Probably the biggest question asked by people in the shop is something along the lines of, "What's that big tire bike over there for?" In the past, answers have ranged from "snow bike" to "joke bike." It's easy to look at a fatbike and immediately decide that you'd never be able to use those tires in Missouri. And while we really don't get enough snow to warrant the purchase of a steed dedicated to the stuff, you should know that fatbikes aren't only for snow!
Fatbikes have evolved into something much more than what they were first intended for. While they really excel in loose conditions, they're also a blast on mountain bike trails. Frank, the owner of Walt's built up a Surly fatbike a couple of years ago and has used it both on the gravel trails and singletrack in the area. He's also traveled all over the country riding in Nevada and California.
So what does a fatbike do that a mountain bike can't? Well nothing really, but it does a few things a lot easier. Picture Hinkson Creek this past summer. Dry as a bone and full of rocks the size of your foot or larger. Now if you're brave enough to get out in the nasty Missouri humidity you could practically use the creek as your own trail system. 3.7 inch or sometimes even 4.8 inch tires allow you to run them at much lower pressures which spreads the tire out over the terrain making it feel like it's floating over holes, rocks and roots.
We've had a few customers in the shop recently that have been looking for a bike to ride around their property. Fields can be filled with potholes, cow patties and big ruts left by tractors and trucks so a fatbike would be a great way to get around the property whether it be for exercise or to just check the fences. We've even heard of hunters using them as a means to get out to their tree stand, which is one of the reasons why Salsa is making a Mukluk in they very aptly named "You Can't See Me Green."
Fatbikes also make a great bikepacking vehicle. Don't know what bikepacking is? Well that's a whole other topic, so for now picture light weight bike touring over rough trails and terrain. Salsa is now making a rear rack specifically designed to fit around wide tires and Revelate Designs makes a wide range of packs that'll fit perfectly onto the frame. Load up all your gear and take off for a few days and explore some of the beautiful scenery that can be found in our national forests.
When all is said and done, fatbikes aren't for everyone. In fact, most people will be just fine with your everyday hard tail mountain bike. It takes an experienced mountain biker that is ready to explore new terrain and trails, someone that won't be discouraged by the lack of a beaten path. If you think this describes you, stop by the shop and see what we have in stock and if you're interested in trying out a fatbike keep an eye on our website and facebook page. Hopefully Salsa will be stopping through with their demo truck sometime soon!