New Sensation is not just a hit song by INXS anymore! I used to think that laying the first tracks of the day down one of Colorado’s glorious ski runs was the ultimate sensation, that was until this past weekend when my friend Elizabeth and I rented our first Fat Bikes of the season and dared to ride during one of the first snow storms of the year.
There is nothing like packing the first tracks aboard some Ground Control 26 x 4.6 tires, it’s enough to totally change your mind about mountain biking and that’s a huge endorsement given my fervent infatuation for the traditional 26 x 2.4's.
We rented 2 Specialized Fat Boys painted in Bronco Orange and Blue from University Bicycles and took them out to the Eagle trail in North Boulder. From the first turn of the cranks we both knew that Fat Bikes would soon be hanging in our garages, perhaps even replacing my Scott Genius or her Trek Remedy. Fat Bikes were originally built to keep you on top of the mud and sand but snow is easily our favorite up here in the Rockies.
The bikes roll easily over dry packed powder and have surprisingly incredible traction even in the deep stuff. Climbing was a breeze too with almost no wheel spin even on steep grades. Our bikes had no suspension and with stiff tire pressure your arms will take some of the impact but that's easily addressed by reducing the tire pressure to allow the tires to absorb most of the bumps.
The weight of this hardy mount was never an issue with the 2 x 10 drive train and the carbon fiber fork was a nice touch. I don’t particularly like grip shifters under normal conditions but with winter gloves they worked rather well and depending on the gloves grip shifters are highly recommended. The disc brakes tend to squeak when wet but there’s an easy solution; lay off ‘em. With such a large contact patch you shouldn’t need to squeeze so hard if at all.
It was an incredible ride and who knows, a Fat Bike might just replace your old 26/27.5/29 inch wheel. Get out and give one a try, you won’t regret it! Thanks for clicking in and I hope to see you on the trail.