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This place needs an enema
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No secret that fatbikes have faded back to a more realistic place within most bike shops. That surge a few years ago represented manufacturers wanting to get into the game to sell units, and didn't accurately reflect the number of consumers truly interested in the niche.

Now that we're back to reality, how do you see fatbikes being used (not marketed) and improved going forward?

More width in rims and tires?

Focus on lighter package weight with existing rim/tire sizes?

Different geometry?

E-assist?

Moving forward, what sorts of (realistic) improvements are you hoping to see in 2, 5, 10 years?

Discuss.
 

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Rippin da fAt
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Oh boy, Mikesee's starting us up again!

Frankly, it's spot on that the demographic was severely misjudged as many thought with a "bandwagon" mentality as they joined the fatolution.

There will be the brands that stand behind and fully support fat for years to come.
Minor geometry adjustments and other tweaks will go on, color changes between model years...

Tire offerings will be dialed along with improvements to casing designs that might take into account the shear dead weight along with improvement if durability.

Of course, we have all seen the advent of 10, 11 and 12 speed traditional drivetrains along with internal gear hubs morph to be fatbike compatible. Pinion gearboxes with different number of speeds became available.

We have seen many things go away as well, between brands eliminating fat, brands thinning the herd (Surly) and components being discontinued. Tires by Surly, rims by Surly, and the end of the Moonie...
 

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WNC Native
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I think focus on lighter package weight with existing wheel/tire sizes, maybe leaning more toward 27.5 Fat.

Also in the fat bikes marketed more toward trail duties/year round quiver-killer types..... possibly longer front center/reach/slacker HTA tweaks.

Hopefully some lighter (but still stiff enough) suspension fork options..... but that may be a stretch with the scaling back measures.
 

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Fatbiker Fatbiking
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Great questions. Being a realistic pessimist, I see the future as one being a niche brand of bike. A lot of manufacturers leaving the scene due to shrinking sales. I don't see no great revelations within the fat bike industry that we have not seen already. We may already have past Peak Fatbike.

There will always be a loyal and hard core following such as myself and the folks who populate this particular portion of MTBR. But my purchases have already been made and as such, it's just a matter of upgrading or maintaining what I have. And as I tend to keep my bikes for a very, very long time, bike manufacturers best not depend upon the likes of me!

If I have one true wish to see done is for the major tire manufacturer's make a fat tire supple enough yet backed with a real puncture proof tire casing such as that found on alot of the Schwalbe touring bike tires.

E-Assist? Most definitely, one future direction. It totally transforms the fat bike into a vehicle where you can knock down some serious miles under your tires. It doubles the smile factor of the standard fat bike by a great margin. But again, a fat tired ebike is a niche product within a niche grouping. A shame, cause many bicyclists will never truly get that feeling of satisfaction we get when we start rolling those fat tires!

Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle wheel Bicycle accessory Bicycle fork

First fatty, Specialized Fatboy. Surly Nice Rear racks, Ortlieb pannier bags, front and rear. Schmidt Dyno hub lighting system. Stock Specialized/Sram drive train. This is the bike that got me hooked on bikes & the idea of going off road, again.

Bicycle tire Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle wheel

Second fatty, Haibike Full FatSix. Old Man Mountain Phat Sherpa's, front and rear. Tubeless Schwalbes. Stock Shimano drive train. Ortlieb pannier bags for touring. 2 extra 500wh Yamaha batteries for extra range....

Again, a niche within the niche. But as many of us age out, afflictions occur but the need to get off-road remains the same. This will be the solution for a few of us. Not all, but a few; especially those with the discretionary dollars to make it happen.

From what I've observed and it's just my opinion, the real manufacturing revoluton ongoing right now is in E-bikes, in particular, E-MTB. Each year, more bike manufacturer's have jumped on the bandwagon. The motor drive manufacturers are in a race to out do the competition in their latest drive motor or battery design and it's carried over to the bike manufacturers redesigning their bikes to meet this techno push....
 
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will rant for food
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Some of my wish list are realistic. Many are not.

Realistic:

- Anti-rotation of bearings without resorting to red threadlocker. I've pedal-unscrewed bottom brackets subzero F, it is not fun at all. Perhaps just a frame tab and a set screw, which is probably asking too much cooperation.
- Saddles that don't smack sharply in the small of the spine in dab situations where a dropper post can't be requested fast enough (milliseconds). Think like Gonzo from the Muppets.
- Fine-adjust dropper posts that work subzero F. Some sort of inverted collet, or multiple-tooth array like how Echo trials freewheels work, but in a linear fashion. Just please no more hydraulics.
- Sort-of-like-a-pogie glove. I call it "the claw". Thin insulation palm side of glove, absurd insulation / spaciousness toward the outside world. Have your heat, let go of bars in crash situation.

Feasible, but sketchy:

- Thin flat cranks for better Q. Thinner than the depth of the threads on a pedal axle. Cooperation between crank and pedal manufacturers required for this to work. The pedal axle would have a wide flare that would fit into the crank in a thin/broad way, the overall design of the rest of the pedal would be otherwise the same. I envision cooperation / supply chain problems here, otherwise it is a feasible notion.
- I'm working on my torque-tolerant-downshift gearbox. It is almost ready. Max width, minimum Q. Almost ready...

Unrealistic, maybe:

- Center bar mount gear indicator that is transreflective. My whole childhood was spent with solar calculators that worked like a BOSS in broad daylight, I want to know my gear while pogie equipped, please.
- Lauf-esque rear suspension without resorting to Thudbuster / without interrupting dropper post utility. This is hard to do.

HYPER UNREALISTIC:

- Please please please stop the noises. No more creaks or howls, I will pay through the nose for a quiet bike.
 

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Jeez Mike....you really opened the floor to....ummm....I don't know what LOL!
When I got my first fattie in 2010....you were pretty established here....and not many of us originals left.
I've seen a lot of stuff come and go....can't imagine what you've seen.

Ebikes....probably. I'm in my 60s and see that happening eventually.

Wider tires soon become 1 trick ponies. But for those that actually ride in a lot of snow....yes! (although I have so many wheel/tire setups now)

Full suspension? With Salsa dropping out....and Trek looking to do the same...that leaves a few small builders.

Sadly....with every manufacturer working on jamming 160mm travel bikes that have 11" high bottom brackets and 8' long wheel bases down the public's throats is going to stunt many changes to fatties.
 

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27.5"x4.5" wheels
More ebike options
some minor geometry changes
Obviously the typical MTB progress in drivetrain, brakes, droppers etc.

Fatbikes are pretty simple, so not really much to change unless we talk about FS fatbikes. Maybe throw in some hub standard changes just for the sake of it :)
 

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This place needs an enema
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Some of my wish list
I like a man that knows *exactly* what he wants, even if I don't see as much value in his list as I do in my own...

...which is very simple:

-Bigger tires with light tubeless casings and tread apropos to soft snow digging and floating. 26 x 5.6" or 27.5 x 5" at minimum. 120mm wide rims for the former, 105mm for the latter.

and

-Gearboxes with a decent range, that work well in the cold, that are sealed against moisture intrusion (so that they can be used in the way fatbikes beg to be used -- off piste) and that don't feel as though one is pedaling them underwater.
 

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will rant for food
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Are there yet any 120mm rims? My position against making rims (flooded market) has softened with time. I could be talked into making some. I used to think that my small CNC platform would be a limiting factor. The solution is to instead make something like a big, slow, vertical lathe, like a Lazy Susan but with a special stationary cutter. Is there any point to doing this without tires to match? mikesee you've already figured out the elevated chainstay requirements.

My strategy with gearboxes is to have as little of it as possible. Every contact point is an efficiency loss. My current design constraints can make a 6 speed (2x3) with extremely large clearance for fat tires encrusted in muck at a short chainstay length, or a 9 speed (3x3) in the same general Q factor, albeit with longer chainstay length. After the first iteration I'd like to see teeth faces that have been REM treated. I don't even know how this would affect cost but let us assume "expensive".

The other challenge is that good sealing (off piste) is also a built-in efficiency loss. I've thought of a "constant ejection" design but, it is, uhhhh.... hehe... it is half baked let's call it that.
 

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I currently have a slew of Farley Fat bikes and each one has it's purpose.

I have been riding one of my Fat Bikes at a Road Bike for the last year and have put a couple thousand miles on it. I love riding road with it so much that a month ago I decided to build a Cyclo-Cross Fat bike so I can ride the road to the trails and hit the not so technical stuff just for something a little different.

If it doesn't work I can always put some flat bars on the bike.

Automotive tire Bicycle tire Rim Bicycle wheel rim Spoke
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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I feel like we'll not see too much change to fatties now. Just like 29ers when fat and 650B came along, they've languished since the big brands don't feel like they are the prime target for leveraging the foisting off of the maximum number of units.

What I want? the return of standards.

One THREADED bottom bracket standard.

One headset/headtube diameter standard (I'm fine with tapered or 44mm, but do we need both, and then variations within tapered?).

One freehub body standard (impossible, but a guy can dream).

The end of internal cable routing.

Complete cessation of the circle jerk surrounding stiffness. Bikes are stiff enough, parts are stiff enough, stop trying to convince the Joe SixPack average rider that stiffer everything, every year, actually improves their lives.

Rest of it is basically the same as any other segment in the industry.

The real change I see coming, is the death of brick and mortar, and leading the charge will be the industry itself, seeking ever increasing profits, in a shrinking market. Consumer direct sales will kill all mid sized shops. Gigantic stores propped up by singular brands will continue to underwhelm with low paid staff and generally no one over the age of 23 working there (except the owner). Small/tiny shops will continue to exist to serve the function of installing parts and doing adjustments that need to be done.

I was happy with bikes 10 years ago, the ensuing decade brought little to make me think more was needed. Plus bikes was about it, and the industries obsession with putting racer boy types on them, and lapping up their input like hungry cats at a milk bowl, has ruined them with ever shrinking tire volumes, so I have little hope for really interesting stuff moving forward.

E Bikes are the new darling. Give it 5 years, we'll be at Peak E, and wondering where to go from there.....
 

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will rant for food
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MendonCycleSmith I hear ya on the stiffness thing, it is easier from a processing standpoint to have a large carbon tube cross section with a thin wall, it is easy to put together and makes for a stiff result up to a certain load point. So it's good for where a lot of frames are being well made in Taiwan et al.

Is that good for the rider though? More prone to rock strikes. "Well we can make up for that with better resin"... yeah, well, what if you used the modern resin and small, thick tubes, and had super kick ass rock durability? "Well then it would be a heavier result because of (boring reasons) and light stuff sells" rrrrrrr @#$*@#

That said I think Fatback deserves some praise with what they did with the Corvus. Have your external routing but it doesn't look external from a few feet away, very clever.

I hope your gloomy predictions of the future of the LBS are wrong. I don't think you're wrong, but I hope you're wrong.
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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MendonCycleSmith I hear ya.
Had a consumer direct carbon + fame rom the UK in for a build recently.

You pushed housing into a hole, and it miraculously popped out the appropriate hole, at the other end.

It was magic, and the frame was $700.

If the big boys feel it's unimportant, they plainly never actually built bikes before.

So if it's the small, consumer direct, outside the box/industry mindset "makers" that will *save* us, then yep, bike shops are the next casualty of this war on maximizing profit above all else.

The whole carbon tube thing you touch on, yep, snake eating its own tail.
 

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What I want? the return of standards.

One THREADED bottom bracket standard.

One headset/headtube diameter standard (I'm fine with tapered or 44mm, but do we need both, and then variations within tapered?).

One freehub body standard (impossible, but a guy can dream).

The end of internal cable routing.

Complete cessation of the circle jerk surrounding stiffness. Bikes are stiff enough, parts are stiff enough, stop trying to convince the Joe SixPack average rider that stiffer everything, every year, actually improves their lives.

Rest of it is basically the same as any other segment in the industry.

The real change I see coming, is the death of brick and mortar, and leading the charge will be the industry itself, seeking ever increasing profits, in a shrinking market. Consumer direct sales will kill all mid sized shops. Gigantic stores propped up by singular brands will continue to underwhelm with low paid staff and generally no one over the age of 23 working there (except the owner). Small/tiny shops will continue to exist to serve the function of installing parts and doing adjustments that need to be done.

I was happy with bikes 10 years ago, the ensuing decade brought little to make me think more was needed. Plus bikes was about it, and the industries obsession with putting racer boy types on them, and lapping up their input like hungry cats at a milk bowl, has ruined them with ever shrinking tire volumes, so I have little hope for really interesting stuff moving forward.

E Bikes are the new darling. Give it 5 years, we'll be at Peak E, and wondering where to go from there.....
I like your list. I'd love to have 3 bikes that could share most parts, but I've never managed that. I would have needed to sell all my existing bikes and buy 3 new ones at the same time to beat the "standards war", but my cash flow/desire for new bike bling has not made that possible. I have managed to stick with external cable routing on all my bikes so there is that. :thumbsup:

Bike shops are dying for a number of reasons. My personal reason for giving up on the LBS is spectacularly bad service in every area of interaction I have with them. I don't mind paying for excellent service, but I can't bear to waste my time and money on folks that know less about what they are doing than I do. So I just buy my own tools and where I don't feel competent enough [wheel building and suspension tuning] I seek out real professionals. I have come across some great LBS on my travels, but sadly none where I live.

We may reach peak e-bike in 5 years in the sense of most people who want them have them, but I think they'll remain as the dominant form of singletrack machine over mountain bikes in the long-term. As with all other motorsports they'll get faster/lighter/better range/more reliable/etc... I think we'll just see the end of the last era where humans moved themselves around without motors. The powered electric exoskeleton e-hiker/e-runner is next so kids will just assume it's normal to always have power assist to move around and when you tell some youngster that people walked/ran or biked many miles across the planet without power assist they'll think you are crazy. That's just not possible. :eekster:

Specifically in terms of fatbikes the one change I would like to see personally is that I am aiming to buy my retirement home up island in Cumberland where they have some snow for part of the year and I'd have a reason to add a fatbike back into the fleet. I've got my GF 38% convinced! I'll keep working on her. :)
 

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This place needs an enema
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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will rant for food
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^ That's fantastic. I'd try it. I've been riding a PNW post for about a month and it is really well sorted out. There's a bit of play in the "yaw" direction, but it is not at all noticeable on the bike, only noticed in the shop/exam scenario. It has a fine response at the lever, almost too responsive so I introduced a little slack in the cable on purpose. The return speed is just right, quick but not kick-you-in-the-goods quick. I have no cold weather experience on it.
 

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I'd like to see more Bfat options with 83mm BBs like the Otso Voytek or RMB SuziQ.... and of course an easy fit for 29+.

That suspension dropper just came at me like an idea long thought and discussed to be the holy grail of seatposts just comin' in the back door like "Hey guys, what you thinkin' 'bout?" ... Wow is my vote too Mayor.

27.2 as an option is nice, price seems reasonable.
 
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