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  1. #1
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    Fat for a beginner lady

    My gf is 5'3" and doesn't know how to ride a bike. I've never ridden a fat bike before but I live in a dry/sandy area. Would a fat bike be good for a lady who is a first time rider? Also any recommendation? Affordable options since we don't really know if she'll enjoy riding or if she just wants to annoy me at every possible second of my life.

  2. #2
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    No your girlfriend will appreciate suspension
    Get her a trail or XC bike
    She will be more comfortable on a full suspension bike and have more fun on the trail

  3. #3
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    Fat for a beginner lady

    If she doesn't know how to ride a bike at all, I'd say a regular bike that is good on pavement and learning on pavement would be easiest. If she likes that she can graduate to mountain bikes and fat bike if she likes.


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  4. #4
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    So basically fat is not good on pavement?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    So basically fat is not good on pavement?
    Depends who to talk to. I wouldn't have wanted to learn on one back in the day. Just my opinion though. I own a fat bike and like it, but I only use it for snow riding.

    Advantages for new rider on fattie:
    They are stable

    Disadvantages for new rider on fattie:
    They are heavy
    Tires aren't as efficient
    More expensive so if she doesn't like it you're out more money


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  6. #6
    All fat, all the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    So basically fat is not good on pavement?
    Not really, they are heavy, slow, and steer goofy compared to a normal bike (on pavement).

    Might look at a plus bike that has the room to fit fat tires down the road if she likes it.

  7. #7
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    If the area is soft sand then it might not be a bad idea to start teaching her with a fat if she hasn't ridden a bicycle at all ever. She's gonna fall and its softer onto sand than it is pavement OR grass. Buy her some knee/elbow pads and full finger gloves with padding also. If she has no bicycle experience at all, comparisons to regular mountain bikes are pointless. Just because you think they steer goofy doesn't mean a new rider would also. She very much will likely appreciate the larger tire area and increased traction and greater stability once the tires are rolling on the fat bike.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  8. #8
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    Put her on a fattie. If she hasn't ridden anything else she won't know the difference and will love it. Unless she just ends up hating biking, in which case fat vs skinny won't really make a difference. I've taken non-bikers out on fatbikes and without exception they have a riot on them! Ear-to-ear smiles.

    You could look for a shop that has some demo bikes on hand.

  9. #9
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    My wife found the fat bike preferable to the 2" tire hardtail MTB I'd given her at first. She said it is "easier to balance on bumps". She had ridden a bike, but is a very much a newbie for off road riding. I know they are less efficient, but my wife is more willing to ride because her increased confidence and efficiency wasn't her concern. Either way, good luck getting her to ride. Everyone here knows how fun it is, so it is great to bring more people to the fold.

  10. #10
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    100% recommend a fat bike; a beginner may not feel it, but the control and feel of the wider tires cannot be duplicated on a skinny tired mtb. Outfit your bikes with some racks so you can carry gear for some snacks and picnicking on the trail. Make it fun, not work!

    Think a size small as it's important she feels comfortable with the bike instead of being perched up high on something that will make her question her balance and confidence.

    I'm from that school that says buy the best you can afford instead of some walmart type, 55 pound bike. You'll both appreciate the nimble feel a higher quality bike will bring to the game. And should it not work out, you can always sell it.

    Can't go wrong with the name brands, in this case, Surly, Trek, Specialized, etc. Consider ebay or craigslist for a more friendly price that fits your wallet. Good luck and let us know how it works out.

  11. #11
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    Well, thanks for all the conflicting responses. My plan is to get a cheap bike(craigslist special) for her to learn how to ride. Once we get past that step is when we would be considering either a fat bike or most likely a hard tail. She's a small girl, light as a feather and she won't be riding anything other than gravel roads and smooth single track, with loose sand. As I expected some of you say yes, others no, but y'all back it up and I appreciate it.

  12. #12
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    Keep a 27.5+ bike in mind as an alternative. 2.8 or 3.0 tires will be good in many conditions. Trek or Spec have models. Demo before you buy.

    Since she's learning make sure she learns the correct way to get on and get going. This way you don't have to worry as much about standover. Cockpit fit is more important in mtbiking.


  13. #13
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    I'm from that school that says buy the best you can afford instead of some walmart type, 55 pound bike. You'll both appreciate the nimble feel a higher quality bike will bring to the game. And should it not work out, you can always sell it.
    I couldn't agree with this more, I've had several people including my wife learn to or try to learn on a cheap bike, the difference between cheap and quality goes a long ways in liking to bike, if it's difficult from the start then they tend to not enjoy it as much, if it's smooth and enjoyable from the start, you're off and running.

    I like the thought of craigslist or ebay to start with but I would recommend buying a quality bike of such sites, there are lots of good bikes out there for much less than retail. Good Luck

  14. #14
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    My wife has introduced 5 other women to MTB by starting them on a fat bike. They’ve ALL graduated to narrower setups when buying their own MTBs but the fatty gave them confidence and “hooked” them into the sport.
    Start her on a Fatty!

  15. #15
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    The original poster isn't just introducing his gal to mountain biking, he's teaching her to ride a bike. I wouldn't have wanted to learn how to ride a bike on a fattie but maybe some people would.


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  16. #16
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    A fat bike to learn on would be just fine. Stable, good in slow conditions, gobs of traction, generally neutral riding positions.

    Bikes not to start out on: DH, tri, fixed. These are at the fringes of biking. Fat bikes may look odd but are actually quite standard.

    Look ahead if you can to where you think she will progress. Is she a speed queen who loves to get an exercise high and will be entering races within 6 months ? Another bike may be best. Does she want to get outside, spend some time with you going wherever, not concerned with speed or efficiency? Fat bike fits the bill.

    Tires a little higher pressure on pavement to start. Seat a touch lower than optimal. Maybe cockpit a bit shorter. Don’t be afraid to take the pedals off and do the balance bike thing to get the feeling.

  17. #17
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    My wife doesn't ride much, but the first time she rode one of my fat bikes, that's all she wants to ride, even on pavement. Better balance for her. My wife has some physical issues getting off and on any bike, so I had one custom built for her and had a dropper post put on it. Since your GF is 5'3, I recommend finding one with a bent top tube design. Is your girlfriend otherwise very athletic, say into running and likes going fast? If she's inclined to go fast, then normal MTB I would recommend, but if she's super cautious about getting hurt and just wants to ride for fun I would say a fat bike is a better choice, also considering you say you live in a sandy area. On a group ride a did a few months ago, there were a few ladies who just bought fat bikes and absolutely were stoked about them. They were not racer types, just loved getting out and being able to ride more types of terrain.

  18. #18
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    She is not a racer, not interested in going fast, and I'm worried about her getting hurt more than she is worried about it. I figured it would be a good option, balance wise. I figured she would be more inclined to go off road on a fat bike. She basically wants to be with me and do what I do, and I gave up road riding long ago.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    Well, thanks for all the conflicting responses. My plan is to get a cheap bike(craigslist special) for her to learn how to ride. Once we get past that step is when we would be considering either a fat bike or most likely a hard tail. She's a small girl, light as a feather and she won't be riding anything other than gravel roads and smooth single track, with loose sand. As I expected some of you say yes, others no, but y'all back it up and I appreciate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    She is not a racer, not interested in going fast, and I'm worried about her getting hurt more than she is worried about it. I figured it would be a good option, balance wise. I figured she would be more inclined to go off road on a fat bike. She basically wants to be with me and do what I do, and I gave up road riding long ago.
    I think there's a few factors to consider. While learning to ride a bike in general on a fatbike isn't a bad idea per se, I'm not sure it'd be ideal for your girlfriend. This is why I think so:

    1. She's small and light. Finding a fatbike small enough to fit her (and that she will feel comfortable on) is going to take quite a bit of work as it is. And once you do, bike weight is going to be a bigger consideration for her than it is for many. My wife is a similar size, and bike weight is always a major consideration for her. My wife also doesn't want anything to do with larger wheel sizes. She rides small and xs frames and prefers 26" and 27.5" wheels.

    2. Your riding scenario doesn't necessarily scream fatbike to me, either. If you were talking about snow (even just groomers) or beach riding, then that'd push the fatbike higher up the list as an option.

    I suggest starting her out learning to ride a bike with a bike that's mechanically simple. Singlespeed or 3spd internal gear hub and hand brakes would be great. Basically, a neighborhood/town bike. If she doesn't know how to ride a bike AT ALL, it might be quite some time before she's confident enough to get anywhere near uneven surfaces. And besides, this will be a bike she can continue to use in the neighborhood, on greenways, or whatever in the future.

    As she gets more confident with just riding a bike at all, and assuming she still has an interest in going off-road with you, THEN consider an actual mountain bike, and let her decide what she likes.

  20. #20
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    Why don't you split the difference and go with a plus tire bike? I am 5'2" and have a fat bike for winter riding. Let me tell you, THAT THING IS HEAVY!!!! It is a beast. I am a good rider, but I find riding my fat bike to be way more physical effort than riding my summer bike. I don't mind because I love riding and this should make my summer bike feel like it's made out of carbon by spring time, but it may make it less enjoyable for your GF. Another issue with the fatties is the size. There aren't a lot of size options out there for smaller riders, especially if you are looking for a used bike. A plus tire bike will give you lots of the benefits of a fattie but with more size options and more versatility.

    Otherwise, I would go with a decent second hand, real mountain bike. If you really want her to enjoy it and plan to ride any trails at all, find a good used full-suspension one. A full suspension one is much softer on the bottom and soaks up the little bumps and vibrations. I disagree with the single speed idea mentioned above. I'm sure your GF is smart enough to be able to figure things like how to change gears out quickly and could just ride in a single gear until she is comfortable with changing them on the fly. Otherwise, single gear, or limited gear bikes, make biking hard work if there are any hills around or on any surface that is not paved.

    Townie type bikes are harder to pedal and harder to balance on than a bike that puts you into an athletic, more forward position. They are also harder to pedal. I could not believe the difference when I switched from a town style cruiser bike to my mountain bike. Suddenly, biking was fun and pedaling up a little hill wasn't a chore!

    Don't start her off on a heavy piece of crap with the intention of getting her something better later or there will likely never be a "later". She will will find it harder and will not enjoy it as much. Start her off on a good used bike that matches the type of riding that you hope she will want to do with you. You can always re-sell the bike if she does end up hating it.

  21. #21
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    Also am in the camp suggesting a plus bike....this will give you a wider variety of uses (more bang for the buck) and can be more friendly to fit a smaller person.

    If she has never ridden, I don't think the type of bike she starts on will be as important as the type of terrain to have her NOT start on. I found this out the wrong way with my wife. She doesn't care about the bike she is riding, but does care about "being bounced out of the seat"...she does not like rough terrain...because she is new at biking.

    So no matter what, the fit of the bike, not the type, will be Factor #1, and then probably where she is riding versus her comfort zone of failure. A fat bike , or skinny, or BMX or cruiser or $10,000 DH bomber is going to ride the same on off camber surfaces to a beginner...someone who has not developed and widened their balance parameters. Get her something that she can do this on first, and on multiple surfaces.

    I have been getting my wife to come to the skatepark with me and her son, and she just rides my BMX around and is slowly getting used to going up and down the bowls and little hills. She still will not do even a 3" drop, but we are getting there. I am trying to help hr develop bike handling skills first.

    The eventual goal is that she will join me on bike packing trips and some gravel/country road riding. I know i will never get her on techy and hilly singletrack...but she likes the idea of long riding

    lastly...DEFINITELY take her out to test ride some bikes before you purchase. Especially for fit. She might find that a 27.5+ feels better than a true fattie...given her body size, it will probably seem like . true fatty to her...when my wife stands next to my 29+ Krampus, it is half as tall as she is roughly...she thinks it is huge. This will also give her a sense of ownership of her part of participating. This will help in getting her excited to ride
    Last edited by sXeXBMXer; 6 Days Ago at 05:15 PM.
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  22. #22
    turtles make me hot
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    I know quite a few women who ride fat bikes and really enjoy them.

    One of my riding buddies bought his wife a Bikes Direct fatty. I told we should build something lighter but he bought what he bought and she hated it. We built up a significantly lighter wheelset for it and tried again. It's her favorite bike now.

    I always try to build my wife the lightest stuff I can afford to build. Works out better that way.
    I like turtles

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