header ad

2018 Fat bike season – what's your setup

HOME FORUM RIDING FEELS GOOD FORUM TALKING ABOUT BIKES 2018 Fat bike season – what's your setup

This topic contains 37 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  soban 2 years, 2 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 38 total)

  • Author
  • #818193


    Winter is coming. I don’t have any changes to my current setup as it’s been bomber. Bought a dropper post but haven’t installed it yet. I’m enjoying the fully rigid setup at the moment. With modern trail bikes taking the edge off just about everything, and the trails being majorly dumbed down, I kind of enjoy the raw ride. Feels akin to my early years but with killer geo, functioning brakes and amazing tires.

    In case you missed it, here is the review of my Pivot Cycles Les Fat: https://www.ridingfeelsgood.com/tested-two-seasons-rolling-pivot-les-fat/

    What is everyone else riding? Full-fat, mid-fat or otherwise. Winter riding is great.



    I have a 2015 trek farley 5 that is stock but with tubeless tires. Gets the job done in the winter. Will hopefully break it out tomorrow night in Copeland forest. Want to buy studs for the tires but it’s not very high on the priority list.

    What dropper did you buy for it? I have a 1st and 2nd gen reverb post that doesn’t work below 2 degrees or so. I have a 9point8 that has been working great up to -2 or so but haven’t tested in colder conditions. Only annoyance with the 9point8 is upping the psi before every ride but can’t really complain. Would definitely spend a little more for the 9point8 over the reverb. (only other dropper i’ve used is a KS lev on a demo bike and I thought it was definitely inferior to the reverb and 9point8)




    ^Ditto on the Reverb. My Transition Scout came with one and it absolutely crapped the bed when the colder temperatures arrived. Immediately ditched it for a KS Lev and all is good. The previous KS Supernatural’s that I’ve had have worked well in the cold temperatures.

    I tried fat biking last year in Copeland a few times on rental Norco Bigfoots. A week or so ago I picked up a Rocky Mountain Blizzard -20. Haven’t ridden it yet, but it should be good in the snow.



    I post I bought is a second gen Reverb, we’ll see how it goes. I’ve heard good things about the Fox Transfer post. I feel pretty comfy on this bike without a dropper so may keep it that way. Something nice about a simple setup, swap tires and go.


    secret agent

    I am still riding my Carbon Beargrease. I added a Bluto this summer. I primarily ride it at Hilton Falls and other technical terrain. With my shoulder issues the fully rigid set up was always making me pay a price after longer rides. I have not ridden it in snow yet, but it has improved the performance of the bike tremendously. I have not noticed the weight difference at all, it still climbs fine, though I suck at it with either fork. The suspension seems to correct the self steering effect of the fat tires. Cornering improvements were immediately noticeable.
    Added a carbon seat post and wider carbon bars.
    Run the Dillingers for summer and groomed conditions and the Flowbeist/Dunderbeist for icy or deeper snow.



    Beargrrase is a great bike. Set up tubeless? Did you ever get some 29+ wheels? Carbon rims in its future? That’s one upgrade I don’t regret. Weight, ride quality and ease of tire swap made it worth the cost.


    secret agent

    I don’t have it set up tubeless. I have never been able to wrap my head around tubeless. Been riding tubes for over 35 years and I am not having that many issues. I get teased a bit on some of my other bikes as I am running tubeless rims with tubeless tires with tubes. I don’t think I’m going to do anything with the wheels just yet. I have a carbon Superfly frame set up fully rigid. I just ordered a Pike for the Tallboy, so I’m going to use the current fork as an alternative set up for the now fully rigid bike. it will give me the variety I need. I haven’t ridden a plus bike except at the bike shop. My feeling is that if I go that way, I will probably get a Hightower so I can set it up 27+ or 29.
    I am waiting a bit on carbon rims for both my 29er and this bike maybe. They are getting to the point that I can justify the cost/performance thing. I ride quite a bit, but I am not really pushing my equipment as much as lot of guys here. I do a lot of tech at Hilton Falls, but I’m not catching any air or huge descents.



    I’m heading into winter #2 aboard my Farley 9.6, but I’ve certainly made some changes over the year… Last winter was my second as a “fat biker” and making the jump with both feet has been amazing.

    Originally I set out with my more or less stock Farley 9.6 (sans tubes) and realized in a real hurry just how much I like getting the seat out of the way when things get loose… Enter the 150mm Fox Transfer and a bit of handiwork to get it going with my preferred remote.

    It was a pretty killer season in the snow!

    Rolling into the spring “season opener” I made the very conscious choice to keep rolling on the big wheels simply due to the fact it was ultra familiar at this point and ultra comfortable just being on the bike. It fit and had traction for days, so a few more bits trickled in by way of a RaceFace Next carbon bar and some tougher, slimmer Maxis Minion FBF/R tires (27.5×3.8).

    With spring moving along and a desire to push the envelop of versatility it came time to really take the two foot plunge… New Fork in the Fox Float 34+ (yes it clears 29+, no not by very much at all) a new set Minions on RaceFace Arc 45’s wrapped around some DT350’s (yes 54T star ratchet), a Next SL carbon crank and some XTR Trail brakes… the overall weight plummeted and this bike started to rip

    I’ve since tried basically ever variation of gears, suspension, or otherwise with this frame and I’ve got a new project bike (Farley EX 9.8) that’s been on the go since late august and while it won’t clear a 27.5×4.5 tire it’s one hell of a lot of fun.

    Simple Advice:
    @fasttimes – Dropper post… it will only serve to increase your enjoyment
    @matthewg – That’s a 2016, and of all the post I’ve had (reverb, 9.8, transfer) the Fox has been the best in the cold (-20)
    @secret-agent – Riding a fat bike with tubes is like putting a ballon on your tongue to eat a steak…



    I’d say that’s pretty close to the ultimate fatbike combo @blurredlines That Farley is such a nice bike!

    I do find myself running tires bigger than 4.5″ in the pow but I could learn to live without them given the overall versatility this combo offers. I’m also still partial to 26″ tires on snow. I find even a slightly wider tire makes a huge difference when it’s deep and loose. They also spin up noticeably faster i find. I had several days like that last winter and they were some of the most memorable. On hard pack and groomed even a 3″ tire works well. I’ll be rocking a 3: studded plus tire for the days when its really frozen solid.

    I think a Mastodon is in the cards for me but I do enjoy the fully rigid setup. Once I can ride on dirt I make the switch to a trail bike so I’m still uncertain I need it for winter only. The fat bike becomes my bikepacking/adventure bike in the summer. I haven’t found the need for a suspension fork for this either and if the route did command it, I would just run a trail bike. I also have that Hayduke which is 27.5+ which is my go to for that stuff. Though nothing packs gear quite like a fat bike.

    Super cool setups man, you;re gonna have a blast on those!



    Thanks @fasttimes – The 26 vs. 27.5 goes pretty much unnoticed until you’re running something like the 3.8 Minion or Hodag. They’re some fast tires on groomed/dirt, for sure but do lend themselves to the argument for wider options in deep snow. I found the 27.5 x 4.5’s were the best option of all even while there was only one tread choice (Bontrager has a second studdable 4.5 now that I haven’t had a chance to try in the snow). The lack of width (wow I really just said that talking about fat bike tires) is made up for significantly in the length of the contact patch. As far as the spin up goes, I’d be hard pressed to say I noticed a difference. Once at speed though the 27.5’s carry momentum very well.

    The Mastodon(Comp) is pretty cool. I don’t love the look of it, but it kicks the Bluto (RTC3) to the curb in terms of stiffness and suppleness. I think RockShox did well beating everyone to the fat bike market, but they’re going to need to step it up if they want to keep their share. The Mastodon is far more similar to a Fox34 or RS Pike than the reba the blot was based off of.

    Bikepacking wise I don’t think I’d do without a suspension fork unless absolutely necessary. It’s certainly a weight penalty, but one that I think is very worth while if the trail is rougher and longer than expected (I’m looking at you Hastings Rail Trail).


    secret agent

    @blurred Lines- that’s a nice selection of bikes.
    I agree with you on a dropper. I think that will be the next addition. Unfortunately, the Beargrease has a small seat tube and options are limited. I think the Thompson is the only viable unit in 27.2. I heard great things about the Mastodon fork, but I opted for the Bluto. I spoke with a couple of bike mechanics I trust, and told me that warranty issues might take forever, and that the Bluto is just easier to deal with in so far as parts go. I find the Bluto so frigging plush and subtle, I can’t imagine what a Mastodon would be like if it is that much better. I just got the Bluto and have only run it on dirt and in the Agreement Forest. I found it to be pretty stiff and easy to set up. I got mostly due to shoulder issues. I would have left the bike rigid as I have a couple of trail bikes for summer. Again, this is my first fat tire fork. I have to give the Tubeless thing a go. I will try it next summer. I don’t want to experiment now that it is getting colder. I am concerned about burping a tire in -15C one night and having to deal with it in the dark. I don’t want to be messing around with a ton of sealant and replacing valves to try and get a tube in there.



    They’re right, parts may be easier to get for a Bluto but considering a Bluto needs a winter seal kit to work in the cold i’d argue that the Mastodon might still be the better option. I’m very comfortable working on my own suspension so for me it really came down to the fact that I just can’t ride a 32mm fork anymore. If you’re happy with your Bluto, than that’s all that matters. See how it treats you this winter and go from there. It depends greatly on the temperatures you’re comfortable riding in. I bought some good kit and footwear to brave those colder days so I want my components to perform as well.

    With regards to the tubes. If you burp or flat, you just toss in a tube, which your carrying anyway(tubeless or not). I personally haven’t found that running tubeless increases my odds of burping on a fat bike. I’ve also chosen hookless bead rims that pretty much ensure that. But all that to say I would’nt let that hold you back. Burping is more likely to occur on dirt than snow or ice. The grip just isn’t there to pull it off. Burping usually means pulling one bead off by forces applied from the opposite side of the tire. That takes a lot of force with a big 4-5″ tire.



    Personally I’ve ditched the tube. I’ve started carrying a couple of 2oz bottles of sealant, a valve core tool, and a high volume hand pump. It really didn’t save space or weight at all in my bag, but it did remove the two tubes from the bike and having recently ridden a bike with tubes I’m certain the difference is more exaggerated with the larger tires. Couldn’t agree more with @fasttimes about the burping. Removing a fat tire has proved far more challenging than any standard mountain size.

    With the recent blast of snow and the cold temps I’m looking forward to seeing how the Mastodon handles the cold, will post up once I’ve got some time in on it.



    Verdict is in for me on winter suspension.

    Manitou Mastodon Comp (6 months) vs. Rockshox Bluto RTC3 (15 months)

    **If you tend to be blazing trail in fresh/deeper snow I’d avoid front suspension all together.

    The Rockshox is a nice addition and if you can come buy one for a reasonable price go for it, but don’t expect it to change your world. It does suck up trail chatter and once it’s been “winterized” with appropriate seals and oils. It’s performs admirably at a novice level and adequately at an intermediate level. There is a lot of flex that become more noticeable and more apparent as the fork is pushed under a more aggressive rider. I’d recommend this for less aggressive riders looking to take the edge off on hard packed/groomed trails provided they’re only looking to run a 26 Fat or especially for those running a 27.5+ wheel during “dirt season”. If you tend to be blazing trail in fresh/deeper snow I’d avoid front suspension all together.

    The Manitou on the other hand packs a lot more punch and comes in with price tag that places it very competitively. With no modifications and simply turning the dials until you find your own personal sweet spot trail chatter is all but erased. Additionally the larger diameter lowers and (yep it can be a bit off putting) reverse arch add up to a fork that really limits flex as well as tracks with a precision that the Bluto cannot compare to. Even pushed this fork holds it’s own and makes for a nice transition from the Fox 34 I’ve run all summer. If you’re looking for a fork that you can use year round and not sacrifice performance this is the option I’d put on the pedestal currently.

    Personally I’ll take the Manitou for the increased tire clearances and the added stiffness. It’s not that the Bluto is “bad”, but it’s about time Rockshox updated the Bluto to compliment the updated geometries and intentions of the current crop of Fat Bikes.

    Rear Suspension:
    This is pretty cut and dry. Is the trail groomed or hard packed? Great, full suspension it is. Are conditions loose, will we be blazing trail? Awesome, leave the full suspension at home. Without a firm base to work with the full suspension can become a bit of a nightmare as the rear wheel rebounds and compresses looking for a firm surface to track. Once you’ve got that firm surface it’s incredible and delivers and outstanding ride, but off the beaten path it’s not exciting.

    Dropper Post:

    9point8 Fall Line vs. Bontrager DropLine vs. Fox Transfer (Performance & Factory)

    **If there’s one upgrade I’d make to any fat bike this is it, hands down

    The 9point8 is great in that you can lock it anywhere in it’s travel and it stays put, however the rebound starts slowing down 5 or so degrees above freezing and doesn’t get better. Arguably adjusting the pressure in the post helps remedy this, but it turns into non-stop fiddling out in the cold with a bunch of small parts you probably don’t want to lose. Additionally as the post warms back up you run the risk of exceeding the recommended pressure in the post and blowing your seals out. I think this is a pretty outstanding post generally speaking, but it’s not ideal for winter use.

    Bontrager’s new offering is pretty solid. It works well down to about -15 before it slows and stick as it returns. Not much to be done about adjustment, so that’s kind of what you get. I’ve not experienced any sagging regardless of temperature. Again this is a pretty outstanding post, it just work until you start getting into the colder temps

    Fox hit it out of the park with the Transfer. It just works regardless of temperature. The only caveat to that is that when it’s cold enough you may not want to be out there -30 it can stick, but even the slightest compression of your weight on the post has it moving again with it’s unmistakable “Thwak” as it tops out. If I had to find a flaw with this post it’s that there’s not a length greater than 150mm currently available and with a nice long straight seat tube upwards of 175mm is absolutely a possibility (at least for me).

    So that’s it, just a bit of my experience with suspension in the cold over the past few seasons.

    2 users thanked author for this post.


    Thanks for the killer review @blurredlines What travel are you running up front? Extended version? (sorry if I missed that)

    I just got mine today so pretty stoked to try them out. Went for 120mm, extended version.

    I haven’t honestly felt the need for a suspension fork in the past so this will be a trial and they may come back off. Time will tell. I have been hitting some zestier winter lines though and, in those situations, a suspension fork would have been very much welcome. I still prefer a rigid fork for most winter trails, but that may change after riding this beauty. Its a big weight penalty and the balance might feel off an a hardtail, we’ll see. I think in 29+ mode this summer, it will be the shit.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 38 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

People Who Like Thisx


People Who viewed ThisX