Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MRP Fat Fork vs On One Fatty Fork

The One One Carbon Fatty Fork
If you own one of the "first wave" fat bikes that have only an 1 1/8th compatible head tube, like I do, your fork options besides the stock fork that came with your rig, are limited. If you were like me, it was hard to find any good information on such forks, because most folks are all buzzing about "the next shiny object" and not some antiquated 1 1/8th steer tube fat bike fork option. Hopefully this will help correct that for someone out there......

So, before I get any further, here's my standard disclaimer, with an addendum...

 NOTE: Large doses of "my opinion" will be handed out in gloppy dollops today. You've been forewarned..... And: Both forks mentioned were purchased with my own money. I am not being bribed, nor paid for this post. 

(sigh!)...Okay then, with that outta the way, here's the way I see these choices for your fat bike. First up, the On One Carbon Fatty. This fork is, as the name implies, carbon fiber and surprisingly enough, so is the steer tube. It comes in black or white and has some ridiculous clear coated graphics. Price from On One direct is $248.46, give or take a bit depending upon currency exchange rates. 

  • 470mm Axle To Crown length
  • 55mm offset
  • 590 grams cut to fit a Large Mukluk
  • Rear Standard Brake Mount
  • 10mm QR axle only
  • 135mm OD
Notes: The Fatty fork is pretty much a direct replacement for an Enabler fork. Similar axle to crown length, offset, and brake mounting standards mean you just install the fork, swap over the brake and stem, and you are ready to ride. Well, that is if you have a carbon steer tube plug to take the place of a star nut, which cannot be used "no how-no way" on a carbon steer tube. (Or at least, it shouldn't be.) The Carbon Fatty does have a bit of a protruding "shelf" at the crown race seat, but this is so it matches up with the larger bottom part of On One's fat bike head tube. Mukluk owners will have to just put up with the eyesore. Note: You could use this on a fat bike with a tapered steer tube fork by replacing the lower head set with an 1 1/8th compatible reducer. This means the fork will swap over to your next fat bike too.

MRP's Fat Fork
The next contender is MRP's Fat Fork which is quite a bit different than the On One fork and has more options available. The MRP fork is the evolution of the White Brother's SnoPack fork. With the change in name of the company, the fork was dubbed the "Fat Fork" going forward. This fork is available in aluminum or aluminum crown, steer tube, and drop outs with carbon fiber legs. Both versions have 34mm diameter legs. The fork is also offered in two axle to crown lengths, and one would work with Pugsleys at 450mm. MSRP is $449.00 for the carbon legged versions and $339.00 for the all-alloy ones. 

  • 468mm Axle to Crown length
  • 43mm Offset
  • 990 grams cut with star nut (Carbon is 910gm uncut)
  • Front Standard, post style brake mount
  • QR axle only
  • 135mm OD
Notes: The Fat Fork transfers over well to a Mukluk, but the fly in this ointment will be the front brake standard that MRP uses. While I have seen a creative kludge to adapt a rear standard brake mount front hub to a front brake standard fork, it isn't easy, and it isn't commercially available. Most will be best served by swapping over to a more "modern" front standard hub. Yes.....a new wheel build. But look.....everything going forward is front brake standard, so why not? The other thing of note is the offset, which is shorter. This means more stability. Well......theoretically it does, and it probably will in practice. What does this mean for you? A "slower" handling bike. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe not. I like it for softer conditions. Note: This fork would also be swappable to another fat bike regardless of headset/head tube sizing with the correct head set. Front brake standard hubs are plentiful now as well. 

Comparisons: The On One fork seems to win on paper with its direct swap-ability, lighter weight, and lesser price. However; that is tempered somewhat since your hub choices are limited going forward and you need to deal with a carbon compatible pre-load plug to adjust your head set. (These can be a bit frustrating depending on the style, plus they cost more than star nuts do.) The MRP fork doesn't have hose guides, which is unforgivable in 2014. Both forks do not have any provisions for bottle cages or Anything Cages, which may be a negative for you. The MRP's price is 100 bucks more, and that's hard to swallow, but it does get you into the modern world when it comes to hub/brake standards, and it isn't carbon, which for some folks is all they will need to know to choose it. 

Okay, so how do they ride?  See Part 2 HERE.


RC said...

Carver. Sweetness. Get some. :<))

Guitar Ted said...

@RC: Sorry- I don't need a third fork and the Carver fork is far better known as a choice for these bikes. These two forks- not so much.

mofok said...

Are you noticing more "smoove' in the ride of aluminum forks and frames these days? I was shocked by how nice the ride is on my aluminum Cannondale Trail SL 29er.

Guitar Ted said...

@mofok: You know what? I am noticing a smoother feel to this fork compared to the Enabler. The experience is opposite of what I expected- steel is thought to be smoother feeling, but in this case, I am really liking the ride feel of the MRP aluminum for.

It is interesting to read that your Cannondale is smooth feeling as well. I've been wondering how companies are working on the ride feel of aluminum and frankly, I haven't spent a lot of time on anything aluminum other than my Mukluk. Thanks for the comment.

spruceboy said...

Rear spaced front fat bike forks are lame! Why? First, you can use, with spacers or an adapter, a rear spaced hub on a front spaced fork, but not the other way around. Second, are there any major branded bikes 170mm or 190mm hubbed bikes coming with a rear space front hubs these days, besides on-one?

On the adapter front, the one from carver ( works great and it is cheap.

Guitar Ted said...

@spruceboy: The existence of the rear disc standard, front fat bike hub in 135OD dimension is easy to understand once you know why it came to be.

Early fat bike production numbers were low, and even when symmetrical forks and 170mm rear frames came out, there just wasn't enough demand to make a special front hub. But isn't the rear disc standard front hub special? Not really.....

Manufacturers found that by not threading a single speed disc hub for a free wheel, it could be a "front" hub for a 135mmOD fork for a fat bike. So, that's why we have had rear standard disc brake front fat bike hubs. It is also why we have 135mmOD front forks. It is purely a matter of what was convenient. Now with the numbers up on fat bike production, there is no reason not to have standard front disc hub spacing.

But that 135mm OD hub and the fork that goes with that? It will be going away too. The Bluto guarantees that the newer front forks and hubs going forward will all be 150mm spaced.

Better grab yer 135mmOD forks while ya can. They will be like rear disc standard front hubs soon.

Jason said...

Thanks for your review. I ordered one based on this information and a few others i found on line. I wanted to post my experience in case someone else wants to order one. On One sent me a fork with a factory defect. I had a cracked dropout. I have been informed that they have a bad batch of forks and the dropouts are mostly misaligned. Either way, it's been 2 weeks and I have returned the fork but I have no refund. It took a week for them to decide what to do with it in the first place. Buyer beware I suppose. So I ordered a "standard" more known fork from someone else while I wait for my refund.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jason: I am sorry to hear that. I hope you get taken care of soon.

Jason said...

Thanks Ted. I think all our experiences and shared comments make the overall products better in the end. Thanks for your detailed write up!