Fat Chance Is Back – teenage dreams for the modern mountain biker

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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.

Demi yoke

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.

Custom dropouts

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.

Wicked Fat

  • 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.

Chris Cross

  • 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.

Head here for all our Sea Otter 2022 Coverage

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Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • Fat Chance Is Back – teenage dreams for the modern mountain biker
  • Premier Icon lister
    Full Member

    Oh good grief. They look lush. One of each please!

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    Wasn’t that long ago they did their first reissue?

    Premier Icon kormoran
    Free Member

    ‘Cliche alert’ that Yo Eddy is the first bike in a very long time that would tempt me to get my wallet out.

    Unfortunately I couldn’t afford one when they originally came out either!

    Premier Icon wbo
    Free Member

    I coulødn’t , but still bought the one in Cov Garden cycles circa 91, 92, and it was a big change from my Dynatech!

    Really liked it, like a giant BMX, grello with purple tips, including the Big One Inch forks. I think it had previously been the display bike at interbike. Really high quality all the way from the welds to the design details to the paint 🙂

    Premier Icon Edmund Billing
    Full Member

    Wasn’t that long ago they did their first reissue?

    Yeah, they’ve been back a fair few years now and the Yo has had a couple of versions. I had a retro Yo last year and it was a beautifully built thing. Even the fade on the paint was epic. If the new Yo had the Wicked geometry, or at least a little bit more modern I’s seriously consider saving up.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Oh lord, I’m just waiting for my custom 853 gravel frame and stressing about paint scheme, should just have bought a Chris Cross 😭

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    🤤🤤🤤🤤

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Brilliant to see such brash colours return…

    Premier Icon argee
    Full Member

    Not really much of an add, the markets way more saturated than it was 15 years ago, and i’m guessing there’s no UK distributor, so those prices are going to get a bit more serious with everything added in!

    Premier Icon jeffl
    Full Member

    Oh god, yes please. Time to look down the back of the sofa.

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
    Full Member

    Fortunately I have a couple of Fats hanging about albeit just a tad older, but it’s great to see these and CC making bikes again.

    Premier Icon ernie
    Full Member

    Just need a ringle re release to go with it

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    That Chris Cross looks excellent….

    Premier Icon didnthurt
    Full Member

    They were my favourite bikes when I was a kid.

    Premier Icon black hat
    Full Member

    Oh Lordy. I first got introduced to mountain biking in the late 1990s. I got talked into a weekend “riding a bike” and there was a guy there with a Fat Chance in shades of iridescent blue and it was the dogs doodahs. I’m researching new hard tails…..

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    “A break of around 15 years” from 2015?

    North American Hand Built Show 1: Fat Chance Returns

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)

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