Guest post: Why fat bikes are awesome. By Kevin Hodgson

My British fat bike buddy Kevin tells it like it is in a post at Fatbike UK. Very spot on and with his permission, here it is.

 Kevin and me taking five at Rallarveijen, Norway. Photo Fredrik Broman http://www.humanspectra.com

 

Singletrack USA is posing the question of whether fatbikes are the best innovation in mountain biking since mountain bikes. Obviously this was responded by narrow minded comments from people who’ve never ridden one. But hey, what do you expect, it’s social media afterall.

 

This is what I think and why.

YES. I’ve been mountain biking since 1989 and my fatbikes are my best bikes since my first mtb.
WHY?

1. They’re simple. But still capable. Single speed full rigid 26ers were simple, but unless you could ride like a God, weren’t very useful (or comfortable) for mortals. My fatbikes are simple but still ride trails I’d never conquered in 25 years of trying. 4 sets of bearings, some cogs and a chain to worry about. Mine has sat in the back of my car since Monday, chain caked in dried mud. Off to Innerleithen tomorrow, when I get there nail brush and squirt lube it’ll be ready to go again.

2. The map is bigger. My map used to involve bridleways. Now it involves dunes estuary beach bridleways mountains and any combination of the above. Sometimes it even includes dry river beds and lakeshores. With a giant low pressure footprint no one seems to care about me trespassing anymore either.
3. Less weather related excuses. Skinny mtbs are designed for riding gravel singletrack. They ride gravel singletrack beautifully. That’s why people love gravel singletrack. High Street, and many other lake district hills are not gravel singletrack. I used to ride high Street only after a long dry spell or freezing temperatures otherwise it was purgatory. Now I ride it whenever. I used to avoid certain trails in the wet, or leaf litter or frost etc etc. Now I just ride whatever whenever I feel like it.
4. They carry stuff. Full suspension bikes are awful for carrying stuff. The perceived wisdom was rucksack or trailer. Not helped by my extensive testing that proved that a full suspension bike can only survive an average of 4 days in the wild without a bike shop. Hardly conducive of hardcore adventures then.
5. They’re not that heavy. My full sus weighed 27lbs in full extreme race trim, 31lbs plus in trail trim. My lightest fatbike is 27lbs, my heaviest 31. When you have to push or carry bikes up mountains this matters. They also work much better once they’re up on that mountain than my xc suspension bike.
6. They’re not that slow. Sure they’re slow uphill on tarmac. But so is a long travel full suspension. And so are maxxis super tacky tyres which I ran for half the year. In fact maxxis super tacky tyres are without a doubt slower than my fatbikes. And offroad they’re as fast or faster than a skinny. And who ever boasted about their mountain bike being fast on tarmac?
7. Holidays. I tried xc skiing and I was rubbish. Now it doesn’t matter. I can visit yllas in Finland and fatbike to the ski cafes. I’ve ridden on snowmobile trails, ice skating trails, ice roads on the sea. I’ve ridden on Norwegian slick rock in the Arctic. Next up is desert and beach riding holidays. Oh, and I can still use it for normal mtb holidays!
8. Custom. Ever tried building your own full suspension bike from a frameset? Not easy, not cheap. The industry would prefer it if you bought a full bike. Not much offered as framesets and often just the super high end stuff. Then your rear shock goes and it says fox on the side but it’s actually oem just for that frame and cost 400 quid if you’re lucky enough to find one so you may as well buy another frameset, if you can find one of them…..blah blah. Fatbike? Buy the bits bolt em together. Get creative with the rim strips and why not get a custom paint job with the money you saved not having to service a rear shock every year.

Sorry for the long post. No work till January and feeling goooood.

/Kevin

Ice premiere

Finally the unrideble time is over. Those “inbetween” season months when riding is not an option is over. This year the ice is late due to a warm autumn . But the last few days we went way below freezing and last night was -17 degrees Celcius. And finally the ice is ready to ride. This is the last week before winter solstice, the darkest time of year. We’re only 25 miles (metric) south of the arctic circle so the sun rises  at ten am and sets at one pm. I took the day off and did my first ice ride for the season. Since the ice is new i stuck to the shore lines. I’m guessing it will hold up but it’s safer to not go alone the first time.  

 
Still it feels great! This is the real season for fat biking. The days will get longer and I’m betting it’s going to be a great winter.

Sunrise 

Long shadows even in the morning.  

 
I found my fathers old ice yacht. He built it by him self but mom sold it when he died a few years ago. Very nostalgic to see it again. These babys are fast.     

 

I had lunch with The Lars by the harbour and went out again around 12:30. But the sun sets pretty fast. Around one o’clock em it begins to set.  

   

 There is not much snow yet. It’s possible to ride almost everywhere. If we gets loads of it we’re  bound to the snowmobile trails.  
 
This may feel like a remote place but the truth is i can get here in 15 minutes from central Luleå. 

  

In a few weeks the outer archipelago will be frozen and i’ll be ready to ride it.