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  1. #1
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    Can Fat Bikes Climb?

    Hi
    Does anybody live in a hilly area and ride a Fat bike? does anybody use one as a commuter?
    I really love the looks of the fat Bs and want to buy one. I live in a steep mountainous small town that gets lots of deep snow and has very little XC or flat trails. I will be riding steep hills all the time. Can Fat Bs climb? i will be commuting on it daily up steep hills and riding it off road in winter on snow packed trails but they all have a moderate grades.

    cheers

  2. #2
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    In my opinion, fat bikes generally can climb better than lighter-weight bikes, but be careful to understand that its generally because of increased traction on poor surfaces. A 25# bike will wear you down less than a 33# bike.

    If there is no traffic to pack the snow down for you on those hills, the fat tires will offer no advantage.

  3. #3
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    Yes, they can climb.

    next question?

  4. #4
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    Can fat bikes descend?
    - Mark Ehlers
    The Prodigal Cyclist

  5. #5
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    They generally suck for climbing relative to a normal-tire bike. This forum is somewhat of a fat-bike love fest, leading you to believe it's like riding with 4" of suspension and the right bike for everything including the TdF.

    You can still climb on em, it's just that the wheels feel like they are made of lead or you are towing a shed behind you constantly.

    But we adapt to them and in a few minutes it feels "normal". You won't quite go as fast on a climb or get quite as far, but you won't notice it much unless you are pacing with guys on normal-tired bikes in normal conditions.

    For non-normal conditions, like snow, sand, etc, there's no comparison, fat bike wins every time. Good luck trying to climb a normal-tired bike in snow.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  6. #6
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    The pic below shows me near 11,600 ft after climbing from 8,500 ft near Georgetown, CO back in Janurary.

    P1090668

    The Salsa Mukluk has been my main ride for the past month. I say it's only climbing limitations is my fitness as I'm where I usually am on our local group ride as a mid pack climber and leading the downhills on dry dirt rides of 15-20 miles w/ over 2,000 ft of climbing.

  7. #7
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    I ride with 5 others on skinnys and always climb better theres more effort on a skinny as they spin out regularly .best climbers are fattys any conditions, steeper the better

    Press thx if i help you

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathon marke View Post
    Can fat bikes descend?
    If they can't you could get a free one on the top of any snowy hill...

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    thanks for the replies. it sounds like they climb well and excel in loose steep climbs but will tae more effort on the road climbs of my commute. i dont mind that as i too love the fatties and wold love to do a little off road winter riding .
    cheers all

  10. #10
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    Ofc a fatbike can't climb or descent ..
    Well like all things it could descent more or less by itself.


    Its the rider that has to do all the work
    On roads you certainly have lots more drag and rolling resistance but on loose gravel that becomes less noticable.

  11. #11
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    I am a soon-to-be 56 year old clydesdale on a 37 pound type 1 Pugsley who really enjoys trail riding on hilly terrain. Its ten pound weight penalty over my f/s rig is only 4% of the combined rider + bike weight, nowhere near the end of the world. As long as gearing is available to keep a good cadence we climb very well, but the same is true of any bicycle. Come prepared to work a little, bring your mojo, and the rewards will be Fat!

  12. #12
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    I have not had the snow experience on my pugs, but so far I have not found a hill climb that ended up being a problem with the machine......

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    They generally suck for climbing relative to a normal-tire bike....
    Only if your idea of mountainbiking is riding on hard groomed paths.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  14. #14
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    Even when loaded up at 40lbs, my Moonlander climbes like a goat. Because of the surface contact and the massive traction, overall bike weigh is not as big as a factor, as compared to skinnier tires. I've found this out by climbing the same climbs as I did on my past light-weight race bikes.

    It's hard to tell this people whom haven't explored the riding quality of a fat bike. They have to do it as we have, to find out for them selves.

    Descending it great too. The hum of the tires is awesome!

  15. #15
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    Sure if you have the legs and is somehow dry, they climb like Goats, not even need for trails, just say "I want to go there" well in the snow is not that easy..

  16. #16
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    This probably answers the question most accurately.....
    Friction

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpw2011 View Post
    Hi
    Does anybody live in a hilly area and ride a Fat bike? does anybody use one as a commuter?
    I really love the looks of the fat Bs and want to buy one. I live in a steep mountainous small town that gets lots of deep snow and has very little XC or flat trails. I will be riding steep hills all the time. Can Fat Bs climb? i will be commuting on it daily up steep hills and riding it off road in winter on snow packed trails but they all have a moderate grades.

    cheers
    A fatbike is a mountain bike with big tires so they climb just fine as long as they can get traction - just like a normal MTB. The big tires if selected and inflated appropriately for your conditions can help get you up stuff in winter that a skinny MTB wouldn't.

    That said snow and ice can be very slippery and it's a fatbike not a magical unicorn so there will definitely be situations where you'll be walking if the grades are steep and conditions slippery.

    For ice you need studs - a fat knobby tire will just spin on slick ice.

    For steep snow you need aggressive knobs.

    For deep soft snow you need a wide tire at low pressure.

    It safe to say that with the right fatbike you'll be riding more each winter than you are now. Based on your description it's also safe to say that you'll find some days are unrideable. The exact mix of these two is something you'll have to work out for yourself.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    A fatbike is a mountain bike with big tires so they climb just fine as long as they can get traction - just like a normal MTB. The big tires if selected and inflated appropriately for your conditions can help get you up stuff in winter that a skinny MTB wouldn't.

    That said snow and ice can be very slippery and it's a fatbike not a magical unicorn so there will definitely be situations where you'll be walking if the grades are steep and conditions slippery.

    For ice you need studs - a fat knobby tire will just spin on slick ice.

    For steep snow you need aggressive knobs.

    For deep soft snow you need a wide tire at low pressure.

    It safe to say that with the right fatbike you'll be riding more each winter than you are now. Based on your description it's also safe to say that you'll find some days are unrideable. The exact mix of these two is something you'll have to work out for yourself.
    I will be riding all of those conditions in one day. I live in Nelson BC at the top of a steep hill next to the trails. But the town and my work is usually snow free whilst my house and the trails have 2 feet of snow so the ride down to work will be through all snow types, ice, slush then just wet. having said that they do clear the roads so deep snow on the commute will only be occasional and not the normal. As i will be riding the same tires as a commuter and off road in the winter. What tires do you recommend? i believe the bike comes with a pair of Nates. will they be good on road and off road? for winter.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpw2011 View Post
    I will be riding all of those conditions in one day. I live in Nelson BC at the top of a steep hill next to the trails. But the town and my work is usually snow free whilst my house and the trails have 2 feet of snow so the ride down to work will be through all snow types, ice, slush then just wet. having said that they do clear the roads so deep snow on the commute will only be occasional and not the normal. As i will be riding the same tires as a commuter and off road in the winter. What tires do you recommend? i believe the bike comes with a pair of Nates. will they be good on road and off road? for winter.
    Nates are good for traction on snow, but slow rolling on hardpack/pavement and they won't be great on ice. If your fatty will come with them I would ride them and see what you think. Unless you want to be swapping tires a bunch you need to optimize your bike for trail use and then be okay with the compromise on your commute.

    If you have to deal with a lot of ice - particularly on climbs you'll need studs or you'll be walking. You can DIY or buy pre-studded tires. Studs will be even slower on dry pavement and they don't do anything on snow - unless you go all Mad Max with long DIY screws which will be craptacular on pavement.

    What you'll find is that any setup has trade offs. So start with what your fatty comes with stock. Play with the tire pressure. Figure out what is okay and what needs to be better than go from there.

    One thing to check out before you buy is what size tires your fatty can handle. I didn't see you mentioning a specific bike, but some will take all the existing 5" tires on 100mm rims and some will only take skinnier fat tires on 80mm rims.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  20. #20
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    For combined commuting/trail use, I would suggest the 45nrth Dillingers (studded). A slip on ice in front of a car could end badly. As studded tires go, they are not very aggressive, which means there is not a huge weight or vibration penalty, making them pretty good all-arounders. That is, it's not awful carrying the studs on sections you don't really need them, or rolling them on some pavement.

    My commute the last 1.5 winters was uphill both ways (a "U", +/-1000'/day ), 12 miles round trip, with 4 trail miles, 1 dirt road mile, and 1 paved mile each way, and I got the Dillingers after a few ice wipeouts. Could get expensive if you have a lot of pavement. Sadly, my office moved and I no longer have the trail option, and I generally opted for the MTB with more agressive studs for the 2nd half of last winter for commuting, mostly for more confidence on the steep icy roads, and less effort pedaling uphill.

  21. #21
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    No they cannot climb. They require a motor capable of generating enough power to propel both bike and motor. If you can pedal uphill on your current bike, you can pedal uphill on a fatbike.
    Jason
    Disclaimer: www.paramountsports.net

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tridentcycleworks View Post
    Even when loaded up at 40lbs, my Moonlander climbes like a goat. Because of the surface contact and the massive traction, overall bike weigh is not as big as a factor, as compared to skinnier tires. I've found this out by climbing the same climbs as I did on my past light-weight race bikes.

    It's hard to tell this people whom haven't explored the riding quality of a fat bike. They have to do it as we have, to find out for them selves.

    Descending it great too. The hum of the tires is awesome!
    As far as trail climbing goes, I also have been impressed with how well my Moonlander can climb, even on some of the steep ones that are filled with a combination of loose rocks, big roots, and sand. Yeah, it's a heavy bike, but when you equip it with the proper tires for the environment (BFLs for now, until the snow comes), I have been very surprised at how gnarly the trail condition can be and I still get up!
    - Mark Ehlers
    The Prodigal Cyclist

  23. #23
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    For what it's worth I've been riding mt bikes since the original Stumpjumper came out and yes that means I'm an old geezer now. There is one long climb with lots of loose rocks that I've tried on every bike I ever owned. Those ranged from fully rigid in the old days to 23# dual suspension later on. The only bike I ever cleaned it on is my Fatback. Was I faster overall on some of the other bikes, probably but I always had to walk part of the way. Not so with the fatbike. The better traction with the fat tires kept me from spinning out in the tough sections so, at least for me, yes they can climb.
    Latitude 61

  24. #24
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    Fatbike will clear techy stuff well, but will make you pay for the traction.

    To me...when someone says it "climbs like a goat", I think of an agile, playful type bike that can hop, jump, and make its way up a hill quickly.

    I would say a fatbike climbs more like a bear. It's large, has claws, and although it cannot climb a tree, a fatbike is no slouch.

  25. #25
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    All great answers to my question. I was wondering how they climb compared to my light weight titanium hard tail that i currently use as a commuter. I plan on selling the ti bike to help pay for the Salsa Mukluk 2. This will become my main commuter/winter trail bike and occasional summer trail bike. The more i hear about Fat Bs the more i like them. Thanks for all the replies.

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