Lateral flex of Gary Fisher Fat Possum swingarm

Aloha Lee,
I have a 2007 Gary Fisher Fat Possum XT. I love this bike except that the swingarm flexes a lot when climbing. This seems to be a problem with heavier riders like me (I weigh 205). I can’t afford to buy a new bike and I’m pretty much stuck at my current weight-I can’t afford to lose weight cause I do a lot of heavy lifting at work. Is there anything I can do to alleviate this problem or do I just suck it up and keep riding?

Hey Keoni,

I’ve never ridden that bike but — funny! — I wrote marketing copy for it back in 2006:

— — —

Fat Possum
Me and you. All over the mountain. All day.
We live in a golden age: the age of the Fat Possum. It has six inches of suspension, so you can ride it anywhere, yet it’s efficient enough to pedal everywhere. Ride from your doorstep or the end of the road — no pickup trucks needed. Back in the ’70s we doubt even Gary saw this coming.

— — —

The entire magalog (part magazine, part catalog) was written in this style. It won a gold medal in its advertising class, with a special mention for the copywriting. Like I said, funny.

2007 Gary Fisher Fat Possum XT, archived on the Fisher site.


The Interweb is full of people saying the Fat Possum rear end is flexy, so I’m not gonna say it’s your imagination. But I will say this:

– There’s nothing you can do to stiffen the frame. That’s one reason a bike purchase decision should always start with the frame. Parts can be swapped out. Fundamental frame characteristics, well, you’re stuck with ’em.

– You can stop pedaling so hard.

– You can stop cornering so hard.

– No more aggressive sprinting, pumping, ripping and otherwise braaaping.

Wait, that doesn’t sound like fun.

Ride the bike. Focus on terrain and technique. Celebrate the fact some flex actually helps the bike track through corners.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. How about this marketing copy?

— — —

“The 2007 Fat Possum features Active Tracking Technology, an exclusive feature that frees the rear wheel to find its own path — the right path — through every corner and rough patch. On the gas or on the rails … the Fat Possum will get you there.”

— — —

Ha! Gold medal worthy!

Seriously, ride your bike. Have fun.

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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5 replies
  1. Keoni says:

    Hey Lee,

    I’m not gonna stop braaaping so I guess I’ll just take it like a man. “Active Tracking Technology”=”Engineered to Flex” I guess.

    It is pretty funny though-most people have never heard of this bike.

    Nice copy, by the way 🙂



  2. Simcik says:

    Have you located where in the triangle the flex is coming from? Is it in the links or in the triangle itself?

    Flex is one of those things that happens. Ripping corners, frame flex I do not find to be a negetive thing. The bike tracks better when the wheels are following two separate planes.

    For climbing, perhaps look into a bolt on rear wheel/hub. Chris King and Haldey both make options. I found this stiffened up my previous Giant Reign and Iron Horse MKIII.

    Flex is something felt in sprints even on hardtails. It comes from cranks, wheels, and BB areas. Learn to love it. I started out on a single pivot Santa Cruz Bullit and learned to love how it flexed through corners. Bikes track better when the rear has multiple ways in which it can flex to track through the corner. I am not a ig guy and climb like a girlscout, so I havent experienced what you are going through. It may be worth a try to rock a bolt on rear axle to stiffen it up a bit.

  3. Daniel says:

    Maybe you will get “lucky” and the downtube will fail at the pivot. I have seen it happen before. They will likely replace it with a roscoe. The Fat Possum is just another example in a long line of Trek full suspension bikes that were so poorly designed that they had to be pulled from the market within 2 years of their introduction and replaced by a completely different bike. Although it does look like they are getting their act together now…

  4. Keoni says:


    Simcik-thanks for the advice. I will definitely start saving for a bolt on rear wheel. I must admit that cornering is pretty sweet with flex engineered in. Sprinting and climbing, not so much.

    Daniel-This is the last single pivot bike I will ever own. A Roscoe sounds nice but I?m not ready to let my wife cash in on my life insurance policy just yet so maybe I won?t pin it so hard on the downhills until I can convince her that it?s time to replace my bike.

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