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Commuting on a Fat Bike: Anyone Doing It?

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Commuting on a Fat Bike: Anyone Doing It?

Old 01-17-17, 09:48 AM
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Hermes1
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Commuting on a Fat Bike: Anyone Doing It?

I am interested to know if any are commuting on a fat bike, not so much in snow (though I am aware this is where they excel) but on roads in dry or relatively dry conditions (I live in Phoenix, AZ)? I am currently commuting on a Trek 520 touring bike which I absolutely love and has served me well for not only my commutes but general pleasure riding, but I will be retiring, likely the end of this year and my needs will be different. We are planning to fulltime and travel in a 5th Wheel and I will be limited to 2-bikes, mine and my wife's, so getting a second bike in for me is out of the question, but considering where we will be traveling and the kind of riding I will be doing, a fat bike has a lot of appeal for me. So I am just wondering if any others are commuting on paved roads with a fat bike and what their thoughts are as I may consider parting ways with the Trek and getting a fat bike? I know the rolling resistance will be higher on a fat bike. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-17, 09:59 AM
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For road riding, even with a slicker tire, it really is not ideal. That really is not what a fat bike is for. I have one, and I have commuted on it, and honestly, it is miserable. In the snow and what not, it is pretty good. Dry roads and warm temps? Not a chance I would be on that as there is no reason to ride it. Drop the psi and ride the beach? Absolutely!!!
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Old 01-17-17, 10:06 AM
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I commute with a fat bike. That's because half my commute is through a park trail where it is not maintained in the winter. Even today with the overnight ice rain it was a challenge. But with ice and snow, it was still way better than it was when I was using my beater mountain bike. Before I had the fat bike, the snow and ice in the unmaintained MUPs restricted me to the roads, which at one section was really dangerous with cars zipping at 80kmh.
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Old 01-17-17, 10:20 AM
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I know people who use them in the winter, but they all switch to a cx, road, or touring bike for summer commutes. I personally ride my road/race bike as much as possible when the weather is nice, and have a fendered touring setup for the poor weather. I imagine the weight would feel sluggish most of the time, and depending on your length of commute, the flat bars might not be ideal.
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Old 01-17-17, 10:33 AM
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Thank you all for these very helpful replies, exactly the kind of information and sharing of experiences I was looking for and helped me to make the decision to wait on a fat bike purchase until I am no longer commuting. For now I will stick with my trusted touring bike.
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Old 01-17-17, 10:34 AM
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While a fatbike is a lot slower on smooth paved roads, they can still be a lot of fun. My commute is 18-21 miles 1/2 gravel the other half paved. When the gravel is in bad shape, the fatbike is my preferred ride. When the gravel is packed and smooth, the fatbike is not the fastest, but I will sometimes take it anyway.

I've also done some touring on a fatbike. While not the best choice for paved roads, it does open up alternative routes. So short answer, ride what you want and enjoy.
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Old 01-17-17, 06:04 PM
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On just about every local group ride I see at least one fat bike and the riders have no problems with the average 12 mph pace over the 10-15 mile distance. They could probably do even better with tires having less aggressive tread -- you can hear a lot of noise from those knobbly wide tires, which indicates some wasted energy.
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Old 01-17-17, 07:20 PM
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With all the snow in Portland this last week and a half, I really wish I had a fat bike to commute on.
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Old 01-18-17, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
On just about every local group ride I see at least one fat bike and the riders have no problems with the average 12 mph pace over the 10-15 mile distance. They could probably do even better with tires having less aggressive tread -- you can hear a lot of noise from those knobbly wide tires, which indicates some wasted energy.
12 mph over that distance is not hard to ride on a fat bike. My first fat bike I clocked it at about 19.5 mph but that was all it had in there. Gearing is usually a huge factor, as they are geared for off road/climbing and are now mostly running a 1x10 or 1x11 set up.
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Old 01-18-17, 09:48 AM
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Fat bikes are a very amusing toy with an exceptionally narrow range of applications at which they excel.

There's no denying that they are fun, but unless you are taking on snow or sand, they will be outperformed by something else.

My cross bike does better on road. And on trails. And on ice with studded tires.

But my Pugsley is fun.
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Old 01-18-17, 09:50 AM
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A vintage mountain bike (one with a rigid fork) is pretty good at mixed surfaces and cheap. Or slice the difference between a road and offroad bike and get a gravel bike.
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Old 01-18-17, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
Fat bikes are a very amusing toy with an exceptionally narrow range of applications at which they excel.
While you are correct about the range where they excel, there is a much wider range where they are a reasonable option.

Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
There's no denying that they are fun, but unless you are taking on snow or sand, they will be outperformed by something else.
I'd add rough rutted roads and rutted ice to the list where they go beyond fun to being the best option.

Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
My cross bike does better on road. And on trails. And on ice with studded tires.
With DIY studs on the fatbike (screws screwed out from the inside and run tubeless), there is no ice condition where I would not prefer my fatbike to my studded 29er with 2" tires. The fatbike rides over things that you may not even see but will still bring you down hard on the 29er.
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Old 01-18-17, 11:13 AM
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If I had to get rid of a bike, the fat bike would be the first to go, without hesitation.
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Old 01-21-17, 07:18 PM
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I have not done this personally, nor do I know anyone who has, but I have asked about it at a bike store and they seem to think it can be done. Get a fat bike with disc brakes (as they all do have). Then get a second set of narrow wheels, with the same cassette the disc brake rotors spaced properly, and for summer riding use the fat bike frame with the "summer" wheels. Supposedly the Pugsley uses hubs that are the same size as mountain bike hubs, so the scheme sounds good "on paper" as it were.
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Old 01-22-17, 11:28 AM
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Well, it "can" be done on any bike. Some are better suited though.
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Old 01-22-17, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by swwhite View Post
I have not done this personally, nor do I know anyone who has, but I have asked about it at a bike store and they seem to think it can be done. Get a fat bike with disc brakes (as they all do have). Then get a second set of narrow wheels, with the same cassette the disc brake rotors spaced properly, and for summer riding use the fat bike frame with the "summer" wheels. Supposedly the Pugsley uses hubs that are the same size as mountain bike hubs, so the scheme sounds good "on paper" as it were.
The Framed Minnesota line of fat bikes at one time came with a second set of wheels when you bought the bike just for this purpose. Not sure if they are still offering this. Newer fat bikes are using odd sized axles like my Norco has a 197 rear axle I think it is.
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Old 01-26-17, 02:43 PM
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I have an early framed, with the 29er rim set. Never used it. Some days I like the fat bike to commute, in fair weather even, but with the tire pressure up. Makes yo strong.

The only people I know of in town that commute on a fat bike do it because they only have one bike, and a fat bike fits their lifestyle.
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Old 01-28-17, 06:19 AM
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My winter commuter is currently a Trek 520 with Marathon winters. My summer gravel road bike is the same 520 with 37mm regular Marathons. I've had 32 mm cyclocross tires on the 520, ridden on some muddy cow path and log roads with these. Commuted with the 520, toured with it, etc. I don't own, but have ridden several times an Origin 8 crawler. The Crawler was better on a cow path, however if I had to choose between the two for all of my needs- 520 for sure.
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