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Fat bikes for ever..
#1
I had ridden road-bikes, hybrids, gravels all my life and then a friend gave me an old Walmart-type fat bike (Iron horse). I was skeptical but fell in love even though I only rode it on road and didn't do any jumps or use it on trails until a long time later. Then I did some long distance rides to test my crazy idea of bikepacking on a fat bike and then gave away my other bikes. I started bikepacking with my fat bike in Colombia some 6-months ago and have loved every moment of my time with it as it's well suited for every terrain we have encountered. It also helps me make friends of strangers as people are curious if I have a motor, why I have tires bigger than those of some motorcycles and jus Why?

Please let me know if you are into fat bikes and what purpose do you use them for? What's been your memorable experience on a fat bike?
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#2
I've still never used one but I hear nothing but good things.

The traction must feel amazing.
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#3
(01-03-2023, 11:24 AM)GirishH Wrote:  I had ridden road-bikes, hybrids, gravels all my life and then a friend gave me an old Walmart-type fat bike (Iron horse). I was skeptical but fell in love even though I only rode it on road and didn't do any jumps or use it on trails until a long time later. Then I did some long distance rides to test my crazy idea of bikepacking on a fat bike and then gave away my other bikes. I started bikepacking with my fat bike in Colombia some 6-months ago and have loved every moment of my time with it as it's well suited for every terrain we have encountered. It also helps me make friends of strangers as people are curious if I have a motor, why I have tires bigger than those of some motorcycles and jus Why?

Please let me know if you are into fat bikes and what purpose do you use them for? What's been your memorable experience on a fat bike?

I believe you will eventually change your mind. There are a few situations where fat bikes may be better, such as snow and sand. Other than those situations, you may eventually go back to bikes with narrower tires.

The rolling resistance of fat bike tires is a complex subject. It depends on several factors, such as what (rubber) compound the tire is made of, how much pressure in the tire, how worn it is, and the weight of the rider. Some fat bike tires, made of a good compound, and when run at high pressure, have only a little more rolling resistance than mountain bike tires, particularly when the tread is worn a lot. Others are very slow, and require a lot more effort to pedal. When you buy new tires, you don't know how good they will be, unless you have had the same brand before.

Let's say you have good fat tires, and run them at maximum pressure. Let's say, with the same amount of effort peddling, you could ride 20% further on mountain bike tires, which tires will you prefer? When you buy fat tires made of a poor (rubber) compound, you will not even take them on long rides. They will be too hard to pedal. Many cyclists would not use tires that only took 1% more effort to pedal.

The first eight replacement tires I bought for my fat bikes were all the same brand, and were very good, with little rolling resistance. The time came when they were unavailable. Since then I have had two other brands. With one brand, when riding on a flat road, it is like riding up hill. The other brand is somewhere in the middle.

Fat tires also get more punctures, because of more rubber coming in contact with the road. This can be a huge inconvenience.

A lot of electric bikes are now coming out with fat tires. They reduce the range of the battery.

I would like to see someone do a scientific study on the rolling resistance of different tires.
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#4
Hello ichitan, I totally agree with you in that fat bikes have a "lot" of rubber: road contact and rolling resistance. I used them a lot on pavement and some dirt, desert in Colombia. Then, I've been using them on TEMBR (Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route-Dirt Road version) for the past 5-months. Most of it (75% +) is unpaved, primarily dirt, sand, wet dirt/slime so I was in a better place than my friend who had smaller tires. But on the pavement, yes definitely a lot of resistance. After having ridden, walked through some high andes, remote parts of Ecuador, I've started preferring unpaved, dirt roads over the pavement. And, when bikepacking/touring the little I am loosing over what I am gaining out of the fat bikes has been immeasurable..

Over the past 7+ months, I have had a total of 4 or so flats even though we have primarily ridden on dirt, rural, unpaved roads. You will get a good laugh out this but I actually carrying a backup 4inch tire for emergency in-addition to two backup tubes, patches...:-)


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#5
(01-04-2023, 10:32 AM)GirishH Wrote:  I actually carrying a backup 4inch tire for emergency in-addition to two backup tubes, patches...:-)

That is another good reason to switch to a mountain bike. Tires and tubes are much smaller, and easier to carry.
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#6
That picture is a great example of the difference that fat bikes can make.

The traction is amazing and in environments like this, give you the pleasurable experience of riding a fully capable tank or jeep rather than a bike. Riding that terrain on a normal bike could easily become a crucible—even with 2.4 tires.
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#7
(01-04-2023, 12:51 PM)ichitan Wrote:  
(01-04-2023, 10:32 AM)GirishH Wrote:  I actually carrying a backup 4inch tire for emergency in-addition to two backup tubes, patches...:-)

That is another good reason to switch to a mountain bike. Tires and tubes are much smaller, and easier to carry.


My buddies were riding tubeless mountain bike tires so they were carrying very little..:-) While I had hard-time finding "any" replacement fat tires in Boston. On certain parts of this trip, neither mountain bike tires nor fat bikes were cutting it. I actually took this picture to show to myself how sticky some parts of the trail were. The clay was just too clayey. The attached pictures show a spot were I my bike just slipped down this slick and black clay.

Granted I can ride with a bit of less air pressure but the trail's so undulating that I stuck to the devil I knew instead of pumping some 100-times/time every time we encountered more uphill. I still love versatility of my fat bike because I can take it anywhere, like Great Peru Divide or another mountainous route..


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#8
(01-05-2023, 08:05 AM)GirishH Wrote:  On certain parts of this trip, neither mountain bike tires nor fat bikes were cutting it. I actually took this picture to show to myself how sticky some parts of the trail were. The clay was just too clayey. The attached pictures show a spot were I my bike just slipped down this slick and black clay.

Clay can stick to the tire, then stick to the frame, where it is like sandpaper on the tire, and wear through the tire sidewalls. Sometimes you may have to stop and remove it.

The ideal bike for clay, is a bike with a lot of space between the tire and the frame, which you can have by running narrower tires on a fat bike.

If you were riding a long distance in slippery clay, you could use chains like they use in snow. But usually the clay is not for a long distance.

At the present time, I am running a 100 mm wide tire on the front, and a 50 mm wide tire on the back. I have done this to reduce the rolling resistance. There is more weight on the back, so it affects rolling resistance more. If I ride through mud or sand, I still have the benefit of the fat tire on the front. In the long term, I plan to stop using 100 mm wide tires.
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#9
I looooove fat bikes. I had a Surly Moonlander in Minnesota for four years and loved every minute I was on it. I ended up selling it as I "had too many bikes" and needed to pay some taxes. I regret it. I wish I had that thing here in Ecuador. So much fun!

One day I'll buy another fat bike...
My YouTube channel about life and riding bikes in Ecuador: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC53LAQO8WH782Tjr_N8WPOg
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#10
Jason, like you I too have enjoyed every moment on my fat bike. I was not fortunate enough to own or ride a Surly Moonlander, instead I've a Framed Minnesota.

Even the innumerable times when I had to walk/haul the bike have been fun. I am the slowest of the pack but sure am having the most fun. Thanks to this crazy bike, I am able to strike-up conversations with strangers who think my bike has "motorcycle tires". And, I've to correct them by saying that some motorcycles actually have smaller tires. It's a great conversation starter in addition to being an all weather/terrain bicycle. A beautiful beast..
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#11
Unfortunately, I've never tried one :/
And there aren't many fatbikes around in my area. I've been wondering how would it be to commute on a fatbike during the winter ... it gets quite snowy here.
Merida Scultura 5000 (2015)
Merida Big Nine 400 (2019)
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#12
Hello Zviedrs, where do you live or ride? I used my fat bike in Boston during winters. It gave me more traction and definitely was more fun. I am told fat bikes are more popular in more snowy states such as Minnesota and such. Interestingly, my bike's model is "Framed Minnesota"...:-)
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#13
There are some people who ride in places where fat bikes are genuinely beneficial.

To all the others. I suggest ride a fat bike one day, and a mountain bike the next. See for yourself how much more rolling resistance a fat bike has.

If you ride with a friend, one person ride a fat bike, and the other ride a mountain bike. Then later switch.

If you ride a mountain bike, you can probably ride about two gears higher than with a fat bike, with the same amount of effort peddling. You can go faster and further with the same amount of effort.
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