Monday, January 7, 2013


Yesterday. Foto by Mike K.

This Fatbike thing can be confusing. Its so new(ish). New products being developed everyday. Old tried and true products never in stock.
As a dealer, its been frustrating.
The small group you see here from yesterday has bought their bikes from four different dealers with one of course being mine.
With all this stuff being so new (to the mainstream) there are so many views, thoughts and opinions between all the dealers. And riders.
Today, the fat bike is evolving to a more faster, smaller, lighter all around bike and the views, thoughts and opinions are changing once more. Rim width is getting smaller, not bigger.  Wheels sets getting lighter. Tires are getting higher end 120 tpi. So now that Joe Biker has decided to pull the trigger on a fatbike based on a few years of old data he is now already behind in trend. I get this a lot.
 My first fatbike was a Pug. Over two years ago. Next came my Moonlander. A even fatter fatbike. I still have it. While I liked to ride and still do, its just feels "clunky" in the tight stuff. And that's fine cuz that's how its supposed to feel with 5 inch wide tires.

So now Im on the smaller faster lighter bandwagon. Selling aluminum 9zero7's. Every wheelset I get is smaller than the other. Im running 65mm Margelites now and have 45mm 616's coming. Remember my Moonlander has of course 100mm rims. The fattest of the fat. Pretty cool.

So now finally we have a fatbike contingency here in town and while everyone is pumped to be fattired, Im getting smaller in that respect and no one can relate to that right now.
And lets talk tire pressure.
Every store sells their bikes with recommendations for low, low, low tire pressure. Lower the better? Sure, for more float. It seems on our group ride its a competition to see who can run the lowest. When we ask each other about what pressure we have at the time some will boast 7 or 8. I hear some say 7.5 to 7.8. Then one will boast 5psi and the others will gasp. And jump off to let some air out.
Me? Yesterday I ran 18. And was just fine.
 Two years ago we were on all the same tire and it was a no brainer to do what everyone else does. But I go 250 plus pounds and now on lighter side wall tires today. Its not the same for me.
The group almost laughs (in a good way) at me when I tell them my pressure. I kinda get the "what the hell are you doing?" look. They tell me that Billy Bob from some other store said to run no more than 8. Billy Bob most likely weights 165 pounds and runs a 27tpi Larry for tires on a Rolling Darrel rim.
Its not the same for me. Or you for that matter.
So when I'm running in the deeper snow do I take the pressure down? Of course I do. I do so based on how much float I need. If I'm on the frozen beach I need zero float. You could ride a road bike then. 20 pounds of air for me then. What??? You heard me.

I guess my point is that the fatbikes Im trying to build up are not  to get the most float, or biggest footprint. But trying to fit in year round. In the summer on the dry trails as well as the winter woods. Im not saying this to sell bikes. I have the stores website to do that.
I just saying its OK for your fatbike to not be a traditional fatbike. And if your about to join the movement, don't be so gun ho to be the fattest or the dude with the lowest pressure unless that's absolutely what your going for. There is a "too fat" line drawn somewhere. I'm not sure where but somewhere. Going fat is awesome, but sometimes too fat hurts where and when you can ride it. And helps at times too. Just depends on when and where you ride. For me, needing maximum float is only a very small part of my fatbike riding.
So don't get talked into needing the fattest tires, or get lured by the thought of just being able to run 5psi. Its cool alrighty, but not always needed.

So how fat should you go?
Really, that's a personal issue. I wont go there. Only you can.



Sarah Kopf said...

When I did my century this fall, a guy rode his fat bike for the entire hundred... It was pretty great!


Steve Meurett said...

Nice post-and I agree....