I want to ride a fatbike…there, I said it! I know these bikes are the scooters of the MTB world and wheel size has become the latest “jumping [of] the shark” from journalistic standpoint, but this winter, more fuel was added to the fire: the conversation was all about the width; the girth; the fatness. For the average rider not in a harsh climate e.g. Cali-brah, The South, or The Midpacificnorthboulderland, these bikes seem like monstrosities/atrocities that belong in someone’s workshed or back at the NAHBS show. However, beyond the looks of the unwieldy beasts, there is true innovation and application at the heart of these now common-place contraptions. When your life is driven by pedals, you yearn to have that in your life every day, but living in the North East aka Hoth this is not an option. Freezing temps, snow, and general inaccessibility to visible singletrack keeps all but the most hardcore [read: mental] riders from going out for a spin – until now.
|But does this tire’s volume go to 11!?|
These beefcake bikes have suddenly found a spot in a growing number of garages around the world, particularly in my area of residence, and it is plain to see why, as these Bad Larrys float, plow, bob, weave, duck, dive, and dodge (twice) through all forms of nature. With granny gears low enough to tow a 747, you can grind it out at a stand-still pace to trudge through conditions usually reserved for planks and poles. New avenues of adventure and challenge have been blazed – all in the name of not spending $80+ to spend the day with every asshole from downstate stuffed into a cramped gondola. Now, this is by no means a replacement tools for what we have going now, but it is certainly a nice diversifying quiver item.
With Nicolai’s new belt drive/gear box fatbike, Rock Mountain’s Blizzard, Borealis’ fatty, and the Bluto fork, we now have some seriously capable bikes to go get ragged on in the cold white of winter. Real suspension, usable geometry, and thoughtful specs – this is what evolution looks like, race-tech isn’t the only place innovation takes place. These companies have been putting some real thought into these designs so the diehard rider now has the ability to buy a two-season bike for when the other two seasons are turned over the top of the calendar. Few things make me want to ruin my credit quite like the possibility of buying a bike that will only ever be slowed down by how hardy I’m feeling on that given day. Finally, a no-excuses, purpose built two-wheeler that says, “It might be The End of Days, but I want to ride right now!”