ed should use more paint. i could practically drag my charge across pavement and the multiple layers of nice white paint wouldn't be much worse for wear.

    rog

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    Yeah bikes are gonna get scratched up, but there's nothing wrong with trying to protect it if possible. It won't hurt anything and can help with resale down the line.

    Just because your bikes isn't beat to sh!t doesn't mean you're not a real rider.

    As far as the brake lever, yeah a scratch isnt the end of the world, but getting your brake lever damaged on the trail could be.

    And a lot of times I'll pull the front wheel and lay the bike down with the handlebar flat on the floor of my car. Having the brakes hitting the frame would probably be annoying.
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
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    '12 Trek 6000
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post


    One thing I m wondering about is front suspension. With the Bluto out is a rigid bike obsolete? Do you guys on rigid bikes lust for suspension?
    front suspension has been around for a good 25 years. nothing new. some of us prefer full rigid on non fat bikes, so why would we want it with big squishy tires? no lust for suspension here. it's a bicycle. a simple machine that moves forward when you push on the pedals. your arms can move can't they? experience the terrain as it should be experienced. don't mask the gnar with sussy fork. learn to be smooth in the gnar. if you want to mask the gnar, go road riding.

    Oh and sizing .... I'm 5'9 with a 31" inseam. They had a small and a large. I didn't ride the small but felt fine on the large. Does that sound about right?
    yer a medium dood.

    rog

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    I loved my Fatboy with a rigid fork, but love it even more with the Bluto on it. Its really hard to crank through rock gardens when there's no rebound control on the bounce in the tires. Again, I loved it with the carbon fork, it's so light - lots of fun, but if I want to keep up with the big boys on the technical trails around here, the Bluto makes it a lot easier.

    I'm 6' with 34.5" inseam - on a large.

    I laid my bike down on a rock on the last ride, huge scratch down the down tube - and that bothered me a lot less than the brake lever hitting the top tube.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    I loved my Fatboy with a rigid fork, but love it even more with the Bluto on it. Its really hard to crank through rock gardens when there's no rebound control on the bounce in the tires. Again, I loved it with the carbon fork, it's so light - lots of fun, but if I want to keep up with the big boys on the technical trails around here, the Bluto makes it a lot easier.

    I'm 6' with 34.5" inseam - on a large.

    I laid my bike down on a rock on the last ride, huge scratch down the down tube - and that bothered me a lot less than the brake lever hitting the top tube.
    Thanks for the info.

    I decided against pulling the trigger on this one, while it's a nice bike and a good deal, it's just not the one for me at this time.

    I've been reading more on the Bluto, and I think having FS will really increase my enjoyment of the bike and the places where I'll want to ride it. The trails I ride my FS 29'er on are very rocky and rooty, a rigid bike will just rattle me to pieces. We don't get enough snow here to necessitate having a "snow" bike, so I'd like it to be as versatile as possible. I'm thinking more of a beefy hardtail than a strictly winter bike.

    And I know I could add a fork to the Fatboy at a later date, the other thing was that they didn't have my size. I really should be on the M, even though the L felt okay in a parking lot ride. I made the mistake of going to large with my Ridley, I don't want to do it again.

    Right now I'm thinking the framed 3.0 w/Bluto at $1,399 or the $1,299 Sturgis bullet are the way to go. Comparable components, plus the fok, at a few hundred bucks less.

    The Lurch and Boris are very tempting as well, but I really want the suspension.

    Thanks for all the replies and info, I learned a lot. And there are enough threads on the BD bikes that I shouldn't have to start another.
    '15 Charge Cooker Maxi 2
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride
    '11 Santa Cruz Driver 8

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