Do I want a fat bike or need a fat bike?

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  • Do I want a fat bike or need a fat bike?
  • donkeydave

    Hi as title suggests thinking about buying a fat bike, got a mtb 26er so perhaps be better to change this for something more up to date, I am not even close to snow or sand but could do with getting my mojo back for riding and keep looking at fatbikes for fun.

    Has any one brought one and regretted it do not really need another bike in the fleet but its a itch I keep thinking about scratching so to speak.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    They’re quite rubbish on normal trails IME.

    Aside from the obvious snow and sand they are good on stuff like soft grassy rubbish non-existent moorland trails and also very loose pile of stones type trails in the South Wales/Peak District tradition.


    Thanks this is the kind of answer I probably need as I do not ride anything like what they are intended for.

    Premier Icon martymac

    I have a 29+ bike, tbh it’s pretty good.
    I don’t think I would have used an actual fat bike so much, but this is a pretty good compromise.
    I will say, they are pretty rubbish on smooth terrain, but much better when it’s rough.


    +1 to what @molgrips wrote (though I don’t know what “normal” trails are 😉)

    I know some riders who have one who use it for just about all their riding but most keep them for “off-grid” type rides – snow, sand, bog. I don’t use mine a lot when compared to my other bikes but when I do use it it’s in conditions or for rides I’d really struggle with on any other bike. Decent tyres make a big difference to how a fat bike rides, you really need something that can take advantage of the volume and low pressures.

    They also have a “these are not the droids you are looking for” effect – ride somewhere cheeky and people you meet are more interested in the tyres than you being where you shouldn’t.

    Premier Icon Normal Man

    By normal trails are we talking trail centres?

    Anyway, I would recommend a hire if possible. I did that for a weekend and rode it where I would ride normally. I liked the way it encouraged that bit of extra exploring. Maybe just a mindset but I bought one. That waa late 2015 and I haven’t bored of it yet. Mine us set up very “adventure/explorer” style rather than fat tyred trail shredder.

    Premier Icon Lummox

    Personally I think my fat bike is a right hoot.

    It’s at its best when the weather is a bit rubbish and the fun factor is what drags me out.

    I’ve done a few beach/shingle rides, a few snow rides and actually it’s my normal woods and trails where I have the most fun. It’s just fun, not fast – fun.

    It also opens up rides you might previously have dismissed as being a bit bland or boggy, you will fall off in the mud! Mainly as you’ve ridden it into far worse conditions than you ever could on a normal hardtail.

    Did I mention fun?


    To my surprise I was faster around brechfa, cyb and mountain mayhem than on my carbon Scott spark fs xc bike. So I gave the Scott away and am fully fat.


    They are quite good in that trail centre kitty litter stuff and really stick to berms, you can thunder round them. But as soon as you hit a rock section or loads of roots then they are rubbish, you just bouncy around. Riding on beaches is fun for about 3 rides.

    Premier Icon Northwind



    They’re quite rubbish on normal trails IME.”

    I agree. Magnificently, hilariously rubbish. I have an incredibly good bike too and what could be better to contrast it? Riding the same trail on the 2 bikes can feel very different, but, teh trick of the fatbike is that it’s still capable of riding things safely that I wouldn’t want to do on my old cross bike or rigid xc bike.

    But as much as I love it, it’s totally a second bike, there’s no way I’d have it as my only bike. And I don’t need it.

    Premier Icon vincienup

    Tbph, unless you’re asking the same question on Fat forums you’re wasting your time here. Fat bikes *can* make ace general MTBs but they can also be shit. This shouldn’t be surprising.

    It is a problem on the Fat forums that a large number of the riders are more concerned with beaches, improbable luggage requirements and some sort of inverse snobbery around the Calibre Dune (although this is thankfully starting to go away) but there are a number of riders around who do hammer the things hard. A lot depends on your intentions though- several cracked Bucksaws on the forum a couple of years ago says Salsa weren’t kidding that much when they suggested it’s not designed for big drops. If big air is your thing, the Foes Mutz is probably a better idea.

    Whether a fatty makes sense as an only bike is a different matter. If you can live with the stupid hub setup you’d need then it’s always an option to run a set of 29er or maybe even 29+ wheels rather than just 26×4.whatever. Unfortunately without dropping a chunk of cash for something half decent there’s no real way to know if one suits you. It’s rare to get a fatty down to XC race bike weights, but unless everything is very cheap you should be looking at normal sort of Trail bike weights. The tyres aren’t draggy the way some make out- the big wheels do have inertia but the traction helps massively do you end up somewhere between zero sum and advantage fatty depending on choices.

    As always, haters gonna hate and fat bikes are probably second after ebikes for poorly informed hate on here.


    It is a problem on the Fat forums that a large number of the riders are more concerned with beaches, improbable luggage requirements and some sort of inverse snobbery around the Calibre Dune

    I’ve not seen that “snobbery” thing anywhere I frequent.

    OP – look at the second hand market or pick up a Calibre Dune for £500. Ride it for a while on a variety of your normal trails, then consider exploring a bit of other stuff and make up your own mind. Also remember that tyre width is only one of the geometry factors and that not all fat bikes handle the same. Some are properly aimed at the exploring/bikepacking crowd and others are more aimed at normal trail riders.

    FWIW my 9ZERO7 proved to be rubbish on the rocky features at Laggan Wolftrax but just ace at Glentress where the grip is immense and there are fewer issues with undamped rebound.


    Fatbikes are Great Everywhere and anywhere, other than 60 foot gaps of course.

    Premier Icon roverpig

    could do with getting my mojo back for riding and keep looking at fatbikes for fun

    That’s a pretty good reason to get one I’d say. I bought a Surly ICT about three years ago (F&F still for sale by the way 🙂 ) after a few broken bones had made me question the whole off road gig. I rode it (and the Dude that replaced it) everywhere for a couple of years. To be honest I don’t enjoy beaches that much and even when we have snow I tend to avoid it, but the fat bike is always fun. The ideal mojo restorer I’d say. I’ve now got a “regular” trail bike as well but the fatbike is still great fun and still gets taken out, especially when conditions are crap enough that I won’t be going fast whatever I ride or if I just fancy a change. As others have said they also make a lot of sense for exploring where you don’t know what the trail will be like, or even if there will be one.


    There’s two “types” of fat bikes – the original adventure style intended for load carrying in the wilds and the newer style introduced by the big manufacturers when they jumped on the bandwagon that tries to be more trail oriented.* Just like other bikes they have their niche where they excel and areas where they don’t.

    *Highly simplified for the hard of reading 😜

    My Voodoo Wazoo was great in giving me confidence to cycle commute again after my RTA. It spends most of the time these days with 29er wheels on it, but every now and again I throw the fat wheels back on.

    If you’re riding for pleasure, not chasing segment times, they’re great fun even on tarmac with Jumbo Jim’s fitted.

    Premier Icon Esme

    Brilliant for riding on the “brown snow” in my local woods. It’s just so much fun!


    and deffo faster than you would think


    We’ve just got a pair because we fancied trying them out. Haven’t ridden much yet apart from a couple of rides on the beach and messing about in the dunes.

    So far it’s a good laugh, I wouldn’t want one as my only bike though but like the idea of pottering about on it locally and maybe a bit of light bike packing. I doubt they’ll ever go to a trail centre.

    New Bike Day. (Fat Content)

    Premier Icon kayak23

    Fatbikes are sick brah. I live in the Midlands. About as far from beaches as you can get. Don’t get much snow either.

    Does that matter? Hell no!

    I love my Calibre Dune and it’s always the bike I choose for local xc. If I’m going to shred the gnar then I’ll choose my 160 millimetre enduro weapon or my steel hardtail.

    The fatbike is great fun on anything. I recommend it.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    …I do not ride anything like what they are intended for.

    Of course you don’t. You can’t ride a normal mtb in the places you can take a fatbike.

    They expand the world of what is rideable.

    In terms of what is rideable, they are to mtbs what mtbs are to road bikes.

    Get one. Buy a quality secondhand fatbike, and that way if you don’t like it, then you’ll not lose much if anything.

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny

    Every year, when the weather turns to shit and the trails turn boggy, I put the full sus away and take the 29+ wheels off the Ice Cream Truck, and put the full fat wheels back on.

    The first few rides you think – gawd, this is bloody awful.

    However, by this time in the winter I’m thinking that I can’t imagine riding any other type of bike as its so much bloody fun.

    Every year the same.

    Just get one and give it a go.


    I ( a distinctly mediocre rider) was much faster round glentress on my fat bike than on a normal bike. Its also just great fun to ride. Main drawback IME is the drag. riding 30+ miles on it hurts much more

    They really are fun. I haven’t ridden a normal bike since getting it

    Premier Icon confused58

    Like the OP I had an itch for years after trying an OO Fatty, compromising on a 29+ Krampus as a +1 to my FS and going back to a 1 bike does all (BFe) so I finally built a Wednesday.
    So far my thoughts are-
    Makes sloppy crap bridle tracks fun
    Gets me out in weather/conditions that I would not entertain before, embracing the mud as I will be wearing it
    Really fun on blue trail centre kitty litter, icy off camber chalky trails and in what snow we got
    Makes me look forward to “different” riding- beaches, heaths etc
    Wheels/tyres are critical, going tubeless makes a big difference
    Would not want to ride it at BPW…

    So far its got my mojo back and is a good contrast to my BFe, so I’d say try one

    Premier Icon clubby

    Fat bike did you say?


    Latest Classified Ads

    I bought a fulk ridgid trail oriented fat bike 3 years ago as a 2nd ‘winter’ hack bike. I had a Whyte t129 as my ‘main’ bike and sold it in the summer the following year – I literally hadn’t used if in over 6 months. The Fat Bike was just too much fun.
    It’s been my main bike for the last three years now, most of that time full ridgid, but recently succumbed to a set of Blutos. I’ve done xc races, enduros, adventure rides, trail centres and of course local bridalway and singletrack. It puts a bigger smile on my face that any other bike I’ve owned.
    It’s really brought me back to the fun of mtb’s that I had in the 90’s.
    OK, it’s draggy on the road, others may tell you other wise but my experience is that while 4″ tyres provide loads (and I mean LOADS, of grip) they also cause more drag on flat hard pack stuff. Point the tyres at a greasy rooty trail and they are great.
    I’ve never used it on a beach and found fresh snow much harder work as pushing 4″ wide tyre through powder is hard going. Icy trails or hard pack snow was great fun though.
    Seeing full on enduro types faces when you beat them on a full ridgid fat bike is also a laugh.

    They aren’t for everyone, but I love mine.


    If you’re into exploring, riding anywhere then they give you the chance to ride stuff that might trouble other bikes – might not be the best at all conditions, but are capable across the widest range of conditions.

    Big grip means you have half a chance of getting up slippery or loose stuff that would probably defeat other bikes. Likewise, you can roll/mince your way down stuff that you’d probably avoid like stone cut steps on the Cornish Coastpath.

    The big tyres and geometry means they have very stable handling, even when fully loaded which is very handy when you’re knackered at the end of a long ride.

    Taken mine to the arctic in winter a few times – a few inches of fluff isn’t ‘snow’


    I asked pretty much the same question on this here forum some months ago. Built a pugsley up with Alfine and loving it! Used mainly for beach and boggy rides or just for the love. It will only ever leave my stable for another of similar (or greater) girth. If it’s not gonna make you poor why the hell not?

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu

    The big tyres and geometry means they have very stable handling

    Yes because there are loads of fatbikes out there with 62 degree head angles aren’t there…
    If you want one just buy one and ride the shit out of it no matter how inapropriate it is.
    Then sell it as you no longer want to ride it.
    Nothing wrong with trying new bikes until they don’t interest you any more then selling them.
    They’re not like dogs or tatoos.

    Premier Icon roverpig

    Slack HAs aren’t the only way to make a bike stable though. Get a 3Kg wheel up to speed and there isn’t much that will knock it off line.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu

    I know I owned one of the first Mukluks in the UK…


    Thank you so much for the thoughts, it seems like I thought a bit marmite, has anyone got any thoughts on either the calibre dune or genesis caribou?.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I can’t speak for the Caribou, but the cool thing about the Dune is it’s basically solid out of the box (apart from the brakes, but replacement decent hydraulic brakes cost literally dozens of pounds) and gives you a great taste of fatbikerism.

    But it’s also incredibly upgradable, so should you get the bug. All the modern standards, takes 4.8 tyres if you want… And tbf the frame and fork is good enough that if it said Salsa on the side people’d pay as much as you do for the whole bike. They knew what they were doing- all the money is in the things that matter and that you’d not want to upgrade in a hurry, all the real shortcuts are in things that are easy and cheap to replace. Clever speccing.


    genesis caribou?

    I’ve just got one, the green 2017 with tapered head tube so it would take a suspension fork if you wanted (I can’t see me wanting to though).

    It’s well built, fits me well, and rides well with 1×10 gearing. The tyres are set up tubeless (not by me so no idea how easy they went on). I’ve no idea how hard it will be to get replacement hubs or cranks if needed as I don’t know the standards etc yet. Has hydraulic brakes.

    Mine was £425 with £150 worth of tyres fitted.

    Like I said up there not ridden it much yet but impressed so far.

    I was put off the Dune by the number of cracked frames I read about while looking.

    Premier Icon zippykona

    After yesterday’s filth fest I just hosed off the chain ,lubed it and now it’s ready to go again.
    It’s a rigid bike with suspension.
    It’s the business.

    Premier Icon excalibur

    Exactly what Epicyclo said

    “They expand the world of what is rideable.

    In terms of what is rideable, they are to mtbs what mtbs are to road bikes.

    Get one. Buy a quality secondhand fatbike, and that way if you don’t like it, then you’ll not lose much if anything.”

    I was unsure, then found a decent one secondhand. Love it, it’s still worth what I paid for it, not that I would sell it anyway, only to replace it with another fat bike. Beg, borrow or buy one without futher ado!

    Premier Icon Mugboo

    I spend a lot of the year trying to ride fast on my trail bike so its a pleasure to chill out over winter on my Fatbike (massively uprated Dune). Something about it makes every ride special.

    And in the right hands they can be proper fast, a mate of mine holds a few local KOMs on his Mastadon shod ICT.

    To conclude, I wouldn’t have one as my only bike but I wouldn’t be without it either. And as someone has already said, I have no interest in beaches but I do love a bit of snow 🙂

    Premier Icon Mugboo

    And my Dune frame is on its third winter and its still in one piece at the mo. I don’t know whether to be happy or embarrassed but I do know that I jump it and ride like my Rocket, albeit a little slower, apart from bigger drop offs which seem best avoided. In fact it handles beautifully in the air, must be the gyroscopic effect?

    Premier Icon Painey

    I bought one 2nd hand (cube nutrail) as I saw it for sale at a reasonable price. It’s the most fun bike I’ve ever ridden. I’ve since changed the frame to a carbon canyon “dude” as the cube was a bit short and upright, plus the carbon frame was lighter. Now it’s even better.

    If it’s smiles per miles then they can be very good. In the mud though it’s a nightmare, but that is purely down to the tyres (jumbo jim) and the same can be said of any other bike with the wrong tyres for the conditions. Speaking of the tyres, they’re very sensitive to pressures and a digital pressure gauge is a must.

    Things like roots in woods, you fly over them, barely notice they’re there. Descents, I’ve hit almost 60mph on mine off road. I wouldn’t do that if it didn’t give me confidence. It is a bit of a blunt instrument though so not the best on tight/twisty singletrack.

    Put simply whilst it’s not my only bike it’s the one I like riding the most. As I said, smiles per miles.

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