Fat bikes.

20 09 2012

Despite the 27.5″/650b rush (which i think is nothing but a good thing) it would seem that fat bikes are going to be the real hit at interbike this year. With Surly’s Krampus redefining 29″ers, and new rear spacing courtesy of 9zero7 (186mm, allowing 4.8″ tyres to be run with symmetrical rear wheel builds and offset 2×10 gears), there is plenty of things to look at. i would recommend fat-bike.com‘s coverage…

I had spoken to Sean at Vertigo cycles a little while ago about a fat bike and i guess it is getting close to the time where i need to define what i want this bike to do. You see, when i first started playing around with fat/snow wheels on the front of hardtails, there were few standards and little choice when it came to complete fat bikes. Basically, you used what ever you could to get the job done. I had ridden a Pugsley and was very close to buying a first generation 9zero7 frame, but something always held me back. I think it was because the bikes were optimised for wilderness/snow trails. At the time, i was moving towards 29″ers with short back ends and more ‘playful’ geometry. In the end, i had a fat-ish P35 650b rear wheel with Nate front wheel using a 50mm Jones/uma rim. It is fantastic when trails get sloppy. Unbelievable grip and floatation.

In the meantime, a friend who probably had a pretty similar view point to me ended up with a beautiful ti fat frame from Sean and things started clicking into place for me. You can see some photos of that frame on Sean’s flickr and more if you google ‘Vertigo cycles fat bike’.

Then the tyres got fatter (Surly’s Bud and Lou) and the ’29+’ Krampus appeared. Drive chains seem to be settling on 100mm bb’s and 170mm rear ends for the less-fat end of the market with offset cranks and perhaps even wider rear OLD spacing for the über fat snow/beach bikes.

Ideas started to swirl around in my head. With a Nate on a 50mm rim being within 1cm diameter of a 29″er wheel, how bad would it be to push things out 20mm in order to fit a Knard on a Rabbit hole rim (the Krampus’ 29+ wheels) ? or allow the use of the über fat Bud or Lou tyres ? could i use an ebb or sliding drops to offset the geometry changes ?

The truth is that fat bikes have splintered to such a degree that you need to commit to one type of platform in order to get the best out of it. There probably will be a 29+ wheeled bike in my future – it just looks such a giggle. I doubt i will ever race or ride through the Alaskan snows and beach riding doesn’t appeal at all. What i want, is a fun bike that will allow me to take to the hills when it gets boggy and winter bites. So the new fat bike will be Nate/50mm rim/short back end type of fat bike. It will be awesome.

Now i have that worked out….suspension fork corrected (yes, there are…) ? singlespeed or 1×7, or 9 or 10 ? EBB ? sliders ? and what fork spacing? thoughts to keep me occupied….




2 responses

26 09 2012

I hadn’t seen that little link on your blogger. Found you again. Daft as ever x

11 10 2012
Clink (@muddytrail)

Same here!

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