Wednesday, November 25, 2015

4 Frustrating Fatbiking Fusses

To say fatbiking has revolutionized winter riding around Edmonton would be an understatement. We used to ride the same route every weekend on our Sunday group ride, but now we can choose from almost all of the singletrack the river valley has to offer. Fatbikes are also much more forgiving in tightrope situations found when riding on narrow walker packed snow. And flying over the snow with root infested trail buried inches underneath adds a whole new dynamic to your favourite trails. But it's not all fine and dandy in fatbike land. Here are some frustrating things about fatbiking.

The Haters: Winter is for skiing and indoor trainer rides watching past editions of the Tour de France. If people had skills and weren't such (insert questionable sexuality/masculinity remark here), they would ride real mountain or cyclocross bikes.

The remedy: It's hard to  focus on the haters when you rail that corner with a touch of two wheel drift all while they are suffering in their basements or trying to figure out which wax to use.

The Cost: Put 45NRTH on a $60 pair of gloves and you now have a $150 pair of gloves. And the escalating arms race of carbon, extra cogs, dropper posts, tires and suspension has worked its way into fatbiking.

The remedy: Aside from a good set of tires, one can enjoy the relative simplicity of rigid bikes, cable pull disc brakes, entry level drivetrains and still be quite competitive! And going with xc ski apparel is a guaranteed way to save money over bike company clothing.

The Ruts: In agreement with the haters, fatbikes are somewhat of a crutch in that they give increased capabilities to newbies. Keep that in mind when out of nowhere, a rut reaches out and pulls you off the packed down trail into the deep snow, courteous of the tire tracks of a newb just a short time ago. Fatbikes are the monster trucks of the bike world and in addition to committed racer types, they do attract a certain crowd who are all too amused at what happens when they grab a fistful of rear brake. How about that locked in feeling of a V-shaped groove on a steeper downhill?

The remedy: Ride at the front of the group, don't follow another group's tracks.

The Limitations: So you've bought the meanest, baddest, fattest, studded-est set of tires ever and you are sitting at work watching the snow come down, antsy to get home and hop on your fatbike. Not so fast. The snow is too deep and you can't get traction on even the slightest climb, struggling to even get started, you see-saw across the trail and the pace slows to a crawl.

The remedy: Well, you've done all that you could have done. Time to bust out the skis...or the 1998 Tour de France DVD.
Two snowmobile tracks and "only" 25cm snowfall and even this slight climb isn't rideable!

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