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Mt Bike, Fat Bike, or Hybrid?

Old 07-31-16, 11:21 AM
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Mt Bike, Fat Bike, or Hybrid?

What is going to be the most versatile winter bike? If I lived in someplace with consistent cold and snow I think a fat bike would be best. But I'm in an area (Midwest/Great Lakes) with diverse winter weather - blizzards or little snow or even rain instead of snow; arctic cold or mild. So riding conditions vary from clear and dry to icy to wet snow.

I want a winter bike that will give me the best overall performance across a wide range of conditions.

Of the three options I see as possibilities, I'm thinking a 29er hardtail mt bike with wide studded tires would be my best all-around bike, but would like some input please.
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Old 07-31-16, 01:36 PM
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I ride my fat bike year round, often moving my full suspension Giant Anthem X 29 aside to get to it.
It's a Framed Minnesota 3.0 w/ the Bluto forks but hard tail. I added a suspension seat post for additional comfort but it goes on some serious single track trails and snow covered but groomed trails with ease.
My advice would be fat (4x26) or plus (3x27.5) hard tail IF.... if you are only single track trails (you never said what or how you ride.
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Old 07-31-16, 03:24 PM
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Yes, that would help. Winter riding is going to be about 95% in suburban paved roads, except during mild spells when MUPs melt off enough to ride -none of them are winter-groomed here and are often too rough to ride, especially if road plows pile 2-3 foot walls of ice at the crossing points.

A fat bike is great on snow conditions but awfully hard work on dry pavement, isn't it?

I love my hybrid for the summer but don't think any hybrid is going to accommodate wide enough tires.

Basically I am looking for a good workout to keep myself outdoors and fit, but I don't want to kill myself pedaling a tank or die on a patch of ice because tires were too minimal.

That's why I'm inclined to think a mt bike with wide tires is gonna be a better bet - a "semi-fat bike" portly or stout but not really obese.

Last edited by DaveQ24; 07-31-16 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 07-31-16, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
Yes, that would help. Winter riding is going to be about 95% in suburban paved roads, except during mild spells when MUPs melt off enough to ride -none of them are winter-groomed here and are often too rough to ride, especially if road plows pile 2-3 foot walls of ice at the crossing points.

A fat bike is great on snow conditions but awfully hard work on dry pavement, isn't it?

I love my hybrid for the summer but don't think any hybrid is going to accommodate wide enough tires.

Basically I am looking for a good workout to keep myself outdoors and fit, but I don't want to kill myself pedaling a tank or die on a patch of ice because tires were too minimal.

That's why I'm inclined to think a mt bike with wide tires is gonna be a better bet - a "semi-fat bike" portly or stout but not really obese.
Ooh, I think I got some good advice for you. Ride your hybrid and don't buy another bike but instead, but studded winter tires for it. If you don't like that, get a "plus" sized hard tail Mtb w 3" wide tires but even those tires are not good on ice.
I ride my 4.0x26" Fat Tire Mtb a lot this year but bought it for winter riding and we never got any snow but I like the bike, so I keep on riding it and got a few "KOM's" on it too, so it isn't a slow ride.
If you like your hybrid, keep it and get the studded tires for the slippery conditions.
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Old 07-31-16, 05:39 PM
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Yup, whatever I end up riding is going to have studded tires - I've had a couple of spin outs over the years on frost or very minimal ice on cold October mornings.
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Old 07-31-16, 05:46 PM
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Then stay with skinnier tires, like 38's or so. That way, the weight on the studs is greater and not spread out and "floating"
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Old 07-31-16, 06:42 PM
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used the same 26 - 1.9" Suomi-Nokian tires every year it Ices up for 20 years.

last 2 years when it got into the 20s it was dry.

top of the coast range in the rest area parking lot I could have used studded shoes 12/21/15.
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Old 08-02-16, 10:08 AM
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Could anyone suggest a good bike model for this? Sorry if it seems like I'm asking someone to do the work for me, but I'm just not really sure where to head for this.

I think I want a mountain bike that has the suggested tires above. I want to buy new - not a fan of dealing with Craigslist people, there are some real flakes out there.

Full suspension or just front? Which is better?

Basic requirements, I don't mind and am comfortable going around $1,000, although I like bargains and would do well with a clearance bike from Performance (love Performance and I drive by one on my commute to and from work). I know, kinda a lot for a bike that goes through tough conditions, but I like better quality components. May not be necessary to go that much, but I could.

Although dubious in that price range unless I get a good deal, is Carbon an option for a winter bike, or is it contraindicated for some reason?

TIA, much appreciated if you can help. Meanwhile, I'm going to check out Performance and a few other sites and see if I can find possibilities and get insights from the forum members.
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Old 08-02-16, 12:55 PM
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Looking at used? For me , the 29 er hardtail works well( Karate Monkey) The salt will trash it quickly though. Realize that studded tires are VERY slow on pavement, sort of like riding through wet tar.
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Old 08-02-16, 02:51 PM
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I can pull the plug on this thread - I found something on Performance and it was 20% bonus points today, so I ordered it.

A little more than I wanted to spend, but it was heavily discounted (about a third). OK, a lot more than I wanted to spend, but it's a nice bike. What can I say, n+1 is an insidious disease, shows no mercy.

And, if I hate it, it's returnable.
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Old 08-05-16, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
Of the three options I see as possibilities, I'm thinking a 29er hardtail mt bike with wide studded tires would be my best all-around bike, but would like some input please.
I live in Minnesota, in my opinion a 29er with a 2" tire is the worst of all options (of course you can put a little skinnier tire on it as well).

A fat bike is the most versatile in being able to handle the widest range of conditions. The drawback being that it's slow to ride and expensive. It will limits out around 6"-12" of fresh snow. It often floats on top of snow because the tire distributes the weight so widely. The other drawback is that riding one is riding a bike that's floating around and it's a different feel, but you get used to it and it works.

A 2" tire - I bought one to try it out - worked the worst for me. A 2" tire is to wide to cut through snow, but not wide enough to truly "float". It doesn't cut through to the road, nor does it float enough to stay above the snow. It gets stuck in the same amount of snow that a skinnier tire does, and floats around a lot more with a solid connection to the road if there's any snow at all.

A 30c-40c tire is skinny enough that it often cuts through fresh snow. It can't handle more than 6" of snow, and that's with ideal snow, sometimes it's less. But it's the fastest tire, it cuts through to the road so it feels like a regular bike gripping the road. I use a 35c Schwalbe Marathon Winter, it's the fastest tire for conditions where you have ice on the ground much of the winter but you're riding on plowed streets and trails.
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Old 08-05-16, 03:33 AM
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I ended up getting a GT Zaskar 27.5 Carbon Expert - should be great with right tires. I've used the Nokian on my hybrid, will try those. 27.5 will be a new experience, I never rode that size.
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Old 08-05-16, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
I ended up getting a GT Zaskar 27.5 Carbon Expert - should be great with right tires. I've used the Nokian on my hybrid, will try those. 27.5 will be a new experience, I never rode that size.
Sharper handling than a 29er but rolls better than a 26". It's a good size wheel and you should have no issues and just focus on enjoying your rides.
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Old 08-10-16, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
Sharper handling than a 29er but rolls better than a 26". It's a good size wheel and you should have no issues and just focus on enjoying your rides.
Or so the industry says.
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Old 08-11-16, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Or so the industry says.
I'm not sure about what the industry claims, I was sharing my experience from riding 26, 27.5 and 29 inch tires.
The good news is that all three rim sizes are still readily available so you can buy and ride whichever your preference is. After riding a 27.5 last summer, I went back to 29 but that was because of other options that were not available w/o a special order as a 27.5.

What I am saying is that there are options and no one is forcing anyone to ride something they don't want to ride. I'm still not sure what you were trying to say, if anything other than "something"?
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Old 08-11-16, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
I ended up getting a GT Zaskar 27.5 Carbon Expert - should be great with right tires. I've used the Nokian on my hybrid, will try those. 27.5 will be a new experience, I never rode that size.
Kenda, Nokian and Schwalbe make 27.5 studded tires.
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Old 08-11-16, 10:04 AM
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You bought a carbon, $2000 mountain bike to ride in the winter and doesn't have the ability to mount full fenders?

Ha.
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Old 08-11-16, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
You bought a carbon, $2000 mountain bike to ride in the winter and doesn't have the ability to mount full fenders?

Ha.
I've never put fenders on any bike I rode, in winter or otherwise. I just dress for the conditions. I don't see that as a big issue, if I do, there are always aftermarket fenders available.
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Old 08-12-16, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
I'm still not sure what you were trying to say, if anything other than "something"?
Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
I'm not sure about what the industry claims
...so you do or don't understand?
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Old 09-15-16, 09:51 PM
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No question that a fat bike is more versatile. Why? Because you can build up a set of regular mtn bike wheels for any fat bike and then you have a fat bike when you want it and with a switch of wheels you have a mtn bike. I'm on my second fat bike and like my first, just built a set of wheels (Stans Flow) that I put 2.4" tires on. Now I can swap back and forth whenever I want.
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Old 10-03-16, 08:32 PM
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Every time I see a person on a fat bike it looks like they are riding it because they own it and not because it's ideal for conditions.

That said, I have been out on my winter bikes, really suffering, and thinking that I'd like to gear down on a fat bike. But that's my imagination wishing that six inches of chunder over ice weren't trying to take me down while getting punched in the face by a freezing ice storm, it's not like people on fat bikes are passing me.
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Old 10-12-16, 07:16 PM
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A 29er hardtail MTB probably would be the best choice...or a cross bike too. I use a fat bike but only for snowed-in trails. I use a cross bike for winter crappy riding IF there is snow or slush on the roads. I use the fat bike since the trail are snowed in but will use the regular full-sus MTB if there isn't much snow. So for winter, I use the fat bike for the trails and a cross bike on the road and MUPs.
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Old 11-20-16, 12:51 PM
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i would use the 29 hard tale, then in the summer you could use it off road and lots of other uses.
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Old 11-27-16, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
I've never put fenders on any bike I rode, in winter or otherwise. I just dress for the conditions. I don't see that as a big issue, if I do, there are always aftermarket fenders available.
Your parts are going to get chewed up in the snow and the salt; fenders really help.
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Old 11-30-16, 10:12 AM
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Too bad you cannot test ride potential winter bike candidates on the ice before buying. Love my Fargo, except on ice. Snowcat rims and Schwalbe IceSpiker Pros and it still dumped me twice Saturday morning. This is my fourth winter full time commuting and the first time crashing on ice with studded tires. For the first two winters my bike was an old Rockhopper with Snowcats and Nokians and never a slip.
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