The Crappier, the Better - Opinion

Mar 1, 2018
by Vernon Felton  
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Monday morning. Staff meeting. There are seven us on the daily Skype call.

My Boss: So, what’d you do this weekend?

Me: I went fat biking.

The Peanut Gallery: Why?

Five other editors uttering the same word at the same time from all corners of the globe. No hesitation. Just a gut-level response that could be summarized as follows: Fat biking? WTF?

I didn’t have a great answer at the time, other than “Why not?”

I’ve had a lot more time to think about it since.


Fatbike

THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME
Pinkbike is not a hotbed of fat bike fanaticism. I think that much is safe to say. We get emails asking us to test more affordable bikes (understandable), emails demanding that we showcase more downhill bikes (really?) and emails threatening us with painful fiery deaths if we start testing e-bikes (sigh).

But fat bikes? I don’t think I’ve ever received a single email asking for more fat bike content.

Well, that’s not exactly true. About six months ago Fuzzy John (a.k.a. John Mylne) emailed me, asking if I wanted to give a fat bike a go. Fuzzy works for Fatback Bikes—an outfit that makes high-end fat bikes, fat bike parts, wheels, hubs…you get the idea—all manner of things fat. Fuzzy claimed he was faster on his fat bike than on his Evil Following. Rides the big tires year round. I should give it a go, he said.

Here’s the thing: Fuzzy is fast as f*ck. If you saw him, you might recognize him as that wiry guy with the Amish beard that used to tear it up on long races for Niner Bikes. I know Fuzzy from our days back in Humboldt County when he was sorta famous as one of the toughest, fastest, vision-questing, all-day-riding, soul rider types in a remote chunk of Northern California that regularly breeds hard-as-nails souls.

So I figured, what the hell. I’d give the Fatback a chance. I figured that Fuzzy would be fast on anything he chose to ride, but what the hell, maybe it'd be fun to give one a spin. I’d dive into the fatter end of the mountain biking gene pool and see what there was to see.
Trans-Cascadia 2017 Day One
Fuzzy racing his Fatback in the 2017 Trans-Cascadia. He notched three top-10 finishes for that day's four stages.

A shiny black and red Skookum FLT arrived in Bellingham when the weather was still warm and fine. I rode it once. Then I shook my head and promptly went back to testing enduro bikes with tires that topped out at 2.6-inch widths. I had gear reviews to write and the fat bike wasn’t atop the list, even though I had to admit, it was kind of dope to behold: Deity cockpit, SRAM X0 Eagle drivetrain, Manitou Mastodon Pro fork, KS LEV Intergra dropper post…. While I tend to think of fat bikes as beasts of burden, this thing was a nice bit of trail Gucci.

But…still…I wasn’t biting.


Fatbike
Simple joys--like being the only soul to lay tracks off of a little log drop today.


BACK TO SCHOOL
But then the weather gods went on a bender, Washington got good and buried in snow and those 4.8-inch Schwalbe Jumbo Jims started to call my name from the dark corner of my shop. When faced with the choice of flailing about in the snow on a fat bike or staying home and actually fixing the broken things I promised to fix, I will always choose the flailing.

The first time was rough. I can’t remember what I set my tire pressure at, but it was, apparently, waaay too high. Despite the Jumbo rubber, I was ping-ponging down frozen chutes and ricocheting off icy roots that I didn’t even know existed. My sphincter muscle got an unholy workout as steep descents generally consisted of dread mixed with a pinch of panic and then topped off with a towering heap of terror.

Inner unicorn thoroughly shaken, I dumped some air pressure at the bottom of the mountain and vowed to return the following day.

Much better.

Crazy what a difference 2 or 3 psi can make in a tire that large. Or, well, really not so crazy at all when you think about it for a bit. And so began a long journey filled with little discoveries. Fat biking is, ultimately, just mountain biking with big tires, but it’s also it’s own beast and it required that I turn off my autopilot and really consider all manner of things that I stopped considering decades ago on a “normal” mountain bike.

There was something cool about starting all over again—trying to figure out the basics and questioning the smallest of things. Sure, there’s snow on the ground today—but is it the good kind of snow? Too icy? Too mushy? A few degrees or weird temperature fluctuations could make the difference between a great wintertime ride and something that resembled a forced march out of Stalingrad whilst dragging a very expensive and useless carbon-fiber toy.

Fatbike
Crap weather made fun. Surprisingly sad to see this one go.


THE UGLIER THE BETTER
Ultimately, I can’t say that I’ve become an ardent fan of the fat bike as a piece of machinery. I mean, this particular one is fairly awesome in its own right—a tight wheelbased, corner ripper that packs this uncanny ability (once you’ve dialed in that tire pressure) to just obliterate rocky and rooty sections of trail. It’s like a crazy, lightweight switchblade/shotgun combo and that, for the record, is rad. But when the snow melts for good, I’m going back to 2.4s and 2.5s. That’s just how I roll.

No, I’m less a fan of this breed of machine and more a fan of where the fat bike takes me.

The fat bike is at its best the shittier the conditions get. When it’s bitterly cold outside and the trails are basically impassable and all the smart people are out skiing, snowboarding or honing their quilting skills, I’m still on the trails—alone.

I realize that riding is a social event for many mountain bikers—high fives and post-ride beers and voices, hooting away in unison on the trail. That’s all well and good. But there’s also something grand about seeing something amazing and feeling like you are the only person in the world lucky enough to witness it.

There’s this almost holy kind of hush in the snow-covered forest. I hear things that I never hear on a typical ride—there was a mouse or wood rat squealing away in the brush off to my right the other day…its short life made all the shorter by a bobcat or owl. I see things that I normally never see—frozen waterfalls and iced-over lakes and cougar tracks that cross the trails and slink off into the tree line. Winter leaves a trace and tells stories that I just don’t pay attention to when the dirt is good and I am chasing fun at higher speeds. Without the fat bike, I wouldn’t see any of it. I wouldn’t even know it existed, just a few miles from my doorstep.

So, why have I been riding a fat bike? I still don’t have a simple answer to that question. But as I pack this particular bike back up and send it on back to its owners, I am, to my own surprise, sad to see it go.


201 Comments

  • + 337
 I think the answer is that even a bad day on the trails is better than a good day at work.
  • + 30
 Even better if your job is why you are on the trails. Upvoted because I definitely agree
  • + 64
 @kubaner Truer words have never been said.
  • - 104
flag scary1 (Mar 1, 2018 at 15:01) (Below Threshold)
 Sorry, I work for myself and do what i want. Thats better than whatever you said
  • - 83
flag oldtech (Mar 1, 2018 at 15:26) (Below Threshold)
 @scary1: Amen brother
  • - 52
flag seraph (Mar 1, 2018 at 15:36) (Below Threshold)
 Nah, at least I get paid to be at work. Not saying I don't like riding, but my work fuels my bike and parts purchases.
  • - 98
flag oldtech (Mar 1, 2018 at 18:55) (Below Threshold)
 @seraph: I can work one day for myself and make more money than working for someone else all week. This gives me six extra days to ride. Haters going to hate. Think about me out riding while you're at that 40 hour a week job haha
  • - 94
flag oldtech (Mar 1, 2018 at 19:04) (Below Threshold)
 @seraph: when you finish your work week on Friday I already showed up at the shop on Tuesday with the money I made on Monday and bought your parts I then spent Tuesday afternoon all day long Wednesday all day long Thursday all day long and Friday riding on those parts while you're still at that 40 hour a week job.
  • + 183
 @properp: wow!....who new male prostitutes made that much.
  • + 154
 @properp: If you can do whatever you want then why the hell do you live in FL
  • + 22
 @MtbPanda: Nicely done.
  • + 65
 @properp: So it /is/ true that money can’t buy class.
  • + 11
 "No, I’m less a fan of this breed of machine and more a fan of where the fat bike takes me." Amen!
  • + 2
 Time to look for another job then..
  • - 18
flag oldtech (Mar 2, 2018 at 6:00) (Below Threshold)
  • - 37
flag oldtech (Mar 2, 2018 at 6:43) (Below Threshold)
 @skerby: so I can go to the beach wear my Speedo rock out and tan cheeks. Then maybe put a Fresh coat of wax on the surfboard go hit the waves. Once I'm bored with that I can go shred our local trails. All year long you snow-covered fools with fat bikes. Just keep bitching about your Winters fat bikes and how horrible everything is wile I laugh my ass off and ride my bike whenever I want.
  • - 21
flag oldtech (Mar 2, 2018 at 8:11) (Below Threshold)
 @MtbPanda: the world is full of sheeple that continue working for others making them rich. Enjoy your 40 Plus hours a week of slavery
  • + 22
 @properp: I bet riding is a little uncomfortable after a hard days "work" for you
  • - 19
flag oldtech (Mar 2, 2018 at 11:25) (Below Threshold)
 @MtbPanda: try not to be so bitter. Sometimes even the ugliest mangiest bitchez get adopted by someone that will love them. Please keep trying I'm sure you'll find someone else to take your money.
  • + 17
 @properp: Sounds like you're trying to compete with @Wakidesigns for negative props. At least his trolling is clever and articulate, yours is just sad and angry.
  • - 5
flag ebikeswillruinmtb (Mar 2, 2018 at 15:27) (Below Threshold)
 @properp: ride on bro, so many sad and stuck people here, cant work out how to live more than work!
The schooling worked on them, they are very unhappy!!! LIVE TO RIDE, RIDE TO LIVE Salute
  • - 9
flag oldtech (Mar 2, 2018 at 15:50) (Below Threshold)
 @baggyferret: ride on bro. I swim with sharks and alligators daily. This is just a walk in the park. Sheeple are clueless.
  • - 7
flag tetonlarry (Mar 2, 2018 at 16:28) (Below Threshold)
 A bad day on a snowmobile or skiing is better than a good day on a fat bike. Sorry, but there are much more fun activities in the winter than fatbiking and much better ways to spend money. Sled Dirt bike Snow bike kit for dirt bike Skis Snowboards Paragliding kit All more fun than a fat bike. I could never justify buying a fat bike before any of these other better toys.
  • + 8
 @properp: You swimming with sharks and alligators daily gives the rest of us hope.
  • + 1
 @properp: You live in Ohio and swim with sharks and alligators daily? Please clarify?^^
  • + 4
 @richierocket: It's because he is an absolute and total d!ckhead. He's the type of sh!t who does all these things and has no real friends because of how much of a cu-nt he is.
  • - 7
flag oldtech (Mar 3, 2018 at 7:01) (Below Threshold)
 @richierocket: I can go where I wish. Im not a slave to the system.I am free to live life. I spend winters in FL. OH is my hometown.
  • - 8
flag oldtech (Mar 3, 2018 at 7:02) (Below Threshold)
 @MrMentallo: being a c*** has nothing to do with it. Being extremely skilled and having multiple talents allows me to do whatever I want and not being miserable slave to the system like you. Educate yourself and get a skill set and you will not have to be a slave and Society.
  • - 9
flag oldtech (Mar 3, 2018 at 7:16) (Below Threshold)
 @metaam: sharks and alligators are much nicer than the comment board on pinkbike. If you roll a shark over on his back he instantly goes limp. And alligator will never bite you under the water. At least with alligators and sharks there's always a certainty. Pinkbike is a crapshoot every time. Look at this comment thread this all started because I uploaded a guy that I do not agree a 40-hour work week is the way. Any comment you make on here that gets in people's heads and causes them to react is a good one. Whether it is a upvote or a downvote it makes no difference because you've completed your task. Getting inside that person's head.
  • + 6
 @properp: Impressive that you were able to turn yourself into the victim here......slow clap bro, slow clap
  • - 8
flag oldtech (Mar 3, 2018 at 7:56) (Below Threshold)
 @MtbPanda: victim LOL the only victims are the sheeple that eat the s*** that is being fed to them. Keep on munching princess.
  • + 1
 @properp: well, looks like it's just you and me that prefer to play and not work everyday of our lives, i thought pinkbike was for people that like to ride their bikes? feels more like a place to 'virtually' ride bikes lol
maybe you and i don't 'get it' because we don't watch tv?
RideOnBro!
  • + 4
 @tetonlarry: A bad day snowmobiling means a long walk in the cold woods or towing a sled back...that is negative fun in my book. Before spouting an opinion think of the conditions for other people aside from yourself. I have all of the mentioned toys (don't have a "timbersled" kit for my dirtbike nor do I want one. You just have to run the poor bike ragged to get anywhere fast and the kit alone costs twice as much as a great used sled.) Every year I ride the fat bike more and more. This year, the sleds have under 20 miles logged on them. When I have time to go out and do something, I want the fitness, the quiet solitude, and the additional skills I get from never hanging up the bikes. Once spring comes the fatbike goes on the hook in favor of the "normal" bikes and I am shredding like I never stopped...because I didn't.

It is very important to note that the conditions in the northeast have been getting worse and worse for skis and sleds and much better for fatbikes to the the point XC ski locations are starting to cater to fatbikes just as much as the skiers. If we had a bunch of powder here regularly I would be out thrashing the sleds again...until something breaks like they always do.
  • + 2
 @tetonlarry: I have to respectfully disagree. Having backcountry skied for the better part of the last 3 decades a bad day of snowmobiling/skiing is still a good day (see lead comment from kubaner). However...I bought a fatbike 2 winters ago & have not looked back. While there is not a lot that can compete with an epic powder day I can attest that a great day on a fatbike beats a crappy day in the backcountry...hands down.
  • - 6
flag oldtech (Mar 3, 2018 at 15:45) (Below Threshold)
 @MtbPanda: victim? I do not use this word in my vocabulary. You are responsible for the circumstances you put yourself in. I've been caught before but never a victim. Chew on that.
  • - 1
 I respect the fact that other locations are having a horrible winter, leading to Fat Bike use. Where I live, it has been dumping (Jackson, WY). But even in a bad winter, the sledding/skiing here would be more fun than fatbiking. I have towed more than a few sleds out of the back country, and enjoy the adventure. Sure when you go out sledding, things can go wrong, but it's well worth the risk. I could say the same about DH biking.

For someone in the northeast, I get it. Either buy a Fat Bike, or move if you want to have fun in Winter. I ran west after high school 20 years ago and I will never understand why anyone would stay there. I can see how a Fatbike would make sense in other locations.
  • + 3
 @properp: nothing to do with you 'uploading' what ever that means. More to do with your comment being rather cocky and smug. Now I'm not sure if I think your full of crap or telling the truth. Either way your far to full of yourself. If someone works a 40 hour week and still manages to ride that's far more impressive then some 1 day a week worker riding.
  • + 2
 @MonkeyBadgerBoy: Can't agree more. It's not what he said, it's the manner in which he said it and then tried to paint himself as the victim of sheeple. Massive asswhole either way.
  • + 0
 @MrMentallo: good morning mr. Friendly. I've never painted myself as a victim. I am truly blessed with a skill set and a lifestyle that allows me to do what I want.I am very sorry you are so angry about this. Try going out and actually riding your bike this may help you. Remember you are never too old to change your ways. You too could enjoy life. Sheeple ism is not the way. I do enjoy your Rants and at least you'll speak up for yourself which is a positive. Maybe if you could use a bit more profanity in your rants these kids nowadays would really understand what you're talking about.
  • - 4
flag ebikeswillruinmtb (Mar 5, 2018 at 10:13) (Below Threshold)
 @properp: lol if they knew you, i'm sure they'd have nicer things to say. one of the coolest here on pinkbike..
i think you struck a nerve, most people do not like being work slaves but they not know how to escape, they can't be told how either, shame..i think this goes to show that us true bikers are happier than those that work 5 days a week.

now @properp stop being so happy and free, work more and ride less, you will fit in better! lol
  • + 1
 @baggyferret: Yep, seriously do hate being a work slave. I just said the thing about Florida, because I honestly believe that place sucks. At least for a mountain biker, there simply are no mountains in that state; I know you call it 'mt' sugarloaf but that is seriously just a hill dude. Does Properp just ride flat xc trails? That seems lame, like 90% of the content on this site is geared towards gravity riding. Properp, while successfully self-employed beyond his own wildest dreams, is living a goddamn lie!
  • + 2
 @baggyferret @properp: I think the point is that launching into a thread shouting about 'think about me out riding while you're at that 40 hour a week job haha' and ' bitching about your Winters fat bikes and how horrible everything is wile I laugh my ass off and ride my bike whenever I want.' is laughing at other people's perceived misfortune. It's saying other people are losers for trying to make ends meet and enjoy their hard earned bike rides.

The community around mtb is about being happy and encouraging and everyone enjoying themselves in their own way. Your comments are bordering on bullying, protected from behind your keyboard. You don't know these people's circumstances or how hard or easy their life is, but you'd laugh at them either way, not laugh with them sending it down some sweet trails.
  • + 0
 Are Sheeple seen as more desirable in Wales?
  • + 1
 @skerby: I just rode with two Riders from Switzerland at our local Florida Trails yesterday. They were gasping for air and told me they were completely flipping Blown Away how difficult Florida Trails were. If you've never rode places like Alafaya State Park, balm Boyette, Santos vortex, and Graham swamp. Your opinion about Florida riding is irrelevant. I own a shuttle vehicle and possess a ton of free time. This allows me to drive all over the country to places like Winrock, Beech Mountain, Snowshoe, and I'm sure those places have flat XC Trails also. Come to Florida anytime bro I would love to show you around on a shred. I know it's much better to sit around on the couch all winter and look out the window at the snow and think about riding. It sure does suck having to ride in flat Florida all winter and not being able to look at the snow.
  • + 1
 @skerby: no SNOW!
  • + 1
 @bentown: I spent the majority of my life as that 40 hours slave. I have true respect for a 40-hour working man. Yes my comments were offencive snarky and smart mouth. If I personally offended you I am sorry. Sometimes in life it takes making people angry to get a response or a change. Also I am not aware of too many 40 hour jobs a man can work support a family and purchase one of these dream bikes. Life is much better not being a slave to the system that is the only point I was trying to make. Not to step on anyone's wanker. I'm glad everyone took this so serious because the 40-hour work week is no longer the way. That is why no one is laughing sending it down the trail they are all at work saving money trying to buy fix or repair they're overpriced underperforming bicycle. I only followed This Thread keeping it going hoping some young kid sees this and changes his mind about wanting a 40-hour job. You will never go through a graveyard and read a headstone that says I wish I spent more time at work.
  • + 1
 @properp: I’m not offended dude I was just offering a rational explanation as to why it’s not jealousy fuelled.
  • + 1
 @baggyferret: I'm going to go to work today bro maybe I'll come home and find I have 5000 new friends. Thanks so much for the kind words but this is pinkbike I always expect the worst and if something nice happens it's always a pleasurable surprise. People in today's world world only get excited or give a reaction if something traumatic or extremely offencive happens. Sheeple are emotionless most of the time. The only way to wake them up and get them out of their shell is to reach inside and pour salt on the nerves.
  • + 1
 @properp @skerby FL trails are not hard at all...hard green and medium blues at most....then agaian...no winter.
  • + 102
 every time I see someone out on a fatbike I'm assuming:
a. Unmarried and not dating
b. probably has some home brew beer set up in his garage, like "Daisy St Johns Wort IPA"
c. has a busted jetta and or vw golf in the parking lot
d. probably doesn't own a TV
  • + 48
 Ironically the only people I've ever met out on fatbikes round here were a husband and wife, they were having a right laugh too.
  • + 54
 You assume wrong on all counts....
  • + 69
 Sounds like fucking heaven.
  • + 39
 @BenPea: I am now thinking of getting a fatbike and turning my life around
  • + 7
 @preach e. listens to philip k dick audiobooks on long drives
  • + 7
 @preach f. wore plaid shorts and flip flops to a dave matthews band concert once in the 90's
  • + 15
 No No Beat ass civic so close enough Ding ding more bikes not TVs or cable bills That being said as a Dh rider I have made fun of fat bikes for years until I bought one. I'll be damned it's a real kick in the ass.
  • + 13
 Mostly, I just don't want to drive up the canyon and battle all of SLC to ski both weekend days. Honestly, fat biking and skiing are perfect compliments. Biking in unpacked fresh pow is awful, so you ski, then when the snow gets tracked out, you go to the trails and ride your bike!

a. Sorta true.
b. Apartment life or I would
c. Built Tacoma
d. I do; but don't have cable...
  • + 10
 @sunringlerider: I have never seen a person hate on a fatbike that actually has ridden one. Not the same as an enduro bike sure, but no shortage of shit-eating grins when people ride mine.
  • + 5
 @preach shall we add:

e. sports a very long beard and often talks of beard oil options
f. Thinks social media is when kids get together and watch things on the internets
g. Likes, no, loves, bon iver
h. Has a firm opinion on fracking
i. Thinks amazon is a rainforest and is bewildered when neighbors end up with packages from there
  • + 3
 @rocky-mtn-gman: No, those types ride studded cross tires, trust me.
  • + 1
 Around here you can add the well off dirt roady who wants to be able to ride in all conditions. You can unfortunately find them at the trailhead when the trail indicator is in the red/do not use position. But hey he's got a fat bike which you can ride in the mud so that's ok right? Hate those douchebags! (before anyone form a rainy area with very different dirt chimes in, the trails around here are hardpack that remain dry most of the year and are easily damaged by use in muddy conditions).
  • + 3
 @bikeorski4me: I don't own a fat bike or ride one but I know the guys that do and our hardcore on them are fast AF
  • + 4
 I am none of the above yet strangely wish I was all of the above
  • + 2
 a. yeah, whatever
b. nah, just a fridge full of Oscar Blues!
c. Old trucks, yup!
d. I do, but no cable.

I ask though, how on earth would you see me while I'm that deep in the woods? Maybe my shit-eating grin is so big it makes me easy to spot Smile
  • + 7
 Proud fatbike owner here, you were wrong on all accounts, however I did just recently crash my 65 vw Baja, so that was kinda close. Fat bikes are fun on any terrain, but I don't think they replace any other bike, and they're not the best tool for the job in most situations.
  • + 2
 Lol that's bascially my cousin and he has two...
  • + 1
 I don't own a fat bike and probably never will but seriously if I choose my MK4 golf to be my bike carrier, because it's beat up dirty and old please don't judge me as anything other than practical...
  • + 9
 'round these parts, there's a lot of fatbiking in the winter caus' there's a lot of good trails. Most of the people I know riding are:
a) married with kids
b) enjoy drinking beer after a ride. Sure, we tend to like "craft beer", but you'd have to pay me to drink Pabst, Miller, or whatever commercial shit is out there... you can keep it.
c) drive pretty damn nice vehicles
d)?

I know I got one because the snow pack around here has been unreliable lately, so I can't count on being able to ski when it's my night to go out. If I miss too many of my turns to get out, and be away from "it all" (aka my kids), I can get pretty friggin' 'ragey'. So in a sense, you could say that my fatbike brings peace, harmony, balance and joy to the world.
  • + 2
 I have 4 kids and an ex.
I like dark stout beers and I've never tasted a good dark big batch brew (genese tastes fake) so yes small batch craft
I drive a beat up minivan (4 kids)
I don't own a tv because I'm broke and honestly what would I use it for? Video games I guess? But that's what friends are for.

You described a bike bum aka what most people here seem to want to be and then you added a fat bike.
Yes I'd add a fat bike to the quiver if I could along with a hard tale a DH rig, a DJ (for my personal would have pump track) and everything else.
  • + 1
 It is only funny if you actually realize you are assuming but are open to the fact that other people might be on to something that you aren't. Like maybe running a mid-2000's VW to 300k miles is alot better financial decision than a car payment.
  • + 2
 @silvbullit: 280,000 on my Honda Odyssey bought second hand with cash. Everyday I drive it my bike budget increases. I can shuttle up to six bikes and sleep in it. I sure wish I had a car payment said no one ever.
  • + 1
 @properp: my oddy has been so great, but she is on the edge of rolling into that lonesome valley of ashes and sorrow.

@everybodyinthewholedamnwesternworld
The whole idea that our cars and bikes define us assumes too much. I just need a reliable source of wheels.
I actually think I might get a prius. 50mpg just sounds so good. But does that mean I have to ride a carbon niner with eggbeaters and wear Lycra?
A Tacoma may kill me with gas mileage and not fit my kids but it will sure make me look cool to the MTB crowd.
I contend that
  • + 1
 Funny thing, but ever since mountain biking was created, that's the way (non-dual sport) roadies have seen all of us in general. And they're not far off. ...Sounds pretty good actually.
  • + 71
 In Onterrible, Canada these motherf*ckers keep us sane all winter. We just got some groomed singletrack thanks to a rad local shop and some volunteers. Also get out on snowshoe and snowmachine trails. If you're unlucky (or dumb) enough to live where its snowed in 4-5 months of the year these bikes make winter tolerable. They are wonderful in the late fall/early spring too when everything is wet and shit.

I still get to go out and shred (properly shred too...) with friends and yell and fall and smash beers in the woods. Sounds alot better than sitting inside right!

I don't quite get the summertime riding on them unless you're exploring some funky terrain but man oh man I'm proud to brapp mine in the winter months!
  • + 20
 My feelings exactly! I originally thought fat biking was fk’n stupid – until I rode one in the snow. Here in Northern Alberta we have to deal with half a year of winter or sh*t weather. Fat biking has allowed me to stay on the bike year-round and its natural friction generating properties helps to maintain fitness for when the trails are dry. Given the choice of fat biking or riding a trainer in the basement, fat biking wins every time!
  • + 8
 Saskatchewan too. Would I rather ride my XC bike? Hell yeah, but would I rather ride the trainer? Probably not. It's a lot more fun to be outside on a nice day. Certainly has its own challenges, but we don't all live in California (and apparently some people would pick one anyway). Frankly, who really cares? Go ride.
  • + 3
 @Heffehay: I have never ridden one as I don't live in a place with winter. If I ever move back to a place with actual winter I'd get one in a heartbeat for all the reasons you said. When the snow is good, go snowboarding/skiing but when it's crap, might as well keep the cycling engine in tune
  • + 4
 @tsn73: that's the coolest thing with fatbike over here imo. Ideal conditions for fatbike is when conditions are shit for ski. That makes a lot of great days during winter!
  • + 2
 @bblaney372 you nailed it. Fatbiking is the best methadone I've found so far to keep me sane during winter.
  • + 7
 Where I live, Abitibi/Quebec/Canada, we start getting snow at the begining of November and there is snow in the wood unti mid May. We are renowned for our snowmobile trails around the world and most of them can be used by anyone so I get a huge network of trail all winter long.

It's my second winter on a fat bike and I would NEVER go back to the trainer or my old MTB on the roads all winter long. Riding all winter long in the snow and discovering new trails that I can't access in summer is just incredible. Pushing the pedals of that 33lbs beast all winter long also made me stronger for my summer rides.

I dream of dirt all winter long but I'm sad to see the snow go away when spring start to do its melting job!
  • + 1
 We don't get that many months of snow and probably not as much but other than that it's the same for me and some of my riding buddies. I don't even look at the old Pugsley in summer but as soon as we get snow I don't know how I could do without it.
And I'd say that riding the fatbike down the steepest trails (or no trails at all) we can find in the snow has greatly improved my cornering skills.
  • + 4
 This. Rather than right an article riding Bellingham in the slush on a fatbike you should head out to Nelson or Rossland and review it riding a network where they pack/groom (yes they have a specific groomer) trails for fatbikes. I bet that'd be way more applicable.
  • + 7
 Because fat bikes are accepted here in Pittsburgh as just another bike to keep you riding year around or whenever, it is baffling to see them viewed as controversial. Pinkbike must be located in a region that still has a lot of angst about bikes that are rad to ride in the winter. In a few years that clique-ish hate will likely blow over. Pinkbike can then get around to writing articles about having fun riding in snow. Authors won't have to justify riding a bike built for mud, snow and sand. Winter riding provides epic experiences. Those experiences are more interesting than arguing about whether it is ok to ride a bike with big tires.
  • + 1
 @djbuilder: Can't argue with that. I did spent a lot of time riding the bike out on the Olympic Peninsula in some deep snow, but I'd be all about riding groomed fatbike trails.
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: head to Winthrop... rumor has it they have an amazing network of trails. Also heard through the grapevine Stevens pass might add this to the Nordic activities list in the coming years. If that is the case, I’m all in.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: Marquette, Michigan where they did the Bike Mag Bible of Bikes this year has some super rad groomed fat bike trails. Shit with berms. Trails you can properly haul ass on and have fun ripping thru trees. Super fun, lots of km's there and nearby Ishpeming..
  • + 44
 More fat bike content please!
  • + 7
 Less fat bike content please!
  • + 44
 Same amount of fat bike content please!
  • + 44
 More bike content please!
  • + 72
 No E-Bike content please
  • - 57
flag wittereus (Mar 1, 2018 at 14:00) (Below Threshold)
 E-Bike content please
  • + 15
 more pizza content please !
  • + 0
 Dont forget the doughnut content either!!
  • + 6
 Less motorbike content please!
  • - 2
 Get rekd lol @wittereus:
  • + 5
 @garneau565: More "bike communtity" content please. Charity rides, groups that deserve recongition, the "heros" who give back, etc. Like the Kieth Bontrager piece.
  • + 29
 The answer to "why fatbiking?" is the same as why you ride any bike at all. Mostly because it's fun, but it also keeps the pedalling muscles toned for spring. They are non motorized so I'm confused by the hate. We have a blast on our fatties here in the land of winter.
  • + 24
 Agreed, @mikeyrides. I think any bike that keeps you turning circles is a good bike, as long as we're not being goons on them. Are there bikes I prefer to fatbikes? Oh, hells yeah. But I'll gladly take a pedal in the snow on a fatbike over a day spent grumbling at my computer screen because the world outside has turned into the Ice Planet Hoth.
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: Goon here. Still love my bikes. I'd like to think they love me but I do tend to beat them...
  • + 3
 I'd kill for proper snow in the winter so I could justify a fatbike. Looks like so much fun.
  • + 5
 The fact that this is even a topic is ridiculous. Because they're seen as just another bike here, it's baffling to see the clique-ish hate that exists elsewhere.
  • + 20
 Yap about how rad the bike is, but you don't include one decent picture of it? Come on man!
  • + 72
 @Rigidjunkie I suppose there are a couple ways to look at that. I considered including a full broadside of the bike, but then I figured one of my readers would suggest that I was trying to sell a bike, rather than express an opinion. You know, the classic, "The editors at Pinkbike are hell bent on selling me something and are corrupt and soulless bastards, etc. etc." So I asked myself--Well, is the point of the story to talk about the ride or show pictures of the bike? I went with telling the story and including enough photos of the bike to prove that I wasn't just galloping around in the snow astride an imaginary pretty pony.

I guess you just never know what someone is going to say in the comments section... Cheers.
  • + 10
 @vernonfelton: I may not be the typical pinkbiker since I don't comment the typical pinkbike stuff.. I just like reading what you and levy have to say.
  • + 3
 @vernonfelton: Makes sense, you talked it up so I had to click the link. People constantly bitching about expensive bikes should check these out, the prices are almost reasonable.
  • + 1
 @ctwheeler: lol why
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: So now that the opinion piece is outta the way, are we gonna see a Fatback review?
  • + 1
 Its a fat bike...looks like a fat bike.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: You soulless bastard. Quit trying to be nice and show us pics of the bike you aren't trying to sell us!

I rode our local trains that weekend on my 2.4s, Did just fine. But if I ever lived any place where there was regular snow, I'd be on a fat bike in a heartbeat. Beats not riding and I'm not into skiing or boarding. And just imagine the Spring legs...
  • + 9
 Really don't get how anybody can "hate" a bike.

Been riding for 20 years, mostly DH and Enduro. I bought a Fat Bike a few months ago for the winter season: full rigid Rocky Mountain Blizzard, never loved a bike so much.

Huge fun on snow (night ride in deep snowy forest is another world experience), crazy grip on mud / wet roots => this bike lets me enjoy the Swiss winter while my other carbon / fancy "true" MTBs are waiting for spring to wake up.

Benefit: getting back to full rigid requires a more "focused" ride and is rather good to stay in shape. Overall riding experience on a proper rigid Fat is not very different from any other MTB, just more grip and good vibrations Smile

Think about it: rigid frame and big tires allowing you to ride any terrain in any condition, isn't it where it all started?
  • + 13
 Fat biking is way better than not biking, that's about it.
  • + 7
 Most fat bikers are 50 year old weirdo's who ride 700$ Motobecanes and bring them in to the shop asking you to install the 2009 Shimano parts they bought off eBay for free.

The second large group of fat bikers is 50 year old weirdos who ride 7,000$ fat bikes. Some of them are really, really fast. All of them will talk to anyone who listens about fat bikes with the zeal of a born again christian. They will drone on for hours about how all you need is a fat bike and that Aaron Gwinn would be even faster on a fat bike and skinny tire bikes are overrated.

I use to hate fat bikes like I hate ebikes, but I really enjoy riding mine. It's fun and it beats sitting on the couch. And honestly, a winter of fat biking did more than anything to improve my riding in the summer.

There is a lot to hate about fat bikes, but its a lot of fun. Those days when the snow is perfect crusty velcro and the miles fly by are some of the most fun I've ever had on a bike. Once the snow melts, it stays in the garage though.
  • + 1
 With an open mind and some time maybe you'll see e-bikes through gate free eyes one day. I think they gave their place too
  • + 1
 @dwojo: they have their place and it's not on mountain bike trails. I would rather ride my fat bike year round than ride an ebike. I have too much self-respect to take the easy way out like that. Either pedal or get a real dirt bike.
  • + 1
 @wibblywobbly: I would agree bar one...if a person has a genuine disability but is able to hit the trails on a e-bike (pedal assist not these engined monstrosities) I wouldn't argue against e-bikes on trails. At least they are on the trails with us enjoying life rather than stuck in front of a pc.
  • + 5
 Got a cheap fat bike recently and have been riding all winter. It allows me to go times and places that the skinny tires just can't. Although it's heavy, I'd like to think I'm imroving my cardio 10 fold over skinner tires. Will I miss it when the snow melts and it's time to ride skinner tires..? Prob not????
  • + 4
 I have a cheap fat bike, too. I ride it about ten times per year. Fat bikes are good for the following:

Two to four inches of unpacked snow (less snow, ride your regular bike, more snow, stay home)
Groomed snow (I am too far south for this)
Grassy terrain that is very wet (we have these kinds of trails, you just float and do no damage)
Creek beds (fun but hard)
Beaches

In all other circumstances, I ride my regular bike. Perhaps if I had a fat bike that weighed 25 lbs, I'd ride it more widely.
  • + 9
 F#Yeah! The harder it is, more the reward. Oh, and they run over anything in your path. Dogs, logs, bogs, frogs, e-bikers...
  • + 4
 Pretty sure you may need a touchier subject then fat bikes to get close on pb comments to mike k and his gunz shitshow thats going down.

Maybe enjoy a e-bike.

Or some sort of ebike/shooting biathalon event. That should get lots of traffic.
  • + 7
 fat e-bike biathlon in lycra
  • + 2
 My articles about enjoying ebikes haven't had half as many comments as the Vista Outdoor piece.
  • + 7
 @brodoyouevenbike: fat e-bike biathlon in lycra without room for a bottle cage
  • + 4
 Every time I see everyone else in town driving to the ski hill on yet another powder day, in this best powder year in over a decade, and I'm out on my fatbike I remember:

a. To be thankful I have a BGE going on 7 years (BGE = Best Girlfriend Ever) who has never once bitched about my going riding, fat/snow, dirt, or road.
b. I have a few tallboys of BC craft brew in the fridge, one of which will be today's apres-ride shower beer.
c. I broke a few ribs playing hockey a month ago and am beyond effin' happy to just be doing anything active again. 2psi!!!!
d. To be thankful I bought the injury/illness insurance on my ski season pass.
e. N+1 beats the hell out of grazing BestBuy.com for the latest, greatest electronic gadget.

Try rolling a fattie, it'll change the way you think.
  • + 4
 I’m hoping that we get some snow on our local Mt Wilson that sticks for this Saturday (we’re supposed to I believe.) Years ago, a group up us climbed around 5,000ft and made fresh tracks by dropping the tire pressure on our ‘skinny’ 26” tires (a la Top Gear North Pole Special episode) to just enough to keep the rim off the ground. Worked awesomely.

Whatever gets you out there and some epic stories!
  • + 3
 I went to Galbraith last weekend, with two friends. Fresh powder on the mountain, and short sleeves on. I was on a free ride bike with a max 23t cog and semi slick out back, yet the riding was amazing.... despite walking a lot of the fire road. It was the spirit of the ride that made the weather not matter and quite fun, with sun shining through a foggy snow covered forest.
  • + 3
 ALASKA. Come ride our snowy flowy singletracks, epic backcountry trails, or frozen tidal zones - your imagination is your only limitation. I don't think I can imagine a better place to epitomize the benefits of fatbikes - it's where I learned to mountain bike. Fail to keep your weight properly centered over your bike? Eat some snow. Neglect keeping your eyes ahead on the trail instead of focusing on the narrow ribbon of packed snow in front of you? Eat some more snow. Poor climbing technique? Push your bike up snow. Frankly, I couldn't be happier than bombing down unridden glaciers, light speed warping through illuminated snowfall at night, or sketchy close moose encounters in the silent woods. I guarantee fast, technical, grin-inducing riding awaits. Until then, withhold your fatbike judgement please.
  • + 2
 We have enough snow that we have to pack groom it and a fatbike is a necessity not a choice. Your last paragraph nailed it. I kind of forgot that I don't really ride with other people for this reason now. Fatbike put the fun and the surroundings back into riding for me and like your buddy Fuzzy, it's not exactly slow. Sure sometimes it can be the riding equivalent of snowshoes but other times its like out of control S turns on skate skis.
  • + 2
 Honestly @vernonfelton, I don't think the other guys have room to say anything against you fatbiking when they're publishing reviews saying they reviewed such and such on their Ebike. Maybe @paulaston wasn't on that Skype call. Razz
  • + 2
 @mtbbikeaddict, ah, it's just healthy shit talking. We have a finely-honed regimen of morning smack-talk. It's like verbal calisthenics....a cup of morning coffee for the soul. It's a good thing. We mock Aston's e-bike love, he subtly reminds us that he's raced at a level the rest of us will never match...it goes on and on...it's undoubtedly the best part of the daily office ritual.
  • + 2
 I saw the Fat bike movement when I lived in the Yukon in 2004. Every winter, fat bikes would come out of garages. People could ride them in the winter. Every year, I thought that was stupid. Then I moved to Squamish. I could ride my bike 11.5 months out of the year. Then I moved to Rossland. I could ride my bike 6 months out of the year. And my fat bike the other 6 months out of the year. When the ski hill sucks, fat biking rules. And when the ski hill is great, fat biking sucks. I rode it the first time out of necessity, and fell in love with it. They are the most driftiest, loosest bikes around, and an incredible amount of fun. Ride when you can, on what you can, and have fun doing it.
  • + 4
 If you don’t ride a fat bike you don’t ride for 5 months a year in Alberta. It’s not as fun as my trail rig but it’s far more fun than not riding.
  • + 3
 Vernon, it's like you tapped into my random flow of disorganized thoughts and eloquently transformed them into a piece of English art anyone can relate to. Every, freaking, sentence. You're creeping me out dude.
  • + 2
 I am going to wager that the vast majority of everyone flinging crap the fatbike have never ridden on. And if they have ridden one, its with waaay to much air pressure in the tires. Riding a fatty takes some time to get used to as Vernon mentioned. Its the single bike that can literally ride almost every trail (or lack of trail) out there. I can ride the beach, the snow, the sand dunes, the local trails, the local DH, the local XC races, etc. Granted, I am not going to be the fastest on all of those, but I am sure as heck not going to be the slowest. What other bike can you ride to the sand dunes, and the same day go and hit the slickrock? I raced an Enduro race last year and was 7th overall after day 1. It was funny to see how people were giving you weird looks but then came up and chatted after you spanked them on the stage.

Overall, what started as a "winter only" bike has morphed into a year-long riding adventure
  • + 2
 My wife, son and I only ride fat bikes. I used to have a 29er but after getting the fatty i just never rode it. It just too much fun to ride a monster truck. It is more effort on climbs and in certain corners but its not that much more effort and the fun eclipses it. Its rolling weight carries it over rocks, roots and up smaller inclines with ease.
  • + 1
 Poor kid
  • + 6
 "Vision questing" in Humboldt County sounds good to me.
  • + 5
 @huntingbears Humboldt County is maybe the perfect place to get awesomely lost on a bike. I love Bellingham like nobody's business, but I do miss the wild isolation of Humboldt.
  • + 1
 Yeah!
  • + 3
 Vernon, please do an article on your formative bike years in Humboldt County. I’m from Nashville, but visited it this past fall, and picked Lacks Creek for my ride while the girlfriend visited with her parents. I didn’t grasp how remote it was, and absolutely cringed as the drive up the mountain to drop me off went on, and on, and on...

Awesome terrain though. Wish I had been in good enough shape to handle it. @vernonfelton:
  • + 3
 A fat bike finished second at South Carolina super D state championships. Only miss the top of the box by 2 tenths of a second.
  • + 1
 The only reason I don't have a fat bike (and probably never will) is because I have too many "normal bikes" and gear that I would ultimately rather spend money on. If i was rich I would definitely have a fatbike and would also probably ride it a good bit in the winter.

All bike riding is fun!
  • + 1
 I had a skookum, by far the best fatbike out there, I did hang it up in the summer only to take it out occasionally when guiding some visitors around. For people that enjoy xc racing I would say riding a fatbike in the winter is the best way to get super strong.
  • + 1
 "So, why have I been riding a fat bike? "

Because you want to ride a MTB in winter. I never wanted to have fat bike untill I tested one in winter, in snow, in mountains. After first day I knew that I need to have three bike: HT, FS and a fattie. That's it.
  • + 1
 Here in Maine my fatty is my “oh well the weather sucks, F it I’m going anyway” bike. Definitely not setting any KOMs but I can get out in the woods instead of riding a trainer. The woods look, sound, smell, and ride different in the winter but are awesome just the same. Fat tires are wicked versatile and make decent rides in variable conditions possible. Agree w Vernon that tire pressure is pivotal. I am dreaming of fresh dirt this time of year but in the meantime am thankful for the MainahTrainah
  • + 2
 I ran into Fuzzy and his crew a couple weeks back at Cline Butte in Oregon. I was surprised to see a fat bike when there was no snow in sight. He had a smile on his face and was having fun.
  • + 1
 That would be a good place to test out a fatbike.
  • + 1
 I ride mine on trails that have lots of loose gravelly texture to them. Plus you can moto-lean them like a sonuvabitch.
  • + 1
 Thanks for this look beyond the horizon!

@vernonfelton: Did you already try riding a gravel bike / CX in shitty conditions? Also pretty funny, different belief: Don't "surf" on the mud/snow, cut through it. And it course it's a more roadie-esque riding position compared to fatties, less forgiving in general.

I chose a gravel bike as it can also be ridden (satisfyingly) on tarmac (in all seasons), gives me most versatility.
  • + 2
 Nothing against a gravel bike even if I'm not attracted by the idea of riding one. It all depends on the topography of where you ride, for my gravity / enduro Swiss trails with big snow, big trees, big roots and very slippery soil nothing will beat a Fat

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15654976
  • + 1
 My aluminum fatboy with carbon fork is about a pound lighter than my carbon stumpy. Flat out great training to ride for fun, ride with my kids, slower friends. When you get back on your enduro bike and you feel instantly better. If my fatbike was my only bike to ride, I'm be perfectly happy in any weather. Would be perfectly happy with more fatbike content, too.
  • + 1
 Around here a fat bike wouldn’t be too useful. Only a gravel roads get packed enough from snowmobiles to ride. And those are gravel roads. Won’t ride those in summer so why in winter especially when I have 6 pair of skis and passes for Whistler and WOP. Plus for me, the wide Q is hard on my knees. If I lived some place with no skiing I can totally see it though.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I guess ideally you should always pick the right tool for the job (unless you really like to challenge yourself). So yeah if the trail conditions are such that you can't ride your other bikes but this bike still rides fine, it is pretty brilliant isn't it? For a short while I also considered a On-One Baby Fat bike with fat 24" wheels, looked like good fun! But yeah if you're going to ride this for the worst conditions I guess it'd better just have a low maintenance drivetrain too. Belt drive with Pinion or even Rohloff so that you can put it away cold and dirty until the next time you find your trails unrideable on your regular bikes.
  • + 1
 Im all for fat bike content, but the reason you see people ask for more downhill bike features is probably the same reasons people want to see WRC, trophy truck, touring or F1 car features on those types of websites: awesome machines that represent the pinacle of the sport .
  • + 1
 Fatbiked one winter on a loaner, its was okay. Not going out and buying one anytime, I like my tires a little on the narrower than 2.5 side of things, but thats just me. I also have the luxury of riding dirt year round, will save the snow for my board.
  • + 1
 All this lack of appreciation and respect for our brothers bikers just trying to pedal through the long dark night of winter?? Ok bitches - Time for Vern to bring on the six page, fat e-bike praise articles. Then you'd truly have something to btch about !!
  • + 2
 Just the other day I saw a dude cruising along through some 10” of snow on an e-fatbike and I’ll fully admit that I was jealous. That snow was impassable on any of my mtbs with my weak engine. Niche but fun!
  • + 3
 Next article will be about the impact of Trump’s tariff on overseas alu and steel imports on the cycling industry...
  • + 3
 to the staff on that skype call... you just outed yourselfs as non-bikers. welcome to poser life
  • + 1
 Well if I've been led to believe anything from Sam Pilgrim's Youtube channel and other company press releases it would be that E-bikes can do everything the same as their man-powered siblings. Right? Right?!?!?!?!
  • + 1
 Twice I tried to go Fatbiking for the first time and called a local centre to rent one just be told to come another day because "the trails are too slushy" and "trails are too icy".
  • + 2
 Leaving all the "too cool for you" BS behind, coming full circle, and simply remembering that riding bikes is just flat out fun.
Because if not, you're missing the point.
  • + 1
 My biggest regret this last six months was selling my fat bike and buying a plus bike as a do it all bike. The plus bike is fun but no fatbike replacement. Picking up a Kona wozo for next winter, should be a blast.
  • + 3
 I saw a fat bike dual crown on eBay once
  • + 3
 wtf does it matter what one is riding?!?!? just RIDE!!!
  • + 3
 Or you could stay warm and pack on a few pounds of beer belly
  • + 2
 Probably the first time ever I read something about fatties that make me wanna try some day..good job Vernon.
  • + 2
 Fatbikes need lovin too. I can't believe nobody has thrown that out yet.
  • + 3
 I never understood why the hate on them.
  • + 1
 Nice, honest review! I enjoyed reading it. I really like the idea of fat bikes but might just stick with cross country skis Wink
  • + 1
 For me there is appeal for the simplicity of a rigid framed fat bike with a rigid fork. Never rode one but on double black diamond trails it would be fun.
  • + 1
 I want a fat e bike as think will be great fun, why all the hate on all things fat & e!
  • + 1
 After reading this article, I am going to PB Buysell to look for a fatbike.
  • + 0
 fatbikes are only as useable as trail conditions allow them to be. the "uglier the better" only works on a sustainable trail system.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: yes really, we want more reviews of DH bikes! Get on that shit!
  • + 2
 Pinkfatbike or Fatpinkbike?
  • + 2
 Pretty simple:

Snow?

Yes: fat bike OK
No: No
  • + 1
 Have no snow, should I care? Maybe in the Namib desert ????
  • + 1
 I wanna learn more about Fuzzy !!!!
  • + 1
 What's been learned cannot be unlearned...
  • + 0
 riding a fat bike is like dating a fat chick, just dont let your friends see you do it...
  • + 1
 'I will always choose the flailing.' Well said sir. Well said.
  • + 1
 Oooo fatbikes rows, laters.......
  • + 1
 Does sealant work fine in the temperatures below zero?
  • + 1
 Fat bikes are expensive too, just in case we missed that one!
  • + 1
 Don't tell anyone here about Foes Mutz with a Dorado on it LOL
  • + 1
 So is fatback the lane bryant of the bike world?
  • + 0
 Ah those good old days back in Humboldt County. I don't remember them well.
  • + 1
 i have a kona wozo, drove up to montana to ride in the snow. its fun
  • + 1
 fat bikes are the new 29er.
  • + 1
 Fat Bikes Rule
  • + 1
 FUZZZZYYYYYYYY!!!!
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