Sorry. I actually want to talk about a couple of really fun and really weird full suspension bikes I built in the last few weeks. But I promise it’ll be appropriately Dickensian. I worked my fingers to the bone for an unscrupulous miser of a boss, anyway.
Up first is what I thought would be the weirdest, longest travel big-tire bike I built this year. It was for me, and it’s a blast on the snow (though not really necessary for riding the butter-smooth packed trails we have around here – we’re at 174″ of snow for the season and counting). It’ll hopefully be a blast on the dry trails too. Here’s the lowdown:
So, a 68 degree head tube angle, 42cm chainstays, clearance for 3.8×27.5 tires (or 29×3), and 125mm of travel. Not to mention a 73mm BB shell and nice low Q factor…
Yikes. Basically this bike is insane overkill for riding on snow, unless you’re talking postholed ice down a huge mountain (maybe I’ll get to try that in the spring), but I wanted to play with the very fine Bontrager Hodag 27.5 tires (or other very larg 27.5 rubber) for summer use too and hence kill 2 birds with one stone. Is it the perfect fatbike? No, not at all. The suspension is plush and feels great… and has no bumps bigger than about 1/4″ to soak up on the snow around here. A rigid bike (which I’ll eventually build for myself, whenever time allows) would be more capable AND probably more fun.
But it’s a blast in the winter and I’m hopeful it’ll be a blast in the summer as well. And I get to keep using my 15 year old LX cranks (and saving my 39 year old knees from the sort of high-q-factor punishment that I’ve decided they just don’t tolerate).
For those who are curious, yes, you could fit a *slightly* bigger tire on there (the Hodag is about 92mm on the Hugo rims). If you are just crazy sensitive to Q factor and/or have bad knees, a 73mm shell and 3.8-4″ tires, with a 1×11 drivetrain just might be your ticket (no need to do the silly suspension thing, of course).
As I said, I thought I’d have the weirdest long travel fatbike/plus bike this year.
Sam thought otherwise. Allow me to present: Godzilla.
Yes, Sam is 7 feet tall. Yes, he’s 270 pounds. He has broken a dozen frames in the last few years, I think. He wanted a bike with lots of travel that could huck AND fit plus and fatbike tires.
I’m too stupid to say no to a project this cool, so I gathered up some materials:
-Chainstays? We need fork blades. That’s right, fork blades. True Temper KIT-FB7 in this case (that’s 1mm x 25.4… absolutely insanely beefy for a chainstay and burlier than many built for tandems).
-Toptube? We need a 38mm 1/.7/1mm Supertherm pipe. That’s a downtube for most folks up to about 250 pounds, even if they’re aggro. You could use it as a softball bat. And it’s the TOPTUBE.
-Downtube? Nobody makes one long enough. Or strong enough! Sam breaks things. Let’s do 44.5mm x 1.2mm straight gauge 4130.
-Quad bearings everywhere, 177×12 rear through axle, and a Cane Creek 2.5″ stroke DBinline are on there too.
-160mm front and rear. Fox makes the 160mm 36 29er fork with enough clearance for 29+, so that’s what’s going on there for now. For fatbike mode we’ll have to figure out what makes the most sense (probably the Fox 34 and some 27.5×3.8 Hodags) but that’s not the primary mission.
So, the bottom line: 11+ pounds (that’s right) of totally insane aggressive geometry and burliness, capable of generously fitting 29×3, 26×4, or 27.5xanyhing. 425mm chainstays, 66 degree head tube angle, 160mm of travel… holy crap. I just hope the Scraper/Hope wheelset we settled on (not to mention the plus tires!) can handle what this bike can dish out.