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Fat XC – Gamechanger

This summer I have been riding a fatbike as my primary mountain bike. My fatbike XC bike of choice this summer is a prototype of the new Salsa Beargrease. I find myself loving fatbikes more and more as I find out just what they are capable of. I love the traction. I love the comfort. I love the I can get over or through anything confidence. So when our personal bikes went out to a Utah for my work event, I sent my proto fat XC bike. Only seemed logical.

One day when I had some time I asked my coworker and friend if I could ride his bike so that I could compare it too my proto Beargrease fatbike I had been riding.  That was the critical point. It was a total gamechanger for me and I am on a mission to build one for myself. Tim has a new 2013 Mukluk frame set up with nice stuff. That said, it is heavier than my proto fat XC. So what’s the game changing part of this equation? A modified Lefty fat suspension fork!

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We had some time to ride one day and I decided to ride to the top of Snowbasin. I took Tim’s Mukluk and rode up into the mountains. It was an incredible experience. The switchback climbs, even with rocks at terrible locations in the turn, were laughable. I just powered right over them. Sure I felt the weight some but I was just out enjoying myself. I ended up not making it all the way up because I got distracted, took pictures and didn’t have a map (I ended up on a trail that led somewhere else). But, I got a good hour and 15 minutes of climbing. Then I turned around. Whoa! That’s when it hit me.

Going down was an incredible experience. I had endless traction even on the loose rock. The big tires smoothed out the trail.  The susfork took the burden of the big rocks and my mistakes and just crushed everything in site. I was flat out flying. The big tires do take some tuning of air pressure to get them feeling just right. Too much and you are bouncing off rocks like crazy, sometimes at speed. Too little and the tires push and fold a bit in corners. When they are just right you know it and the bike just flat out rips and grips.

Right now I am in the process of pulling parts together to build a full on dedicated summer fat XC bike much like Tim’s bike. This bike won’t touch winter with my Lefty sus fork and my mostly Shimano 10 speed group and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. I cant wait to get it finished and hit all my favorite local Midwest trails.

Some fork manufacturer needs to make a fat suspension fork! Please. Please. Please.

Fat XC w/fork = Gamechanger!

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19 replies »

  1. Fat front sus fork? Yes, someone does need to do this. Piecing together a Lefty is okay, I guess, but I bet a dedicated tuning for fat bikes in the damper would be even better.

  2. I’m on the verge of building a Lefty myself. Just need to get Craig to sort me some clamps and then a locally sourced fork. Course’ a fully customised 135mm front axle and hub would be great to get rid of some of the offset.

  3. I have a set of FatLefty clamps and wheel that i am going to sell/trade. I also hve the Ti-lefty that i used as my fat front set up. I am looking for a White Bros. Snowpack fork (or equiv.) Pm me if you are interested.

  4. I see fat bikes as a game changer much in the same sense that 29ers were a game changer. Not really in the way that 29ers have taken over the racing world, but in the sense that fat bikes are forcing riders to re-examine the WAY, and the WHERE in which they can ride these bikes. Like you, nearly all of my summer off road miles have been on the fat bike. I’ve reverted back to the 29er a couple times, but its just not…the same. You get addicted to traction and all the potential it gives you. I’ve ridden up and down things on the fat bike that I just can’t even approach on the 29er.

  5. I have hung up my FS Stump for the season because I don’t use it anymore. I don’t use it any more because I purchased a MoonLander. I took my MoonLander out the weekend I got it and I knew right away that I had found what had been missing. Fat Bikes are prime to explode here on the Wasatch Front. The challenge is finding like minded Fatties. I ride Snow Basin most every weekend, and I have never descended Ard & Norda DR. (Wheeler Canyon to Snowbasin) faster or in more control. I can only imagine what suspension on my Fat Bike would do. The possibility’s are mind blowing! If you want to ride local, Hit me up.

  6. Digging the Fat XC thing as well. Been running the FatLefty (first on Necro, now on Fatback Ti) since the Spring. Just enough dampening to keep the front from bouncing. Tons of grip and stability. Relatively minor rolling resistance penalty on most trails. Also intrigued by the 29+ and how it might pair with a lightweight frame and Lefty…

  7. Just wandering through, and thought I’d ask what it is that needs tweaking to make it work better, valving wise, whatever, to be better for fatties?

    Kinda not seeing it, if only because the dampers are 2012 product, so about as current as possible.

    Tuning of the damper for individual needs is quite possible. Tell me what you need, and it can be done, 9 times out of 10.

    Appreciate in the input, if what you want makes ‘em better, I’m all for it. That being said, I’m pretty damn happy as it is, but that’s not too difficult!

  8. Hey Gnat, plse don’t stop blogging! It’s still relevant! I was at the Roc d’Azur mtb fest/expo weekend just gone and the designer from Sandman told me that this will be a production fat bike fork:

    Sandman fat bike fork

  9. [...] know that you can make your fat bike a 29er (see Guitar Ted’s By-Tor posts) and that you can put a Lefty on a fat bike, but Sandman is the first company that I have seen to say “This is the only mountain bike [...]

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