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  1. #1
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    Adults Who Never Learned to Ride a Bike - Use a Fatbike?????

    When I first rode a fatbike, I thought they'd be great for beginning MTB'rs because they won't get stymied by every root, rock, loose gravel etc. Recently someone at work told me she never learned to ride a bike, but that it is a life-goal. I'm thinking maybe my fatbike would make it easier - thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    When I first rode a fatbike, I thought they'd be great for beginning MTB'rs because they won't get stymied by every root, rock, loose gravel etc. Recently someone at work told me she never learned to ride a bike, but that it is a life-goal. I'm thinking maybe my fatbike would make it easier - thoughts?
    One of the first things I noticed on the maiden voyage of my Moonlander was how amazingly stable the bike was. However that was only 9 months ago, I first rode a bike 50 years ago I don't remember that too well.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  3. #3
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    Methinks there's some logic to your thinking.
    I have noticed that more non-bikers (and older folks, 70+) have taken a shine to my Fatback when I go out with my 4 year old around the neighborhood. A couple have said, "If I were going to buy a bike, that's what I would get."
    Fatbikes are what many MTB's would be if suspension never happened. It is the ATB-All Terrain Bike that many MTB's in the early 90's were (I believe incorrectly) called.
    I would certainly recommend a fatbike for a beginner, except that most beginners wouldn't be willing to swallow the $1500+ sticker.
    -Chris

  4. #4
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    I suspect that someone who'd never learned to ride a bike would giveup relatively quickly on a fatbike, due to al of the extra reciprocating weight in the wheels and the extra effort that it takes to get underway.
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  5. #5
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    I think the steering and handling on a fat bike takes some gettingused to. Maybe its because I was used to skinnier tires, but the weight may not be kind to new riders either.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    I suspect that someone who'd never learned to ride a bike would giveup relatively quickly on a fatbike, due to al of the extra reciprocating weight in the wheels and the extra effort that it takes to get underway.
    If a person has never ridden a bike before, how would they be aware of the extra weight? How many people have learned to ride on WalMart piggies, or even very crude third world country bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by fat_tires_are_fun View Post
    I think the steering and handling on a fat bike takes some gettingused to. Maybe its because I was used to skinnier tires, but the weight may not be kind to new riders either.
    The handling would be new to them because they've never ridden a bike before. It would be new regardless of what the bike was.
    Last edited by crashtestdummy; 09-29-2013 at 05:23 PM.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtestdummy View Post
    If a person has never ridden a bike before, how would they be aware of the extra weight? How many people have learned to ride on WalMart piggies, or even very crud third world country bikes?



    The handling would be new to them because they've never ridden a bike before. It would be new regardless of what the bike was.
    I still think, even without a point of reference the fat bikes weight and clumsy steering feel would be more difficult. Just like learning to drive a manual transmission car...a Honda Accord is going to be easier that a Jeep Wrangler....even if there is no comparative point of reference. One is just easier...
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  8. #8
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    I notice from switching between fat and not fat mtn bikes that my skinny bike feels skirmish compared, fat bike feels like riding a motor bike, once you get moving it balances itself pretty darn well

  9. #9
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    Here is my wife's story. She and I tried ridding single bikes together in the early 80's. I was in my early 30's then. We just couldn't ride together. Either we went too slow and I didn't get a work out or we went too fast and she couldn't keep up. We bought a tandem Cannondale road bike and we were in perfect sync. We jammed that bike thousands of miles every year. The problem was she never had to steer or shift again. After 25 or so years I started ridding mnt. bikes and also got my first fatty. I wanted her to be able to ride with me but she would not consider a single bike. Then it hit me. If I was ever going to get her to ride a single bike with me it would be a fat bike. Well I just happened to have a 9-0-7 in her size. I got her to take it in the back yard. She has been ridding with me ever since. Some of you know she has commandeered the bike and I now wait for delivery of my new 9-0-7. If it were not for the fat bike with great stability and sure footing she would not be ridding with me. So yes I agree weather new to ridding or re-new to ridding fat bikes are a good choice to gain or re-gain your confidence.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    When I first rode a fatbike, I thought they'd be great for beginning MTB'rs because they won't get stymied by every root, rock, loose gravel etc. Recently someone at work told me she never learned to ride a bike, but that it is a life-goal. I'm thinking maybe my fatbike would make it easier - thoughts?
    Would be doing a good deed here mtbxploer, my suggestion would be to pick an out of the way place, smooth surface, with perhaps a very SLIGHT down grade, (enough to coast, but not one that gains speed quickly)

    With a slight down grade, the beginner can grasp their balance quicker (?) without the swaying motion that comes with learning to pedal.

    Good luck...to BOTH of you!

  11. #11
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    Re: Adults Who Never Learned to Ride a Bike - Use a Fatbike?????

    This thread is actually right on. I've had a couple friends get their ladies into mt biking because of fat bikes. They just didn't like the "scary" quick handling of a normal mt bike (one of their summaries) but actually had fun and felt confident on a fat bike. This is two actual experiences and not speculation... so take it or take the other speculation comments

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone for the input so far, some good ideas and experiences. To clarify, she does not know how to ride a bike, period (that was my first question to her, I thought maybe she meant she hadn't been MTB'g). I think I will offer to help her try it and/or loan her the fatbike until the snow flies. I expect if she can learn on the fatbike and likes it, she could transfer the skills to any bike and might get one of her own.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    Thanks everyone for the input so far, some good ideas and experiences. To clarify, she does not know how to ride a bike, period (that was my first question to her, I thought maybe she meant she hadn't been MTB'g). I think I will offer to help her try it and/or loan her the fatbike until the snow flies. I expect if she can learn on the fatbike and likes it, she could transfer the skills to any bike and might get one of her own.
    Make sure your bike is small enough for her, if it's a little big put the shortest stem you have on it. I noticed this with my son when teaching him to ride, leaning forward made him feel more unstable.
    As well, don't worry about "proper" seat height, put it low enough that the heels are barely off the ground to start.

    Otherwise, the other ideal bike to learn on as an adult appears to be an Electra with it's true flat foot/crank forward design.

  14. #14
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    Re: Adults Who Never Learned to Ride a Bike - Use a Fatbike?????

    Wait a minute... she's never actually ridden ANY bike... even as a kid? Where did this lady grow up and what is wrong with her parents!

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    I just taught a friend to ride for the first time. I took the pedals off and sent her down a slight incline, she could just put her feet down when she wanted. It worked pretty well to learn to balance.

    After teaching her and riding with her I dont think I would put a beginner on a fat bike if I had a choice. Once they can ride and if they want one, sure.

  16. #16
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    Best way to teach someone to ride is to take the pedals off and get them paddling it about for a while.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcappy View Post
    Here is my wife's story. She and I tried ridding single bikes together in the early 80's. I was in my early 30's then. We just couldn't ride together. Either we went too slow and I didn't get a work out or we went too fast and she couldn't keep up. We bought a tandem Cannondale road bike and we were in perfect sync. We jammed that bike thousands of miles every year. The problem was she never had to steer or shift again. After 25 or so years I started ridding mnt. bikes and also got my first fatty. I wanted her to be able to ride with me but she would not consider a single bike. Then it hit me. If I was ever going to get her to ride a single bike with me it would be a fat bike. Well I just happened to have a 9-0-7 in her size. I got her to take it in the back yard. She has been ridding with me ever since. Some of you know she has commandeered the bike and I now wait for delivery of my new 9-0-7. If it were not for the fat bike with great stability and sure footing she would not be ridding with me. So yes I agree weather new to ridding or re-new to ridding fat bikes are a good choice to gain or re-gain your confidence.
    Thanks for the post...you got me thinking about a tandem fat bike now! Wow, that would be great
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by scubaklook View Post
    I just taught a friend to ride for the first time. I took the pedals off and sent her down a slight incline, she could just put her feet down when she wanted. It worked pretty well to learn to balance.

    After teaching her and riding with her I dont think I would put a beginner on a fat bike if I had a choice. Once they can ride and if they want one, sure.
    Thanks for the advice...I'm curious what kind of bike your friend learned on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Best way to teach someone to ride is to take the pedals off and get them paddling it about for a while.
    I'll try that. We have a big parking lot at work that clears out after 5.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat_tires_are_fun View Post
    I still think, even without a point of reference the fat bikes weight and clumsy steering feel would be more difficult. Just like learning to drive a manual transmission car...a Honda Accord is going to be easier that a Jeep Wrangler....even if there is no comparative point of reference. One is just easier...
    If your fatbike steering is "clumsy", your doing it wrong.
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  20. #20
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    I sometimes tell people I ride a fat bike because I was born with an extra chromosome and it helps with my balance. Oddly enough, they believe me.

    but for serious, we don't need more fatty FNGs coming on this board asking which tire is the best.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    Thanks for the advice...I'm curious what kind of bike your friend learned on.
    I put her on a Surly Troll. If I had a beater I would have put her on that instead. She will fall. I would also avoid suspension so they dont get thrown off with bad braking.

    But someone who is determined can learn on anything even a Beast. I just wanted to make it as easy as possible since it can be very discouraging for an adult. It is great that they are willing to learn. Many people who dont learn to ride as kids never learn because they are embarrassed. The more people on bikes the better.

  22. #22
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    Seems like this might be relevant here:

    My wife bought a Mukluk 1 when she was suffering cabin fever and didn't want to admit that her lack of winter activity was making her miserable. Near verbatim one day, "You go outside all the time, so I want one of those", I offered to build her one that I thought would suit her best, but no, she's stubborn and impatient so we went to the LBS and bought one that day.

    Her first snow ride was in fresh powder up past the pedals. I think we got 17" by the time that storm was over. I was barely managing, and she gave it a good amount of guts but we turned back because she didn't have the technique for marginal conditions.

    This was her first non-pavement ride, it was quite a shock.

    Eventually I got her interested in mountain biking, took her to some flat sandy and most importantly scenic trails where her Muk would be most suited (MORCers: river bottoms). I knew it would take some time to adjust her expectations because of her references to "climbs" on that trail. (Uh... climbs?...)

    So for trails that required a bit more handling skill, what happened to her there was expected: She managed some climbs that most newbies wouldn't due to the extra grip. She plowed through shallow rock gardens due to the extra inertia.

    It didn't do anything magical though. She made newbie mistakes, and much to her credit, has made some good insights, at least problem identification if she couldn't immediately figure out the solution.

    The moral of the story here is that a fat bike was sort of coincidental in getting my wife to enjoy mountain biking, and that it initially had a winter oriented purpose which can be revisited every season. Does that mean she'll be riding a fat bike next year? Probably not. Should you take a newbie and have them cut their teeth on a fat bike for summer MTBing? Can't say. I might be able to say more after I get my wife out to a Salsa or Niner demo day so she can contrast a few different bikes against each other.

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  23. #23
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    An update on the non-rider...

    It has been harder to get her out in the parking lot than expected, on either the fatbike or the MTB to try to learn. Things are kind of hectic for her now, with several moves coming up before winter, and househunting besides, so my envisioned after-work sessions when most cars are gone have not materialized. I also offered to loan her one if she wanted to try it at home, but she's on a crazy hill. I will keep offering, while trying not to be a pest, as she did say it was a life goal. Thanks for everyone's ideas, I appreciate it, and hope to put them to good use.

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    Ask a question...thank you for the update...perhaps next year as spring gets underway?

    You offered; the rest is up to her.

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    ^^ Yes, it may have to wait until then, although I ride to work almost every day, so a bike is nearly always available if the urge hits her.

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