Fat Bike 29″er Wheel Set: Final Review- by Guitar Ted
Now that the weather is turning and looking forward to winter, it is time to remove the “summer wheels” from my fat bike and return to the “regularly scheduled programming” of fat 3.8″ers and 70mm wide rims. The Mid-Term Report on these fat bike 29″er wheels can be found here. Now let’s see what I thought about running 29″er wheels on a fat bike for a season.
In the Mid-Term update, I gave you all a good idea of why I think these wheels are great. Yes- great. Stiff, strong, and reliable. However; this time I wanted to hit on what they did to the way the bike rode and handled. Fat bikes by nature tend to be stable beasts, designed to do slow speed maneuvering without dumping the rider and without a bunch of effort. Of course, the fat tires are there for grip and flotation. So, what happens to that when you pop on these “skinny” wheels?
The stability part doesn’t go away, but since the wheels are lighter, with less rolling resistance, the accelerations and steering feel “quicker”. In reality, it just is taking less effort, but the mind may perceive this as a quicker steering bike. However; when you hit those slow speed, techy bits, it is then that you realize the geometry is still doing the same thing as when you had fatter rubber on the bike.
The lighter weight wheels are an obvious boon to accelerations and there is further room for improvement there, depending upon you needs. These wheels are great all around trail wheels that feel rock solid and shouldn’t give anyone pause for use on bikepacking, long days in the backcountry, or for rougher terrain. If none of those are on the agenda for your summer wheels, then weight could be carved out here making the bike feel even faster. (Note: this wheel set weighs 2221gms for the pair)
Conclusions: So, to sum up- the fat bike 29″er set up didn’t really change the handling, it just made everything “easier”. Easier to climb, steer, and accelerate the bike. The stability that was inherent with the bike originally was still there. Perhaps the fatter stance of 3.8″ers enhances that a bit, but really, I felt the weight loss more than anything here. Finally, the stiffness of the build laterally is amazing, and I loved riding the bike with this wheel set.
The Hope “Fatsno” front hub and Salsa 170mm rear hub were absolutely trouble free. The Stan’s Flow rims did what Stan’s Flow rims do, and the wheels performed without a hitch all summer for me over varied terrain. Components aside, would a wheel set like this be worth having over just running your ordinary fat bike wheels? I think the answer depends. If you are going somewhere dry, with no need for fat bike rubber, and there is a lot of climbing, with speed being a priority- yes. These wheels make a ton of sense. Perhaps just a rear wheel like this and a standard 100mm hubbed front mated with a suspension fork for summer? Yes- then something along these lines makes a lot more sense than running a fat bike’s standard 3.8+ rubber all year long. Or…..maybe you just want a change of pace? Whatever the case may be, these Handspun built fat bike compatible 29″er wheels just may be that extra spice that you need on top of an already tasty bike.
NOTE: Handspun wheels sent these fat bike 29″er wheels over for testing and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and I will strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.