1989 Wicked Fat Chance

I submit my 1989 Wicked Fat Chance



This is my all time favorite ride. Rigid and fun, climbs like nothing else, quick geometry - the perfect package. When I first switched from a Fat Chance to the Wicked, I found myself dropping into nose wheelies in the rolling stuff, it was that much more aggressive. I also had to up my front ring sizes cause it just felt like it had to go fast. I still can't get over that wonderful feeling when I ride it. How Chris Chance ever put this all together I'll never know... Ok, I know they're plasma welded, but you know what I mean...

1989 Wicked Specifications, from 1988 Fat City Catalog
Head Angle: 71
Seat Angle: 72
Chanstay Length: 17.125
Tubing: Custom drawn triple butted 4130 Chrome-Moly from True Temper USA

A New Winner Pro FW and DID Lanner chain. I found Suntour pretty tough back in the day, so no Shimano on this bike! The rest of the parts were chosen for simplicity and reliability. I think 25+ years says a lot for those parts. I ordered a Suntour XC9000 parts pick, but wound up only using the shifty bits, front canti's and seat QR.




Yeah, Magura shorty mo-cycle levers!

Having upgraded from a Fat Chance with the chainstay mounted rolllercam, I wanted the Wicked to have the same stopping modulation up on the seat stays. I opted for a WTB Speedmaster with my own custom stiffener plate.


More in next post...

Tom P.
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Steering control went through a WTB Greasegard (King) headset. As a tip-of-the-hat to Fat City, I had them paint a puff star on the head tube instead of a Fat City decal - the same way their early bikes rolled out the door!


You may have noticed the Yo fork. Well I have the original 531 box crown that came with the frame. That was the most supple fork I've ever ridden, but the gussets inside the fork legs really cut down on front rubber options. Once the Yo was finalized, Wendyl dispatched one, painted to match.

I had an IRD macaroni stem painted as well. The bar is 1st generation Ti to hit the market - Merlin if I remember correctly - and those ubiquitous ODI mushroom grips.


After a few years use, the original cooks brothers cranks cracked. They were replaced with a set of Kooka DH cranks. Yes, this is what passed for a DH crank back at the dawn of suspension.


The pedals are Suntour XC-Pro with WTB toe-flips!

Naturally I went with WTB Greasegard hubs - the best flange designs, ever. They are laced to Araya RM-17 rims with DT spokes and alloy nipples. I did built-up the Suntour hubs on a set of Ritchey hard-anno Vantage rims, but they've only accumulated <50 miles in the last 20 years(!), and sit comfortably on a Fisher Cronus I built for my wife.



I still love this bike. Although it is a far cry from modern rides, it never fails to elicit a smile or bring back memories of all the rides and places we've been...

Tom P.
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Staff member
Absolutely gorgeous! Great paint, great parts, helluva fork. Deff a contender for Fat of the year :)


Active member
Great to see the pics restored. Hope some of the other cool threads on here with great bikes get the same treatment :beer:
I found my original Hite-Rite - the shorter travel, race version, in black no less! With every bike running a dropper these days I guess I should re-install it, huh?




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If I were to entertain selling this beauty, yeah, I know, that pains me to type that. Anyway, what are the better channels to put the word out? I don't need to sell it, but I ride Fat Bikes and BMX, so it just doesn't get ridden.



Active member
OK, so here is a bit of trivia for all you COG members.

There are no plasma welded Wickeds. I know this may shock many of you but it's true. :oops:

My predecessor, Gary Helfrich, adapted a plasma torch to an old Miller Syncrowave TIG welding machine and managed to get it working to some degree. Plasma is a specialized version of TIG welding. The tungsten electrode is recessed into the torch head and a focused stream of ionized argon gas is what becomes the welding arc. A plasma torch normally relies on a pilot arc to create a path for the super-hot plasma arc to follow to the work piece and Gary's set up did not have that pilot arc. That function is typically built in to power supplies that are designed for plasma torches. The plasma arc is much hotter than a conventional TIG arc and higher speeds and deeper penetration can be achieved versus the TIG arc. Gary had many issues maintaining the plasma set up which seemed prone to overheating. He had abandoned the plasma torch and went back to the conventional TIG torch when I was hired in November 1986.

The Wicked was being designed around that time and went into production in 1987. I welded most, if not all of the early Wickeds and only used conventional TIG and the old MIller welder. Later we upgraded to the newest Miller Maxstar TIG welders that were equipped with pulsers. I believe we had one of the first Maxstar machines sold in New England. They were the first TIG machines that had inverter power supplies versus the older and much larger transformer machines. The inverter has taken over since then and transformer machines are now basically dinosaurs. They still work well and the company I work for now has a couple of them.

One of the more important things I did was to change the type of welding wire that was being used. Gary was using an ER70S-2 filler rod which is a standard for basic low-carbon steel (AKA "plain" or "mild" carbon steel) and is OK for welding 4130 that is not being heat treated after welding.
I found a filler rod is stronger and was better suited for welding chrome-moly that would be left in the as-welded (not heat-treated) condition and that was ER80S-D2. This rod also seemed to be cleaner and produced flatter weld beads that would disappear under the paint without any finish sanding.

The use of this rod was later corroborated by Mr. Dennis Klingman who was the Director of Motorsports Welding for the Lincoln Electric Company. He advocated for the use of this filler rod for welding 4130 that was not going to be heat treated. It was gratifying to see my choice being validated by a recognized expert in the welding of chrome-moly tubing for racing applications.

So there, the truth is out now

I feel better


Active member
Tip - I got rid of the toe clips on my '89 wicked for safety reasons just a lot easier to get out of. I like the toe flips though gotta love WTB(y)