Simply put, Q-Factor on a bicycle is the distance between the outer surfaces of the crank arms. This affects how far apart the pedals are, which in turn affects the biomechanics of pedaling and the handling of the bike. A bike fitter's rule of thumb for a good lateral fit is to have the hip, knee and foot all in line when pedaling, or stated another way, the center of the pedal/cleat is under the center of the hip. Given this, the body performs best with optimal muscle recruitment and the least likelihood of injury.
With the Voytek, we took a completely different approach to designing a fat tire capable bike. We started with a crankset that has Q-factor only 10mm wider than a "normal" mountain bike and roughly 20mm more narrow Q-factor than other fat tire capable bikes. This allowed us to achieve the optimal biomechanical fit on a carbon hardtail rocket ship that has tire clearance for some of the fattest tires available.
A summary of the Voytek and Q-Factor:
- The numbers: Narrow Q-factor crank arms -- the narrowest pedal stance of any production fat bike by a wide margin. Uses the 83mm bottom bracket standard (implemented as PF107) to provide an actual Q-factor as narrow as 183 mm. The result is the pedals are spaced only about 10 mm wider than a normal mountain bike whereas other fat bikes are typically 30-50 mm wider.
- The Biomechanics: Exclusive Otso narrow Q-factor fat tire capable design provides benefits in biomechanics. A narrow Q-factor reduces knee and hip strain while allowing proper/normal cycling muscle recruitment. Simply put, this means more efficient pedaling and painless/seamless transitions between fat biking and mountain biking.
- The Handling: Narrow Q-factor also improve bike handling making the Voytek handle like any other top of the line hardtail. Weight shifting, which is how riders generate much of their steering, causes a torque about the center of the bike based on where the rider’s foot pushes down. With a narrow Q-factor this torque is not only familiar but is also smaller with the foot being closer to the center of the bike. With a wide q-factor, this torque is much larger and creates an unwelcome and abrupt turning transition feel that all wide Q-factor fat bikes have.
- How we did it: Accomplishing this narrow Q-factor has not been done before on a production bike because it requires a custom offset chainring (not easy to do unless you make your own chainrings), a commitment to 1x drivetrains (Voytek is designed exclusively for 1x drivetrains), and some creative engineering with the chainstay design (we can be very creative).