I’ve been playing around with fat. Firstly trying to lose some of my own, but more importantly experimenting with various voluminous tyres. I’d spent a bit of time on 26×4″ tyred bikes from ‘other brands’ last year, and also played around with a fat front on a Swift. Ideas started to percolate about what a Singular full fat might look like. By the end of 2012 I had some drawings of what was to be dubbed the Puffin.
Before those drawings turned into metal, another type of fat arrived on the scene – ever the innovator Surly introduced the 29+ (29×3.0″) Knard tyre. While this is the only tyre in existence in this size at present, I feel it could be more appropriate for regular trail riding than 26×4.0″. It didn’t take long for me to do some measuring and realise a 29+ tyre would fit into the Gryphon/Hummingbird fork, just about, on a narrower rim. Still, performing this quick test convinced me that for regular riding 29+ could make a lot more sense than the ‘full fat’. Compared with the full fat front I used on the Swift, the 29+ front rolled much better, turned much better, but still gave you a lot of that ‘monster-truck’ feeling you get with a full fat. The new Swifts and Gryphons (more about those very soon) will have a fully 29+ compatible fork, among other improvements.
Then the Puffin prototypes arrived a few weeks back. My thoughts about what I wanted to achieve with a fat bike were primarily around a trail bike – something which would be fun to ride on your regular singletrack all year round as well as providing practical benefits in snow and sand. I kept the back end as short as possible, and the head angle fairly slack teamed with a fork with a lot of offset to keep the trail short. The short trail, wheelbase and back and makes for a fat bike that just wants to be thrown around and played with – not just ploughing a line through snow or sand. Further refinements are currently being made in order to save some weight from the prototypes and optimise tyre and crank clearance. Once that is done I will be running a Kickstarter campaign to get these fat birds off the ground – stay tuned for details.
I’ve also been thinking about 29+ front and rear – which could be a lot of fun….
The Buzzards, my new ‘all mountain’ 29er hard tail are proving popular. This frame was Chipps at Singletrack Magazine Editor’s Choice for bike of the year in 2012 and he only got to ride the prototype! They are moving fast so if you want to get your hands on one go here! If you want to try one first a number of my dealers have demo bikes for you to ride.
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