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  1. #1
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    "Wired" Magazine Fat Bike Fail

    Pondering the Point of Snow Bikes While Riding With Wolves | Playbook | Wired.com

    Is it me, or did Wired kinda miss the whole point of riding in the snow?

    ...but if the industry wants them to be anything more than a fad, they’ll have to go faster, shift better, ride stiffer and weigh a lot less
    ...Oh and let's not forget about adjusting tire pressure on the fly!? ? Ahhhhhh.....yeah.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SprungShoulders View Post
    Pondering the Point of Snow Bikes While Riding With Wolves | Playbook | Wired.com

    Is it me, or did Wired kinda miss the whole point of riding in the snow?
    Not a very well crafted piece I'll agree. I was kinda hoping the wolves would catch him. Check out the comments section, he spends a lot of time and effort and words backpedaling to people who skewer the article. Basically saying how much better his fat bike experience was than it came off in the piece... really? Then why didn't you write that?

  3. #3
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    "Wired" Magazine Fat Bike Fail

    Quote Originally Posted by rumblestrip View Post
    Not a very well crafted piece I'll agree. I was kinda hoping the wolves would catch him. Check out the comments section, he spends a lot of time and effort and words backpedaling to people who skewer the article. Basically saying how much better his fat bike experience was than it came off in the piece... really? Then why didn't you write that?
    I totally agree with your comment. He changed his tune when called out.

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    All that said, they are heavy as hell and shifting well right out of the box would be a big improvement... How many threads dedicated to shaving/hacking weight, how many threads dedicated to "why won't my (BrandX) shift right" or "Why won't my (BrandX) BB/Crank/whatever stop failing", etc.

    Fatbikes are still rolling projects, some assembly required. Wouldn't recommend one to anyone who doesn't know how to build a bike from a bare frame.

    And, riding in the snow the first time is an eye opener. After coming from the road where pace is measured in miles per hour and 20mph isn't hard to hold, riding on fresh snow is like riding through molasses. Miles per hour becomes feet since you last had to put a foot down/fell over.

    Everything he said made some sense. Except for the wolves part. I would be pretty stoked to actually see some wolves.

  5. #5
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    ...yeah...I usually measure my rides not in miles, but hours...
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SprungShoulders View Post
    ...Oh and let's not forget about adjusting tire pressure on the fly!? ? Ahhhhhh.....yeah.
    We have seen on-the-fly tire pressure adjustment in development but this is exactly the sort of add-on feature that will make fatbikes heavier and more expensive which was direction of thier other gripes.

  7. #7
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    I bought my first mountain bike, a Trek 830 in 1987 because it looked like the same kind of fun and adventure I had as a kid on my purple Schwinn Stingray with the chopper bars and banana seat. I didn't buy it to race, to exercise or to ride the same loop four times a week to see if I could shave 1 minute off my best time. I bought it to "go for a ride", usually nowhere specific, not in a huge hurry, and if something looked interesting, time for a bit of exploring. Reading all the posts on this forum reminded me of those days and I bought my fat bike because it looked like a great way to get back to that. So far so good. I don't think the author sees it that way.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnitman View Post
    ...yeah...I usually measure my rides not in miles, but hours...
    ^this^..... I intentionally didn't have a cyclocomputer on my fatbike until I got my GPS - even then it's mostly to prove where my bike can actually go, and to remind me to keep up the calorie intake!.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumblestrip View Post
    Not a very well crafted piece I'll agree. I was kinda hoping the wolves would catch him. Check out the comments section, he spends a lot of time and effort and words backpedaling to people who skewer the article. Basically saying how much better his fat bike experience was than it came off in the piece... really? Then why didn't you write that?
    A bit of background- Wired edited a lot of what he wrote out of his original write up. This may have colored his take in a way he did not intend. (I saw on his Twitter feed where he mentioned the exact amount of words edited, and I can not recall an exact figure, but it was a substantial amount.) Having everything he wrote available may have cast a different light on things, and may explain his seeming back pedaling a wee bit. Maybe not.

    Doesn't matter now. Wired put that out there the way they did, and we may never see the entire write up as intended by the author.

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    In fairness, I was thinking the other day that these bikes are incredibly slow handling. It would certainly never replace my Flash 29'er as a race bike.

    Of course, I never expected it to replace it either. It's fun in its own way. Just like my first yellow and blue BMX bike. I guess you would have to be a biker to understand that.

  11. #11
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    I'd actually really like to air-up and down and back up again without stopping...and digging my pump out... and break-off the d4mn schrader valve knurled nut, and freeze my fingers, and get chilled because I'm wet and sweaty...etc, etc...I am seriously considering doing a custom frame to accommodate the Adaptrac - Adaptable Traction Control for Mountain Bikes The offset would be less than either a Pugs or 'Lander. I already plan on naming her "Staples" 'cause I can just push the easy button to air-up or down and just keep on rollin...So, as I am once again a broke-a55 college student, I'm taking donations for project Staples...I'm also starting a kickstarter page to raise funds be able to pay to plasti-dip the frame ;{)>
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrcRS View Post
    In fairness, I was thinking the other day that these bikes are incredibly slow handling. It would certainly never replace my Flash 29'er as a race bike.
    Handling is slow compared to what? Why would anyone think that anything with tires this size and weight would handle anything like a tire that is less than half of weight and size? Why would you even compare the two, def a case of apples and oranges.

    I really hate it when people compare a fatbike to a traditional mtnbike. Yes it is heavier and slower on a smoth flat surface, but put your Flash mtnbike on some sand, snow, crazy mud, or anything similar and you will quickly find that your mtnbike is much slower....basically useless.

    They are two different bikes with very different purposes. End of story

  13. #13
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    Slow handling?

    Any mountain bike on the street will feel sluggish compared to a track bike. Oh, you say, it's kinda hard riding a track bike on a trail? Well, a skinny-tired MTB doesn't get far in deep snow, does it?

  14. #14
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    Why are so many people afraid of a different experience? Why is it about making everything the same? So what if they are slower, heavier, and don't handle the same as a "traditional" mountain bike. If that's really a problem for you, don't ride one. Problem solved. But shut up and let those of us who enjoy different experiences the chance to actually enjoy those experiences instead of complaining about them because they aren't the same as the sterile crap you think of as "extreme."

    I've written under the thumb of an editor enough to know that you don't write something that can be distilled to have a different meaning. To me, the back pedaling means the author didn't expect the blowback he got, not that he meant something different with his words.

  15. #15
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    It wasn't a fun read for someone who is excited about fat bikes, and I wouldn't mind seeing some wolves while out riding my fat bike. Maybe I'll see some while doing the Togwotee Winter Classic next month, it's in prime wolf country.

    But, I can understand it. If someone doesn't have the skills to ride well, and doesn't have a bike set up to be ridden in snow, it will be frustrating.

  16. #16
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    Wolves reply:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails "Wired" Magazine Fat Bike Fail-fuck_you_said_the_hot-babe-wolf.jpg  


  17. #17
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    The thing that really sold me on fat biking was how FAST they are. On packed snow, 90% of the time there is simply no other human mode of travel which is faster. On firm groomers, I'm faster than skate skis. On rougher snowmobile trails I'm faster than nordic skis. On packed single track I'm faster than backcountry skis. On snowy roads I'm faster than my studded tire bike in unless it's really hardpack or icy. In just about everything but powder, bikes are often the best tool for the job.

    The article writer can "ponder the point of these bikes" all he wants. I spend most of my time "pondering" when I can go ride mine again....
    Last edited by Teton29er; 02-20-2013 at 03:26 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    A bit of background- Wired edited a lot of what he wrote out of his original write up. This may have colored his take in a way he did not intend. (I saw on his Twitter feed where he mentioned the exact amount of words edited, and I can not recall an exact figure, but it was a substantial amount.) Having everything he wrote available may have cast a different light on things, and may explain his seeming back pedaling a wee bit. Maybe not.

    Doesn't matter now. Wired put that out there the way they did, and we may never see the entire write up as intended by the author.
    I think you're right GT. His blogs about the article are much more positive with pictures of smiles, and talk of how much fun it was. Perhaps Wired wanted it to be something that would attract more comments, to keep people coming back to the mag/site.
    Pondering the Point of Snow Bikes - Bike Hugger

    Fat Bikes on the Snow for Wired - Bike Hugger
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  19. #19
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    Meh. Just another person with an opinion. Doesn't affect my enjoyment one way or the other. This "niche" seems to be doing OK despite the naysayers.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coloradogoose View Post
    Why are so many people afraid of a different experience? Why is it about making everything the same? So what if they are slower, heavier, and don't handle the same as a "traditional" mountain bike. If that's really a problem for you, don't ride one. Problem solved. But shut up and let those of us who enjoy different experiences the chance to actually enjoy those experiences instead of complaining about them because they aren't the same as the sterile crap you think of as "extreme."

    I've written under the thumb of an editor enough to know that you don't write something that can be distilled to have a different meaning. To me, the back pedaling means the author didn't expect the blowback he got, not that he meant something different with his words.
    What people are saying about fatbikes is exactly what they said about mountain bikes back when they first came out. They're slow. They're heavy. The handling is wonky. They only mostly work.

    And all of that is completely true.

    I have a first generation mountain bike- it's got a TA touring crank because mountain cranks hadn't been invented yet. It's got a nitto pearl stem because again, that was what was available at the time. It has 1.75" rims. It has chainstays that are so long you can't see the rear end if it's foggy. It's heavy. It's slow. The geometry is bizarre. The handling is wonky. It only mostly works.

    It's exactly like my pugsley. Fatbikes are still works in progress. Witness the fact that there are 2 competing hub standards and there are probably about to be even more. 135. 170. 150. 186.

    When you are in love, it's easy to overlook the flaws in something. But just because you love those flaws doesn't mean they aren't still there. You may not even see them as flaws. Because you are in love. But those flaws ARE still there. And you can't expect everyone to love them like you do.

    I love my pugsley. It's the most fun I've had on a mountain bike in years. But it's slow. it's heavy. The handling is wonky and it only mostly works.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfiddious View Post
    What people are saying about fatbikes is exactly what they said about mountain bikes back when they first came out. They're slow. They're heavy. The handling is wonky. They only mostly work.

    And all of that is completely true.

    I have a first generation mountain bike- it's got a TA touring crank because mountain cranks hadn't been invented yet. It's got a nitto pearl stem because again, that was what was available at the time. It has 1.75" rims. It has chainstays that are so long you can't see the rear end if it's foggy. It's heavy. It's slow. The geometry is bizarre. The handling is wonky. It only mostly works.

    It's exactly like my pugsley. Fatbikes are still works in progress. Witness the fact that there are 2 competing hub standards and there are probably about to be even more. 135. 170. 150. 186.

    When you are in love, it's easy to overlook the flaws in something. But just because you love those flaws doesn't mean they aren't still there. You may not even see them as flaws. Because you are in love. But those flaws ARE still there. And you can't expect everyone to love them like you do.

    I love my pugsley. It's the most fun I've had on a mountain bike in years. But it's slow. it's heavy. The handling is wonky and it only mostly works.
    Well, it may be true if you've only ridden the entry-level versions of fatbikes like a stock Pugs or Muk 3, etc. I feel like my 27lb Ti Twenty2 has very few compromises. The 170 rear hub seems evolved enough for me. No problems running tires up to 4", and the symmetric wheel doesn't offend my engineering sensibiliites. My drivetrain works as well as any other bike. It doesn't feel slow to me. (OK, maybe a little on the uphills, but the traction almost makes up for it.) I don't feel like the handling of the bike is the limiting factor in any situation. In fact, I like it better. My regular bikes feel skittish and less sure-footed by comparison. I have a Pugs, too, and like mostly everything about it except the weight. And the rust. Steel is real, alright. Real rusty.

  22. #22
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    Soooooooooooooooo... what do you think most people are starting with? A 27 pound custom TI fatbike that's been bulletproofed and blueprinted or an entry level 38 pound stock fatbike?

    I'm guessing that you had pretty much the exact same complaints about your pugsley, and that's why you went full custom, tweaked the geometry, worked out a better drivetrain and dropped 11 pounds. Your bike has very few compromises. A stock, entry level bike of the sort that 100% of new riders are going to start with is made of compromises.

    Let me say it once again, I love my fatbike. Love it. love love love love love it. But fatbikes are definitely not for everyone, same as mountain bikes aren't for everyone same as road bikes aren't for everyone same as cross bikes aren't for everyone.

    There's a lot of folks with their undies in a bunch in this thread because the author of the original article pointed out the basic flaws that a fatbike (and riding in snow) comes with.

    For example, he points out that yeah, it was great right up til he fell off the packed trail and into the unpacked snow. I gotta admit, that's one that bothers me, too. We say our fatbikes will go anywhere, but really, they'll go anywhere once a whole bunch of snowshoers have packed the trail down enough for us to "float" on their path. In axle-deep fresh snow, you ain't going anywhere.

    There's a lot of myths out there about fatbikes and those myths are part of what drives articles like this. A fatbike will not go everywhere. It doesn't handle ice like it isn't there. It needs a packed trail to float. And that does beg the question, why not just get a pair of snowshoes or back country xc skis? (because they suck in the summer).

    Fatbikes excel in borderline conditions that ground everything else. That's where I'm finding that fatbikes really shine.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfiddious View Post
    There's a lot of folks with their undies in a bunch in this thread because the author of the original article pointed out the basic flaws that a fatbike (and riding in snow) comes with.

    For example, he points out that yeah, it was great right up til he fell off the packed trail and into the unpacked snow. I gotta admit, that's one that bothers me, too.
    Speaking for myself, I thought the article was poorly written for a couple reasons. First, it was mainly based on his perceived shortcoming of fat bikes based entirely on his flawed expectations. Seems as though he thought he would cruise through 2 ft. of powder like a xc bike on hardpack. I only spent a few hours over the course of a week or two reading this forum before ordering my bike and I was fairly aware of the limitations I would encounter. Did I try 1 ft. of powder anyway? Of course I did, but it wasn't a disappointment when it didn't go so well.

    Other parts of the article seemed odd enough that it made me think the author just tossed it off without much concern. Stuff like this: We’d like to see dropper seat posts, internal gears and the ability to adjust tire pressure on the fly, to start. So, even though 95% of trail bikes, which could benefit a lot from having a dropper post, don't come with them, fat bikes should come with them standard, even though they would be far less needed? Internal gears, an expensive and sometimes failure prone item should be standard instead of the 2x9 or 2x10 that works perfectly well in most situations? And after complaining about weight, to throw out on the fly pressure which would require an onboard compressor or large CO2 tank and electronic valve system just seemed stupid.
    Last edited by smithcreek; 02-20-2013 at 08:15 AM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfiddious View Post
    Soooooooooooooooo... what do you think most people are starting with? A 27 pound custom TI fatbike that's been bulletproofed and blueprinted or an entry level 38 pound stock fatbike?

    I'm guessing that you had pretty much the exact same complaints about your pugsley, and that's why you went full custom, tweaked the geometry, worked out a better drivetrain and dropped 11 pounds. Your bike has very few compromises. A stock, entry level bike of the sort that 100% of new riders are going to start with is made of compromises.
    Not sure that the point of the article was to review entry-level fatbikes. Wired's articles typically lean more towards nerdy and state-of-the-art. The only complaints I have with my Pugs are the weight and the quality of the frame and components. It's fine for a $1500 bike, but $1500 doesn't buy much in a regular bike, either. Everything works fine, and I liked the geometry so much that my Ti frame is almost identical (not custom, BTW). I ride mine as my everyday mountain bike. I haven't ridden in more than 2" of snow yet, so I can't say much about his complaints relative to "snow biking". My point is that I'm pretty cool with the level of evolution that exists at the moment. I don't feel like any of the bike's parts are "beta" versions that might break and kill me, or even rise to the level of me being aware of any negatives while I'm out riding.

    The dude writes: "And frankly, snow bikes have a long way to go before they approach the sophistication of a Pivot 5.7, Specialized Stumpjumper, or Jamis Dakar 650b. At this point, the bikes have more in common with beach cruisers than proper mountain bikes." This is ridiculous on so many levels that I don't know where to start.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    Handling is slow compared to what? Why would anyone think that anything with tires this size and weight would handle anything like a tire that is less than half of weight and size? Why would you even compare the two, def a case of apples and oranges.

    I really hate it when people compare a fatbike to a traditional mtnbike. Yes it is heavier and slower on a smoth flat surface, but put your Flash mtnbike on some sand, snow, crazy mud, or anything similar and you will quickly find that your mtnbike is much slower....basically useless.

    They are two different bikes with very different purposes. End of story
    It appears you may not have finished reading my post?

    This is an Internet forum. Hang loose man.

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