Project Fatbike: The Beginning
As Tyler will attest, project bikes can be a huge amount of fun. Being able to pick an choose each part, only to build it up with your own two hands can be incredibly satisfying. Ever since my first ride aboard an early Pugsley I have wanted to build my own fatbike, only to build many for friends and customers rather than myself. However, seeing as how our shop Pugsley shown above is gone (same with the shop), it seemed as good a time as any to finally build a fatbike.
Project Fatbike will not only be a showcase for some great products that are either designed for, or compatible with fatbikes, but I also hope to take a closer look at a fatbike’s use as well.
Wonder if it’s possible to build a fatbike with spare parts? Read on, after the break.
Honestly, one of the things that got me thinking I could finally build a fatbike was the amount of spare parts I had lying around my basement. I have been scheming for awhile as to what I would build up with all the parts, when I asked myself why not a fat bike? That got me thinking about what you really need to build a fatbike. Regardless of how many parts you have sitting around, there are certainly some fatbike specific parts that you probably won’t have on a shelf:
- Frame and Fork
- Crank and bottom bracket*
- Front derailleur*
All of the above parts are basically the only fatbike specific parts you need, though the parts with *’s are dependant on the situation. Just for the sake of this post, let’s assume that you have decided to build a Surly Pugsley.
There is actually a pretty good chance you would use a Pugsley frameset for a build like this as it’s honestly one of the best for the job, as it’s one of the cheapest at around $575 (with fork) and it offers nearly every option you could think of, and requires fewer proprietary parts than some other fatbikes. It was for these exact reasons that we chose to use the new Pugsley Necromancer frame for our build. It should be noted though, that the Necromancer edition of the Pugsley does not come with a fork so you will have to pick one out when ordering your frame. This actually worked in our favor though, as we will be reviewing what looks to be one of the raddest fatbike forks around. Stay tuned to find out which one.
Rimstrip wise, if you don’t want to shell out for new strips and you don’t mind the handyman’s secret weapon hidden inside your tires, good old duct tape works just fine.
Crankset wise, this is where it gets a bit more complicated. Pugsleys, and most fatbikes, use a 100mm wide bottom bracket shell in order for the cranks to clear the chainstays, and the chainline to clear the tire. If you have any old ISIS crank, you’re in luck as new 100mm wide ISIS bottom brackets can be sourced from both FSA and Truvativ. Also, if you happen to have a newer crank that utilizes the Truvativ Howitzer interface you can get 100mm wide bottom brackets for those as well. If you don’t have either of those, you’ll have to buy a new crank and BB set from either those mentioned, or specific fatbike cranksets such as the e*thirteen XC crank or Surly Mr. Whirly, among others.
Finally, due to the 100mm wide bottom bracket a special front derailleur is needed as well. There is a chance you might have an old E-type mech sitting in some forgotten parts box somewhere, which will work just fine. Also, if you find yourself with a newer D-Mount (high direct mount) front derailleur that’s not being used, all you will need is this handy adapter from Problem Solvers (more on that later).
Obviously, with all of the unique parts needed for the build it’s a stretch to consider it a parts build. However if you have a drivetrain, brakes, seat, seatpost, headset, stem, handlebar, grips, and pedals at your disposal – building a fat bike can be a great use of your old parts. While Project Fatbike started as an attempt at a spare parts build, it has quickly evolved into a showcase for some awesome products, both new and old. Stay tuned for the play by play!