Fat biking has transitioned relatively quickly from a fringe novelty to a central facet of the mountain bike experience. In my opinion, fat biking is the single biggest innovation to shake up the industry since I started mountain biking–which means it’s more important than 29″ wheels, 27.5″ wheels, dropper posts, thru axles, and a whole host of other innovations that have happened in the industry over the course of the last decade. But just in case you haven’t drunk the fat bike cool aid just yet, here are 5 reasons why you need a fat bike:
1. No end to the mountain bike season.
While granted there have always been a few key locations around the globe where the mountain bike season stretches 12 months per year, the vast majority of riders live in places were snow and ice historically made riding a bike all year round either not very much fun or simply impossible. But with the advent of fat bikes, all of that has changed!
Fat bikes more-or-less originated in the cold white north of Alaska, and caught on quickly in places like the upper Midwest. These locations have always experienced long, cold, snowy winters, and they were quick to adopt fat bikes. Mountain biking quickly became a 12-month-per-year sport for these early adopters, instead of just a 5-month-per-year (or less) sport.
If you ever wanted mountain biking season to last longer, start sooner, or simply never end, buying a fat bike is the magic key to making those wishes a reality!
2. It puts the fun back in mountain biking.
While there are definitely some lightweight carbon fat bikes with mind-bogglingly low weights, most fat bikes are a bit on the heavy side, and aren’t really intended for going super fast. But sometimes–maybe even most of the time–it’s nice to forget about mashing around your favorite loop at top speed. Instead, just go for a spin, smell the flowers, take in the view, drink a beer, and have fun. Fat bikes are helping thousands of riders remember how to chill out and enjoy the moment.
3. You’ll ride places you never thought you’d be able to pedal a bike.
Yes, you can ride in the snow at times you never thought you’d be able to ride before. This even includes riding in the high alpine in the middle of winter, instead of inside the normal 3-month summer window! But even when you’re not rolling on snow, fat bikes open up a whole host of possibilities.
Riders are using fat bikes to traverse muddy, sandy, rocky shorelines in epic adventures. You can even tool around sand dunes in the desert, mud pits in never-dry locations, and much, much more. Fat bikes are definitely mountain bikes, but they’re so much more. It might be more appropriate to refer to these pedal-powered behemoths as “all terrain bikes,” as they allow you to–quite literally–ride anywhere.
4. Rocks are so easy, it feels like cheating!
More and more riders are shredding their local singletrack trails aboard their fat bikes, during the summer. And you know why? Fat bikes–especially suspension-equipped fat bikes like the Salsa Bucksaw and the Turner King Khan–do a superb job of smoothing out the rock gardens and technical features of a trail. In fact, shredding through gnar feels almost too easy on a full suspension or Bluto-equipped-hardtail fat bike. It almost feels like cheating somehow… but it’s not.
5. You need an excuse to buy yet another bike.
Let’s be honest, here: if there’s one thing that we mountain bikers drool over, it’s the latest-and-greatest crop of bikes that rolls out every year. But it can be hard to justify to your significant other–and your check book–purchasing a bike every year, or even every several years. But if you don’t have a fat bike, ah ha! Here’s a completely new type of bike that you’d be more than justified in purchasing! I’m sure you can find the cash in your budget for a new rig that will allow you to ride all year long–and will, more importantly, give you yet another bike to lust over and continuously upgrade.
Your turn: Are you in the market for a fat bike? Be sure to check out our updated fat bike buyer’s guide!