The evolution of the Fatbike has caught the bicycle industry by surprise! Few expected the demand for these bikes to swell at a pace that has outstripped the manufacturers’ ability to supply. I have ridden fat bikes for a few years as a great alternative/go-to bike for winter when regular bikes just couldn't make sense of the snow! The limitations of the earlier generation of fat bikes were obvious but accepted. They were heavy, sluggish and slow handling but excelled in the snow. Awesome! Let's ride!
Enter the Specialized Fatboy, late as a matter of fact. We waited all winter for these new offerings, with lighter, stiffer frames, carbon fibre forks, wide, purpose built tires and rims, all to improve on a category of bikes that a lot of cyclists are showing interest in. When the new Fatboy showed up last spring, I needed to ride one to see why customers that bought the long awaited bikes out of season were having so much fun.
So... I put one into demo mode and went for a ride with the regular group of fit and talented riders (don't tell them I said so...), thinking, based on my past experience that I would try to keep up at the back of the pack. Well, soon into the ride, I was at the front thinking (and saying) "What's up with you guys?", and they were not pleased that a fat bike (read ‘slow’), was in front! I couldn't help it; the new generation fat bike was not slow, sluggish and handled very close to a regular mountain bike.
Where traction was less than ideal, the Fatboy hooked up. Where I thought I would get bogged down in early season low sections, the bike floated through, leaving hardly a trace and the "normal" bikes behind. The new Ground Control 4.6 tires collapse on the face of the tire to create a large contact patch without flexing the sidewall. This resulted in less rolling resistance, the bane of the fat bike tire.
My comrades are always quick to give credit to the bike and not me if they see an improvement in my riding, which is a legitimate statement of success for this latest offering in the fat bike world.
Through the rest of the summer, I rode the demo Fatboy Expert, and then the Fatboy Pro, when it arrived at the end of summer, at least once a week, along with my regular rides, and learned a lot about the benefits and characteristics of the Fatboy.
In dry conditions, tire pressure choice allows you to create the ride you're looking for in the trails and/or conditions you find on that day. With more air (10 psi as an example) the bike handles more like a regular MTB and doesn't wallow in the corners. As a matter of fact, I've never had so much traction in corners and have been able to carry so much speed through some really fun sections as I could on the Fatboy.
The bike is just plain fun to ride!
Now we have a bike that we can enjoy riding 12 months of the year!
The less ideal riding conditions are here now and the excitement for Fat Bikes has heightened. We are now selling out of this new popular category of bike and I have found myself faced, for the second time, with the reality that I need to sell my demo ride. The Pro model with the 1 by 11 drivetrain, XT brakes and most importantly the RockShox Bluto front fork, which allowed me to ride the Fat Bike more like a regular MTB.
As we run out of sizing I am faced with selling my personal (demo) ride.
Many times over the years I have become attached to the bikes I've been testing/evaluating, and these bikes have certainly fallen into that category.
Tonight I agreed to sell my Fatboy Pro, a bike I've been riding solely for last 6 weeks as the current conditions legitimately favoured it over my other rides.
I know, "cry me a river!"
Don't shed a tear for me though. The Fatboy SL is close to delivery. This bike has an upgrade in parts, carbon wheels and a reported weight of 24 pounds! Well, we'll see!
For now, I'm smitten with Fatbike Fever, and find myself without a ride!