Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

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Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby flamingo » October 15th, 2018, 9:10 am

Another question regarding fat bikes. I am looking for people's opinions and experiences. Is it worth to put a suspension fork on a fat bike? Looks like used Rock Shox Bluto can be found at a reasonable price on e-bay and I am tempted to do so. However my fat bike is still in the build stage so I don't even know how does one ride.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby c0nsumer » October 15th, 2018, 9:30 am

In the winter, I do not believe so. Except for times when there are icy footprints, winter riding tends to be smooth enough that suspension isn't very useful. I've given this a lot of thought, and overall for winter haven't picked up a suspension fork. I don't think it's detrimental, but I don't think it'd be particularly beneficial. That said, a Bluto on a fatbike in the summer could be really nice to make it more XC friendly. I find that in late season summer trails get rough enough that fat bike just isn't as much fun to me as it is in winter or spring.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby bbender785 » October 16th, 2018, 9:24 am

i agree.. depends on if the bike will see alot of non-snow use.

i've never ridden a rigid traditional mountain bike, but i've yet to ride my rigid fatbike on summer XC trails and wished i had a suspension fork. granted i've always run 4.6 or 4.8 tires; so despite the "suspension" from the tire volume not being dampened, it still soaks up quite a bit of feedback.

so if it was my all-year only bike, maybe... but probably not. fat bikes are heavy enough without a fork. :)
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby Rickwetherald » October 17th, 2018, 6:35 pm

I'm of the same opinion as those above me.... if it's a year-round bike, yes, suspension is nice to have and not really a detriment in the winter. Even the extra weight is not that bad (the effect of bike weight tends to be way over-rated). I only use my fatty in the winter, and despite being a big-time suspension evangelist (assuming going faster is the goal), I use a rigid fork on it.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby Jared13 » October 23rd, 2018, 8:27 am

What is the reason for the fat bike build?

If you're looking to make a winter-only race rig then no suspension fork is needed. However, if your goal is to make anything other than a winter-only race rig then getting a used Bluto or equivalent might not be a bad idea.

I mostly ride my fat bike in the winter only but I do occasionally use it for trail maintenance or during the shoulder months when the trails are a bit too soft for my regular bike.

Having the suspension fork on there is nice to take the edge off any harsh areas (few and far between with enough snow) or when I'm mucking about like hitting drops/boosting off roots/general shenanigans.

Full disclosure: I favor fun over fast, so YMMV.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby flamingo » October 23rd, 2018, 8:24 pm

Thanks guys. My bike is not even built yet but I stumbled across a Bluto on Pinkbike and got it for just under $300. The bike is intended to be ridden in snow mostly but for sure I will take it for rides when I don't feel any rush and just want to ride easy. Here is the build:

Frame: Specialized Fatboy C
Wheels: DT Swiss BR setup tubeless with fatty strippers - thanks to all those that who gave me advice. It was easy to setup
Tires: Schwalbe Jumbo Jim
Crankset : Race Face Turbine
Deraiileur and Shifter: Sram GX 11speed
Cassette: Shimano XT
Brakes: Shimano SLX and XT - Waiting for the hydraulic hose for the rear brake to finish the build
Stem : FSA 70mm
Handle Bar: Race Face Next SL flat 720mm
SeatPost and Saddle: Depending what I remove from my other bikes :mrgreen:

Looks like I will be able to have it just under 29lb which I think is not too bad for a fatbike
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby c0nsumer » October 24th, 2018, 6:28 am

I've got a take-off bar from a 2018 Epic HT if you're interested: https://nuxx.net/gallery/v/random_stuff ... ewsIndex=2

Per Specialized: "Mini-rise, 6000 alloy, 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 10mm rise, 720mm width, 31.8mm clamp"

$20
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby bbender785 » October 24th, 2018, 7:29 am

sounds nice. my XL aluminum frame fatboy was just a tick over 28 pounds with a couple carbon bolt-ons, 1x setup, and 4.80 jumbo jims; i'd think you'd be even less.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby flamingo » October 25th, 2018, 9:03 am

c0nsumer wrote:I've got a take-off bar from a 2018 Epic HT if you're interested: https://nuxx.net/gallery/v/random_stuff ... ewsIndex=2

Per Specialized: "Mini-rise, 6000 alloy, 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 10mm rise, 720mm width, 31.8mm clamp"

$20


Thanks Steve. It is quite a good deal. Unfortunatelly I already got a more expensive handlebar.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby jmf003 » October 25th, 2018, 2:59 pm

I use a Wren suspension fork in warm weather and a Bontrager carbon fork in the Winter on my Trek Farley. Only takes a few minutes twice a year to make the swap.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby transplant » October 25th, 2018, 4:30 pm

There's always a Lauf, 1100 grans, almost two pounds lighter than the bluto and no maintenance

Disclaimer-I haven't ridden one, but I do have one for sale in the classifieds.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby KLydesdale » October 27th, 2018, 1:07 pm

If I only rode my fatbike in fresh and groomed snow, I wouldn’t bother with suspension but even 4.8 tires only go so far in absorbing frozen footprints and other bumps that can occur on many trails after the melt-down/refreeze cycles we get fairly often here in SE MI. I bought Manitou Mastodon for my Fatbike late last winter and am very happy with it.
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Re: Fat Bike - Front suspension or not?

Postby flamingo » November 5th, 2018, 12:34 pm

I just my first trail ride on my fat last weekend. Definitively no regrets about spending the money on the fork.
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