Hard Tail (HT) and Full-Suspension (FS)
copyright rideFATbikes.ca 2016-17
This is the Stack and Reach article, including our custom Charts, that was referred to by FAT-BIKE.com, in their FAT CAMP Tech Talk Show (pod cast #19, aired January 7th 2017).
You can listen to that pod cast, while reading this article, by clicking << Here >>. The FAT-BIKE.com review of our website starts at 24min51sec and goes to 32min35sec.
Let me start out by stating I created this web page to share information freely with the Fat Bike community, to help everyone get fitted to the right Fat Bike.
Even though RideFATbikes.ca does custom build our own branded frames, in addition to several other name brands of fat bikes, (and we feel extremely confident about the brand lineup we have for 2017), our goal here is to SHARE all available data with everyone interested in Fat Biking !! Even if you do not buy a fat bike from us, this information is intended to help YOU the rider, to find that perfect fitting fat bike for yourself.
Our driving force is to advocate and help people find the best fitting bikes and gear, so they have the best experience with the sport of Fat Biking, and it becomes a new pass-time for time... hopefully 4-seasons year !!
RideFatbikes.ca is first and foremost an advocate and promoter of the SPORT of Fat Biking, and the trail systems we use regionally. We share our knowledge of new gear and cool "tech" that includes Fat Bikes, components, and softgoods including body armor and cycling clothing. We even test not-yet-to-market (prototype) gear for several manufacturers, and as our NDAs will allow, will soon be releasing a section on the latest nifty tech items in the sport.
When I started looking for my first HT (hard tail) Fat Bike several years ago, I was chasing after all sorts of random information online, crunching those numbers, including luring advertisements and frame colours, seeking the "right fit" and the "right bike". Over the years, I found out that STACK and REACH are by far, the two most important things to consider in finding the right Fat Bike for any given rider. There are many other important secondary factors too, like BB (Bottom Bracket) drop, HT (Head Tube) angle, ST (Seat Tube) angle, and definitely C/S (chainstay) length.
Options like colour, Brand Name on the down-tube, and price, are basically irrelevant, if you can't find a Fat Bike that will properly fit you and accommodate to your riding needs. You will be throwing your money away on those bikes, and likely to put them up for resale on the secondary market after only owning them for one season.
It will amount to you never fully realizing the potential enjoyment and performance in the sport, if you opt to buy the wrong fitting bike, because some advertisement told you to buy brand "xyz", or you liked the colour of a certain Fat Bike, or just because a company makes well-known road bikes, that does not mean they spent the time, effort and engineering on designing a GREAT Fat Bike.
Usually, it's companies that focus all their efforts on, and only manufacture Fat Bikes, that seem to do the best job at bringing true performance and ergonomically correct Fat Bikes to market.
That said, when I realized Stack and Reach were very important factors in finding the right Fat Bike for myself, I started to compile all the frame data over many months, because there was no other source that I knew of on the Internet with this readily available. What has been compiled here, is to date, probably the most ambitious attempt at cataloging all the Fat Bike frame geometries in production, and available in North America.
If we have missed any frames, please feel free to send us an email, and we can see about adding that brand/model to the list. Our focus is on Fat Bikes in the $1500+ USD marketplace, and under 32 lbs. (Note - some manufacturers do not yet release this data freely, like Foes Racing, Motobecane, and Framed bikes.)
OK, so what the heck is STACK and REACH..?
With Stack and Reach, you have no need for :
STACK and REACH will replace all those "traditional" systems of categorizing frames, and it will standardize the cycling industry, not just for Fat Bikes, but for all bikes. (Currently, I think it's most widely depended on, for Time Trial and Triathlon bikes, but it applies to Fat Bikes too!)
It is best to start out this process by getting the data on two sources of information :
Most cycling and training centers can perform this fitment test for you. There are even some free "do-it-yourself" Fitment guides online. The idea is to have a really good understanding of your body dimensions. These include (but not limited to) : Inseam, Forearm, Thigh, Lower Leg, Trunk, Sternal Notch, Total Height, and riding style (AM, XC or Adventure/Excursion).
Once you have all these frame and body measurements, they will accurately record your personal data on how your body would best fit on any type of bike.
For each type of bike, Stack and Reach numbers are combined with other critical frame geometry specifications, to arrive at the optimal frame configuration, for your cycling terrain and intended usage.
Why is it helpful to know your existing bike's stack and reach numbers? Because with this information, you can envision how a new bike frame is going to "fit" in relation to what you already have... and you can "fit" this bike into your riding style... be it more downhill, XC, snow-based trekking, or some other race geometry. Some need a longer reach to the bars to be able to move their center of gravity around on the bike... while others may want a taller stack, so the front end is higher up than their previous ride.... or, some racers may want the opposite, to lower the front end and get into more of an aero tuck position for XC racing. Adjusting body position, also adjusts the power transfer from many different leg muscles. Whatever the situation may be... knowing where you are NOW with your current bike's Stack and Reach, is a great starting point, on your journey to where you need to go, to get into an even better Fat Bike geometry.
Please don't underestimate the importance of these stats, as they can significantly affect (or alter) your riding experience. All Fat Bikes are not created the same. Some are clearly better designs than others.
"The evolution of mountain bikes has made the old system of top tube and seat tube based sizing irrelevant. The wide range in seat tube angles and bottom bracket heights can create a situation where one bike could feel longer or taller than another frame with the same measurements. Once a rider is in a standing position, the fit and feel of their bike’s cockpit is determined exclusively by the handlebar and pedals. Finding the specific geometric relationship between those two points is the only way to accurately compare the fit and feel of different bicycle frames."
"The horizontal distance from the bottom bracket center to the top of the headtube centerline is referred to as REACH. The vertical distance between these two points is known as STACK. By comparing the reach and stack on different frame models, the rider is able to identify exactly how their bike will fit and feel on the trail. This system eliminates any uncertainty created by the seat tube angle, and forever drops the need for “actual” and “effective” top tube measurements. The reach and stack of a frame is the most important sizing information for a freeride or downhill rider but it is extremely valuable for trail riders, (Fat Bikers) and XC racers as well." (quote taken from Dec 18. 2008 article in Pinkbike).
1. Numb Fingers
2. Lower Back pain
3. Knee pain
4. Saddle soreness
5. Overall lack of comfort, including shoulder or neck pain that accumulates over time
6. Foot or Toe pain on long rides, or while sprinting or climbing.
These charts are updated regularly and contain the STACK and REACH data for HARDTAIL and FULL SUSPENSION Fat bike frames available in North America, who publish their frame geometry "Stack and Reach" stats.
If we have missed any vendors in the $1500+ USD marketplace with Fat Bikes under 32 lbs, please let us know, and we will try our best to include those frames in these charts.
This FSFB chart is due for a major revamp as some frames did not pass EFBE or SGS Industry certification testing, and will be removed shortly. Plus at least one overseas manufacturer made engineering mistakes to their front and rear end suspension and tire clearances and basically crippled the release of their FSFB since Interbike).
Note: 7 FAT BIKE frames have adjustable chainstay length settings.
These charts were created to fully disclose an unbiased look at all the Fat Bike frames currently offered in North America. We know everyone arrives here already biased from previous marketing ties, or experiences with their previous road or mtb bike Brands. That's fine. We'd ask that you look at this data with an open mind and really consider the possibilities before you make your next purchase in the sport of Fat Biking.
The 2017 Model Launch has seen some significant changes happening in the industry. 1) Many companies with unpopular designs from last year dropped out of the market, like Scott. 2) Even more companies got their engineers together and completely redesigned their frames.
Fat Bike companies wanting to stay on the cutting edge of change have re-positioned their "Adventure/Snow" bikes in either the "AM" (All-mountain) or "XC" (cross-country) categories. Trends in these two regions show shorter chainstays overall. Smaller Q factors. taller stack and shorter reach for "AM" designs, and shorter stack and longer reach for "XC" designs.
One company that always seems to stay ahead of the trending curves and tech changes is Fatback, and they have 3 well-placed models across the geometry sizing spectrum. The Skookum/FLT in "AM", the Corvus in "Adventure/Snow" and the Rhino/FLT in "XC". All have been fine-tuned with the latest frame geometry updates and can still spec 4.8in tires, using 100mm, or many 27.5+ and 29+ wheelset combinations. They are well placed across the sizing charts and all between 25-30 lbs). This company is passionate about fat bikes and been designing and building JUST fat bikes for about 10 years now.
For instance, the Iditarod Fat Bike Race Across Alaska, has seen Fatback win over a dozen times, in the harshest climates. They even beat the sled dog teams and broke world records !! (click here for more info)