Fat bike for winter commuting?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    high pivot witchcraft
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    Fat bike for winter commuting?

    Trying to decide what bike to buy for this year's winter commuting.

    I now have 11 straight years of salt infested, abusive, neglectful winter commuting on my 2008 Kona Fire Mountain that I bought new before my first season of winter commuting. The fork was replaced with a rigid Project 2 long ago (after the shitty Rockshox whatever seized) and I have had more drivetrains on that thing than I can remember. For the last 5 or so years, I have ridden with Schwlabe studded tires (1.8 I believe).

    It's time to get a new winter commuter.

    Narrowed it down to a Kona Unit, a Kona Unit X or a Kona WO fat bike.

    Has anyone commuted daily on a fat bike in snowy, icy, slushy, wintery conditions, with a few steep sustained climbs along the way? No idea whether a fat bike is a good or bad idea. All I know is that for the downs, as I am carefully needling my way down with my pencil thin tires, dudes on fat bikes are blasting past me at the speed of sound with big smiles on their face. I bet though that on the flats and climbs, a fat bike is not ideal. No idea though, not having ever owned one.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks.
    2020 Kona Unit
    2019 Forbidden Druid
    2018 Kona Honzo ST 30th BDay SE
    2015 Kona Paddy Wagon Fixed Gear

  2. #2
    Wanna ride bikes?
    Reputation: *OneSpeed*'s Avatar
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    Yes, it would work great. Yes it's slower on the climbs. It just requires a slightly different mindset, don't be in a hurry and just take your time.

    Fun fact- the stock tires on the 2020 Kona Wo are stud ready!

    I really like the new Unit too, but more so for a trail bike.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  3. #3
    Loud hubs save lives!
    Reputation: 43st's Avatar
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    In my experience fat bike tires don't handle winter salt mush well. A skinnier tire 'cuts' the sludge a bit better and gets you in contact with the road (or ice) underneath. The fat tire wants to float and it can be slick as snot. You also have 4"+ of tire flinging that goop around and full fat fenders are rare. Aside that, it's a great winter choice.

  4. #4
    high pivot witchcraft
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    Quote Originally Posted by 43st View Post
    In my experience fat bike tires don't handle winter salt mush well. A skinnier tire 'cuts' the sludge a bit better and gets you in contact with the road (or ice) underneath. The fat tire wants to float and it can be slick as snot. You also have 4"+ of tire flinging that goop around and full fat fenders are rare. Aside that, it's a great winter choice.
    The fender issue is a big deal. I had not thought about that. Even WITH fenders on my winter commuter, there is fair amount of frozen snot caked on the frame and components a lot of the days. Without those fenders, I suspect I would be wearing a lot of it.

    The fat bike is tempting. I already have a winter commuter that is still useable (the 2008 studded Kona Fire Mountain which I run rigid). It would complement my quiver perfectly. I may even do a bit of fat biking on the local trails. Plus I canít get the sight out of my mind of guys ripping past me on a particularly long, gnarly down on fat bikes, while I was inching my way down making pacts with God.

    All that said, I think it might be best to go with the Unit X, and maybe set it up SS at the front end to see if I can handle the climbs in the snow and ice. If not, I can always convert it back to geared.

    I need to think a little more more about this today, with coffee in hand, and snow on the ground (already). I will pull the pin on one or the other this week.
    2020 Kona Unit
    2019 Forbidden Druid
    2018 Kona Honzo ST 30th BDay SE
    2015 Kona Paddy Wagon Fixed Gear

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