How do you choose the "right" Fat Bike? Price, component options, bling-factor, and colour aside, start with this question :
WHAT TYPE OF RIDING SUITS YOU BEST ?
(AM) All-Mountain, Single-track, very technical trails
(Adventure) Bikepacking, Double-track, extended Climbing, and Winter Snow-biking
(Race) Aggressive XC, sprinting, typical hardpack/road/gravel racing conditions
By focusing on a few of the disciplines above, you can arrive at a general frame configuration for your fat bike that would be "ideal" under most riding conditions. That frame configuration would then be broken down into several key categories, like :
STACK and REACH
SEAT TUBE and HEAD TUBE angles
BOTTOM BRACKET drop
After FRAME GEOMETRY CONFIGURATION, you then go into FRAME COMPATIBILITY in several key areas, like :
MAX TIRE SIZE
COMPATIBILITY FOR 26, 27.5+ and 29+ WHEELSETS
RACK MOUNTS (both Front fork and Rear frame mounts)
LOW "Q" FACTOR CRANK
Things can get complicated very quickly, when you are out shopping for a Fat Bike, or surfing online reading the latest and greatest marketing hype. Pricing can easily lure you into a Fat Bike that may not fit you right, or you may see a particular colour combination that says "I gotta have that one!". But after you buy it, and try as you might, it never really FEELS right during your rides.
That's why at RideFATbikes.ca, we start with FRAME GEOMETRY FITMENT for the rider, and then focus on their RIDING STYLE. From there, we explore all sorts of options, including fully customized frame-up builds, to get just the bike you were dreaming of. We carry some of the best drivetrain and accessory components in the Industry by dozens of manufacturers, along with just two premium brands of Fat Bikes.
Why just two brands of bikes? Because these two brands encompass 7 different models in 29 different frame sizes. They cover all the bases, in the way we fit riders to Fat bikes, and how well those Fat bikes can tackle the terrain.
Both FATBACK and FOES RACING, create fantastic ergonomic frames every year, and we build up the bikes from there, using world class components, and always using the latest revisions and innovative designs by our manufacturing partners.
"Let's break it down now into two research sections - the following sizing chart, and then a movie break!"
Now first the chart. It's called "STACK and REACH", and this system replaces the "small, medium large" and "14, 16, 18 20" sizing algorithms of the past. We have an entire section of our website devoted to the research behind STACK and REACH - and have the largest (free) online database on the Internet for Fat Bike geometries, and will link it all to you later... but for now, just think that somewhere on this chart, lies the perfect geometry for your next Fat bike !
FAT BIKE FRAME GEOMETRY
From the chart above, you can envision where your riding style may fall :
ALL-MOUNTAIN : (most upright position) - left side of chart, leaning towards the top-center, as height increases and the suspension travel required increases.
ADVENTURE : middle of the chart, swinging from bottom-left to top right, generally, as height increases
XC : (most aggressive, lowest riding position) - bottom of chart, from left to right, as height increase, then leans towards top-right of chart.
The premium Fat bikes we sell, fall into the above categories :
HARD TAIL FRAMES :
FATBACK SKOOKUM - carbon, 120mm front suspension travel (with up to 5" wide tires), short chainstays, extreme trail handling Fat bike, short 440mm chainstays.
FATBACK CORVUS - carbon, rack mounts, carbon cargo front fork, accepts 100mm front suspension travel (w/up to 5" wide tires) and 120mm front suspension (w/up to 4" wide tires), endurance/bikepacking/gravel configuration, excellent on extended steep climbs - has won the grueling (ITI) Iditarod Trail Invitational race multiple times)
FATBACK RHINO FLT (lightweight alloy, rack mounts, carbon cargo front fork, can accept 100-120mm front suspension w/up to 5" wide tires, short 440mm chainstays)
FULL-SUSPENSION FRAMES :
All-MOUNTAIN / DOWNHILL / RACE : FOES MUTZ "Classic" and FOES MUTZ "150"
FRAME COMPATIBILITY FEATURES
All FATBACK bike frames are compatible with the following :
MAX TIRE SIZE = 26x5, 27.5x4.5, and 29x3.25 inches wide
WHEELSET SIZES = 26, 27.5 and 29er
HUBS = 150mm TA FR, 197mm TA RR
SUSPENSION TRAVEL = 100 to 120mm (front)
LOW "Q" FACTOR bottom bracket, and crankset spindle designs.
All FOES MUTZ bike frames are compatible with the following :
MAX TIRE SIZE = 26x5 (front), 26 x 4.4/4.8 (rear), 27.5 (all the mainstream sizes)
WHEELSET SIZES = 26, 27.5
HUBS = 150mm TA FR, 177mm TA RR)
SUSPENSION TRAVEL = 120 to 150mm both front and rear
LOW "Q" FACTOR = 100mm spindle for tightest "Q" possible for MAX tire clearance listed above
Note : for in-depth information on suspension choices for FATBACK and FOES MUTZ frames, you can check out our 2018 Fat bike Suspension shootout reviews for both Winter and Summer riding.
Note : The FATBACK RHINO FLT can be configured to bridge all three major riding categories, as its frame has the best parts of both the CORVUS and SKOOKUM designs incorporated into one frame! The RHINO FLT was then lightened significantly, and weighs only about 1.2 lbs more than a carbon Corvus or Skookum frame. All three FATBACK frames are bordering on All-Mountain strength ratings (or surpassing them) and all three frames have an "FLT" race-spec series, incorporating the latest innovative advancements in frame design and strength-to-weight ratios.
Note : The FOES MUTZ is hand welded by Brett Foes in San Dimas California. His craftsmanship is legendary, and in 2017 Brett was inducted into the Marin MTN Bike Hall of Fame. The Foes Mutz is a beautifully crafted full-suspension All-Mountain and Downhill rated Fat Bike frame.
AVERAGE BUILD WEIGHTS
What are the average build weights? (we do not build to reach the lightest possible weight ... we build them to be as strong as possible, for the money invested... and when using world class parts (as pictured to the right), you can reach an All-Mountain rating on all components and also hit an overall 22 lbs build weight!
Here are the average build weights over the last 2 years :
FATBACK SKOOKUM : 25-29 lbs
FATBACK CORVUS : 21-26 lbs
FATBACK RHINO FLT : 24-29 lbs
FOES MUTZ : 32-36 lbs
FAT BIKES are 4-SEASON BIKES
Now, for the road bike crowd - the average road bike weighs 17-19 lbs, and UCI pro-tour weights must be 15 lbs to be legal - so at 22 lbs, for a Fat Bike that can hit 45+ kph in road/gravel trail sprints, and still own the beach sand and groomed snow trails... add frame/saddle bags and go bikepacking, or add a serious suspension fork and go hit the more technical MTB trails... hmmmm... is that something that might interest you..?
MOVIE TIME !!
Ok, so enough of the technical stuff... time to go get a hot or cold beverage, grab some munchies, and watch this fantastic video about Fat biking :
Don't have the entire hour free, then check out the extended trailer version.
Continue to the STACK and REACH section of our website, to research the perfect bike fit..