On the fatbike fad

Let us dispense with this nonsense once, so that it need not be said again:

-Yes, fatbikes are necessarily heavier.  So are fat skis.  And larger paddle blades.

-If you mistake stable handling for sluggishness, you need to get out more.  And learn that the best way to steer a mountain bike usually involves the bars on a tertiary level only.

-If your understanding of riding in/on snow is such that 35c tires always work, you need to get out more.

-If your understanding of mountain biking is such that 2.2s always have enough float and traction, you need to get out more.

-If you think 8 psi is low as far as your fatbike is concerned, go apologize to your bike right now.

That is all.  Lots of people are riding fatbikes where another bike would do just fine, and making all manner of hyperbolic declarations of the sort humans are invariably subject to, especially where shiny things and the internet are involved.  But make no mistake, fatbikes are an innovation on par with disk brakes and suspension forks, and will prove more important than 29 inch wheels.

6 responses to “On the fatbike fad”

  1. Fully agree. I’m no biker though I race a bunch against bikes (gotta love alaskan human powered races, the runners almost won my last one ;), but even I can tell that Gearjunkie misses a big point: fatbikes widen the envelope of conditions you can conquer. For a course with very stable weather and predictable conditions you may be able to pick “the proper” bike. But all the races I’ve seen in Alaska for example have exhibited freakish swings of conditions (often within 24 hours) that make it a huge gamble to go with anything but the thing that lets you ride the most. Last time I’ve seen a skinny tire guy in the White Mountains I overtook him walking (while he pushed his bike), and he had to drop by the second checkpoint. The fat tire guys were three times as fast as the runners on the other hand. Arrowhead is one of these races with usually fairly stable conditions (though this year’s Arrowhead was mushy, and I doubt skinny tires stood much of a chance – unusual for Arrowhead … but it happened).

    Gearjunkie may insinuate people tend to over-use fatbikes, but honestly if you dont know the conditions for sure, I understand why you would err on the safe, even if slower, side. And let’s face it. Fatbikes ARE a ton of fun. And they absolutely allow you to do things that were in the realm of complete insanity before. What’s not to love?

  2. yea. what he said.

  3. A useful stable for me would include all the following types of bicycles. I am missing but one

    1. commuter, 2. mountain, 3. road, 4. cruiser, 5. cargo, 6. fatty, 7. polo

  4. I’m pretty content with a normal mountain bike and a fat bike. If I lived in a place where theft was more of a concern (and couldn’t stash mine inside at work), a beater commuter lacking parts which scream “steal me” would be good.

    Bikes are expensive and take up space. More would be nice, but two gets the job done.

  5. People “test” riding fat bikes on dirt trails are stupid and missing the point.

  6. […] 2: This is not a review of fatbikes as such. For that, see this.  Fat bikes need no defense, only more […]

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