Ever since I sold my Fatboy SE, I've had people picking my brain about why I rid myself of it and if it was a good bike or not. I've decided that I'll put it all out in the open, right here where people can choose to read it or ignore. Did I like the bike? Sure did. Did it have problems? Oh fuck yeah. Here are some honest thoughts from a guy who paid his own hard earned cash on the bike.
The Good Stuff:
The Fatboy is a phenomenal handling bike. Specialized really knows how to tweak geometry and get a quick but stable ride out of this bike. It never felt slow or sluggish, it carved hard and got up to speed quickly. Fit was excellent too, the stock cockpit was well sorted and the OEM bar / stem / post held everything together nicely.
It is decently light weight for a fat bike. With my 1x conversion and lightweight tubes I got the bike down to 31lbs, which I feel is reasonable for this type of bike.
The Specialized Ground Control tires are fantastic. They might cost an arm and a leg to replace but they work wonderfully. They roll fast and bite everywhere, with supple sidewalls to soak up the trail chatter.
I really liked the Specialized Henge saddle. I had some doubts about it at first but it won me over in the end. I liked it so much that I'm thinking of having my local Specialized dealer hook me up with one for my new trail bike. The Body Geometry grips were great too, the shape and feel were excellent, no hands going numb after spending hours riding.
The Bad Stuff:
First off I'm going to say fuck off with the pressfit bottom bracket creak box. I hated pressfit before but this bike took it to another level of mind numbing creaking and groaning with every pedal rotation. Maybe it has something to do with the wider crank spindle or increased loads due to the fat tires, either way it was an annoying and loud bunch of shit that could have been solved with running a good old BSA threaded shell.
The cassette. In its own, the cassette isn't all that bad. Its a lower end offering from Sunrace that seemed to shift just fine..... BUT...... Specialized tossed on a cassette with no carrier body onto and aluminum freehub. What the fuck are you thinking Specialized? What a bonehead move on your part. Here is a photo of my freehub body after one easy ride around the block with mentioned shitty cassette. Over a few weeks it would have been total annihilation of the freehub body. What pea brained idiots decided on that cassette / hub?
Since we are already talking about the hub, I might as well mention how shitty the Specialized hubs are. The rear hub had a tendency to puke the freehub body bearings on a few occasions, and judging by numerous online threads, I'm not alone here. Thanks Specialized for spec'ing Swiss Cheese for a hub.
Still on the hub topic..... why not a thru axle setup? Would have stiffened the bike up, and added some much needed longevity to the rear hub. That along with the fact that all of Specialized's competition has moved to thru axles.
The brakes. One thing I know fer certain is that if you're going to spec a mechanical brake on your bike, skid all the shit out there and go right for the best (and very affordable) Avid BB7. No excuses here, the OEM Tektro brakes are total fucking garbage. Also, the levers and cables / housings can be tossed into the trash along with the brakes.
Specialized nearly hit a home run here with a super handling bike, but some of the parts spec really holds it back. They might want to go back to the drawing board with a few choices or be left in the dust by better offerings in the same price range. I ended up modding mine enough to overcome some of the drawbacks but the hub and bb issues were the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak.
Maybe Specialized can offer me a job to spec their bikes with more of a "working man's" build kit that would stand up to some decent abuse, but I won't hold my breath waiting for it. I would get fired after the first day for telling the engineers and designers that they are fucking idiots for moving away from a threaded bb shell.
Agree or disagree, like it or not, thats how The Bric sees the Fatboy SE. This isn't a review so I won't give it a rating. If I hadn't gotten such a deal on the Fatboy I most likely would have bought something else, like a Kona Wo or Norco Sasquatch, but I don't regret my time on the Fatboy either.
Oh, and while I'm in a bitching mood and before I forget, here is the obligatory "Get the Fuck off my Lawn!"
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.