Fat Tire Bikes have been trending onto trails and beaches over the last decade and for good reason. The eye-catching chunky profile of fat bikes have that off-the-grid look of being capable of dropping lunar craters on the next SpaceX mission. But it’s the blimpy, over-sized rover tires that open up all seasons for riding, with the ability to tackle terrain and conditions like snow, sand and mud, that a standard mountain bike tire cannot handle.
As far back as the late 1980s, Fat Tire Bikes prototypes were being hammered out in garages and basements to conquer the infamous 1000 mile Iditarod Trail in Alaska. Early incarnations were basically multiple rims welded together to achieve a wider base to avoid sinking in the snow. Today, nearly every major bike manufacturer offers a fattie variety for floating through the muck of shoulder seasons, grinding along snowmobile trails, exploring long beaches or even just providing a more stable experience for beginners.
Fat Bike’s Favorite Season
The first flakes of snow are no longer a bummer for riders who religiously rip the trails in Spring,
Summer and Fall. Like runners who transition to snowshoes to stomp through the new carpet of white to get the miles in, mountain bikers now utilize Fat Bike’s original intention to stay saddled up all year long. As the old Scandinavian saying goes, “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing”, so it is with bikes. Conditions no longer dictate to ride or not to ride. The devoted dirt junkie has it covered and is happy to sacrifice the speed of hardpack singletrack for a spin in the high gears in a winter wonderland.
Low country and coastal dwellers have also discovered Fat Bikes for new access to miles and miles of sandy beaches that were once best enjoyed for running and shell collecting saunters. Now the summertime footprints are accompanied by tire tracks that are laid down by early morning and evening riders whose idea of beach time is no longer sitting by the ocean in a chair. In the colder months, the beach provides a quick heart-rate boosting session on flat land for triathletes and exercise routines.
Selecting a Fat Tire Bike
There are bikes for nearly every budget to get you after it. You don’t need to be fat in the wallet to enjoy Fat Tire biking. Diamondback El Oso Uno Hardtail Fat Bike ($850) is a quality ride with features like sealed cartridge bearings and a rust-resistant chain.
But for the more hardcore set that fancies the notion of having a bike that is equivalent to the value of their old Subaru wagon, the Specialized Fat Boy Carbon ($2,950) is the one. Specialized claims that if it’s part of Mother Earth, the Fat Boy will roll right over it with unrivaled comfort and traction.
That’s cool and all but really just one small step for man. Who is going to build one that fulfills the giant leap for mankind?