Photos by Nick Kova
After we learned of the return of Fat Chance Cycles last fall, things got rolling with a crowdfunding campaign to raise seed money to get the revived business off the ground and build the first batch of new bikes. Now that the campaign has been successfully funded, Fat Chance is taking orders for a second run of 100 production frames. Made in American from True Temper steel tubing, the frames are available in both 29er and 27.5 versions.
Some changes have been made to the frame designs, including the addition of a curved seat tube on the 29er version, a straight 44 mm head tube, post mount rear caliper mounts, a direct mount front derailleur mount and full-length external cable routing. The 29er version is built around a 120 mm fork while the 27.5 goes for a 130 mm. The geometry is more trail oriented than race, but not super slack.
The production frames will feature some pretty “traditional” dimensions, like a 73 mm threaded bottom bracket shell and 142×12 rear thru-axle. They can be ordered in one of four colors: “Arrest Me” red, “Grello” Yellow, Team Purple and naturally, black. A $699 deposit can secure your spot and the final price is $1,699, with delivery in August.
The classic segmented steel fork found on the first batch of bikes will not be available separately. It may return, Fat Chance says, but not in the near future.Tweet Print
Words and photos by Jeff Archer
In the world of vintage mountain bikes, the 2014 Interbike show was an exciting event. The annual Mountain Bike Hall of Fame induction ceremony had some company this year with the debut of the Fat Tire Flyer book, written by Charlie Kelly, which chronicles his take on the birth of mountain biking (read an excerpt here.)
But the major unplanned event was the return of Chris Chance, who could be found wandering the convention center with a bright-pink Fat Chance Yo Eddy T-shirt stating, “I’m back…”. Now Chance has successfully launched a crowdfunding campaign to build new bikes and they are expected to make their debut at the 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. With a new Fat Chance on the way, this is a good opportunity to check out a classic.
Chris Chance is part of a group of Witcomb USA alumni that includes framebuilders such as Richard Sachs and Peter Weigle. Witcomb was an attempt to capitalize on the bike boom of the early ’70s, though it ultimately failed. Chance, Weigle, and Sachs all went on to produce their own road bike lines using their respective names.
In 1982, as mountain biking started gaining in popularity, Chance started producing mountain bikes under the Fat Chance name. This featured bike is number 13 out of 15 Fat Chance bikes produced in 1982. It is beautifully fillet brazed and features a Fat Chance–built box crown fork. One unique component is a Simplex front derailleur that is directly mounted to the frame, similar to what is being done today. Since mountain-bike-specific components were still a year away, this bike uses a combination of touring bike, BMX bike, and motorcycle-derived parts.
While we can’t be sure what direction Fat Chance will take in the future, we can be certain that it will be built on a solid foundation of bikes such as this one.
This bike can be seen at the Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology in historic downtown Statesville, North Carolina. If you can’t visit in person, check out the collection at MOMBAT.org.Tweet Print
We first brought you news of the resurrection of the Fat Chance brand back in September, and now it’s one step closer to a reality. The new Yo Eddy Team will be an American-made, steel, trail hardtail with all the modern touches, including a tapered head tube, dropper post compatibility and 142×12 thru-axle. It will be offered in both 27.5 and 29-inch versions, with a paint scheme yet to be determined (let’s hope for splatter!)
Available will be a limited run of 100 “I’m Back” frames with a unique head badge, will be hand-signed, and a special paint job. They will only be available through the Kickstarter campaign and will never be made again.
There will be a run of 150 of the 2015 Yo Eddy Team frames, which will be identical to the special edition frames, but with production paint and no signature.
Pledges to the campaign in the $25 to $250 level will get sticker packs, jerseys, T-shirts and other Fat Chance goodies. To get your hands on a frame you’ll need to kick in $2,500 for the production model and $5,000 for the special edition, though both of those also come with the extras.
Frames are expected to be ready in August. The campaign runs through Sunday, February 8 and hopes to raise $116,000. The bikes will make their public debut at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show March 6-8 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Few brands conjure the reverence in hallowed mountain bike circles as Fat City. Born in the early 1980s from the mind of framebuilder Chris Chance, the Fat Chance bikes were the gold standard in the early days of mountain biking.
In this middle of this week word began to spread around Interbike that Chance was at the show and a few social network accounts popped up with the classic Yo Eddy! logo and a simple message. I’m back!
I met up with Chance at the show and sat down to chat about what he’s been up to and what his plans are. He said he’s been thinking about coming back to bikes for a few years now, after spending nearly a decade working at Shiatsu massage in Marin County, California. He loves working with his hands and being able to do so while helping others feel better is a great experience, he said.
He first began seriously reconsider his departure from the bike industry after a journalist had tracked him down for yet another “where are they now” story. When Chance realized he would likely be welcomed back with open arms, he started the idea rolling in his mind.
“I just want to hop back in and see what happens,” he said, though he doesn’t plan to pick up exactly where he left off. “I don’t want to be an old fuddy-duddy,” he said, alluding to his interest in building not just from steel and Ti, but from carbon fiber and aluminum. Even ideas for full-suspension and road bikes are rolling around in his mind, he said.
There are no strict plans for the brand as of yet, but Chance welcomes input on where it should go. Expect to see one or two standard models in the next year, likely made from steel. “That’s what people know us for,” he said. That said, he’s created a quick survey on the Fat Chance website to let fans help shape the new products.
Response to the news of a Fat Chance return sparked a huge buzz at the show and online, but perhaps the most excited person is Chance himself.
“What a gift,” he said. “It warms my heart.”