I’ve been riding a fat bike since October when it arrived, so for a very brief time (that I’ve now forgotten) in dry conditions and then the whole winter in wet, icy, snowy and very muddy ones. I’ve gotten used to how it handles, how heavy it is, how every now and then it needs a little man handling to get around things. At first I wasn’t convinced, I’d gone from a reasonably light, responsive 29er hard tail to this monster truck overnight and I’ll admit I found it a bit alien. It wasn’t until I’d ridden it a few times, got the bar width and saddle height where I wanted tham that I began to enjoy it.
It’s been fun, there’s no denying it and I think I’ve benefited from pedalling what must be over 36lb of rubber and metal up all manner of hills and chucked it down some increasingly technical descents and along some very sucky tarmac too. The geometry is spot on for trail riding even with the rigid fork.
So today I thought I’d have a change, it’s as good as a rest so they say, so I took the 29er out for a spin, it was far from restful. Yes, it was quicker on tarmac and harder surfaces; it was definitely easier to pedal uphill, although I was using higher gears than usual as it seemed too easy after the fatty! Then I turned onto the dirt and this is where the fatty has ruined my riding. The 29er in the current conditions was horrendous, I was all over the place, the descents I’ve been hitting with hardly a thought on the fatty had me nervous, the bike twitchy and it simply had zero grip. It’s not until now, having experienced “normal” tyres that I fully appreciate how awesomely grippy the fatty’s tyres are. I had absolutely no confidence in the 29er rubber! Every turn had me with a foot out or with the front wheel just ploughing straight on and I was glad to get back to drier surfaces.
It’s got me thinking, can I ride the fat bike all year round? I know when things dry out the 29er will be better but I have so much more confidence on the fat bike and that might make up for the fact that it’ll still weigh a massive amount even with the more dryer condition and better rolling tyres that you can get for it. Everyone else that I ride with will be on lighter machines, can I cope with being tail end Charley just for the fun of the fat ride?