What the hell is a Fat Bike? Well, it’s kind of like the monster truck of the bicycle world. A mountain bike on steroids. The most obvious difference is the massive 4″ wide tires (fat tires). Of course, these wide tires require a wide front fork and rear wheel frame. All this leads to a very husky appearance.
For years I’ve ridden my mountain bike on trails in Florida and thoroughly enjoyed it. But many miles of Florida trails are riddled with roots, mud and/or soft sand. There are also areas torn up by feral hogs or horses. Not to mention a lot of short, but drastic elevation changes. Some stretches can be more challenging than you might think. Then along came the Fat Bike…
My ever-thoughtful wife bought me a Fat Bike for my birthday recently and I couldn’t wait to put it through its paces. So I took it to the Outback. Really. In the Little Big Econ State Forest. This ride was the perfect trial run, providing nearly every surface and challenge a rider is likely to encounter.
In my humble opinion, this bike is a game changer. Right off the bat, it’s a cushier ride, even on pavement…but not at all squishy. The bike feels substantial, but not bulky. Mine is 10 pounds heavier than a comparably priced mountain bike, but no less nimble. In fact, those fat tires allowed me to roll right over roots that could pop a mountain bike tire — I know, because I’ve done it.
Stretches of mud and soft sand were so much easier than with my mountain bike, as were water crossings. Through tight, winding forest trails it was responsive and sure footed. And even though my Fat Bike has only 7 gears versus 21 gears on my mountain bike, I found them to be the perfect gears for trail riding.
Conclusion: Once you go Fat, you’ll never go back.