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Never Rode a Fatbike, Considering One as my Sole Bike

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Never Rode a Fatbike, Considering One as my Sole Bike

Old 02-07-18, 04:10 PM
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TallTourist
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Never Rode a Fatbike, Considering One as my Sole Bike

Hey there,

as you can imagine with my name I'm very tall (6'8"/203cms) and while I've seen fatbikes and want to try one I just assumed they would never fit. It's also worthy of mention that I am truly nomadic, even when I'm not touring my job involves almost constant travel so I don't bother to own a house or an apartment, this means the bike I have is the only bike I have, no more bike collections for me. I do mostly road touring now, not because I love highways but because my bike sucks even on rough dirt roads, I want to get away from all the noise of vehicles etc do stuff like the GDMBR and Trans Equador Bike Route etc as well as road riding. I'm also wanting to move toward bike packing instead of the rack and pannier setup because I keep snapping rack bolts even on relatively benign dirt roads.

So, my question to you, experienced fatbikers, is do you think it's a bad idea to get a fatbike if it's your only bike?

I should mention despite having owned a top end road racing bike and a self built road touring bike among many others my favorite bike was a $500 Del Sol town bike with 7 speeds and a suspension fork, why? It was fun! I could ride up and down stairs on it and jump curbs and all that good stuff and it was comfortable too with a more upright seating position even though it had a cheap foam/plastic saddle I could still ride further and suffer no discomfort unlike on my road bikes. So while I do love to go fast I'd much rather have a bike that can go pretty much anywhere instead of something that can only be used in a specific way or it will break.

Been looking at the Surly Pugsly 2.0 with wide eyes even though they have a tendency to crack at the chain stay the repairs always seem to hold.

The argument about parts availability is pretty much moot too since I can almost never find anything for my current bike outside the first world and it's fairly typical as far as tourers go (albeit a much larger than average frame).

So yeah...thoughts?
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Old 02-07-18, 04:17 PM
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spare tube itself, is kind of big.. tires wont have puncture resistant bands.. but they do fold..

My LBS sells some as beach cruisers with street tires.. Others get mid drive motors and go hunting elk.

How hard are you planning to be on your bike?
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Old 02-07-18, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
spare tube itself, is kind of big.. tires wont have puncture resistant bands.. but they do fold..

My LBS sells some as beach cruisers with street tires.. Others get mid drive motors and go hunting elk.

How hard are you planning to be on your bike?
Do you even have one?
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Old 02-07-18, 04:38 PM
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I think 27.5+ or 29+ wheels would make more sense for you. With 27.5+ you can swap 29r wheels, so easier to find replacements. And tires will also be cheaper.

Fatbikes are great and a lot of fun, but for what you plan to do I would consider the ECR or ECR+ before the Pugs. To be honest, there aren't many things I'd consider the Pugs for. But that's just me.
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Old 02-07-18, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
I think 27.5+ or 29+ wheels would make more sense for you. With 27.5+ you can swap 29r wheels, so easier to find replacements. And tires will also be cheaper.

Fatbikes are great and a lot of fun, but for what you plan to do I would consider the ECR or ECR+ before the Pugs. To be honest, there aren't many things I'd consider the Pugs for. But that's just me.
I'm tempted to go that route too. I can almost get 29er tires on my current bike but they don't look as cool or as fun and that's important to me hehe
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Old 02-07-18, 05:32 PM
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You should at least ride one first. I have ridden one a couple of times, and could only imagine a couple of very specific uses where it would be better than one of my other bikes. I have 11 bikes, so I don't have any problem treating myself to a new bike every once in a while, and there are a few bikes that I would still get ahead of a fatbike.
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Old 02-07-18, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
You should at least ride one first. I have ridden one a couple of times, and could only imagine a couple of very specific uses where it would be better than one of my other bikes. I have 11 bikes, so I don't have any problem treating myself to a new bike every once in a while, and there are a few bikes that I would still get ahead of a fatbike.
I'd love to rent one but that's not been possible anywhere I've been yet. Some places in big cities sell em but that's as good as it gets and how well they do in the city hardly matters to me.

What did you dislike about it? I'm seeing a lot more people touring on fatties on Youtube, gotta be a reason for that.
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Old 02-07-18, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
I'd love to rent one but that's not been possible anywhere I've been yet. Some places in big cities sell em but that's as good as it gets and how well they do in the city hardly matters to me.

What did you dislike about it? I'm seeing a lot more people touring on fatties on Youtube, gotta be a reason for that.
They're heavy and slow for no upside other than deep, but not too deep, snow and sand. Conditions that I rarely encounter. I have bikes with spiked tires that are better in most winter conditions than a fatbike, off road bikes that are better than a fatbike in nearly all conditions, and anything is better than a fatbike on the road. People say that they are fun to ride. Whatever floats your boat, but they're not even my twelfth bike let alone my only bike.
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Old 02-07-18, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
They're heavy and slow for no upside other than deep, but not too deep, snow and sand. Conditions that I rarely encounter. I have bikes with spiked tires that are better in most winter conditions than a fatbike, off road bikes that are better than a fatbike in nearly all conditions, and anything is better than a fatbike on the road. People say that they are fun to ride. Whatever floats your boat, but they're not even my twelfth bike let alone my only bike.
Haha fair enough, I will have to give one a try. I think for me it's less of a question of where I normally go as where I would go if I could ride on the kind of terrain these things supposedly float over.
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Old 02-07-18, 11:20 PM
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I guess one way to put it, is; would you have an off-road vehicle as your only car?
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Old 02-08-18, 06:55 AM
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I have one and whilst it is great for what I use it for, mainly mountain biking and bikepacking where a lot of the riding will be sandy 4WD tracks and beaches, for the equivalent riding to you what you have in mind I will be getting a second wheelset for my bike, a 29+ wheelset along the lines already suggested by @FrozenK.

This gives me more versatility with the bike.

I have recently completed a 750 km in 10 days tour on mine. Didn't find it particularly slow nor is it particularly heavy at around 26 kg loaded. I had some long days but that was more due to the terrain I encountered, not the bike. Anyway I am out bikepacking, not racing so if I am a few kilometres an hour slower that say on my Surly Long Haul Trucker I can live with that. The fun, did I say fun more than makes up for it





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Old 02-08-18, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
I guess one way to put it, is; would you have an off-road vehicle as your only car?
Yep. Common as around here. The 2017 sales data shows the top two models where 4WDs, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.

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Old 02-08-18, 07:09 AM
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Never Rode a Fatbike, Considering One as my Sole Bike


That's a bad idea. Maybe 29+ hardtail... maybe
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Old 02-08-18, 07:25 AM
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I have a surly Wednesday and it's a great quiver killer bike, at least for the type of riding I do, which is rough road foul weather commuting, occasional moderate to nontechnical trail rides, and seldom realized but grandiose touring/ bikepacking aspirations. I've even ridden it a bit on the highways as a roadie and it does a fair job of that (heavy bike= better workout right?). I've been impressed with the 3.8 surly nates as an all rounder tire.
Where I live the roads are pretty poorly maintained, and definitely not designed well for bike commuting, and the weather is awful, lots of snow and ice, so I find the fat tires helpful. Plus I appreciate being able to take the bike on mtb trails, and the fat tires are entirely adequate for the level of gnar that I'm up for shredding. Your situation may vary of course, but if you're willing to sacrifice some speed for additional comfort and versatility then fat bike as only bike could be the way to go.
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Old 02-08-18, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
I guess one way to put it, is; would you have an off-road vehicle as your only car?
I did for 5 years, loved it! Only reason I still don't is it wouldn't fit on my bike
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Old 02-08-18, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
I have one and whilst it is great for what I use it for, mainly mountain biking and bikepacking where a lot of the riding will be sandy 4WD tracks and beaches, for the equivalent riding to you what you have in mind I will be getting a second wheelset for my bike, a 29+ wheelset along the lines already suggested by @FrozenK.

This gives me more versatility with the bike.

I have recently completed a 750 km in 10 days tour on mine. Didn't find it particularly slow nor is it particularly heavy at around 26 kg loaded. I had some long days but that was more due to the terrain I encountered, not the bike. Anyway I am out bikepacking, not racing so if I am a few kilometres an hour slower that say on my Surly Long Haul Trucker I can live with that. The fun, did I say fun more than makes up for it
What an absolutely beautiful couple of pics! I was just thinking last night how at the end of a day touring I never go out and ride m bike unladen for the fun of it...I bet you do, though

Do you ever regret not getting suspension? I'm leaning toward at least front suspension the bucksaw FS bike and its similar options from other companies looks good to me. Not sure how durable they'd be, though.

I've got a LOT of stuff in my travel plans where a fatbike would be brilliant. I basically want to go everywhere and most of the world is still ****ty dirt roads and trails so I'm really thinking fat bike. Not sure how possible a second wheelset is while being nomadic. I'd be more inclined to bring spare fat tires and a rim to go with em but even that might be a bit unrealistic/hassley except obviously the tires would be necessary for remote third world riding. Starting to think I should just buy one when my current tour is over and just use it whenever I can while I'm back at work, then if it's the bear all the non-fatbikers are trying to tell me it is I can just sell it and take off on ye olde touring bike Can't imagine going to Oz on 50-622 tires though, I'd miss all the good stuff!
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Old 02-08-18, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
So yeah...thoughts?
I think a fatbike would make a good touring bike. It may be heavier and will roll slower than typical touring bikes. OTOH a fatbike will allow you to ride any road surface with confidence. I've been on long rides with my Pugsley when I'm happy to ride a rough gravel shoulder when the road is too busy, fast, narrow to ride pavement.

Look into tires, for touring you'll want something different than the typically fatbike tire, I ride Panaracer Fat B Nimble for gravel grinding. For example, Surly Black Floyd would be a good option for mostly paved roads. Spare tires/tubes are heavy, tubeless would be a good option (but a spare tube is still needed).

I'd also look for different bars, I can't do a full day on flat-bars, . I have Salsa Woodchippers, LOVE THEM! I have other riding buddies with Jones bars on their fatbike.

For reference, I've done a number of metric centuries, full centuries, and this was my birthday ride last year - 140 miles of gravel riding.

20246428_10154774595181444_7106876990046589463_n.jpg

Edit - afterthought: As a tall rider, you may want to look at a Krampus

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Old 02-08-18, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Resyeger View Post
I have a surly Wednesday and it's a great quiver killer bike, at least for the type of riding I do, which is rough road foul weather commuting, occasional moderate to nontechnical trail rides, and seldom realized but grandiose touring/ bikepacking aspirations. I've even ridden it a bit on the highways as a roadie and it does a fair job of that (heavy bike= better workout right?). I've been impressed with the 3.8 surly nates as an all rounder tire.
Where I live the roads are pretty poorly maintained, and definitely not designed well for bike commuting, and the weather is awful, lots of snow and ice, so I find the fat tires helpful. Plus I appreciate being able to take the bike on mtb trails, and the fat tires are entirely adequate for the level of gnar that I'm up for shredding. Your situation may vary of course, but if you're willing to sacrifice some speed for additional comfort and versatility then fat bike as only bike could be the way to go.
Do you have the rigid fork or have you gone with a suspension fork?

I'm a real greenhorn when it comes to mountain biking. When I see gopro footage of guys flying down trails with trees whizzing by real close I just think "**** I don't want to do that! I'd be going 5 km/h there!" haha. I'm more thinking places like Arches and Canyonlands in Utah or Mongolia, Russia, Northern China etc. All of those places have ****ty roads or no roads at all or what roads there are can probably be bypassed for more tranquil options. I guess my main worry is gear reliability. The handful of long-distance remote tourers on fatbikes on YouTube seem to have a lot of breakages and all quite serious stuff (Derailleurs, brakes and frames). And I'm learning just getting something shipped via DHL to random 3rd world countries from the USA or really anywhere is a LOT harder than I was led to believe. I've been through nearly 7 countries so far and still haven't found 50-622 tires for my bike and Schwalbe won't ship here...might as well be on the moon. Fatbike stuff is probably even harder to get.
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Old 02-08-18, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I think a fatbike would make a good touring bike. It may be heavier and will roll slower than typical touring bikes. OTOH a fatbike will allow you to ride any road surface with confidence. I've been on long rides with my Pugsley when I'm happy to ride a rough gravel shoulder when the road is too busy, fast, narrow to ride pavement.

Look into tires, for touring you'll want something different than the typically fatbike tire, I ride Panaracer Fat B Nimble for gravel grinding. For example, Surly Black Floyd would be a good option for mostly paved roads. Spare tires/tubes are heavy, tubeless would be a good option (but a spare tube is still needed).

I'd also look for different bars, I can't do a full day on flat-bars, . I have Salsa Woodchippers, LOVE THEM! I have other riding buddies with Jones bars on their fatbike.

For reference, I've done a number of metric centuries, full centuries, and this was my birthday ride last year - 140 miles of gravel riding.

Attachment 598670
Yeah, I was looking at your race pics with envy the other day, beautiful bike! 140 miles in one day? Man that's a lot of riding! Gravel no less!

I'm not getting a lot of specs from retailers on things like bike weight, is the surly really that much heavier than its aluminum or ti competitors or is it just a difference of like 5 lbs? I see people whining about how heavy the bikes are "Mine weighs 50 lbs!!!!" and I'm thinking "Well my skinny tire touring bike weighs 40-45 ish unladen soooo..." what's the big deal? Seems like an extra few lbs is worth it if anyone with a welder can fix a frame breakage.

Yeah it's funny my hands go numb on my drop bars but that's probably cause I'm leaned over so far. Never had that problem on my cheapo town bike with flat bars due to the more upright position I'm sure. So many options for bars now I'm sure I'll find a good fit The Pugsley 2.0 looks pretty much perfect except maybe the fork. What do you think about suspension?

All the people whining about speed, I wonder if they've ever had to take a touring bike on 70kms of kidney jarring road. That's not fast. At points I'm forced to stand in the pedals and just creep forward slowly at a few kms an hour. No way a fatbike would be that slow. On ****ty dirt roads 70kms is an all day affair and I don't want to ride the next day.
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Old 02-08-18, 08:45 AM
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After hearing how you plan to use it, I'd say a fatbike may be a good choice for you.
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Old 02-08-18, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Yeah, I was looking at your race pics with envy the other day, beautiful bike! 140 miles in one day? Man that's a lot of riding! Gravel no less!

I'm not getting a lot of specs from retailers on things like bike weight, is the surly really that much heavier than its aluminum or ti competitors or is it just a difference of like 5 lbs? I see people whining about how heavy the bikes are "Mine weighs 50 lbs!!!!" and I'm thinking "Well my skinny tire touring bike weighs 40-45 ish unladen soooo..." what's the big deal? Seems like an extra few lbs is worth it if anyone with a welder can fix a frame breakage.

Yeah it's funny my hands go numb on my drop bars but that's probably cause I'm leaned over so far. Never had that problem on my cheapo town bike with flat bars due to the more upright position I'm sure. So many options for bars now I'm sure I'll find a good fit The Pugsley 2.0 looks pretty much perfect except maybe the fork. What do you think about suspension?

All the people whining about speed, I wonder if they've ever had to take a touring bike on 70kms of kidney jarring road. That's not fast. At points I'm forced to stand in the pedals and just creep forward slowly at a few kms an hour. No way a fatbike would be that slow. On ****ty dirt roads 70kms is an all day affair and I don't want to ride the next day.
My fatbike friends that ride gravel grinders and like suspended forks like the Lauf: https://fat-bike.com/2015/07/lauf-carbonara-tested/

I think I'd like to go with a CF fork for some weight saving and damping without going suspension. I find the tires take out most of the buzz and rarely felt the need for more suspension on the fork*

* There's a local gravel race called LML that is the start of the gravel season every year. The gravel roads are just thawed and full of pot-holes. On LML ... I'd like more suspension.
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Old 02-08-18, 09:18 AM
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Better option is a 29er plus. 3" tires, can run smaller if needed. As said look at say something like a Surly Krampus, they come in XXL I think. Currently I'm using a Karate Monkey with 3" tires. Rigid steel fork, sort of slick tires. A really do all kind of ride. They roll OK on pave and great for off road. I too have a fat bike, the tubes weigh 1 pound each. And they are SLOW on pave. Sure you can get slicks and pump them up, but for a do all bike? Go 29er plus. Especially at your size. Demo some at a bike event or expo. One other thought. Lots of fat bike use a 1x11 drivetrain, with limited ability to run a front der. While mine works great for off road, I use a 3x9 for most of my touring setups. And the advantage of a 3.8" tire vs a 3" tire for the times you will really need it? Seems to be slim. Unless your ride in the deserts of AUS.
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Old 02-08-18, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
...And the advantage of a 3.8" tire vs a 3" tire for the times you will really need it? Seems to be slim...
OTOH if you're only going ~70km/day what difference does it make?
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Old 02-08-18, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
OTOH if you're only going ~70km/day what difference does it make?
Rolling resistance and effort. My take anyway. For me, a 29er plus is so much more of a do all, ride anywhere than a fat bike. I've ridden both, a lot. OP should do some demos to start.
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Old 02-08-18, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Rolling resistance and effort...
If you care about rolling resistance and effort you shouldn't ride either one.
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