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  1. #1
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    The Fat Bike Bubble Is Gonna Burst

    Alright, we all know that recently a lot of people have gotten involved in producing Fat Bikes and related items. The flood of new gear ( would I be safe to say 90% of the gear is new bikes, not new rubber, boots, racks, etc? wtf) has introduced the possibility of "owning" a fat bike to many whom couldn't afford the initial offerings.

    I appreciate that everyone is trying to get a piece of that pie, but what 99% of new (sub $1k) fat bike owners won't be able to afford is all the gear required for multi-season adventures they see so many pictures of others enjoying, much less the repair and maintenance associated with what most would consider typical fat bike use (i.e. extreme conditions). Not only will they be put off my some of those prices, they might actually get offended when they walk into the shop (after that awesome fat bike river adventure) with a toased bottom bracket or trashed rear hub and have to put up anywhere from $50 to $xxx? to get it fixed, only to expect it to happen again the next time they venture off the beaten path (if they don't perform their own repairs).

    Then winter rolls around and they want to utilize clipless....HOW MUCH!! wtf? Stick a tree branch through your bud, lou, or nate, and need a new tire after only 20 miles....HOW MUCH!! wtf?

    While I do see a lot of people being able to afford the initial invenstment of the bike, I invision a lot of bikes staying in the garage, broke down, or left unused because it just costs too much to operate.

    I had a friend who bought a nice used z06 vette a few years back, and showed it off to all his friends. Did monster burnout and launched that thing off the line every chance he could (which is fairly typical for vette fellas). When it came time to put new tires on the back of that piggy....he **** a brick. Found a pair of tires and quickly put that car back on the auction block. We wanted to play sooooo bad, but found it costs wayyy too much.

  2. #2
    Loser
    Reputation: Jisch's Avatar
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    I am one of the newbies who bought a cheap fat bike (Motobecane) - the lower price allowed me to come to terms with buying a bike that had a strong chance of only seeing snow use (around here that's typically 6-8 rides per winter). My regular bike is a RIP9 - 29er FS with 5" of travel. I have a hardtail that sees no use because its just not fun to ride, there was a chance the fat bike would fall into that category as well, so I didn't want to spend big money to find that out.

    After riding the FB4 for almost 4 months I'm ready to dive in deeper and buy a lighter fat bike. I'm scouring the 'net looking for a deal. Perhaps I am in the category of shocked at the prices of these things, but I think/hope this bubble is creating less expensive options. I understand why some things are expensive, but other parts its pure gouging, someone is making a lot of money on some of this fat bike gear. Sure some of the expense is due to low quantity manufacturing, but not all.

    I guess I'm just saying these cheaper options have brought some (like me) into the fat fold and I plan on staying here for a long time. I love riding my fat bike and look forward to riding one that's 7 or 8 pounds lighter eventually.
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  3. #3
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    A thought:

    most of the people who want to try fatbiking live where there is snow. And since they want to try fat biking, there's a good chance they're already at least semi-athletic. Some of them probably already own bikes.

    You know how much gear I had to buy when I bought my first fatbike? None.

    Because I already have cold weather gear from xc skiing, cycling, snowshoeing, etc.

    I have winter gear just for getting to the office in my car because I live where it gets cold. My wife, who does not care much for bikes, already has all the gear she needs to go ride in the winter because again, she lives where it's cold. She has shell pants, pac-boots, coats, jackets, etc. Not because she's a super athlete but because that's just what you have when you live where it snows and gets cold.

    Because otherwise you go insane.

    Here is the grand total special winter gear I have bought for fatbiking since I started 3 years ago: A pair of clipless boots. Cost, around $100, because they were on sale. (I have the LG boots the Fasterkatts were based on). I wear them in fall and spring on my road bike, as well.

    Everything else, I already had.

    You could make this same argument for anyone getting into any winter sport- XC skis cost how much?

    You could make this argument about cycling in general- "How much are a set of wheels? are you F'ing kidding me?"

    Fatbikes are pocket change compared to what average riders will drop on a road bike.

  4. #4
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    ...I appreciate that everyone is trying to get a piece of that pie, but what 99% of new (sub $1k) fat bike owners won't be able to afford is all the gear required for multi-season adventures they see so many pictures of others enjoying, much less the repair and maintenance associated with what most would consider typical fat bike use (i.e. extreme conditions)...
    I think you're totally wrong.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfiddious View Post
    A thought....
    Fatbikes are pocket change compared to what average riders will drop on a road bike.
    This^^^

    My wheels for my road bike alone cost more than my new fat bike.

  6. #6
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    I got no clue what typical fat bike usage is .. retired my 29er to ride my 8k$ fatbike all year, got HuskerDu, Knard, Lou, BFL spares and don't worry about repairs as my drivetrain is standard X0 with normal priced bottom bracket that just has a 100mm tube instead of a smaller and rest are Hope parts so easyly replaceable.


    Ohh, wait you said <1k$ fatbikes .. Well imho they got the same issues as other <1k$ Mountainbikes in regards to parts quality and chance to break things.

  7. #7
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    In my neck of the woods there are a butt-ton of people who have bought fatbikes in the last 2 years although only a small handful actually ride them. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years. If the bubble/fad bursts there might be a lot of very lightly used fatties for sale. Either way, I'll be still be riding!

  8. #8
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    Had to chime in here cause I'm someone saving for a fatty. Not sure if I'm going with the more budget route or not at this point. But I have time to see how the budget bikes hold up.

    I could write a boom on how wrong op's post is. Some points already made. Simple matter though, more ppl own them, more options that come out. No more costly than any other bike. Those of us that live in places that get an actual winter already have gear for the weather. And its not expensive to make yourself comfortable for snow riding if u do some research. Hell I am happy and comfy with only a couple hundred spent on gear.

    Repair costs I have to lol at. Those that can buy a fat bike either can do the work themselves or can afford repairs. I and many i know can do the work themselves. Yes I see plenty ending up in garages but that's said for every type of bike.

    And I could go on, no bubble bursting, just options will grow to fill the need.

    But this with all o biking though is a serious issue of why in the hell are bicycle parts far more expensive than auto parts. Tires for example, for bike or car cost the same but bike tires last 1/4 as long.

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  9. #9
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    Well, maybe all of these poor people should have used their pennies to buy a case of cat food to feed their families instead of a fatbike. Perhaps they should use these contraptions as transportation to go out and find a job. The war is over. The bums lost!

  10. #10
    Ride More, Whine Less
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    Sorry to post a large graphic, but I saw this this morning. These graphics say that the current generation of fat bikers are not bike naive. Whether this is a fad, who cares. Ride more, whine less is a motto that has served me well over the years.



  11. #11
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    The crazy thing is when you look at a budget fat bike build and a budget regular bike build. Take a look at the part spec on a Kona Wo for example - that's at best a $800 "regular" mountain bike, but an $1,800 fat bike! Really the only significant difference is the rims, hubs and tires. That's a difference, but $1,000?
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  12. #12
    turtles make me hot
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    Reading this thread, I just realized I've never even seen any of the inexpensive fat bikes.
    I build wheels for a shop that sells Surly, Salsa, Borealis, 9Zero7, Fatback and now, Ventana.
    The bikes leave the store as quickly as they come in and people drive for hours to get there to buy bikes.
    Living on Long Island is kind of like Fantasy Land. While the recession was in full swing a few years back, there was no shortage of people buying new cars or eating out or whatever.
    I'm even surprised at the amount of fat bike sales I'm seeing. Went riding last Sunday and saw three others on the same beach I was on.
    I like turtles

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the interesting "infographic," heyyall. These things aren't for dilettantes.

  14. #14
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    I take it the OP doesn't own a fat bike. Maybe the Surly bubble might let some air out of the tires marginally but fat biking in general won't burst but will keep on expanding year after year as long as the trails keep producing snow/dirt/mud/ice/sand etc

  15. #15
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    The Fat Bike Bubble Is Gonna Burst

    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    I appreciate that everyone is trying to get a piece of that pie, but what 99% of new (sub $1k) fat bike owners won't be able to afford is all the gear required for multi-season adventures they see so many pictures of others enjoying, much less the repair and maintenance associated with what most would consider typical fat bike use (i.e. extreme conditions).
    This might be the most condescending and mis-informed post I've ever seen in any bike forum anywhere. Why are you making this assumption?




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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mn_biker View Post
    This might be the most condescending and mis-informed post I've ever seen in any bike forum anywhere. Why are you making this assumption?




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    After your here a while you will not ask that question again! lol! And Yes the OP owns a fat bike.

  17. #17
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    We keep driving the prices up, longing after new things like 190/197 T/A rear hubs and 142 T/A front forks and 6" tires and full carbon frames and 1100g tires and 110mm carbon rims and and and. A basic fat bike like a Pugsley is fun, versatile and practical for all-season recreation riding and even beyond. It's staggers my mind that people are spending $5K+ on fat bikes.

  18. #18
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    Lots of folks buying fat bikes in NH. Lots of folks riding them.
    Lots of folks planning to buy a fat bike.
    Lots of folks having fun. Its become a 'movement' around here and the trail grooming is a big part of it. We cross train on snow shoes and skis and then ride the trails we pack.
    I even know roadies that have given a lot of their road time to their fat bikes.

    They 'ARE' relatively inexpensive, are fun to bling out and there is a bike for every pocketbook.
    I'm afraid of heights so a 26'r fits me to a T.

  19. #19
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    Well the bubble isn't about to burst where I am. Tomorrow I pick up my new Surly Pugs that I basically spec'd out as an Ops. Are they pricey? Yes. Are they flying out of my LBS? Yep. I'm 59 yo wanting to get back in mtb'ing; I have the means to afford one, I don't want to race, I don't need to keep up with anyone and I have oodles of places I can ride either by myself or with a group. I'm doing it to stay fit and once I checked these things out (fat bikes) I had to have one. I don't give a rats ass what anyone else thinks of fat bikes but I see myself riding this thing for years to come. And I'll do it with a smile on my face and stay fit at the same time.

  20. #20
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    I personally don't care if anyone thinks its trendy or a fad or whatever the word of the day is, they are fun and I enjoy riding mine. It's a free world and if you don't wanna ride a fatty then don't buy one, it's that simple.

    I do agree that the price of tires and some gear is ridiculous but as they grow more popular the price will come down, it always does with anything. But other than the tires and rims the stuff on my fatty is no different than any other parts on any of my bikes.

    Take everything with moderation, sure I could spend a load on my fatbike, carbon rims, frame bla bla, I have no reason to, I plan on riding it only when its total **** out, that's
    what its for why would I dump 5k into a bike I am going to abuse.

    As far as it breaking down, if you take care of it and keep it clean and well lubed it will last and perform as good and as long as any bike. Even if it needs a new drivetrain every winter a new SLX cassette and chain is a cheap tune-up.

    Skinny in the summer fat in the winter.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by roundtheworld View Post
    I take it the OP doesn't own a fat bike.
    He does. However, he is a known troublemaker. Beware.

  22. #22
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    If you find yourself getting all uppity about whether this is a "fad" or "none of your business how much my bike cost, I can afford it", or "fat biking is not dying", etc. Go back and read the OP's post. It's far more narrow than a general rant against fat bikes.

  23. #23
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    All major bicycle styles have gone through a tremendous growth faze that saw many people buy new expensive bicycles that mostly hang in the garage. When the off brands get in the mix then entry prices come down and the percentage of underused machines goes up. But it also introduces more people to the sport and there become more hardcore members.
    We saw this with "10-speed" bicycles in the 70s-80s and MTB in the 80s-90s and full suspension more recently. Now it appears that fat bikes are the hot new style. I expect the market to grow rapidly short term with a leveling off of growth longer term.

    As mentioned winter fat biking doesn't take much special gear beyond what most athletic people in cold climes already have. And fat bikes are not just for snow. They also excel in sand and are lots of fun on MTB trails and general exploring.

    It sure is an exciting year for fat biking!

    Craig

  24. #24
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    I am very disappointed in Ohio. Fat bikes appear to be very unpopular here. Though not surprised as they still appear to be a rarity even in the lake effect "snow belt".

    I get crazy looks every time Im out on my old pugs.

  25. #25
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    The bubble is going to burst?

    Pssh. Running the air pressure too high. When in doubt, let it out.
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