Fat Bike Review

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Fat bikes, or sometimes called snow bikes, have hit the bicycle industry with a fury. Once looked at by industry insiders and consumers alike as a novelty, fat bikes with their voluminous tires have gained lots of traction (get it?) and even have sanctioned races like the Fatbike Frozen Forty.  Small frame builders and big bike companies have been building fat bikes for many years now and they are definitely here to stay.  At Jans, we like fat bikes too, we ride them and rent them, enough that we feel compelled to give you a fat bike review.

What’s With the Fat Tires?

To start, I want to explain some fat bike theory. Fat bikes aren’t necessarily made for just riding on snow. Their 3.5 to 5 inch tires work equally well on normal single-track and also great on sand. When I went to Outerbike in Moab, UT two years ago, fat bikes were some of the most popular demos. Obviously the tires are what people get hung up on. Apart from providing a larger footprint and better traction, the big tires also give a solid feel on the trail and a bit of suspension over rough terrain. And you run fat bike tires very soft, 4 to 15 psi on average, depending on what terrain you are riding. This low pressure, high volume combination is very sensitive to small pressure changes. And fat bike tires allow you to float over terrain and retain traction in conditions where you usually wouldn’t have any.

How do these massive tires not pinch flat you ask? Well, most fat bike rims have cutouts between the spokes to let the tube expand out and not puncture. This technology comes from trials motorcycles, which also use low-pressure tires to get maximum traction.

Fat Bike Rentals in Park City

Jans has fat bike rentals at our White Pine Touring retail store on Bonanza Drive in Park City. We rent the Surly Moonlander. Its extremely meaty 4.8-inch tires would actually do a great job on the moon, hence the name. Note to NASA if they want to be “green” when we go back. The Moonlanders have a solid build kit. A 3×10 drivetrain gives you plenty of gear options when cranking through the snow. And mechanical disk brakes by Avid aren’t affected by the chilly temperatures like some other hydraulic ones. You’ll have no trouble coming to a stop. White Pine has large and medium fat bikes available. They are looked after by some of the best bike mechanics in Park City so you know they will be dialed in for your chilly ride. White Pine also has all the necessary cold weather bike gear you could need for getting out on the winter trails.

Park City has hundreds of miles of open trails in the winter. While the higher-elevation trails in Park City are nearly impossible to reach on anything but AT skis and snowshoes, areas like Round Valley and Snyderville Basin have multi-purpose, groomed winter trails, perfect for fat bikes. Apart from these sanctioned areas, I’ve heard of riders accessing Daily Canyon above Historic Main Street and even the Mid-Mountain Trail on fat bikes.

If you’re interested in trying out a new or different style of riding, give a fat bike a chance. They might look a little weird but they are a ton of fun and great way to get some exercise in the winter. Give White Pine Touring a shout at 435-649-8710 to check on availability and pricing.

Paul Boyle, Marketing Specialist