Ask A Stupid Question - ask Bikerumor your bicycle maintenance and tech questions and we'll find the answer

It’s Friday! Time to hang up the work clothes and ride bikes. Or work on bikes. Or plan future bike purchases. In short – bikes! We’re back at it with AASQ with a question from a Southern Californian who is making the move to Minneapolis…

David says, “I’m moving from Southern California to Minneapolis-St. Paul. I still want to ride year-round, and I’m not sure exactly how beneficial a fat bike would be. For instance, if I got a hardtail that could do both 29 and 650b+, would 3″ of rubber be enough? I’ve ridden both fat and mid-fat bikes, but never around snow. Although I wouldn’t mind having *both*, having one bike and two wheelsets is easier to swing.” 

To get an answer, we decided to reach out to someone who actually lives in Minneapolis and has a lot of experience on fat bikes – including a recent victory in the 130 mile version of the Iditarod Trail Invitational…

Kurt Barclay from 45NRTH answersIf you want to ride year round on trails in Minneapolis, you NEED a fat bike. You could get away with a plus tire for a good part of the year (studs highly recommended – 45NRTH??) but if you want to get out on the really good snow days and ride, fat is a must. Sticking to one bike with multiple wheels is definitely doable. All fat bikes clear 27.5+ and standard 29. But who wants just one bike?

Kurt’s advice may need to taken with a grain of salt since he works for a winter bike company that makes some of the best fat bike tires and gear, but there are a number of groomed snow trails in that area that require a fat bike tire (many cases 3.8″ or larger) to ride. If it was me, I’d get a fat bike that could also do plus like Kurt suggests and then another bike (take your pick) to round out the fleet. However, I’m sure there are places you could ride a plus bike during the winter so realistically you could make it work.

Peter from the Netherlands writes: “Hi I’m building my Titus Rockstar 29er to a 1×11 speed. I bought the Sram GX group with gripshift. Now my rear derailleur doesn’t fit properly. Now I found the Goat Link from Wolftooth. But does it only fit on Shimano derailleurs? Is there also something for the Sram GX derailleur?”

This one’s a little hard to answer without seeing the bike and what’s going on, but if you purchased the 11 speed GX rear derailleur, there shouldn’t be any reason for it to not fit properly on a standard frame. The WTC Goat Link is meant to allow 10 speed Shimano Shadow+ rear derailleurs to clear larger cogs – either something like the WTC GC adapters or 11-40/42t cassettes. The 11 speed GX rear derailleur is already optimized to work with 42t cogs, so it shouldn’t need something like the Goat Link to work. It’s entirely possible that your derailleur just isn’t installed properly and the B-screw isn’t resting on the tab on the derailleur hanger (check out this image from Park Tool to get an idea of what it should look like). Not getting this right would cause the derailleur to sit too far forward and probably interfere with the lower rear pivot on the Rockstar’s frame.

The other possibility (and this is where it gets difficult without seeing the bike), is that you’re running into clearance issues with the knuckle of the derailleur and the lower pivot on the chain stay. The Rockstar has a very large lower pivot back by the dropout and the section of the chain stay sits quite close to the derailleur and the Rockstar frame was designed before 1x drivetrains took over mountain biking. If that’s the case, you may be out of luck as this thread suggests that at one point the Rockstar frame was listed as incompatible with 1x drivetrains. Theoretically, something similar to the Goat Link for a SRAM derailleur that rotated it backwards could maybe work then, but since it wasn’t designed for that derailleur or use on the frame, there’s no guarantee that it would actually shift properly.

Finally, Trapper sent this along – “Ok, I am not a mountain bike guy but grew up a huuuuge BMX racer/etc. A great friend of mine recently passed away who I became really close to because of BMX and I had bought his entire collection of 80’s and 90’s bikes. He came into harder times and sold me a few of his mountain bikes which I really have no real sentimental attachment to but he sure loved this Frank the Welder bike. Called it the Unicorn bike. Wondering what I should do with it. I know it’s rare, and feel like I should do it justice getting it to someone who can appreciate it. It has Chris King wheels, XTR components, and tons of other good stuff. Thanks”

Sorry to hear about your friend’s passing Trapper, sounds like a rad dude with that collection! There are few options, obviously – we’re talking about it here so maybe someone will contact you through this. Other options include sending it to someone like The Pro’s Closet – they specialize in selling used bikes, often of rare makes and collectors items. Without seeing it I can’t really comment on its value, but FTW bikes are held in pretty high regard, it’s possible that one of the mountain bike museums out there might be interested in it. Perhaps Frank The Welder himself might be able to steer you in the right direction as well.

Got a question of your own?  Click here to use the AASQ form, or find the link under the Contact menu header up top anytime a question pops into your mind!

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dirtybird
dirtybird
5 years ago

FTW for the win!

dirtybird
dirtybird
5 years ago
Reply to  dirtybird

bikerumor, please get some glamour shots and post them pleeeease

Kernel Flickitov
Kernel Flickitov
5 years ago

Wait a minute… A Californian is moving somewhere other than Portland or Seattle?! That’s headline news in itself!!

Fat Snob
Fat Snob
5 years ago

Minnesotan here… yes you need a fat bike for winter trail riding (unless budget is a huge issue). Plus bikes don’t cut it in anything but a perfect groomed trail in a very narrow temperature window (I’ve tried). Take a look at the Otso Voytek. You get the best of both worlds… Plus & Fat.

Saint Paul
Saint Paul
5 years ago

A fat bike in MN is definitely not a requirement. I know alot of people that were riding off road trails on plus tires with great success, even better tires will be out next winter for plus tires. Fat bikes are fun for deeper snow, 3-6in powder, but usually the trails are groomed or able to be ridden shortly after a big snow. We only had one snowfall over 5in this winter. Commuters with studs also have little issue in the city.