Fatbike or Regular Mountain Bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fatbike or Regular Mountain Bike?

    I had various bikes when I was a kid but never was serous about the"sport", I just rode whatever I had.
    Now, I want to get a serious bike and the Fatbikes really catch my eye! But do I need one or would a regular Mountain bike do just fine? I currently ride dirtbikes on singletrack trail and love it! That's why the Fat tire on a Fatbike catches my eye so much! I want to use this bike for fitness and fun around my farm/woods where I have dirtbike trails. As far as public trail in my area there is nothing for dirtbikes but many biking trails I feel like I am missing out on. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    Both would do just fine. Some people only ride fatbikes. What is your budget?

  3. #3
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    I don't have a rock solid budget but I was thinking around $700

  4. #4
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    Anywhere around you that you can test ride some bikes?
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  5. #5
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    You could get a fat bike and a second wheelset later on.

  6. #6
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    Look at bikesdirect.com fat bikes. The bullseye monster and the motobecane boris are pretty good fatties.

  7. #7
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    I would go check out the local public bike trails and see how many fatbikes are ridden there. If there are a lot of climbs on those trails, a less heavy bike my serve you better.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, fatbikes are a pretty popular fad these days, but for most people, they find a regular bike works best for all around riding. If you don't ride in deep sand or live somewhere with a lot of snow, a normal bike is a better choice IMO. Coming from moto, I'd also see if there were any deals on used FS bikes in your area.
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  9. #9
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    if youre only going to have one bike, id suggest a normal one.

  10. #10
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    Fatbike will make you a better rider, faster. Rigid frames don't give you any flack, you really learn how to properly weight yourself on the bike. The weight will make you stronger, like it or not, the grip will keep you going when the conditions aren't optimal...

    Fatbike to start might be a neat idea!
    Todd :thumbsup:

  11. #11
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    Ummmm.... a heavy bike will always make you slower than you will be on a lighter bike, we go through this on here periodically.

  12. #12
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    I could be wrong here, but I feel like the fat bikes are very niche bikes. You could probably get a better level of versatility with a regular mtb

  13. #13
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    I have a fatbike as my primary mtb right now. It's fun, but it's well outside your price range.

    I think a lot depends on where you want to ride it and how you want to ride.

    If you have a lot of loose sand, a fully rigid fatbike makes a lot of sense. If you intend to ride this bike in a lot of snow for long winters, a fatbike makes a lot of sense.

    If your trails are smoother, or are extremely rocky, and you want to ride fast, fewer fatbikes do those things well at lower prices. High speeds and fatbikes kinda require expensive tires for better handling. Cheap tires tend to handle poorly in dry summer conditions at high speeds. Plus, when you start factoring in high speeds, suspension becomes advantageous. Summer trails tend to call for higher tire pressures, which tend to feel like you're riding basketballs on a fully rigid bike at high speed. Suspension tunes out the bouncing from the tires.

    If you want to get rad in the air, a fatbike also won't be your best choice. Those big tires weigh you down and make it hard to get more than a few inches over the ground. Some of the more expensive fatbikes handle better in the air, but you need deeper pockets than $700.

    If you're into slower speeds, expedition riding in more rugged and sketchy terrain, a fatbike can be a very good choice.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douwe View Post
    I could be wrong here, but I feel like the fat bikes are very niche bikes. You could probably get a better level of versatility with a regular mtb
    Not all of them are. It depends. Some are heavily focused on snow riding. Yeah, that's a specific niche. But there are many available now that have more general trail-worthy capabilities. They handle downhills much better and more confidently than early models. Lighter wheels and tires (and tubeless) help them to climb much better than before. Suspension helps them behave much better at high speeds in chunky terrain.

    Problem is, a bike like that has a certain price that goes along with the extra capability and versatility.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Todd- View Post
    Fatbike will make you a better rider, faster.
    Kinda baseless statement.

    Define 'better', and explain why your personal version of it applies to the everyone else. Would you say it's true that anyone that rides a fatbike is a "better" rider than everyone who doesn't? By what measure? I mean, I was riding a 'fatbike' 15 years ago, long before the current trend took off, so you'd think I'd be a frigging awesome rider. But you'd be wrong.

    You should ride the bike that's the most fun for you personally and never listen to anyone that says you have to have any particular equipment in order to be a progress as a rider or have a good time.

    A heavy bike can make it tougher to ride faster under some conditions, but a heavy bike that that isn't broken is a whole lot faster than a light one that is.
    Last edited by slapheadmofo; 03-23-2015 at 07:14 PM.
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  16. #16
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    If I were going to have one bike I think a fatty would be great. Read everything in the forum and you'll undoubtedly be left with an opinion. I say, buy as expensive as you can!
    I have given up on them though because when the smoke all clears and there is no snow, lots of other bikes are better and for the most part less expensive to buy and maintain.
    A fat bike (with some exceptions) is still cheaper than a new motorcycle!

  17. #17
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    If slow speed is acceptable, fatbike will get you over the most terrain without problem. If you want to learn better handling and bike skills, a normal hardtail mountain bike is better. You will pay a premium for a quality fatbike right now because they are a fad.

    I rode my fat bike last night on a trail I rode my 29er on Friday night. Basically same trail/same conditions. The 29er was faster and funner. It was challenging and I had to get off the bike because some areas were too challenging. On the fat bike, it was more like riding over everything in a tank. Not much held me back, but it wasn't challenging.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for all the replies! They all help me consider things I maybe hadn't thought of. I would say speed and jumping are not things that interest me much. Does $700 get more bang for the bucks on a standard mountain bike? Is there such a thing as a hybrid Standard Mountain bike with moderately wide tires but not "Fat" tires?

  19. #19
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    I don't think 700 dollars won't get you fat bike. Most run over a thousand clear up to 3000.

    They are awesome bike but with limitations, namely speed and agility. I tell people it's like a bus that steers like a dump truck. On the other hand, you can go almost anywhere.

    For 700 I'd go to a shop and look around and see what's there.

  20. #20
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    I've got a hardtail, dirt jumper, trail full suspension, a freeride 8" F.S. and finally a Motobecane Lurch fatbike bought from bikesdirect for $900 last September.

    While I love all my bikes when they are ridden in their 'best' environment. The best all around tool in my stable seems to be the fatbike. Most trails do not have the gnarly chunk that makes my full suspension bikes more mandatory, nor the bigger jumps that would scare me away from trying them on a fatbike. Because of the immense traction and lack of pedal bobbing, the fatbike climbs way better than I thought it would also.

    It's stability and general overall mountain bike capabilities, I feel make it the best bet for people newer to mountain biking to explore most singletrack. I plan to use mine to introduce friends to our local trails this year.

    If I could have only one, living where I live in Minnesota, I'd probably pick the fatbike. Thankfully, I don't have to choose and I can ride the weapon of choice for each location.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bethany1 View Post
    I don't think 700 dollars won't get you fat bike. Most run over a thousand clear up to 3000.

    They are awesome bike but with limitations, namely speed and agility. I tell people it's like a bus that steers like a dump truck. On the other hand, you can go almost anywhere.

    For 700 I'd go to a shop and look around and see what's there.
    Disagreed! (and I don't even own a fattie yet). They're not hard to steer, they're not dump trucks. I've tried the fatbikes before and they feel fine.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AshevilleMtBiker View Post
    Disagreed! (and I don't even own a fattie yet). They're not hard to steer, they're not dump trucks. I've tried the fatbikes before and they feel fine.
    I agree...my bike isn't hard to steer provided the tires are not under inflated for conditions. And it doesn't feel like a dump truck to me either...and I've driven dump trucks and other big rigs.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaHag View Post
    I agree...my bike isn't hard to steer provided the tires are not under inflated for conditions. And it doesn't feel like a dump truck to me either...and I've driven dump trucks and other big rigs.
    There you have it! From a person who's driven a dump truck and ridden a fat bike.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaHag View Post
    I agree...my bike isn't hard to steer provided the tires are not under inflated for conditions. And it doesn't feel like a dump truck to me either...and I've driven dump trucks and other big rigs.
    Tire pressure is everything when it comes to how a fatty handles and rides.
    I haven't quite figured it out yet, myself.

  25. #25
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    My fatbike has been easier to maintain and run, and because of the lower speeds I don't hurt myself nearly as much... I could track stand for an hour on the fatty, while I decide which line I want to take down the trail.

    Fatbiking has really changed how I ride. I'll firm up my suspension a bit, and not be so lazy on the seat! Bigger hits this year for sure!

    In saying that, I'm stoked that the winter is over and I can get back on my 29er, after riding a pig all winter long. The lighter bike will feel like a toy, there's gotta be a 5lb difference between both bikes!
    Todd :thumbsup:

  26. #26
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    It starts to go into the dump truck category if the bike is really cheap. For example, the walmart dolomite. I have one and it's fun, after upgrades. The stock tires weighed about 8 pounds each, plus an extra 3 pounds for the tube. That much rotating mass with the lowest TPI tires possible, and they feel like a dump truck at anything under 15psi. However, I've upgraded to better tires, and huge difference in handling. Right tire pressure for the trail. Too low of tire pressure on any fat bike will feel odd.

    $700 will get you a semi-decent hardtail mountain bike with a entry level hydraulic fork from your local bike shop. No LBS will have a new fat bike for under $1000. For that, you'll have to go online. And then, you have to do your own maintenance or pay the LBS, which negates any savings of going online.

  27. #27
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    Find a gently used Surly Krampus (29 Plus). The 29 x 3.0 Knards roll well, you can rip in turns (look out for mud though!) and give you a bit of cush.

    And knowing how to do your own maintenance should be a requirement for owning a mountainbike. If you're riding dirtbikes, you obviously know how to turn a wrench so it'll come easy to you. There's a wealth of info available on the net so no worries about buying online

  28. #28
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    I didn't hate mine, just the handling skills are different on a fat bike and most people don't realize it. When I sold my fat bike, I had to show the guy how to ride it and about adjusting tire pressure. He'd never had one and was clueless. It took some time to get the handling down and then it was a lot of fun.

    If you can find a decent used one via CL or another site, go for it. Or save up for a new one. 700 will get you a decent mountain bike if you can't get the fat bike.

  29. #29
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    The first fatbike I ever rode didn't handle like a dump truck. Instead, it felt like it physically fought me the whole ride. I know now that it was a combination of a few factors. Namely, cheap tires and speed. With those two factors at play, I began to experience the worst handling characteristics you can get from fatbikes. Self-steer, the gyroscopic effects of the heavy wheels/tires, and general unpredictability. After that demo ride, though, I started to try some other fatbikes. Models with better quality tires and better geometry that felt just like mountain bikes with big tires.

    The first one I rode that handled like crap - that was a budget fatbike, first and foremost. Add about $200 - $300 for some quality rubber, and the handling would have improved quite a lot. A little more tweaking of the fit for the way I ride, and it would have been better still. But that kind of thing is super common with a budget fatbike. Fatbike tires are damned expensive, so cheaping out, you're going to wind up with crap tires that handle poorly.

    Subsequent bikes were better equipped all around. The one I ended up buying pretty much counts as a high end bike by any stretch.

    I honestly think a $700 budget goes much farther if you're looking at a regular mtb. You MIGHT find a better quality used fatbike in that price, but it's unlikely that it will be one of the modern ones that feels like a mountain bike you'd ride year round.

  30. #30
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    I'd go for a regular hardtail for sure. Used will give you the best bang for your buck. It may not be as trendy as a fatbike but it'll make the most of your $700

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