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  1. #1
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    Why fat is faster on dirt

    With much trepidation, I took the FatSheep on our Weds night hammerfest here in San Diego. For comparison, I usually ride my Superfly 100 or my Groovy 29er singlespeed. It's a group of fast guys and I am usually middle of the pack. If you get dropped, nobody waits for you, so there is a big incentive to keep up. I was surprised to find myself keeping up no problem, and actually riding faster than usual. Maybe a case of new-bike-itis?

    Nope - here's what I discovered.

    The fatbike can ride ruts and parts of the trail other bikes can't ride. I can pass people in the group on bad parts of the trail where other bikes can't ride. When the group bunches up to get through a sandy or cobbled section, I can ride wherever I feel like. I found myself passing people at these spots so as to avoid braking.

    Rolling resistance on bumpy stuff is minimal - actually making it more efficient rather than getting knocked around like on my full suspension bike.

    Cobbles are usually my nemesis - but the fatty does not care about them. I found myself riding way faster down and up on loose conditions.

    With the huge contact patches, I can actually keep up on the tight twisty singletrack where I usually get dropped. I can climb standing without skidding the back tire (husker du) even up the loosest climbs.

    A big fat larry at 5 psi is all the suspension I need, and the rigid fork is way more efficient standing climbing than the fox I have on my other singlespeed.

    The caveat is that I have a pretty light and compliant setup going (haven't weighed it yet): ti frame, fork, bars, &seatpost, UMA 70s, and running it singlespeed.

    Anyone else feel like riding fat on dirt is potentially faster?

  2. #2
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    I find that the softer rear tire pressure/high volume allows acceleration on bumpy trails. Where typically on a smaller volume tire you would start to bounce. This obviously compares a hard tail to hard tail.

    But that isn't my experience on dirt, just snow. I am sure the same would apply to similar dirt trails.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by noish View Post
    With much trepidation, I took the FatSheep on our Weds night hammerfest here in San Diego. For comparison, I usually ride my Superfly 100 or my Groovy 29er singlespeed. It's a group of fast guys and I am usually middle of the pack. If you get dropped, nobody waits for you, so there is a big incentive to keep up. I was surprised to find myself keeping up no problem, and actually riding faster than usual. Maybe a case of new-bike-itis?

    Nope - here's what I discovered.

    The fatbike can ride ruts and parts of the trail other bikes can't ride. I can pass people in the group on bad parts of the trail where other bikes can't ride. When the group bunches up to get through a sandy or cobbled section, I can ride wherever I feel like. I found myself passing people at these spots so as to avoid braking.

    Rolling resistance on bumpy stuff is minimal - actually making it more efficient rather than getting knocked around like on my full suspension bike.

    Cobbles are usually my nemesis - but the fatty does not care about them. I found myself riding way faster down and up on loose conditions.

    With the huge contact patches, I can actually keep up on the tight twisty singletrack where I usually get dropped. I can climb standing without skidding the back tire (husker du) even up the loosest climbs.

    A big fat larry at 5 psi is all the suspension I need, and the rigid fork is way more efficient standing climbing than the fox I have on my other singlespeed.

    The caveat is that I have a pretty light and compliant setup going (haven't weighed it yet): ti frame, fork, bars, &seatpost, UMA 70s, and running it singlespeed.

    Anyone else feel like riding fat on dirt is potentially faster?
    I don't know about faster, but I have been surprised to find that I've been able to easily keep up on group rides on dirt with strong riders on my Mukluk. You're right in that there are lines you can ride on a fatbike that are inaccessible on a 29"er... or any "regular" bike. But you also have to get to know and respect the momentum you're carrying into fast, slick corners if you want to live a long time, because you're on a bike that likes to go straight when you're spun up to 15 or more mph... At least that's what I've found. It's fun... Don't get me wrong. You just have to ride it a little different way... More from the hips.

    But I don't even have a particularly light setup -- a mostly stock Salsa Mukluk 3 with tires converted to tubeless and a few choice component swaps. It's even got a mini rack on the front, so I'm clearly not going after the lightest setup right now... But it's clearly rippin'. Anyone whose ridden with me recently will vouch for that.

    At some point, I intend to have some lighter wheels for the bike, so at that point it'll be really interesting to see how I'm doing against the faster guys... especially when I get some nice tires on there. Mmmm... I can't wait. I just don't have the money right now, so I'm holding off as long as possible. My rear tire rolls really fast...
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  4. #4
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    No way!

    I know fat bikes can roll over chop with ease, but I've noticed mine has greater rolling resistance on dirt than hard pack snow (Coefficient of friction being less on snow than dirt). My hard tail feels faster on dirt than my fat bike. If you're passing these guys on more technically challenging parts of a trail then maybe they’re not the best technical riders. I know a lot of guys with road back ground that are hammers but couldn't navigate root or rock if their lives depended on it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by noish View Post
    ...Anyone else feel like riding fat on dirt is potentially faster?
    I don't know about faster because I usually ride on my own, but certainly once the surface goes from hard to soft, or gravel, or uneven, then it feels much easier with the fat tyres.

    Schwalbe explain it pretty well
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  6. #6
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    My whole theory in a nut shell.

    Give fat bikers tires that are up to the traction task (thank you Surly) and they shine in ways we are just starting to understand.

    Agreed, they are as fast if not faster, and it makes the skinny tired guys nuts too, bonus points!
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    Not these guys. They're the winningest mtb team in SD. Half of them ride motocross. I think it's truly the fatness that lets me ride sketchy lines with confidence and hammer on the loose downhills.

  8. #8
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    Over a short none technical local 17minute gradual climb off and on the road my Mukluk is 12% slower than my Rigid race Niner Air9.

    But it's twice as much fun and that's what matters

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northender View Post
    I know fat bikes can roll over chop with ease, but I've noticed mine has greater rolling resistance on dirt than hard pack snow (Coefficient of friction being less on snow than dirt). My hard tail feels faster on dirt than my fat bike. If you're passing these guys on more technically challenging parts of a trail then maybe they’re not the best technical riders. I know a lot of guys with road back ground that are hammers but couldn't navigate root or rock if their lives depended on it.
    I don't think the coefficient of friction is the controling variable in this case. Around here snow is usually softer than hardpacked dirt. I almost always leave a track in the snow. On most hard packed soil in the summer I can ride without leaving any impression. Deforming a surface takes more energy than not so I suspect in most cases dirt is actually faster. That is what it feels like to me any way. This is not to say that a fat bike is faster than a non fat bike on the dirt. I have also seen cases where the fat tires just roll over things that bounced a 29er all over the place. Don't know what his tire pressure was though but I bet it was a bit high. I've also ridden fat tires up loose cobbly pitches that I could not ride on a skinny bike. So for me faster in some cases at least.
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  10. #10
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    Pretty sure I'm faster on my fatbike (Twenty2 Cycles Ti Bully). My average speed is faster on my local dirt loop (hard dirt, some rocks & roots, modest hills). My other is (was) a Maverick ML 7.5 set up pretty darn light (around 25 lbs).

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    Somebody better tell Absolon

  12. #12
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    I've got 3 MTBs:

    - Pugsley
    - 26er FS 6"+ travel
    - 29er hardtail

    Which bike is faster simply depends on the particular trails I'm riding that day. They each have specific strengths and weaknesses.

    I could easily imagine group rides where I could keep up no problem on my Pugsley and other scenarios where I'd be dropped like a rock.

    It all comes down to the terrain in question.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I've got 3 MTBs:

    - Pugsley
    - 26er FS 6"+ travel
    - 29er hardtail

    Which bike is faster simply depends on the particular trails I'm riding that day. They each have specific strengths and weaknesses.

    I could easily imagine group rides where I could keep up no problem on my Pugsley and other scenarios where I'd be dropped like a rock.

    It all comes down to the terrain in question.
    I would mostly agree...but add that I could keep up on the fatty, just have to work harder than them
    I totally buy what you're selling (OP), and have had those WTF moments (how am I going so FAST!?) on the fat, but have to work harder to maintain that pace than I would on my Sultan (through the techy trails around here). Tho, I appreciate the added control a rigid adds to the equation.
    That's essentially what has me grabbing the fatty for a ride 75% of the time (the other two trade off ). It's just a grin inducing machine...every time!


  14. #14
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    This guy thinks we're all a joke: Fat Jokes | The Velo Jones Blog. Brought to you by VeloGear.

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    Fat tires are going to be slower on a smooth surface. But when you start hitting golf-ball and bigger sized cobbles, they suddenly become much faster as the bike just floats over them and doesn't bounce around.

    I should have clarified - I think it's faster singlespeed. I can stand and don't lose any traction with rear tire spinout.

  16. #16
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    I am faster on the fat bike than my trek ex9!

  17. #17
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    There is no way I could keep the same pace on my fatbike as opposed to my 6" fs. I can blow through and over things on a fast descent I would never dream of on the fatbike. To me it is fun but it also has its place. I am not replacing any bike with my fatbike because it can't do everything great. Like I said it is fun but the rigid setup just can't compete when it comes to agressive riding in my mind. Climbing either, due to the weight. When someone wins a national super-D race on one I will retract my statement.

  18. #18
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    It's probably simpler to say they are faster on some surfaces and slower on others.

    I suspect in natural trail conditions with varying surfaces, a fatbike may have an average speed that is higher. On groomed trail centre stuff it would be slower.
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    All Sandman bikes are designed as fast trailbikes, trailbikes which happen to have potential to double as a snow bike . Not the other way around...
    With their front suspension (which makes a huge difference compared to a rigid fork) they run circles around any all mountain or enduro fully.

    Except when it's very smooth terrain, then you have to stop, inflate to 1.5 bar and run with regular hardtails...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    With their front suspension (which makes a huge difference compared to a rigid fork) they run circles around any all mountain or enduro fully.
    It's not very hard to select terrain that's chunky enough to put the hurt on any rigid/hardtail bike - fat or not. Just like you can select terrain where a fat bike with a suspension fork would be the hot ticket.

    As soon as you present ant MTB platform as the "ultimate" solution you come off sounding silly.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    It's not very hard to select terrain that's chunky enough to put the hurt on any rigid/hardtail bike - fat or not. Just like you can select terrain where a fat bike with a suspension fork would be the hot ticket.

    As soon as you present ant MTB platform as the "ultimate" solution you come off sounding silly.
    I know, but a decent front suspended fatbike with a second 29"er wheelset comes awefully close to covering all MTB bases

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    With their front suspension (which makes a huge difference compared to a rigid fork) they run circles around any all mountain or enduro fully.

    Except when it's very smooth terrain, then you have to stop, inflate to 1.5 bar and run with regular hardtails...
    Somebody's been smoking some crazy glue...

    Fat bikes = fun? Sure, yep.

    But "run circles around any all mountain or enduro fully"? Tee hee.

    I don't even know where to begin. Do you know Cloxxi?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by noish View Post
    Anyone else feel like riding fat on dirt is potentially faster?
    I think the answer has to be, "It depends on the dirt".

    Sounds like you're making up lots of time where others simply can't ride (sandy washes?), not necessarily riding faster than them on the trail?

    Regardless, glad you got the bike together and are enjoying it. Tubeless yet? And where the hizell are the pics?!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post

    I don't even know where to begin. Do you know Cloxxi?!
    Ahh......that's "Cloxxki".

    If you're gonna invoke the name of your thorn-in-the-flesh, at least get the spelling right.

    But yeah, I can not see where you ride, (and more importantly how you ride), how a fat bike could possibly be faster than what you are using.

    I will say that my fat bikes are taking me on rides I would not have considered, and/or could not have done on my regular rigs. Then- obviously- a fat bike is faster.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    Ahh......that's "Cloxxki".

    If you're gonna invoke the name of your thorn-in-the-flesh, at least get the spelling right.

    But yeah, I can not see where you ride, (and more importantly how you ride), how a fat bike could possibly be faster than what you are using.

    I will say that my fat bikes are taking me on rides I would not have considered, and/or could not have done on my regular rigs. Then- obviously- a fat bike is faster.
    I know how to spell just fine, thanks.

    Your last bit is exactly my point--fat bikes are best where float, low ground pressure (call it what you want for your locale) etc... are mandatory. Riding is usually faster than walking, but it's always more fun.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sryanak View Post
    I don't think the coefficient of friction is the controling variable in this case. Around here snow is usually softer than hardpacked dirt. I almost always leave a track in the snow. On most hard packed soil in the summer I can ride without leaving any impression. Deforming a surface takes more energy than not so I suspect in most cases dirt is actually faster. That is what it feels like to me any way. This is not to say that a fat bike is faster than a non fat bike on the dirt. I have also seen cases where the fat tires just roll over things that bounced a 29er all over the place. Don't know what his tire pressure was though but I bet it was a bit high. I've also ridden fat tires up loose cobbly pitches that I could not ride on a skinny bike. So for me faster in some cases at least.
    Yeah now that you mention it I might be a little mixed up. I do notice that my fat bike will roll faster on hard pack snow than hard pack clay.
    Last edited by Northender; 02-23-2012 at 10:28 PM.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Somebody's been smoking some crazy glue...

    Fat bikes = fun? Sure, yep.

    But "run circles around any all mountain or enduro fully"? Tee hee.

    I don't even know where to begin. Do you know Cloxxi?!
    I don't know Cloxxi or whatever it's spelled, neither do I smoke, but I have ridden modern fatbikes on all sorts of terrain. Have you ? Let me guess...

    People like you probably will never be convinced (like I know plenty who swear by 1.8" tires at 4 bar everywhere...), but a lot of others are scratching their heads right now.
    Scratching their heads like all racers who finished behind 3rd place in the Black Mountains 3-days.
    Or scratching their heads like the C'dale factory team who finished together with most other racers behind 6th place in the Ruta de Los Conquistadores. A month later the first pictures of a fatbike repainted in C'dale colors appeared on a team blog. Coïncidence ?


    In last years La Ruta a fatbike on 29"ers finished 2nd in the 1st stage, right on the heels of Todd Wells (after suffering a flat when riding together).

    You obviously don't do that on a rigid Pugs or similar, but it has been done on a modern front-suspended fattie. More than once (4th in the Brazilian Ironbiker, a slew of really good finishes in almost all Roc d'Azur races - from downhill to streetrace - on the same fatbikes and fat wheels, just with different handlebars and stems. 16th overall in the 2010 BCBR, only dropping back from 12th in the last stage due to a dislocated shoulder from hitting a tree).

    So again: a modern fatbike with an additional 29"er wheelset for easy terrain can run with the best of them anywhere. Bummer for all the nay-sayers, but it has been done. Try to live with it.

    And on top of that, they keep on running on much more difficult stuff, including snow and sand.

    Imho that just covers an awful lot of MTB bases.

  28. #28
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    If we're going to talk racing -

    I've been doing the same 24 hour race on various singlespeeds over the last few years. This year was my first race on a fatbike and it was my PB despite me whining (to myself) during the race about the drag of the Nate up front and the 20lbs more weight than my usual bike.

    It didn't feel faster while I was doing it though
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    I don't know Cloxxi or whatever it's spelled, neither do I smoke, but I have ridden modern fatbikes on all sorts of terrain. Have you ? Let me guess...
    Yeah, I don't think MC has ever tried those modern fatbikes

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    Agreed, they are as fast if not faster, and it makes the skinny tired guys nuts too, bonus points!
    So it shouldn't be long until we see some pro's riding them in races (and winning)

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by atom29 View Post
    Yeah, I don't think MC has ever tried those modern fatbikes
    With the utmost and due respect: no I think he hasn't.

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    LOL! Thats precious.
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    I'm sure MC is just getting your crow in the oven right now...

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    To my knowledge Mike (and he should definitely correct me if I'm wrong) has raced and tried a bunch of rigid, snow-oriënted fatbikes during Alaskan races and other adventures. Chances are very high he tried some of those with a Maverick antiquity as a suspension fork on other trails as well.

    But probably not yet one of the new breed of trail oriënted fatbikes (Sandman and On One), definitely not the new German Answer suspension fork.
    Speaking of those brands, they just participated both in the first European winter race of that kind in Finland. Rovaniemi 150 - Rovaniemi 150 Winter Race Sandman came in 1st and 3rd, John Ross on the On One proto second. All "on a hankerchief" in around 32 hours...To be frank, it was more of a test of character/stubbornness than a bike race: they pushed their bikes about 125 out of the 150 kms due to the large amounts of snow that fell before and during the race. Respect...
    All other participants DNF, amongst them quite a few Alaska veterans (including one to Nome).

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by atom29 View Post
    Yeah, I don't think MC has ever tried those modern fatbikes
    Mike is has earned the right to have an opinion on this, and it's worth listening to. Very few of us have used our fatbikes as intensely as he has. I think if you fancy going off for a few weeks on an expedition, he is the authority.

    The opinion of people who race is really only valid for that use. They (including myself) are only on the bike for a few hours and the bike is generally ridden with no load.

    I think what we will see is divergence in fatbikes, with some suppliers building them optimised for snow (their original purpose), other for XC type duties, and then there is also the emergence of the AM type of fatbike (spearheaded by members of this forum) and with manufacturers like Salsa exploring that option.

    Horses for courses in other words.
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    Hey, I was being sarcastic. I thought that was obvious. You need to quote Caminoloco.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Mike is has earned the right to have an opinion on this, and it's worth listening to. Very few of us have used our fatbikes as intensely as he has. I think if you fancy going off for a few weeks on an expedition, he is the authority.

    The opinion of people who race is really only valid for that use. They (including myself) are only on the bike for a few hours and the bike is generally ridden with no load.

    I think what we will see is divergence in fatbikes, with some suppliers building them optimised for snow (their original purpose), other for XC type duties, and then there is also the emergence of the AM type of fatbike (spearheaded by members of this forum) and with manufacturers like Salsa exploring that option.

    Horses for courses in other words.
    I know what Mike has done, is still doing and follow his incredible adventures, nothing but respect.

    What I'm trying to get across is here that if you should compare apples to apples. The topic is fast fat trail bikes. The author started out by telling that he finds his rigid (snow)fatbike does pretty well on dirt trails. I agree, while adding that there are non-snow-designed "fatbikes" around now that are still a whole lot faster.
    And if you've never tasted an apple, you shouldn't comment on how bad it tastes... take a bite first.

    BTW: the first fat tire and rim were not for snow use, they were Remolino/Tornel sand tires for desert use - which were adapted pretty quickly by the Alaskan crowd. If you see them, it's clear where Surly got the Endomorph tire idea from - the pattern is strikingly similar.
    So fatbikes acting as trailbikes is in fact going back to the roots, not the other way around

  37. #37
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    @Camino-

    You seem utterly convinced, and completely incapable of seeing any other viewpoint.

    I think that says more about you than me.

    I've seen some of your threads the past ~year or so--from Iceland and the Alps and maybe even other places. Clearly you ride bunches and in lots of different environments. I do NOT think that you're embellishing or fabricating your experiences in any way--I think that you really believe that fatbikes are faster.

    I haven't come to the same conclusion.

    Since the Nate tires came out I've been trying to find a situation where a fatbike is faster than a 29" trailbike. I've tried not just Nate but Husker Du's, Larry's, Endo's (yes, really) and BFL's, on some combo of 65, 70, 90, and even 100mm rims. Even tried 3" Gazza's again (bzzzzzt--wrong answer) for a bit. Fastest, most adept combo I've found yet has been BFL's on Marge Lite's. Whether it's the relative air volume or the relative light weight compared to the other combo's is still TBD.

    What isn't TBD is the speed at which techy trails can be traversed on the two platforms. I don't need a stopwatch to tell me that I'm riding stuff on a 29" FS bike that I can only walk on my FS fatbike. Both up and down.

    Can I have fun on FS fatbike on these trails? Sometimes, yes, but knowing that I could be riding instead of walking, or railing instead of picking my way along, has an effect, and unless I'm heading somewhere that requires float I tend to leave the fat meats at home. I sincerely invite anyone that disagrees to come tag along on a local ride. Unlike the OP's situation, we don't really have group rides-slash-races: We stop at intersections, regroup at the top, etc... We go slower and stop a lot more often when someone shows up with a fatbike. We're also happy to point out the easy lines or walk-arounds.

    I'm told that having a lot more travel *and* fat tires will bring things equal to my 29" FS trailbikes. I'm willing to try it, though for many reasons what I've already seen and experienced has me skeptical about that, too.

    Cheers,

    MC

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    Hey Mike,

    I see that you're in Grand Junction ? There's a guy thinking about entering the Colorado Trail race on a Sandman this year, since he experiences the bike being much less tiring than his normal fully. He takes his ease going up (a bit slower, not trying to follow anybody else), doesn't notice the difference on the flats and is a lot faster while at a much lower heartbeat going downhill and on the rough stuff. Which on the long run gives him an advantage, hence his choice. We'll see how that pans out if he decides to go.

    Coming to the point; if he goes, he'll continue on to Moab and Fruita for some fun trails. In which case he'll definitely want to stop by your shop when in Fruita. It'd be grand if you'd spare a moment to have a spin on his bike and see if that changes anything about your opinion about trail-oriented fa(s)t bikes. Even if they aren't, they're a hoot to ride .
    I'll PM to get the two of you in touch if he decides to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    BTW: the first fat tire and rim were not for snow use, they were Remolino/Tornel sand tires for desert use - which were adapted pretty quickly by the Alaskan crowd. If you see them, it's clear where Surly got the Endomorph tire idea from - the pattern is strikingly similar.
    So fatbikes acting as trailbikes is in fact going back to the roots, not the other way around
    Ray developed those rims and tires for sand dune use in Mexico.

    Ray called and, in his inimitable way, convinced me to try them late in '99. I rode them along the Iditarod to Nome in '00, then again (rear only) in '02.

    They were never intend for nor good on dirt, nor trail, nor really any kind of mixed surfaces.

    Perhaps your response was tongue in cheek?

    Inaccurate, regardless of intent.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    This guy thinks we're all a joke: Fat Jokes | The Velo Jones Blog. Brought to you by VeloGear.

    Troll.
    edited to be nice...
    I like bikes

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    This guy thinks we're all a joke: Fat Jokes | The Velo Jones Blog. Brought to you by VeloGear.

    Troll.
    I just left them a little love note on their site...
    I like bikes

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgersib View Post
    I just left them a little love note on their site...
    As did I and a few others. Almost as funny as his critique of this year's team colors:
    The Pinnacle of Cycling? Oof. | The Velo Jones Blog. Brought to you by VeloGear.

    Than you, Mr. Blackwell!

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    We went biking with Ray in the Copper Canyon 4-5 years ago, one of the best/funnest bike trips I ever did. Highly recommended, the guy knows those incredible trails like the back of his hand and is very good company.
    And we did talk a lot about fat bikes during those 9 days. In a bar in Creel I even came across an old faded poster of him on a fatbike, advertising a long-past ultra-marathon competition they organised down there a long time ago. He didn't organise it but he competed several times in it if I remember correctly.
    When I met him he didn't own a fatbike nor any of his gear any more, I sensed a bit of a traumatic (financial) experience... a pity, he was too far ahead of his time and lacking proper frames.


  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    As did I and a few others. Almost as funny as his critique of this year's team colors:
    The Pinnacle of Cycling? Oof. | The Velo Jones Blog. Brought to you by VeloGear.

    Than you, Mr. Blackwell!
    I concur 100%. I wonder if Jay and Kent at VeloGear think these blog posts are "business development", or exactly what role they are supposed to play as far as reaching out to their customer base, because it's doing nothing for motivating my my finger to move towards the "order" button on any items on their site.

    I must not be their target market... Maybe with Lance's move to tri, that's who they're aiming for?
    I like bikes

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post

    As soon as you present ant MTB platform as the "ultimate" solution you come off sounding silly.
    I agree... There is no one solution for every situation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    With the utmost and due respect: no I think he hasn't.
    Are you kidding?!! Have you seen Mike's bike? If you have seen it and still are saying he hasn't ridden a "modern fatbike" I think you really are smoking something...

    You, sir, are misinformed.
    I like bikes

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    @Camino-

    You seem utterly convinced, and completely incapable of seeing any other viewpoint.

    I think that says more about you than me.

    I've seen some of your threads the past ~year or so--from Iceland and the Alps and maybe even other places. Clearly you ride bunches and in lots of different environments. I do NOT think that you're embellishing or fabricating your experiences in any way--I think that you really believe that fatbikes are faster.

    I haven't come to the same conclusion.

    Since the Nate tires came out I've been trying to find a situation where a fatbike is faster than a 29" trailbike. I've tried not just Nate but Husker Du's, Larry's, Endo's (yes, really) and BFL's, on some combo of 65, 70, 90, and even 100mm rims. Even tried 3" Gazza's again (bzzzzzt--wrong answer) for a bit. Fastest, most adept combo I've found yet has been BFL's on Marge Lite's. Whether it's the relative air volume or the relative light weight compared to the other combo's is still TBD.

    What isn't TBD is the speed at which techy trails can be traversed on the two platforms. I don't need a stopwatch to tell me that I'm riding stuff on a 29" FS bike that I can only walk on my FS fatbike. Both up and down.

    Can I have fun on FS fatbike on these trails? Sometimes, yes, but knowing that I could be riding instead of walking, or railing instead of picking my way along, has an effect, and unless I'm heading somewhere that requires float I tend to leave the fat meats at home. I sincerely invite anyone that disagrees to come tag along on a local ride. Unlike the OP's situation, we don't really have group rides-slash-races: We stop at intersections, regroup at the top, etc... We go slower and stop a lot more often when someone shows up with a fatbike. We're also happy to point out the easy lines or walk-arounds.

    I'm told that having a lot more travel *and* fat tires will bring things equal to my 29" FS trailbikes. I'm willing to try it, though for many reasons what I've already seen and experienced has me skeptical about that, too.

    Cheers,

    MC
    This is valuable perspective... My earlier comments were based on riding in the Midwest, on much flatter, less rocky trails than Mike typically rides. As stated before, it seems the mix of conditions does influence the speed a fatbike (or any bike) can carry, and while it may seem on our local trails that fatbikes can easily keep up (and even take the lead), we're looking forward to gaining the perspective of rockier, steeper trails to see how they compare in those conditions.

    On the limited steep descents I've ridden my Mukluk on, there is definitely a sense of loosely controlled chaos going on due to the undamped nature of the voluminous fat tires when they get up to speed in rocks. It's fun, but is clearly not a replacement for a 6" travel dualie on a descent.
    I like bikes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    If we're going to talk racing -

    I've been doing the same 24 hour race on various singlespeeds over the last few years. This year was my first race on a fatbike and it was my PB despite me whining (to myself) during the race about the drag of the Nate up front and the 20lbs more weight than my usual bike.

    It didn't feel faster while I was doing it though
    I find the discussions in this thread.. interesting timing. My wife and I have been riding our Pugs, for about 15 months now. We first purchased them for snow, but have not been off them yet. We love them.. and crank pretty well on them.

    After a many year absence from racing, we are jumping back into the fold. We have signed up for the 24 hours of Great Glen as a co-ed pair. We had planned to do the race on our Pugs... but recently I have been fantasizing about faster bikes. The course is pretty climby with about 1250 feet of climbing per 8+mile lap.

    As a side note it usually takes some "convincing" of my wife that we "need" another bike. This time I had been looking, and had sort of picked out a Cannondale Carbon 29er Flash. I was online looking at them, and mentioned to her I had a photo of her new bike. There was no "we don't need a new bike" argument, nothing.. she looked at the photo and said oooh pretty.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgersib View Post
    Are you kidding?!! Have you seen Mike's bike? If you have seen it and still are saying he hasn't ridden a "modern fatbike" I think you really are smoking something...

    You, sir, are misinformed.
    No, I haven't seen it... enlighten me please.

    Here's the Euro version of a "modern dirt trail fatbike", 12 kg dry on the hook:


  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    ...Here's the Euro version of a "modern dirt trail fatbike", 12 kg dry on the hook...
    I'll say it again - horses for courses.

    That Sandman looks like the direction I'm headed with my fatbike desires. Light and with XC handling.

    I'll still keep the Pugsley for expedition type rides.
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  51. #51
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    I raced my Pugsley in a short, fast (13 miles/1 hour) race last summer and knocked 3 minutes off my time from the prior year. Same exact course, similar conditions (both me and the course). I'm over 50, so it's not likely I'm getting any fitter. It was definitely slower on the uphills, but fast as hell on the flats and downhill sections.

    For me, the stability of a fatbike is confidence inspiring. It feels "right" and makes me want to tear it up! (Hulk angry!) So, possibly psychological to some degree, but there's also the "flywheel effect" that's been discussed elsewhere.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    To my knowledge Mike (and he should definitely correct me if I'm wrong) has raced and tried a bunch of rigid, snow-oriënted fatbikes during Alaskan races and other adventures. Chances are very high he tried some of those with a Maverick antiquity as a suspension fork on other trails as well.

    But probably not yet one of the new breed of trail oriënted fatbikes (Sandman and On One), definitely not the new German Answer suspension fork.
    Speaking of those brands, they just participated both in the first European winter race of that kind in Finland. Rovaniemi 150 - Rovaniemi 150 Winter Race Sandman came in 1st and 3rd, John Ross on the On One proto second. All "on a hankerchief" in around 32 hours...To be frank, it was more of a test of character/stubbornness than a bike race: they pushed their bikes about 125 out of the 150 kms due to the large amounts of snow that fell before and during the race. Respect...
    All other participants DNF, amongst them quite a few Alaska veterans (including one to Nome).
    Umm, the only one of the people in the race on bike, who had experience in Alaska was John Ross..... I fail to see the relevance of people competing on foot to this discussion. It should also be noted that 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the race were also first, middle and last place.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    @Camino-

    You seem utterly convinced, and completely incapable of seeing any other viewpoint.

    I think that says more about you than me.

    I've seen some of your threads the past ~year or so--from Iceland and the Alps and maybe even other places. Clearly you ride bunches and in lots of different environments. I do NOT think that you're embellishing or fabricating your experiences in any way--I think that you really believe that fatbikes are faster.

    I haven't come to the same conclusion.

    Since the Nate tires came out I've been trying to find a situation where a fatbike is faster than a 29" trailbike. I've tried not just Nate but Husker Du's, Larry's, Endo's (yes, really) and BFL's, on some combo of 65, 70, 90, and even 100mm rims. Even tried 3" Gazza's again (bzzzzzt--wrong answer) for a bit. Fastest, most adept combo I've found yet has been BFL's on Marge Lite's. Whether it's the relative air volume or the relative light weight compared to the other combo's is still TBD.

    What isn't TBD is the speed at which techy trails can be traversed on the two platforms. I don't need a stopwatch to tell me that I'm riding stuff on a 29" FS bike that I can only walk on my FS fatbike. Both up and down.

    Can I have fun on FS fatbike on these trails? Sometimes, yes, but knowing that I could be riding instead of walking, or railing instead of picking my way along, has an effect, and unless I'm heading somewhere that requires float I tend to leave the fat meats at home. I sincerely invite anyone that disagrees to come tag along on a local ride. Unlike the OP's situation, we don't really have group rides-slash-races: We stop at intersections, regroup at the top, etc... We go slower and stop a lot more often when someone shows up with a fatbike. We're also happy to point out the easy lines or walk-arounds.

    I'm told that having a lot more travel *and* fat tires will bring things equal to my 29" FS trailbikes. I'm willing to try it, though for many reasons what I've already seen and experienced has me skeptical about that, too.

    Cheers,

    MC
    I can't agree with you till you build and ride a PBJ fatbike.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    For me, the stability of a fatbike is confidence inspiring. It feels "right" and makes me want to...
    Yes, this.

    I discovered a "duh" notion that my local summer trails are somewhat sandy... no wonder the fattie rode great. After broadening my horizons a bit late summer, I found harder dirt where the fat tires weren't as fun as on my usual haunts.

    I tested a few 29ers and they all felt too light, skittery side to side. Maybe I'm a candidate for a 29er that is light in all ways save for the tires and rims.

    mikesee since we're all reading a "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" sort of thing - well, everyone likes looking at your bike, hint hint.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach View Post
    Umm, the only one of the people in the race on bike, who had experience in Alaska was John Ross..... I fail to see the relevance of people competing on foot to this discussion. It should also be noted that 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the race were also first, middle and last place.
    Actually, there were a few other bikers competing as well, but both called it a day after coming across and rescuing an Italian hiker who had ditched his pulka and was found wandering around on top of a mountain in the snow. Hats off to them, there's a fellow out there who owes them at least some of his extremities... And a tandem, which quit the first. Not much of a bike race really... basically everyone was competing on foot. And if people who succesfully walked to Nome quit this 150 km thingy, that says something about the toughness of the whole enterprise. I'm pretty sure more, if not all would have quit if they weren't chasing each other and swapping places all the way to the finish.

    But you're right, that was off topic here. I just wanted to point out that apparently it goes the other way around with the Euro fatbike brands: they developed their bikes for summer use and now participate in winter races if the occasion presents itself.
    I actually have quite a lot of experience in another outdoor sports which evolved separately on 4 different continents before the different federations and enthusiasts met and compared notes. It was surprising to see how much approach, techniques and problem solving differed, for basically the same identical sport. After 10-15 years they're still bickering which approach is best, so if that's a taste of future discussion between US and Euro style fatbikes... I think I'll just go ride my trail fatbike .

    The positive thing is that bikers with an open mind will have more options to choose from.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach View Post
    I can't agree with you till you build and ride a PBJ fatbike.
    If the tires could handle more than walking speeds on bike paths, we'd already be there.

  57. #57
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    Good reading but I keep going back to that TI Sandman, I think they need a few U.S. test riders!(like me)

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    back on point-
    I'm thinking part of the "just set my fastest time on the fatbike!!" effect is that fatter tires absorb impacts better than regular tires on anything rigid. your body's simply not being beaten up as much, and as a result you do feel fresher for longer (as long as you've got the legs to keep 'em spinning) in the right conditions that can put you over the top.

    So yeah, to some degree fat tires can achieve the same effect as suspension does: to lessen the negative impacts felt by the rider, allowing the rider to be physically fresher as well as expending less mental energy to keep "pushing through the pain".
    I think at anything less than race pace this can make or break a ride.
    But ultimately, just as with the debate of 2.2's over 1.9's... when it comes to speed and control, suspension is king.

    but what do me and my gazzi'd 6" FS bike know? or my gazzi'd full carbon rigid?
    not like I can compare hard apples to squishy apples.
    hint: they all float well, all have gobs of traction, but one's way comfier and hits the ground running harder than the other.

    (for the sake of simplicity, I'm ignoring all the "maintenance" debate of FS vs rigid)
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    Interesting that smoove found the fat bike faster in his race too. I was surprised by my result because I was just riding the fatbike to see how it would go - I was hoping for nearly as good, not better. It's kind of ridiculous that on a Pugsley weighing 20lbs more, I can beat my time on a lightweight On-One Scandal using the same singlespeed ratio.

    Now I've been drooling over the 12kg Sandman, I think I know my future direction for a XC bike.

    It depends how you look at speed too. I look at the overall effect, like how far did it go in 24 hours (or whatever) rather than the exciting momentary bursts.
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  60. #60
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    If I may add, to me it's about deformation of character

    Recently I built up a 4" front 3" travel 29er which I do like alot and have ridden more than my fatties recently. It has 2.2" tyres all round and it great, especially on hard, smooth trails.

    What I do notice is that because the tyres are (for us on here) of small volume and run at higher (20psi) pressures;it is mainly the suspension that has to do the 'work'. Should the going get more uneven or rocky, the tyres do tend to get defected from their path requiring more rider steering input (=more of that 'beat up feeling in the arms, shoulders and neck).

    When I ride Fat (usually on LM`s and trials rims, with a mix of Larry,BFL,Endos and Nate) I LOVE how the (low pressure) tyres deform and 'flow' more around the terrain. I ride both rigid and full sus Fat, and to me it is the TYRES (with their massive volumes and low pressures) that are the USP and key to the feel and fun of fatbikes.

    We are at a really fascinating stage in our fat evolution............The tyre and rim choices are becoming wider and more diverse. The frame choices are naturally following this and allowing more micro niches within an already (expanding) niche.

    We now have ULTIMATE fat float bikes, usually rigid, for (mainly) sand and snow with 100mm rims, 115mm tyres and (increasingly) offset drivetrains or IGHs.

    We have fat 'GENERAL PURPOSE' with 65-80mm rims, rigid or suspension and an increasingly wide and diverse tyre choice and normal gears or IGH's.

    Then we have a new and exciting group appearing, lighter trail orientated fatties, with (often) 47mm trials rims, front suspension and grippier tyres. These bikes are not ment as ultimate floaters, but seek a balance between the benefits nimbleness with the desirable and deformable character of fat tyres.

    Finally,we have the hope of FS..........and it will be fun to see where that goes

    I have enjoyed my General Pug and (homebrewed) FS fatties immensely.I am about to build (hopefully) an ultimate (by present standards) float bike for the beach (it's all CK and Salty's fault ).

    The wonderful thing about a FAT niche is that it can only EXPAND
    Life IS a Beach and then you Corrode :)

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Interesting that smoove found the fat bike faster in his race too. I was surprised by my result because I was just riding the fatbike to see how it would go - I was hoping for nearly as good, not better. It's kind of ridiculous that on a Pugsley weighing 20lbs more, I can beat my time on a lightweight On-One Scandal using the same singlespeed ratio.

    Now I've been drooling over the 12kg Sandman, I think I know my future direction for a XC bike.

    It depends how you look at speed too. I look at the overall effect, like how far did it go in 24 hours (or whatever) rather than the exciting momentary bursts.
    How much elevation gain did you have in your race?

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Good reading but I keep going back to that TI Sandman, I think they need a few U.S. test riders!(like me)
    If you get the test bike can I will borrow it indefinitely Bob

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  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    To my knowledge Mike (and he should definitely correct me if I'm wrong) has raced and tried a bunch of rigid, snow-oriënted fatbikes during Alaskan races and other adventures. Chances are very high he tried some of those with a Maverick antiquity as a suspension fork on other trails as well..
    I'll stand in Mikes defense, (not that he needs it) and say that the differences he's talking about, have nothing to do with frame geometry, or suspension.

    I will agree on the Maverick bit though, you're either limited to skinny ass rims, or flexy ass forks with those fellas.

    Too bad MC doesn't care for Leftys, they are a wake up call for Fat squish, actually, that Sandman could use something stiffer up front too.

    He just doesn't want to use his fatties on his local terrain. I get it, there are rides I do that are better for one bike or another here too.

    What does get old is anyone insisting that any one particular bike is, or isn't right for anothers situations. Ride what you like. I'm just glad to hear that if a slow poke fatty comes along for one of MC's rides, he's polite enough to wait for them. Which in turn means if I showed up on any bike, I'd at least get to ride with people for a BIT of the ride.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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    Most of the people I ride with, I am a little faster than, and that has not changed when getting on my Pugs. Those in the area that are faster than me are a lot faster.. and it does not matter what I ride.

    I have gotten lighter and fitter.. and I have recently done some snow rides with some of these faster people. The trails were fast and frozen, great conditions for them on their skinny tired bikes. With me on their wheel.. each little rise.. they would accelerate getting a little distance on me, that I had to close. Hanging back a little I found I could keep my speed more constant.. and stay about the same distance back. While each of these that I rode with. could kick my butt anytime they wanted. I did go out and ride the loop without them.. and actually had a faster average. There are too many variables in this case to come to any concrete conclusions. Reading about the two PB while on their fat bikes is intriguing.

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    My first fatbike

    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    You obviously don't do that on a rigid Pugs or similar, but it has been done on a modern front-suspended fattie.
    Do you think that it could have been done on a "light" Pug with a Lefty…?

    I just payed a deposit on a Pugsley a few weeks ago. I also looked at the Sandman, but didn't have the money to buy the complete bike. With the Pugsley almost everything will move over from my last bike so it was just the easiest and cheapest solution.

    Can you post link to the complete geo for the Sandman?

    Between the lines in your post you hint that the Pugsley is not a modern fatbike. I'm just curious why you think so. The answer must be in the geo numbers…?

  66. #66
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    I have a 1 hour loop I do on my 29er hardtail and Mukluk. (although the last 2-3 miles are paved, which doesn't help the Muk), but in a non side-by-side camparison (which means it was several week apart), I was about 6 minutes slower on the Mukluk. However, these trails are not super technical and don't have any sketch parts- but do have roots, and there is a fair amount of climbing/descending.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29ger View Post
    I have a 1 hour loop I do on my 29er hardtail and Mukluk. (although the last 2-3 miles are paved, which doesn't help the Muk), but in a non side-by-side camparison (which means it was several week apart), I was about 6 minutes slower on the Mukluk. However, these trails are not super technical and don't have any sketch parts- but do have roots, and there is a fair amount of climbing/descending.
    And a guy named "26ger" claims he did it faster on 26" wheels. Who are we to believe?

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    All I can say is, I hope come XC race season this summer all my buddies see the "light" and show up on fat bikes. Wait... One guy already did that last year and got dropped like a stone.

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    Putting my money where my mouth is...

    So to put my money where my mouth is, I did our local San Diego Racers and Chasers series today. I made the poor choice of catting up to expert this year, which for this series means about a 30-mile race.

    Unfortunately this race is fairly non-technical and so I didn't have a ton of chances for the fatty to shine. Also unfortunate, after the race I found out that I was the only expert singlespeed. But I did get to do a fun race, ride hard, and take home some KHS bucks for winning my division. I still did fairly well against the geared and suspended.

    Despite the lack of cobbles, sand, or mud, the fatty still did well. I still think faster than my standard 29er SS.

    So I guess I'll amend my original post. Mostly because I want to justify all the bikes I own. I think fat bikes are an extremely useful tool with the potential to be faster in many conditions on dirt. Sure, a 6" travel bike is better for big chunk (but they don't climb well), and a crabon Specialized epic may be lighter for hill climbing (but it feels like riding on a paperclip). I think fat bikes on dirt is where future develop is going to lie, and I think the fat tire has the potential to be the new 29er.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by noish View Post
    So I guess I'll amend my original post. Mostly because I want to justify all the bikes I own.
    I think all you need to do to justify the bikes you own is ride them. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    I'll stand in Mikes defense, (not that he needs it) and say that the differences he's talking about, have nothing to do with frame geometry, or suspension.

    I will agree on the Maverick bit though, you're either limited to skinny ass rims, or flexy ass forks with those fellas.

    Too bad MC doesn't care for Leftys, they are a wake up call for Fat squish, actually, that Sandman could use something stiffer up front too.

    He just doesn't want to use his fatties on his local terrain. I get it, there are rides I do that are better for one bike or another here too.

    What does get old is anyone insisting that any one particular bike is, or isn't right for anothers situations. Ride what you like. I'm just glad to hear that if a slow poke fatty comes along for one of MC's rides, he's polite enough to wait for them. Which in turn means if I showed up on any bike, I'd at least get to ride with people for a BIT of the ride.
    The joke's on you--I'm the slowpoke fatty on any given local ride anymore...

    Nothing wrong with a Lefty--the ride is great above and beyond the quirkiness of owning one. It's the parent company I have problems with. Which doesn't matter, as my current fork is perfectly suited to the bike it's on.

    Fatties don't make good sense around here. You can ride them, sure, but you cannot rip nor rail on them, and I'm not old and slow enough to be OK with 'just getting down the trail'. I hope to have at least a few more good years of getting after it in me, before devolving to whatever's next.

    Maybe in a decade fatties will have evolved enough to rail tech trail, and if so (or even if not) I hope to still be able to ride it.

    MC

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    i think all you need to do to justify the bikes you own is ride them. Anything beyond that is a bonus.
    testify

  73. #73
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    Gentlemen, at this point in the conversation, I think we ought to close with a quote from Brick Tamland (Anchorman):

    "LOOOOUUUUD NOISES!!!"

    Or in other words, no sense in arguin'... when clearly there are different strokes for different folks. Fatties are great. FS 29ers are great. Heck, coaster-brake beach cruisers are great. I think everyone can agree that there are going to be situations in which each type of bike is ideal. We can also probably agree that people have different local terrain and different levels of experience which will influence which is best for them at that particular point in time.

    My observation on the cycling industry over many years is that when something new comes out, there tends to be 3 main camps of opinion:

    1) This new-fangled thing is the best ever! I'm going to sell all my other cycling sh!t because I can ride this new thing in every situation! Look - Joe Pro Fit Guy rode the new-fangled thing and beat all these other guys on 'normal' equipment... that means this new-fangled product is way better!

    2) What the hell is this new-fangled thing? Such a waste of time. We have all the technology we'll ever need. Look - Joe Pro Old-School rode his normal bike and still beat all of the young punks riding the new-fangled bike! That means it's worthless and should be un-invented.

    3) Honey Badger (just don't give a...)


    The great thing is that whatever is fastest is fastest. If someone wins a race on fatties, they deserved to win. If someone wins it on a raced-out FS rig, they deserved to win too. No hiding or excuses after it's all said and done (though we usually try...). I think the sentiment that ultimately spurred this thread is that it is always curiously satisfying when we or someone we know can ride and win on something that isn't "supposed" to be fast. It's always fun to see. Experience and fitness always trump gear.

  74. #74
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    It's all in the motor!

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregk View Post
    Gentlemen, at this point in the conversation, I think we ought to close with a quote from Brick Tamland (Anchorman):

    "LOOOOUUUUD NOISES!!!"

    Or in other words, no sense in arguin'... when clearly there are different strokes for different folks. Fatties are great. FS 29ers are great. Heck, coaster-brake beach cruisers are great. I think everyone can agree that there are going to be situations in which each type of bike is ideal. We can also probably agree that people have different local terrain and different levels of experience which will influence which is best for them at that particular point in time.

    My observation on the cycling industry over many years is that when something new comes out, there tends to be 3 main camps of opinion:

    1) This new-fangled thing is the best ever! I'm going to sell all my other cycling sh!t because I can ride this new thing in every situation! Look - Joe Pro Fit Guy rode the new-fangled thing and beat all these other guys on 'normal' equipment... that means this new-fangled product is way better!

    2) What the hell is this new-fangled thing? Such a waste of time. We have all the technology we'll ever need. Look - Joe Pro Old-School rode his normal bike and still beat all of the young punks riding the new-fangled bike! That means it's worthless and should be un-invented.

    3) Honey Badger (just don't give a...)


    The great thing is that whatever is fastest is fastest. If someone wins a race on fatties, they deserved to win. If someone wins it on a raced-out FS rig, they deserved to win too. No hiding or excuses after it's all said and done (though we usually try...). I think the sentiment that ultimately spurred this thread is that it is always curiously satisfying when we or someone we know can ride and win on something that isn't "supposed" to be fast. It's always fun to see. Experience and fitness always trump gear.
    agree'ed 100%
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  76. #76
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    I have never actually ridden a FatBike. I have however delighted in the ride qualities of running low tire pressures for nearly 30 years. This is because low tire pressures have always been a key ingredient of the English Cleland off-road bikes. Cleland tires were only 54mm wide but their sturdy construction and wide inner-tubes meant they could be run as low as 7 PSI with out problems.

    Back in the 1980s, when most mountain bike riders were pumping up their tires up hard what ever the terrain we Cleland owners always ran them soft. We always had the advantage when the ground was soft, or when is was hard and corrugated. Whilst the harder tires suited hard smoother surfaces. With all the enthusiasm expressed here for riding big soft tires, it makes me that us riders of Cleland bicycles were not that eccentric, just ahead of the game.


    The Theory:
    Every litre of mud, sand, or snow that is displaced by a rolling tyre weighs about 1kg. Say on soft terrain the track marks left by the tyres have displaced 1k per meter. That equates to 1000kg or one metric tonne per km of displaced materiel. And this is before you can consider energy losses due to the viscosity of the material concerned.

    Quite simply put, lower tire pressures produce a larger ground contact area and so a bike will sink into the ground less and so energy losses through rolling resistance will be reduced. Using larger wheels or fat tires can reduce the rolling resistance further. The downside is that wide, fat, low pressure tyres can have much larger rolling resistances on smooth surfaces.

    Reduced rolling resistance on hard rough surfaces.
    Big volume low pressure tires can also dramatically reduce the rolling resistance on rough hard surfaces. This is because the tire will squish over the bumps absorbing vibration that would otherwise cause the mass of the bike to rise and fall or rotate. The energy for this vibration is subtracted from the forward speed of the bike and is much larger than that required to squash the rubber of the tire. The mass of the moving bit of tire is minute compared to the total mass of the bike and so very high frequency vibrations can be absorbed that no suspension systems can handle.

    The bigger the air volume of the tire the lower the frequencies that it can absorb before it hits the rim.

    The Hype?

    These bikes are often referred to as "Snow-Bikes" or "Mud-Bikes" but this is misleading. Fat tires are in fact not best suited to all types of snow or mud. If the surface is soft with good compact level below then large diameter thin tires will cut through like a knife to find the traction below. If the snow or mud is hard then almost any tire will cope. It's the area in between where low pressure tires work best. Here you need a big ground contact patch to spread the weight. Sand, shingle, soft soil, and snow and mud where the surface has refrozen. The other ideal environment for soft fat tires is over rough rocks. Here the tires smoothly snake around and over seemingly un-rideable rocks with remarkable ease.

    I would imagine that with a Fat Bike you could have a range of wheels on hand to suit any eventuality. Or perhaps someone could invent a real balloon tire, that could be easily inflated to the required width?

  77. #77
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    I had a hard time buying the story from caminoloco, but after some extensive testing, I bought a Sandman hoggar

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    I really enjoy ripping downhills on my undrilled fat sheba rims with 20psi Larrys. I can really lean it over and instantly/strenuously jump obstacles.

    Not sure if it's faster, but it sure is fun.

  79. #79
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    Nevermind.
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    I ride out here in Palm Springs, California. I just bought a Mukluk3 to try it out compared to my Turner 26er. While the Mukluk is way heavier (I'm getting a pile of components to get her down to a reasonable weight), I will take the Mukluk on most rides. We have a mixture of loose shale/packed sand and difficult climbs. While the fatbike is heavier, I can stand and climb most places with no spin out. Last week I cleaned a trail section with the fatbike that I have ridden at least 200 times and only cleared 3 times previously with my 26er. Downhills are just about as fast. The only thing that is slowing me down is the rigid fork. Even with low pressure, the drop offs we have in our single track here are pretty wicked with the fat bike. I apply more brake to soften the blows. But then, I often pass friends in the ruff sandy stuff. That feels so fun and goofy with those monster tires!

    For rides that last beyond 3 hours with lots of climbing I will probably take my 25 lb Tuner full suspension 26er. But if I can get a 30 lb front suspension fatbike, I would take it anytime in our conditions.

  81. #81
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    I agree! I'm riding a Mukluk3 out here in Palm Springs, CA. Our sigletrack conditions are loose broken rock mixed with DG and sand. Our climbs are steep. The fatbike just climbs like a billy goat while others in my group just spin out and have to walk. On the downhills I could use a supension fork for the 1-2 foot drops. I've just ordered a new wheelset to take off some weight. i'm going to try the BFL in front and a Nate in th back to iprove traction and soften the front end.

    Over all, I am faster with the Mukluk3 (even though it's a hefty beast in the stock version). My 26er is a Turner Burner.

  82. #82
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    Old thread, new data.

    Most wise things have been said already so I will just add in some observations.

    I have been riding the same club racing series on the same track for 10+ years by now. I know very well what times to expect and how I do relative other local riders.

    The race is 3 x 12-ish minutes technical forest ride with a lot of roots and rocks, but no loose stuff. It has a few sub 1 minute climbs a few stretches of smooth walking path but mostly techy singletrack.

    My Sandman Hoggar is about 13 kg with quite a bit of tuning, tubeless HuDu:s making the biggest difference.

    I expected to be slower but wanted some reasonably reliable data on how much.

    Outcome:

    I think I lost about 30-45 s per lap. Somewhere around two minutes for the race.

    That would be around 5%. Noticeable, but not too bad.

    I did find it to be harder work in a lot of places, not just the smooth sections but also over the roots.

    Most of the benefits was going down tech sections at speed which feels safer and therefore probably a bit faster.

    Tyre pressure is super critical and I'm not sure I got it perfect. I did about 8 psi front and 9 psi rear, I could maybe have gone a bit lower.

    Just some data to feed the debate. I have a 29er FS too that will remain the primary race bike, the Hoggar is the primary training and fun bike.

  83. #83
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    More input. We had a race at my local trail yesterday, and I was the only one on a fat bike (Mukluk with BFL's). Elites turn in 45 minutes lap times, I can ride it about 55 minutes on my 29er, but turned in a 1:03 on the fattie. I've maintained that I'm about 10% slower on a fat bike- this has been true with every race I've done. It's 20% funner though, so I guess it's still a bonus.

  84. #84
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    Why fat is faster on dirt

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I've got 3 MTBs:

    - Pugsley
    - 26er FS 6"+ travel
    - 29er hardtail

    Which bike is faster simply depends on the particular trails I'm riding that day. They each have specific strengths and weaknesses.

    I could easily imagine group rides where I could keep up no problem on my Pugsley and other scenarios where I'd be dropped like a rock.

    It all comes down to the terrain in question.
    Sounds similar to my stable. Great minds?
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  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by edicviz View Post
    Old thread, new data.


    I have been riding the same club racing series on the same track for 10+ years by now. I know very well what times to expect and how I do relative other local riders.


    I expected to be slower but wanted some reasonably reliable data on how much.

    Outcome:

    I think I lost about 30-45 s per lap. Somewhere around two minutes for the race.

    That would be around 5%. Noticeable, but not too bad.

    .
    Great to have solid data to compare over 10-plus years!

    You state you lost "...about 30-45 s per lap..." Do you mean your time was 30-45 s(econds) SHORTER or LONGER per lap?

    I think you are saying you have a longer course time with the fatbike...but I want to be sure.

    By the way. to the other posters who mentioned the Turner........I, too, own an original model Burner. Wife had one for 10 years.....just got a MojoSLR with Easton carbon wheelset......it is a fine FINE!!! bicycle...She doesn't question how much faster it is than her fatbike...nor do I.

  86. #86
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    I am definitely faster on my Horsethief vs my Mukluk.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by E6roller View Post
    Great to have solid data to compare over 10-plus years!

    You state you lost "...about 30-45 s per lap..." Do you mean your time was 30-45 s(econds) SHORTER or LONGER per lap?

    I think you are saying you have a longer course time with the fatbike...but I want to be sure.
    Longer lap times with the fatbike, I am about 5% slower.

  88. #88
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    Ive read a few threads here about how fast some people are on their fatbikes v normal rides and I partially agree... the deciding factor being what bike their regular bike was and what terrain they are riding.

    All my bikes are fully rigid, a geared 29er, a SS 29er and a fatbike with 2 sets of wheels, the light set puts the bike in and around 24.5lb and the big set with 4.8 buds around 26lb. Using strava data and race lap times theres not a lot in it but the regular bikes have the edge by a little bit, they own every strava KOM and every race lap but the fatbike can pull within 3-5% of where they stop the clock.
    I recently did a race over 24hrs where I rode both bikes and I can say that in 1 lap full out race pace (then a break for 3 other riders laps) I was able to do a 35min lap on my geared rigid and the best I could pull off on my fatty was 39mins.

    YMMV, my fatbike is at the lighter end of the fat scale and its pretty quick, it can be as quick as my other bikes BUT it needs more effort to maintain that speed and at race pace that does impact later in the event.

    There is no doubt in my mind its not as quick as my other bikes, over short course its very close but over mid to long enduro fatigue will set in quicker with the extra effort to spin them awesome fat doughnuts.

    Still its twice the fun and that's why I ride the MoFo..... next event in 3 weeks is a Gravity Enduro, first person here to ride a fatty on timed decents of XC tracks rolling the buds as I can bring myself to fit skinny 4" tyres anymore.
    Santa Cruz Hightower LT Evil Following Trek 9.9 Superfly SL IndyFab Deluxe 29 Pivot Vault CX Cervelo R3 Disc

  89. #89
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    Re: Why fat is faster on dirt

    Fat bikes are many things, but fast isn't one of them.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2

  90. #90
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    Strangely my experience is the opposite in 24 hours. The best results I've had have been on the Pug - one more lap than usual although I felt slower.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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