Results 1 to 54 of 54
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    169

    First Fat Bike Ride: Humbling

    So I bought my wife and I fat bikes recently and after finally getting mine set up, we went for our first ride on V-day.

    Uh, I guess I don't know how to ride a bike. I am a pretty avid cyclist and do local Mt races in the summer. I am not the greatest, but I can hold my one.

    On the fat bike ride it didn't seem that way. I fell over about 4 times and it seemed that every time my tire veered slightly off the narrow packed snow it sunk immediately and came to a complete stop and down I went and if lucky post holed. I thought the whole point was that these bikes "float" on the snow? Tires are Bulldozer 4.7

    Conditions were: trail was less wide than my cranks as I was shaving off snow every stroke, snow was the melted then refrozen type (bouncy) and off trail was anywhere from knee to thigh deep.

    Any tips for me or does this sound normal?

    Anyways it was fun and very humbling as one of our local trails that usually is a cake walk had a new personality to it.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    18
    sounds about right to me if you were riding some snowy singletrack, you'll get used to it and start riding faster. think of it as a long skinny, you'll be fine.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    253
    Welcome to fatbiking. Your experience seems very typical. There is a great thread on here about people being fooled by fat bikes. The tires give a bunch of float and traction compared to a typical MTB. However they are still 30lb hunks of metal being ridden by a full grown human. You're not magically going to float on top of snow.

    I've found I can get through about 6 inches of fresh snow while still enjoying the ride. Snow conditions greatly impact this. Light powder vs wet snow vs sugar snow are all very different results. I always need to spend a mile or so really getting a feel for the snow conditions and accepting my falls.

    I've also found it easier to start in fresh snow. If I'm on a groomed/ packed trail and veer off the sides of my tires always catch and I either have to fight hard to regain my line or end up in the snow.

    My advice? Have the expectation that you will be out in the fresh air enjoying time with nature and your wife. Have an open mind, don't expect it to be the same as riding the trails, appreciate that you are spinning in conditions that were previously I rideable and have a to of fun!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    169
    Yeah definitely had to have a different mindset about it. Like I said it was fun and interesting to be on a bike and almost feel back at square one. I am thinking we will head up our local ski resort next for a little more cardio and more time on the bike

  5. #5
    one sick puppy
    Reputation: YetiBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    326
    It also seems like every day in the snow, the conditions are different. One day there will be nice grabby snow, then icy conditions, then slippery snow, the skinny pack down track like you're describing, or the plowing thru fresh snow. Keeps it interesting and fun.
    Saddle up, Effendi. We ride.

  6. #6
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    27,334
    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    So I bought my wife and I fat bikes recently and after finally getting mine set up, we went for our first ride on V-day.

    Uh, I guess I don't know how to ride a bike. I am a pretty avid cyclist and do local Mt races in the summer. I am not the greatest, but I can hold my one.

    On the fat bike ride it didn't seem that way. I fell over about 4 times and it seemed that every time my tire veered slightly off the narrow packed snow it sunk immediately and came to a complete stop and down I went and if lucky post holed. I thought the whole point was that these bikes "float" on the snow? Tires are Bulldozer 4.7

    Conditions were: trail was less wide than my cranks as I was shaving off snow every stroke, snow was the melted then refrozen type (bouncy) and off trail was anywhere from knee to thigh deep.

    Any tips for me or does this sound normal?

    Anyways it was fun and very humbling as one of our local trails that usually is a cake walk had a new personality to it.
    You need more packing action on the trail, wait until some skiers have skied it or snow-shoers have packed it down. If you have enough people riding fat-bikes, then usually they can do it right after a storm, unless it's a huge dump. The greater the community of fatbikers, the quicker the trails get packed. In the last years around here, even the ones where we actually got snow, we really didn't have any downtime waiting for trails to get packed.

    Staying on that "narrow" ridge can be difficult and challenging. A fat tire is the only thing that gives you a chance/hope of doing it, but moving at speed and trying to keep the wheel exactly on a line can be difficult at best. Fatbikes work best on packed trails, but 1-4" of snow can be a fun treat. More snow than that on a firm surface can be do-able, but depends greatly on the moisture content and temp and consistency.

    Make sure to air your tires way down. Most gauges are not accurate at these pressures, so you have to go more by "feel", but if it's too low, the bike will squat a bunch with each pedal stroke, you'll notice the sidewall collapsing in the turn, it will accelerate very poorly compared to a bit higher pressure. Too high is usually the problem in soft conditions though.

    I had one ride a few weeks back where I went up into the mountains to get some actual snow riding (due to our crazy warm winter here in alaska), the trail had been previously "ridden" buy just a couple skiers. I aired way down, but still fell over a few times, which reminded me why I wear snow-gaiters at all times.
    "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.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bmcconnaha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    131
    Keep at it. This was like my 1st ride. I almost didnt like it. I ended up buying one anyways, now i love it. I have crashed more times in the last 50mi on a fatbike than i did all last summer, by a wide margin. I found they excel on crunchy snow.

  8. #8
    Rippin da fAt
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4,588
    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    Yeah definitely had to have a different mindset about it. Like I said it was fun and interesting to be on a bike and almost feel back at square one. I am thinking we will head up our local ski resort next for a little more cardio and more time on the bike
    It takes some miles to get yourself in the groove. The trails that are 6" wide will be more difficult if you aren't accustomed to riding skinnies.
    (Narrow and staying on your line) It's much easier when you hit a trail that has some space to work with. Stick with it and you'll get it going on! Deep stuff can be troublesome, as it'll stop ya dead in your tracks. Persevere!
    Get fAt, Stay fAt, Ride fAt
    Doctor recommended...

  9. #9
    Your bike is incorrigible
    Reputation: Guyechka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,169
    This is my first season on a fat bike. I was under the impression that I could just whip around on all the trails I normally ride in the summer. BIG SURPRISE! Single track is perilous because you can easily end up off the edge in deep snow and get thrown OTB. Even wide roads that are packed by snowmobiles can become unrideable if the snow becomes too warm and slushy. However, that is the "fun" of fat biking in the snow. You can't take yourself seriously or you will be doomed from the first pedal stroke. You have to change your mindset so that going 4mph over singletrack and falling every half mile is an adventure in its own right even though you have ridden that same single track at three times the speed without thinking twice in dry conditions.

    There will be especially frustrating times. When the conditions are truly terrible and I am starting to get angry, I just turn around and head home for the day, promising myself to try again the next day. You know what? Almost always the conditions will have changed (especially if I go out at earlier or later than the previous day), and I will have a blast.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    187
    @yourrealdad

    Please experiment with tire pressure.

    Riding fat a few psi can make the difference between floating and getting stuck. It's all about tire pressure.

    Most shops sell faties with 10-15 psi in the tires and people take them directly out for a ride and wonder what the fuzz is all about since they ride poorly.

    Maybe you already rode your track with super low pressure but since you're new to fatbiking I assume that you didn't.
    Every person that starts riding fat ride with too much pressure in the tires. I event start many of my own rides with too much pressure, and continously release pressure until i find the sweetspot that enables me to ride.

    Remember riding fat in snow is completely different to what you're used to when it comes to bikeriding. You'll really need to work on your balance and you really need to go low on pressure. Your bike will self steer a lot, it's heavier, you'll spin out, fall off, get stuck, but once you "get it" you'll fall in love.

    Place your hand on the tire and push hard. Can you touch the rim? If not release enough pressure so that you can. It might sound extreme, especially if you come from any other type of bike riding, but I promise you it'll make a difference. A lot of times in snowy conditions riding a fatbike with the "proper" tire pressure will feel almost like you're riding with flat tires or if you have a puncture. You really need a big footprint to get any "float".

    Trying to get up a hill and the rear spins out and digs through the snow? Release more pressure in the tires.
    Recently had a 4 inch snowfall on top of a groomed track? Release more pressure in the tires.

    In the start it will feel really weird running super low pressure, but once you start to "get it" and you experience floating, going up that hill, riding where you haven't ridden before, reaching that mountain top, etc, you'll get the idea. That's the ultimate beauty of fat, you can really ride (almost) everywhere.

    edit:
    This is written in the post above and captures fat riding quite nicely:
    "You have to change your mindset so that going 4mph over singletrack and falling every half mile is an adventure in its own right"

    On many of my winter rides I do spend quite some time doing half a pedal stroke, putting my foot down, doing a half stroke more, putting my fot down, changing my weight slightly, half a stroke, putting my foot down, lifting my rear tire and moving it slightly to find tracktion, doing half a stroke, etc.
    Then suddenly i find traction, plow through and ride 30metres, then do the same thing again. This can go on for a long time.
    Then i might get to a hill, float down in 20mph over loose snow, smiling broadly. Then I might get stuck, put my foot down, do half a stroke, etc.

    A lot of magic is it the moments when you "work it out". When you manage to find the traction you thought waas impossible that day. When you climb the hill you couldn't yesterday. When you release 1 psi from the tires and realize that it could have saved you the last 30minutes of hassle had you just done it earlier..

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bmcconnaha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    131
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy81 View Post
    @yourrealdad

    Please experiment with tire pressure.

    Riding fat a few psi can make the difference between floating and getting stuck. It's all about tire pressure.

    Most shops sell faties with 10-15 psi in the tires and people take them directly out for a ride and wonder what the fuzz is all about since they ride poorly.

    Maybe you already rode your track with super low pressure but since you're new to fatbiking I assume that you didn't.
    Every person that starts riding fat ride with too much pressure in the tires. I event start many of my own rides with too much pressure, and continously release pressure until i find the sweetspot that enables me to ride.

    Remember riding fat in snow is completely different to what you're used to when it comes to bikeriding. You'll really need to work on your balance and you really need to go low on pressure. Your bike will self steer a lot, it's heavier, you'll spin out, fall off, get stuck, but once you "get it" you'll fall in love.

    Place your hand on the tire and push hard. Can you touch the rim? If not release enough pressure so that you can. It might sound extreme, especially if you come from any other type of bike riding, but I promise you it'll make a difference. A lot of times in snowy conditions riding a fatbike with the "proper" tire pressure will feel almost like you're riding with flat tires or if you have a puncture. You really need a big footprint to get any "float".

    Trying to get up a hill and the rear spins out and digs through the snow? Release more pressure in the tires.
    Recently had a 4 inch snowfall on top of a groomed track? Release more pressure in the tires.

    In the start it will feel really weird running super low pressure, but once you start to "get it" and you experience floating, going up that hill, riding where you haven't ridden before, reaching that mountain top, etc, you'll get the idea. That's the ultimate beauty of fat, you can really ride (almost) everywhere.
    What baseline psi do you run on snow? And on dirt?

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally Posted by Bmcconnaha View Post
    What baseline psi do you run on snow? And on dirt?

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    On snow I average 1-4psi. My pressure gaouge stops at 4, so most times I just go by the feeling. More often than not i can touch the rim if I press hard on the tire with my hand, so i'm probably in the 1-2psi range.

    On dirt Im probably in the 4-8psi range. I have dinged my rims quite a few times on rocks, but I try to have just the amount of air so it doesn't happen. I'd estimate 5-6psi on most of my summer rides.

    I often ride "explorer terrain"

    My rule in summer is that "If you can walk there, I can ride there" meaning that mountain, rocks, hills, bush, etc all should be ridable. If the bush is too thick to walk through, I can't ride it.

    Winter I have a similar saying. All I need is that it's been either ridden on, walked on, skied on etc at least once, then I should be able to ride it.

    I do manage to ride almost everywhere i want, but every time i hit gravel in summer or the super groomed ski tracks in winter, i'm almost glued stuck due to my low tire pressure.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bmcconnaha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    131
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy81 View Post
    On snow I average 1-4psi. My pressure gaouge stops at 4, so most times I just go by the feeling. More often than not i can touch the rim if I press hard on the tire with my hand, so i'm probably in the 1-2psi range.

    On dirt Im probably in the 4-8psi range. I have dinged my rims quite a few times on rocks, but I try to have just the amount of air so it doesn't happen. I'd estimate 5-6psi on most of my summer rides.

    I often ride "explorer terrain"

    My rule in summer is that "If you can walk there, I can ride there" meaning that mountain, rocks, hills, bush, etc all should be ridable. If the bush is too thick to walk through, I can't ride it.

    Winter I have a similar saying. All I need is that it's been either ridden on, walked on, skied on etc at least once, then I should be able to ride it.

    I do manage to ride almost everywhere i want, but every time i hit gravel in summer or the super groomed ski tracks in winter, i'm almost glued stuck due to my low tire pressure.
    Perfect thanks, I'm at about 8 on snow, ill lower it a bit if we get anymore.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally Posted by Bmcconnaha View Post
    Perfect thanks, I'm at about 8 on snow, ill lower it a bit if we get anymore.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    Yea, it's good to try everything.

    I'm a light rider, so I can probably ride with lower pressure than someone in the 200+ range though..

    By the way, In the last 3 years of riding in terrain (both winter and summer) I've never had more than 8 psi in my tires. I guess you can call it my upper limit

  15. #15
    Aly
    Aly is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    31
    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    So I bought my wife and I fat bikes recently and after finally getting mine set up, we went for our first ride on V-day.

    Uh, I guess I don't know how to ride a bike. I am a pretty avid cyclist and do local Mt races in the summer. I am not the greatest, but I can hold my one.

    On the fat bike ride it didn't seem that way. I fell over about 4 times and it seemed that every time my tire veered slightly off the narrow packed snow it sunk immediately and came to a complete stop and down I went and if lucky post holed. I thought the whole point was that these bikes "float" on the snow? Tires are Bulldozer 4.7

    Conditions were: trail was less wide than my cranks as I was shaving off snow every stroke, snow was the melted then refrozen type (bouncy) and off trail was anywhere from knee to thigh deep.

    Any tips for me or does this sound normal?

    Anyways it was fun and very humbling as one of our local trails that usually is a cake walk had a new personality to it.
    Are you using 100mm rims ?

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: likeaboss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    818
    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    So I bought my wife and I fat bikes recently and after finally getting mine set up, we went for our first ride on V-day.

    Uh, I guess I don't know how to ride a bike. I am a pretty avid cyclist and do local Mt races in the summer. I am not the greatest, but I can hold my one.

    On the fat bike ride it didn't seem that way. I fell over about 4 times and it seemed that every time my tire veered slightly off the narrow packed snow it sunk immediately and came to a complete stop and down I went and if lucky post holed. I thought the whole point was that these bikes "float" on the snow? Tires are Bulldozer 4.7

    Conditions were: trail was less wide than my cranks as I was shaving off snow every stroke, snow was the melted then refrozen type (bouncy) and off trail was anywhere from knee to thigh deep.

    Any tips for me or does this sound normal?

    Anyways it was fun and very humbling as one of our local trails that usually is a cake walk had a new personality to it.
    My wife and I had a similar experience on our new Farleys last weekend. The funny part is that she being 5'10" and 135lbs she can clean challenging soft snow track better than I can(215lbs). In the dirt I have 10 years more experience and clean stuff she wont even try. I have been playing with tire pressures and have already gone tubeless on my bike.

    In the soft snow, she leads.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    192
    It seems most first time fat-bikers have this same experience on their first ride, I know I did. These bikes should come with a good low pressure gauge as tire pressure is probably the most important factor when riding snow, sometimes just dropping a half psi can make all the difference. Try to get out on a group ride with some more experienced fat-bikers, that would likely help speed up the learning curve and increase the fun factor!

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    169
    Thanks for all the replies.

    I knew my tires were overinflated, but the good news is my low pressure gauge came yesterday. Tires are set up tubeless with some slow leakage so if I can take care of the leak they should be fine.
    My rims are 80mm
    Wife's ride has the weinmann 100 so need to get some split tube going for her.

    I was also thinking after the first post hole that maybe gaiters would be a nice thing.

    I am looking forward to fat biking making me more focused on single track when the trails are tight. It should transfer nicely over to the summer time when you need to hold a line or picking it through the tech sections

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    568
    Gaiters are a real nice addition to the gear. Especially in the snow that you described

    keep at it! It's different each time as the snow conditions are rarely the same on consecutive rides

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    64
    The better tires will not self steer as much at low pressures needed in heavy snow. The 45nrth 'beists or vanhelgas will handle better, have way better traction and roll better. This makes the stops far less frequent. My bike came with vee rubber h-billies and every ride used to be a dozen stops now it's usually no stops with vanhelgas.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Boo Bear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    331
    Glad I'm not the only one! I've had the same experience this year. First year fat biking...have been mountain biking for close to 30 years. Humbling indeed. But I've totally loved it- it is great to have a new challenge on a bike and have it feel so fresh and new. Now if only this winter had actually been a winter.....
    Crashing mountain bikes since 1990.

  22. #22
    Fat Is Where It's At Moderator
    Reputation: DiRt DeViL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,594
    Same thing happened to me last night being my first first track experience, kept sinking and couldn't ride at all.

    Took me a while to pull the trigger on a fatty due to the idea that will only work on groomed or packed trails which are almost non existent where I live. Last night just made me second guess my decision, will give it more tries for sure because is so appealing when you live in a place that gets so much snow.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: watermonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    935
    Quote Originally Posted by likeaboss View Post
    My wife and I had a similar experience on our new Farleys last weekend. The funny part is that she being 5'10" and 135lbs she can clean challenging soft snow track better than I can(215lbs). In the dirt I have 10 years more experience and clean stuff she wont even try. I have been playing with tire pressures and have already gone tubeless on my bike.

    In the soft snow, she leads.
    You should see what its like riding with my son. He's a really good rider, especially for 8 years old, and I'm a clydesdale. The stuff he can ride over in the snow at his 75 lbs. is ridiculous. He literally rides circles around me on some snow conditions where I can't even get going. His tires are at .25-.50 psi on the really soft days.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    239
    Good thread.

    I too have to say that fat biking is a blast, but there is definitely a learning curve!

    I'm still a noob, and will probably always be - don't get out enough. Fat bikes are a whole 'nother world. Not only in tire pressures, but tire types, rim sizes etc. And of course there is the fact that these are slow beasts! I had to get used to being slower than I am on a 29er, and accept that its all about the grin.

    I remember my first snow outing... UGH! I was truly humbled. But its still a blast!

  25. #25
    This place needs an enema
    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    10,556
    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    Any tips for me or does this sound normal?

    Anyways it was fun and very humbling as one of our local trails that usually is a cake walk had a new personality to it.
    1. Get intimate with your tire pressure -- start here.
    2. Steer with your hips, not your arms. This takes some doing, and some unlearning, for most people.

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    46
    Quote Originally Posted by rcracer2 View Post
    The better tires will not self steer as much at low pressures needed in heavy snow. The 45nrth 'beists or vanhelgas will handle better, have way better traction and roll better. This makes the stops far less frequent. My bike came with vee rubber h-billies and every ride used to be a dozen stops now it's usually no stops with vanhelgas.
    Exactly. Bulldozers are less than stellar in snow. Spent the whole 2015 season on those and replace them for the Beists combo this year. Huge improvement in both traction and stearing precision.

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Jeff_G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    583
    This tire pressure thing is way over played. When I was researching my bike purchase in October the number of threads and opinions is hilarious. It was clear you guys are clearly nuts and way to serious about it.

    Yes, PSI is important but it's not that complicated.

    Here is what I do to come up with the right PSI.

    * Start with 15 psi in both tires (only applies if you are 190 pounds, at sea level and have 4.5" or + tires)

    * Front tire gets -3 psi

    * Is it below 32F? -6 psi

    * Is it snowing? -1 psi for each inch of snow unless is slushy then -2 psi, if its fluffy snow then -.5

    * Has the snow been previously tracked? +2 psi

    * Commuting today? +2 psi

    * Taking the back pack and panniers for a bit of a load? +2 psi (REAR ONLY)

    * Do I need to be somewhere quickly? +2 psi

    * Barbegazzi or Dillinger? +2 psi for the Barbs as they are less stiff

    * Am I riding single track? -3 psi

    * Do I have to ride more than 1 mile on paved to get to the single track? +5 psi

    * Is the single track packed snow? +3 psi

    * Is the single track snowy? -5 psi

    * Is the single track hilly? -2 psi

    * Did I eat a good breakfast? -2 psi



    Add it all up and I come up with between 5 and 15 pis depending on the numerous variables at play.

    I am adjusting pressures daily and some days 5 or 6 times in a single day.

    There is a lot of art and science in this. Lots of people say they never run over 10 psi. I want to cry if I'm running single digits on pavement.

    Now I'm as nuts as all of you.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

    16' Trek 8.4 DS
    16' Farley 7
    and I'm OK admitting..
    16' Sturgis

    Minneapolis MN

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    1,508
    Your list above is complicated. :-)

    The truth is there are too many variables at play here between all of the different tire compunds, tires widths, tread patterns and rider weight etc.

    What may work for one person may not work for another. Its a game of experimation and learning at best based on the bike and tire combination you are riding at the time.

    For me at ~190 lbs with 4.6 ground control tires I have found that 9 psi rear and 7 psi front works great for me if the trail is hard packed well from grooming or packed well by snow shoes.

    If I'm losing traction, rutting the trail or the front end is washing out on me then I start airing down until those situations are minimized.

    During dirt season on single track I'm running 10psi rear and 9psi front.

    Did a gravel race on my fat bike once also and had both tires at 20 psi.

    To the OP...keep experimenting and you'll get a good feel for your bike and tire combo and what works best for you based on the conditions you are riding.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  29. #29
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    150
    I just got a fat bike this year and am a lifelong avid cyclist, and my experience is similar to yours.

    I'm probably going to get everyone's Irish up in this forum by saying this, but a fat bike is a specific tool for a specific job, much like a hammer. When you have the right conditions for riding in the show or exploratory riding it is an absolute blast and a great challenge and workout, and you really look forward to doing it again. But those conditions are rare most times in most places. For the rest of the 90% of the time, riding a fat bike basically sucks. You're dramatically slower, heavier, bouncier, self-steering, and prone to exhaustion, all while straddling a horse. To top it off, the fat tax is still alive and well when you go to buy parts.

    I'm glad I have mine for those awesome days, but I'm damn glad I didn't spend a bunch of money on it (retailed for $1100, got it for $600), and I'm glad to focus the budget on my other bikes which are far more rewarding and versatile.

  30. #30
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    60
    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    I fell over about 4 times and it seemed that every time my tire veered slightly off the narrow packed snow it sunk immediately and came to a complete stop and down I went. Any tips for me or does this sound normal?
    It better be normal as this mirrors my experience exactly. Fortunately, falling in snow is not a big deal so I have learned to make it part of the experience rather than calling it a failure of my riding skills.

    There is nothing like having an 800+ acre state park in a heavily populated suburban area completely to myself (zero other cars in parking lots) when I'm out there in a raging snowstorm. Much cheaper than flying from CT to Alaska for a dose of solitude.

    Like other posters here I am still messing with tire pressure. I keep letting more air out and am down to 6 psi but still going lower. Am cautious about dropping too far as I am a clydesdale (245 lbs) and don't want to bang up rims hitting rocks so still spinning out too much on climbs.

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    1,508
    Quote Originally Posted by BadgerOne View Post
    I'm probably going to get everyone's Irish up in this forum by saying this, but a fat bike is a specific tool for a specific job, much like a hammer. When you have the right conditions for riding in the show or exploratory riding it is an absolute blast and a great challenge and workout, and you really look forward to doing it again. But those conditions are rare most times in most places. For the rest of the 90% of the time, riding a fat bike basically sucks. You're dramatically slower, heavier, bouncier, self-steering, and prone to exhaustion, all while straddling a horse. To top it off, the fat tax is still alive and well when you go to buy parts.
    I only get my Irish up when I increase my beer consumption.

    My experience has been just the opposite. 90% of the time riding for me has been a blast. It's only sucked 10% of the time.

    I attribute that to the local bike clubs and shops putting in great efforts at having a groomed trail system for people to ride on. Within a 30-40 minute drive I have 4 trail systems that are groomed on a regular basis by snowmobile and 2 that are packed by snowshoes and ride like single track.

    It only sucks 10% of the time when I decide to explore areas away from these systems or if I ride the groomed/packed system after a recent snow fall and it hasn't been groomed yet or if the grooming hasn't set up yet.






    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  32. #32
    mtbr member
    Reputation: dbhammercycle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2,675
    Well, it's nice to know that I'm in good company. 1st winter season on a fatty, 80mm rims 4in MN tires, about 215lbs. I was not expecting that the fatty would take me anywhere but that I would be able to ride the same places I do in the summer. I found that to be a challenge at times based on the amount of snow, the type of snow and the state of the trail. During a snow storm is my favorite time to go for a ride, the next morning is the worst time to go for a ride. I've had to spend some time walking out a 10ft or so space just to get going and then once I do it can be difficult to keep going. In slushy snow you would think the tire would provide extra grip but in reality it seems to just leave a larger spin out trail after sinking down to the icey/wet base. Crunchy snow grabs and can lead you into the unknown off to the side of the trail. If I've learned anything it's that I still need to keep my weight over the bike and between the wheels as I would when riding my SS in previous winters. There is no leaning into turns that I wouldn't have an issue doing in the non-winter months. I have not played too much with pressure as the air volume will change in the cold temps more drastically than in warmer weather. I also don't have a gauge, so it's the squeeze method. That said I've been having a blast because it is more capable right now than my other geared or SS rides with 2in tires. I have been able to get out more, which was the goal, than if I were still on the SS. Honestly, I'm hooked.

    I would also suggest gaiters, my OR crocodiles are awesome. Seriously, you can turn your sneakers, I do wear hiking boots when riding, into snow boots. How cool is that? Very in my book. Also, flats w/ pins are better than spds in the snow.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  33. #33
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    150
    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    My experience has been just the opposite. 90% of the time riding for me has been a blast. It's only sucked 10% of the time.

    I attribute that to the local bike clubs and shops putting in great efforts at having a groomed trail system for people to ride on. Within a 30-40 minute drive I have 4 trail systems that are groomed on a regular basis by snowmobile and 2 that are packed by snowshoes and ride like single track.
    I'm envious. I suspect my ratios would look like yours if I had trails like this available in my area.

  34. #34
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Jeff_G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    583
    I was a bit disenchanted initially. But, it's a different experience and I'm learning what works and what doesn't and how to ride differently. Like dbhammercycle I find that there are conditions that aren't fun and just plain suck. But they are rare.

    Get our Irish up? Maybe but you ain't seen nothing.......hold my beer and watch this.....

    My kid's Bikesdirect.com Motebecane Sturgis is a super fun bike in the snow and the quality matches the price.

    BOOM!

    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

    16' Trek 8.4 DS
    16' Farley 7
    and I'm OK admitting..
    16' Sturgis

    Minneapolis MN

  35. #35
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    1,508
    Quote Originally Posted by BadgerOne View Post
    I'm envious. I suspect my ratios would look like yours if I had trails like this available in my area.
    After a year into this I have realized that I prefer the packed snow shoe trails the best.

    I have 2 systems that are a 30 minute or less drive from my house and I recently discovered a bunch more that are about hour drive that I need to check out yet.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  36. #36
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    21
    The condition of the trail or road under the new snow makes a lot of difference. Jayem was spot on when he mentioned packing. 4 inches of new snow is no problem on a packed road or good trail. That same amount of now on a snowmobile trail that has only been ridden once? Good luck. Keep with it though. As others have pointed out, biking on the snow is better than any alternative indoors. I fat bike high in the mountains of Western Wyoming and learned right away my fat bike isn't a snowmobile. I have to groom where I want to ride or find a well-packed trail or road. When I do? Most fun I've ever had on a bike.

  37. #37
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    46
    Quote Originally Posted by BadgerOne View Post
    I just got a fat bike this year and am a lifelong avid cyclist, and my experience is similar to yours.

    I'm probably going to get everyone's Irish up in this forum by saying this, but a fat bike is a specific tool for a specific job, much like a hammer. When you have the right conditions for riding in the show or exploratory riding it is an absolute blast and a great challenge and workout, and you really look forward to doing it again. But those conditions are rare most times in most places. For the rest of the 90% of the time, riding a fat bike basically sucks. You're dramatically slower, heavier, bouncier, self-steering, and prone to exhaustion, all while straddling a horse. To top it off, the fat tax is still alive and well when you go to buy parts.

    I'm glad I have mine for those awesome days, but I'm damn glad I didn't spend a bunch of money on it (retailed for $1100, got it for $600), and I'm glad to focus the budget on my other bikes which are far more rewarding and versatile.
    I love it when people just pull these numbers based on their own limited experience in their neck of the woods. Unless you've ridden all over the world at any given time of the year in every conditions climate can dish out, you simply cant throw blankets statements around like that. Where I live and ride, we're in all different kinds of snow 4-5 months in the year, mud and slime even longer, so we're lucky if we get 2 months of dry trails. I'm so glad I went for a top tier fattie with decent components and a suspension fork instead of a cheaper one, because it's seeing a lot more use than I first expected...

  38. #38
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    150
    Quote Originally Posted by franx View Post
    I love it when people just pull these numbers based on their own limited experience in their neck of the woods. Unless you've ridden all over the world at any given time of the year in every conditions climate can dish out, you simply cant throw blankets statements around like that. Where I live and ride, we're in all different kinds of snow 4-5 months in the year, mud and slime even longer, so we're lucky if we get 2 months of dry trails. I'm so glad I went for a top tier fattie with decent components and a suspension fork instead of a cheaper one, because it's seeing a lot more use than I first expected...
    Shall I start a year-long comprehensive poll world-wide with detailed condition selections so we can get to a true number? Of course I was just talking about my personal experience in my locale and conditions. What else would I have to go by? Seems that should be an implicit qualifier for anyone posting on the interwebs, no?

    I knew I'd get someone's Irish up.

  39. #39
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    46
    Quote Originally Posted by BadgerOne View Post
    ...But those conditions are rare most times in most places
    That's called a blanket statement

  40. #40
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    20
    My fatbike arrives monday, so I will be sure to report how my first ride goes!

    Sadly (I guess not really sadly) it will be 50 degrees tomorrow, so the snow will be GONE. I'll have to go to some of the "renegade" MTB stuff locally.

  41. #41
    Rippin da fAt
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4,588
    BadgerOne, I ride my fatty year round, that's the way it is living in prime Jeepin, uh fatbiking territory. There will be a +bike added to the collective soon to fill the void between fat and skinny. For those that think a fatbike is slow, they are not doing it right.
    There are places I can clear faster with my trials bike than with my dirt couch...
    Get fAt, Stay fAt, Ride fAt
    Doctor recommended...

  42. #42
    mtbr member
    Reputation: NewfAtBiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    29
    My first Colorado winter on my cheap 37# fatbike is proving out to be close to what I expected. I went with the smaller frame and 100mm rims to survive ST trails in deeper snow. The stand-over is never enough when the off-line is 1 ft deep or more. Low psi and 4.5 or wider tires help a lot but fresh deeper than 6" should be at least snowshoe packed to make it fun.

    When you accept how slow and low mileage some rides will be it brings out the sense of accomplishment. After a snow I track out the trail with snowshoes first then ride it with confidence and a little bit of speed. The solitude of being the only one to be out on a trail in winter can be a lot of fun. It is pretty easy to carry snowshoes with just a strap or two and I just wear the boots and gaiters that work for both.

    An easier ride is to take a two track jeep trail after a few 4x4's pack it some. I live too far from where the snowmobiles ride but they do a good job on the trails. The only conditions that have proved too hard are steep off camber frozen-over sections that see a lot of foot traffic. Yesterday I rode my favorite snow covered trail and a steep section that is usually fun had iced up and only studs could have worked.

    Unless you get the perfect amount of snow or have nice packed trails to ride then it is not like any other riding and not for everyone. So far, I like the challenge of it and keep looking for trails no one has been on this winter. I forgot to mention the snow drifts....

  43. #43
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    192

    Crusty

    When conditions are just right in the Spring, it is possible to "float" over 3 feet of snow
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First Fat Bike Ride: Humbling-fat-fundy.jpg  


  44. #44
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Jeff_G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    583
    Nice
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

    16' Trek 8.4 DS
    16' Farley 7
    and I'm OK admitting..
    16' Sturgis

    Minneapolis MN

  45. #45
    Rippin da fAt
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4,588
    Quote Originally Posted by Fat-in-Fundy View Post
    When conditions are just right in the Spring, it is possible to "float" over 3 feet of snow
    We refer to that as "Blacktop" around these parts. There have been a few years that snowmobiling on the 4th of July was in order.

    I love the defiance going on there!
    Get fAt, Stay fAt, Ride fAt
    Doctor recommended...

  46. #46
    RAKC
    Reputation: tigris99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    7,128
    Huge mix of opinions here.

    I have to say for my first season with a fat bike is that I'm pissed we got so little snow and early spring instead.

    Snow is so much easier and more fun than nasty spring thaw mud.

    Ya types of snow cover has varied greatly, only ice stopped me (no funds for studded tires) and the fresh, fine powder was a BIATCH! A few inches of that and trying to turn is interesting, usually ending in putting a foot down.

    Never fallen over or anything like that, but spent the previous 2 winters reading all through this sub. First thing I learned is clipless is the dumbest thing ever for fat bikes. Being able to drop a foot (not worry about getting frozen to your pedals) is priceless.

    Beyond that knowing what I'm going to run into during the winter so I'm not surprised.

    Best snow yet, got wet snow followed by good freeze and a bit of powder on top. That stuff was insanely fast and fun (without studs)

    Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk

  47. #47
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bmcconnaha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    131
    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Huge mix of opinions here.

    I have to say for my first season with a fat bike is that I'm pissed we got so little snow and early spring instead.

    Snow is so much easier and more fun than nasty spring thaw mud.

    Ya types of snow cover has varied greatly, only ice stopped me (no funds for studded tires) and the fresh, fine powder was a BIATCH! A few inches of that and trying to turn is interesting, usually ending in putting a foot down.

    Never fallen over or anything like that, but spent the previous 2 winters reading all through this sub. First thing I learned is clipless is the dumbest thing ever for fat bikes. Being able to drop a foot (not worry about getting frozen to your pedals) is priceless.

    Beyond that knowing what I'm going to run into during the winter so I'm not surprised.

    Best snow yet, got wet snow followed by good freeze and a bit of powder on top. That stuff was insanely fast and fun (without studs)

    Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk
    Early spring in Helena Montana too. Right after I bought a fat bike too. I had some fun on mixed mud and snow. Ice tho. Holy crap that is dangerous. After having the fat bike I really loved the traction, so i bought a 27.5 plus for the summer.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

  48. #48
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    169
    Second ride was as I said on the local ski slope. Had some slippage here and there but not too bad. I started switchbacking it, but I would side slip every now and then.I was about 5# rear and 6# front for going up and a little less coming down. Coming down was a blast although a little scary. Out of habit the wife and I grabbed our 5.10 shoes and that was a mistake. If we had to hike at the steep parts we were slipping everywhere. It was pretty funny. Next time trail shoes for sure.

  49. #49
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    331
    Humbled today. After an amazing climb and ride in about 4 inches of soft/slushy snow. I went out today and found a couple of stashes that dont get sunlight. About 4-6 inches of powdered sugar. Needless to say, much different experience. I couldnt get traction to save my life was sliding whenever I hit off camber stuff under the snow.

    I ended up airing down to 5psi (tubed) and just keeping at it until I found the right pedal stroke and balance to make it workable. Still got my ass kicked most of the ride. Definitely humbling but also a lot of fun.

  50. #50
    Jammin' Econo
    Reputation: Smithhammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    2,507
    Quote Originally Posted by Fat-in-Fundy View Post
    When conditions are just right in the Spring, it is possible to "float" over 3 feet of snow
    Yup. We had some phenomenal crust riding the other night - you could point it and go just about anywhere you wanted. It was a blast.

    Quote Originally Posted by pOrk View Post
    ...I ended up airing down to 5psi (tubed) and just keeping at it until I found the right pedal stroke and balance to make it workable. Still got my ass kicked most of the ride. Definitely humbling but also a lot of fun.
    5psi is probably still too high for the conditions you describe. I'm usually down around 2 or 3 psi when trying to ride through 4-6" of powdered sugar.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  51. #51
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    331
    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    Yup. We had some phenomenal crust riding the other night - you could point it and go just about anywhere you wanted. It was a blast.



    5psi is probably still too high for the conditions you describe. I'm usually down around 2 or 3 psi when trying to ride through 4-6" of powdered sugar.
    Probably so, Im new to the bike and fat biking in general. The area is fairly rocky without snow and I weigh about 190 at riding weight. So Im still kind of cautious with air pressure while I figure out what works.

  52. #52
    Jammin' Econo
    Reputation: Smithhammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    2,507
    Quote Originally Posted by pOrk View Post
    Probably so, Im new to the bike and fat biking in general. The area is fairly rocky without snow and I weigh about 190 at riding weight. So Im still kind of cautious with air pressure while I figure out what works.
    Yup. Just keep experimenting till you find what works. Snow is a highly dynamic medium, which means that we need to respond dynamically in how we ride it, and one of the best ways is with air pressure - much more so than most dirt riders are ever used to having to think about it. "When in doubt, let it out."
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  53. #53
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    1,508
    Quote Originally Posted by pOrk View Post
    Probably so, Im new to the bike and fat biking in general. The area is fairly rocky without snow and I weigh about 190 at riding weight. So Im still kind of cautious with air pressure while I figure out what works.
    I have q-tube lites installed... 26 x 2.7... and haven't had any problems at 2 psi using them.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  54. #54
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    331
    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    I have q-tube lites installed... 26 x 2.7... and haven't had any problems at 2 psi using them.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    Actually more concerned about rock strikes when the speed and terrain of the trail change and I still have 2psi in the tube. The way the mountains are around here with respect to the sun, you can be in 5 inches of snow and then dry rocky singletrack on the same trail, as was the case yesterday. I imagine the Mulefut 80s can handle a decent amount of abuse. Maybe Im just *****footing because this is my first carbon mtb and most expensive bike I've ever bought. Once I get a good wreck in... Ill feel much better.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 25
    Last Post: 01-16-2015, 09:38 AM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-27-2013, 11:39 AM
  3. Living in Santa Cruz is humbling sometimes
    By Carl Hungus in forum California - Norcal
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 04-11-2013, 10:45 PM
  4. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-08-2013, 10:54 PM
  5. Rode Ft Rock (Exeter) for the 1st time... Brutal, humbling, wanna go back.
    By connolm in forum Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 09-23-2012, 04:20 AM

Members who have read this thread: 5

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •