A Tale Of Two Fat Front Bikes
I got my last bikepacking bag for the "new" mountain bike, yesterday (the Bikes Direct Motobcane frame I have owned for 6 years, now). So, now, I have the sling-style handlebar bag, a frame bag, a "gas tank" bag and the big seat bag.
The sling bag has a piece which mounts to the bars. It holds a dry bag, which allows you to pack and unpack without having to undo the fixing straps. The dry bag is a bit small for my existing sleeping bag, so I will either have to get another sleeping bag, or a larger dry bag, eventually.
Now, I am trying to decide if I want to swap forks between the Surly and the Bikes Direct frames.
This head-on shot of the two bikes, side by side, shows why I am considering the swap. The 80mm rim on the Surly spreads the tire bead out and allows the tire to run at its full 4" width. The 50mm rim on the Motobecane actually rounds the tire out, cross section-wise, and reduces the width to 3.5"
So, why this talk about swapping the forks? Why not just swap the wheels?
Well, the fork dropout spacing on the Surly is a standard 100mm, while the spacing on the Framed fat bike fork on the Motobecane is 135mm (the old fat bike standard). In order to swap the wheels, I have to swap the forks.
I am considering this swap because the Surly is essentially a commuter bike, running on the road full-time, while the Motobecane is my off-road bike. It makes more sense to have the larger, higher flotation tire on the front of the off-road bike. It also would allow me to mount it on a standard roof rack, if I ride with someone else on the way to a trail. I don't really need that ability to carry my commuter bike.
But, I sort of hate to take the Surly fork off of the Surly bike. It's silly, but I like the "Surliness" of that bike (Surly frame, fork, seat post clamp, chain tugs, rim, handlebar and fork), and I hate to detract from that.
Still, I'm thinking about it...
The frame bags on the two bikes are the same size. The Surly is a size large bike built for standard 26" mtb rims, and the Motobecane is a size Small 29er. The Surly is too big for me to ride off-road, with the big tires. I have less than zero inches standover clearance with this setup. Not a big problem on my commute, but could well be a problem on a rough trail.
I also got lights, a frame pump, a multi-tool and a spare tube for the Motobecane. I plan to commute on it, a few times, and I've been riding it to the coffee shop and back in order to fine tune the setup. I was having to swap tools and flat repair stuff between the bikes, before. Now, the bikes are all self-contained.