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So I rode a fat bike today... all day...

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So I rode a fat bike today... all day...

Old 01-31-16, 11:17 PM
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corrado33
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So I rode a fat bike today... all day...

I've always been skeptical of fat bikes. They seem like a gimmick. Sure, they can ride over a bit of snow, but not much more than a mountain bike.

Well, I've KINDA changed my mind. There are certainly things that a fat bike can go over that a mountain bike with 2.0-2.4 inch tires can't go over. It's that simple. Downhill especially.

The main thing I noticed about the fat bike is that it's so STABLE. You can lean and lean and lean and you never fall. That really helps when you're climbing at low speeds, which is something the fat bike excels at. I climbed an icy sledding hill for crying out loud.

Here are a few pictures of what we were riding over. The large road looked like this. We didn't stay on that road very long.



If you stayed on the tracks, you were fine. If you strayed at all, you washed out. You could not cross from track to track unless someone had done it before you (on a quad or motorcycle.) There was absolutely no way you could ride through that snow. And it was only 5-6 inches deep. The crust on top didn't help that though. If it was soft powder... maybe. It'd suck though.

Here's what we rode through the majority of the time.



It was slightly deeper than the main road and the HARDEST part of the day was dealing with the thin tracks. If you hit either side you had to work hard to recover and not fall into the snow. Basically we rode in a rut for miles and miles. If you hit the loose snow either in the middle of the trail or sides, you were stopping or going down. That was especially apparent going downhill. If you took the wrong line a bit too fast, you'd end up with your front tire in the middle (deep) part and you'd wash out. I did this many times. I didn't go down that much, but I had to stop quite a few times. There were times when both of my pedals were hitting the snow on either side of the bike. I couldn't do anything about it, I had to keep going.

A few times we rode through 2-3 inches of crusty of snow. It was... possible... but hard. Very hard. It was hard because it was still tracks that we were riding through. Generally if you strayed a bit you could "recover" to the track and get going again with some traction on the main road or better trails. But when the tracks had been snowed over and had 2-3 inches on them, you had no place to "recover." It was hard work.

The fat bike did really well downhill. I would not have dared to take my mountain bike down those trails with that amount of snow. You'd wash out immediately. Also, some of the trails were "soft." Meaning even the fat bike sunk a bit (on what looked to be packed snow.) We powered through nonetheless.

Overall, I had a blast. Am I ready to buy a fat bike? I don't know. It'd love to ride one again, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to spend $1500 on a decent one. It's a hell of a way to train for summer mountain biking though.

OH, we kept the tires about 8-10 PSI. When we got the bikes the people before us had the tires around 5 PSI. That was miserable to ride. It felt like a wal-mart full suspension bike. Too squishy and bumpy. I mean MAYBE if you needed FULL TRACTION, but you'd pump them back up immediately after you were through that part.

So, my initial thoughts still ring true. The fat bike CAN do SLIGHTLY more than a mountain bike can... but not THAT MUCH more. But the things it CAN do are extremely fun in a time when if you don't ski you don't have many other outdoor activities to do.
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Old 01-31-16, 11:43 PM
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Nice pics.

I have a quasi-fat 29+ bike. It's a blast. I bought it to ride the rocky logging roads we have north of Portland. No regrets.

Keith
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Old 02-01-16, 02:34 AM
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That bike makes you look fat! Er, no, you make that bike look fat. Uhhh, nevermind.

Looks like a fun ride.
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Old 02-01-16, 03:29 AM
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Useful in sand or marshy ground too, I believe, especially at the lower tyre pressures. I want one, though really I have little or no use for one. They look like fun.
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Old 02-01-16, 07:59 AM
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I have been riding my fat bike about a month now and it has many benefits over a regular mtb, like stability in ruts, over roots and loose rocks. It climbs like a billy goat and has twice the traction. Negatives are additional weight and rolling resistance, which slow your speed considerably.

I went for a ride with my Sunday morning mtb group on my Giant Anthem X 29 for a change of pace and found myself not only faster than ever, but stronger too. I got several PR's yesterday so I thank riding the fat bike for teaching me more about traction and stability than I realized before and for building up my conditioning with the added weight and rolling resistance.

They are two different bikes for two different purposes, at least for me but I enjoy riding both equally.
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Old 02-01-16, 08:20 AM
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Looks like a fun ride! Where I live, fat-bikes are marketed towards use on beach and sand, not much snow around here.
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Old 02-01-16, 08:35 AM
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They work great year round. Were you on 4" or 5" tires? The studded ones work well on ice as well. Much more capable with 5 " tires at low pressure than skinny tires on soft snow.
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Old 02-01-16, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
I have been riding my fat bike about a month now and it has many benefits over a regular mtb, like stability in ruts, over roots and loose rocks. It climbs like a billy goat and has twice the traction. Negatives are additional weight and rolling resistance, which slow your speed considerably.
Right on all those points. I had to ride the fat bike to work this morning so I could return it (it was a rental) and oh my goodness would it suck to commute on that thing. Far too slow. I was working far too hard to be going the speed I was going. I would not want to do that every day. I'll stick with my 700c bike thank you very much.

Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
They work great year round. Were you on 4" or 5" tires? The studded ones work well on ice as well. Much more capable with 5 " tires at low pressure than skinny tires on soft snow.
We were on 4 inch tires. I don't know if those bikes could have supported 5 inch tires. The chain was ~ a half inch away from the tire. We rode the bikes on ice and they performed admirably. Much more grip than a normal mountain bike. Even on glare ice you could keep control very easily. (We did not have studs.) I would not want to ride this bike with studs. It's heavy enough as it is.
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Old 02-01-16, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kuroba View Post
Looks like a fun ride! Where I live, fat-bikes are marketed towards use on beach and sand, not much snow around here.
Right about now, I'd love to be riding that thing on a beach. (It's cold here... very cold.)

Speaking of which, do fat bikes float?
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Old 02-01-16, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
That bike makes you look fat! Er, no, you make that bike look fat. Uhhh, nevermind.

Looks like a fun ride.
Isn't there a saying comparing sleeping with a moped to riding a fat bike?
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Old 02-01-16, 09:05 AM
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My friend has one and like you said they are extremely stable. Only problem is spare tyre costs...
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Old 02-01-16, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Right on all those points. I had to ride the fat bike to work this morning so I could return it (it was a rental) and oh my goodness would it suck to commute on that thing. Far too slow. I was working far too hard to be going the speed I was going. I would not want to do that every day. I'll stick with my 700c bike thank you very much.
Unless I was on a very dedicated training mission, I would not recommend commuting on a fat tire bike. Huge difference in a 26x4 tires rolling resistance to a 700x25, not to mention the weight of the bike too. Fat tires have their purpose, usually best for marginal surface traction and ground flotation in soft earth.

I'm glad that you enjoyed your fat tire bike experience. I hope that you give it a try again soon.
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Old 02-01-16, 10:02 PM
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I have a fat bike and it is the one I go to for most trails, it is also very comfortable to ride. Though, if I am doing real technical or rocky places I will take the full suspension bike. I do like the fat bike in the snow, but it still has limitations. I like to have the right tool for the job and the fat bike fits most jobs!
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Old 02-03-16, 06:33 PM
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Commuting by fat bike isn’t so bad. You have to remember you’re not in a race, just trying get to work so take it easy. I got my fat bike for the purpose of winter commuting. The last two days have been so warm with the temperature going all the way up to 15degrees I rode my old 10speed to work. Yes, it’s a lot faster. I didn’t want to wear out my winter tires.
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