Things don't always have to be so black and white.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Except when it, uh, makes sense for them to.









    New bike time. Most important thing to remember is that any fatbike, for me, is always going to be meant for snow ~90% of the time.











    I may get a wild hair to do something requiring added float in the non-snow months, but those trips are the exception, and pretty much any geometry will work on soft, unfrozen surfaces.











    Key word above=geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.



    No way.











    Pictured here with summer kit (fork, post, grips) and wheels.











    Heirloom stem. Single pinch bolt for ease of turning the bars sideways--when strapping the bike onto a packraft, or stuffing the whole thing into a bush plane.











    Heirloom bars. They hold ~12oz of liquid, most often denatured alcohol.











    Horizontal strut for ease of portage. Fatbikes can be ridden lots of places that normal bikes cannot, but they still have their limits. And since I usually ride with a framebag in place, that strut becomes my suitcase handle.











    Proto? Hopefully not for long. Running 'em tubeless at ~13psi on Derby rims.











    26t ring is plenty for where/how I ride it.

















    It's the little things.











    Love the clean functionality of this cockpit.

















    Rack TBD.











    Honestly, I do not and will not ride this bike much for 10 months of the year. But I cannot imagine being entirely without a floaty chassis. Those other ~2 months it'll get used enough to justify it's existence many times over.











    More details to come as I put more miles on it.



    Thanks for checkin' in.
    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:47 PM.

  2. #2
    M8 M12 M15 deez nuts
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    Jeez… the teaser shots… I was just wanting the full frontal, which you saved until last (my broadband is limited to 183KB/sec—NO JOKE—for the time being, until PacBell/AT&T/etc. upgrades their sh¡t in my neck of the woods; the upside is that I spend less time on teh intarwebs and more time riding the trails). HOWEVER, very artsy fartsy stuff going on there. Looks like an awesome-ass setup. I’d almost pay extra to have that prototype tire warning stamped onto all my tires, just for sh¡ts and giggles.
    Don’t frail and blow if you’re going to Braille and Flow.

  3. #3
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    Nice welds!

  4. #4
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    That's a well thought out masterpiece.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Any bike, anywhere, anytime.
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  5. #5
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    been interested to see how this one came out since NAHBS....sweet as!....the details are (pedictably) thoughtful and well executed....interested to see how the geo is compared to your last one with the actiontec shock.

    also looking forward to your appraisal of the chronicle especially on derby 35s in dirt...i do wonder if 35mm is enough to keep the tyre edge in play...

    sweet.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Pretty sucky bike. Ugly bushes, too. You're a bad man, Mikesee. May your teeth fall out and hair grow in their place.

  7. #7
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    Key word above = geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.
    Mike - do illuminate, for the ignorant patzers like myself who are stumbling around the world in the dark (for me, on a Pugs), what the enlightened few (read: you, "The Chosen One") has determined to be geometry that truly works in the snow.

  8. #8
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    Please provide a geometry chart ( rudimentary is fine) for us goobers that ride our fat bikes so cluelessly without a proper understanding of what is the "best".

    Btw, nice looking bike.

  9. #9
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    Fools.......

    Snow is for shovelin'

    Sand is for ridin'!
    It's all about the firecuts

  10. #10
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    Angles look very slack....Look at the seat in relation to the rear tire..could just be the fork.
    The bike is never to heavy, you are just to WEAK!

  11. #11
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    "Key word above = geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing."

    WOW!!! I'm glad you are here to explain every thing.

  12. #12
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    very nice
    SR Suntour

  13. #13
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    Damn. That's a mighty fine machine there. Nice pics as always too. Aside from a custom frame, which production frame comes closest to your idea of "perfect" geometry?
    Jason
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  14. #14
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    How does the liquid in the bars feel, or for that matter your old frame which filled all the main tubes? No different than a 1/2 full bottle in a cage, or can you feel/hear it sloshing about?

    Interesting no PF 120 BB which is all the rage to max stay clearances.

  15. #15
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    Nice looking rig.
    A 3.0 tire doesn't do much to support your anti-non-snow fat rhetoric however.

  16. #16
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    I was expecting something with a ski or a hovercraft.

    99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.

  17. #17
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    Time for a boring question - hot as hell bike btw - what grips are those? They don't exactly look like Ergons. I liked the flare at the palm that Ergons had but the otherwise cylindrical diameter proved too much for my apparently tiny hands to hold onto in the rough (squishy bike or not).
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

  18. #18
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    Key word above = geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care.


    Sah-weeet rig. That attention to detail makes me superpumped to be getting my hands on a set of wheels you built for me...iffn the FedEx man ever gets to mah house

    As I am a fat bike noob (in N. CA and my bike will most likely never see the snow unless I hit up Tahoe in winter) I would like to learn more about what would make better snow geometry than what is currently being offered by most/all manufacturers.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Key word above = geometry. *I had a custom frame built because although <i>everyone </i>seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. *99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. *Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.
    Of course I'd tell you what actually does work, but then I'd have to kill you... Bask in your ignorance minions!!!

  20. #20
    All fat, all the time.
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    Mmmm, clean! like the full cable housing, nice choice in cranks and little ring up front too.

    Needs fatterer tires though!

  21. #21
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    Sweet looking ride, Mike. Custom ti is way outta my price range, but those rims may be just the ticket for a future 29+ build I have I mind. How do you like em so far? Re snow geometry, I'm unfortunately in both groups: the 99.9% without a clue and the 10% who care. Could you, um, elaborate a little?
    Veni vidi velo!

  22. #22
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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    Time for a boring question - hot as hell bike btw - what grips are those? They don't exactly look like Ergons. I liked the flare at the palm that Ergons had but the otherwise cylindrical diameter proved too much for my apparently tiny hands to hold onto in the rough (squishy bike or not).
    I want those grips whenever Mike posts his builds . But rest assured , he ain't going to give up the geo or the grips.

  23. #23
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    Have SRAM figured out the twist shifter problems? Seems like they were all blowing up last year.

  24. #24
    All fat, all the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Have SRAM figured out the twist shifter problems? Seems like they were all blowing up last year.
    Any specific versions?
    I have a 10 speed X0 twist for new build....hope it holds up ok....

  25. #25
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    Love the Ti. I bet it rides like a dream

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjedoaks View Post
    I want those grips whenever Mike posts his builds . But rest assured , he ain't going to give up the geo or the grips.
    Ye of little faith. I've always found Mike to be responsive, just not immediately so, on account of ...being busy.

    Frame note - I like the top tube to seat collar strut. I have similar on my pavement bike, and it is featured on the Kona "Wo" fat bike (edit actually this is wrong, it looks like they changed their design from what I remembered) and the RSD "Mayor" fat bike. Useful.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

  27. #27
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    Fancy bike, those chain stays look nice and short.

  28. #28
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    Bent seat tube = short chain stays.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    ...Frame note - I like the top tube to seat collar strut. I have similar on my pavement bike, and it is featured on the Kona "Wo" fat bike...
    I like that feature too. As a person who does a fair share of hike-a-bike I would find it useful. A handle is really useful with something as unwieldy to carry as a bike.

    I have found it useful on my full suspension bike when off road....

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Any specific versions?
    I have a 10 speed X0 twist for new build....hope it holds up ok....
    Timely question! I just blew up my XX 10spd rear Gripshifter. As a big fan of the old, simple design I was worried about the new ones with all those little parts. Turns out I was right. Part of the new design is their so-called Speed Metal, wherein the indexing parts (pawl spring and detent ring) are made of steel. Unfortunately, the pawl is retained by some delicate plastic parts, which appear to be what broke. I'm giving them a second chance, but I'm not happy about it (@ $150 for one shifter). XX and X0 are identical inside BTW. XX just comes with Gore cables.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johanneson View Post
    That bike is as fat as anything out there. (Just defending the bike)
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."

    A bike like the one pictured in this post, with 29x3" tires, is by definition NOT a fat bike.

    So while all the rest of us are "happy looking down on our gee-whiz bulbous tires", the op is deluding himself into thinking he is on a fat bike, when in fact, he is riding a 29+ bike.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."

    A bike like the one pictured in this post, with 29x3" tires, is by definition NOT a fat bike.

    So while all the rest of us are "happy looking down on our gee-whiz bulbous tires", the op is deluding himself into thinking he is on a fat bike, when in fact, he is riding a 29+ bike.

    EFIS,
    like I said, not defending the OP, just the very fat bike that happens to be set up with a skinny wheel/tire combo in the pics. That's all.

  33. #33
    Anchorage, AK
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    Awesome bike. I put skinny tires and rims on my fat bike in the summer, too. It's still a fat bike.
    --Peace

  34. #34
    giddy up!
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    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."

    A bike like the one pictured in this post, with 29x3" tires, is by definition NOT a fat bike.

    So while all the rest of us are "happy looking down on our gee-whiz bulbous tires", the op is deluding himself into thinking he is on a fat bike, when in fact, he is riding a 29+ bike.
    Totally. The OP has no idea what he's talking about......he's probably never even ridden on snow.....let alone done any of those races with mandatory tire sizes.....

    I also heard he's from Iowa.

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  35. #35
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    Not saying the OP doesn't know what he's talking about, just don't understand why he feels the need to insult "99.9% of the people".
    Looks like a great bike, and we all know he is a great rider. Sorry if I offended anyone's sensibilities.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Not saying the OP doesn't know what he's talking about, just don't understand why he feels the need to insult "99.9% of the people".
    Looks like a great bike, and we all know he is a great rider. Sorry if I offended anyone's sensibilities.
    I'd be offended if I had sensibilities. Anyone have some they want to get rid of?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dRjOn View Post
    been interested to see how this one came out since NAHBS....sweet as!....the details are (pedictably) thoughtful and well executed....interested to see how the geo is compared to your last one with the actiontec shock.

    also looking forward to your appraisal of the chronicle especially on derby 35s in dirt...i do wonder if 35mm is enough to keep the tyre edge in play...

    sweet.
    A few random answers, starting with the questions above:

    -Geo is virtually identical to the old YBB, but this one can fit Lou on a hundie. FTW!

    -On the Chronicles in particular I'm not sure how much rim width matters, as the edge and transition knobs are stacked so tightly together. Not getting the true benefit of an edge knob regardless of rim width.

    -Grips are Phorm, any shop with a QBP account can get 'em.

    -Fuel in frame was never noticeable, half-full bars are noticeable but I don't think they really change anything. Fun to note sloshing noises emanating from cockpit when hauling the mail.

    -Folks seem to be getting their undies in a bunch re: my 99.9%/90% comments. Sorry you're choosing to take 'em that way.

    I'll be happy to explain my take on geo, and a little on how I've come to the conclusions I have over the last 20 years and ~20,000 miles of riding on snow. But first, I'm going to indulge in a summer weekend.

    Sounds like some of you need to do that more than I do.

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:49 PM.

  38. #38
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    I find that bike to be aesthetically very pleasing. I especially like the angle of the seat tube brace against the top tube. Some kind of feng shui of tube angles going on there.

  39. #39
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    Re: Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    ^ Is there a mass produced bike that you think has good geo for snow?

  40. #40
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    Key word above = geometry. I had a custom frame built because although everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow. 99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care. Most are simply happy looking down on their gee-whiz bulbous tires, thinking that the tires are the most important thing.

    The first statement in bold is very true, the rest feels smug and elitist. Just the way it came across, thats all.

  41. #41
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    Gotcha. Can't control the way what I write is interpreted, but if you'll give me the benefit of the doubt for the next few (days? weeks?) I'll explain what I meant and you might look upon those words in a different light.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    cuz he's a pompous twit as i stated earlier. funneh how says that folks should stay off the internet. and thinks that riding fatbikes more than 2 months a year is stupid/beneath him. then he get's on the internet, posts a blog about his better than anyone else's bike with hey look at me i'm cool cuz i test tires that no one else gets to ride all the while coming across as an i'm better than 99.9% *****bag.

    sad thing is he put way too much time and dime into a bike that is, in fact, just a fvcking bike. and will prolly crack at a weld sooner than later.

    rog
    I think you are failing to understand the difference between an internet "expert", and an actual expert.

    I also suspect that mikesee's "2 months of a year" riding fatbikes exceeds most folks annual mileage.


    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."...
    Ah, racing! The boys with rulebooks telling us what our bikes should look like. There's more to fatbikes than the tiny world of going fast. That's the same mindset that has retarded bike development over the last century.

    I think most of the regulars on here are happy to accept 3" bikes* as being in the fatbike family - this is certainly the case amongst the UK fatbikers.



    *ie, any bike that takes a tyre that too wide to fit in a normal bike.



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  43. #43
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    For a guy like mikesee, tires probably don't matter that much. He is an elite rider. For the remaining 99.9% of us, tires are the most important thing.
    Internet forums are problematic this way, it is hard to infer tone.
    That said, if I was making money selling fat wheels and tires to people who are less capable / accomplished than I am, I would be extra careful about how I addressed my potential customers on the internet.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    I'd be offended if I had sensibilities. Anyone have some they want to get rid of?
    Sorry, sold all mine years ago. For way too cheap
    It's all about the firecuts

  45. #45
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    The bike is new. The bike is sweet. I like bikes. I'm sure Mike will share his geometry numbers and riding impressions once he puts in some chamois time on his bike. Some people are too easily offended.

    Rog, you are entitled to your opinions, but why result to insults about a sweet custom Ti frame? Value is in the eye of the beholder. What kind of bike do you ride? I'm sure people could also criticize what you ride, but what does that accomplish? I hope you love your bike, but I feel that it's pretty uncool to imply multiple times that this frame is going to break. Did you drink your Metamucil recently because you seem pretty unhappy. Cheer up dude. Maybe if you ask nicely Mike will let you ride his new bike and you will see the light. Peace out!

  46. #46
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    Mikesee had to know writing it that there would be some jimmies rustled. Regardless, I would be one to ask what about the geometry makes it better in the snow. With the geometry of the YBB, is it shifting your weight in a different manner, or putting you in a different riding position? Or does it remind you of a smoking hot old girlfriend, and keep you warm....even on the coldest of rides?

  47. #47
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    Yeah, Mike strikes me as one who does not make such statements without context, if I do not understand or agree, holding his opinion in reserve seems wise.

    It is interesting that rog lists his only bike as a rigid Independence Fabrication Ti 29er; nothing wrong with that...save for the present context?

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    expert schmexpert, the guy comes across as a bit of a *****. and clearly i'm not the only one not confused about that fact...
    I read mikesee's posts because it is accurate information. I don't give a stuff if he is a bit acerbic - I'd sooner hear his opinion than gee whizz warm fuzzies elsewhere.

    If you don't like him, it's easy to put him on your ignore list, but before you do that, I suggest you read through this forum and concentrate on what he has contributed.


    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    ...drive side chainstay/dropout weld will be the 1st to fail....
    As a matter of interest, what would be the reason? (I couldn't see any obvious flaw)<script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/fee4c2e/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>
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  49. #49
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    Re: Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    For a guy like mikesee, tires probably don't matter that much. He is an elite rider. For the remaining 99.9% of us, tires are the most important thing.
    I would like to simultaneously agree and disagree. An elite rider is more likely to notice a loss in cornering traction because they can ride at or near the traction limit. They may notice the subtle differences in the way different tires corner. But they may also need less ultimate traction in climbing and other situations due to better body position, preservation of momentum, and other factors relating to experience. I know I put a lot more on my tires as I improve. While my precision and consistency improves, the difficulty of features and terrain I ride increases commensurately.

  50. #50
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    Word a read (all bazillion pages) to see how mikesee sees things "differently" than everyone else. Very one-sided and sometimes judicious use of numbers that aren't quite correct, lots of other people with valid differing opinions. http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/bi...er-883240.html

    It's good to see some balance though, and that post (above) has a lot if you read it all. Nothing wrong with mike showing us a new bike and how cool it is. The execution is what people remember though.
    "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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    With all the questions about secret geometry I had to go back to the beginning and make sure I wasn't in a Sandman thread by accident.

    I get the ruffled feathers. I also look at people's contribution to MTBR in its totality when considering a specific post.

    Mike C adds a lot to this site and backs up his ideas/opinions with riding.

    MTBR is too full of people arguing about geo charts or theoretical BS and not actually getting hard stuff done that pushes their limits and demonstrates the points they are trying to make with pedal strokes.
    Safe riding,

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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey View Post
    I also heard he's from Iowa.

    BB
    I'm from Iowa, but then I married a Montana woman. Now I wonder how I lived without mountains for so many years.

  53. #53
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    Keep it civil, if you don't like his opinion or whatever unsubscribe. We have a million threads on MTBR, I'm sure there is one on here that is your cup of tea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    Keep it civil, if you don't like his opinion or whatever unsubscribe. We have a million threads on MTBR, I'm sure there is one on here that is your cup of tea.
    If you ever need a new sheriff for the Fat Forum, personally I wouldn't pick me but I'm here for ya if needed.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    Nice looking rig.
    A 3.0 tire doesn't do much to support your anti-non-snow fat rhetoric however.
    Quote Originally Posted by efuss View Post
    Every fat bike race in the world has the following somewhere in their rules:
    "Fatbikes shall be defined as bikes with 3.7” or wider tires"
    "Fat Bikes must have BOTH tires 3.7″ or wider."

    A bike like the one pictured in this post, with 29x3" tires, is by definition NOT a fat bike.

    So while all the rest of us are "happy looking down on our gee-whiz bulbous tires", the op is deluding himself into thinking he is on a fat bike, when in fact, he is riding a 29+ bike.
    "Pictured here with summer kit (fork, post, grips) and wheels."

    If only I could read as well as look at pretty pictures.
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  56. #56
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    I'm sure Mike has his geometry preferences, but I'd have to think that Speedway and 907 have a pretty good idea what works on snow, but what do I know, I just ride my bikes.

  57. #57
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    That's a beautiful bike!

    So, was that moots you were selling some time back. It must be nice to live in that gray area. I'm stuck with black or white but, im happy with that because, that's much better then clear. LOL!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    It is interesting that rog lists his only bike as a rigid Independence Fabrication Ti 29er; nothing wrong with that...save for the present context?
    that bike is loooong gone.

    rog

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    good on snow? think long.

    rog

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    Low latitude winter (and jungle!) mode.





    Interesting that in the last ~3+ months of collecting dust the tires have wept sealant but not (that I can tell) air. I'll worry about that in November...
    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:55 PM.

  61. #61
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    That triangular space formed by the handbag grip/strut - is it big enough to fit a hand with gloves in? The smaller front angle sure makes the space even tighter.
    I'd worry that my knuckels would get stuck like that:
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    Acerbic...had to look it up. His statement that many take issue with; is.

    For what purpose...a tease...that likes to be sly about it.

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    Sweet ride. Welds are gorgeous.

    There is no denying mikesee's palmares. His preferences for his bicycle design and setup are honed by his journey. Take away what you can from it. I'm particularly impressed with the fuel in the bars trick, which he has used before on the Snoots. I also like other tricks he used previously like heat shrink on his cable housings to prevent shattering/cracking in extreme cold. His point about having a handle is valid too - I'll take that idea and try to replicate it with webbing.

    That said, I really enjoy my Ti Salsa Mukluk. While not as radical or personal a design as Mike's, it's very proficient as a summer trail bike with a Bluto. Also capable of taking a 29+ wheel set in the other 10 months thanks to the foresight of using the alternator dropouts. Smart design. Geometry seems to work just fine on steep snowy trails here in the Northeast (Ontario, Quebec and Vermont). It also seems to work very well in the big fat bike races for folks like Jay and Tracy Petervary, and they also know a thing or two about what works in long distance snow racing.

    That's the beauty of getting totally custom designed bicycles. You can get whatever you dream up, whatever your reasons are.

  64. #64
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    Hey it's got Bud & Lous on it. It's a fat bike now!

    Gorgeous rig, man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobKong View Post
    Hey it's got Bud & Lous on it. It's a fat bike now! Gorgeous rig, man.
    I think I'm getting indoctrinated. It looks better with fat tires.

  66. #66
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    I'm impressed with the dropper cable routing. It goes into the down tube, then its all internal? I guess you need to have the BB out to route it up the seat tube? Neat.

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    There are a couple of take-aways from Mike's new ride.

    What appears to be the non-stop conversation about tire size and what tires fit on what bikes is tough to wade thru. Rightfully, some of the conversation should be around how the bike rides and that begins with geometry.

    Secondly, for someone of Mike's riding skill and attention to detail off the bike is a benefit for all of us. He built up a set of wheels for me a few years ago and has been a great resource in helping me get the most out of the bike I ride.

    I was getting nervous with all of the boating adventures he was posting for a while. Thought he was going to give up on the bike...ha

  68. #68
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    Damn, that is one hot bike.

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    First real off-road, soft-surface ride yesterday. Started easy, turned into a muddy slugfest.

    Before the mud:





    Some punchy, chunky climbs with constantly greased tires required attention and deliberateness.





    And then the mud began...





    Shot a little bit of vid--will try to get that up soon.


    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:56 PM.

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    Is the geometry still secret?

  71. #71
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    I would guess short chain stays, with a not to slack head tube .... sure makes bdundee's custom feel nice when I took it for a short spin , wish I could wheelie like bOb
    I am slow therefore I am

  72. #72
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    Disclaimer: Below I've shared a bit about the journey I've taken with respect to riding fat tired bicycles on snow. I do not purport that any action I've taken or design I've settled on is the only, one, true, undeniable way forward. The world is big, conditions vary drastically from region to region and even hour to hour, and I am just one person with limited finances and time, doing what I can to notice things, think about them, improve upon them. A lot of the conclusions I've drawn and solutions I've found were based on extensive trial and error on a series of ever-improving bikes, tested in extremely variable conditions. I've verified that the changes I detail below are indeed substantive improvements by hopping onto most of the commonly available fatbikes and taking them out on the same trails, in the same conditions, to compare. Still, I'm just one rider with my own set of experiences and biases, and I don't expect anyone to take these tests or conclusions as indisputable proof of anything. Rather, I hope that the ideas give you reason to thinker on and experiment with your own setup, in your own conditions, and to draw your own conclusions.

    * * * * * * *

    Snow. Kabloona say that eskimos have a hundred (a thousand?) words for it, but that's sort of inaccurate because what they really have are a heap of descriptors for the different ways that snow manifests itself in their daily lives: round and styrofoamy snow skittering across the ice, heavy snow that's wet from overflow, wind-driven snow that gets up into your eyes, snow that bends then breaks branches, snow that snowmachines get stuck in.

    Of these, the one that I am most interested in is that light, dry, airy, almost moistureless snow that falls in the early winter in my backyard--the mountains of Colorado. This snow falls in decent quantities--a foot or two at a time--and then the skies clear for a day or a week, or even two, and the dry, cold air above sucks what little moisture there is in the snowpack right *out* of the snowpack. Skiers refer to what's left as 'sugar' or 'rotten'. Drop a ball bearing into it and that BB will keep moving downward until it hits bedrock, as there is absolutely nothing to slow it down--no crust, no moisture, no layers of thicker and thinner.

    Run over it with a snowmachine or even a snowcat, and it packs down somewhat, but it does not stick together. Try to make a snowball out of it and you'll soon find yourself either frustrated or laughing, because unless you add water this snow will simply not adhere to itself.

    Why belabor this point?

    Because if I'm riding a bike, on snow, these are the conditions I get ~90% of the time. This kind of snow is difficult to ride, at best, and more often difficult to wade through while smacking your shins on the useless bike you're dragging next to you. And of this moistureless snow my backyard mountain gets copious quantities: 33 feet a year, on average. Riders trying to learn this medium need to think about it three dimensionally, for they will be within it more often than atop it.

    To be clear, when I speak of snow I'm not referring to that moist, packable stuff that you lucky bastiges get in Anchorage or Minneapolis (aka the twin centers of the fatbike diaspora) or coastal BC--the kind that quickly sets up into white concrete and that you could ride a MTB or even a CX bike on. That simply doesn't happen here.

    Not coincidentally, the snowpack of my backyard is also somewhat common in...

    (wait for it...)

    ...Interior Alaska. They don't get as much of it up there as we get down here, but the end result is the same: snow that doesn't pack well, blows around often, and has little to no base beneath.

    I've spent a good portion of my adult life fanatically (not too strong a word) obsessed with finding ways to be efficient when riding on and in this medium. Specifically, I set as a goal over 20 years ago, before I'd ever been to Alaska, that I wanted to ride every inch of the Iditarod Trail.

    To date I've ridden roughly 6500 miles on that single trail, including 4
    complete Knik to Nome traverses, all in winter conditions. With each passing year I delved deeper into learning how to be safer, faster, and (most importantly) more efficient so that I could go still further, with less of a safety net, and yet feel confident that I'd emerge out the other side.

    The net result of that fanaticism is an acute awareness that what works to keep a rider upright and pedaling through this kind of snow is very different from what the major players are pushing right now.

    They've got the unenviable task of trying to please all the people, all the time. Think about that for a second: They have to compete on price first and foremost, now that everyone's vying for a piece of the pie. And they don't want to alienate a potential customer, so right off the bat they're convinced that they need to make their bike fit 6 different racks and 12 different bags and 7 different front derailleur standards, plus have 13 different bottle cage mounts as well as remain compatible with every crank and chainring and q-factor option. Plus fenders! In trying to please everyone they're making too many compromises, chief among them is that in order to fit 3 chainrings *and* a 5" tire, they have to lengthen the rear center by over an inch. An inch is a significant number when it comes to bike geometry, and in this case it means that the rider's center of gravity is another inch removed from the rear axle. That arrangement works fine on hardpack and singletrack. But this is a fatbike, in my case a snowbike, and how it handles on hardpacked singletrack is of little interest. You can ride *any* bike on a hardpacked surface, but if you take just any bike to the above-described soft surfaces you will be disappointed. And you won't ride much.

    I'm grossly overgeneralizing on this next sentence, simply to make a point. What the manufacturers are doing is making average bikes for average people. That is, the bike that doesn't offend anyone's sensibilities while still remaining somewhat attractive and reasonably affordable.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with that. In fact from their perspective it's just good business to make a product that appeals to the masses, not a teeny, tiny niche.

    They're also gambling to a large extent that few buying these bikes will ever ride them on snow and discover that:
    1. Snow riding is difficult, slow, and unexciting, and,
    2. The geometry they just sold you sucks frozen monkey ass.

    And while length (chainstay, wheelbase, cockpit) is not the only consideration, the amalgamated blend of those big three is the top of the heap. (For those of you speed-reading through this in hopes that I'm going to come right out and say "X head angle with Y BB drop and Z chainstay length is *the* magic ticket, just stop. It's not ever that simple.)

    When I wrote the initial post, way back at the tip-top of this thread, I stated that:

    '99.9% of the people buying and riding fatbikes these days don't know any better, and 90% of them don't care'.

    In that statement I was referring to the fact that few people are riding these bikes on snow to begin with. And of those very few that are, almost all of them assume that tire size and pressure are 'the whole deal' when it comes to being able to ride instead of push your bike. It's becoming more understood that pressure *is* hugely important ("when in doubt, let air out") but what happens when you're struggling along at 2psi, virtually riding on the rims, and that's still not low enough?

    In the last two decades I've been in that scenario countless times, and each time I've asked myself 'what can I do to make the conditions underfoot rideable, given current rim and tire technology'?

    To the end of finding answers to that question, I've designed, paid to have built, and extensively ridden 8 different snowbikes. By extensively I mean tens of thousands of miles in the last 18 years, mostly in the above described conditions. With each new bike I had to go in knowing that no matter how much we tweaked the design, what we would arrive at this time was still going to be a compromise in some way. Every bike is.

    The first custom had 18.9" chainstays. If you ever want to know if a certain change in geometry will make a difference, exaggerate it. The next one had 17.2" stays, and although the rims and tires were identical between the two, on the shorter bike I could maintain traction effortlessly by comparison. Soon rims got fatter and tires got more volume, yet not until almost a decade later did tires get fat and have reasonable tread. In that interminable "Remolino/Endo/Larry/BFL" vortex it was a given that while your tires would have some float, they'd have zero effective traction at any pressure. My succinct way to describe the handling of a bike with Remo's or Endo's on snow was, "It goes sideways almost as fast as it goes forward". So I did everything I could within those constraints to make my bikes float, dig, and track better.

    Wider rims helped a lot, by squaring off the profile of the tire. You still didn't have actual edge knobs with which to lean and/or dig, but by removing the round profile you could at least gain a measure of consistency. Wider rims meant that in sugary or wind-affected snow, your wheels were less likely to squirt out from beneath you.

    Shortening the rear center was big. Think about it this way--the medium on which you are riding is dynamic: Shifting, changing, moving beneath your tires. You, as a human, are pathetic and weak, able to put out a whopping average of one horsepower on a warm, sunny, scantily-clad June day. But in January, entombed as you are in layer upon layer of Windshopper, Poor-Tex, and Primacost, and with subzero air on offer to your torched lungs, no way you're putting out even that much. So you have to maximize what you can put out, and you do that by bringing the rear wheel up under your center of gravity, the better to keep it from slipping and spinning when the snow can barely hold itself together. Put differently, by bringing the rear wheel more underneath your body weight, you minimize the amount of body english needed to maintain forward momentum in marginal conditions, which means you move forward more, using less energy.

    The thing about shortening the rear center is that while it gains you massive amounts of traction out back, it also changes the handling of the front end of the bike. Now (all else equal) there's not much weight over the front, so the front wheel wants to wander and wash. No free lunch. What to do?

    You do two things.

    First, drop the BB. This brings more weight forward over the front wheel, without having to resort to long/low stems, or excessively short front center measurements. Snow is quite tolerant of a low BB, with the ancillary benefit that a low BB means added standover. Next time you're riding in soft snow, and you're forced to dab, and your foot goes more than ankle deep, and keeps going...

    ...then you'll probably realize how important a healthy amount of standover really is.

    Next, pick your favorite blend of HTA and offset to net yourself a LOT more trail than you're used to. I like a trail number of about 100mm on my snowbikes. That amount is a compromise like any other number picked out of thin air, but it's a compromise that allows the bike to track straight on flats, carve corners when properly weighted, and remain neutral in ruts and off camber. At the risk of redundancy, we're talking strictly about soft, baseless, marginally-rideable-at-3psi snow.

    Once we'd experimented with these three big changes and saw the general direction we wanted to go, it was time to do further experimentation to determine how far to go. To that end we experimented with seat tube angles to mimic the effect of shortening the rear end--and learned that getting weight directly over the rear axle is probably the Most Important Thing. How you achieve it (slack STA with straight post? medium STA with a setback post? steep STA with super setback?!?!) is debatable, and probably always will be.

    This is getting long winded and there are probably all of 3 people left reading, so I should wrap it up. How much to shorten the rear end, how low to go on the BB, how slack to make the front end--these are all questions to be answered by individuals and smaller builders, the people that actually see the value in faffing about with bikes, and then going out to see what their faffing has achieved. Leave those questions (and answers) up to the bigger players and you'll continue to get average bikes that struggle where the hardpack ends. Beaten men follow beaten paths, and all that.

    For my part, I have yet to find the point of diminishing returns with respect to a short rear center. The bike pictured here has a chainstay length of just a hair over 17". That was as short as we could go while still maintaining clearance for a 5" tire on a 100mm rim, as well as a 29+ tire and rim. Someone should go shorter still.

    Eventually, I'm sure I will.

    Thanks for reading,

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 08-28-2015 at 09:45 PM.

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    Great read MC!!

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    Very interesting. Thanks, Mike.
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    Great stuff. We don't get snow like mikesee's but I think a semi parallel is some of the desert trails I have ridden when I lived in Australia, stuff called bulldust that is like slow liquid.

    I used to reverse the fork crown on suspension forks to increase the trail.

    The 100mm trail figure also seems to be my magic number. I have tried various permutations in experiments and usually come back to this regardless of HA.

    One way to get a back wheel closer is to use a duplex/truss downtube. The early "safety" bikes had huge back wheels and they solved the problem that way.







    I think ultimately we are going to see a split in the fatbike ranks. Fatbikes for trail centres will need geometry tuned for stunts, and there will be fatbikes for actually going places. Both perfectly valid types.

    Hopefully there will be a few manufacturers listening to mikesee.<script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/5b14a092/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/5b14a092/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/5b14a092/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    I used to reverse the fork crown on suspension forks to increase the trail.
    This was one thing we did to manipulate geo on existing chassis'. Own a Moonlander? Flip the fork around and ride it for awhile that way.





    In the end it wasn't what we were after, but many might be surprised at how well it rides. Eye opening.

    One of my previous bikes had a dual-crown rigid fork, with ~2.5" of up/down adjustability. That's more than 2* of head angle, and I forget how much change in trail and BB height. Learned lots there too.





    I think folks tend to forget that swapping tires can result in substantive changes in geo. 3.8" out back and 4.8" front yields a slacker front end and an (effective) shorter rear center.





    Big tire out back and small up front will show you how a steep(er) front end is counterproductive to over-snow efficiency. The differences aren't tremendous, but they do provide insight and the ability to extrapolate.
    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:59 PM.

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    That is some badass bike geekery right there MC. Thanks for taking the time to put that down in prose for the whole wide world. As a semi-professional ski bum much of the dynamics make sense. Nice work and a beautiful and practical rig.

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    Still new to the FB world but that was quite a lesson. Thanks for sharing! :-) I wish the Bluto were like the older RS forks where you could adjust travel with some spacers, but then we wouldn't have to spend $100 to find out if 100/120 or even 110 fits our riding style and bike better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    First, drop the BB. This brings more weight forward over the front wheel...
    How does it do that?

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    Mike;

    Thanks for the well written, easily understood explanation of your findings. No matter how one may use a fat bike, your findings, with your reasoning behind them, provide a measure upon which to work with.

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    One thing that occurs to me is that over the last few years fat-bike head angles have been decreasing while fork rakes have been increasing. The net result is that trail has not increased much at all and seems well short of the 100mm Mike is recommending for snow riding.
    --Peace

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    Such a sweet new ride mikesee!! I can only aspire to that level of badassery in framebuilding. Beautiful work by those guys.

    I've nowhere near the experience on fat tires as mikesee, but having built myself a few bikes and my latest fatty that is the very similar in geometry as the Snoots and Eriksen, I can vouch almost entirely for his claims.

    I too thought that a longer wheelbase and longer chainstays would make a bike better able to float in soft conditions but in side-by-side testing I found the opposite. The short chainstay bike had better traction on climbs and didn't swerve or wash out at all. I also have around 100mm of trail due to the slack HTA and a fork I made for this bike. The long front center is unsettling at first but adjusting your riding style on both up and down you can *feel* why it handles better in soft snow than a more normal geometry. On descents it was a bit harder to keep the front wheel weighted but I was able to adjust my riding style to account for that. I'll also build my next frame with a shorter front center next time.

    Salsa has kinda figured this out with their newer frames although not as short in the rear as mikesee's preference, and not with all the sweet custom stuff you just can't get with a stock frame.

  83. #83
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    Mike, you just solved a mystery for me, thanks! Velobike has made a few posts about this subject of "Rake and Trail" before, but I failed to see what's been staring me in the face for years. I have a 2007 Wildfire that's mystified me ever since I bought it, it steers better than any MTB I've ever owned. I've corresponded with other Wildfire owners who have told me the same. And that's on dirt and snow for me. The frame is slightly too small for me, but the next size up would not have had the top tube clearance I needed - it's an issue I've had with stock frames forever - I have a short inseam for my height/torso length (Greg Matyas pointed this out to me).

    The Wildfire does not have a slack 70 degree HT angle that so many fat bikes have nowadays. After looking at your pics, I looked at my Wildfire and my Fatback, and saw the smaller rake in Mark's fork. There's more to Mark's fork than just this rake, but I believe the smaller rake is what I missed all along. Right now I'm in the process of having a new custom Ti frame fatty built for me, I've always preferred shorter stays on MTB's and that's what I'm looking to do on my next build. I have a custom-built 29r, which was the only way at the time I was going to switch from 26 to 29, as stock 29r's back then rode or fit like crap for me.

    Question: If 100MM seems to be an ideal trail for snow, what would be a good one for riding a fatty on hardpack? Just looking for the "ball park" to work with. I've got two fatties I can analyze myself, would welcome other opinions.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Destr0 View Post
    Still new to the FB world but that was quite a lesson. Thanks for sharing! :-) I wish the Bluto were like the older RS forks where you could adjust travel with some spacers, but then we wouldn't have to spend $100 to find out if 100/120 or even 110 fits our riding style and bike better.
    It cost about $30 to change Blutos travel.
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    Thanks for taking the time to write and post this, it is interesting reading.

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    "To that end we experimented with seat tube angles to mimic the effect of shortening the rear end--and learned that getting weight directly over the rear axle is probably the Most Important Thing. "

    This might be a dumb question - but a lot of your discussion seems to be centered on shifting the weight backward to the rear of the bike, and the photos of the bike seem to have your seat really far back. So my question is - I don't understand bike geometry all that well, but doesn't this effect the float negatively? In conditions requiring float I often end up shifting my weight forward, attempting to keep my back wheel from breaking though, and the center of mass (or at least your seat) on this bike seems to be quite a bit further back than on my snow bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    This was one thing we did to manipulate geo on existing chassis'. Own a Moonlander? Flip the fork around and ride it for awhile that way.

    In the end it wasn't what we were after, but many might be surprised at how well it rides. Eye opening.

    One of my previous bikes had a dual-crown rigid fork, with ~2.5" of up/down adjustability. That's more than 2* of head angle, and I forget how much change in trail and BB height. Learned lots there too.

    I think folks tend to forget that swapping tires can result in substantive changes in geo. 3.8" out back and 4.8" front yields a slacker front end and an (effective) shorter rear center.

    Big tire out back and small up front will show you how a steep(er) front end is counterproductive to over-snow efficiency. The differences aren't tremendous, but they do provide insight and the ability to extrapolate.
    I agree that one of the best ways to experiment with bike geometry is with an adjustable fork.

    The beauty is that it is a method available to anyone with even the most basic of skills and you don't need the expense of a custom frame. I did it by butchering a couple of old telescopic forks https://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/di...nk-644194.html.


    That had its limitations in terms of the size of the tyre I could fit, but it enabled a wide range of adjustments.

    Ride height could be altered by about 3", and there was a number of rake/offset options by simply reversing the fork crown with the axle forward, or reverse the lowers so the axle was rearwards, or other combinations.

    What Mike says about different tyre sizes is a reminder not to get too pedantic about fatbike geometry because that changes everything just like that. Also people forget that simply airing their tyres right down is changing figures like trail etc in a way that doesn't happen on a normal mtb because you can easily lose an inch out of your ride height that way.

    I do like steeper head angles though. I think it reduces the self steer effect of some tyres at low pressure.

    The thing about steep headangles is that this tends to reduces the distance of the front wheel from the BB, and that of course is not a good thing when you want it to float.

    Steep HAs really need a frame that allows the front wheel to be in the same position relative to the BB as a good performing slack HA bike. In turn that means a longer TT and shorter stem, and also a fork with less offset.



    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Balogh View Post
    ...Question: If 100MM seems to be an ideal trail for snow, what would be a good one for riding a fatty on hardpack?.
    I think what works in snow works elsewhere. In snow you have loads continually being input from the sides of your tyres, much like striking an obstacle on the trail, so for normal riding it is ok - a racer will have different needs of course.

    Its a shame no-one makes a fork with a little bit of adjustment in it. I'm sure I saw (many years ago) a BMX fork with 2 axle positions, and it was a simple thing. Add a bit of height variation to that and you have removed much of the need for custom frames.
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    MC is aiming for a geometry that will work in unconsolidated snow. There is no breakthrough in those conditions as there is no base to work off of. Picture the snow conditions you see in ski movies with "bottomless" powder. You are talking about 50/50 even weighted riding to stay on top of consolidated snow packs, which is the proper way to ride that stuff. MC is looking to tackle an all together different animal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    or you could just ride a 'standard' tried and true 71/73 and like move about and around the bike as you ride different types of terrain. you know, a bit forward for this, a bit back for that, hover here, stand there, sit, spin, mash...........nice and simple...
    Perfectly valid point and one I think it taken as read by most folk who fiddle with their bikes. Also changes to stem length, seat setback, type of bars, and crank lengths have subtle effects.

    I would rate trail as being more important than head angle - so long as your front wheel is in the same position relative to the BB. (Personally I like steep HAs)

    I have ridden some truly awful permutations of geometry by keeping my body mobile on the bike.

    The problem comes when you are tired and reactions are slower. You simply can't move your body fast enough. Or a time when you come upon a hidden obstacle at a speed where there is no time to react.

    A bike that has a more forgiving geometry stays upright, and the less optimal one has you in the bushes.

    I learned this by using one of my more "nimble" bikes in a 12 hour race.

    I loved the ultra quick accurate feel of it and was flying (by my standards), but after about 6 hours I was a positive danger to the scenery. <script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>
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    everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow

    Should say then: everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on the type of snow I ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on snow

    Should say then: everyone seems to make a fatbike these days, none of them come anywhere close to geometry that really, truly works on the type of snow I ride.
    I suppose when you have snow that is similar to ride on to ordinary loose conditions, there's no need for any changes.

    But with different needs comes experimentation, and with that comes improvements.

    Otherwise we'd all still be riding these Dreadnoughts




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    I would so rock that VB!!

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    Thanks Mike for putting fingers to the keyboard and giving us all a glimpse into your thoughts regarding this. I appreciated all of it.

    Your snow conditions are much the same as mine much of the time here in Iowa. Sand-like snow, no base, hard to ride through. Due to this, I grasped much of what you were trying to get across and found myself nodding in agreement throughout. I have intuitively found several of your points to be true just through my own trial and error.

    Now I know that you may not yet have a definitive answer to this, but as you referred to lateral traction of fat bike tires and rim widths, you didn't really bring a conclusion to that thought. So, what have you found so far that has made that issue better? The Bud on a hundy with a certain geo? Or.....?

    By the way, I had to chuckle when you wrote about high trail figures. Remembering a certain ride you graciously provided some years ago for me. Thanks again for that lesson.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post


    I think folks tend to forget that swapping tires can result in substantive changes in geo. 3.8" out back and 4.8" front yields a slacker front end and an (effective) shorter rear center.

    Big tire out back and small up front will show you how a steep(er) front end is counterproductive to over-snow efficiency. The differences aren't tremendous, but they do provide insight and the ability to extrapolate.
    I experienced this recently. I took some time off of riding and when I started again I hated how my bike handled, especially in technical terrain. I listed it for sale and was ready for something else. A friend of mine wanted to go ride some really rocky trails, so I threw a big tire on up front, and it completely changed the bike. The geo went from something I hated enough to sell the bike, to feeling absolutely perfect with this simple change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    I experienced this recently. I took some time off of riding and when I started again I hated how my bike handled, especially in technical terrain.
    I've come back to a bike after not using it for months and had WTF? moments where the fit or the handling seemed really off despite it being great last time I rode it. Often a few long rides is all it takes to rediscover why you liked it so much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy74 View Post
    Like your brain,........simple
    simple is not a bad thing. especially in an ever increasingly complicated world.

    thanx for the compliment tho. i strive for simplicity in all facets of my life, including riding a bike. throw a leg over and pedal the ****ing thing. simple.

    the best back and forth is whether a trail has flow or not, that a trail with "no flow" is not a good trail. fvck that $hit, it ain't the trail that has no flow, it's the rider that can't adapt and make the trail flow with their riding.

    ok that was super off topic but i was thinking about while out on my daily ride this morning, sofvckit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Perfectly valid point and one I think it taken as read by most folk who fiddle with their bikes. Also changes to stem length, seat setback, type of bars, and crank lengths have subtle effects.

    I would rate trail as being more important than head angle - so long as your front wheel is in the same position relative to the BB. (Personally I like steep HAs)

    I have ridden some truly awful permutations of geometry by keeping my body mobile on the bike.

    The problem comes when you are tired and reactions are slower. You simply can't move your body fast enough. Or a time when you come upon a hidden obstacle at a speed where there is no time to react.

    A bike that has a more forgiving geometry stays upright, and the less optimal one has you in the bushes.

    I learned this by using one of my more "nimble" bikes in a 12 hour race.

    I loved the ultra quick accurate feel of it and was flying (by my standards), but after about 6 hours I was a positive danger to the scenery. <script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script><script type="***************" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/2eeeb70b/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>
    This is such a huge part of why geometry matters so much. The owner of the bike shop I work at has been trying to get me to ride a more "nimble" 650b over my prefered 29 or 29+ bike for ultraendurance racing and my home turf is in North Central PA. While I enjoy the nimble and darty feel of a smaller, lighter wheel, at mile 70 of a 100 mile race or mile 240 of a 350 mile bikepacking race, I don't care to put the extra effort in to manuever a smaller wheeled "nimble" bike through the tech and the gnar. I just want to plow over it with wagon wheels and be done with it. The same thing applies for snow bikes. Sure, I can man handle just about any fat bike through the snow for a short distance by being active on the bike, but riding that way hastens the onset of physical fatigue, which then causes mental fatigue, which results in a lot of pushing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    or you could just ride a 'standard' tried and true 71/73 and like move about and around the bike as you ride different types of terrain. you know, a bit forward for this, a bit back for that, hover here, stand there, sit, spin, mash...........nice and simple.

    rog
    How is it tried and true if it doesn't work for the application? Or are you implying that we should all just give up and take our bikes for a simple, soothing walk in the woods?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    Now I know that you may not yet have a definitive answer to this, but as you referred to lateral traction of fat bike tires and rim widths, you didn't really bring a conclusion to that thought. So, what have you found so far that has made that issue better? The Bud on a hundy with a certain geo? Or.....?
    Because we had no choice but to choose Remo/Endo/Larry for so long, my task became to make the geo work best within those constraints. Once you settle on the best compromise there, and adapt to riding it, and *then* you get tire choices? Pffft--gravy.

    Personally, I've settled on 90mm Nextie rims (note the snow shedding V-shape) with Bud and Lou for local riding. If (ugh, when) my Sweetie drags me back to AK, I'll likely opt for a Bud out back for less rolling resistance. Ideally I'd go with 100mm rims, but no one makes one with a rational snow-shedding shape as yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spruceboy View Post
    "To that end we experimented with seat tube angles to mimic the effect of shortening the rear end--and learned that getting weight directly over the rear axle is probably the Most Important Thing. "

    This might be a dumb question - but a lot of your discussion seems to be centered on shifting the weight backward to the rear of the bike, and the photos of the bike seem to have your seat really far back. So my question is - I don't understand bike geometry all that well, but doesn't this effect the float negatively? In conditions requiring float I often end up shifting my weight forward, attempting to keep my back wheel from breaking though, and the center of mass (or at least your seat) on this bike seems to be quite a bit further back than on my snow bike.
    Great question. If we were still riding 2.5" tires on snowcats the answer would be yes--float is negatively affected. You'd just dig holes while pedaling in place. With the massively increased air volume of modern rims and tires, it does work. Key to that is also tires with some tread--meaning that when we were stuck with treadless meats, and the rear started to break through, we were pretty well hosed right there. Now, with some tread at our disposal, we can shift our weight forward briefly to unweight, then back if needed to add traction, until we find that sweet spot and get the wheel back up on top of the crust. The shorter rear end means your weight shift is less exaggerated, and more effective: You simply don't have to move as far to make the difference needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    I think what works in snow works elsewhere.
    I keep waiting for a lightbulb to go on over someone's head, and for them to point out that the geo I'm espousing here is very, very, oh-so-very similar to that of modern 'all mountain' hardtails. Think Canfield Nimble 9, Kona Honzo, etc... And think about how much fun those bikes are to ride on hardpack...

    That was never the intent, but it was nice to stumble on it through the back door...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Thanks for that! The RS Service manual says to buy a new air cylinder. :-)

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    Thanks for this discussion and your insight, Mike. I sometimes have a hard time staying positive about the Fat forum these days, but stuff like this makes it worthwhile. I miss the days when the majority of threads were like this - people experimenting and sharing insights and experiences. Enthusiasts driving and defining the sport rather than trends and me-too corporations.

    I have a couple of question for you, if you don't mind commenting, prefaced this way: Like you, I think of my fat bike as a snow bike foremost, and I'm in one of the few places that likely has even more and drier snow than you do. I totally follow (and intuitively agree with) your points on bottom bracket height, head angle, and trail. I'm having a harder time understanding the shortest-possible chainstay part though.

    [edit: looks like you acutally addressed some of this for spruceboy while I was writing this, but my question is slightly different, so here it is anyway]

    My rear tire almost ALWAYS seems to sink in further than my front tire - to the point where that is the thing that often makes a particular snow condition unrideable. I find myself trying to lean and shift my weight to the front. So, traction aside, I'm having a hard time understanding why I'd want to bias my weight distribution more to the rear.

    I'm willing to try it though, and I do have some ability to play with this due to sliding dropouts. But, as with most things fat, it is always a game of compromises and millimeters.... and money. So, all else being equal (assume mid-size tire like a BFL or Sterling or Ground Control), which do you think would yield better results if your priority is riding through those "marginal" conditions?:

    A) Shorter chainstays (say, sub 18"), but narrower rim (say 82mm) to fit between the stays.

    B) Longer chainstays (say 18 1/4 - 18 3/4"), but with the ability to run wider rims (100mm) because of increased clearance.


    The other thing I've been toying with, but am now re-thinking after reading this, was having a custom fork made with a huge, built-in rack but with more-offset/lower-trail. My thought was to find a way to put all my extra gear weight up front. Prevailing wisdom for front loads seems to be that low trail works better, but I can't say I've experimented first hand. (I obviously don't do your type of adventures or even do much bike packing yet - at least until my kids get older. But even lunch, water, clothing layers, spares, bear spray, tools, lights and basic emergency gear add up a lot quicker in the winter than it does in the summer.) So the 2nd question for you, then, is this:

    Does load placement become less consequential in your short chainstay setup? Is it better to keep things center-of-mass? Or is there even MORE of a reason to shift things to the front?



    Thanks for any feedback
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    ...Or are you implying that we should all just give up and take our bikes for a simple, soothing walk in the woods?
    Don't knock taking the bike for a soothing walk. Many of my rides include that feature...
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    I'm having a harder time understanding the shortest-possible chainstay part though.
    To be clear, it's the relationship between where your weight is (not necessarily c-o-g, more like c-o-ass) and the rear axle that's important. More to it than just cs length--STA and BB placement matter bunches, and reach/rise of your cockpit are important too.


    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    My rear tire almost ALWAYS seems to sink in further than my front tire - to the point where that is the thing that often makes a particular snow condition unrideable. I find myself trying to lean and shift my weight to the front. So, traction aside, I'm having a hard time understanding why I'd want to bias my weight distribution more to the rear.
    That is and always will be the limitation of a two wheeled over-snow vehicle--one wheel must bear more of the weight. At least until 2wd becomes viable--or at least viable enough for us to do real experimentation to prove/disprove it's viability. At that point we can start to fiddle with disproportionately weighting the front wheel, and then fine-tuning the %'s of weight between the wheels. But I'm getting waaaaaaay ahead of myself, because 2wd isn't even on the horizon.

    Back here in our current reality, what happens when you move forward to unweight the rear wheel? It slips/spins and you slow or even stop, unless you can find a fore/aft balance that allows you to keep it ~unweighted enough to float, but weighted enough to dig. Fine line. Bringing your weight over the rear axle (or, put differently, bringing the axle under your weight) means your weight shifts don't have to be as exaggerated. You can slide forward a few mm's instead of 1"+ to achieve the same result. Minor, nuanced weight shifts are more (and more often) effective than giant swings of your weight pendulum. Much less energy output with smaller moves, too.



    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    I'm willing to try it though, and I do have some ability to play with this due to sliding dropouts. But, as with most things fat, it is always a game of compromises and millimeters.... and money. [I]So, all else being equal (assume mid-size tire like a BFL or Sterling or Ground Control), which do you think would yield better results if your priority is riding through those "marginal" conditions?
    First things first--the three tires you've mentioned are very, very different in size and tread pattern. BFL is fast on hardpack and has great volume, but has zero tread to dig into unconsolidated/lightly packed snow. Sterling has decent tread but is *tiny* in volume. Haven't ridden a GC but they look like the best (of these three options) for the kind of riding we're discussing. Just wanted to point out that you're going to get very different results from those three.

    Back to your question:

    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    A) Shorter chainstays (say, sub 18"), but narrower rim (say 82mm) to fit between the stays.

    B) Longer chainstays (say 18 1/4 - 18 3/4"), but with the ability to run wider rims (100mm) because of increased clearance.
    To me, geometry trumps all--regardless of bike. In this case, neither geo is ideal or even very good for snow, so it's about making a choice between the least worst options. In that case, air volume should probably be first priority here.

    But really, I should step back and say that I truly don't know this answer, because I don't know you, how your bike is set up, what your trails/snowpack are like, what your experience is, what your weight distribution on the bike is, how low you run your tire psi, etc... I'm really just whistling in the dark here. Best bet is for you to experiment with both of those scenarios and then come back and tell us what worked.


    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    Does load placement become less consequential in your short chainstay setup? Is it better to keep things center-of-mass? Or is there even MORE of a reason to shift things to the front?
    Load placement is always important, regardless. I'm not (nor have I ever been) a fan of throwing all the weight over the front wheel. It might (<-key word) improve your ability to float, but it most definitely effects the handling and steering, always in negative ways. Seems like most rookies at the ITI end up with a big bulbous bag of shite strapped above their front wheel and on their fork legs. I succumbed and tried it many years ago, and because (among other reasons) you never get going fast enough on snow to have rotational mass pulling the fork straight, the front wheel tends to wander. Lots. With all of that weight in front of the steering axis, each wander requires a lot of correction energy, and that's just on the flats. Add in some grade, or snowmachine ruts, or wind drifts, and you quickly exhaust yourself just trying to keep the bike going straight. Even if putting the weight up front *massively* increased float (and there's no evidence that it does), in soft snow the tradeoff still doesn't seem remotely worth it.

    Just my $.03.

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by tri-tele View Post
    MC is aiming for a geometry that will work in unconsolidated snow. There is no breakthrough in those conditions as there is no base to work off of.
    Not exactly. We do get crust--from wind most often, from sun sometimes, from slednecks if they can be corralled into riding the same line. But that crust is always thin, ephemeral, and when you break through it you need to be able to climb back on top instead of just pedaling in place while digging holes. This geo works exceptionally well for these instances. A longer rear center bike has difficulty climbing out of the hole it has punched because there's not enough weight on the contact patch, and by the time you effect the weight shift to put that weight where it needs to be, you're already stopped.

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    "You, as a human, are pathetic and weak, able to put out a whopping average of one horsepower on a warm, sunny, scantily-clad June day."

    A human, putting out an average of one horsepower (!!), over anything more than a handfull of seconds, is neither pathetic nor weak. That human is both, doping, and not-human.

    But this is the heart of the snow biking problem. A far, Far, FAR bigger part than an inch of chainstay, or an inch or BB height.

    And also...

    If you guys would get your snowmachine traffic-to-snow accumulation ratio right it would, most certainly, pack into a nice rock hard base...just like ours does in Interior Alaska. You just need a LOT more sledheads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joatley View Post
    A human, putting out an average of one horsepower (!!), over anything more than a handfull of seconds, is neither pathetic nor weak. That human is both, doping, and not-human.

    But this is the heart of the snow biking problem. A far, Far, FAR bigger part than an inch of chainstay, or an inch or BB height.

    If you guys would get your snowmachine traffic-to-snow accumulation ratio right it would, most certainly, pack into a nice rock hard base...just like ours does in Interior Alaska. You just need a LOT more sledheads.
    So I rounded in an optimistic direction. Properly, we should be talking about watts and even watts per kg ratios, but that's beyond the scope here. Don't get lost on the example: The point is that our motors are puny.

    We can't change that. But we can amend the machines to optimize what we have to work with.

    We have no shortage of slednecks. But with this much snow they're wired, understandably, to take their long/paddle-tracks out hoggin' in the deep. And they're largely weekend warriors, so unless you want to dodge them crisscrossing the access trails in an endorphin-crazed haze, you ride during the week. That translates to another 5 days worth of accumulation, with almost no traffic to help pack it in...

    Our snowpack does get rock-hard--in April and May. Those are the two months when it is positively silly to drive away from heaven-on-earth-(trails, flowers, and weather) out-the-back-door in the valley to go ride snow. ~December through ~March is usually plenty for me.

  109. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Because we had no choice but to choose Remo/Endo/Larry for so long, my task became to make the geo work best within those constraints. Once you settle on the best compromise there, and adapt to riding it, and *then* you get tire choices? Pffft--gravy.

    Personally, I've settled on 90mm Nextie rims (note the snow shedding V-shape) with Bud and Lou for local riding. If (ugh, when) my Sweetie drags me back to AK, I'll likely opt for a Bud out back for less rolling resistance. Ideally I'd go with 100mm rims, but no one makes one with a rational snow-shedding shape as yet.
    Right! That makes perfect sense. Thanks for the insight, and actually, you said as much in the piece you wrote. Shoulda figured that out.....

    I agree on "snow -shedding" shapes, but as of now, I am constrained to looking at the Clownshoes or something similar. Anyway....thanks Mike!
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  110. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    or you could just ride a 'standard' tried and true 71/73 and like move about and around the bike as you ride different types of terrain. you know, a bit forward for this, a bit back for that, hover here, stand there, sit, spin, mash...........nice and simple.

    rog
    i had that, more or less with my pugsley. i hated it: cog was too high and forward on the bike. it may have steered well, but that doesn't do a rider much good on technical descents. with a 69º HTA, my 9:Zero:7 is a little closer to ideal, but the chain stays are about an inch too long. As far as i've seen, Ventana is about the only manufacturer with a fatbike that has what i want: short Chainstays and a slacked out head tube. They're not quite perfect either, but they're hitting a lot closer to the mark than anyone else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    i had that, more or less with my pugsley. i hated it: cog was too high and forward on the bike. it may have steered well, but that doesn't do a rider much good on technical descents. with a 69º HTA, my 9:Zero:7 is a little closer to ideal, but the chain stays are about an inch too long. As far as i've seen, Ventana is about the only manufacturer with a fatbike that has what i want: short Chainstays and a slacked out head tube. They're not quite perfect either, but they're hitting a lot closer to the mark than anyone else.
    And i've never been on a bike that i couldn't have a bunch of fun on. Ever slay sweet singletrack on a road bike with 25c's. Super fun and fast if you ride like a ninja. An optimum bike is one with a frame, a cockpit, a drivetrain, wheels, brakes and you.

    rog

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    true, but a hammer makes lousy screwdriver.

    right tool for the right job/horses for courses and all that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    The key to fun, for most bike owners I know, is being able to ride the bike. Walking next to it kind of misses the point.
    then they should learn how to ride better and not blame the bike.

    If 25's on trail is so fun, why are you overbiking with the fatty? Compensating for something?
    mixing $hit up yo. you should try it instead of striving for what you'll prolly never achieve.

    rog

  114. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    then they should learn how to ride better and not blame the bike...
    I can agree with riding what you have got or what you happen to be on. It can be fun being on the wrong bike in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes you have just got to follow your front wheel even if you originally were heading to the nearest shop.



    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    ... you should try it instead of striving for what you'll prolly never achieve.
    However I hope I have misunderstood with that last bit. If you don't strive you'll never achieve. If we want better bikes, we need someone out there trying to improve them.

    My take on it - awesome riders can ride any bike, ordinary riders like myself (I happily walk lots of stuff) need awesome bikes.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Any bike, anywhere, anytime.
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  115. #115
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    Wow, thanks Mike and others for sharing their experience and knowledge on geometry. This is making my new fatty purchase much harder though!
    Jason
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAGI410 View Post
    This is making my new fatty purchase much harder though!
    surprise surprise...........doesn't hafta be hard. just get a white one. if you like white

    rog

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    surprise surprise...........doesn't hafta be hard. just get a white one. if you like white

    rog
    But I already had a white one! And an orange one. Thinking green this time. Off to find a green fatty with magical geometry and a threaded bottom bracket. Oh hi, Pugsley
    Jason
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  118. #118
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    Mukluk? 68.5 hta and 17.2 stays, at the shortest alternator setting.

    (Edit in reference to Gigantic's post)
    Veni vidi velo!

  119. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.welby View Post
    How does it do that?
    Editing this post to clarify.

    Within any genre of bike (fat, FS, singlespeed) my primary fit consideration is where my hands are (aka handlebar height) relative to my saddle height. Because I raced for far too long with my bars far too low, my hands and wrists have developed irreparable nerve damage. If my hands are any lower, they (quickly) go numb during a ride and ache all night afterward.

    On a fatbike, I place my handlebars roughly 3/4" above my saddle.

    Pretty much all of my other fit considerations are secondary to that.

    Now, back to your question--how does dropping the BB put more weight over the front axle?

    If you raise the BB your weight is effectively pivoting about the rear axle. The higher you go with the BB, the higher the bars need to go too--to keep your hands in the same place relative to saddle height. The higher the bars go, the more your CoG is rotated back, over the rear axle. The more your weight is over the rear axle, the lighter the front end feels. See?

    Now go the other direction--drop the BB, which also brings the bars down, which means your weight gets shifted from the rear axle to the front.

    Cheers,

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 10-31-2014 at 05:44 PM.

  120. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Sorry doc--missed your post amongst the trolling.

    If you raise the BB your weight is effectively pivoting about the rear axle. I know it doesn't work *exactly* like that but inasmuch as you can separate any one geo change out, it's close enough. The higher you go, the more of your weight is over the rear axle and the lighter the front end feels. Drop the BB and weight gets shifted from the rear axle to the front.

    Chers,

    MC
    Mike; stated another way, the BB is mounted on a ascending/descending plane, (ST) as the BB is moved up or down it moves further away from or closer to the front axle.

    However, is it not true only if the BB height is adjustable? In which case, in lowering it you increase the CS length and decrease the FC? Do we not then have a non sum gain? Any perceived value then comes solely from a lower CoG?

    Has me wondering, and not to get lost with your point, is to design with the shortest CS and lowest BB one can get away with?

    Edit: Also, a slacker ST has its advantages over a steeper one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAGI410 View Post
    But I already had a white one! And an orange one. Thinking green this time. Off to find a green fatty with magical geometry and a threaded bottom bracket. Oh hi, Pugsley
    Right? Right on mang. Keep it real

    rog

  122. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by joatley View Post
    If you guys would get your snowmachine traffic-to-snow accumulation ratio right it would, most certainly, pack into a nice rock hard base...just like ours does in Interior Alaska. You just need a LOT more sledheads.
    Also wanted to clarify that while Fairbanks is most definitely in the Interior, in my example (and in my lexicon) I think of Interior AK as the unpeopled stretch from roughly Bison Camp til roughly the Yukon. Give or take.

  123. #123
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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.-image.jpgI rode a good stretch of beach today. Some parts were really soft sand, white sand beaches in New Jersey. This thread was still fresh in my (feeble) mind as I was making way on down to the inlet. I was more or less aware that the I liked my weight over the rear wheel as much as possible through the soft stuff (sand in my case 99% of time, and not offended in the least).
    I guess somewhere around March or so I started getting back on the bike again (I'll spare you the gorey details) and the first thing I did was put on a pair of Jones Loop Bars, then a setback seat post. Viola! It felt right! My weight was further back and it worked out great.
    I was rolling over some really soft sand today for extended distances on Darryl's and Floyd's. One thing I wasn't aware of and always wondered about was why did riders put a bigger tire up front? It made no sense to me since you need the float out back. Thanks Mike for bringing it to my attention that this will put my weight even further back. Now I have to try a BFL up front.
    Unweighting the front as much as possible and putting your weight over the axel as much possible seems to be the ticket in the super soft sand. To the point where I started wondering if I shouldn't try a set of Ape hangers. If everything was super soft, flat, and straight, I would.
    Anyway, thanks for the insight.

  124. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    If you raise the BB your weight is effectively pivoting about the rear axle. I know it doesn't work *exactly* like that but inasmuch as you can separate any one geo change out, it's close enough. The higher you go, the more of your weight is over the rear axle and the lighter the front end feels. Drop the BB and weight gets shifted from the rear axle to the front.
    I'm not following.

    Given a fixed chainstay length, pivoting the bottom bracket up lengthens the effective rear stay length until your bottom bracket is even with your axles.

  125. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.welby View Post
    Given a fixed chainstay length, pivoting the bottom bracket up lengthens the effective rear stay length until your bottom bracket is even with your axles.
    You've hit on an essential truth: Change one thing and everything else needs to be adjusted to compensate.

  126. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    You've hit on an essential truth: Change one thing and everything else needs to be adjusted to compensate.
    So you're compensating for a higher bottom bracket by shortening the chainstays, which makes the chainstays shorter?

  127. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.welby View Post
    So you're compensating for a higher bottom bracket by shortening the chainstays, which makes the chainstays shorter?
    Who said the BB was high, or even "higher"?

    Compromise is rule #1 in bike geometry. That's just the way that it is.

  128. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Who said the BB was high, or even "higher"?
    (looks around)

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    If you raise the BB your weight is effectively pivoting about the rear axle. I know it doesn't work *exactly* like that but inasmuch as you can separate any one geo change out, it's close enough. The higher you go, the more of your weight is over the rear axle and the lighter the front end feels.
    Oh, did you think I was talking about your new bike? Let me rephrase the question:

    So one is theoretically compensating for a higher bottom bracket by shortening the chainstays, which makes the chainstays shorter?

  129. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.welby View Post
    (looks around)



    Oh, did you think I was talking about your new bike? Let me rephrase the question:

    So one is theoretically compensating for a higher bottom bracket by shortening the chainstays, which makes the chainstays shorter?
    In the example you quoted, I was trying (apparently unsuccessfully) to explain the opposite of what I've done on this bike. In other words, the BB on this bike is low by most standards, which biases more of the rider's weight to the front end of the bike than if the BB were higher.

    Clearer, or am I just spinning my wheels?

  130. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    In the example you quoted, I was trying (apparently unsuccessfully) to explain the opposite of what I've done on this bike. In other words, the BB on this bike is low by most standards, which biases more of the rider's weight to the front end of the bike than if the BB were higher.

    Clearer, or am I just spinning my wheels?
    Spinning.

    I can't see how bottom bracket height has anything to do with weight distribution.

  131. #131
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    Edited/clarified above.
    Last edited by mikesee; 11-06-2014 at 11:33 AM.

  132. #132
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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy74 View Post
    Unweighting the front as much as possible and putting your weight over the axel as much possible seems to be the ticket in the super soft sand. To the point where I started wondering if I shouldn't try a set of Ape hangers. If everything was super soft, flat, and straight, I would.
    Anyway, thanks for the insight.
    I've never ridden on snow, and I try to avoid sand as much as possible on desert trips, but you can't always. This is exactly what I've learned to do (on a regular mtb): shift back, ride the rear wheel like a unicycle, try to avoid too much steering input, and drop to an easier gear to smooth out the pedaling.
    Last edited by evasive; 09-17-2014 at 06:36 AM. Reason: removed photo from quoted post

  133. #133
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    ^ same deal for snow, hiking tracks, etc. My first snow bike was a 2.2" tire affair with sheet metal screws poking out, and the traction was so lousy I had to stay in that position nearly 100% of the time. Great workout, but one moonlander later, I can relax a bit. Just put a lefty fork on, so that should push the weight back a bit, but a shorter stem and a set-back seatpost is on my radar for this winter.

  134. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    Mike; stated another way, the BB is mounted on a ascending/descending plane, (ST) as the BB is moved up or down it moves further away from or closer to the front axle.

    However, is it not true only if the BB height is adjustable? In which case, in lowering it you increase the CS length and decrease the FC? Do we not then have a non sum gain? Any perceived value then comes solely from a lower CoG?

    Has me wondering, and not to get lost with your point, is to design with the shortest CS and lowest BB one can get away with?

    Edit: Also, a slacker ST has its advantages over a steeper one.
    Mike & Dr Welby

    Perhaps I did not state this clearly enough either, and it is confusing Dr Welby?

    Lowering the BB, shifting ones weight forward make perfect sense to me as the ST is fixed with a inclining plane, facing forward/rearward in relationship to the front and rear axles.

    If you merely slide the BB down (on paper) you increase the CS length and decrease the FC.

    This works contrary to your intended purpose, for weight over the rear axle. So the CS length must be fixed by design into your shortest possible CS length and lowest BB height.

    Thus your position over the rear axle is maintained, and assuming that your ETTL has not been increased by design, your FC is shortened.

    Is my understanding indeed correct, or am I, once again, putting my lack of knowledge of physics on display?

    Mike:

    One other nagging thought concerning your higher trail number; any problems with wheel flop, or would you subscribe to VBs idea of compensating with an increased HTA with decreased offset?

  135. #135
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    I think a key thing here that is being overlooked is the bar position you have going. Short, tall stem, resulting in the bars being higher than the seat. (negative saddle-bar drop??). Saddle-bar drop is going to have a much greater effect on weight distribution than BB drop in my experience. Bars higher than seat means a lot more weight is on the seat than the bars when seated pedaling.

    Example: road bike=tons of weight on hands=bars way lower than seat. DH bike=little weight on hands=bars way higher than seat.

    Lowering the BB, if NOTHING ELSE IS CHANGED, would in effect be lowering the seat in relation to the bars, also shortening the rear center, resulting in increased rearward weight bias, which is the opposite of what you are claiming is happening.

    I think BB drop has a big effect on other handling traits, but weight distribution isn't one of them. Partially this is because the range of BB drop adjustment is pretty small to have a bike that still works right. Std 29er/fatbike BB drop seems to average around 60. Std Road bike is like 70, only a 10 mm difference. The range of adjustment of stems is bigger, a lot more than 10mm change in two different dimensions is possible. So bar position is a lot easier to play with to get the effect you are looking for.

  136. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    Lowering the BB, shifting ones weight forward make perfect sense to me as the ST is fixed with a inclining plane, facing forward/rearward in relationship to the front and rear axles.

    If you merely slide the BB down (on paper) you increase the CS length and decrease the FC.
    The bottom bracket isn't fixed on an inclined plane. That's a totally arbitrary constraint.

  137. #137
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    Do we need a new method of chainstay measurement that doesn't merely measure the length from the BB spindle center to the rear axle center, rather, it measures the distance from those points as represented by a line parallel to the ground?
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

  138. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    Do we need a new method of chainstay measurement that doesn't merely measure the length from the BB spindle center to the rear axle center, rather, it measures the distance from those points as represented by a line parallel to the ground?
    I've wanted to call it "Rear Center" but that's not really right. "Effective Chainstay Length" makes more sense to me.

  139. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.welby View Post
    I've wanted to call it "Rear Center" but that's not really right. "Effective Chainstay Length" makes more sense to me.
    Sounds good to me. Particularly because some of what I want to do will have ECLs that grow longer as a swingarm moves through its travel.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

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    whats wrong with rear center? I believe that is the correct term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Train View Post
    whats wrong with rear center? I believe that is the correct term.
    Front center is the distance from the bottom bracket to the front axle. The distance from the bottom bracket to the rear axle is what we already call chainstay length. To give it a similar name but measure it differently seems ultimately confusing.

  142. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.welby View Post
    Front center is the distance from the bottom bracket to the front axle. The distance from the bottom bracket to the rear axle is what we already call chainstay length. To give it a similar name but measure it differently seems ultimately confusing.
    I've been calling it rear center for my own purposes, where you're factoring in not only chainstay length but where your c-o-g sits relative to the BB and rear axle. I only have a database of my own personal bikes to go from, but it's a start.

  143. #143
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    Two recent rides on this bike.





    Although both vids show a preponderance of the riding happening on hardpack, the reality of both of these loops is a 60/40 blend of soft, mucky, boggy, or steep/slimy/babyheady stuff vs. hardpack. Could be done on 2" tires with much more walking, but seems more fun to do with 5" tires and none.

    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:53 PM.

  144. #144
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    I live in Minnesota, so our snow is often firmer than you powder, but still mostly unconsolidated sugar.
    My experience is that even with nearly 5" tires on 100 mm rims at super low pressure, I sink to much in soft snow. Traction is not the issue(Lou tire), simply pushing that furrow through the snow is to much resistance, then again you are a lot stronger than me. The one exception being on steep climbs, where I might spin out.
    The rest of the time, I'm more worried about not sinking in the soft snow or not breaking through crust, so outright float.
    I do think the short chainstays have a big benefit lifting the front end up onto obstacles, including after breaking though crust.
    I also think low bottom brackets helps both with the super important standover, as well as keeping the center of gravity low, very important for a bike which will be ridden in near trials style for much of the time.

  145. #145
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    mikesee - the videos are really cool. Thanks for sharing.

    Mike

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    Hoping to lace these this evening. 150 f, 197 r.

    Last edited by mikesee; 04-14-2015 at 11:58 PM.

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    Mike

    What if there were 24, 22 or even 20 inch rims with fat tires? that would allow your geometry changes and other factors as well. Bare with me I'm about as uninformed as you could be.

  148. #148
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    A clear, crisp afternoon fades slowly into the pinkness of evening.













    Crunching through red, yellow, brown leaves on the sidewalk leaving the shop.















    Hints of woodsmoke in the air as I skedaddle up the hill away from town. Hints of snow on the mesa above.



    Empty trails, tack-tastic from an afternoon shower.











    Ostensibly I'm out testing tires. Realistically I'm getting in an 'hour of power' before sunset. Before winter.



    Too early to conclude anything, but the first, second, third impressions of this pile of tires goes something like:



    "That one rolls like a ball bearing."




    "That'n's either gonna rip knobs off itself, or the grin right off your face."




    "They oughta call that one Sybil. No idea what personality it's gonna present next..."















    None of these three pre-prod tires are available to buy, today.



    But a few months from now? What a great time to be 'into' this 29+ thing.



    Thanks for checkin' in.

    Last edited by mikesee; 04-15-2015 at 12:01 AM.

  149. #149
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    Off topic but dang you MC you got me thinking real hard about a Lenz!!

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    Mike, I see the light, I ride a Honzo, and when I built up a FS 650 and more recently a fatty, the goal was to find a bike(s) that had similar geometry to get that "feel" I enjoy so much on my Honzo.

    I went the cheap route and bought a Lurch, which has a relativeluy long TT, then added a Bluto/Angle set for a little more slack, I can take advantage of the short chainstays (sliding) if I run a smaller tire like the Floater 26 x 4".

    Combined with a short stem (45mm) and wide bars (760mm), it is a really fun bike that lofts the front end easily, has just enough slack to keep me gong straight at speed.

    The low BB is a pain sometimes with pedal strike, but it's not that bad and it's certainl ysomething I can work around. The low BB helps with ride quality and keeps me "in the trail".

    Would you take rear suspension if you could get it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I keep waiting for a lightbulb to go on over someone's head, and for them to point out that the geo I'm espousing here is very, very, oh-so-very similar to that of modern 'all mountain' hardtails. Think Canfield Nimble 9, Kona Honzo, etc... And think about how much fun those bikes are to ride on hardpack...

    That was never the intent, but it was nice to stumble on it through the back door...

  151. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Would you take rear suspension if you could get it?
    I had a Moots YBB with pretty much the same geo. Just that teeny amount of sus out back allowed me to take 'creative' lines that effectively and immediately killed every rear tire I ran on that bike, and several of the rims too.

    So, in short, until rims and tires get *much* more durable, I have little interest in fat rear sus.

    That aside, I typically ride my fatbikes in/to places where carrying a multi-day load is far more important than a little suspension. Losing the space afforded by a framebag would be a deal breaker.

    Oh, and the geo of the fat sus bikes I've seen looks awful, on paper, IMHO.

    Basically, I'm not really the demographic that the fat sus manufacturers are targeting.

  152. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I keep waiting for a lightbulb to go on over someone's head, and for them to point out that the geo I'm espousing here is very, very, oh-so-very similar to that of modern 'all mountain' hardtails. Think Canfield Nimble 9, Kona Honzo, etc... And think about how much fun those bikes are to ride on hardpack...

    That was never the intent, but it was nice to stumble on it through the back door...
    This is something I've been wondering about for quite a while: why is there such a preponderance of long chain stays on fatbikes? Why is +18.5" the defacto standard? What purpose does it serve? It seems like the bikes would be much more versatile with shorter stays, but so far, very few manufacturers build their frames like this.

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    Longer chainstays are simply a function of geometry and trying to squeeze-in a 5" tire, some chainstays and a BB whilst leaving some room for mud clearance. 18" is feasible with a 4" tire but it's quite tight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dovebiker View Post
    Longer chainstays are simply a function of geometry and trying to squeeze-in a 5" tire, some chainstays and a BB whilst leaving some room for mud clearance. 18" is feasible with a 4" tire but it's quite tight.
    I'm not buying that one bit. Ventana has gotten down around 17" and Matter has gotten 16.5" with room for 5" tires. It's a [email protected] excuse.

  155. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    I'm not buying that one bit. Ventana has gotten down around 17" and Matter has gotten 16.5" with room for 5" tires. It's a [email protected] excuse.
    Cut and pasted from above, in this very thread:

    ...they don't want to alienate a potential customer, so right off the bat they're convinced that they need to make their bike fit 6 different racks and 12 different bags and 7 different front derailleur standards, plus have 13 different bottle cage mounts as well as remain compatible with every crank and chainring and q-factor option. Plus fenders! In trying to please everyone they're making too many compromises, chief among them is that in order to fit 3 chainrings *and* a 5" tire, they have to lengthen the rear center by over an inch. An inch is a significant number when it comes to bike geometry, and in this case it means that the rider's center of gravity is another inch removed from the rear axle. That arrangement works fine on hardpack and singletrack. But this is a fatbike, in my case a snowbike, and how it handles on hardpacked singletrack is of little interest. You can ride *any* bike on a hardpacked surface, but if you take just any bike to the above-described soft surfaces you will be disappointed. And you won't ride much...

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    I don't know... I think it originally had more to do with a sincere belief that a longish chainstay worked better for snow riding. Theory being: "it helps distribute some of your weight off of the rear axle and thus onto the front axle, for better floatation," and "it is less squirrely / more stable on slippery or loose conditions."

    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think 18 1/2" most likely became a defacto standard because everyone was copying Fatback, whose geometry was recognizably more snow-worthy than previous (or simultaneous) commercial efforts. After that, when all hell broke loose, it simply became about "me too" and very little about manufacturers thinking for themselves.

    ------

    I keep thinking about Mike's ideas and this thread, though, and playing with my own chainstay length as much as I can. I'm not yet convinced that a longer chainstay doesn't have some merits.

    While I know that I DO like my weight over the rear axle for increasing stability (ie: flying too fast down a steep hill covered in slush or loose snow), I'm less sure about prioritizing traction to the rear wheel over distribution of weight to the front.

    Basically, what works for someone like Mike or Jay Petervary, for instance, who are super adept and skilled and fit enough to finesse their weight shifts in any way necessary, may NOT necessarily work for a weekend warrior or other mere mortal like myself.

    If you lived and rode through the late 80's and early 90's, you understand the folly of riding bikes that were designed for riders with elite skills, or of trying to "look" like them. Just because John Tomac could ride down the face of a cliff with a 150mm long stem and bars placed 6" below his saddle, without doing an endo, doesn't mean I could.

    Not sure if this is going to end up being the same thing, but I'm sure keeping it in the back of my mind. No way am I going back to suffering on an uncomfortable bike or giving up confidence, just because of fashion or pretending that I'm capable of keeping up with the best riders.
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  157. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    I don't know... I think it originally had more to do with a sincere belief that a longish chainstay worked better for snow riding. Theory being: "it helps distribute some of your weight off of the rear axle and thus onto the front axle, for better floatation," and "it is less squirrely / more stable on slippery or loose conditions."

    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think 18 1/2" most likely became a defacto standard because everyone was copying Fatback, whose geometry was recognizably more snow-worthy than previous (or simultaneous) commercial efforts. After that, when all hell broke loose, it simply became about "me too" and very little about manufacturers thinking for themselves.
    I made a bike frame that could achieve 19" chainstays. It really sucked in the snow, couldn't get over the rear hard enough to bite.

    That was quite an "oh" moment for me.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

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    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    I don't know... I think it originally had more to do with a sincere belief that a longish chainstay worked better for snow riding. Theory being: "it helps distribute some of your weight off of the rear axle and thus onto the front axle, for better floatation," and "it is less squirrely / more stable on slippery or loose conditions."

    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think 18 1/2" most likely became a defacto standard because everyone was copying Fatback, whose geometry was recognizably more snow-worthy than previous (or simultaneous) commercial efforts.
    I have a first generation Fatback and it has 18.1" chainstays, also a later generation alu with 17.75" so 18 1/2 was not a very good copy.
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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    Speaking from experience the reason fatbikes started out having 18" chainstays was because you didn't have to bend the seat tube or custom fab a yoke or make a crazy offset rear triangle to get tire/chainstay/chainring and chain clearance. I think it's as simple as that. It was the easiest thing for framebuilders to fabricate with a new line of bikes that was of interest to a very small corner of the market. Now that it's big bucks (relatively) builders are putting in more effort to make the bikes ride better. It's a total pita to make a short-stay fatbike that fits 5" tires!
    Last edited by Meriwether; 11-13-2014 at 09:12 AM. Reason: misspelling

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriwether View Post
    Salsa has kinda figured this out with their newer frames although not as short in the rear as mikesee's preference, and not with all the sweet custom stuff you just can't get with a stock frame.
    I've been following this thread with interest from the start, but confess that some of the more technical information is over my head. Seems that my 2014 Mukluk (a bike for the masses if there ever was one) does come close to mikesee's desired geo with its slacker head angle (68.5), lower bb (11 in), and shortish chainstays (17.6 at the shortest setting). Trail is a little short with the Bearpaw fork- 94 mm by my rough calculation. Front center is 27.9 in. What I find curious, in light of the info presented here, is that it rides best on snow when the chainstay length is set at 18 in or longer. Interestingly, seems to perform best when set at18.1, the same length as my first gen alu Fatback.


    I've been riding snow quite a bit since 2009, though my skills are medicocre and I mostly ride packed snowmobile and mushing trails. Wetter snow here on the coast, but we do get unconsolidated spindrift that can affect traction. Overall though, for my 2-5 hour rides I dont feel that l lose much traction with longer stays. With shorter stays, the front washes out ALOT. Hard to stay upright when trail conditions get soft or unconsolidated.

    Any thoughts as to what's going on?
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    WOW!!! I'm glad you are here to explain every thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    yup otherwise were just sheep.
    I like sheep.

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    I prefer lamb, they're so tender, juicy and delicious.

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    Good read, and some great opinions, ideas & etc. I've stuck w/ my old 1st addition ALU Fatback for quite a while just because I love short chainstay's (among other attribute's) for sand and snow. In fact, I believe I get as good or better performance floatation riding on it w/ 4" tires on 100's than folks running the bigger stuff on bikes w/ longer CS's... especially when they're running 5" tires on 80's.

    Anyhow, saving for a new one in 2015. Can't afford to go custom this time so looking very closely at what's offered out there production wise w/ the GEO I want and that fits the bigger tires... right now, looks like the Ventana Gordo, Surly ICT and the Salsa Blackborow are the only production bikes on my list w/ the Blackborow at the top (right now anyway). The Blackborow has a little less trail than the ICT but the ICT's CS's are a little longer and it's BB is a little higher... obviously different front triangle GEO too. The Gordo will cost me quite a bit more $$ to put together so siding w/ the QBP offerings for now. I'm at that point size wise that I can fit a Medium or a Large just fine so can change the GEO and feel of the bike that way too. Just trying to study up as much as possible and make the right decission... hate it when I spend a bunch of $$ and later wish I would have went a different way.

    So, Mike, after reading through here a couple times, I can't find the number's anywhere... with the exception of roughly 100mm trail. For comparison, I'd love to see the actual GEO of this bike. Sorry if I'm out of line... but "slacker/steeper, longer/shorter"... I understand what your doing and why, would just like to see the number's...

  167. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post

    ...Overall though, for my 2-5 hour rides I dont feel that l lose much traction with longer stays. With shorter stays, the front washes out ALOT. Hard to stay upright when trail conditions get soft or unconsolidated.

    Any thoughts as to what's going on?
    Interesting you've found this difference in handling veloborealis. I believe it's all due to weight distribution over the tires. When you shorten the stays more of your weight will be over the rear axle (all else kept consistent). Mikesee is saying this is what makes the bike handle better and get more traction *in his type of conditions and in how he likes a bike to handle*. I agree and most of the time I like this style of short and slack geometry, on my summer trail bikes as well. I have an older fatbike that has long stays (467mm) - same everything else except CS length. I like short/slack until it's more hardpack and then a longer stay bike handles more normal/balanced.

    With someone to help read the scales, try this if you happen to have two scales at home. You'll be surprised at how little changes in stem length and chainstay length change the distribution of weight between rear and front wheels. It's truly not a big % but it does transfer pretty noticeably to how the bike rides. Things don't always have to be so black and white.-bike_weight-distribution-scales.jpg

    PS- For those of you wondering what the geo of Mike's bike is, i basically posted it on my blog post linked earlier (my elevated chainstay fatbike). I'm not guessing it's secret but you won't find any non-custom frames out there with the same geo. Some are getting close but it is very difficult to get 430 chainstays on a 4.8" tire fatbike.

  168. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriwether View Post
    Interesting you've found this difference in handling veloborealis. I believe it's all due to weight distribution over the tires. When you shorten the stays more of your weight will be over the rear axle (all else kept consistent). Mikesee is saying this is what makes the bike handle better and get more traction *in his type of conditions and in how he likes a bike to handle*. I agree and most of the time I like this style of short and slack geometry, on my summer trail bikes as well. I have an older fatbike that has long stays (467mm) - same everything else except CS length. I like short/slack until it's more hardpack and then a longer stay bike handles more normal/balanced.

    With someone to help read the scales, try this if you happen to have two scales at home. You'll be surprised at how little changes in stem length and chainstay length change the distribution of weight between rear and front wheels. It's truly not a big % but it does transfer pretty noticeably to how the bike rides. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Bike_weight-distribution-scales.jpg 
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    PS- For those of you wondering what the geo of Mike's bike is, i basically posted it on my blog post linked earlier (my elevated chainstay fatbike). I'm not guessing it's secret but you won't find any non-custom frames out there with the same geo. Some are getting close but it is very difficult to get 430 chainstays on a 4.8" tire fatbike.
    Great post Whit.

    My geo isn't secret. My goal here was/is to get people to think about what they're riding now, and how it could be improved, with the end result that people start to demand (with their wallets and buying power) smarter geo for where they live and ride. Teach a man to fish, essentially.

    Not everyone can afford a custom bike--it'd be great if we could buy something off the shelf that worked worth a damn in the conditions many of us see on every ride.

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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    I'm not trying to sell bikes here, just stating my experience in what is out there for options. Custom is the only way to get exactly what you want but there are some solid stock bikes out there now that you may be able to customize to your wants...

    Here are a couple of links to the blog I was referencing. Sorry I didn't link them then.

    http://meriwethercycles.wordpress.co...nstay-fatbike/

    http://meriwethercycles.wordpress.co.../efat-is-a-go/

    I'll let Mike post geo numbers here if he wants to, not my place.

    But one idea is to look for a stock fatbike that has:

    1. Sliding or rocker dropouts to adjust chainstay length. I'll look into it but I think the best option for this may be Ventana or Salsa.

    2. Get a Cane Creek Angleset
    http://www.canecreek.com/products/headsets/angleset

    I remember someone at Fat-bike.com doing this exact thing with his new Quiring bike.
    http://fat-bike.com/2013/12/achievin...e-versatility/

    You may not be able to get the super short chainstays but could get the slack HTA.
    Last edited by Meriwether; 11-20-2014 at 12:19 PM.

  170. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriwether View Post
    With someone to help read the scales, try this if you happen to have two scales at home.
    You can do it with just one. Weigh yourself and your bike first. Put the scale under whichever wheel makes it easier to read and put a phone book or something of similar height to the scale under the other. The weight on the unmeasured wheel will be your total weight minus the weight on the scale under the wheel.

  171. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriwether View Post
    I'm not trying to sell bikes here, just stating my experience in what is out there for options. Custom is the only way to get exactly what you want but there are some solid stock bikes out there now that you may be able to customize to your wants...

    Here are a couple of links to the blog I was referencing. Sorry I didn't link them then.

    Elevated chainstay fatbike | Meriwether Cycles

    eFat is a go | Meriwether Cycles

    I'll let Mike post geo numbers here if he wants to, not my place.

    But one idea is to look for a stock fatbike that has:

    1. Sliding or rocker dropouts to adjust chainstay length. I'll look into it but I think the best option for this may be Ventana or Salsa.

    2. A frame with a *straight* 44mm (inner diameter) headtube. A tapered headtube won't allow this: get a Cane Creek Angleset
    AngleSet

    I remember someone at Fat-bike.com doing this exact thing with his new Quiring bike.
    Achieving Fat-bike Versatility | FAT-BIKE.COM

    You may not be able to get the super short chainstays but could get the slack HTA.
    Awesome info! Thanks!!

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    Things don't always have to be so black and white.

    The Angleset works with more headtube types than I thought, I removed that straight headtube requirement from my last post....

  173. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriwether View Post
    The Angleset works with more headtube types than I thought, I removed that straight headtube requirement from my last post....
    WOW! Just went to the Cane Creek site... that change's everything! I had no idea these were available for so many applications.

    Again, great info!!

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    1. Sliding or rocker dropouts to adjust chainstay length. I'll look into it but I think the best option for this may be Ventana or Salsa.

    I have a Ti Mukluk, it's a great bike and versatile, but all those nuts, bolts and such make for a flexy a$$ end. So for a fat bike where clearance is generally an issue I would look for something that is designed for the the way you plan to set it up and ride it, rather than having to fiddle with sliders to make it something it's really not. I'll have a different bike soon and have no plans to retire the Mukluk but fat bike (snow riding) design has moved ahead in the last couple of years.

  175. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johanneson View Post
    I have a Ti Mukluk, it's a great bike and versatile, but all those nuts, bolts and such make for a flexy a$$ end. So for a fat bike where clearance is generally an issue I would look for something that is designed for the the way you plan to set it up and ride it, rather than having to fiddle with sliders to make it something it's really not. I'll have a different bike soon and have no plans to retire the Mukluk but fat bike (snow riding) design has moved ahead in the last couple of years.
    Are you sure the flex is coming from the sliders and not the Titanium? I have no experience with that bike, but many Ti frames can be flexy back there, sliders/rockers or not.

    Well designed sliders or rockers should not add any flex to the frame. They do make it more complicated and there are more things to fail/go wrong/loose though.

  176. #176
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    It's the Ti. If this flexiness was a problem with the drop outs and such, then everyone with sliding drops would have the same complaint; they don't.

    I had a Ti frame custom made for muni. We went through four interations, each one broke at the welds. The last one made it six months, but was still flexy, ultimately cracking. Muni frames are so simple, basically a beefed up "fork". Having muni frames of steel and aluminum, it was easy to see the difference in flex.

    Ti is noodly, it's the 500# gorilla that no one wants to talk about. Stick to steel or aluminum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanneson View Post
    1. Sliding or rocker dropouts to adjust chainstay length. I'll look into it but I think the best option for this may be Ventana or Salsa.

    I have a Ti Mukluk, it's a great bike and versatile, but all those nuts, bolts and such make for a flexy a$$ end. So for a fat bike where clearance is generally an issue I would look for something that is designed for the the way you plan to set it up and ride it, rather than having to fiddle with sliders to make it something it's really not. I'll have a different bike soon and have no plans to retire the Mukluk but fat bike (snow riding) design has moved ahead in the last couple of years.

  177. #177
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    I don't notice any bad flex but I do notice a little welcome compliance and that I appreciate immensely. No issues with the rockers either.
    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14624765885/player/" width="375" height="500" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

  178. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Ti is noodly, it's the 500# gorilla that no one wants to talk about. Stick to steel or aluminum.
    No. Every material can be drawn/manipulated/fabricated to exhibit whichever characteristics you want. Ti *can* be flexy, but doesn't have to be. The frame that this thread was started around rides stiffer than a few of my aluminum frames.

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    The ti mukluk is heavier and stiffer than any non-custom ti frame I'm aware of. I tend to notice flex in any frame, and I have no complaints about mine. Something else might be going on with yours...

    Anyway back to Geo discussion. Mikesee likes the drama of pretending the HA and CS debate hasn't happened much in this part of the industry, but I've seen plenty of it. This forum has had extensive threads on the short vs long CS 'best for snow' question...with no clear winner, although long CS fans argue it has nothing to do with the pkg 'reasons' Mikesee posits explain the mainstream tendency.

    I was an early adopter of short CS / slack HA on dirt....bought Chris' own Yelli frame in fact...and I assumed I'd want a short CS fatbike with slackish HA. Interestingly, after playing around with CS length on my Mukluk, I reluctantly concluded longer CS worked best on the soft but wettish snow we have at lower altitudes.

    Mike's thoughts about CS, HA, trail etc in this thread aren't groundbreaking...they echo discussions here in various threads over the years...but not everyone remembers those discussions, and sometimes those threads were more theory than practice. So I appreciate the real world data, Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbiker74 View Post
    Mike's thoughts about CS, HA, trail etc in this thread aren't groundbreaking...they echo discussions here in various threads over the years...but not everyone remembers those discussions, and sometimes those threads were more theory than practice. So I appreciate the real world data, Mike.
    Yes, but coupled with a high resolution camera or picture of Morgan Freeman, you can say anything and be right.
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    thx...










    ...for Jeny and Bud, Doom and Lou, Nate, Bluto, Marge and the Underworld.






















































































    Last edited by mikesee; 04-15-2015 at 12:05 AM.

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    How does this look:

    Benefat ? Matter Cycles

    420mm chainstay length
    60mm BB drop
    69* HTA
    73* STA

    Anyone know anything about these?

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    Plan D.


    Jeny, Doom, Greg and I were feeling froggy after a few days off of work and full of food.

    Time to get out and see some country.











    Fatbikes? Check. Studs? Check. Puffy jackets, pants, and bags? Check, check, check.



















    Trouble was, our initial objective assumed normal December temps would have frozen a certain creek up tight. Not so much--or so we learned as departure drew closer.










    Our second idea ended up falling through as well--too much water, not enough ice.



















    Plan C could have worked out on some level, had I remembered to bring the maps...











    Thus did we end up setting out for a from-the-hip tour of a certain valley and wash system a few hours south.











    Conditions varied from scud-covered morning skies to comfy cozy windless bluebird afternoons to crisp, sharp, bivy-under-the-light-of-the-moon overnights.



















































    Our route included a few miles of gravel ("We've got fatbikes, we can handle this..."), a similar amount of rough 4wd track, a couple miles of bovine singletrack, and an inestimable (because I was focused on more important things) distance of trail-less creekbottom riding.



















    Surfaces ranged from gravel to sand to rock islands amidst a shallow sea of brashy slush, plus every variety of ice imaginable. Except for "thick".



















    The riding was chunky, messy, chaotic, constantly changing and completely engaging. Couldn't have asked for much more.



















    Nights are long this time of year. We filled them with wood collecting, campfire building, sharing of sweet snacks and stiff libations, bad jokes and good stories.



















    I'm typically a Plan-A-or-bust kinda guy, largely because I spend lots of time plotting exactly where I want to be, and when. Having Ma Nature's fickleness remove that option from the hopper forced me to open myself to a much-less-planned alternative.











    This time, that worked out just fine.











    Thanks for checkin' in.

    Last edited by mikesee; 04-15-2015 at 12:07 AM.

  184. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooSteep View Post
    How does this look:

    Benefat ? Matter Cycles

    420mm chainstay length
    60mm BB drop
    69* HTA
    73* STA

    Anyone know anything about these?
    WOW MAN! Want to take a spin on that... Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

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    16.5 w/ 5" & 100mm's... First time I've seen that... Mesmerized! Looks like it want's to do a wheelie and take off...

  186. #186
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    Like so many others, I would like to send a sincere Thank You to mikesee for the incredible pictures and words. Thank you for showing me a part of this great country I might never get to see otherwise.

  187. #187
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    Short chainstay definition: Matter Cycles Benefat

    xxx
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Things don't always have to be so black and white.-matter-cycles-benefat-yoke_1024x1024.jpg  


  188. #188
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    Another brilliant photo essay from Mike.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Any bike, anywhere, anytime.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  189. #189
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    “Life is a garden, not a road.

    We enter and exit through the same gate.

    Wandering, where we go matters less

    than what we notice.”



    ― Kurt Vonnegut






    Our winter was but a shadow of it's normal self, but it was winter. Impatient humans that we are, before one season's ended we're ready for the next.



    So it was that we drove away from our own little slice of heaven and headed for the Sonoran desert.












    We had reason to both celebrate and take some time off, and given a choice Jeny's first (and 2nd, and 3rd) preference would always be to bikepack.










    I'd ridden a handful of trails in the desert north of Oracle, but had never been able to complete the loop that Scott raves about. We set that as our primary goal for this trip.









    Into the Box.









    Secondary goals included catching up on some rest, and sleep, and being outside somewhere wild and beautiful each day.









    I failed miserably on the sleep part (as I almost always do) but the rest was easy given where and when we were.

















    The elusive Area 52.









































    Although we poked around the edges of A52 a fair bit while searching for the route, and the exit, we felt that we had scarcely scratched the surface of the riding to be done on this formation.

























    More miles of shandy jeep roads than I care to cover in a day led us to a few miles of wash bashing and then, finally, onto Ripsey.

    Greg had been here a week earlier and had forewarned us that the poppies were 'out', and we were ecstatic to arrive with afternoon light and some gas left in the tanks.

































    The entire climb of Ripsey is challenging, with a few exclamation-point switchbacks to keep you honest.

























    Honey light and sumptuous breezes kept us in the saddle longer than maybe we'd planned to ride that night. It was hard to stop, so sweet were the views and temps around every next corner.

































    Eventually we carved out a little home amidst the succulent sentinels and slept the sleep of the exhausted.

















    Somehow the flora and illumination the next morning were even sweeter than the night before.

























    Mid-day temps sent us down to the Gila River to re-up on water, and then, laden heavily, we began the climb into the Gila Canyons in earnest.









    Largely mellow grades prevail and the tread is wide and non-technical enough to allow you to take in the unfolding grandeur. Occasionally, a steep stinger would require that we burned a match or two to stay on the bikes.

















    Difficult to put this climb into context with words. It just keeps going and going, not merely up but *in* to the heart of the canyon system. And I'm not sure you can get a sense for how expansive this system is from anywhere other than on the ground, slowly crawling your way up it.

















    Just shy of sunset, tired, sore, sunburnt and recharged, we closed the loop back where it had begun 3 days previous.









    Pre-production Surly 29+ tires were my choice for the trip, and proved far more comfortable and adept than expected or even hoped for. So much so that I started, and finished, a drawing for a chassis to better exploit them while climbing away from the Gila River. Stay tuned on that.

    My bike looks lightly loaded, and in truth it was if you discount the 5 liters of water in the frame bag. Double secret punishment training, or something like that...










    Thanks for checking in.



    MC

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    A recent weekend outing.



  191. #191
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    Nice Mike! That really does make me long for an excursion to the high country.

    Any piece of camping kit/or bike parts that trip that has hit 'perfection'? i.e. doesn't need any improvement?
    Trust me, I have a beard and gray hair.

  192. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by worldskipper View Post
    Nice Mike! That really does make me long for an excursion to the high country.

    Any piece of camping kit/or bike parts that trip that has hit 'perfection'? i.e. doesn't need any improvement?
    If I had to do it again today the only thing I'd change is...

    ...nothing, really. Pretty well dialed--probably because I've been using all of it for a good long while.

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