If nobody owns the name

mainlyfats

New member
If nobody owns the name...

What's up with the disclaimer?

This site is in no way affiliated with the former Fat City Cycles, it's former owners
or any of it's products. This site is owned and run exclusively by enthusiasts and fans of the former company.


As I understand it, no one owns FCC or the Fat Chance name and Doug certainly doesn't profit from it with this site.

I guess I find it interesting that First Flight has resurrected Mountain Goat in some kind of agreement with its original owner, but nothing's been done with Fat Chance. Again, as I understand it, Chris seems to want nothing to do with it and Wendyll - the less said the better from me - seems, to put it charitably, disinterested in maintaining the "greatest-little-bike-company-in-the-world" brand.

I think I recall Kirk saying he'd sniffed around at the Fat name, but got nowhere.

Anybody else care to weigh-in on the possible successes or failures of a revived Fat Chance?
 
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lucifer

New member
I think the market for high end hardtails is slimmer than we all think, and that it is already well covered by the custom shops. IF tried to do things in the fat mold when they started out and ultimately ended up going full custom. I think it would be tough to get the sales volume necessary to put the price a fair bit less than a custom bike, which is really where you would need to be in order to be successful.
 

elephant

New member
Lucifer has it right in my opinion (He is Lucifer after all).

When I wanted a new hardtail the selection was great for custom bikes. If Fat were still around it would have been high on the list for sure. I looked at all the usual suspects and even looked at carbon, ti, aluminum, scandium, whatever, because bikes have changed since I got my Yo. In the end, I went with a custom fillet steel bike. Off the shelf bikes of comparable quality were around the same price. I only would have bought a non-custom for two reasons 1) much cheaper but still great quality 2) weight.

I decided to sacrifice a lb (or two) to guarantee the ride quality I wanted because there were no cheap well built steel hardtails. It is a small market indeed.

Just as point of reference, you can buy a nice carbon frame that weighs 1200 grams for $500. It is tough to compete selling at $1850 for an 1800 gram frame.
 

colker

New member
i totally disagree on either the custom and the carbon. a fat chance or ibis or any other quality frame is a known quantity: you get what you know. a custom can be good and can be not. anyone telling you a custom is above everything else cause it's unique doesn't know bikes. a fat chance has a geometry which was researched and perfected. i have a custom and i have a fat. unless i have a weird body proportion my fit is pretty much covered by fat chance or ritchey or ibis specs.
as for carbon.. yeah right. if you equal weight and quality, sure but ALL discerning riders i meet KNOW what matters is ride quality, handling, balance.
btw.. aren't you the one who finds your yo eddy a bad bike? so why do you keep posting these things here?
 

colker

New member
I think the market for high end hardtails is slimmer than we all think, and that it is already well covered by the custom shops. IF tried to do things in the fat mold when they started out and ultimately ended up going full custom. I think it would be tough to get the sales volume necessary to put the price a fair bit less than a custom bike, which is really where you would need to be in order to be successful.

mountain biking lost momentum to road riding plus FullSusp bikes which are more about technology than soul, juju and perfect balance hurt the steel and ti hardtail. a company based on high cost, limited production models can't survive.. hence the custom mode. it's less about custom made geometry and more about not dealing w/ quotas promised to shops and distributors. my 0.2c.
 

Yo Eddy!

New member
btw.. aren't you the one who finds your yo eddy a bad bike? so why do you keep posting these things here?

I don't think so Colker. Moreover I don't think it is a good thing to ask anybody to leave if he is not aggressive, very rude or something like that. My 2cts on this.

On topic: I think the all new 2008 Yo Eddy! should be issued in full carbon monocoque :D I won't buy it, but others sure will ...and that is were it all about right? We can't continue protecting people against themselves with their stupid decisions. No, we should benefit. Helps us paying for the real stuff ;)
 

mainlyfats

New member
Ah yes, the Ibis model...

I don't think so Colker. Moreover I don't think it is a good thing to ask anybody to leave if he is not aggressive, very rude or something like that. My 2cts on this.

On topic: I think the all new 2008 Yo Eddy! should be issued in full carbon monocoque :D I won't buy it, but others sure will ...and that is were it all about right? We can't continue protecting people against themselves with their stupid decisions. No, we should benefit. Helps us paying for the real stuff ;)

...That's so weird IMO. But, I have a friend who works at a big shop here in Canada and they can't keep them in stock. Is it because people want a carbon rig? No - it's because they had a buddy who had an Ibis, or couldn't afford one back in the day, or have an old Mojo at home. They MUST have an Ibis.

I don't know the numbers, so I might be talking out my a$$ here, but I'm willing to wager that there were more Fat Chances put out than all the Ibis' and Mountain Goats, the vintage MTB community gets so excited about put together.

The bottom line is that it's still a great BRAND, with tremendous recognition in the all the right places.

And it's not as though the recipe was so complicated. No offense to any FCC ex-welders, but I've never had one that could hold a candle to, say, a Ted Wojcik. The Yo Eddy/Buck geometry was successfully ripped off by Merlin for years and is now pretty much "the classic" 90's ride feel. Wickeds, old Teams and Fat Chances are way too slack for most riders raised on 90's or 00 bikes, but would probably do OK - market wise - as off-road/heavy-duty tourers.

The brand and geometry are like an old glove: patina, memories and great fit. While I agree that there's no shortage of frame builders out there (if you're a part of frameforum you'll know that there's a huge resurgence of small builders), there is a shortage of credible brands.
 
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Yo Eddy!

New member
Actually I think the Ibis is a pretty prety bike for a carbon fs. More svelte and elegant looking than for example another higher end fs monocoque, the Storck Organic (honestly I don't know many more than those, probably because they lay a bit outside my field of interest). The Storck looks a pretty death lump and defo not as organic as the name suggests. Maybe it has also to do with its age. It is a bit older.

Something like a Scale, but not as boring. More punk. Also more upscale. Think you got the 08 Yo than :D

For as far as the old salesfigures are concerned: On an old document from a company who represented FAT in the Netherlands for a very short while I read that late eighties anual output was about 2000 frames. 18 people worked for FAT at the time. The same document tells me that Mountain Goat workforce counted 4 people.
 

colker

New member
...That's so weird IMO. But, I have a friend who works at a big shop here in Canada and they can't keep them in stock. Is it because people want a carbon rig? No - it's because they had a buddy who had an Ibis, or couldn't afford one back in the day, or have an old Mojo at home. They MUST have an Ibis.

I don't know the numbers, so I might be talking out my a$$ here, but I'm willing to wager that there were more Fat Chances put out than all the Ibis' and Mountain Goats, the vintage MTB community gets so excited about put together.

The bottom line is that it's still a great BRAND, with tremendous recognition in the all the right places.

And it's not as though the recipe was so complicated. No offense to any FCC ex-welders, but I've never had one that could hold a candle to, say, a Ted Wojcik. The Yo Eddy/Buck geometry was successfully ripped off by Merlin for years and is now pretty much "the classic" 90's ride feel. Wickeds, old Teams and Fat Chances are way too slack for most riders raised on 90's or 00 bikes, but would probably do OK - market wise - as off-road/heavy-duty tourers.

The brand and geometry are like an old glove: patina, memories and great fit. While I agree that there's no shortage of frame builders out there (if you're a part of frameforum you'll know that there's a huge resurgence of small builders), there is a shortage of credible brands.

i don't know much about merlin but from reading their geo chart it's very different from fat chance.
i don't doubt you can reproduce a lot of things but what's the point? don't we already have independent fabrications ? they WERE Fat chance. they are more legit when it comes to a Fat second coming than anyone else.
 

mainlyfats

New member
Apples and oranges

i don't know much about merlin but from reading their geo chart it's very different from fat chance.
i don't doubt you can reproduce a lot of things but what's the point? don't we already have independent fabrications ? they WERE Fat chance. they are more legit when it comes to a Fat second coming than anyone else.

IF is a custom shop, Fat produced stock bikes. I have an IF too and it's nice, but, if anything, I think the IF brand represents wealthy customers who want the best. I mean, they call their top bikes the XS and get written up about in Forbes. Fat Chance represents something a little different; more of a bros don't let their bros ride off-shore sameness and an article in Dirtrag. It's always seemed to me - and again, I might be talking out of my a$$ here - that IF was built on the Fat customer base, which puts the IF brand lower on the pyramid than that of Fat Chance.

The point - and I think you probably already know this - is that there's money to made. Look at a company like Texas Pacific Luxury Group. They bought Ducati and Vespa and were able to trade on the cache of the name - the ooh factor - and took those brands (in North America at least) from esoteric Euro-snobbery to "a dealer in every major market" accessibility and massive sales increases.

Oh - and older Merlins - that's what I was was talking about - were titanium Fats and the early 90's bikes - as I understand it - followed the Fat geometry evolution. Gary Helfrich is the link. Let me know if I'm wrong about that.
 

Upchuck

New member
I think you're being too hard on IF. When you consider the increased cost of materials and what it takes to be not only financially successful, but also viable in today's mass production/inhouse spec bike industry, they do what they have to do to be around for the long haul. Sure they could lower their prices so that every college student out there can get their hands on one, but they aren't going to be able to afford the high quality welders for very long. Then in no time, they'll be forced to sell to a larger parent company or move their fabrication overseas. A few years later, we'll be chatting on an IF board about how great it is to own an original frame before the "Saratoga" years...

I don't think your analogy with Texas Pacific Luxury Group fits in here. Maybe if you were discussing Schwinn, but IF isn't a large corporate model using the brand name to get the business. IF is quality. I don't see anything wrong with IF being "built on the Fat customer base". Some chose to jump ship when the writing was on the wall. Discerning owners saw this as a chance to continue to get what they want from those who knew how to build it. Those who stayed with Fat Chance apparently felt it was ok that Fats were no longer being built by Fat. Besides, why reinvent the wheel when you already know what people want. From what I remember, it's not like there were 4" travel forks out there on hardtails justifying a different geometry.

I get a little tired of hearing about people saying they're "core" for the sake of being "core". It's like the new grunge. I really could give a rats arse what anyone thinks of me as a rider/owner. I happen to own Fats, IFs, and a Merlin (ranging from '89-'06), along with an assortment of more modern FS rigs and road bikes. Why bring this up? Because in the end, I'm in love with bicycles. Granted, part of the reason I love my old frames is because they're, well, old and come with an interesting history. It makes for great trailside conversation. But it doesn't make me love the newer ones any less. Each one has it's merits and weaknesses. Admittedly, some of that is how I have them built up.

This is only my opinion. I certainly don't mean to come across hostile, so please don't take it that way.

IF is a custom shop, Fat produced stock bikes. I have an IF too and it's nice, but, if anything, I think the IF brand represents wealthy customers who want the best. I mean, they call their top bikes the XS and get written up about in Forbes. Fat Chance represents something a little different; more of a bros don't let their bros ride off-shore sameness and an article in Dirtrag. It's always seemed to me - and again, I might be talking out of my a$$ here - that IF was built on the Fat customer base, which puts the IF brand lower on the pyramid than that of Fat Chance.

The point - and I think you probably already know this - is that there's money to made. Look at a company like Texas Pacific Luxury Group. They bought Ducati and Vespa and were able to trade on the cache of the name - the ooh factor - and took those brands (in North America at least) from esoteric Euro-snobbery to "a dealer in every major market" accessibility and massive sales increases.

Oh - and older Merlins - that's what I was was talking about - were titanium Fats and the early 90's bikes - as I understand it - followed the Fat geometry evolution. Gary Helfrich is the link. Let me know if I'm wrong about that.
 

corky

New member
Good Post UpChuck

:p wise words indeed.

IF maybe Custom now, but it's only been that way for the past year or so for steel. I too detest 'inverse snobbery'. What has a couple of write-ups in a glossy mag got to do with diluting a brand? Why does it make it more 'down with the kid's if the product's made half way up a mountain by a bearded trogladite?
 

ameybrook

New member
I like this thread. The posts are well-thought out and pose good arguments on both sides. All opinions are welcome, and I think its great Colker didn't like his Yo. He's a rider with a style anyone else, and I think its great he posts about it. I have never ridden a Fat, mine are still in the resto process, so I realize my comments aren't worth as much.

But from the sideline, it seems if there was a resurgence of FCC, then all the existing frames would lose their appeal. FCC had an attitude. I grew up and raced on the east coast US and I know all about it. When I moved west, we banded together and called ourselves "east coast hardcore," and cherished our steep head angles, even though they were worthless here in the land of fast, buffed singletrack. FCC was all about the attitude. The original fat cogs were tattoed, rigid, and stoned. I dont think you could replicate that, and IMHO, using the Fat name to sell frames that arent Fats would just be, well, wrong.

Again, thats just my $.02
 

DonH

New member
I think you're being too hard on IF. When you consider the increased cost of materials and what it takes to be not only financially successful, but also viable in today's mass production/inhouse spec bike industry, they do what they have to do to be around for the long haul. Sure they could lower their prices so that every college student out there can get their hands on one, but they aren't going to be able to afford the high quality welders for very long. Then in no time, they'll be forced to sell to a larger parent company or move their fabrication overseas. A few years later, we'll be chatting on an IF board about how great it is to own an original frame before the "Saratoga" years...

I don't think your analogy with Texas Pacific Luxury Group fits in here. Maybe if you were discussing Schwinn, but IF isn't a large corporate model using the brand name to get the business. IF is quality. I don't see anything wrong with IF being "built on the Fat customer base". Some chose to jump ship when the writing was on the wall. Discerning owners saw this as a chance to continue to get what they want from those who knew how to build it. Those who stayed with Fat Chance apparently felt it was ok that Fats were no longer being built by Fat. Besides, why reinvent the wheel when you already know what people want. From what I remember, it's not like there were 4" travel forks out there on hardtails justifying a different geometry.

I get a little tired of hearing about people saying they're "core" for the sake of being "core". It's like the new grunge. I really could give a rats arse what anyone thinks of me as a rider/owner. I happen to own Fats, IFs, and a Merlin (ranging from '89-'06), along with an assortment of more modern FS rigs and road bikes. Why bring this up? Because in the end, I'm in love with bicycles. Granted, part of the reason I love my old frames is because they're, well, old and come with an interesting history. It makes for great trailside conversation. But it doesn't make me love the newer ones any less. Each one has it's merits and weaknesses. Admittedly, some of that is how I have them built up.

This is only my opinion. I certainly don't mean to come across hostile, so please don't take it that way.

AMEN! well put Upchuck....I love my Fats, but my custom IF honestly does fit me better and is my bike of choice when its going to be a fast,hard ride. They are both great bikes though, and im very happy to experience the ownership of both brands.
 
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mainlyfats

New member
I'm making a point about brand perception...

I think you're being too hard on IF. When you consider the increased cost of materials and what it takes to be not only financially successful, but also viable in today's mass production/inhouse spec bike industry, they do what they have to do to be around for the long haul. Sure they could lower their prices so that every college student out there can get their hands on one, but they aren't going to be able to afford the high quality welders for very long. Then in no time, they'll be forced to sell to a larger parent company or move their fabrication overseas. A few years later, we'll be chatting on an IF board about how great it is to own an original frame before the "Saratoga" years...

I don't think your analogy with Texas Pacific Luxury Group fits in here. Maybe if you were discussing Schwinn, but IF isn't a large corporate model using the brand name to get the business. IF is quality. I don't see anything wrong with IF being "built on the Fat customer base". Some chose to jump ship when the writing was on the wall. Discerning owners saw this as a chance to continue to get what they want from those who knew how to build it. Those who stayed with Fat Chance apparently felt it was ok that Fats were no longer being built by Fat. Besides, why reinvent the wheel when you already know what people want. From what I remember, it's not like there were 4" travel forks out there on hardtails justifying a different geometry.

I get a little tired of hearing about people saying they're "core" for the sake of being "core". It's like the new grunge. I really could give a rats arse what anyone thinks of me as a rider/owner. I happen to own Fats, IFs, and a Merlin (ranging from '89-'06), along with an assortment of more modern FS rigs and road bikes. Why bring this up? Because in the end, I'm in love with bicycles. Granted, part of the reason I love my old frames is because they're, well, old and come with an interesting history. It makes for great trailside conversation. But it doesn't make me love the newer ones any less. Each one has it's merits and weaknesses. Admittedly, some of that is how I have them built up.

This is only my opinion. I certainly don't mean to come across hostile, so please don't take it that way.

... not how the companies are actually run, or what they actually do. This, to me, is all about the shallowness of how they appear. A brand is something you buy into, rather than just buy. Just to be clear, I don't want to see anything happen here. I'm just musing a bit on the power of the brand in what is, let's face it, the new market we prop up: Vintage Mountain Bikes.

I certainly don't fault IF for any of the decisions they've made marketing-wise, I respect that their doors are still open and they continue to do cutting edge work. I was referring to my perception what their brand means. Again, I too am a proud IF owner. But, let's face it, show me a dozen IF owners without college degrees and I'll be shocked. These are stockbroker rides, not bro rides and the only reason I bought one is because of the FCC connection. The only reason I keep it is that it kicks a$$. There are lots of lucky stockbrokers out there!

The TPLG bit was about them buying and pulling a Vespa/Ducati on the Fat Chance brand. It had nothing to do with IF. I hate what TPLG has done to Vespa, I hope they keep their stinking urban-hipster hands a million miles from anything as dear to me as IF.

I'm enjoying this thread too ameybrook! I know it's a standard-issue disclaimer, but it's always made me ponder, who, exactly, would give a sh!t what we do or say on this board. The answer in my mind is anyone with a vested interest in the future of the brand.
 
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elephant

New member
First, I am known as jerk on most forums I participate on. That said I do not believe I have done anything to anyone here - yet. Maybe he knows me from another forum!

Second, I love my Yo. It is being restored as I type this. I will post pics when it comes back from the painter - supposedly Monday! Anyone got any purple anodized parts they need to get rid of?

Third, custom is pretty great. My second bike is a custom steel built around Yo geometry but suspension corrected and the seattube a degree steeper for my bad knees. It is fillet brazed not welded which I wanted. Also, it is nice to know the builder is choosing tubing for my weight, riding style, local conditions, etc. I also got some artistic touches by the builder. It is hard to go wrong with custom if you choose a reputable builder.

I would have bought a non-custom but good steel frames are expensive no matter how you slice it. Custom seemed like a good deal for the money actually. I made my final decision based on being comfortable with the builder. I ride my bike all the time and I think I made a good decision. I also think any of you who like steel hardtails would agree it is a pretty nice bike.

Fourth, carbon bikes are pretty nice. I know whoever said it was joking, but a carbon bike with Yo geometry would be a good bike. As to ride characteristics, I find correct fork settings and the right headtube angle covers the front end feeling pretty good. As for the BB and rear end hardtails can be tricky. That said I do not see any reason a carbon frame could not be made to ride very nicely and weigh 600 grams less than a steel bike. Builders are always working on new stuff and one will make it happen.

And fifth, I agree that this is a good thread.

That is all I have to say for now.
 

zsazsu

New member
i totally disagree on either the custom and the carbon. a fat chance or ibis or any other quality frame is a known quantity: you get what you know. a custom can be good and can be not. anyone telling you a custom is above everything else cause it's unique doesn't know bikes. a fat chance has a geometry which was researched and perfected. i have a custom and i have a fat. unless i have a weird body proportion my fit is pretty much covered by fat chance or ritchey or ibis specs.
as for carbon.. yeah right. if you equal weight and quality, sure but ALL discerning riders i meet KNOW what matters is ride quality, handling, balance.
btw.. aren't you the one who finds your yo eddy a bad bike? so why do you keep posting these things here?

It was Headtube.
 

corky

New member
... not how the companies are actually run, or what they actually do. This, to me, is all about the shallowness of how they appear. A brand is something you buy into, rather than just buy. Just to be clear, I don't want to see anything happen here. I'm just musing a bit on the power of the brand in what is, let's face it, the new market we prop up: Vintage Mountain Bikes.

I certainly don't fault IF for any of the decisions they've made marketing-wise, I respect that their doors are still open and they continue to do cutting edge work. I was referring to my perception what their brand means. Again, I too am a proud IF owner. But, let's face it, show me a dozen IF owners without college degrees and I'll be shocked. These are stockbroker rides, not bro rides and the only reason I bought one is because of the FCC connection. The only reason I keep it is that it kicks a$$. There are lots of lucky stockbrokers out there!

The TPLG bit was about them buying and pulling a Vespa/Ducati on the Fat Chance brand. It had nothing to do with IF. I hate what TPLG has done to Vespa, I hope they keep their stinking urban-hipster hands a million miles from anything as dear to me as IF.

I'm enjoying this thread too ameybrook! I know it's a standard-issue disclaimer, but it's always made me ponder, who, exactly, would give a sh!t what we do or say on this board. The answer in my mind is anyone with a vested interest in the future of the brand.


I don't have a degree nor am I a stockbroker, however I have 3 If's and a FAT, the IF's came about directly because of FCC. Yes... IF's are at the upper echelons of the price scale for a hardtail, but maybe this is why they remain in business whilst FCC folded?
Maybe the 'better educated' (for want of a better term) have more disposable income, but also maybe they are more immune to marketing BS? ......5 inch 'all-mountain' anyone???WTF????
On the other hand maybe they've found a niche(steel hardtails) to climb aboard and sneer down at the couch(FS) bike owners? who knows...... we all have our reasons, agendas etc....
(maybe that's a big leap and a sweeping genralis(z)ation).... still it would be interesting to see the demographics of IF purchasers though......

I too would hate to see the FCC name resurrected in the name of making a buck. I guess everyone here on this forum has bought into the idea of FCC (or whatever it means to them), and wouldn't want anything to somehow cheapen that view......

Let sleeping dogs lie....(maybe???)

Andy
 

mainlyfats

New member
Hey Andy

I don't have a degree nor am I a stockbroker, however I have 3 If's and a FAT, the IF's came about directly because of FCC. Yes... IF's are at the upper echelons of the price scale for a hardtail, but maybe this is why they remain in business whilst FCC folded?
Maybe the 'better educated' (for want of a better term) have more disposable income, but also maybe they are more immune to marketing BS?

My equation of IF ownership with post-secondary education was ENTITRELY financial ie: higher chance of the income necessary to afford one given a degree. You might be dead on regarding the immunity of the well-heeled.

I'm painting with a pretty broad brush here and I hope that's understood. I also hope people get that this the electronic version of shooting the sh!t over beers for me. My opinions aren't set in stone and by the next round may have done a 180 on me.
 
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