So we took one out for a ride and instead of just tooling around the easy Copper Mountain resort terrain, we loaded it up on the ski lift to descend 1800 feet on intermediate singletrack trails. As we started descending, a permagrin settled on our face as we felt like a kid on a Tonka truck bike. But the bike wasn’t slow and lumbering at all. Turn in and steering were good as we railed the first few berms. The tires had a strange sound and sensation to them but traction was excellent. Loose corners were not really that loose and rocks did not impede or alter our forward progress. The pressure on these 4.8 in tires was set at around 6 psi and although that sounds ridiculously low for normal 2.1 mountain bike tires, these worked just fine for the Fatboy with its 4.8 inch tires and 90 mm rims.
On loose and rocky terrain, the Fatboy felt comfortable. The bike felt like it had two inches of travel as it absorbed rocks and ruts. Where it excelled was in loose, rocky and off-camber corners. The bike was more sure-footed than any other bike we tried during the week as it was difficult to break traction as we carved through corners.
The bike felt light and relatively agile and was actually easy to turn surprisingly. Aided by the aluminum frame and the carbon fork, the bike was quite easy to maneuver. Geometry felt spot on and we actually wanted to try this bike with a dropper post since it was a pretty able descender.
The rear end is quite wide and we hit our heel on seatstay sometimes. Also as the speeds got higher and the hits more frequent, the relative comfort of the Fatboy quickly diminished. It reminded us that it’s still a hardtail as our back started to hurt.
We are quite pleased to see quite a diversion from Specialized. This bike is not a racing bike but rather a utility bike or just a fun bike. Our test bike came with Surly tires but Specialized Ground Control tires are coming soon. There will be two flavors of this bike called he Fatboy and Fatboy Expert. Pricing has not yet been determined but will be announced very soon.
It was truly a hit around a sea of good new Specialized bikes. Journalists couldn’t stop talking about it as one tester hucked it down a six foot drop and another kept Ned Overend at bay, holding the lead for three laps in a punchy short track race featuring all kinds of ultralight racing bikes.