Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why You Should Have A Fat Bike

THIS is a fat bike.
The fat bike phenomenon is nothing new anymore. Almost every cycling company worth its salt has one in their line up already. The thing is, many folks don't know what they are for. There is the understandable misconception that these were made only for snow going cyclists, but that is just a tiny bit of what a fat bike can do, and pigeon holes them into a niche that is easily dismissable by many cyclists. You know, if you cannot stand cold, or if you never have snow at all, why would you want one? 

Hopefully this post will help expand your mind as to the potential uses of a fat bike. My personal example is but one of a ton of reasons why you may want to consider one of these, but I want to keep this to a personal example for the sake of authenticity. Just keep in mind that there are a lot of other uses for a fat bike. These are not just for snow! 

My example features one of the crop of newer, "trail ready" style of fat bikes, in this case, a Salsa Cycles Blackborow DS. It has a "dual single speed" drive train which features a "high range" set of cogs and a "low range" set of cogs for some real crawling action! I kept mine in the "high range" for the entire ride. In this range it can be ridden at a fairly quick pace, but is still a low enough gear that I can tractor through some muck. I'll show you some examples here......

These examples are all from my ride yesterday in the "Green Belt" which is a trail system that runs along a creek here and has many sandy areas with some wet, mucky spots after rains. I typically would never ride a bicycle through here from late Spring until Fall was well under way for many reasons, but two of those being the sand, which was nearly impossible to ride through until the sands were covered by leaves, and the mud pits which were impossible to get through with a normal mountain bike.

Sand would normally bog you down here, but not with a fat bike. 
This mud hole would stop a normal mtb in its tracks. Nothing a fat bike can't handle though!
The mud hole behind the bike here was another place only a fat bike could tractor through. 
Okay, so what? Why would anyone want to ride through that stuff? Yeah....I get that, but if this is you, I don't think you would really want to mountain bike anywhere. Mountain biking is not a "clean" sport, and anyone that engages in it knows that. We do these rides for the adventure, to get out into nature and engage with it. Getting slimed and muddy, well.....that's a good thing. 

Secondly, making it through, over, or around obstacles is a basic tenant of the mountain biking experience. So, mud holes, sand, and soft grounds are things to be ridden through without "dabbing" a foot, or walking through, or avoiding. Well, as long as it doesn't adversely affect trails and doesn't damage the environment. Which here in the Green Belt isn't an issue. The Black Hawk Creek does waaaaay more damage than any mountain biker ever could if they tried. So, if you are one of these cyclists that wants to get out into nature, are not afraid of getting a little nature on you, and like a challenge which some area of your trails might present, a fat bike might just be right up your alley.

I used to avoid this area because of the difficulties and grimy mud which made it really hard to impossible to ride back there. However; now that I have a fat bike, its not only doable, but it is really fun to ride back here. Instead of waiting until Fall was in full swing and the dry weather brought down enough leaves to make the sandy areas rideable, I can ride back there pretty much whenever I want to. That's one reason, (amongst tons of others), why you may want a fat bike.


Robert Ellis said...

Enjoyed that post and pictures. Looks like you can ride those through anything!

Johnny White said...

Agree. Fatbikes really are handy for whatever course one may encounter, as you quite informatively explained. Choosing the right mountain bike really is part of what makes for an enjoyable riding experience; and that's what Recreation Space aims to do.