Monday, April 01, 2013

The Fat Bike Trend Is Over: (April Fools!)

Image pilfered from this thread on MTBR.com
What a week for fat bike aficionados. Last week it was all about the Mongoose Beast department store fat bike. (I wrote about that one here.) This past weekend someone posted the image you see here on mtbr.com's "Fat Bike" forum . The image shows a fat bike that is claimed to be a Specialized aluminum framed prototype. I assumed the image is real, since the man holding it is none other than Ned Overend, and I've heard solid rumors, (which were substantiated over the weekend), that Specialized is doing a fat bike, (and possibly three models), for months now.

I've written about how I feel Trek and Specialized will approach fat bikes before. They are going after where QBP is positioned with their bikes because they see that is what sells. QBP brands have sporadic supply due to being outstripped by demand, (apparently).  Dealers watching this from the sidelines every Winter now since 2010, (when they have very poor sales, by the way), are clamoring for something to sell in Winter like this. Trek and Specialized have a great dealer coverage and the horsepower to get as many fat bikes as they think dealers can sell. My opinion, but I think this is close to the mark.

I also feel that Specialized and Trek are not going to market Surly tires and rims. There will be some Trek or Specialized branded rims and tires, (in my opinion), or another outside vendor we haven't heard from yet is jumping in with a fat bike tire, (I've heard WTB's name bandied about here), so there is that facet to all this as well. 

On One's "Fatty" sold very strongly.
Now the reaction to this Specialized bike, (and you can add what the reaction to Trek's upcoming fatty will be here as well), is something which, again, I find quite nonsensical. Folks are saying things like, "That's it! Fat bikes are done now.", or things like "They're just jumping on the bandwagon."

Bulldookey.

How is it that, by the very nature of having these companies develop more components specific to fat bikes, the fat biking trend is over? Really? Just because it is Specialized?

I suppose then that folks that feel this way will not be caught dead riding any bicycle type which Specialized retails under its brand name, correct? Yeah.........right! Dang trend jumpers are pointing fingers at companies because they are "trend jumpers"? Or they are afraid of these new fat bikes with the big red "S" will somehow dilute their fat biking experiences? I don't get it. This logic is weird to me. It just doesn't make any good sense.

Everybody can see that fat bikes seem to be selling quite well. On One's new entry has surprised them with robust sales. QBP keeps increasing their output of fat bikes and can not seemingly get enough out there every year. Tire and rim choices are limited to.....Surly? 45NRTH? A few, heavyish Vee Rubber offerings? How could having more decent choices be a bad thing? Especially if Specialized, Kona, (who are offering a fat bike), and Trek, (who we all know are not far behind in announcing something here), bring some different, cool options to the table. Oh, and by the way, you can thank Specialized, Trek, and to a smaller degree, the other brands, for SRAM's commitment to fat bikes in crank sets and more.... (Can Shimano be far behind? My feeling is "no".)

So, you can think that fat bikes are passe' all you want to. I'll just keep on ridin' and smilin'

4 comments:

MG said...

I agree. My position is that the "major players" jumping into the ring simply raises the bar for the quality of products we can expect. That's a good thing. Thank you to both the innovators, and also to the majors, who now realize the opportunity they have in the fatbike market. Welcome to the party!

Singlespeed Steve said...

It might not be an April Fools,Mark......Walgoose has a FatBike SS for under $200 =/





:p Happy Monday,my friend :)

The DC

Isolation Helmet said...

I think that most people get upset when things they like go from being underground to popular. It is the same in music. Favorite bands lose fans when they finally make it because the sell out. It is too bad that fat bikes are over before I even own one!

Vito said...

Personally...I love seeing all the new stuff. It's been a good deal of fun to watch the fat bike niche become rather standard. Five years ago I was the only one in my area to have a fat bike. Now, every roadie has a Nine Zero Seven, Beargrease, or Mukluk. Cool!!! With that being said, I'll choose to ride my Pugsley for a few more years. I just love the damn thing too much. However, if the right situation presented itself, I would be on a Mukluk in a heartbeat :)