Singletrack View: You Should Be On a Fat Bike!

by GROC on December 16, 2017

Remember when mountain biking was about having fun and not about being the fastest or the lightest? If you took more than 0.3 seconds to answer that question, then put your current bike on Pinkbike right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

 

While you’re doing that, let me tell you about why you need to put your current rig on a diet of pure carbs, fat, sugar or whatever the nutritional bogeyman du jour is.

 

So why should you get a fat bike (if you didn’t jump on the bandwagon over the last 5 years already)?

 

 

Riding a fat bike is just stupid good fun. My wife used to think I was crazy when I would return from a fat bike ride giggling like an idiot and raving for an hour or two about how much fun I had. Then she got crazy herself. One day this last fall she wanted to try my fat bike because why not. She threw her leg over my fat bike and headed out for a quick test ride around the yard. She returned about 2 minutes later with an ear-to-ear grin that I recognized all too well and quickly exclaimed “Why didn’t you tell me this is so much fun?!”. There’s no other way to explain it; you just have to try it.

 

Riding a fat bike is a great way to become a stronger rider. Most people think that fat wheels must be terribly hard to pedal. They really aren’t, but you will feel the extra weight after a while. So, it’s like strength training, but fun.

 

Fat bikes aren’t just for snow or sand any more. Being able to float on snow and sand is obviously a great reason to get a fat bike, but modern fat bikes have geometries much more suited to trail riding than 5 years ago. There are now good options for forks with travel up to 120 mm and even full suspension fat bikes. Some of my friends ride fat bikes year round and while I don’t ride mine in the summer often, it is a nice way to freshen up local trails when I feel like I’ve done the Tryon/BPW combo since the dawn of time. I also recently chose my fat bike as my rig of choice for a family trip to Martha’s Vineyard. The trails were not very technical and quickly change from dirt to sand, so the fat bike was actually a way better choice than my criminally expensive full suspension rig.

 

Want to be a better technical rider? Get a fat bike. It’s kind of like a singlespeed, but for mortals. Many models are rigid, which demands picking better lines and using more body English to maneuver the trails, but the big rubber is more forgiving than a skinny tire rigid bike. Once the white stuff starts falling you will return to bike handling 101 in a hurry. Snow riding demands a lot of your balance skills and will test you in new ways that will only help you when you return to more stable conditions.

 

How many bikes do you own? Doesn’t matter; you need one more (aka N+1).

 

Wow factor. There’s nothing that puts a smile on your face like hearing 10 year-olds and 50 year-olds alike exclaim “Look at the size of those f@#&ing tires!” as you ride by.

 

Where can you ride a fat bike?

 

Anywhere (that biking is legal, of course)! Seriously, I’ve seen people riding fat bikes on just about every trail I’ve ridden for the last 5 years and that includes trips to Moab, VT, Asheville, and many others. Once the trails get covered in snow some of the usual trails become very difficult if not impossible to ride. Deep snow has a way of amplifying the difficulty of seemingly easy hills. I suggest riding trails 1-2 steps less difficult than you would ride on dirt. Flatter trails help too, so places like Whiting Road and even the plentiful rail trails become the best options when others get too hard to ride.

 

So, if you own a fat bike, start doing your snow dance and hope we get lots of the white stuff this year and if you don’t yet own a fat fun bike, what are you waiting for?

 

This Saturday (Dec 2nd) is Global Fat Bike Day so beg, borrow, or steal some big rubber and come join us at one of the local events celebrating yet another way to have fun on two wheels.

 

Looking for a fun fat bike ride on Global Fat Bike Day? Click HERE

 

Eric Metzler