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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been pretty happy with my Wren 130mm fork for summer action with 27.5 x 3.8 Minion tires. I bought a rigid Wren and it is also sweet but nut sure it's my jam to not have squish up front. I enjoy the slightly lighter weight and the bike feels a weee bit more peppy. I could easily lose the weight difference if I drank less beer. ;)

Anyone here convinced that front suspension offers significant improvement in the snow? Looking to do a few races this winter.
 

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If you are riding on a lot of snow, as in snow piles up where you live and it doesn't go away until spring, there's probably not going to be a huge benefit. I was out riding my rigid bike tonight, having been riding my FS fat bike before. Now some of the trails are getting to the point where the FS isn't really giving a big benefit, front or rear. Stuff is smooth enough that you'll be traction limited before you are bump-control limited, as far as speed. When it's non-winter surfaces though, it's like the (rigid) bike instantly starts ricocheting and bouncing, regardless of the tire pressure.
 
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Anyone here convinced that front suspension offers significant improvement in the snow? Looking to do a few races this winter.
I鈥檓 going to remove my Mastodon and go back to rigid this week. The suspension fork is nice in the summer but it just reinforced what I suspected about it sucking power in the snow. Sure, you can lock it out but the lock out wasn鈥檛 totally rigid and I lost my water bottle holders on the fork legs like I had on my rigid fork. There is part of me that regrets buying the Mastodon as I鈥檝e had it for 2 or 3 seasons now and am still not convinced it was worth the money.
 

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My local trails get a lot of foot traffic so bumpy frozen footprints are not uncommon. The suspension helps with those. I haven't felt I needed to put the rigid fork back on since I got my Mastodon. The stock carbon fork on my Voytek is insanely stiff and it was really hammering my aging back. Note, I don't race so a couple of pounds or slight loss of efficiency is not a concern to me. First pic also demonstrates what freeze/thaw conditions do:
Bicycle Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle tire

Studded tires are a really good investment for such stuff!

This was before I got the Mastodon-I can still remember this ride, I got beat to hell by this shallow post-holing.
Bicycle Tire Wheel Snow Bicycle wheel
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My local trails get a lot of foot traffic so bumpy frozen footprints are not uncommon. The suspension helps with those. I haven't felt I needed to put the rigid fork back on since I got my Mastodon. The stock carbon fork on my Voytek is insanely stiff and it was really hammering my aging back. Note, I don't race so a couple of pounds or slight loss of efficiency is not a concern to me.
I suspect I may be in that same boat. The trails here get a icy and have both foot and hoof tracks.
 

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It all depends on what type of conditions one is riding in. I put on my carbon for one ride and went back to my suspension fork due to post holes in the trail, too much pounding on my old joints for me. Riding on fresh non trampled snow, I prefer the rigid, but I'll take the weight penalty when things get rough.
 

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For those hard, frozen conditions with the descriptions described above, I agree, a suspension fork makes the ride a lot more enjoyable. At present I have the opposite conditions, soft trails that require lots of pedal effort and having a suspension fork compress even a little is annoying. Conditions are smooth so the tires are enough.

it was actually a ride I did years ago down a wind swept frozen river bed with lots of cobble rocks that convinced me to order a Mastadon. But since that ride I found that was the exception and our snow trails are generally so smooth that suspension is unnecessary. I have a second rigid fat bike that I use for commuting and found I was riding it way more often than my fancy, Mastidon kitted bike. It鈥檚 just noticeably more efficient.
 

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For those hard, frozen conditions with the descriptions described above, I agree, a suspension fork makes the ride a lot more enjoyable. At present I have the opposite conditions, soft trails that require lots of pedal effort and having a suspension fork compress even a little is annoying. Conditions are smooth so the tires are enough.

it was actually a ride I did years ago down a wind swept frozen river bed with lots of cobble rocks that convinced me to order a Mastadon. But since that ride I found that was the exception and our snow trails are generally so smooth that suspension is unnecessary. I have a second rigid fat bike that I use for commuting and found I was riding it way more often than my fancy, Mastidon kitted bike. It鈥檚 just noticeably more efficient.
Yep, it's really what it comes down to. There were some conditions recently that I encountered, same thing, where the FS bike was a dream and it was so nice not to be pounded by the hiker post-holes...but you have to look at how much time you might spend on such surfaces to see whether it's worth it.
 

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I've been there on riding over hard, lumpy and rutted snow and ice and, for sure, suspension would have been nice. At my age, now, pedaling effort is getting to be more and more critical, so no suspension on the fat bike... and I have used suspension on the fat bikes for both winter and summer riding. For my riding, just never felt suspension on the fat bikes was worth the cost, weight, complexity and so on. Each to their own as always, though.
 

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My local trails get a lot of foot traffic so bumpy frozen footprints are not uncommon. The suspension helps with those. I haven't felt I needed to put the rigid fork back on since I got my Mastodon. The stock carbon fork on my Voytek is insanely stiff and it was really hammering my aging back. Note, I don't race so a couple of pounds or slight loss of efficiency is not a concern to me. First pic also demonstrates what freeze/thaw conditions do:
View attachment 1961269
Studded tires are a really good investment for such stuff!

This was before I got the Mastodon-I can still remember this ride, I got beat to hell by this shallow post-holing.
View attachment 1961270
I see the pics and read the words and think "why you riding seated with THAT terrain so much?" and "why you have a bad back and not riding FS with studded tires instead?", understanding I don't know all the variables. I scratch my head and wonder about your tire pressure, too.


It's strange but in all the riding I've done, fat biking in winter is the only one where I gotta really have a think at what I'm grabbing to ride before I head out. So far I've found I prefer rigid or my Lauf Carbonara over my Mastodon and that when I'm on the Mastodon I prefer it set up firmer than when I play during summer. Taking a nose dive via a soft spot of snow on the sus fork is far less forgiving than the other forks (think endo).
 

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Thanks for all the well thought responses, except Caberguy ;)
I think keeping the Wren on board is the best move. I will keep my rigid fork as a backup only. My hands, neck, and back will appreciate it.
Any thoughts, or have you tried, any of those fat foam grips (Wolf Tooth Fat Paw etc)? Just a thought. Sometimes every little bit can help.
 

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Any thoughts, or have you tried, any of those fat foam grips (Wolf Tooth Fat Paw etc)? Just a thought. Sometimes every little bit can help.
Fat grips, along with fat gloves, significantly decrease bike control IME.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Excellent. Since others have done so ... mind weighing in? I'm thinking to try a pair myself.
It is the same combo I have on my Stumpy EVO, My wife's Hightower, her Growler, and my Wyatt. There is no other bar I like as much. The grips I keep on even in the winter. I use wolftooth Pogies and they keep my hand plenty warm with thin cloves. Great vibration dampening but nothing like a suspension fork. I'm probably gonna switch back to my Wren 130mm
 
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