If you follow the lineage of New England frame-builders back to its roots you will find Witcomb USA and Serotta. Both companies, which established themselves in 1972, would go on to become the breeding ground for the current state of custom frame building in the New England area. In 1977, after Witcomb closed its doors, a young Chris Chance set up shop in a dilapidated building in the Somerville neighborhood of Boston, attaching his own name to the one-off frames he was building and setting the groundwork for what would become the state of custom frame building. Under the working title Chris Chance Cycles, Chance would hone his skills developed under the roof of Witcomb, concentrating on providing the perfect geometry for the individual rider, his work quickly gaining notoriety.
It was in the early 80’s when Chance went west and was exposed to the beginnings of the mountain biking scene. Upon returning home, Chance took what he had seen and combined it with his frame building talent to start building one of a kind mountain bikes. In 1982, Chance rebranded as Fat City Cycles and began turning out the first Yo’ Eddy frames. These bikes were made specifically for the rough and tumble terrain of the east coast, built to handle the steep ups and downs as well the harsh rocky landscape. Fat City, later known as Fat Chance, continued to flourish as other builders came and went, but in 1994, as the economy entered into a recession and the bike industry began to look at cheaper options to deliver customers bikes, Chris Chance walked away from the company he had spent nearly 20 years building. Chance would relocate to the west coast and pursue a career in holistic bodywork, following another lifelong passion for helping others.
Fast forward to 2017 and Fat Chance has been resurrected. With a pre-order campaign launched in 2015, Chris returned to his frame building roots, offering three distinct frame models: the Slim Chance, The Chris Cross and of course an updated version of the Yo’ Eddy.
We stopped by to chat with Chris and see the new bikes during the Philly Bike Expo; it was equal part nostalgia and excitement for the new bikes. Chance still offers the fun, brightly colored frames as he did in the 80’s and 90’s but now with the modern twist of oversized head tubes, more playful geometry and clearance for big tires. If the original Yo’ Eddy was designed to navigate through tough terrain, the new model is built to go right over it. With plus size tire options and a dropper post, the newest Yo’ Eddy is a modern day trail bike. The soft-spoken Chance remarked how “flattering” the response was when he announced the return of the brand – it didn’t take long for the list of orders to start stacking up. The cult around the Fat Chance brand has stood the test of time, with collectors hoarding the original Yo’ Eddy models, and a new generation now has an opportunity to ride a legendary frame into the future.
Keep Reading: Find more coverage of the 2017 Philly Bike Expo here.