Alright fat bikers, lets hear some truth.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Alright fat bikers, lets hear some truth.

    Im really interested in riding all season. I hate trainers. How ever id hate to spend mo ey on a bike that I use once due to having the wrong expectations.

    So, take my usual single track trails, about 130m of elevation gain and they wont be groomed. Somtimes in my area a foot if not more can fall in a day/night. Is this still fun riding or does ot need to be grommed or walked for a few days? Lots is snowmobile trails around but they get kinda nuts with speed. I should add the trails i ride wont see any foot traffic all winter

    None of the shops up here are renting yet and i want to try them on the trails I normally ride. One other issue I have is im about 4km from trails and im not keen on salt and burning off tires that cost as much as they do.


    How do your brakes hold up? I was out on my XX brakes in -4ish and the heat/freeze cycle messed them up abit. Cable or hydro better?

    Thanks all

  2. #2
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    I've never had an issue with any of my hydraulic brakes during the winter. My Salsa Beargrease has XX Brakes on it and they have seen temps as low as -25C and have performed perfectly.

    Snow conditions vary with temps so it's hard to give you a blanket statement on trail riding and snow conditions. Blazing fresh trail can be very difficult, wider tires over 4.0 help some what but it can still be a tough ride.

    You should probably try one out at a demo day or rent one at a place like Hardwood first to see if you like it.





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  3. #3
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    Even with a fat bike, it is either impossible or a torture to ride deep, deep snow. The bike will not float. If the trails get no traffic, you will have to pack them down. We often snowshoe our trails right after a snow fall. I do not ride to the trails ever. I have a set about 3-4 km as well, but here in Mississauga, the love the salt and sand. I have a higher end Carbon fattie with decent components and will not ride in that stuff. Plus it's dangerous enough in the summer to be on the road. All my weekly rides are after work and at night. I am lucky enough to have a truck big enough to fit my bike.
    I had a set of XO's on the bike, but they were unpredictable below -10C. I now have a set of XT's and rode them to -20C last winter. I know people running mechanical brakes with no issues. Tires are the most important thing. Cheap 27 TPI tires suck.

  4. #4
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    Thanks, forgot about hardwood. But I would think it would be best case senario with the traffic. Im more concered about the lack of traffic where I am.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    Even with a fat bike, it is either impossible or a torture to ride deep, deep snow. The bike will not float. If the trails get no traffic, you will have to pack them down. We often snowshoe our trails right after a snow fall. I do not ride to the trails ever. I have a set about 3-4 km as well, but here in Mississauga, the love the salt and sand. I have a higher end Carbon fattie with decent components and will not ride in that stuff. Plus it's dangerous enough in the summer to be on the road. All my weekly rides are after work and at night. I am lucky enough to have a truck big enough to fit my bike.
    I had a set of XO's on the bike, but they were unpredictable below -10C. I now have a set of XT's and rode them to -20C last winter. I know people running mechanical brakes with no issues. Tires are the most important thing. Cheap 27 TPI tires suck.
    I guess I could snowshoe a bit. If i were to get one it would he lower cost Al frame (not salt friendly either) might be able to fit it in or on my work van. Race bike fits but with front tire off.

  6. #6
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    A foot of ungroomed snow is not ridable. Yes if it is all fluffy, yes you can ride a section but I found that even in few inches you just spin you tires or it gets so tough that you just stop and walk. I have Dillinger 5 tires on my Fat Bike. They're good all round tires but something like Surly Bud/Lou do better in ungroomed snow - especially if you do not ride you bike to the trails on pavement - they have a lot of drag.

    I ride to my trails almost all the time. Salt/sand did nothing to my bike. Roads are usually dry after a day or two once snow falls. I do not do a lot of maintenance to the bike. My bottom bracket failed after a season. My frame is steel and there was water getting through seat-tube/seatpost clamp area. Otherwise all is fine. Tires have little wear and I rode them a lot through spring/summer/fall too. A typical ride sees ~5 miles of pavement alone.


    Have Formula R1 brakes on this bike. Have not had any issues nor they feel funny well below 0 celcius.


    Hope that helps a bit, Chris.

  7. #7
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    Helps. Thanks

  8. #8
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    Once the snow on the trails get knocked down and compacted I just ride my regular bike with Schwalbe Spiker pro studded tires. Tons of traction. Slush, not so much.
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  9. #9
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    I purposefully bought a low end fatbike. It has X5/X7 and mechanical disk brakes. Rode it through all sorts of conditions, salt, etc, tried to generally keep it clean after really salty rides as I rode it through downtown Hamilton to access trails, but overall it went away dirty more than a few times. I overhauled the drive train after 2 seasons, its on its 2nd cycle now (4th season) and I'll replace the drive train next year. The mechanical brakes have always worked just fine as has everything else, there are two equivalent bikes in the house getting approximately equal use with similar results.

    As for tires, I have the 27 TPI, steel bead Surly Nates, haven't even noticed any wear on them yet. They are tanks. Strava says I have 1000km on them, so I'm guessing its more like 1200-1300km. Most of my rides when I lived in Hamilton required at least 20% pavement. So even with a more supple tire, I doubt you'll be wearing them down extremely quickly. You tend not to knock off the KM with a fatbike like you would on a regular bike, plus many of the kms are on snow, which has very little effect on the wear.


    When you can ride really, really, really depends on snow conditions. But generally, once you get above 6" of fresh snow, the experience is not going to be enjoyable. Even down to 4', you can likely ride flat or downhill sections, but anything uphill at greater than a 4-5% grade will have you off the bike.

    You need some form of traffic before the fatbike shines, could be skidoo, foot, snowshoe, but something has to put a little pack down. It's under these conditions when a regular bike would still be impossible to ride, but the fatbike will track well and give that extra float that is needed. Still going to be a load of work, but doable.

    To give you an example of what it just took me to open up 5.5km of my local trails here in New Brunswick. Trails are relatively flat, no sustained climbing.

    15cm of snow...snowshoe'd 4km loop (two people). Wouldn't have considered riding it, temps were cold, snow was fluffy, the snow shoes pushed it around more than packing it down.

    10cm of snow fell 2 days later. Shoe'd the 4km loop + 1.5km loop, two people. Was still cold, snow still fluffy. Wouldn't have considered riding, doubt I could have ridden much more than 50% at best if I did try and that would have been with all my might.

    2 days later, temps got up to +2 plus a light rain. Shoe'd the 4km loop + 1.5 km loop, two people while it was soft and damp. Really packed down the trail.

    So that was 6 sets of shoes through the 4km loop, 4 sets through the 1.5 km loop.

    Temperatures dropped and the trails really firmed up. Finally rode them yesterday. First pass was tough, granny gear all the way, but could ride most everything (4km loop was easier than the 1.5 km loop). Went and did a second loop, 3rd pass total and the trail was smoothed out enough it was fun. 11km of riding, 1.75 hours.

    That is just to give you an idea of when it takes to keep trails open for fatbiking when you are pretty much the only ones around. And if it wasn't for the warm temps, it would have taken a lot more work. Of course, being in an area that is highly trafficked is completely different.

    As for snowmobile trails, it takes some good packing down on them as well. And preferable having them soften'd up with the sun, then re-froze. Sun, even on a cold day can make them tough. I jumped out onto a snowmobile trail yesterday that crosses the MTB trails. It wasn't groomed, but had 20+ passes with sleds. The sun was out and trying to ride them was squirmy. Doable, but squirmy.

    As BlackCanoeDog has put it, if the trails are optimal for XC skiing or snowshoeing, they likely aren't good for fatbiking, put it away and enjoy the other sports. I find that a general good philosophy with the fatbike, good skiing, bad fatbiking. Or areas that have trails that would suck for skiing, cause people trample them down too much, good for fatbiking. Areas where you'd rather have skis, no good fatbiking.
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  10. #10
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    I'd have to say given the chance to do over, I would not buy a fat bike, at least at the prices when I bought. Prices have come down a lot in the last couple of years. I expected a ATV type experience, go anywhere in any conditions. As others have said, anything more than around 3" of fresh snow takes the fun out of it. Plus here in southern Ontario, there is a tendency to get some nice snow and then a few days later get a thaw and any trails with traffic turn into an icy churned up mess.
    I think I got a lot more use out of my Altai Hoc Skis last season than my fat bike - depends how much snow we get this year.
    I think a lot of it depends on where you live and the tails in your area.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the honesty. These reply are what I was hoping to get. A friend has one but its a medium. May still take it for spin. He cant stop raving about it, its in his car 24/7.

    I guess the other way of looking at it, I only have my race bike. In fall and spring it would be nice not to be grinding it away in some of the wet parts. Might get more use in that regaurd.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by machine4321 View Post
    Thanks for the honesty. These reply are what I was hoping to get. A friend has one but its a medium. May still take it for spin. He cant stop raving about it, its in his car 24/7.

    I guess the other way of looking at it, I only have my race bike. In fall and spring it would be nice not to be grinding it away in some of the wet parts. Might get more use in that regaurd.
    They are a bloody riot when you get the right conditions, it's just a matter of making sure you have access to enough of the appropriate conditions to make it worth it to you. I would never go without one.

    I mentioned about our local trails where it's primarily two of us trying to keep some trails open at this point. In Fredericton (45 minutes away), there is a huge surge towards trail grooming to the point where the local club purchased an old snowmobile to help groom trails and people are out snowshoeing and dragging tires behind them. If you are close to a community that is doing what it can to keep trails open, or your prepared to drive for it, the experience is awesome.

    You also need to start thinking outside the box when it comes to fatbikes. Maybe not focus on you MTB trails that get no traffic in the winter and start looking at places that do, but might not be an MTB destination per say.
    Straight outta Rossland

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    They are a bloody riot when you get the right conditions


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  14. #14
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    Some of the best riding I've done was on a fat bike, they really are a blast under ideal conditions. But they can also be a PITA to find legal areas with rideable snow/trails (less so out West IMO).

    Your region will have a strong influence on what will work. When I first got my fat bike there were only a few in Ottawa and the the main riding area (Kanata Lakes) was quite a grunt to pack and ride. Eventually MANY more fat bikes popped onto the scene - doing such a good job packing the trails that my fat bike became overkill (I preferred a faster 29er at low pressures) so I sold it - but never lost the positive memories.

    IMO, you really need to honestly ask yourself what kind of conditions you'll be riding in. How keen are you to break trail after a fresh snowfall? Low traffic and/or frequent snow fall can be a buzz-kill, regardless of bike. Too much traffic or little snow can also mean a fat bike can be overkill.

    In my case when shopping for a new hardtail this year I really wanted a bike which could be ridden 4 seasons and take the best traits of my 29er and former fat bike, so I picked up a Norco Torrent (27.5+) - basically a mini-fat (3" wide tires ~10psi). So far it's been a blast on dirt and works quite well in several inches of unpacked snow. Any more that a few inches of snow means I just have to wait 24hrs for the proper fat bikes to packs the trails.
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  15. #15
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    I agree..knowing what I know now I probably wouldn't buy a fattie. I've owned mine for about 4 years now and get only get out about 10 times a winter. Conditions have to be almost perfect for a good fat bike ride and I'm talking about trail, temperature, wind, moisture, daylight conditions. It takes some planning before riding because you do not want to be in the middle of nowhere in the middle of winter lost or with a broken bike.
    I use my snowshoes a lot more than my fattie.
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  16. #16
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    It's all I ride now. A full suspension carbon Salsa Bucksaw in the summer and a FatBoy in the winter. I used to ride a carbon Ibis Mojo.

    I rode nearly every weekend last winter. Even during the coldest weather imaginable. The winter creates a very unique experience. Places like Hilton Falls get flow they lack the rest of the time. Places you know become somewhere else.

    It helps to ride where others do. The trails get more packed down and faster. But the snow is not really about outright speed. The winter "line" is interesting too. It's about 8" wide and up to 5" deep. Go off it and you will get wet.

    Nothing teaches you about pedalling for traction, like riding in snow, up hill.

  17. #17
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    I ride my fat bike all year round. It gets thrown into the mix about 20% during the summer. It is just a fun change. If you like riding it in the summer as well, then it might make even more sense. Riding it at Buckwallow for example, makes the whole experience all new again. Same goes for Hilton Falls or other tech places. Nothing like tackling some rocks and roots fully rigid. If you don't have anywhere to ride it, you are better getting a set of skis or something you can do a couple of times a week. I ride my fat bike typically 3 times a week in the winter, as I am lucky enough to live really close to a decent trail system. I am all in on the fat bike. The new 27+ options would be tempting and probably a good way to go for people around the GTA.
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  18. #18
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    I bought a used, cheap fat bike to try and loved it, so i quickly flipped it and bought my current ride (also used).

    I sold my 29'er last year and rode the fatty all summer (not much due to having a 2 year old son).

    As others have said, you can't just blaze a trail anywhere you want, but the fatter you go, the better float you can get.

    When the conditions are right, it's epic. There were times last year I remember riding sections of trail where if i stepped off, i would sink to my waist.

    I haven't had so much fun riding a bike while going so slow.

    I suggest you rent or buy a cheap bike to start, see how much use it gets before diving in whole hog.

    Either that, or a + bike or half fat may be a good option as well...realizing that you will have to wait for even better groomed conditions to ride it.

    For brakes, i have BB7's, and no issue with them other than being loud as hell.
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  19. #19
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    Hey OP, where you live? Might be someone local that can give you the low down on your local trails in winter.

    Also, if your XX brakes are acting up in -4 weather, you probably need a fresh bleed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JesusJuice View Post
    Hey OP, where you live? Might be someone local that can give you the low down on your local trails in winter.

    Also, if your XX brakes are acting up in -4 weather, you probably need a fresh bleed.
    I live in Owen Sound.

    some body mentioned kolopore..I forgot all about the winter activities there. That to me would be an amazing spot to ride.

    There is a fair amount of foot traffic in areas, just that the trails I train on (pretty steep) wont see much if any traffic during the winter.

    I must say after a 1.5hr ride on my trainer last night I wanted to blow my head off. I just cant see myself wanting to do that a couple times a week. I have a nice light setup for night riding and I also work abit less in the winter which would be awesome to get out during the day through the week!

    I think last night may have sold me on one .

    As for the brakes. I think it more and issue that the temps were warm enough when I used the brakes would melt and then I didnt use the brake for a good 10-15 min(climbing and snow slowed the trails down. I think I got a piston in the rear to jam up abit on a crash. I just pushed the bleed block in the next day and all was well.

  21. #21
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    Owen Sound you need to get fat ...3.8" wide minimum. A plus bike won't cut it. This should be a great year to buy, lots of product over a wide price range to choose from, as well as lots of good used deals from peeps upgrading or getting out of the game
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by machine4321 View Post
    I live in Owen Sound.

    some body mentioned kolopore..I forgot all about the winter activities there. That to me would be an amazing spot to ride.l.
    I think Kolapore is designated for XC skiing...not sure you can ride there. I was discussing Kolapore last weekend and that was mentioned.

    The website seems to confirm it:

    Kolapore Wilderness Trails Association - Home

    Too bad as our cottage is in Thornbury.

    I do ride in Loree Forest and we want to try 3 Stage as well. There's always the Georgian rail trail too.

    If you're looking for a bike, there's a RSD Mayor for sale at a shop in Owen Sound according to Kijiji for a great price.

    RSD FATBIKE the MAYOR medium | mountain | Mississauga / Peel Region | Kijiji

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  23. #23
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    You can try on Fat Bike Trader Ontario on Facebook. I saw some decent bikes in there earlier this year.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanoeDog View Post
    Owen Sound you need to get fat ...3.8" wide minimum...
    Having seen the snow you get up there I would agree - maybe set the bar at 4.5 IMO.

    Here's the limited snow we have in Ottawa as of today (note how little the rear tire sunk). The amount of snow combined with ample packing that goes on here almost makes the 27.5+ setup overkill...

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  25. #25
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    Im hooked up with a shop for racing next season so I would really like to throw a bone and get a new one from them. the Norco Sasquatch 6.2 ridged is the one I was eyeing up. comes with the 4.8 Jumbo Jims. Might be able to pull it off this year. It will kill my carbon race wheels set for next season though lol.

    Its been pretty mild for snow so far this year .

  26. #26
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    It's all I ride now. A full suspension carbon Salsa Bucksaw in the summer and a FatBoy in the winter. I used to ride a carbon Ibis Mojo.

    I rode nearly every weekend last winter. Even during the coldest weather imaginable. The winter creates a very unique experience. Places like Hilton Falls get flow they lack the rest of the time. Places you know become somewhere else.

    It helps to ride where others do. The trails get more packed down and faster. But the snow is not really about outright speed. The winter "line" is interesting too. It's about 8" wide and up to 5" deep. Go off it and you will get wet.

    Nothing teaches you about pedalling for traction, like riding in snow, up hill.

  27. #27
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    So I've kinda jumped in with both feet here and spent as much as my summer bike on a new fatty (Surly Ice Cream Truck). Admittedly I got carried away and spent well over my intended budget. I pick it up tomorrow - I hope I don't regret it as others have mentioned here.

    I live close to Durham Forest which gets a lot of traffic all year long so I'm confident I'll have somewhere to ride pretty much all winter. Anywhere else that I can find to ride will just be a bonus. I also have a couple buddies to ride with and we'll probably make the odd trip to Hardwood or Bracebridge.

    So like others have said, I think it depends on what you have access to. If you don't have trails around where others ride, then you're going to have to expect to do a lot of work and it may not be much fun. On the other hand, if you have access to trails that will see traffic, then I can't think of a better way to keep in shape in the winter!

  28. #28
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    Had a chance to take one for a ride today. just got back. It was a rather large sized small frame (more like a med) and I take a large so it was a bit of an odd fit. I threw a longer stem on and dropped the psi to about 4-5. I had so m uch fun I didnt want to stop. I had what I would think would be the best case scenario. Snow was great packing snow and about 4-6 inches deep in the soft stuff. There was enough foot traffic at the 2 locations that made an awesome base. I was able to do some pretty serious inclines even with the crappy vee rubber snowshoe tires ( no side grip and not the best for climbing either). lost the front end a few times but due to the long stem I had way to much weight over the front. I learned that these bikes need alot of body language to make it happen at high speeds, but when its put together it was very rewarding flying down rocky twisty trails. I was pretty surprised as I purposely rode through fields and the bike floated very well (only 4" tires). I was most impressed with how well the pedaling traction was when seated. I will assume if conditions were different I wouldnt have had as much fun?

    *correction, they were not vee snowshoe, just saw a pick of those and they look great for snow!

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  29. #29
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    i've been riding bikes in the snow/winter for about 30 years... really any bike will do. fat bikes are just different and have pluses and minuses (though they do work well in soft conditions and when extra traction is needed) . usually the more complicated the bike, the more damage salt will do so keep that in mind where you ride. for me and the places where i ride over the winter the one condition i look for is ice. shore ice, river ice, pathway ice, spring ice, etc... of course studded tires are recommended... just head out and have fun...

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  30. #30
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    As I was riding the packed trails I was thinking that a standard bike with the right tires would also be capable. The fat bike made it fun as I was discovering the benifits of the big tires. I only have my race bike and it took abit of a beating this fall.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by machine4321 View Post
    Thanks for the honesty. These reply are what I was hoping to get. A friend has one but its a medium. May still take it for spin. He cant stop raving about it, its in his car 24/7.

    I guess the other way of looking at it, I only have my race bike. In fall and spring it would be nice not to be grinding it away in some of the wet parts. Might get more use in that regaurd.
    I wanted a fatbike so 2 years ago I went through the basement and garage and sold everything I didn't use to buy a Kona Wo. I have my race bike also and have found the fatbike very useful in the early spring when everything is a mud pit and the trails still have patches of snow. When the trails dry out it still gets used when I take the dog for a run or slip down to the corner store or neighbors. I keep flats on it so all I have to do is grab my helmet and go. If you don't like the cold a fatbike won't make it any warmer out.

  32. #32
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    Cold doesnt bother me. Ibwas also thinking or early spring as well. I was out again today and things were much much worse, couple inches of slush and no grip for any of the climbs but that is mostly tire related. I was out for 2 hours and didnt get far but still had fun and got some leg burn.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by machine4321 View Post
    Cold doesnt bother me. Ibwas also thinking or early spring as well. I was out again today and things were much much worse, couple inches of slush and no grip for any of the climbs but that is mostly tire related. I was out for 2 hours and didnt get far but still had fun and got some leg burn.
    we where out for a couple hours tonight. my commuter ice bike recent build...

    Alright fat bikers, lets hear some truth.-goon4.jpg

    conditions slushy and icey. but awesome!

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  34. #34
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    Those studded Scwalbe tires rule^^^^
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  35. #35
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    I would be interested to hear what you think of the Ice Cream Truck once you have had a chance to ride it

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    I would be interested to hear what you think of the Ice Cream Truck once you have had a chance to ride it
    Maiden voyage is tonight. DMBA folks (bless them) were out last night snowshoeing to clear some trail so I'm looking forward to it.

  37. #37
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    Had a chance to get out again tonight. We have had a sgipid amount of snow (knee high). Snow was recent but it seems that a few snow shoers have been out and some skiers. I tried a few single tracks with no luck as the path was only 8 inches wide. I triedthe snow mobile trails and they were so soft in spots I had to turn back. I did find a popular trail that went down the escarpment (super fun the first day I went out) path was about 18" and very rough with foot prints. Knee deep on the sides and about 6-8" under the pack. Was having a hard time untill i dropped the psi down (4psi guessing as side wall were a bit wrinkled) this helped alot and was able to let it loose.

    Over all im too early as it is way more fun when wider.

    So in my week trial, I do want one, but im realizing that i may not be able to ride daily up here and i may have to put my own work in to really enjoy it.

  38. #38
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    Well im close to pulling the trigger, even though winter seems over now I think it will still get some use. snow will return to my area I think .

    Just confused about timing. Shop doesnt have my size in stock and thats good for me. My hope is Norco might clear out the surplus (im told there is a decent amoutn in Canada still). I would love to be able to save some money. the shop has already offered a killer deal but if Norco clears them out it could lower the price and allow the shop to make the same profit or maybe more.

    Question will be timing.

    Any tips or insider info lol.

  39. #39
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    I heard that The Bike Zone in Barrie is clearing out all their fat bikes at really good prices. They announced it in a couple of private FB groups. Might be worth a shot. Also, the fat bike is great in the spring in softer conditions. I'm not talking about ruining trails, but it certainly gets you out a little sooner. Two other things, I have several bikes and the fatty has quickly become one of my favorites for all year riding. When I'm with a group, I have to bring the 29er or can't keep up, but when riding alone, I often will take the fat bike. A fully rigid ride, makes trails a whole different ball game, specially if you ride lots of rocks and roots which is primarily what I like. It would not be quite the same if you ride buff single track. With most of these bikes, you can also get set up with a set of 29er wheels which now offer a completely different experience. It is something I have been mulling over as more offerings come up in the market. Not sure I would bother just yet.
    Burnt Norton

  40. #40
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    A good point was brought up to me, stores will be clearing out, Norco wont. Just because the snow is going doesnt mean they will be clearing out a 16 model...

    Makes sense. I hate when i dont use commob sense.

  41. #41
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    Ive got a week on a sasquatch ridgid. Really like the bike. Just wish I had more trails to ride. I will need to get the snow shoes out. Been a great week for it; a solid 8"base and lots of foot traffic. Yesterday was the best yet. Had as much traction as I could ask for.

    I have been using produce bags in between my 2 layers of socks and that has been helping keep my feet warm(have to stop from time to time and walk around a few meters to get blood flowing).

    All in all, a really good purchase. I think it will help alot come early races.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by machine4321 View Post
    ... I have been using produce bags in between my 2 layers of socks and that has been helping keep my feet warm(have to stop from time to time and walk around a few meters to get blood flowing)...
    Are you riding with bike shoes? If so, you may want to consider slapping some flat pedals on that bike and use a decent winter boot instead. Not only will your feet stay warm, it's easier to hike and restart in soft conditions as well. I use one layer of regular athletic socks in Salomon winter boots - toasty feet right down to -25c or so.

    Sounds like you're new to winter riding, and for the sake of documenting my experience for future readers, here's a couple more suggestions I've learned over the years.

    I use a ski/snowboard helmet, they're light-years warmer than bike helmet with skull cap. If you can, get one which has sliding vents which are perfect for opening as you warm up (I use a Smith Vantage). On colder days I wear ski goggles which offer more protection/warmth than sunglasses, and work in conjunction with the helmet to prevent fogging up.

    For gloves I wear regular downhill skiing gloves. If it's really cold (< -15) I use a set of DIY Pogies (my 8 year old's old ski pants which I cut the legs off - slide over the bars and then slide your hands in).

    For pants/jacket I tried XC skiing pants and multiple shirts/shell layers in the past and it was ok'ish but always the limiter to when and how long I would ride. This year I moved to DH ski suits which were much better in all facets (warmth, wind, waterproof, venting). Try to find pants which are bibs rather than waist-only fastened. I find bibs offer more comfort and it adds another layer over your chest.

    I hope that helps, proper dressing really makes the ride sooo much better (and longer!).
    www.ottawavelo.com - MTB & Gravel lifestyle in Eastern Ontario

  43. #43
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    Thanks for the tips. Im riding some +1 sized xc shoes, vents taped up with thin ankle high covers. I tried flats for 3 min and just could get a good pedal stroke with buying a good grippy pair. New gear isnt in the budget now with race season coming up. I was out for 1.5h in -17 one night and it was manageable. Now that I know I will ride enough in winter I will save up for a winder spd boot.

  44. #44
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    Tried fat biking for the first time at Albion Hills by renting a Rocky Mountain brand. Conditions were below freezing with about 5cm of snow and some bottom ice (pretty typical for trails just outside of the GTA). In years gone by, I used to ride in the winter with a regular mountain bike (hard tail) and special studded winter tires, and everything was grand.

    I have to admit, the fat biking did not impress me too much. I can see it being fun in special conditions where the snow is not too deep and compacted, and the trails are somewhat wide like cross country ski trails.

    On single track, it is just plain awful. The steering is very sluggish, and tends to pull on off camber surfaces in the direction you don't want to go. The lack of studs on the tires is just plain dangerous with any ice around! And the energy required to keep the thing going with all that tire resistance is really numbing after a while.

    Yes, it is new and trendy and a great novelty. But I would say it is a terrible investment. Rent one when you want to, and XC ski when snow conditions are awesome. Otherwise, if you need to ride when ski conditions are crappy and icy, then just slap on some studded winter tires and you are good to go for a great ride.

    Now, someone explain to me why fat biking in the summer is awesome??
    SUCCESS - To be able to spend life in your own way

  45. #45
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    Haha, This.^^^^
    I don't quite get fat bikes in the summer unless that is all people own.
    by Silentfoe
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  46. #46
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    Im not sold on summer either. But I will tryit out. I bought one for times when race bike ismt the best idea. I avg 150bpm for a 2 hour ride in slow conditions and thatbwas the whole idea for me. On a good climb I can max out once in a while. Why sit on a trainer when I can be outside(i dont own xc ski stuff)

    So far its been fun and im staying active for next season.

  47. #47
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    A fat bike in a buff, racing style venue will seem pointless. As to the winter, fat bikes can be ridden under way more conditions. If your mindset if one of speed, again you are approaching this in the wrong way. The fat bike is about an experience. You have to put it in the right conditions. In the summer, that would be in more technical terrain. It offers a completely new way of dealing with rock and roots and other challenges. It forces you to use your body much more as you are typically on a fully rigid ride. It is about a different type of challenge and set of skills. I would never bother taking a fat bike to Albion. However, put me in the Agreement Forest/Hilton Fall or say Buckwallow or the Torrance Barrens, and I would be happy for the experience. In the winter, you want ride as much single track as possible with lots of variable conditions. Again, taking it on groomed double track that you could probably ride a cross bike on will offer no joy. I can ride the fat bike in all kinds of conditions that would make regular bikes a nightmare. Some the slushy and soft conditions that we have had lately come to mind. While I cannot float on 10" of snow, I can certainly manage much looser and deeper stuff than I could ever on my regular bikes. I found completely the reverse to be true of what Ricksom stated. I hate riding it on groomed double track, and think these shine on trickier single track conditions where you have six inches of trench and not much room for error.
    I just know that I have never had such a fun time going slow. For those who are about speed and racing, a fat bike might not be the best option. Though as mentioned, it is a great training tool. I rode with a roadie that does not mountain bike at all in the summer all winter last year. He was just plain sick of the trainer and bought a fat bike. I think that calling fat biking a trend or fad is long over. Just about every manufacturer of bike has a fat bike in their line up now and on many rides this winter, the fatties outnumbered the regular bikes. It is another great option to have to give one a completely riding experience. To me, it is a bit like the single speed bike: It is better to have gears, more efficient and probably should get you there faster. However you miss out on all the experience that it affords. It forces you to consider a lot of different things and tackle the terrain in a different way. It is more of an experience and way of riding just like fat biking is. The fat bike does add extra traction and makes a number of situations ride-able where they normally would not be.
    Burnt Norton

  48. #48
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    Ricksom that is an unfortunate experience.

    Understand that the conditions at Albion have been really brutal this winter. I'm there weekly and it is getting so bad it is borderline not fun. I have friends that are eager to go and rent a fatty to try it out and I keep telling them not to bother until conditions improve.

    Fatbikes are a blast when conditions permit. Even on single track. It also takes a bit of experience to get the tire pressure dialed (which would prevent the self steer issue).

    Hopefully this one outing hasn't completely spoiled it for you.

    Re summer riding - like secret agent said, at a place like Hilton Falls - oh man, bring on those rocks.

    On my xc bike I have to pick a line and execute it perfectly - on a fat bike you just plow over stuff with ease.
    ..now just tinker with our bikes and feed the cats. - oldbear52

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom View Post
    ... Yes, it is new and trendy and a great novelty. But I would say it is a terrible investment. Rent one when you want to, and XC ski when snow conditions are awesome. Otherwise, if you need to ride when ski conditions are crappy and icy, then just slap on some studded winter tires and you are good to go for a great ride.

    Now, someone explain to me why fat biking in the summer is awesome??
    Those are pretty strong words/thoughts for just a single test ride. In the right conditions (excessive mud) a 29er can seem like crap as well. I think conditions on your test were not ideal, nor did you have the experience to adjust tire pressure (HUGE difference), or maneuver what was effectively a rental bike.

    Fatbikes are no longer 'new', and frankly they will stick around long enough to not be trendy either. They fill a niche, even the summer:

    1) Go anywhere bike. Simply trek where you want in the bush, no singletrack needed. They also make great tools for flagging new trails.
    2) Fat tires provide more cush which allow a simplified rigid setup with enough comfort to rival short travel dualie 26ers from just 10 years ago.
    3) Bigger tires offer a crap-load more traction. It allows you to ride wet & slippery stuff that would have likely been skipped on a regular bike
    4) The heavier and somewhat less efficient setup allows you to ride with slower riders and still get a good workout AND have fun.

    Fatbikes have been such a popular 'trend' that it's spawned a new sub-niche platform, PLUS bikes. Personally I ride a 27.5+ hardtail bike, basically a mini fat with 3" wide tire. It makes an awesome single-quiver machine which takes the best traits (not capabilities) of a 29er speed and fat bike float/cushion/traction. I can ride it on single track in the winter, gravel when the snow if too soft/thick, and it monster-trucks through crazy technical stuff in the summer.
    www.ottawavelo.com - MTB & Gravel lifestyle in Eastern Ontario

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    Haha, This.^^^^
    I don't quite get fat bikes in the summer unless that is all people own.
    Quote Originally Posted by machine4321 View Post
    Im not sold on summer either. But I will tryit out. I bought one for times when race bike ismt the best idea. I avg 150bpm for a 2 hour ride in slow conditions and thatbwas the whole idea for me. On a good climb I can max out once in a while. Why sit on a trainer when I can be outside(i dont own xc ski stuff)

    So far its been fun and im staying active for next season.
    One section of a old trail that does not get used much anymore. Wet roots and down trees. Started riding it again cuz of the fat bike.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBZo39ZDKPE
    :thumbsup:It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  51. #51
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    Wow. What a cool video and Awsome place to ride. When I hear all mountain. That's what I think of

  52. #52
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    Hi Fritzman
    Looks like we share the same ideal hard tail with wide tires! Good point on using the fat bike as a bushwhacking ride. At one point I got frustrated with riding the twisty turny single track, and just blasted the bike through the open woods. And to my surprise it worked well.

    Yes, I do have strong opinions on Marketing lead changes to the biking industry (as apposed to grass roots lead). I've been in corporate business for a very long time, and know how things work. You don't have as much free decision making independence as you think! Brain washing has become a sophisticated business art.
    I still have my 3 favourite (and different) mountain bikes that I paid good money, and they are all 26". In the last 10 years I have seen 29ers introduced, then fat bikes, then 27.5ers, and I am sure the old 26 will come again as "new improved" technology. All part of good marketing to make you consider your existing bike obsolete. My bikes are all still fine. It is the engine that makes the biggest difference with upgrades.
    SUCCESS - To be able to spend life in your own way

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom View Post
    Tried fat biking for the first time at Albion Hills by renting a Rocky Mountain brand.

    I have to admit, the fat biking did not impress me too much. I can see it being fun in special conditions where the snow is not too deep and compacted, and the trails are somewhat wide like cross country ski trails.

    Yes, it is new and trendy and a great novelty. But I would say it is a terrible investment.

    Now, someone explain to me why fat biking in the summer is awesome??
    1. Albion wouldn't be my first choice of places to ride a fat bike
    2. yes it's better when the trail is compacted as you can't just float on untracked powder
    3. It's neither new, or a novelty...it's here to stay
    4. Grip. Go anywhere, ride areas you normally can't ride (snow, sand, whatever). It makes old trails new again.

    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    A fat bike in a buff, racing style venue will seem pointless. As to the winter, fat bikes can be ridden under way more conditions. If your mindset if one of speed, again you are approaching this in the wrong way. The fat bike is about an experience. You have to put it in the right conditions. In the summer, that would be in more technical terrain. It offers a completely new way of dealing with rock and roots and other challenges. It forces you to use your body much more as you are typically on a fully rigid ride. It is about a different type of challenge and set of skills. I would never bother taking a fat bike to Albion. However, put me in the Agreement Forest/Hilton Fall or say Buckwallow or the Torrance Barrens, and I would be happy for the experience. In the winter, you want ride as much single track as possible with lots of variable conditions. Again, taking it on groomed double track that you could probably ride a cross bike on will offer no joy. I can ride the fat bike in all kinds of conditions that would make regular bikes a nightmare. Some the slushy and soft conditions that we have had lately come to mind. While I cannot float on 10" of snow, I can certainly manage much looser and deeper stuff than I could ever on my regular bikes. I found completely the reverse to be true of what Ricksom stated. I hate riding it on groomed double track, and think these shine on trickier single track conditions where you have six inches of trench and not much room for error.
    I just know that I have never had such a fun time going slow. For those who are about speed and racing, a fat bike might not be the best option. Though as mentioned, it is a great training tool. I rode with a roadie that does not mountain bike at all in the summer all winter last year. He was just plain sick of the trainer and bought a fat bike. I think that calling fat biking a trend or fad is long over. Just about every manufacturer of bike has a fat bike in their line up now and on many rides this winter, the fatties outnumbered the regular bikes. It is another great option to have to give one a completely riding experience. To me, it is a bit like the single speed bike: It is better to have gears, more efficient and probably should get you there faster. However you miss out on all the experience that it affords. It forces you to consider a lot of different things and tackle the terrain in a different way. It is more of an experience and way of riding just like fat biking is. The fat bike does add extra traction and makes a number of situations ride-able where they normally would not be.
    Agree 100%, especially with the bold parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_o View Post
    Ricksom that is an unfortunate experience.

    Understand that the conditions at Albion have been really brutal this winter. I'm there weekly and it is getting so bad it is borderline not fun. I have friends that are eager to go and rent a fatty to try it out and I keep telling them not to bother until conditions improve.

    Fatbikes are a blast when conditions permit. Even on single track. It also takes a bit of experience to get the tire pressure dialed (which would prevent the self steer issue).

    Hopefully this one outing hasn't completely spoiled it for you.

    Re summer riding - like secret agent said, at a place like Hilton Falls - oh man, bring on those rocks.

    On my xc bike I have to pick a line and execute it perfectly - on a fat bike you just plow over stuff with ease.
    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by fritZman View Post
    Those are pretty strong words/thoughts for just a single test ride. I think conditions on your test were not ideal, nor did you have the experience to adjust tire pressure (HUGE difference), or maneuver what was effectively a rental bike.

    Fatbikes are no longer 'new', and frankly they will stick around long enough to not be trendy either. They fill a niche, even the summer:

    1) Go anywhere bike. Simply trek where you want in the bush, no singletrack needed. They also make great tools for flagging new trails.
    2) Fat tires provide more cush which allow a simplified rigid setup with enough comfort to rival short travel dualie 26ers from just 10 years ago.
    3) Bigger tires offer a crap-load more traction. It allows you to ride wet & slippery stuff that would have likely been skipped on a regular bike
    4) The heavier and somewhat less efficient setup allows you to ride with slower riders and still get a good workout AND have fun.
    agreed
    Mike
    Toronto, Canada
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