The Angry Singlespeeder: Fat Bikes. Meh.

Does the added expense and time investment of buying and maintaining a fat bike justify its overall fun and usefulness?

Fat Bike Opinion

Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at [email protected]. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.

The first time I rode a fat bike was at Interbike’s Dirt Demo out at Bootleg Canyon in 2012. The first five minutes on that orange Salsa Mukluk was admittedly pretty fun. I rolled through the expo area on a completely obnoxious mutation of a bike, getting a lot of attention at the expense of whiz-bang carbon fiber road bikes worth more than my car.

The sound of 4.5-inch wide tires humming harmoniously on the asphalt was also admittedly pretty fun, but as soon as I reached singletrack and started riding the rocky, rutty and loose Nevada desert terrain, all the fun pretty much stopped. It was nothing more than an oversized, awkward, heavy and slow steel bike with no suspension that clumsily banged and clanged its way downhill with more racket than a drawer full of kitchen utensils falling down a stairwell.

After that maiden voyage, I had written off the fat bike as a mere novelty. The cuteness of gargantuan tires would quickly expire as soon as people started rattling molars out of their skulls while getting passed by senior citizens on full suspension rigs. As an aside, I do realize that recently I penned an article about the merits of riding a rigid mountain bike, but the advantage of a traditional rigid mountain bike is that it’s lightweight, nimble and extremely efficient – none of which apply to the fat bike. And yes, I know about the $5,500 Salsa Beargrease XX1 Carbon. It’s got an equivalent novelty quotient as a Ferrari with mud terrain tires.

While my friends and I scoffed at fat bikes, last winter I was seeing numerous photos of people riding in the snow on fat bikes. What’s more, they seemed to be having fun. I began to reconsider. Maybe they did serve a useful purpose for those living in parts of the world where winter would otherwise render riding impossible. But living in San Diego at the time, I had forgotten the entire concept of winter and continued riding my traditional mountain bike. Occasionally I’d see a fat bike on the trail. I’d look at the bike, then look at the rider, smile and say, “cute bike”.

This past summer I rode a fat bike for the second time at a Salsa event in Duluth, Minnesota. A group of us did a fat bike night ride along the shores of Lake Superior through deep, soft sand that would paralyze a regular mountain bike. Admittedly, it was a super fun ride, with nearly 20 of us piloting these monster truck-like bicycles through downtown Duluth in reckless abandon. My eyes were opened to the merits of the fat bike. If you live on the beach or in hardcore desert terrain like Arizona, a fat bike might make sense.

My third and most recent ride on a fat bike was just the other day. My buddy Mike who co-owns JetLites let me borrow his Surly Moonlander sporting 4.7-inch wide Big Fat Larry tires. I had already ridden a fat bike on rocky trails and a sandy beach, now it was time to ride the fat bike in some snow and ice up on Mount Rose Meadows above Lake Tahoe.

After nearly giving myself a hernia wrangling the fat bike from the back of my truck, I rode a section of Tahoe Rim Trail that was firmly packed but laden with footprints, turning the trail in a ribbon of mini-potholes. Those memories of riding Bootleg Canyon came rushing back, as my eyes rattled in my skull and my teeth chattered in perfect time with the clanging of chain slap. Dropping the air pressure just below 10 psi didn’t really help matters.

After a rough start, I came to a relatively steep climb that was easily doable on a regular mountain bike, even in the snow. I shifted the Moonlander into granny and found myself struggling to maintain any semblance of forward movement, let alone speed. Suddenly I felt like the fat kid in gym class, especially when two guys on regular mountain bikes with studded tires effortlessly rode past me. One of them smiled and said “cute bike.”

Cresting the hill I was resolved to catch them on the downhill, after all, I’m on a fat bike in the snow. The Moonlander is in its element now. Or so I thought. The banging and clanging ensued, shooting me all over the trail, and the fact that my 4.7-inch tires were floating on the surface of the snow and not digging in meant awkward and unpredictable cornering. I really wasn’t having that much fun on the fat bike, so I aborted mission and headed back to the truck dismayed.

I want to like the fat bike. I really do. After all, it’s a bike. And even if it isn’t my preference, any bike is better than no bike. For specific conditions and parts of the world it makes sense, but for the vast majority of mountain bikers, a fat bike isn’t the wisest investment. Its usefulness is far too limited. You can do almost as much with a regular mountain bike and 2.5” tires.

I’ve ridden my normal mountain bike in snow plenty of times, and virtually every time I had a blast, so why would I need a fat bike? I’ve ridden my 30-year-old Bianchi touring bike on the beach for miles – making sure I rode near peak low tide for the firmest conditions – and it was equally as awesome, so what’s the point in having another bike that fills such a narrow spectrum of riding?

Contrary to what many people who’ve never ridden a fat bike think, you can’t ride these contraptions everywhere. They’re not motorized. You still have to provide the power, and because they’re so godawful slow, you have to provide a lot more power than what’s normally required. Conditions that render a regular mountain bike useless more often times than not also render a fat bike useless, or at least barely useful, which at that point maybe not riding a bike at all would be a wiser choice.

For $1,500 I could by an extremely versatile cyclocross bike that can ride efficiently across a wide range of conditions. Alternatively, I could get a full backcountry ski setup so that when the snow starts flying, the bike gets a break and I do something every bit as fun yet better suited to the conditions. As much as I love riding, I love it even more after I’ve taken a break from it for a little while.

Fat bikes are like boats – it’s less expensive and more fun to make friends with somebody who owns one than to actually own one yourself. For most people, a fat bike will spend more time collecting dust in the garage than doing anything else. And nothing is worse than a bike that rarely, if ever, gets ridden.

So if you’ve been considering a fat bike and you don’t either A) live in the middle of a desert B) live in tundra that’s frozen over half the year or C) live on a beach in the middle of nowhere, a fat bike probably isn’t the best investment. Just find a friend who owns one. That way when you get that once a year urge to ride a fat bike, you can just borrow it, get your fill of fatty and give it back.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • Clint Callahan says:

    I think you got started off on the wrong foot by riding a steel Mukluk. Maybe if you had ridden a titanium or aluminum one, you know the kind that actually exist, you would have had more fun.

  • greg says:

    you”ve got the worst tires on that moonlander and you also should try out a mid size fatbike one with 80mm rims and 3.8 tires, a whole different experience. Its obvious you havent done much research into what is the most ideal type of fatbike for actual riding trying out a clown shoe rim and a btl tire is about the worst fatbike combo you could of used.

  • Adam says:

    By the second paragraph you’ve already described the Mukluk as 1. steel, which it is not, and 2. rolling on 4.5 inch tires, which it cannot fit. If you can’t even get the basic facts about your quarry correct, your whole argument is invalid.

    And besides, the “I hate everything” schtick is really old.

  • Tad Dickman says:

    How did the guy you borrowed that Moonlander from even have the pressure above 10psi? Try 5 and you may have had reason to give a legitimate “review” of fatbikes.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    I never claimed I know anything about fat bikes. I don’t. I’m just going off a few experiences I’ve had riding them. And most people who are considering buying one of these bikes probably know as much about the details as I do. So a Mukluk is aluminum. Good to know. That explains why it beat me half to death at Bootleg Canyon.

    I don’t hate everything. If you actually read the article, you’ll see that I don’t hate fat bikes. They have a useful purpose. The point of my story is that I believe their purpose is far too narrow for most people justify spending north of $1500 on one. That’s it. They’re kinda cool, but for me – and I think most people on the fence about buying one – not cool and useful enough to partially drain my bank account and take up valuable space in my garage.

    But I know because I’m not fawning over how endlessly awesome fat bikes are I’m gonna get attacked by the fatty brigade, which is fine.

    Flame on.


    • AZBikeFreak says:

      “So a Mukluk is aluminum. Good to know. That explains why it beat me half to death at Bootleg Canyon.”

      This statement proves you don’t know a thing about fat bikes. How can you get beat up on a bike with 5″ tires at 9 psi? You should have been floating over everything. I ride National Trail with my BBMTB and have a smile from ear to ear. Please. Go back and read your article about full rigids being the cat’s meow. You didn’t complain about getting beat up on a full rigid with skinny tires. Lame.

      Typical San Diegan douche that thinks he knows how to ride a bike.

    • Julie says:

      I think you just need to have more beer next time you take one out. A local rider I know here in Santa Cruz brought one to a pump track party. It was hilarious in the pump track – quite worth the extra laughs. See? There are more uses!

  • vibecycles says:

    I thought singlespeeders were strong, just saying 🙂

  • Mark Ehlers says:

    LOL…this is funny, but not very accurate. I remember when I got my first pair of xc race skis. The pencil thin boards were twitchy and I just couldn’t find a way to control them, much less ski faster than my beloved “performance sport” skis….until I actually spent some time with them, and was determined to learn their strengths and weaknesses.
    It’s the same with a fatbike. And today would have been a good day for you to be riding alongside me and learn that…as I passed up every xc ski racer I could find. 😉

  • Liberty555 says:

    There is a chap who lives near me who does lots of road miles on a unicycle. He generally gets scoffed at and people see it as a bit of tomfoolery. It makes him happy – doesn’t mean I want to (or can) unicycle.

    Same goes for recumbents. I see them, I scoff. They have their place, but not in my garage.

    That Kurt doesn’t like it is his opinion, respect it.

  • Jj says:

    Finally something I agree with written by the angry single speeder. FAT BIKES SUCK! If you really want to ride in the snow, studded tires on your regular mtb blows fat bikes away. I live near Tahoe and have ridden fat bikes many times on snow and always wished I was doing something else……like skiing.

  • ROTOMON says:

    I’ve toyed around on a fat bike quite a bit but the best experience you can have on one is a late night snow ride when its fresh cutting your own path. its surreal.

  • Henrik says:

    I am just waiting till all the fatbikes end up on craigslist and pinkbike… then i’ll try it out!

  • tb says:

    No Bud, No Lou, and 10psi, is what’s wrong with you!
    I’m a poet, and I didn’t even know it.

  • JB says:

    Put 1×11 on that Moonlander and you’d be golden.

  • Evil E says:

    Hold on…let me grab a cold drink and settle in. This should be good…you have topped yourself, ASS and will likely incur the wrath of the entire state of Minnesota.

  • Don says:

    Open letter from the bike industry to the ASS:

    Dear Mr. ASS,

    We would like you to remove your article regarding fat bikes from the MTBR website. We realize fat bikes are a niche product. We also realize most people who buy them are dirt hipsters in need of attention with no intention of riding them for their intended purpose. But, we are making money and we would like to continue to do so. If someone wants to spend $2,000 on a glorified pub crawler then so be it. If we only sold fat bikes to people that live in a climate that actually required it then we would never make our money back on R&D (what little there was, we know) and the market would have been saturated in the first year we made them available.

    Also, think of the boom fat bikes have brought to the economy. Sales of Stan’s sealant and Gorilla tape are through the roof! Anyone who owns share in either of those companies is rich now. Cannondale can’t produce enough Lefty forks to keep up with demand. Qtubes can’t keep 26×2.7 superlight tubes in stock. You see where we’re going with this…

    So next time you want to write about the merits (or lack thereof) of fat bikes, just remember there is a guy or gal here in the bike industry that depends on fat bike revenues to pay for the IPA of the week and plaid hat of the month. You wouldn’t want to take that from us, would you? :'(


    The Bike Industry

    • Dan Morrison says:

      This is brilliant.

      I’m actually surprised this made it to MTBR which exists solely to convince people that $6,000 is a good price for a mid-range mountain bike.

  • Simonblaine says:

    Might have been better to read up on how to properly ride the fat bike and how to set it up before writing this (tire pressure etc). Your ignorance on those issues ruined the ride for you and now you are passing crap info to readers of this blog.

  • alex says:

    So if you live in the sprawling suburban shithole that is the state of California, you don’t need a fatbike. What a revelation.

  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    For what it’s worth…I see these ballooned tired machines periodically in Mountain Bike Action and think to myself “I’d like to try one of these someday”. Well..after reading this article, I have to, with my gut, agree with ASS. This thing would probably collect dust in my garage most the year. Then again, I live in warm, sunny Southern Taxifornia!

  • 26r says:

    Niner bikes…Meh.

  • XR600 says:

    … 650b …Meh (what the hell is Meh?)
    Carbon Fibre … Meh
    2×10 … Meh
    1×11 … Meh
    Too heavy, too low ,too slack, too long travel, too many so called standards, too expensive … I could go on for ever …Meh
    I would consider 90% of newer developments to be niche, and something I don’t want forced upon me for my main MTB, but it seems I have no choice.
    Most others are lightweight moaners compared to me, when it comes to the direction of the bike industry at the mo.
    On the subject of FAT bikes, I thought they would make fun city bikes, for riding down (and up) flights of stairs. I thought they might also claw there way up ultra steep dirt slopes. It would be a shame if it turns out they cant do this.

  • Doug M says:

    There has never been a steel Mukluk, only steel Enabler forks. I’ve ridden a few borrowed Pugsleys and a Moonlander on snow and had a ton of fun. Worth it (to me) if you live in the snow belt and prioritize fun over efficiency.

  • Robert says:

    I think they must appeal to a certain type of person. Here in Humboldt County I’ve seen a few of them, but only one that was violating traffic rules.

  • Ricky Shredder says:

    People….people….calm down for christ’s sake. Just because the guy doesn’t like a bike there’s no need to crucify him. I thought this was America and giving your opinion is a cherished right? He didn’t like a fat bike, so what. Morons!

  • jcarbmx1 says:

    I would respect an informed opinion. The bike wasn’t set up properly- of course he had a bad experience! The best thing to come out of this is that I now know I shouldn’t read his articles. Thanks.

  • Tommy says:

    I ride a single speed fat bike on all kinds of tails (rocks, roots, wet, dry, up, down, cold, hot) and have all kinds of fun. My molars are just fine. I do run lower tire pressure the A.S.S. did. A friend of mine owned a fat bike and gave it a honest try but had many of the same teeth chattering issues. I the A.S.S. articles are like Rorschach tests for mountain bikers. I liked his article about full suspension and didn’t like this one. Now I know deep down inside a am single speeding fathead!!

    Thanks A.S.S. keep spreading the anger

  • Fat Bikes R for k00ks says:

    Here in So Cal it hasn’t snowed since the last ice age but these bikes have been showing up on the trails and some shops. Lame lame lame for riding steep dry hardpack. There is not one trail that a fat bike would be a good choice except next to a beach cruiser on a paved bike path. Hey my tires r bigger than yours!

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Not reading my articles is probably the best thing you can do for yourself, because at the end you’ll be no smarter and just generally pissed off.

    – ASS

  • Tom Basic says:

    I have a lot of respect for ASS’s comments. Notwithstanding that his setup wasn’t ideal (I know from experience having owned an atv and running 2.5 psi and up) his point is that fatbikes are a big commitment for something that is not necessarily VERSATILE.

    I recently came across the Mongoose Beast, a 50lb. fatbike you can get from Walmart for $230. They’re on YouTube, and there are forums devoted to them. I was looking for something different and also considered the $900 fatbikes on and realized that I would be better suited by getting a dirtjumper, again.

    The point about fatbikes is that they are fun and go over stuff and allow you to get out when your typical steed can’t cut it. If the conditions are such that you can ride your standard bike, then it stands to reason a fatbike, in those conditions, will only add the fun and novelty factor. It depends on what kind of riding you enjoy. Some riding needs speed to be fun. Some riding needs the technical-crawl-over factor to be fun. The two are partly opposed to each other.

    Is fatbiking a fad? For some people it is. But it’s a much more agreeable thing to me than those fixies, which is a subculture that thrives on image and precisely on NOT being understood, whereas I know that I’d have fun riding a big-ass-tired bike, anytime, with the pre-condition being that I would be seeking the kind of ride a fatbike delivers.

    I lived in Ottawa for five years and loved, loved, loved riding in the snow. I had a dumpster road bike and a dumpster mountain bike. I thought studs were over-rated (granted, much of Ottawa was salted and ice was not super prevalent) and was able to ride moderately off-road. I had fun all the time, every time. But, that was because my bikes could handle it. There were definitely ungroomed trails my bikes couldn’t hack, and I know I’d have had that much more fun if I’d had fatter tires.

    Bottom line: fatbiking is fun, but think twice before you dump the cash.

  • Jimbo says:

    All I know is I ride with a group of 10-15 guys on a regular basis. We meet every Tuesday and some days in between to ride at night, all year round. Our go to place in the winter was steep and south facing and perfect to ride in the winter, at least you could always hike up and there was enough incline to power downhill even in a foot of snow with 2.4s. This place was destroyed by a flood earlier this fall. Now our only option of winter riding is on snow packed snowshoe trails. More than half our group bought fat bikes, I did not. All I know is I’m at the car drinking beer waiting for them to get back because I can’t ride for shit with my 26″ 2.4s and they are ripping it up all over the place on their fat bikes. To me, spending $1,500 on a basic fat bike seems to be well worth it. I haven’t got one yet but I plan on it soon. Nothing will motivate you more to get one than wathcing all your buddies drop your ass one week after another.

  • Salsiccione says:

    Initially, I might agree with ASS. Yes, fatbikes are not fast. Yes there are better, more nimble options for navigating trails. Yes, they may feel a bit clunky. Yes, believe it or not there is actually a learning curve on how to set up and ride one to get the most out of it. And yes, and if you are out to find the most efficient all around ride for the most part, this is not it.
    But if that is what you are seeking then you are missing the whole point. This should not be your only bike as riding enjoyment comes in many forms. The Fattie is a bike reserved for those who are seeking a specific kind of ride. In my case looking to make winter rides enjoyable and add a variety to my remaining 3 season ride routine. For those of us in the north or midwest we face something every November that the other half of the country truly cannot comprehend. The impending doom of long cold winter being upon us and the need to combat that dark dreary season. (Especially this year as we are experiencing record setting sub zero temps). That said, I have been regularly riding in sub freezing snow-covered routes since I picked up my fattie. BECAUSE MY FAT BIKE ENCOURAGES ME TO CHANGE MY RIDE MINDSET.

    When the cold days of old man winter begin to show up for long dark hours, successfully staying on the bike is all about adjusting the mental outlook. It’s about finding a new fuel for my hearty winter spirit. You can no longer ride the way you did the past 8 months as weather and conditions physically do not allow it. AND there is only so much I can stand on the indoor trainer. No computrainer or training video can replace the feeling of plowing through snow, snot dripping, feet and hands numbing, and heart pumping , as snow is kicking up into your face. I focus my efforts on powering my rubber souled steamroller through anything that challenges my efforts. Somehow it keeps me motivated and excites me as I venture forth during my evening rides. Crystal white flakes shimmer as they float across my headlight as I carefully select which snow covered path I should hold or attempt to create. All while the eerie quiet silence is pierced by the crunching and creaking snow under my cushioned fat rubber “shoes”.

    It’s about discovering a new way to ride. Like re-experiencing what it was like to ride a bike when I was a five year old first pulling off the trainers. There are many things I would like to experience again for the first time or through the eyes of a child and If I can do that every time I jump on my fat bike I think it was worth every penny. A bit quirky, a bit silly, and extremely liberating. If you don’t get it- you won’t get it, and that’s too bad because I think you are missing out. Don’t compare a fat bike what your other bikes can do. Enjoy it for what it can do for you.
    My new mindset- It’s good to get FAT over the winter.

  • Leonard says:

    Well, you pissed off that user group. Just got back from a nice 15 mile night ride poaching sled dog trails and enjoying some nice winter single track. All out my back door on my snow bike. Pace was around 15 mph or so. Plus, on trails that only exist during the winter My bike is set up as a 1×9 with a good parts mix and 120 tpi tires. Tips the scale between 27 and 28. My 5 spot is 30. Snow bikes are about set and setting, my friend.

  • Robert says:

    Gotta say…. in a rant about fat bikes, i really appreciated the backhanded slam against older folks who ride full suspension bikes. Nice job ASS.

  • Shawn says:

    Someone who primarily rides a niche style of bike (i.e. single-speed, rigid) requiring a specific riding technique to get the most out of and that is less capable than a standard geared full suspension trail, complaining another niche style of bike doesn’t perform well enough for him because it doesn’t fit his riding style. And this without putting in a real effort to learning how to ride said other niche style of bike (three rides, wow). Brilliant!

  • p nut says:

    With the exception of the few, fat bikes are more of a novelty item. With the exception of the few that actually benefit, people ride them because they *think* they need a set of 5″ tires to ride on packed snow or the just love the attention. But so do weirdo CX racers wearing tutu’s, so whatever. Love all the fat bikers chiming in to justify their purchase.

  • bsimon says:

    “After nearly giving myself a hernia wrangling the fat bike from the back of my truck”

    I was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt – certainly fatbikes aren’t for everyone – but it turns out he’s just a puss.

  • Tom says:

    “Does the added expense and time investment of buying and maintaining a fat bike justify its overall fun and usefulness?”

    Dammit, man, enough with that nonsense. It’s a slippery slope when you start injecting logic into bicycle purchases!

  • Michael says:

    So that guy last week riding his fatty on a plowed road in east coast suburgatory was on the wrong bike. Seemed to be having a good time anyway even though a Mattel Big Wheel could have probably handled it too. His money, his choice; just like all those thinking they have to have a $5000 bike which of course means an equally expensive outfit of course.

    I’ll take skinnier tires and some extra money for beer myself. Kind of stupid heading to the bar on whatever pub crawler is preferred only to have to beg for beer funds.

  • Evil E says:

    It just cracks me up how people cannot comprehend that this was an OPINION. It wasn’t a review of Fat Bikes…it was one guy’s experience, and it wasn’t for him. It’s interesting that everyone needs to feel validated in their purchase or choice of bikes or equipment. Good grief!

  • Dirk says:

    Is it just me, or are (fat-bike) folks overly sensitive here? This is one guy’s column and opinion. Don’t like it, then don’t read it. Disagree? Write your own column.

  • Bob says:

    1) why are you so angry A.S.S?
    2) Single Speed is two words not one. SO, is should be A.S not A.S.S. but that wouldn’t be cute would it.
    3) I think you as cute as my Pusley.
    4) If you can’t ride a fat bike…then Phuq it! go home and don’t bother the rest of the world with your inabilities….

  • Evil E says:

    Bob needs a do-over

  • seth says:

    Angry Single Speeder
    not sure if you thought your point out?

  • bryan says:

    I have to give A.S.S. credit for speaking his mind. Some more experimentation with tire pressure would have definitely opened up his eyes a little more to the capabilities of these bikes, but I do agree they are a niche. I own a Mulkluk and ride it primarily in snow and sloppy spring muck, but I put it away once the trails dry out and bring out the faster “skinny” tire bikes. There are a few hard core fatbikers out there that ride them year round, I say more power to ’em. Southern California trails may not need a bike like this and if I lived there I probably wouldn’t buy one. If you don’t need it and don’t like it, don’t buy it. I personally love mine and believe in “the right tool for the job”, for me it keeps the fire burning when most bikers have packed it up for the winter and ride trainers.

  • Mike says:

    I just converted a Maverick SC32 fork for mine and that is absolutely where it’s at. As fun as it was to get into riding Fat Bikes it’s that much and more with suspension.

  • Jack H. says:

    What’s funny is the ultimate premise of this shitty article is actually spot on. These bikes have a very specific application outside of which better tools for the job have resulted from over 40 years worth of product development. Angry rode the wrong bikes, in the wrong places, wrong, and decided to spew about it. A bit of a sad confessional. But the take home is the same: if there are 10 or more new fatbikes in your neighborhood this year, you probably live in a pretty sweet place to snow bike. And the bikes today are THAT much better than just 2 years ago. You didn’t need this article to figure that out, and in fact, this article misses that very real, and poignant point. Ride on!

  • JD says:

    My, my, my. The fat bikers doth protest too much, methinks.

    Firstly, why is that bike not a SS? Oh, right, because the rotational inertia on a fat bike is an energy black hole with the the heavy tire and rim. Forgot for a moment.

    I tried a fat bike early on, side-by-side with 29×2.3s set-up properly- various snow and tire pressures. No fat bike advantage other than tolerance of bad balance. Tried it again more recently vs. 35mm 29er rims and 18/14 PSI and compliant 2.4s. Fat bike lost.

    I KNEW that regardless of what bike/tire/pressure/trail/conditions A.S.S. tried the rationalization-istas would cry error. Please. How many of you guys actually tried one vs. a proper 29er snow set-up before buying? Grow up, admit you got that fat bike primarily because it’s cool and move on. I’d still get one myself if I had the coin and garage space. Fat bike is to dirt-head as the Prius is to the committed environmentalist: A lifestyle expression first and a functional machine second.

  • slo joe says:

    Why a fat bike “works” for me is that I could afford only one off road bike. My mukluk goes everywhere, especially taking me into the woods in winter.

    Remember: Ride what you like. Like what you ride. :o)

  • Eric S says:

    Rational? Nah but neither is riding a single speed. Do you ride because you enjoy riding or …? The last few years as my now teenage daughters have grown and gotten stronger we ride together and I see things through a different set of eyes. When they ride it’s all special and FUN. I’ve slowed down (partially cuz I’m old and fat) and gotten less serious about riding fast and more serious about enjoying my time on the bike. I’m not concerned with how far I’ve ridden just that I’ve been out and rode my bike.

    Recently I got a fatbike and riding became even more fun. Snow? Haven’t had a chance yet but riding this thing on our local rocky, rooty, muddy and frozen east coast singletrack is an absolute ball! It’s the same feeling I got from mt bikes back in the early days (mid 80’s.) The sense of exploration and different is wonderful – just like the difference from a road bike to those early fat tired, upright, rigid, beat the snot out of you bikes gave us. Granted we were in our early twenties and a bit more flexible and agile but we learned to pick a cleaner line than we ever needed to on those road bikes and we learned to appreciate the subtleties of bike handling in a new way and it’s kind of neat to be doing that again.

    Beach riding is a blast too. Honestly, how many times have you gone to the shore and walked for miles and miles? My fattie calls to me and says further, lets go see what’s around that next point. Sometimes it whispers, long before sunrise, that this might just be worth the effort so we get up and travel to watch the sunrise over the ocean and the colors and the sounds and the…

    Right tool for the time and place. Slow down, it’s ok.

  • Matt says:

    Maybe it’s just that I don’t mind heavy bikes because I’ve spent most of my life riding heavy bikes (and still having fun)… but I tried a couple fat bikes at Dirt Fest last year (so relatively dry, non-snowy, non-sandy trails) and I thought they were a blast! Had a lot of fun with the ridiculous amount of traction they provide. I rode some theoretically-awesome $6-8k bikes at the same time… but the ones that left me grinning afterwards were the fat bikes. Guess I just don’t understand how you can ride one and not feel at least a little like that…

    I don’t have one yet… but I see one in my garage eventually… once I have a little more free time and a little more extra cash. Right now I don’t get enough time in on my existing bikes, so it’s hard to justify another!

  • dfiler says:

    10 psi in big fat larrys in snow is like riding a normal mountain bike with slicks pumped up to 50 pounds. When riding a fat bike in the snow it would be good to use knobby tires and lower air pressure. I recommend trying it again with bud-n-lou tires at 7 psi or lower. Each psi is a HUGE difference when running such low pressure.

  • Big ritual says:

    If you don’t get it, you don’t deserve it.
    (Have fun on your skinny tires…)
    Stay Surly!!!

  • Dewayne says:

    I get it. He doesn’t like fatbikes. I don’t like golf. Some of my friends love golf and have tried to get me to like it. Nope, ain’t happening. I’d much rather be out riding my fatty like I hate it!

  • John Murphy says:

    I have been riding mountain bikes from back when they where called Schiwnn Stingrays ;). Now I am buying a fat bike to add to my collection – Why?? Not so much about snow but because I can’t ride the great Northern back country in the summer due to the ATV’s chewing up the trails and leaving sand so soft and deep none of my mountain bikes can get through it. The fat bikes do work well on soft sand and will allow me to get to some great camp sites that I could not get to on the mountain bikes. Yes, more slowly but that’s OK when you are exploring and not trying to prove anything…

  • Robert says:

    Well, I love riding my fat bike and that is what matters, to me.

  • pax says:

    Good grief ! ! !

    You guys are taking this TOO seriously.
    Gosh, lighten up!
    A lot of it is written in jest and tongue in cheek.
    Have a beer and relax.


  • Hooksc says:

    Love the response that the article generated. A few of the comments and the linked articles were really thought provoking. This read has given me a deeper appreciation for the fat bike one will be in my garage soon :-).

  • Sadoldsamurai says:

    I’m with you Hooksc, this has proved to be an interesting and stimulatingn thread.
    I’ve taken the plunge and now have a fat bike in the quiver, bought as I now live near some really great beaches, however there’s no doubt that if your pedaling style can cope with the additional width of the cranks (Q factor) IMHO they are great fun on sand and in the mud…
    One final point, yes many fat bike riders are slightly evangelical, but as a group they are incredibley supportive and friendly (to other fatbikers, and other trailusers..)
    Variety is afetr all the spice of life.

  • Patricia in MN says:

    As a year-round bike commuter, my Mukluk has been extremely useful in the snow and ice. I feel really stable and secure traveling on unplowed side streets with that bike. On milder winter days, I could get away with skinnier tires, but I really do enjoy riding the Muk. And yes, faster bikes pass me by on those sunny, clear winter days.
    But during the blizzards, I’ve noticed that no bikes pass me. And that’s ’cause there ARE no other bikes on the roads during the snowstorms ‘cept me and my Mukluk.
    The fat bike is great for heavy snowy commuting conditions, those days that no other cyclist would even attempt to bike.
    I’ve also done bikepacking trips on the Muk for ~80 miles. 🙂 No probs there.

  • Patricia in MN says:

    I feel compelled to add an addendum to my previous comment: I do feel that most fat bikes being purchased are not going to be used to their full potential. They do make excellent commuters (particularly in a snow-swept climate) and bikepacking bikes because of their ruggedness and durability. I don’t drive. If I were hard-pressed to pick just one bike to keep, it would be my Mukluk. There is no such thing as a bike that is perfect for every single situation, but I do feel that my Muk comes damn close to being nearly perfect for everything I do on my bike. We’ve been through hell and back together. It’s like a tank, which suits me fine.

  • Victor says:

    Just got a fatty. She dances pretty good for a big girl.

  • Mike Nagle says:

    Just got down from my first ride on my new 4.8 fat bike and my experience mirrors yours exactly. I absolutely hated it. I’m dropping it off, and taking my full spen 29er with 2.4s up to the same trail, and rip up what the fat bike floundered on. Anybody want to buy a real nice brand new titanium fat bike?

  • Delta says:

    This article told me everything I wanted to know. It saved me time and money.

    Thank you


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