|Wicked Fat Chance
My two bikes are late-80s Wickeds, made by Fat City Cycles of Somerville, MA. They are my second and third Wickeds.
My first was stolen right outta my garage in 1990. That was Wicked I and it was primer gray with a safey yellow fork. No decals -- it looked like generic-bike. It was the floor model at Avenue Cyclery and I bought it in 1988 for $1350. That was double the amount I paid for my first MtB, an '86 or '87 Fisher HooKooEKoo that was stolen
I only had Wicked I for a coupla years and when I lost it, I knew I had to have another Wicked, so I got a second job and bought Wicked II in late '90 from American Cyclery. I've had it (the bike, not the job) ever since, thankfully.
Black on black, it's been to hell and back and still rocks. I rode with that rigid Fat City fork long, long... long after NO one ventured offroad without suspension. Singletrack, epics, tours, Mass rides, countless trips in town. Thousands of miles, several crashes. I've spent a lot of time on that bike.
The only original parts are the frame (of course), the fork and a Salsa stem with the old cable roller for cantalevers. Everything else has been replaced or upgraded. V-brakes instead of the original cantilevers, 21-speeds instead of the original 18.
After 14 years of Wicked II's service on lots of CA dirt and SF streets, in Feb 2004 I bought Wicked III on eBay. I was just checking out eBay, saw it and placed a winning bid of ~$360.
Here's the write-up that was posted by the seller, plus some enthusiastic comments [along with my own comments].
1988 Wicked Fat Chance with 1998 Marzocchi Z3 Bomber Light Air Forks
[ed. note: There is NOTHING light about these forks -- plus, I think they kinda mess up the bike's geometry. It is SUCH a different ride than Wicked II.]
19" Seat Tube c/c, 23" Top Tube c/c, 17 ?" Chainstay Length.
Original Factory Custom Paint.
[ed. note: That was the first thing that had to go. It was primer gray like Wicked I, but with Frankenstein green paint splatters. I sent the frame to Sycip for a beautiful powdercoating job.]
Shimano XT Group. 175mm Cranks.
(For Rider Appox 58" to 62").
[Since I'm 5'10", I'm kinda on the low end of this and the bike does feel big. Partly because of the Marzochi, and partly because the frame geometry is different than Wicked II.]
True Temper Double Butted TIG Welded Tubing.
East Coast Design Makes Great XC Bike.
Very fine handling bike, very collectable.
[Yes! Yes! Yes!]
Many Quotes on Wicked Fat Chance & Marzocchi Z3 Forks:
I had just bought a wicked fat through the internet from a guy in
texas....I have had 4 high quality mountain bikes previously and the
wicked is by far the best feeling bike I have ever ridden... I would
suggest it to ANYONE!!!
I recently purchased a used Wicked Fat Chance bike and the ride is unbelievably smoother than my old steel frame. The Wicked is made of lighter True Temper steel with fine welds and gussets throughout. I believe that the Wicked Lite frame goes for about $850 from Fat City Cycles, somerville, Mass. Try a Fat, you'll like it.
Yeah, there is something special about the Monster Fat. The chainstays are longer (17 1/8") than a Yo Eddy, the same length as the stays on my old Wicked. I think this was the intermediate geometry between the even earlier Fats with more relaxed angles, and the newer frames like my Yo Eddy with shorter stays. For aggressive offroad riding my Yo & Ti Fat are perfect, but the Monster & Wicked are just a bit smoother & perhaps more stable. My monster was made in 1987, the Wicked I think in 1988, the Yo in 1996 and the Ti Fat is a 1994. For an AR or touring bike conversion I think the frames built by Fat City in the late 80's can't be beat. The Monster was an attempt by Fat City Cycles to build a less expensive frame using mostly straight gauge tubing and it is easily heavier than my other Fats. It does seem slightly stiffer too. It's still a beautifully made frame. I also received a few private emails about Fats, straight bars and riding mountain bikes as AR's or tourers. Nice to know I'm not the only iBOB that feels this way. bruce boysen
The Wicked has a 72 degree seat tube angle - considerably slacker than the Bontrager. The head angle is a pretty standard 71 degrees, but with much more rake than that on a Bontrager. Much longer wheelbase.
I went on a huge backcountry MTB ride last thursday with a buddy who rides an old Wicked Fat Chance. I swapped bikes with him so that he could get a feel for where my fork is at tuningwise and his position on the Fat was way stretched out compared to the Bonty. I know that he had a larger setback but I think the geometry was different too. Just wanted to know if you noticed that or if you got your two positions the same. He is a very skilled guy who has done trials in the past. It was amazing to watch him ride through super technical downhills and stop at a rocky switchback, track stand and then start bunny hopping in place to line up his attack, then power off with a wheelie to drop about four feet over the rocks. I got off and walked...
This is a *great* mountain bike, IMO. I have most of the parts to build it up just how I want it. Still need a 135mm softride stem for it. Its a black frame with with a bright green fork and decals. Its that ugly puke green that came on a bunch of Fats probably around 1990. Its really cool.
I'm swapping out my ancient DEORE crankset on my 1987 Wicked Fat Chance for
some LX ones. I've discovered that the new cranks stick out so far that myfront derailler couldn't shift into the highest chainring. (forget the chainline!!) I did discover that by removing the collar and snugging the chainring sideof the cranks right up to the bearing races, it looks & shifts just about right. The extra 1" sticking out on the other side was noticeable even on ashort ride, and isn't really a solution.If I could get a BB axle that was short enough (~104mm) both of the crankarms would be snug against the bearings and I could forget the collars (andthe misery they've caused me in the past). I called FatCity, and theshortest axle they have is 117mm, which would take 10mm off what I have now, but still leave me lopsided.The other option is a White Industries BB. I called White Industries up, butI wasn't completely convinced that the smallest length would work (112mm),and didn't get a good vision of how this BB would work with my existing frame.As I'd have to find a shop to special order the thing, I want to be sure that this is a viable solution to my woes. Has anyone successfullyretrofitted a FatChance BB with a White version? Any other success stories? Is it viable to get someone to cut & weld the axle (a-la Bontrager?)I had this same problem! The answer is to lose the Fat Chance sealedbearings and put in a Mavic (or current Stronglight) BB cartridge that doesnot use internal threads -- rather, it clamps in from the sides. It willwork just perfectly and is available in many different axle lengths. Theyare quite appropriate for MTB use as they are well sealed and totally bomproof.
Not very aggressive in geometry but fantastic the way it carved singletrack. A sweet well balanced ride. I upgraded parts over the years but the soul of a bike is in the frame and these were built with love and integrity. A year ago I traded it up to get a new Yo Eddy from the factory but I wish I had kept it. It was such a nice ride I stayed with it's rigid fork even though my style of riding was begging for some suspension relief. My Yo Eddy is everything I wanted it to be - more aggressive geometry, long travel suspension adjusted, stronger tubes, and rides like a Fat Chance - but I have to say the welds on the Wicked were even better - like melted butter (it was built in Sommerville, MA and the Yo in Saratoga, NY).
A Wicked is a bit retro now but it still embodies everything that is good about mountain bike riding. A classic. Owning one is a love affair.
Ideal owner: serious XC rider or anyone who appreciates a good bike. Properly outfitted this frame will carry you anywhere with comfort and confidence.
One of the best bikes ever,even today.I have owned 4 hardtails ever since I started back in '95 with this one,but this is still my benchmark bike.The way all steel bikes should feel:Laterally stiff,but compliant--I ride this bike fully rigid(the way it was meant to be),and it just feels right--smooth,yet crisp.I am so impressed by the craftmanship--every weld is well-finished,and the frame bears the touch of East Coast master Chris Chance.The geometry is great--the only bike that I liked better as a singletrack machine was my 2000 Spooky Darkside(broken).This bike is like the Energizer Bunny.I will never give it up. Weaknesses: The only big weakness is the 1" steerer tube.Hard to find suspension forks these days.But this is unimportant,considering it rides best with the rigid fork it came with.
Fat City and Chris Chance are out of business.Your bikes will be missed,Chris. Similar Products Tried: Spooky Darkside(broken),custom Seven Sola Ti(same geometry as the Darkside),'98 Klein Adroit Race Bike Setup: 18" frame,8-speed XT componentry(vintage '95),threadless rigid fork,Thompson seatpost,Sycros stem,Answer Hyperlite bar,Chris King headset,Avid Single Digit 2.5 V's(replaced original LX cantilevers),Time Atacs,Selle Italia Flite saddle Bottom Line: The Fats are unique among bikes in that they seem to get better with age,and my Wicked is no exception.I have loved this bike since the first day I got it and I love it even more today.Even though I have fancier,higher-technology bikes in my stable,I still throw a leg over this bike just for the sheer enjoyment of the ride it brings.This bike is simply timeless,and my updates have not diluted the feel one bit.5 chilies for a classic!
Perfect example of a hand-built steel frame. Tight geometry and great paint. This 1991 Wicked is one of the old school Fats with perfect welds, understated gussets, and the Don't Tread on Me decal.
Super strong, yet light steel frame. Climbs like a mtn. goat! Welding is supreme. Master craftsmanship. Weaknesses: 1" head tube. Press-in (no threads) bottom bracket. Fat City is no more... so support for things like BB replacement is hard to find. Similar Products Tried: Merlin mountain, Litespeed Pisgah, Ross Mt. Hood!, Specialized Rock F*cker, 1964 Schwinn Typhoon Bike Setup: 1990 XT with thumb shifters! Rigid fork, old but sturdy Mavics Bottom Line: The frame is what makes this bike special. All the components are replacable, but the frame is too sweet to part with.
Very nimble, esp. on the technical downhills. Awesome on flats and rollers. Confidence to launch over logs, etc. So very tight.
Thanks Bob(Yo Eddy review)for letting us know Fat City is closing. I called and got one of the last Yo Eddy frames. They're sending me new decals for the Wicked. I am gonna paint it, put the ridgid fork back on and keep it till I die. Thanks Chris Chance for the developing the "east coast" geometry. You legacy will live on at places like Merlin and IF!
beautiful workmanship, nice dropouts, comfortable ride, quick handling
One of the finest hardtails i have ever ridden. my trek carbon was a little more comfortable on the descents, but the ride of a good steel bike has no equal. the triple butted 4130 that Fat uses on this frame is so compliant because of the thinner tubeset, however the non-tapered seatstays makes the rear end stiffer so it climbs very well. this bike was make for singletracks. it loves to fly through twisting singletrack. even though i am running a rigid fork, it is still a comfortable ride. i actually feel more control on the technical singletracks with a fully rigid bike. i may not be able to fly down as fast, but i can clean the harder sections easier.
Great Shock! Strong as nails and very plush! Minimal maintenance and Marzocchi quality! I think oil and springs are the best in a shock! Weaknesses: None so far! Similar Products Tried: Just Marzocchis! Bike Setup: Kona Manomano Bottom Line: Great Shock! Strong as nails and very plush! Minimal maintenance and Marzocchi quality! I think oil and springs are the best in a shock! Buy this fork if you can still find it! 5 flamin' chilis!
$250 Strengths: very smooth, easy adjusting, and minimal mantinance required Weaknesses: a bit on the heavy side 3.9lbs Similar Products Tried: manitou sx Bike Setup: specialized stumpjumpet pro xt/xtr Bottom Line: easy mantinance and one of the smoothest forks ive ever used
$300 Purchased At: darlings island Strengths: awsome fork it is a very smooth working fork.its quite stong and resists flex well.it is super sensitive over the smallest bumps and did I say it looks cool too.
totaly awsome fork I have used it for 8 cross contry races and I can say marzocchi makes the best the best forks out there.this is an exelent fork for any serious mountan biker who dosent mind spending a bit of cash
Strong;Good performance in every conditions;No shockboots so you can clean the seals easily;Open bath design; good working preload adjustment Weaknesses: 70 mm travel Similar Products Tried: Rock Shox Indy sl; Judy xc; RST Bike Setup: Mongoose Rockadile; Marzocchi Z3 light,XT/LX compenents,Profile Stiffy and Ultra bar,RS Suspension Sweatpost Bottom Line: This fork is AWESOME!!!!!!!!! it blows every fork of this planet!
I bought this fork 2 years ago for my Goose. After changing the springs (the red ones for the heavy guys) the performance of this fork was even better!!
light weight,strong as hell and they will take a trashing and i ride them real hard every day (they just lov big drop off's) Weaknesses: i dont like the colour not enough travel (70mm) Similar Products Tried: rst mozo pros Bike Setup: Kona manoman Bottom Line: i love them they are real cool and smooth and dont take much looking afterGreat travel, strong Weaknesses: Had to add a heavier weight oil. after that no problems Similar Products Tried: Judy T2 Bike Setup: Joshua XO, XT group, Rock Shox super deluxe Bottom Line: Fantastic. For the money you can't beat it. Not too much travel. Also I have never bottomed this baby out (after adding heavier weight oil). It would get five if I didn't have to add the oil.
These shox are wicked! I use them on my screwing around bike. They are plush and really get the job done! They are far better than the 1999 z4. i have only bottomed them twice , but i was airing off sick $hit! I prefer my jr t on my vps-2, but I really enjoy screwing around on these! 5 piles of flaming $hit!
This shock, after owning a Rock Shock Judy that cracked in half, is much more effecient in absorbing big hits as well as smoothing out the little bumps. All in all thus far it has given me a great ride no matter how big the hit or rough the terrain. Weaknesses: The shock is slightly heavier, but otherwise no complaints wht so ever. Similar Products Tried: Rock Shok Judy XC Bike Setup: TREK Bottom Line: I am very impressed the quality of performance I have recieved from this shock. I have convinced several of my friends to get a Marzocchi shock, whether it was what I have or another model, and they have all felt the same way.
Thanks For Looking!
On Jan-20-04 at 14:25:12 PST, seller added the following information:
I just want to be sure everybody understands: Most of this ad is made up of quotes from satisfied Fat Chance riders, & also Marzocchi fork purchasers. I meant to format it better, but somebody bid on this bike in the first few seconds of the auction, so I was immediately locked out from editing the ad with quote marks, etc.
Popular bike I guess!
The bike itself is described in the first few lines of the ad, & Fat Chance & Marzocchi z3's in general after the line reading 'Here are quotes". Not the best looking ad I've ever put up, but I really tried to give you a sense of how famous these Wicked Fat Chance bikes are! I got all the best & most pertinent quotes from the various user-group biking web sites. Thanks for reading through all this info; there will be a test at the end of class!