Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fat Bike Insanity

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are the experience of being alive."
   -Joseph Campbell

The experience of being alive. Stop and think about that. Can you? Can you direct your attention and focus on that (or anything) for a minute without being distracted by something with a keypad? About a year ago, I could not. I found myself so wrapped up in the maze of rushing to do everything, planning, working, saving, budgeting and trying to accommodate everyone, that time (aka MY life) was whizzing by without my awareness. My interactions with friends and family as well as my experiences were dull and mediocre. I always felt I needed more when what I really needed was LESS. Less shit to clutter my house, maintain, pay for....yeah, you get the picture.

So that is a small snippet of why I am LOVING the slow pace of Durango. Loving the two lane highways. Loving the fact that my conversations and relationships now have some substance and are not just convenient and routine.Loving being able to find the time and focus for things that I am truly passionate about. And, ok, maybe the trails and mountains around here are kinda cool. Wink. Wink.

But...what the hell does this have to do with a fat/snow bike that is the title of this post?

Yep. The experience. Of life. Of something I haven't ever felt. Snow beneath fat tires with low pressure.....


And here is my plan....

I ultimately want and will have a Moonlander someday, but I have to start cheap (real cheap) and simple. I don't need the nicest, newest and coolest. I can't afford it anyway.

It needs to be a single speed. Why? Because I don't want to shift. My hands get so stupid cold that I have trouble shifting my Superfly from time to time in 30F weather. And in a sick and twisted way, I want the simplicity. Ok, ok... and (true to my nature) the challenge.

I know very little about building a bike and suck at wrenching on things. But I can Google and have learned a lot from forums and the Surly Information Hole. And here is what I have come up with in the past couple months:

The bike I bought stupid cheap:

Thinking of something loosely similar to this when all said and done (but no gears and slightly different specs). And I like the idea of the Poor Man's (Woman's) Pug. For now anyway.

To start: Wheels and tires go, seat goes, stem goes, handle bars go, cantilevers go...all (except wheels and tires) to be replaced with better parts I already have.


I bought The Enabler fork brand new, right out of the box  for far less than retail. Check it out. Kinda cool, no?


Still researching. Wow. A lot here. I could throw down the equivalent of a car payment on the biggest, fattest, widest combo money can buy. Yeah, that's not happening. Sure, it would look totally badass, but I would learn absolutely nothing, it wouldn't work on the back and I don't have the car payment to spare anyway. So I am spending a lot of free time cruising through forums like this:

Its looking like a 26x3.0 is going on the back with a Large Marge rim. Any 3.0 tire suggestions?

The front is going to be a Large Marge rim as well and I am trying to convince myself (unsuccessfully at this point) not to go with the Big Fat Larry. Note humorous sarcasm.

Seeing this isn't helping either:



Yeah. I know. I screwed up and got the old frame that is not disc brake friendly. I planned on using my Hayes brakes on the front but it never crossed my mind that the cantis wouldn't work on the back. Duh! No experience, insufficient research. So, I was definitely stressing a little thinking I had to start completely over.

Until I found this:

Will that work? It seems as though it solves my problem as long as all the measurements are correct.


The 1x1 came as 36x18. That will crush me on snow and I would imagine a lot of HABing in my future.

Soooooo........34x20? 32x20?

Alright. That's what I have. Frankenbike. An adventure in building that may rival the adventures of riding that lie ahead....


  1. My moonlander was a funny story.

    A friend has a pugsley, we spoke often about fatpacking adventures down the beach and I said, Gee i'd love a moonlander when they are released.

    Since he works in the LBS, he interpreted this as "please pre-order me a medium sized moonlander".

    No problem I though when he told me after the order was palced, It's not likely to get here until march 2012 anyway. I'll worry about how the hell i am going to pay for it then.

    Mid november I get a call to say there has been some kind of importer goof and they have one in the shop. The only one in Aus. Probably the only one in the souther hemisphere.... did I still want it. What do you say to that?

    Of course, the Mrs didn't know about it... when she got back from the US, I was in a whole heap of trouble...... all I need now is to figure out how to convice the Mrs that we NEED a packraft.

    Good luck with the frankenbike - it's going to be a whole heap of fun!

  2. Oh, and to actually help with your question. Does your frame have these at the back?

    The adapater you have shown only works with them but I can't see if your bike has them from the pic of Frankenbike.
    It would look like this when set up

    So if you don't have a IS disk brake tabs then you might be able to use something like this:

    Although it starts to make a really cheap bike suddenly look quite expensive.

  3. pi11wizard-I love the Moonlander story. Hope you are out of trouble with the Mrs. and the packraft is on its way! Haha. Crazy life we live!

    I think I am going to run a 3.0 tire on the back and stick with the canti...because, yes, my junkcycle could start to get really expensive. Enjoy your Moonlander adventures. Very cool!

  4. I wonder just how you ever found such a good deal on that fork.

  5. Scatman- Colorado tour guides aren't free..haha!!