Hannah is out at the Sea Otter Classic in California, USA. It’s a four day festival of racing and a huge expo area. There are races for every type of bike, but there’s a strong leaning towards mountain biking, and if you want to see new products, prototypes, and unique bikes, it’s the place to be. Head here for all our Sea Otter 2022 Coverage
If you’re of a certain age there’s every chance that you once lusted over a Fat Chance Yo Eddy, and now that you’re grown up there’s a little more chance you can now afford one. After a break of around 15 years, Chris Chance has returned to building bikes, and their team of four builders is making two or three a week – often for people who say they’ve lusted after one for years – from their new base in Oregon.
The bikes are staying true to their roots, brought into the modern day just enough to make them meet today’s standards and rider expectations, but still looking akin to their vintage forefathers.
What happened to Fat Chance?
Chris explained that he stopped making bikes when he got burnt out, and spent around 15 years out of the industry. During that time he designed and made garden decorations – keeping his hands busy and developing his 3D modelling skills, though at the time he had no intention of returning to frame building, he just likes to be working with his hands. Another occupation for the hands, he also trained in shiatsu, which included doing lots of deep meditation. He credits this work with enabling him to get his head over that burn out, and comes back to the world of bikes with a new outlook and perspective.
The seeds of making a return to bikes were sown by a couple of interviews. First, he was interviewed by someone doing a Phd in mountain bike culture (which might just be the only doctorate that many of us would really like to read). As he thought about the bikes he’d made and the scene he’d been in for the first time in years, he realised there were whole areas of his brain lying dormant, but that still fired back to life when given a little bike stimulation.
Then, he was interviewed for a ‘where are they now’ article, during which he was asked what he thought of the whole retro bike scene. His answer was ‘what retro bike scene?’. It was only then that he discovered that there were loads of riders who felt like Chris had created something that was important to them, and that people felt he was somehow important to them.
Realising he still liked bikes, and that people liked his bikes, he thought it was time to get back in the game. So here he is, with the modern day versions of the Yo Eddy, Chris Cross, and Wicked Fat Chance.
Fat Chance Yo Eddy
- From $2349 (steel), $3,950 (titanium)
He’s kept this as similar to the original as possible, by using a machined ‘Demi yoke’ which allows the bike to have clearance for 27/5+ tyres, but retain the same chainstay length as the original Yo Eddy.
The frames are made from his own custom double butted stainless steel tubing, or titanium. Then all that lovely shiny metal is covered in a suitably 90s paint job, with custom options all the way.
There’s something about that font that takes years off you.
A choice of metals. So you have to pick your model, your metal, and your paint – which teenage dream will win?
Chris designs the various head tube badges and they’re made locally.
Made just a well as they ever were.
The bike has been given a longer top tube and shorter stem and will accommodate a longer fork than the original – you can have a120 or 130mm fork, or a rigid one. You also get Boost 148 spacing and disc brakes and 73mm English threaded BB.
- From $3,950 (titanium)
This is designed for riding built flow trails and jumps. It has a 65° head angle, 75° seat tube angle, and has been given a longer top tube and shorter stem than the Yo Eddy. It’s designed for riding with a 140 or 150mm fork. This one here is titanium, and it’s also available in stainless steel
Straight steerer tube.
Larger tubing on the titanium models.
- From $2,495 (steel)
This is not a totally modern gravel bike. Chris likes bikes to climb well, and isn’t keen on the handling of the lower BB heights of current gravel bikes. This then is more like a cross bike.
You can make everything matchy matchy, as painted stems are a optional extra on all the bikes.
It may be more cross bike than gravel bike, but it’s still a versatile ride rather than a race bike. It’ll take up to 700x44mm tyres, or 27.5×2.1in mountain bike tyres. He can even build it to take a dropper post if you want to go there.
Chainstays are ovalised to give tyre clearance. The steel frame is made from a mix of Columbus and Reynolds 853 tubing – or you can go for titanium.
This titanium frame is about to be painted and sent to a customer. Right now, it takes about 6-8 weeks from ordering to build a bike for a customer. Will you be the next one? Head to the website to find out more.
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