2014: Year of the Fat Bike

With 2014 in full swing, the bike industry is introducing their fresh products and we’re seeing a lot of older ideas with new twists.

A few years back Surly made waves with their Pugsley fat tire bike. The 3.8” wide tires allowed the adventurous cyclist to explore trails that were too soft to navigate with traditional 2” wide mountain bike tires. Fast forward to the present and we are in what many in the industry are calling, “The Year of the Fat Bike”.

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Who Makes These Behemoths?

Almost every bike supplier has a fat tire bike in their line up. On-One, Specialized, Trek, Origin8 and Kona all have models that are spec’d with a tire 3.8” wide or wider. There are even fat–specific brands that have popped up to make their mark in the newest genre of two-wheeled adventurers. Some brands are putting out aluminum, steel, titanium and even carbon fiber frames and forks. There are fat bike suspension forks and full suspension frames floating around. 

They Look Cool, But How Do They Ride?

These bicycles are very sluggish, yet extremely fun to ride. They make your regular, old stand-by single track ride an entirely different event. Who loved riding in that snowstorm that just descended upon most of Oregon? Fat bikers, that’s who. Suspension duty is left to the wide tires that can be run with as little as five pounds of air pressure on rims as wide as 90mm. Tires are ranging in widths from 3.8” to 5”. Surly, On-One, 45 NRTH and Vee Rubber are brands that you will commonly see on these bikes (Vee Rubber is an overseas tire and inner tube manufacturer that also supplies products to big name companies under specific brand names.) The main idea behind these bikes is the wide tire. They allow the bike to float on top of snow, sand, mud, rocks, roots and any combination of those obstacles that would normally stop a standard mountain bike wheel in its tracks. 

The N+1 Factor: How Much Do I Need To Spend?

Prices begin around $1450 and have been known to be as high as $7,000 for a custom built Moots.

Are They a Passing Fad?

Do you need a fat bike? Probably not. But should you buy a fat bike? Well, let’s put it this way: If you like anything you’ve read in this article, what you’ve been hearing about fat bikes and the epic adventure tales you’ve no doubt come across (or will soon), then a fat bike should be on your short list of 2014 investments. Yes, investment. Fat bikes are not merely passing fads. With all that fun-potential, there’s no doubt these bikes are here to stay.

Vince Rodarte is a bicycle industry expert with experience in retail sales and technical service. When not busy working for Titus / On-One / Planet X, you can find Vince grinning from ear to ear on his mt. bike.

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