Speedway Cycles Fatback

16 01 2009
Speedway Cycles

Photo: Speedway Cycles

Speedway Cycles in Alaska makes a Ti fat tire bike called the Fatback.  It shares many of the features of the Pugsley with what looks like even more tire clearance and a choice of forks.  I’ve always wanted a Ti bike so I’m now officially jealous…=-)



15 responses

17 01 2009

Vik, thanks a lot for posting about these snow bikes, about your pugsley, the Moots bike previously and those nice blogs covering these cycles. Great stuff. I have been thinking about such a cycle for myself for quite some time, but I do not really like the pugsley frame and fork for some reason. I would certainly use one more Alfine hub (number 4 in my garage). Your bike works as a proof of concept that it fits even with those wide rims and tires. The speedway fatback looks perfect to me, but I do not believe it is available over here. Also, the pricing… So I started thinking of making an individual steelframe as like I did with my MTB. Need to check with framebuilder. Slider dropout, nice monostay rear triangle and special fork with 10cm of hub width for use of another dynohub, since this cycle would be used at night very much. I cannot think of anything better than a good dynohub lighting system, working at every time without any concerns. Although such a cycle would compete to my custom MTB that I am definitely not willing to give away, I feel a strong need for a fatbike. Will see how everything is going to work out.

17 01 2009

The Pugsley can be had with a 100mm fork for use with a dynohub. A custom fat tire bike would be very cool, but the cost will be much higher.

It might be worth getting a Pugsley and riding it for a while so you can figure out exactly what you want/don’t want in a custom fatbike. You may end up liking the Pugsley and if not it shouldn’t be hard to sell the frame/fork for most of what you paid. Your parts will transfer over to the new frame no problem.

21 01 2009

Well, I guess I am somehow working on it already. It is in my head. But since I have non of the critical parts at home, may I kindly beg for some technical data? There is no Pugsley around here and I do not even know any person over here riding one, nor are there any Pugsleys at some shop. I have been searching in your Blog entries but did not find some details: can you tell what kind of bottom bracket you are using? Your drive train image shows Alivio cranks (square tapered axle?). I can only find some Isis BB, some Truvativ Howitzer BB and Surly BB with 100mm shell, but no super wide square tapered BBs. I would very much like to use a square tapered BB axle, since I like to use very short crank arms not available with other systems.

Somewhere I read about 94mm of tire width with Endomorph installed and inflated at Large Marge rim. Do you think this is realistic? I want to use different (smaller) rims with symmetric drilling, so I need to take into account tire width for finding an individual frame rear triangle setup related to an assymmetric wheel lacing. First thing to do will be building up my rear wheel with tire fit on it, to create frame around it.

Sorry for bothering you with these things, but even in our newsgroups I was not able to collect any experiences with it. Currently not yet sure whether I can afford it, but I am definitely thinking of designing some custom fatbike on my own within the next year. It will be somehow different from those great snow- and desertbikes I found at your blog, but it surely is strongly inspired by them.

22 01 2009

I have a 100mm Phil Wood square taper BB in the Pugsley. It’s the only square taper BB I could find. The other 100mm BBs were ISIS. Surly also makes a house brand crank/BB in 100mm.

I just measured my Endomorphs on my Large Marge rims. They are ~3.5″ wide or 89mm.

24 01 2009

Thanks a lot, Vik, for providing the information. And again, thanks for posting these fatbike links as like current Jeff Jones post. The cycle at your current top article shows an Endomorph being fit to some rim I do not know. I would like to use ordinary DH rims myself, but did not really know whether tire seat would be ok. As I have learned now, this appears to look good. At the moment I am just collecting information and links to be able to figure out some design for a custom fat frame. Well, may take a year or two 🙂

2 04 2009
Mr. P

So the Phil Wood BB you are using would that be the symmetrical version?

30 09 2009

Flatboarder, I have been studying the market for fat bikes myself. Like you, I lust one…A few points from my research:

1) Don’t get a Pugsley thinking you’ll be able to switch parts to a different frame. A wheelset for the Pugsley, build around 135mm hub, would not work with any other frame in the market.

2) A frame with a symmetrical rear triangle should work better than an offset frame like Pugsley. Consider Wildfire (steel), Fatback and the new Nine:0:Seven (Ti). They all design their wheels around 160mm or 165mm hubs. I won’t discuss the differences unless you find it immensely interesting. Suffice to say that both should work fine and the 160mm spacing offers more off-the-shelf hubs (e.g, Chris King tandem).

3) All these players have recently jacked up their prices. A set from Wildfire cost $1,600 and from Fatbak $2,200. I think these people don’t realize that with these prices their products are as expensive as a custom frame. With the right builder you can probably get a better frame for the same price.

4) How could it better you may ask. Well, they all use 100mm BB for chain clearance. That means your knees are likely to suffer riding splay on the bike. With a custom frame you can have the BB in 83.5mm, which will give you enough clearance, especially if you opt for 2 x 9 and ditch the granny position (24/36 should cover all your needs). Your knees will thank you. To boot, if you ever wish to covert the frame to a 29er, the 83.5mm will work better than 100mm (i.e., ground clearance). How do you get a 83.5mm BB? Phil Wood will make one for you for $140. They are square tapered, but the best BB around.

5) Another advantage with a custom builder is that you can get a Paragon Slider dropouts. Thus, if you want to convert your rig to SS, you will not have any issue with chain tensioning. All the off-the-shelf frame use horizontal dropouts.

Good luck!

30 09 2009

Yes I’m using the symmetrical Phil Woods 100mm BB.

30 09 2009

@ thelazyrando

Question for you my friend: What is your impression of this BB? I’m curious if there’s any flex, especially when you hammer out of the saddle (after all, it is square tapered), and whether the bearings roll nicely.


30 09 2009

So far the Phil’s BB has been great and it has been abused. I’m not a monster so I’ve not noticed any significant flex in the BB or cranks. Time will tell how well it resists contamination. I might tear it down next spring and have a look after two winters what the damage has been.

1 10 2009

Thanks, RubberBoy. My fatbike project has been massively delayed due to several motorcycling and other issues I filled in this year. Not sure whether I will go on with that project, but I absolutely agree with your statement. I do not like the assymmetrical setup. My main reason for going with 135mm rear spacing would be my intention to use another Alfine internal gear hub. These hubs proved to be no brain no pain items in my bicycles. I do no longer want to put any thoughts into derailleurs at all, at least for my all purpose bicycles.
On the other hand, I very much liked the sandman aluminium frame. However, I might go with my MTB framebuilder who did a very fine job with the previous MTB frame and its sliding dropouts working flawlessly. These are wonderful.
I have been thinking about using a 83mm BB. Shimano Saint provides a single chainring crank with a 83mm BB that looks very nice, is affordable, durable and not too heavy. Chain line would perfectly fit my needs as far as I could calculate.
I would chose any important parts in a first step (even thinking of SRAM Hammerschmidt crank), build my wheels (maybe dished rear wheel if appropriate) and hand it over to framebuilder to get the job done, in case.

1 10 2009

Flatboarder, thank you for sharing.

I wasn’t aware of the 83mm Shimano Saint; excellent to know. It just maybe the crankset I’m looking for; external bearing caps, relatively lightweight and very stiff.

Alfine is a great way to go. I’ve been tempted by the lure of IGH. I test rode a Nexus hub and it was creamy smooth. I normally ride SS so for me 8 speeds are more than enough. Like you, I dislike the derailleur system. Give me a straight, taut chainline and I’m in heaven…Pedaling is so much fun…However, the weight of the Alfine troubles me (adding over 1,100g to the rig, primarily at the rear), and in this case, the 135mm dictates an offset frame, which is source of psychological discomfort for me. I may end up going 1 x 9 with 165mm.

The Sandman frame looks gorgeous. Is it offset, or 160/165 at the rear? Also it seems this Belgium project is stuck in the mud. There hasn’t been any news from him lately. If it is 160/165, you may want to look at Nine:0:Seven. They sell Ti, but a new aluminum frame is imminent; $900 and very lightweight.

If you ride mostly sand and hardpack (like myself) make sure to get a fork with a steeper rack than the ones customarily offered with Snowbikes. Theirs are optimized for “plowing” the snow, so it’s sluggish on the trail; you would want you’re your fork to have a more twitchy geometry.

Keep it up!

1 10 2009

If you guys don’t like the offset Pug frame for aesthetic reasons that’s cool, but having abused one in every imaginable way – including 60kph+ paved descents and 40kph+ dirt road descents I can tell you there is no practical downside to the offset frame. It’s stable, tracks straight and with offset rims allows for a strong dishless or nearly dishless wheel build depending on your parts choice. If you didn’t know the frame was offset you wouldn’t be able to tell from riding it.

The 100mm BB shell hasn’t caused me any knee issues even on a fully loaded tour without proper training in the mtns. I haven’t come across reports of knee issues from Pugsley riders so unless you are particularly susceptible to knee problems I don’t think this is an issue in practice.

1 10 2009

Vik and RubberBoy, there is some reason to go my own way with this project. Although I very much like Surly’s Big Dummy, their way of communicating, their ideas and concepts, their attitude and their technical information sheets being available in public (which is very very kind), I would rate frame quality somewhat medium, at least when looking at my (and other) big dummies. For instance, I am unhappy with my misaligned disk caliper tabs, heavy fork oscillation issues at hard turns or descents when engaging front brake and missing anti corrosion treatment. Also I would prefer sliding dropouts with disk tabs attached very much. And I do not really like most of those Surly frame colours as like black, purple and so on. Ugh. Ok, the BD’s color is acceptable and their latest coloring appears to get somewhat lighter and more delightful (white, lightbrown).
Also I do not find a reason to stick with steel tubing, especially if it is cheap tubing without any appeal. Actually I think, aluminium is a better way to go for allround bicycle frames in general. There are no particular technical arguments against some well done aluminium frame at all, especially no durability reasons, as to my knowledge.

Looking at my custom made steel MTB frame I realize quality is way better than my BD frame in every aspect. For you Canadians and US guys Surly frames may be pretty cheap, but in Europe they are much more expensive, probably around twice as much, which also has got some impact on my decision.
And finally, in case I have some framebuilder make me such a frame, I may be able to implement some individual ideas I have in mind.

1 10 2009


As you pointed out, here in the USA Surly is good for the money (you get a Karate Monkey for $500…that’s cheap). But the product is not high end. To pay twice for it is unreasonable. I second your decision to go custom. Thumbs up.

By the way, I may do my Sandbike custom. It will have Paragon Slider. I have not decided on rear spacing yet, but either 135mm with Alfine, or 165mm with Hadley rear hub. I will stick with a single ring at the front (1 x 9 or 1 x 8 for Alfine). That will accommodate 73/83 BB, which I prefer (100mm is too wide).

Alum vs. Steel vs. Ti?…O boy, that’s an old, old debate, ever simmering. Most qualified people agree a lot has to do with frame geometry and tubing width/diameter, but there are also certain, un-unanimously, agreeable points:

Steel is most fun to ride
Ti is offers the smoothest ride
Aluminum is best for acceleration and power transfer
Ti is the lightest, followed closely by Al, with steel trudging at the rear.
Steel rusts, Al corrodes and Ti lasts forever.

Al custom, by the way, is more costly than steel (Ti is most expensive).

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