With 5 bikes altogether ( 4 fat and 1 MTB) last nites nite ride looks like this ride will turn into a fat bike ride. The only MTB struggled on the icy conditions. Fatbikes ruled that ride last nite. As winter sets in, soon this ride will be fat bikes only. It made me think about how versatile these bikes are. They have come a long way in a short time. If I had to have only one MTB (gasp!) it would be a fatbike with suspension.
In the past, as in just two years ago, maybe just one year ago if you wanted a fatbike you had limited choices as to dealers and brands. With all the dealers at the time who had them calling themselves the fatbike specialists. I would still like to think that me and other dealers like me who have been into these bikes for years would still have the upper hand and maybe we do in some respect.
But as these bikes get to mainstream production numbers you can now pretty much buy them anywhere. Including very crappy ones at dept stores. For the most part your local bike shop now has them. Even shops that did not just last year. Prices are coming down as production numbers are going up.
Now that the big brands are producing, the game has changed. While you still can, the days of bringing in frames, adding drivelines and building wheels is going away. Bikes now come complete just like any other bike. Putting a couple on your sales floor is just a mouse click. Like I said. Any store has them. Or they should.
I can remember bringing in a Pugsley when only a Pugsley was available. And that was a complete bike. Then came the aluminum frames of 9zero7 and Salsa. Now of course we all know carbon and front suspension is here with full suspension hitting the shores as I type.
Man, compare that Pug from 2009 to my Trek Farley. What a jump in technology. Every aspect, every part on the bike is better. And comparing apples to apples much cheaper. But… that is progress I guess.
Today the bikes are so much better. My Trek Farley 8 is the best Ive owned. Not the lightest (I had a carbon 9zero7 last year) or the fastest. Just the best, I’ll explain.
Today fatbikes to me are like cross bikes. I love cross bikes. I ride them all summer long. If Im riding road in a group I will use my road bike. I need to as I struggling to hang on. But if Im riding road solo I am on my cross bike. I can leave my options open as to where I ride with a cross bike, its much smoother on the road and I have no one I need to keep up to. I have more fun.
Now, fatbikes are the same for me. If Im riding with others in the woods, Im on my Superfly. Again, I need to try and hang. If Im headed for a solo ride in the woods Im on my fatbike. In summer. With the Bluto fork the fatbike is not just for winter anymore. Ive been on my Farley since early Sept. Sure, the fattie is a bit slower. But just like on a cross bike when Im alone who cares. I dont use Strava. Summer riding on that fat bike is pure fun. Tons of traction on the climbs and corners. You dont need to concentrate on picking your line as much thru the rough stuff. Just point and shoot.
I compare summer fat biking to riding a single speed. You just can ride it with thinking less about what your doing. Let your mind wander a little more. Sure a little bit slower but I dont care.
I guess I liked it when fatbikes were still a bit obscure. I liked riding the first wave of the phenomenon. But also I like the popularity its gained. The number of races this winter, both grassroots and pro, has grown 100% per year. You can almost race these bikes every weekend thru Feb. At least three out of four for sure. I like that the bikes have evolved to the point of riding them all year.
And this is still the beginning. Bring it on.