Fat Bling – 44 Bikes – Red Convertible

We published a builder profile of Kris Henry and 44 Bikes last year and have been keeping in touch with Kris, ever since. Kris & 44 Bikes is on my short list of custom builders that I would absolutely love to work with, one day. I take a peek at Kris’ flickr photos from time to time and he just recently produced a hot little red convertible fatty, for himself, that caught my eye. All fat bikes come with an unfettered view of the great blue yonder, but not every fatty is specifically made to convert from 29/29+ to 26 by fat…..and very few look as good as this little number!


My first mountain bike was Ferrari red…as was my first fatty.

All I can say about the paint on this Big Boy is ¡mui caliente!

PicMonkey Collage

Kris started to think about a bike that could run all 3 wheel sizes while he was working on a 29+ bike for a customer. He did a little test fitting and that led him to build a couple of sets of wheels for the job. He paired Paul Components Hubs with Surly’s Rabbit Hole and Holy Rolling Darryl rims, spaced 170mm – rear and 135mm – front. For the rider cockpit, he chose Thompson (stem and post) and Enve H-Bar. Fork duties are handled by an MRP Fat Fork (the fork formerly known as the White Bros. SnoPack) and the drive train is a Sram x-9, configured as a 1 by 10. Kris set the chainstay length to 16.5″ for this frame, but plans to add sliding dropouts on his next frame so that he can optimize the convertible setup for the different sized wheels.

Component run-down:

ENVE Mtn. Riser bar

Thomson 90mm zero deg rise stem (31.8)

Paul Comp. Levers

Avid BB7’s (180mm F/ 160mm R)

Yeti / ODI Lock-On Grips

White Brothers Snowpack Fork (450mm A2C)

X9 Fat Cranks / GXP BB

Wolftooth 30t Dropstop Chainring

X9 Rear Derailleur (guideless 1×10)

X0 10spd Shifter

Thomson Elite Setback Post (27.2)

WTB Rocket V SLT Saddle

Cane Creek 40 Series Headset


Fat Wheelset:

Paul Rhub 170 R / Whub 135 F

Dt Swiss Spokes / Alloy Nips mated to Surly Rolling Daryl (holed)

Nate 3.8 out back / Bud 4.8 up front in Fat Mode


29+ Wheelset:

Paul Rhub 170 R / Whub 135 F

Dt Swiss Spokes / Alloy Nips mated to Surly Rabbit Holes

Knard F/R


Ride Report Thus Far (written by Kris):


In snow conditions, the bike handles well, balanced, plenty of standover when you need to dab.  Tire pressure is key with fat bikes/snow.  I prefer a heavier lugged tire for added traction in ever changing trail conditions as temps rise/fall throughout a long day.  One thing I wanted to change with this build was a lower bottom bracket to help stabilize things and quicken steering.  The next one I build that handles both wheel sizes I’m thinking about 12″ bb height in fat mode with 12.5″ bb height when in 29+.  Switching over to the 29+ mode, you raise the BB height a tad (currently 12.25 in fat, 12.75 in 29+ mode, but those are parking lot numbers without taking “Squish” of the tires as per tire pressure into account-so those numbers may change slightly depending on tire pressure/tires used.)  Right out of the gates in 29+ mode I noticed is how smooth these wheels feel and at speed how much momentum they carry given the slightly larger diameter over traditional 29″ wheels.  Since Paul is using I9 drivers in his hubset, engagement was a treat in tech.  In 29+ mode I would most likely switch to a 32t ring up front but the added ease of the 30t was enjoyable.  I’m running that mostly for a slower cadence in fat mode for snowy conditions.  The larger wheelsize also climbs/descends exceptionally well.  A bit of a bear at first to loft but with some adjustments they can be hopped relatively easily.  “Up and Over” obstacles these wheels are a treat, and that extra bit of standover/bb height adds to the pedal clearance when the trail gets nasty.  The larger 3″ tires were also giving me a bit more traction here in the North East with all the leaves on the trail.  Added bonus of the tire size.  As far as rides go, it’s most likely one of the smoothest feeling bikes in full rigid I’ve ridden to date and almost does not feel like I’m running full rigid at times given that extra bit of size to the tires.  All in all, just a plain fun shredding setup.  With a set of sliders, I think a slight adjustment in chainstay length would help a bit when switching between modes and that’s how I’ll build my next personal fat bike. I believe that will provide just the right setup for both wheelsizes.





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2 Responses to Fat Bling – 44 Bikes – Red Convertible

  1. Tad Dickman November 21, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Wow… that is an amazing looking bike. I’m keyboard drooling.

    And it looks good in fat and 29+ shoes at the same time.

  2. Surly Shawn November 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    I am not a fan of twenty-niners, but this idea is pretty freaking cool. And the bike looks good, too.

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