Author Topic: Fat bike project underway  (Read 8911 times)

cmh

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Fat bike project underway
« on: February 03, 2015, 12:25:38 PM »
So I'm jumping in on this fat bike bandwagon to see if it's all that. My point of entry was a Motobecane Boris the Evil Brute Sprung - and yes, that's actually the name. I considered going with a Chiner, but since a fat bike has many parts that I don't already have on hand, (frame/fork/wheels/tires/etc) I decided to go with a complete bike, especially since the purchase price of a Bluto fork is half of the total purchase price of the Boris. A Bluto plus a set of Chiner fat bike wheels would almost equal the purchase price of the Boris! Plus, I've always been curious about bikesdirect bikes, so this was an opportunity to get some info, get a bike, and try out the fat bike thing all at once.

In the pursuit of information, first thing I did was not assemble it - but tear it down completely and weigh everything:

Fatty McBlorp's weight loss program

Got it all built up and gonna ride it stock for a little while - about as long as it takes the shipment from XMIPlay of rims, handlebar, and seatpost to arrive. :D



Carbon_Dude

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2015, 08:58:51 PM »
I like the fork.  Not crazy about the frame though.  Maybe get a Chiner Fatbike frame and move all the parts over :).
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Sitar_Ned

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2015, 10:01:50 PM »
I've bought Motobecane bikes before.. Nothing but good things to say, really. Seems like the Boris is a great entry point into a fat bike to see if it's something you'll want to ride and invest in long term. If so, you can always upgrade the frame later on down the road. Seems more important that you went ahead and got the carbon fat bike rims. I've no experience with fat bikes, but it seems that it'd be pretty important to have a mid to high range set of wheels and rubber on there. I mean.. holy cow.. 15.5 pounds in wheels and tires alone? That sounds like it'd be sluggish to me BUT I've never ridden one. 

How much do you expect to lose by upgrading to the Iplay carbon rims, bar, and post? You have your next upgrade in mind yet?

Looking forward to hear how you like it, and how much you ride it compared to your other bikes. See if it becomes your "go to" bike, or just a cool addition you have fun on occasionally.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 10:07:06 PM by Sitar_Ned »

cmh

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 03:06:59 PM »
I like the fork.  Not crazy about the frame though.  Maybe get a Chiner Fatbike frame and move all the parts over :).

That's my exact thought process! :D

1) Get the Boris, cheap entry level - get the Bluto and the nice XT parts.
2) Hit the important upgrades (rims for weight loss and easy tubeless, post and bars because cheap)
3) Ride it, see what I think
4) If I like it... well, the IP-N019 sure looks nice.

jwilds1

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2015, 08:03:21 AM »
Good luck!  I've got a Fantom FB4 Comp from bikesdirect and I can't complain - the price of entry is half that of other bikes.  I made a half-hearted attempt to sell it to fund my Chiner, but I've had so much fun on it this winter that I'm keeping it and putting it on a diet on a budget.

cmh

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2015, 02:10:01 PM »
Quote from: Sitar_Ned
I've no experience with fat bikes, but it seems that it'd be pretty important to have a mid to high range set of wheels and rubber on there. I mean.. holy cow.. 15.5 pounds in wheels and tires alone?

Exactly - I haven't really checked my math, but if I did it right, I could lose 1kg from the wheel rebuild alone (3170g for my bare wheelset, IPlay lists theirs at 2250, same hubs and I'm building with lighter Laser spokes) and then tubeless drops a pair of 500g tubes - and I won't need those huge plastic 140g rim strips, just something to seal the spoke holes? There's another kg. Like I said, I'm not 100% sure about the math but it should be pretty damn good and be able to give the bike a proper test with lighter wheels and tubeless.

Quote from: jwilds1
...the price of entry is half that of other bikes.

Seriously. I looked at doing a Chiner from the ground up, but considering the Bluto is $700 and a set of Chiner wheels (with the same hubs) is $750 ish ... and I paid $1500 for the complete bike? Hard to beat it. Plus, I saw someone sell a pair of the very same gold Weinmann rims that came with the bike for $130 on the FB fat bikes group, so the purchase of my 80mm rims from Peter is (slightly) offset.

cmh

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2015, 09:44:44 PM »
First ride done, and it's interesting. Different, for sure, but that's not shocking. When the bike's up at speed it feels like any light hardtail, but if you lose even a little bit of that speed? hah, good luck, cuz it's gone and it's not coming back without a whole bunch of work. I need to learn to trust the traction more and keep that speed up. In the meantime, the slower you go, the slower it feels, and that can be pretty damn slow. Still, set four PR's on the ride, so it can't be all that bad.

With the first ride on the bone stock bike done, it's time to get things started. Going with what I have on hand, I swapped out the saddle, grips, and cassette, and the weight has dropped down to just under 36lbs from the original 36.5. Nice start. Could have dropped even more but I find the SLR saddle to be no good for MTB use because of the pointy nose. Still might slap it on for "scale queen" weigh-ins. :D

Kicking around the idea of going 1x10 with a Wolf Tooth 32 I've got on hand, but lately the 22 has been a very nice thing to have available.  ;D

The big gains will be from the wheels, though - IPlay lists their wheelset at 2350g, and my wheelset is 3110g. IPlay also uses 2.0/1.8 spokes, and I'll be going with 2.0/1.5 Lasers to save a little bit more weight. Plus, being able to ditch the tubes at 500 and 550g... that's gonna be pretty huge. (although the gallons of sealant I'll need will even that out JUST a smidge) Hoping the wheelset weight reduction helps make this thing a little less of a juggernaut. The IPlay bars and seatpost will just be the icing on that fancy cake.

Hoping the Snow Shoes work out okay with that usage, but have heard mixed things on them. For one thing, they're rated 4.5" and measure in at just under 4.125". :P Even fat bike tires lie in their size, not even a 100mm rim would get these things near that rated size. Sounds like the Bud/Lou combo is a very popular one, and interested to see what comes of Kenda's new ridiculously light tire.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 09:49:18 PM by cmh »

Carbon_Dude

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2015, 06:29:54 AM »
It's funny, I just read an old article on MTBR by the Angry Singlespeeder that basically said the same thing about his Fatbike experience.  He liked the way it rode in some terrain but overall felt the bike very slow to ride.

Here is the story, since you have a fatbike, maybe you can read the story and see if you agree.
http://reviews.mtbr.com/the-angry-singlespeeder-fat-bikes-meh
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cmh

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 08:18:54 AM »
It's funny, I just read an old article on MTBR by the Angry Singlespeeder that basically said the same thing about his Fatbike experience.  He liked the way it rode in some terrain but overall felt the bike very slow to ride.

Here is the story, since you have a fatbike, maybe you can read the story and see if you agree.
http://reviews.mtbr.com/the-angry-singlespeeder-fat-bikes-meh

Yeah, I've seen that article. What was funniest to me was the reaction of the fat bike devotees that bordered on religious. Always funny to me how dismissive folks can be about other people's opinions.

So far, I don't disagree with him, but I'm not going to let one ride determine it for me. Saw that my IPlay rims cleared customs and my order of spokes shipped yesterday, so it's about to get a whole bunch more interesting. Even if I don't wind up loving it, I'll have gained knowledge and experience and that's never a bad thing.

One thing I definitely agree with him on - and have been wondering - I've been riding "skinny" MTBs in snow for many years now, and having a blast doing it. I did a snow ride with some fat bikes recently where I was working FAR harder than them but I was still having an absolute blast. Learning to ride in low traction conditions does wonders for your ability to ride well. One of our local pros/coaches has been recommending folks get out and ride in the snow (since mud riding isn't cool anymore) specifically to build bike handling ability. After my ride with the fat bikes, I found myself wondering if a fat bike doesn't take that away from you at least to a small degree.

cmh

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2015, 09:33:06 PM »
My parts arrived from XMIPlay. Unfortunately I didn't realize that the 350mm seatpost won't be long enough, so I'll be looking to sell that locally. Oops. The 700mm bars work, and are half the  weight of the original bars. Plus, the 80mm carbon rims, which look pretty good - listed at 650 +/-50g, and not too surprisingly both of them were at the very top of that range, but still - 690g vs. 980 for the original rims? that's real savings.

Latest photos in the build start here.

I also took spoke tension measurements on the original wheel before I disassembled it, and not shockingly, although the average tension was surprisingly good (around 115kgf) the balance was horrific, with spokes varying up to 26% off the average. Not shocking considering the suuuuuper budget build of the Motobecane bikes. Were it otherwise, I'd be very surprised. Considering the beefiness of the wheels, I'd think that that tension imbalance might be less of an issue for the fatty wheels.

cmh

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2015, 08:47:09 AM »
Dunno the level of interest in this project so I'll keep the update short. Wheels are rebuilt with the IPlay rims, big weight savings, and they look pretty awesome as well. Still have a couple of parts that I need to swap out, and the weight is down to 31.3lbs, a nice drop from the original 36.5. Have ridden it in the snow several times now, but really not seeing the huge benefit that everyone seems to think fat bikes have. What I could ride with the fatty - I'm pretty sure I could have ridden with my 29er FS. Riding 8" of soft powder into 18" of soft powder, the fatty might get me a little further before it slides out, but it's not performing miracles. I've run tire pressures from 12psi down to zero (thanks to the tubeless not being fully sealed yet) and the essentially flat did seem to give a little bit more traction but still not the promised miraculous effortless cruising on top of the snow. Maybe I need bigger tires for my weight. (220lb)

Still, it's a fun project, and I'm leaning heavily on all the weight weenie parts I have on hand from several projects on my wife's bikes.


Carbon_Dude

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2015, 09:04:13 AM »
Still looks like a fun bike to ride and this winter has been perfect for those that live up North and want to ride in the snow.
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MTNRCKT

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2015, 02:15:28 PM »
Dunno the level of interest in this project so I'll keep the update short.

I'm interested!

Could you tell a significant difference in the way it rode before and after upgrading the wheels?

MTB2223

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2015, 02:52:06 PM »

cmh

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Re: Fat bike project underway
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2015, 08:03:08 PM »
I'm interested!

Cool, this forum isn't quite as busy as the 29er one so just wasn't sure and didn't wanna be talking to myself. (any more than I already do) :D

Quote
Could you tell a significant difference in the way it rode before and after upgrading the wheels?

First ride was in the sandy pine forest of Wharton State Forest in southern New Jersey. No snow, lots of twisty turny stuff, and that's where I really felt the weight and inertia of the completely stock 36.5lb bike.

The next ride was closer to our house at Lake Nockamixon. Nox has twisty turny trails with very little elevation change, much like Wharton - but it was covered in at least 4" of snow, with wind-blown drifts obliterating the trails and going up to (and probably over) 18" deep. So - as you can imagine - it was REALLY hard to make any type of comparison as the Wharton loop was 18 miles of dry twisty turny - and the Nox loop wasn't even a loop because we wound up quitting and heading back out. Oh, and the tubeless hadn't fully sealed so the rear tire kept going completely flat. :P

Since then we did one more ride, but that was on a frozen lake by us. Turning was best done in long, slow arcs as there was snow on top of the lake ice, and any sudden movements meant the bike was no longer underneath you. Still, it was pretty freaking awesome:

Riding on a frozen lake.

Obviously not a fat bike in that video. :)

So, until I get back down to Wharton, I really won't be able to say apples to apples, but I think the bike does feel quite a bit more nimble, and when I move it around before/after rides, it definitely feels lighter. Picking up the front wheel is always surprising, maybe because it's so visually stout, but it feels surprisingly light - even if it isn't particularly.

Still waiting on a couple parts, and should be able to get closer to my 30lb target. Will probably 1x it at some point, and that should get me the rest of the way there, but considering how much use I have made of the 22 in the snowy weather, I doubt it'll be soon. Unless I do the 1x with the 22 granny ring, I won't be going 1x until the snow is gone.