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

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