Fat bikes are great fun. They also tend to suit people who are not too swayed by trends and don’t need a new bike every year to get the most up to date color. If you’re feeling fatcurious, we’ll break down why you totally need an awesome fat bike in your life.
What is a fat bike?
The simple answer is a mountain bike with tires over 3” wide. The full answer is a little more complicated. Originally fat bikes were designed for getting across the Alaskan Tundra. The tires then came with a wider footprint to help them float over the snow, and enable people to easily get around during winter, if you ignore the extreme cold for a minute.
The wider footprint for crossing snow also brought other benefits. It’s main one being grip. It is almost impossible to lose grip with 4” wide tires. You can try. You’ll also find you’ll be able to put all your previous track stand records.
If you’re worried about local trail erosion, a fat bike will help there as well. Where it’s narrow tired cousins will cut into the ground in sloppy conditions. Fat bikes will merely float over the top of those conditions. You’ll also not need to go around exceptionally muddy sections, which widens the trail and annoys walkers, you’ll be able to float straight through.
Is there a cost?
You might now be thinking, “This all sounds great, but is there a cost?” As, with everything in life, yes there is. You’ll need fat bike specific parts, you can’t just change all your mountain bike gear over, and the other is that your new tires will be heavy.
Now, you might think heavy tires will slow you down when climbing. The paradox though is that fat bike tires give you so much grip, and you’ll find a fat bike can climb slopes that other bikes can’t. You’ll be able to conquer that climb that has always been your nemesis before. Fat bikes tend to climb like the proverbial mountain goat.
Where can I ride my fat bike?
The answer is everywhere. As they were designed for snow originally, the float their tires provide will get you across beaches, bogs, swamps, and other places where a normal mountain bike would need to be carried. The ability to do this makes fat bikes a great choice for adventure bikes, as you won’t want to be a carrying a bike that also carries all your camping equipment.
It also makes fat bikes incredibly useful in the urban environment. You may lose some rolling resistance thanks to the huge rubber tires, but those tires will easily tame the urban environs around you. You’ll be able to roll up curbs as if they were not there. Potholes will hold no fears. You’ll be able to ride down stairs easily, and more importantly, you’ll be able to ride back up them. That should offer you plenty of shortcuts to overcome the rolling resistance slowing you down.
More importantly, we now have fat bikes that are designed to be trail bikes. Bikes that can help you ride to the top of the hill, and then bomb down the hill afterward. You’ll benefit from the tires never losing grip as you barrel down the hill, and you can use a little less suspension as the tires will help to tame the trail for you as well.
This is the point where our new Omega model comes in.
The Omega fat bike
Our Omega fat bike offers you 100mm of travel, provide via RockShox Bluto fork and RockShox Monarch rear shock. The 100mm of travel on top of the 4.8” Maxxis Minion tires means that you have a bike that is not scared of gravity. It is a bike that is designed to make downhills fun, and bring you a fat bike that can be ridden all year round.
Take a couple of laps, and you’ll soon have forgotten about the large tires. You’ll be leaning the bike into berms, and snapping out of them as if you were riding a standard trail bike, just with a little more knowledge that you’ll find it harder to become unstuck.
You’ll learn to avoid your brakes, and keep forward momentum, as it will be easier than sprinting up to speed all the time. Doing so will make you a better rider; we all spend a little too much time on the brakes when we really don’t need to have them covered. Trust in the Omega, and it will reward you for your trust.
It's not just for Christmas
As we’ve said the Omega is a capable trail bike, it will be a little more work in snow than some other fat bikes, but they’ll be less fun on the trails come summer. As such, we’ve specced it in a manner that means you’ll have the parts you need.
The first thing to talk about is wheels. We’ve mentioned the Maxxis tires already, but they are fitted to set of tubeless ready carbon fiber wheels. Our carbon fiber wheels are made from Toray T700 carbon fiber, and they help to take a lot of weight off the bike.
Combined with running your tires at low pressures, the carbon fiber rims, and the 100mm travel means your hands and wrists should feel a lot less fatigue than you get from a standard trail bike. That sounds like a win to us.
We then fitted a Shimano XT groupset to the bike. XT is the best meeting point for high-end quality and affordable parts. You’ll see a lot of trickle-down technology features in the groupset, and saving a few grams might not be what you’re after in a fat bike.
To slow you down we have gone with Shimano XT brakes. These brakes are easy to set up and require virtually no maintenance. Features we again love on our own bikes, none of us want to spend all day in the workshop fettling when we can be outside shredding.