North American Hand Built Show 1: Fat Chance Returns

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Our tall and wiry correspondent, Brad Quartuccio reports from the North American Hand Built Show (NAHBS) in Louisville, Kentucky. First up, he’s got the shots of the new, Kickstarter-funded Fat Chance Yo Eddy.

Fat Chance Bicycles

After a 15 year hiatus, Fat Chance Cycles is back. Unlike many revived brands, this one has the original DNA running the show, with Chris Chance himself behind the scenes at the Ventana fabrication shop and involved in every piece of the production process. Some things never change. First out of the gate is the Yo Eddy Team Fat Chance, available in 29in or the pictured (red) 27.5in wheel size version. The name may be the same, but these aren’t strictly throwback bikes. The Big One Inch fork is back with gussets on both sides, and now fitting into a tapered headtube with a thru-axle keeping everything pointed the right direction. A dropper post, carbon rims, and 1x drivetrain make it clear this bike is from 2015, not 1995. Click on individual photos to make them huge.

Still a pretty classic silhouette
We’re not sure if this looks right, though. Room for tapered suspension forks, but non-taper rigid.
Neat thru-axles
Teardrop gussets on the forks.
Brad brought his portable studio to NAHBS for these great shots.
He’s back! Chris Chance in person.
He’s baaa-aack! Eddy is also back.
Classic untapered chainstays
Stealth dropper. We do hope the frames are wax-oyled.


On the true throwback front however, it was only appropriate to shoot a couple of vintage Fats that Chris had along for the NAHBS ride. The black and gold Wicked Fat Chance dates from 1986, the early days of mountain biking when parts were first becoming readily available, and everyone was still figuring out exactly what a mountain bike could do.

It’s the future, right? This mountain bike lark’ll never take off
When 531 was king.
Very made in the USA
How many shark fins actually got fitted?
Original Specialized Ground Controls
Pretty contemporary looking for a bike from the ’80s

Fast forward to the mid-nineties with the purple Team Fat Chance, and the parts that many of us lusted after but couldn’t afford at the time. Both bikes represent significant parts of the evolution of the machine, with the latest Yo Eddy being another piece of the Fat Chance story.

Now we’re in the way-back machine
This colour looks so right on this bike. Would it work on a modern machine?
If you’re a certain age, you’ll have gone misty-eyed at this bike
Just yes. And a Smoke and Dart pairing too. Where’s Dave Hemming when you need him?
Which would you have? The 1995 machine or the 2015 one?

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Comments (9)

    Anyone else think the angles look wrong, or the fork may be too short?

    I can’t work what looks wrong about it either. That fork/headtube junction is utterly horrible. I loved the 90s models and signed up eagerly for the update emails but I can’t say that I’d spend $2500 (is that right?) on that f&f. Disappointed.

    Doesn’t do anything for me, but then I’m a “modern” MTBer, an arriviste. Looks like it’s falling over itself, needs a slacker head angle to my eyes. And sticking that skinny steerered fork in that fat head tube is all kinds of wrong.

    1995 all the way

    those angles on the new bike look awful steep, does Mr Chance know its 2015?

    Shiny and red 😉 (sort a tapered fork out though, or Carbon 9er fork, in matt black….)

    I think it’s just that the frame is designed around a longer fork. Look at the BB drop in that first pic.
    This is still a prototype.
    Interestingly, When Fat Chance disappeared, IF came along to take over for me. But now IF seem stuck in c2000, here comes Chris with what could be a nice modern take on a similar bike. It’s a bit pricey for me, but I’ll keep an eye on it.
    The Ritchey Timberwolf is also something I’m keeping an eye on.

    I agree about the Ritchey Timberwolf, sounds like a great bike

    Aaarghhhh! Silly fixie-type handlebars on the retro bikes! Did people really ride with tiny handlebars then?

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