Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: DethWshBkr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    461

    When is it time for a Fat Bike?

    I am getting back into riding after a nearly 17 year time off of riding solidly. Motocross injuries have finally made the wife tell me it's time to stop. Told her I'm getting back into shape then, and will be cycling, on and off road. She was OK with that, so I'm happy!
    Been riding a good bit here on my 26"er and my new 29er, but of course the snow and ice has rendered trails unridable.

    I have been tempted to buy up a fat frame and fork, and build my own Fat Bike. My 29er, I have been changing componentry (dumping triggers for grip, different brakes, etc.) I have a good number of components around.
    All of this is leading me to wonder at what point does the fat bike become a true, viable ride. if I did this and built one up, will I need it as often as I think? I have no problem riding either my 26 or my 29 Fuel EX in two inches of snow. I KNOW a fat bike can do much better though. I do see a lot of pictures and video of people riding fat bikes around in dusting to a few inches of snow, and that is not what I consider fat bike need. While I'm sure it would give better control, for 1-2 inches of snow, I'm not thinking a fat bike is worth it.
    Is there a point at which the fat bikes also become just not capable? RIght now we're at about 8" total snow, with a crust under 1" of the new crap.
    What kind of control does the fat bike give you? Am I expecting too much out of one, to be able to actually ride and train in the woods with 6-8" of snow? If not, this may be a great "investment" in my riding for future winters.

  2. #2
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: mtbxplorer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5,616
    When the snow gets deep, you need a packed trail or hard crust to ride. How much is too much depends on fitness, terrain, and type of snow. Since you want to get in shape anyway, get a pair of snowshoes too. When it is too deep for the fatbike, spend some time packing down a trail with the snowshoes to make it fatbike friendly.

  3. #3
    Loser
    Reputation: Jisch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,812
    I have thought (and talked) a lot about this topic. I have been a four season rider for 25 years - I live in CT, so we don't get a lot of snow, but enough that I have ridden (or tried to ride) in just about any type of situation. I just got a fat bike this year. I like to BC ski too - so if the snow is too deep I have always done that instead of biking. The fat bike definitely widens the possibility of having fun while riding by quite a bit when there is snow on the ground. It widens the shear possibility of biking, but only by a small amount.

    We've had a pretty snowy year this year, I've been on 3 or 4 rides with folks on regular mountain bikes - we all rode, they walked only a small amount more than I did, but I had a lot better ride, less slipping and the ability to ride the technical bits. I've been on two rides that would have been impossible on a regular mountain bike - but I could have skied instead of riding those days too.

    Its not a panacea where suddenly you can ride in any depth snow, but if you live where there is snow, it will make the winters more bearable.

    When people ask me if I think the fat bike is worth it (its a common question from my biking friends) I say if you're only going to ride it in snow, its probably a pretty poor investment. Figure you pay over a thousand dollars for a bike you use 10 times a year? That's a lot of money for not a lot of miles.

    I love the fat bike though and ride it a ton in the dirt, great machine and fun to ride in all conditions.
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,188
    I usually feel the most fat after dinner.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    93

    Idea!

    Where you ride, is there a fair amount of fat bike owners to pack the trails for you? Do the trails get packed relatively fast (i,e. a few days max..). Depending on this, you might want to save your money if you only have to wait a few days after a heavy snow fall. I tend to enjoy riding my hardtail on packed trails vs. my fat bike


    Also factor in if your area has places that you'd like to ride that arn't accessible with a normal bike. Some places just don't have prime exploring/adventure areas to ride.

  6. #6
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,505
    I just finished my fatbike. So far, I've ridden it in snow and at the beach.
    I plan on building up a set of 29+ wheels for it and maybe a set of less fat rims to run some less agressive tires for singletrack and just to change it up a little.
    I've been riding the same 29er fully for a few years and it was getting boring.
    I like turtles

  7. #7
    MaverickMotoMedia.com
    Reputation: Gigantic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    1,407
    Normally, I would say that it's always time for a fatbike. Yesterday, I went on a 20 mile ride on clear, snowless trails with a group of 20 cat 1-2 racers on 29ers; I had the lone fatbike. Average pace was about 11.6mph. Yesterday was not time for a fatbike.
    Maverick Moto Media Motorcycles, Mountain Biking & Social Media Mgt
    Facebook Twitter Instagram

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: buckfiddious's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    875
    I keep thinking, if I was more into mountain biking, like, I had another mountain bike other than my fatbike, I might have a hard time justifying the fatty.

    Fat bikes are great as an only mountain bike- there's not a lot they can't do, they're relatively simple and they are a blast to ride.

    Think of it this way: if someone told you the only bike you'll ever need is a disc cyclocross bike that fits 2" tires because it will do everything a road bike can do and everything a mountain bike can do, you'd think they're full of it. Because while there's a whole lot that bike can do, it really can't do everything.

    Fatbikes are similar. There's a lot they can do, but there are compromises. Are they better in snow? yup, though as many will point out, they still do best on packed trails, at which point some folks ask, "so why do I need a special bike for this?" Fatbikes excel in crap conditions- conditions where it's too sloppy for any other bike. They make the shoulder seasons rideable.

    A lot of the other stuff can be done on any bike, hell, smooth singletrack can be handled on a roadbike... but nothing handles utter crap like a fatbike.

  9. #9
    Perpetual n00b
    Reputation: dgw2jr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,193
    Throw all expectations out the window

    When the chicks at school see how gay we are, they're gonna be all over us.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Velobike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    4,750
    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    Throw all expectations out the window...
    You shouldn't ride a fatbike too fast. The poor things get tired, and need to lie down a lot. So I've found anyway...
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: veloborealis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    644
    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Normally, I would say that it's always time for a fatbike. Yesterday, I went on a 20 mile ride on clear, snowless trails with a group of 20 cat 1-2 racers on 29ers; I had the lone fatbike. Average pace was about 11.6mph. Yesterday was not time for a fatbike.
    Since I don't know whether you race or not, and if so, at what level, are you saying you would have been able to keep up on a 29er or that it would have hurt less? In other words, was it the bike or the engine?


    To the op, I see you live in PA. Don't know about your access to beaches there, but fatbikes also open up sand riding opportunities year round. Here in Nome, we have beaches and tundra to ride, and snow typically more than half the year, so I view a fatbike pretty much as a necessity if I want to ride all year. It would be a much tougher question for me if I lived where these were not factors. I can always justify the need for more than one bike, but each ride has to earn it's place in the stable based on the amount it will get used, budget, storage space, and sheer fun factor. I'm not sure this helps much, just my .02.
    The older I get the better I was...

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,292
    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    Throw all expectations out the window
    Hah! Thanks that was actually really amusing to watch. Conditions looked less than optimal in that video.

    My answer to the OP's original question... when you want to smile.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Settertude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    1,341
    "When you want to smile"--that sizes it up for me and my buds up here in NH.

    We have a sizable group of fatties and half the fun is snow shoeing the trails at night after the snow falls. Building trails, maintaining trails and packing trails is a package that brings it all together. The camaraderie makes it all the better when riding the snow packed trails afterwards and the cross-training is great.
    I'm afraid of heights so a 26'r fits me to a T.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Zoo1424's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    136

    Re: When is it time for a Fat Bike?

    +1 for "when you want to smile". That sums up most of the times I take my fat bike out. But in snow, it's not typically like riding singletrack in the summer. It's slower & much more work. But I'm outside, in the winter, on a bike, and I can go places I usually cannot ride. Swamps, creeks, fields - I can ride on them now. It sure beats using the trainer in my basement. I'm looking forward to using it once the snow melts every now and then just to mix things up.

    sent from my Galaxy Note 3

  15. #15
    Professional Crastinator
    Reputation: Fleas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,571
    For a comparison, I ride in the snow with 26 x 1.95 Panaracer Spike tires.

    I have ridden with fatbikes, I have ridden on packed trails, thin snow, deep untracked snow, crusty snow, slush, and ice.

    Anytime my tires can cut right to the base and find traction, I have no problem. I even out-climb a few fatties who don't have aggressive tires - esp. on off-camber surfaces. If the base is ice/slick/hard, though, the fatbikes are better off.

    On packed trails or on crust, the fatbikes stay right on the surface and really fly. I am a little slower on packed, but if I crack through the crust, it could become unrideable if the snow depth is more than ~4". It takes sooooo much effort.

    In fresh powder I can carve through untracked snow probably faster than a fatty, and with more control - no floating around. Most people would call that XC ski weather (which I usu. do).

    In snow that has been mixed with road salt that is the consistency of ice cream I can cut through while the fatties float and lose traction.

    Royalview-frozen tundra ride - Knobby Side Down
    That's my front tire in the first pic.
    You can view the slideshow to see the conditions. The fatties had a great day, but so did I! I opted for some extra mileage since I was having such a great time, but I was ca$hed when I finished. 10 miles in about 2:50 (I can usu. knock out 25 hard XC miles in that time).

    -F

    PS - dgw2jr's video is hilarious! I've never seen someone going that fast in the snow. btw - it can still hurt when you crash.
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    362
    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    I am getting back into riding after a nearly 17 year time off of riding solidly. Motocross injuries have finally made the wife tell me it's time to stop. Told her I'm getting back into shape then, and will be cycling, on and off road. She was OK with that, so I'm happy!
    Been riding a good bit here on my 26"er and my new 29er, but of course the snow and ice has rendered trails unridable.

    I have been tempted to buy up a fat frame and fork, and build my own Fat Bike. My 29er, I have been changing componentry (dumping triggers for grip, different brakes, etc.) I have a good number of components around.
    All of this is leading me to wonder at what point does the fat bike become a true, viable ride. if I did this and built one up, will I need it as often as I think? I have no problem riding either my 26 or my 29 Fuel EX in two inches of snow. I KNOW a fat bike can do much better though. I do see a lot of pictures and video of people riding fat bikes around in dusting to a few inches of snow, and that is not what I consider fat bike need. While I'm sure it would give better control, for 1-2 inches of snow, I'm not thinking a fat bike is worth it.
    Is there a point at which the fat bikes also become just not capable? RIght now we're at about 8" total snow, with a crust under 1" of the new crap.
    What kind of control does the fat bike give you? Am I expecting too much out of one, to be able to actually ride and train in the woods with 6-8" of snow? If not, this may be a great "investment" in my riding for future winters.
    I seen you're from PA. Me too. Fat Biking is really catching on here. As a person from PA you know how our Falls and Early Springs are. Both are excellent Fat Bike seasons, not just the winter. I started riding mine Ocotber 1st, and it's the only bike I've ridden since then to today's posting. In my eyes here in PA, it really is a 2 season bike here. Even when it's a dry Late Fall, it will get you into a different mind set heading into the winter. After the Spring hits and stuff starts melting and everything is a mess, you will be strong. They are also excellent for early spring trail maintenance. Many Fat bikes have many mounting points, for racks and some tow carts. Again excellent for trail maintenance. So after roughly 6 months of hauling the big fat fatty around, Late Spring and Summer hits....your legs should be ready to rock and roll.

    So when does a Fatty make sense? Well, to me it dawned on me when a late fall ride left me with a $300 repair bill, and remembering last season when I wanted to ride outside....but conditions did not allow it. I love to ride bikes, so adding a Fat Bike made sense, and it certainly expanded my riding this year. Furthermore, stuff I never ride in the summer, ie Dirt Roads, Rail Trails, etc. because well there's singletrack to ride....are really cool in the winter when it's silent, snow covered, and just pristine.

    Good luck with your decision and remember the equation for how many bikes you should own is N + 1(Fatty) (N = How many bikes you currently have)
    Climbing Builds Character

  17. #17
    MaverickMotoMedia.com
    Reputation: Gigantic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    1,407
    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    Since I don't know whether you race or not, and if so, at what level, are you saying you would have been able to keep up on a 29er or that it would have hurt less? In other words, was it the bike or the engine?


    To the op, I see you live in PA. Don't know about your access to beaches there, but fatbikes also open up sand riding opportunities year round. Here in Nome, we have beaches and tundra to ride, and snow typically more than half the year, so I view a fatbike pretty much as a necessity if I want to ride all year. It would be a much tougher question for me if I lived where these were not factors. I can always justify the need for more than one bike, but each ride has to earn it's place in the stable based on the amount it will get used, budget, storage space, and sheer fun factor. I'm not sure this helps much, just my .02.
    I'm a cat 3 racer. in my case, yesterday was a bit of both: The engine needed a tune-up- I'm getting over a severe case of bronchitis, at one point, my lungs were functioning at about 35% capacity. While I've been riding 75-100 miles a week, I haven't done much trail riding since late september, so I'm partly to blame for my lack of performance. On the other hand, the trails were relatively flat & very twisty singletrack through the NJ pine barrens. I noticed that I was spending far more energy accelerating than maintaining speed. Because of the twistiness, there was quite a bit of braking and accelerating.

    Based on past rides with the same group, riding my former 29er, I probably would have been able to keep up. I would have been suffering and lagging, but I would have kept that pace. A set of 29er or 29er+ wheels are on my list, for sure.
    Maverick Moto Media Motorcycles, Mountain Biking & Social Media Mgt
    Facebook Twitter Instagram

  18. #18
    Chronic 1st-timer
    Reputation: lubes17319's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    2,139
    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    ..... 29er, but of course the snow and ice has rendered trails unridable.
    .....
    Huh??
    Les grimpées, je les déteste!

  19. #19
    PRETENDURO
    Reputation: Leopold Porkstacker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    6,834
    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    When is it time for a Fat Bike?
    Yesterday. You don’t even need snow, but I suppose one could say it helps them explain to their spouse why they “need” one.
    QUOTE from MTBR.COM: You have given Brewtality too much Reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: DethWshBkr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    461
    Quote Originally Posted by lubes17319 View Post
    Huh??

    Ha!
    Yeah, 8" of snow, with an ice crust two inhes down. Due for another 12" tomorrow.
    I hate winter.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    339

    Re: When is it time for a Fat Bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    Throw all expectations out the window

    Wow that actually does not look fun all.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    174
    I'm debating the same thing....I've got a bunch of "skinny" bikes, and I like the idea of a fat bike but just don't know how much I would really need it. I don't have much interest in riding in snow, since most years we don't get much (this year was a big exception), and when we do, it's gets crusty/icey with no snowmobile trails. I'd rather get a good pair of XC skis (a nice set runs $400 and is great cross training). Or just run and build up some different muscles. So, that leaves sand as the main place to use one. The Pine Barrens has tons of sandy stuff that would be fun exploring on a fb, and those are about an hour away...but is it worth $2000? I dunno

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    339
    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    I'm debating the same thing....I've got a bunch of "skinny" bikes, and I like the idea of a fat bike but just don't know how much I would really need it. I don't have much interest in riding in snow, since most years we don't get much (this year was a big exception), and when we do, it's gets crusty/icey with no snowmobile trails. I'd rather get a good pair of XC skis (a nice set runs $400 and is great cross training). Or just run and build up some different muscles. So, that leaves sand as the main place to use one. The Pine Barrens has tons of sandy stuff that would be fun exploring on a fb, and those are about an hour away...but is it worth $2000? I dunno
    You definitely don't need it... but it's fun.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation: kris7047th's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    280
    I was in the same boat and said screw it .. and ordered it right after Christmas. No regret .. it just adds to my riding year around and totally different from my road bikes.

  25. #25
    Rocking on a Rocky
    Reputation: RockyJo1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    354
    Just do it you will not be disappointed.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Time off the bike
    By Beancrew49 in forum California - Norcal
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-01-2013, 01:25 AM
  2. Bike Time vs Hike Time on Black Mtn
    By NC_dirtsurfer in forum North & South Carolina
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 06-21-2013, 05:25 AM
  3. Time For a New FS Bike
    By Quagmire in forum Bike and Frame discussion
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 06-01-2012, 07:07 AM
  4. Time for a new bike...
    By dawgcatching in forum Ventana
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-28-2012, 05:31 AM
  5. More time on bike...less time working
    By IowaCoug in forum Passion
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 06-13-2011, 06:50 PM

Posting Permissions

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