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What’s up with those fat tire bikes?

This post was written by Joel Augustine of 509 Cycles

Fat biking is an exhilarating feeling that gets your serotonin levels to a new high. The sense of peacefulness out on the trail while floating on top of the snow is like no other. Imagine you’re riding on top of the snow (crazy thought already) and then you’re out in the woods when the white on the ground contrasts with the green on the trees. The view you’ve seen hundreds on times is totally transformed into a winter wonderland. The trail is completely smoothed out by the groomer while the tires grip into the snow and flow though the trail like never before.

You might be asking what is a fat bike? Well a fat bike has wider tires that allow you to float on snow or sand.  Tires start out at 4 inches wide on a 80mm wide rim and they can go up to 5.5” on a 100mm wide rim. The bigger the tires the easier it is to float on soft snow. Ten years ago fat biking started making a small market in the bike industry with most of it’s origins from Alaska. Fat bikes are for a large range of people out there, but you just don’t know it yet. The big tires are more stable on dirt and you don’t have to be as picky about line choice since it’s more like a monster truck getting through anything. Also, if you plan on doing any bike packing or adventure rides, fat bikes are always a great choice. They can carry more gear on the bike since the tires can distribute the weight better. Fat bikes are ready for a large range of terrain, which makes them a great one-bike quiver.

Ten years ago I was just transitioning from Bmx riding into mountain biking. I loaned a fat bike from my friend that owned a bike shop for a group ride on Global fat bike day, December 5th and from that day forward I was hooked. We were so hooked that 5 years ago we started our own bike company and I designed a fat bike that we wanted to ride but wasn’t on the market. It has been crazy to see and be part of the transformation of the fat bike market and community. In the Midwest my partner in 509 cycles gets more than 1,000 people together on Global fat bike day within a small town like the size of Wenatchee. It’s pretty incredible to see people come together for that one common ground and see such a large sense of community.

I encourage you to try fat biking when the conditions are right. Make sure if your riding on snow that you have no more than 8 psi in your tires. Keeping them low will allow you to grip and float on the snow. We will be grooming Squilchuck State Park, Leavenworth Ski Hill and Echo Ridge in Chelan for fat biking this winter. If you can make it up to Winthrop they do an incredible job of grooming for fat bikes up at Perygin State Park. Arlberg Sports in Leavenworth and Methow Cycles rents fat bikes for you to try and you can follow condition grooming reports from the TREAD Map app. If you have any further question please visit your favorite bike shop and they should be able to answer any of your further questions!

Jerri Barkley