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Fat Bike or FS MTN Bike

Old 11-16-20, 01:37 PM
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OldGlory
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Fat Bike or FS MTN Bike

Since skiing is out this year I am looking at other forms of recreation for the winter. I am considering a Fat Bike to ride this winter in Massachusetts. I know Fat Bikes are better in the snow but we don't always have snow cover in the winter. We get snow it melts then tuns to ice then mud. I could also ride along a beach. My question is am I better off with a fat bike or regular mountain bike to keep me riding all winter. I am a complete mountain bike newb. Looking at Giant Yukon because of price and availability.

Thanks!
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Old 11-16-20, 08:30 PM
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If you're looking for one bike to do it all, year-round, then there's no beating a fat bike. I rode a Salsa Beargrease year-round for a few years. I would also look at the trails you ride, around me there are min tire width requirements when the snow flies. You could always add a dropper and a fork to make it more "capable".

I would say if your trails don't have many requirements then a plus bike might do the trick as well.
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Old 11-16-20, 10:13 PM
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Don't buy a bike with crappy 28H hubs unless you plan to buy new wheels anyway.
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Old 11-16-20, 11:13 PM
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I have both and the FS MTB, a great bike for trails and single track, but the fattie is great for no track.
I guess it depends on where you expect to ride. As a newbie, maybe a few week end rentals could help you decide. I am happy with both bikes, but I would not use the MTB on snow or sand, nor would I use the fattie with a lot of uphill.
Suspension is high maintenance, especially in muddy conditions. Don't let people try to convince you that a 3" tire is close enough to a 4-5"+ tire.
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Old 11-17-20, 07:54 AM
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Thanks! As I said I am a complete newbie to Mountain Biking. What is the purpose of a dropper?

The primary use of the bike would be to just get me outdoors and get some exercise this winter since skiing is out for me. There are some groomed trails near me and a 7 mile beach (very windy though) I could get to. My house backs up to the woods that has a hiking trail but I don't know whether it is rideable. There is also a park nearby that has wide walking trails that some people ride on but it is usually families. I rode it once on a hybrid and it was not that exciting.

My usual rides are solo road rides for about 1-2 hours trying to get my average speed up. It's fun and good exercise. 20+ years ago I rode CAT5 races. Now in my mid fifties I am just happy to be out riding when I can find the time.

I have zero clue about what I should be looking for and what, realistically, I will be able to ride (snow, sand, pavement, trails, etc) on different types of Mountain Bikes.

Is the Yukon a good bike? There is a Muckluck available as well. Any suggestions on bikes? Budget $2500 -$3000ish. Less is better if I am not sacrificing anything.

Anyone from North Shore Mass help with trails and good spots to ride?

Thanks!
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Old 11-17-20, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by OldGlory View Post
Thanks! As I said I am a complete newbie to Mountain Biking. What is the purpose of a dropper?

The primary use of the bike would be to just get me outdoors and get some exercise this winter since skiing is out for me. There are some groomed trails near me and a 7 mile beach (very windy though) I could get to. My house backs up to the woods that has a hiking trail but I don't know whether it is rideable. There is also a park nearby that has wide walking trails that some people ride on but it is usually families. I rode it once on a hybrid and it was not that exciting.

My usual rides are solo road rides for about 1-2 hours trying to get my average speed up. It's fun and good exercise. 20+ years ago I rode CAT5 races. Now in my mid fifties I am just happy to be out riding when I can find the time.

I have zero clue about what I should be looking for and what, realistically, I will be able to ride (snow, sand, pavement, trails, etc) on different types of Mountain Bikes.

Is the Yukon a good bike? There is a Muckluck available as well. Any suggestions on bikes? Budget $2500 -$3000ish. Less is better if I am not sacrificing anything.

Anyone from North Shore Mass help with trails and good spots to ride?

Thanks!
Ad dropper lowers your center of gravity in corners or downhill. On snow or slippery surface it helps to start since you can have you butt on the saddle while the feet are on the ground. that way your weight is on the rear wheel. This helps not slipping out on snow etc.

As I said above, don't buy a bike that comes with 28 rim holes. Those hubs suck, will fail and ALL fatbike hubs and rims have 32 holes. So you will be stuck replacing hub, AND rim AND spokes as opposed to just the hub.

Most OEM tires suck, so budget for getting snow-specific or even studded tires, or a second wheelset.

For a good bike, I recommend building from frame up with he budget you have. But as a beginner, you may not know what you want.
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Old 11-17-20, 09:12 AM
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I'm also a fat bike newbie but just picked up a 2021 Trek Farley 5 and love it. It ticks all the boxes at a reasonable price. Dropper, decent studdable tires, relatively light aluminum frame, etc. Going tubeless alone will take it under 30lbs. From there anything can be upgraded as you see fit down the line. I am planning to use it year round to mix things up as I am much more a road guy. That's not something I can do on a regular mountain bike in WI.
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Old 11-17-20, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wirides View Post
I'm also a fat bike newbie but just picked up a 2021 Trek Farley 5 and love it. It ticks all the boxes at a reasonable price. Dropper, decent studdable tires, relatively light aluminum frame, etc. Going tubeless alone will take it under 30lbs. From there anything can be upgraded as you see fit down the line. I am planning to use it year round to mix things up as I am much more a road guy. That's not something I can do on a regular mountain bike in WI.
My local Bike Shop has a Farley in stock and a Borealis on the way. Both carbon. Any thoughts on these bikes?

Further Disclosure: I an trading a road bike in through the Pro Closet program so it will almost be an even swap.
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Old 11-17-20, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by OldGlory View Post
My local Bike Shop has a Farley in stock and a Borealis on the way. Both carbon. Any thoughts on these bikes?

Further Disclosure: I an trading a road bike in through the Pro Closet program so it will almost be an even swap.
I don't know the specific bikes, but I'm already on my second fatbike frame. I have an RSD Mayor and am happy with it. Here some things to look for:
- low standover (your feet sink in snow lower than your tires!)
- large tire clearance for 27.5x4.5 studded or 26x4.8. Even if the current wheels are smaller, in the future you may want to upgrade
- modern geometry. This can't be upgraded, so it is a one time deal! I spent $600 to upgrade geometry. Learn from me and buy correct geometry right away.
- avoid pressfit BB
- either use a rigid CF fork, or Manitou Mastodon. Nothing else. Don't cheap out here, upgrading this later is expensive.
- routing for internal dropper. External droppers suck and are limited in choice. I don't care about routing for brake and shifter, all that can be external. Routing that internally does exactly nothing for riding experience.
- if you plan to keep the wheels for the time being, make sure they are tubeless ready. But you will learn that wheels are a popular upgrade item. Same for tires.

Most other things can be upgraded. Obviously getting good brakes and drivetrain right away is nice. But not a deal breaker like the wrong frame. Handlebar, stem, seatpost, saddle, pedals are more a personal choice and fit item. If those are bad on the bike I wouldn't worry about since you end up swapping those anyway.
The bike brand matters less as long as the geometry is good. an SX RD will suck on a Borealis as much as it will suck on a trek. Neither company has their own production capacity anyway, they have their designs manufactured by Giant, or other manufacturers.

Last edited by HerrKaLeun; 11-17-20 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 11-17-20, 03:30 PM
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Again, my experience is limited to the Farley 5, which is aluminum. I am certain the carbon model will be that much better. The Farley has all the things mentioned above, as I'm sure other models do too. Lots of options at what you are planning to spend, all assuming you can get one before they're gone. Hot time of year for fat bikes and covid make them fly out of the shops. Let us know what you decide.
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Old 11-17-20, 03:56 PM
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Hey guys I jumped on the Farley 9.6. Pretty much an even trade for my road bike. Bikes are flying out the door with COVID lock down eminent and lots of stuff is a month overdue now due to lock downs overseas. Farleys are sold out online and only a few are in stores. Borealis is making bikes 8 weeks out but they told me they are having trouble getting components so it may take longer.

Specs:
Carbon Frame
Eagle GX
Sram T
Dropper Post - TranzX JD-YSP18, 120mm travel, internal routing
27.5 x 4.5 tires Bontrager Barbegazi Team Issue
SUNRingle Mulefut 80 SL, 32-hole cutout

Last edited by OldGlory; 11-17-20 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 11-17-20, 04:42 PM
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Long distance planning and buy counter-cyclically. I hate to tell you, I bought my fatbike frame and fork this March right after the lockdowns started. and then they still were on sale with a 30% discount. Great timing :-) Now they are sold out with a 2021 anticipated delivery. and higher price (obviously no discount)
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Old 11-17-20, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by OldGlory View Post
Hey guys I jumped on the Farley 9.6. Pretty much an even trade for my road bike. Bikes are flying out the door with COVID lock down eminent and lots of stuff is a month overdue now due to lock downs overseas. Farleys are sold out online and only a few are in stores. Borealis is making bikes 8 weeks out but they told me they are having trouble getting components so it may take longer.

Specs:
Carbon Frame
Eagle GX
Sram T
Dropper Post - TranzX JD-YSP18, 120mm travel, internal routing
27.5 x 4.5 tires Bontrager Barbegazi Team Issue
SUNRingle Mulefut 80 SL, 32-hole cutout
Congrats! Sweet ride! You will have a blast for years to come. Now let's see some pics!
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Old 11-17-20, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by wirides View Post
Congrats! Sweet ride! You will have a blast for years to come. Now let's see some pics!
Thanks! I pick it up Friday.
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Old 11-17-20, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by OldGlory View Post
Thanks! I pick it up Friday.
Nice choice. Remember that these bikes can go anywhere, the only thing holding you back is your legs. So, when you take the bike out for the first time and you see some sketchy path or trail, or even just an opening in the brush, go for it.
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Old 11-18-20, 10:14 AM
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Good find. That blue with the oil slick components looks very nice. Have a blast!
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Old 11-18-20, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by OldGlory View Post
My local Bike Shop has a Farley in stock and a Borealis on the way. Both carbon. Any thoughts on these bikes?

Further Disclosure: I an trading a road bike in through the Pro Closet program so it will almost be an even swap.
Both of those are fine bikes.

I have a Borealis Crestone in my possession right now. Looking at buying it for the girlfriend. It's a nice bike.

Also...if you ever plan to ride bumpy, rocky, rooty single track trails...Always remember that fat tires are not substitute for suspension. Many people buy fat bikes thinking they will take the place of suspension.

Last edited by prj71; 11-18-20 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 11-20-20, 07:14 PM
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First Ride along the river
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Old 11-26-20, 09:32 PM
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You made a good choice.

I have a rigid fat bike and a very nice standard-tired FS bike.

For winter riding in the Northeast (late Fall through early Spring).. fat bike for sure. Its not just the snow that they are good for, but also the mud, muck and deep leaves.

Once winter is over... I enjoy the FS a lot more.
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Old 11-27-20, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by OldGlory View Post

First Ride along the river
Nice, just picked up the same bike yesterday! Got lucky and found some studded tire at the LBS...they did cost more than the snow tires on my Prius!
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Old 11-28-20, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Osprey 1 View Post
Nice, just picked up the same bike yesterday! Got lucky and found some studded tire at the LBS...they did cost more than the snow tires on my Prius!
Awesome! Enjoy your ride. I can't wait to try it out in the snow. I have not bought studded tires yet, hopefully stock will work for me.
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Old 11-28-20, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by OldGlory View Post
Awesome! Enjoy your ride. I can't wait to try it out in the snow. I have not bought studded tires yet, hopefully stock will work for me.
The Barbegazi are really good tires - for 3 seasons and non-aggressive riding. I'm not a Trek fan, but have to say they are the only manufacturer I know of that sell bikes with premium tires. All other makers have 2nd or 3rd tier tires only.
For winter, especially if you have deep snow or ice, you want separate tires. the Gnarwhal studded are supposed to be good in 27.5.
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Old 12-05-20, 07:34 AM
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I'm an aging road biker that has recently moved from Northern California to Northern Wisconsin. In California I could ride year round on the roads and I never had any interest in mountain biking. In Wisconsin road biking season ended in late October for me and it is not likely to start until late Spring, depending on ice on the roads. However, I live adjacent to a county park area dedicated to mountain biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Walking these trails, some are clearly single track with rocks, roots, and lots of elevation changes but there are other wide gravel roads with considerable elevation changes in a rolling landscape. These gravel road become groomed ski trails in the winter.

Yesterday I walked some of the ski trail roads and they were mostly clear of snow and it occurred to me that I could ride these with some type of non-road bike. I have seen some folks in this park on regular mountain bikes and other folks riding fat bikes.

I plan to start looking for a bike to ride on the gravel roads, but just not sure if a fat bike or a gravel bike with flat bars would be the best option for riding the gravel roads. My brittle bones are not suitable for the single track portions of the park, but I think the gravel roads would be fine and would extend my riding season by a month or two in the Fall and Spring.

Where do I start?
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Old 12-05-20, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
I'm an aging road biker that has recently moved from Northern California to Northern Wisconsin. In California I could ride year round on the roads and I never had any interest in mountain biking. In Wisconsin road biking season ended in late October for me and it is not likely to start until late Spring, depending on ice on the roads. However, I live adjacent to a county park area dedicated to mountain biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Walking these trails, some are clearly single track with rocks, roots, and lots of elevation changes but there are other wide gravel roads with considerable elevation changes in a rolling landscape. These gravel road become groomed ski trails in the winter.

Yesterday I walked some of the ski trail roads and they were mostly clear of snow and it occurred to me that I could ride these with some type of non-road bike. I have seen some folks in this park on regular mountain bikes and other folks riding fat bikes.

I plan to start looking for a bike to ride on the gravel roads, but just not sure if a fat bike or a gravel bike with flat bars would be the best option for riding the gravel roads. My brittle bones are not suitable for the single track portions of the park, but I think the gravel roads would be fine and would extend my riding season by a month or two in the Fall and Spring.

Where do I start?
If you are not riding single-track and sticking to the gravel roads, I would not get a fat bike for that.

For riding gravel roads in the off season, I would look for either a gravel bike with enough clearance for big tires (42s or bigger) AND fenders, or something similar in a flat bar flavor (like the Surly Bridge Club or similar).

If the gravel roads are more like fire roads and are pretty rough, you might looks for bikes designed for tires in the 2.1 - 2.4 range. That starts to look more like rigid MTB territory.

Last edited by Kapusta; 12-05-20 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 12-07-20, 11:23 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
I'm an aging road biker that has recently moved from Northern California to Northern Wisconsin. In California I could ride year round on the roads and I never had any interest in mountain biking. In Wisconsin road biking season ended in late October for me and it is not likely to start until late Spring, depending on ice on the roads. However, I live adjacent to a county park area dedicated to mountain biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Walking these trails, some are clearly single track with rocks, roots, and lots of elevation changes but there are other wide gravel roads with considerable elevation changes in a rolling landscape. These gravel road become groomed ski trails in the winter.

Yesterday I walked some of the ski trail roads and they were mostly clear of snow and it occurred to me that I could ride these with some type of non-road bike. I have seen some folks in this park on regular mountain bikes and other folks riding fat bikes.

I plan to start looking for a bike to ride on the gravel roads, but just not sure if a fat bike or a gravel bike with flat bars would be the best option for riding the gravel roads. My brittle bones are not suitable for the single track portions of the park, but I think the gravel roads would be fine and would extend my riding season by a month or two in the Fall and Spring.

Where do I start?
May I ask where you are living? By your geographic descriptions it almost sounds like you are in my back yard.

With a lack of snow right now, a lot of us have been riding single track mountain bike trails and riding gravel with fat bikes, gravel bikes or mountain bikes. Bunch of us did a big gravel ride this past Saturday.

Last edited by prj71; 12-07-20 at 11:29 AM.
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