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    • cvdavis

      For several consecutive years I had ridden my bicycles over 10,000km per year outside, but was getting tired of riding the same roads over and over again. I was losing interest in riding but then decided to buy a cheap cyclocross bike and see what that was like. I used the bike as a gravel grinder bike and threw a pair of studded tires on it for riding/training in the winter. It was so much fun! I quickly started racking up the miles again and found the new bike allowed me to explore places that I couldn't on my regular road bike but that were too far and long to do on my mountain bikes. It was like rediscovering a sport I had never left. Then I started getting a bit tired of those same roads and of course the cold weather. My mileage started to drop again until a friend gave me an old fat bike with studded tires on it. Wow, fat biking can be a lot of fun. I started doing some rides at a place called West Bragg Creek. I'd ridden a mountain bike there a few times but was surprised to learn it is considered Canada's premier place for fat biking. If climbing is your thing (it is certainly mine) then West Bragg is the place to be. The trails are ridden frequently and therefore usually well packed. They even have a motorized groomer to pack the trails. I'll include a quick picture of a friend on our recent fat bike ride in Calgary, Alberta's inner city provincial park called Fish Creek Park. These bikes are a lot of fun and a great way to get active in a season that many people don't care for too much. Rent or borrow a bike and give it a try!

    • VilTri

      I’ve been watching the bike industry being really amped up about fat bikes. I didn’t really get the appeal until I’ve watched a few YouTube videos of people riding them in mud and snow.

      What you’ve said about riding in the winter makes a ton of sense! You need big studded tires and low air pressure to ride over snow. Perhaps it is like hiking vs snowshoeing in the snow - you get a totally different experience from the exact same trail, the latter being way more fun.

      I’m really tempted to give it a try as long as I can find some suitable trails. Maybe if we get good snow in Sierras this winter, I might rent one.

      Would you ride a fat bike on the same trails in summer, or this is only a winter bike for you?

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      I've never ridden a fat bike. I lived in northern Utah for a few years with my trusty KTM EXC450, and I've had many encounters with snow. I've ridden through all-out snow storms accumulating multiple inches an hour, glacial patches on the road, and spring snow on single track. The riding experience every time was terrible, and usually ended in falling. You have to go slow, and because you go slow, you don't have the inherit stability you get with speed. Even with great balance, you still fall because traction does exist. Since a moto tire is like a giant fat bike tire, is the snow/ice riding experience similar @cvdavis?

      * I never could find a studded tire for my KTM, only gnarly knobbies that worked great in mud, sand, and dirt, so we might be comparing apples to oranges.

    • cvdavis

      some people ride fat bikes year around on any and every type of trail. It really depends on what your motivations are for cycling. I'm not really a casual ride person so I want the bike that goes the fastest and that's not a fat bike in the summer. You can certainly go fast on them but not the same kind of speed as a regular mountain bike. Some people ride cruisers for a casual and relaxing ride that focuses on the views and experience. For them I'd say fat bikes would be good. Fat bikes are more of a niche product. The fat bike growth here in Calgary was very fast at first and then after about two years the bike companies found that the interest had tapered off and they were left with a lot of unsold bikes. Their popularity depends a fair bit on the types of trails available and certainly having snow makes them more desirable. Because it's somewhat of a niche bike it is overly expensive for some people to spend that much on a bike they'll only use sometimes.

    • cvdavis

      Kevin I used to ride dirt bikes in the mountains in the winter with studded tires. They work amazingly well but there are limits. After the snow gets about 4 or so inches deep you don't want to be riding that way for too long. Tracked trails are much more desirable to ride on. The same can be said of fat bikes. Fat bikes are much more fun if the trails are packed snow. Around here there is lots of freeze/thaw so you need studded tires but I imagine that in many places it wouldn't be critical. Having packed trails allows you to ride along at a fairly fast pace and therefore balance is not an issue. When the trails are packed but very narrow then it is a real challenge staying on that narrow packed section. This is probably the biggest challenge with a fat bike in places that have a fair amount of snow. It also wouldn't be good if you have to break trails. Any more than a couple inches of snow and it's hard to slog along on the fat bikes. Again it depends on a number of factors like how hilly the area is.

      I'd say fat bike tires are not nearly as narrow as riding a 21" front tire of a dirt bike. My fat bike has a 4" front tire and some have 5" front tires. The profile is fairly flat and not nearly as rounded as a dirt bike tire.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      True that, now that I think about it, a front dirt bike tire is pretty poor for snow/ice riding. They track great in dirt, but ice and snow are an entirely different medium.

      I think I need to try out fat bike winter riding when I'm up in the Sierra.

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      A few years ago we stayed a week for a company retreat in San Diego on the beach and fat tire bikes were everywhere. You could rent them and I was dying to, but alas, too busy. Can you ride them for long in the really soft sand?

    • neduro

      I find there is a relationship between how unexpected something is, and how much I enjoy it. What appeals to me about fat biking is the unexpectedness of a bike ride when there are adverse circumstances that would stop my normal bike in its tracks.

      I can tell you that riding singletrack on beach cruiser fatbikes is more fun than it has any right to be- no expectation of cleaning anything, up or down, so every foot you pedal feels like a righteous victory.

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