from LACEMINE29.com, courtesy of Mike Curiak
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Roughly 5 years ago Devin Lenz and I had a conversation about fat-tire full suspension bikes.
I don’t remember the details well enough to quote with any level of accuracy, but I do remember the gist of it.
It went something like this:
Devin: You think I should make one of these? I’ve got a few guys asking for ’em.
Me: Nah. The tires and rims are just crap right now–any bike worth having them on would be constantly flatting tires. Give it a few years.
We went back and forth a few times on different details, with the end result that Devin didn’t dive in way back then.
That didn’t stop many enthusiasts from creating their own FS fatbikes.
Meanwhile, over the past 5 years rim and tire technology has gotten increasingly and incrementally better with every passing month. Tubeless-ready was the tip of the iceberg, but now we have hookless rims in both carbon and aluminum, reinforced casings with dual compound rubber, and more tread patterns than you can shake a dead rat at.
Fat bike rims and tires have, in a word, arrived.
Still, having owned and ridden many of the genre over the past twenty years, I remained uninterested in a FS fatty for many reasons until very recently.
And by ‘very recently’, I mean until I started having neck issues that gnarly narcotics cannot begin to touch and only an impending surgery will begin to fix.
That’s a different part of this story, but it was emphatically the genesis for what follows.
Knowing that several companies already made full-sus fatties, I arranged a few demo rides in hopes of simply buying an off-the-shelf frame to hang my own wheels and kit onto. Something that I could ride during rehab from surgery, and have some fun on once the rehab was complete.
And what I learned was that those whom already make full-sus fatties have a very different idea of how a bike is supposed to behave than I do. In essence, each of the three bikes that I tried had at least one fatal flaw that would preclude me from riding it on my backyard trails at all, even if the cost of ownership were “free”. The geometry on two of these bikes was downright unbelievable, and the suspension “action” on the third was so opposite of how I want a bike to feel that it was a non-starter.
And so I gratefully returned the last demo bike, and then called my friend Devin and said something like, “You know that bike I’ve been telling you not to make for the past 5 years?”
“The fatty? What about it?”
“Wanna make me one?”
That was about two months ago, and the end result has arrived and been ridden.\
The pics embedded herein will tell most of the story.
Actually there are two details that no pics will be able to convey the importance of.
First: 16.5″ chainstay length. Not a misprint.
Second: This is among the most lively, poppy, hoppable, manualable bikes I’ve ever ridden. Sure, few of those are actual words but if you’ve read this far then you understand where I’m going with them. The bike doesn’t ride dead–it is most emphatically alive and begging for your input.
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