What would you say if someone asked you, what is the ultimate fat bike set up?
Up in Alaska, one might say:
- Super light carbon frame with rigid fork.
- Light rims and tires that are great in the snow
- Bar mitts
In the mid-west the answer might be:
- Aluminum frame with rigid fork and summer suspension fork
- Strong rims and tires to handle the occasional rocky and rough trail
- Integrated bottle opener
- Bar mitts
I live in Utah, near Moab. I’m not guaranteed snow, and it doesn’t get cold enough to necessitate bar mitts. What I am guaranteed, however, are miles of the rockiest and roughest terrain on the planet. So my answer to the ultimate fat bike setup is:
- A strong full suspension or hardtail frame that can handle endless abuse
- Suspension fork that, again, can handle endless abuse
- Super strong rims and tires that can shake off razor sharp rocks and square edge hits
- Dropper post, for epic hour long descents
- A 1x drivetrain with large range of gears to handle steep climbs
After months of planning and dozens of emails, courtesy of fat-bike.com and a host of manufacturers, I have my ultimate fat bike setup and we’re ready to ride!
The Proud Foot, Proud Fat is a hand made, steel framed, full suspension, fat bike out of Golden, Colorado. In addition to all that, what makes this build extra special is all of the ‘top of the line’ components hooked to the frame. Starting with the wheels, we have some Dirt Components, Thumper carbon rims laced to Onyx Racing hubs. Maxxis Minion FBF rubber finishes off the package. For suspension we have a Wren fork up front and a Cane Creek IL DB rear shock. A Wren carbon handlebar, Wren aluminum stem, and Shimano XT brakes and shifter round out the cockpit. Drive train is 1×11 Race Face cranks and XT rear derailleur with 11-46 cassette. Finish it all off with a Fox Transfer dropper post.
I need to unpack these components a little more…
Dirt Components is headquartered in Austin Texas, and has designed some of the coolest wheels the fat bike world has to offer. Super light (2200g per pair) strong and stiff, I believe the Thumper rims are a one wheel solution to year round riding. Super light makes them great in snow packed winter riding. Being super strong, they are able to handle all the rough and dry summer trails. When you lace them to Onyx Racing hubs, of BMX fame, you are left with a maintenance free “silent but deadly” package. I say silent because the Onyx rear hub has infinite engagement and runs without the traditional free wheel buzz.
For suspension, I was happy to see a Wren fork attached to this project. I have a little history riding Wren forks, from the Wren vs. Bluto Shootout last summer (links). I have a good understanding of how to set up the Wren and it is an excellent fork to go downhill, fast. I’ve owned Cane Creek shocks before, and have been pleased with the tunability they offer, so I’m excited to try out the newest version, the IL DB.
As for drive train, I haven’t had a XT setup since 2×10 was the standard. I look forward to contrasting Shimano to SRAM shifting on this bike. XT brakes, I believe, are the gold standard in affordable braking. I run them on every bike I own.
Holding all of these awesome components together is the handmade, Proud Fat. I keep mentioning hand made because, in the opening emails about this project, they asked me for my dimensions and started welding the frame up to fit. The bespoke nature of this build adds a lot of excitement to the review process. In the original email I stated that I weigh 220 lbs. and I plan on riding this bike on every trail in Moab, and off every drop I can find… I’m pretty sure they added an extra bar to the front triangle…
All of this raises the question, can you have too much of a good thing? Will the Wren fork work well with carbon rims? Will the steel frame fail under the load of a big dude on rough trails? Is there a weak link in this all-star setup?
Luckily, there is only one way to answer these questions. I need to ride this bike hard and fast… In six to eight weeks we will have an answer, stay tuned!
Learn more about Proudfoot at – http://www.proudfootcycles.com/