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The long, slow twilight of fat bikes

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The long, slow twilight of fat bikes

Old 07-25-22, 04:12 PM
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Banzai
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The long, slow twilight of fat bikes

I think the fad might be almost over. Of the manufacturers who still sell them, models are highly limited in variety, and production numbers are exceedingly low. Certainly, a few specialty manufacturers are riding this out to the bitter end (Surly, Framed, Salsa) but even they have moved significantly away from this market. Surly hardly even offers their own fatbike components anymore, save for tires. And speaking of tires, which are the defining features of the fatbike...how many quality tire manufacturers are in that market now? Schwalbe, I guess, with what is really a single model. After that, I don't really hold Kenda or Maxxis in incredibly high regard; in the 29er market, given the choice between a Maxxis and a Continental, personally I'm probably going to go for a Continental every time.45NRTH offers quite a few, but 45NRTH is just QBP, which is also Surly, and their tires are secretly Innova tires, which were once rightly regarded as cheap garbage before they slapped trendy 45NRTH stickers on them and started selling them for a LOT more money than Innova could ever fetch.

How many fatbikes now sit disused in garages, as the cycling world has moved on? What a weird, crazy time period that was. My own fatbike (which really only sees winter use, because it is not particularly enjoyable to ride) is rapidly reaching the point of parts obsolescence. As things suffer the rigors of winter, finding replacements is becoming more and more difficult.

I just have to wonder, how long will this fad be on life support? Also, should probably sell while there is still a market.

Even this subforum is just about the deadest place on BF.
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Old 07-25-22, 07:24 PM
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To further illustrate:

This subforum, in the years of its existence, is only 8 pages deep. The second oldest post is by me, in 2016, shortly after it started, right when I was beginning to detect the moment of "peak fat" and the eventual downturn, yet when I was also contemplating building up a winter ride of my own.

After that thread, I did build one, and now live in a cycling environment of diminishing parts and tire choices. I feel like the 6 years I've had this bike have been the long, slow, twilight. When the tire manufacturers (tires being the raison d'etre of the fatbike frame) are largely taking a pass, I think maybe it really is dead.
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Old 07-25-22, 08:15 PM
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I'm worried watching the supply chain issues and current lack of choices. After riding my plus tired bike on the beach, I've been keeping my eyes open for a used fat bike. I definitely understand the joy of riding on sand and snow. It's not the kind of thing I'd do often, but it'd be a sad, sad thing to be unable to get a bike and/or tires for a bike.
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Old 07-25-22, 10:20 PM
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Sadly, it is happening. The question is; is it happening because people are not doing rides which require fat bikes or have they found a substitute bike to replace it?
IMHO, people have left the non-trail rides for gravel bikes and in a few years, the gravel bike will morph into something else. There is also the invasion of the E-MTB
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Old 07-26-22, 03:43 AM
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A third of the ppl I see on bikes are riding fatbikes around here. I do live right next to the trailhead that wraps around the lake tho. Seem lame af to ride imo.
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Old 07-26-22, 04:49 AM
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I love bicycles of every kind and have more than a dozen in my fleet. I'm always looking for different kinds of bikes that might serve a purpose or role my current bikes don't. However, the conditions that would require me to have a fatbike are conditions that I just won't ride in. My fatbike is a set of smart rollers in front of a TV.
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Old 07-26-22, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
Sadly, it is happening. The question is; is it happening because people are not doing rides which require fat bikes or have they found a substitute bike to replace it?
IMHO, people have left the non-trail rides for gravel bikes and in a few years, the gravel bike will morph into something else. There is also the invasion of the E-MTB
I remember when “gravel” bikes were called touring bikes or cyclocross bikes, depending on the details. Those were the days!

The other day I stumbled upon some article in which the author had a revelation or epiphany that “gravel” rides could even be done on a cyclocross bike, and I rolled my eyes so hard I think I strained something.
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Old 07-26-22, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
Sadly, it is happening. The question is; is it happening because people are not doing rides which require fat bikes or have they found a substitute bike to replace it?
IMHO, people have left the non-trail rides for gravel bikes and in a few years, the gravel bike will morph into something else. There is also the invasion of the E-MTB
I'm seeing a lot of ebikes out where I live. Both on the street and in bike shops. That will help keep some need for fat tires on the market, but some of these fat bikes have unusual tire sizes such as 24 x 4 and 20 x 4. Most of the ebikes I've seen on the road have been on MUP's and around town, but I have noticed a few on the beaches and trails also.
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Old 07-28-22, 06:14 AM
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They are definitely not “dying”.

They are just shrinking in number to fit their niche. But that niche is not going anywhere, and nothing else besides fat bikes appear to be able to fill that niche. If anyone wants to make a bet about whether fat bikes are being sold 10 years from now, I’ll happily take it.

Plenty of high quality tires being made. Maxxis makes very good tires and are far and above the most popular and in-demand tire brand among mountain bikers these days, regardless of what the OP thinks about them. And for good reason. 45NRTH are also excellent quality. Anyome who has owned a pair would know this. All the analysis about who makes who's tires and who owns what is all pretty much irrelevant to anything, here..

Don’t read too much into the Fat section on BF. One might think MTB in general is dead from the traffic you see on that board. There are just better places than BF for those things.

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Old 07-28-22, 07:25 AM
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My fatbike is my daily driver. Went for a "fast" 16 km ride this morning before work.

A month from now I will be riding it in the local Gran Fondo... I do not expect to win either of the two timed events on that ride, the 400m sprint nor the 1km climb with a 28T chainring though. lol
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Old 07-28-22, 07:39 AM
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Fat Bikes are hugely popular here on Long Island. Besides the ability to be used on the many sandy beaches, or on the snow in winter, the soil here often has a lot of sand or soft dirt, makes the conditions great for a fat bike, which is likely the most recommended type of bike by the folks on our local mt. bike club FB page.
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Old 07-28-22, 08:44 AM
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Most of the fatbikes I've seen lately are e-Fatbikes and I think that will be a market that continues to expand (like all ebike sales) for a bit.
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Old 07-28-22, 08:15 PM
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e bike has changed the fat bike market to be quite acceptable. The electric changes the fat bike experience. I ride mine exclusively 4,500 miles a year.
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Old 07-29-22, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
Even this subforum is just about the deadest place on BF.
This sub forum has more traffic than some of the others here. Based on your logic there must be almost no riders in the southwest US by the traffic in that sub forum. I will be sure to let the other riders I see here they better sell their bikes while they still can.
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Old 07-29-22, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Most of the fatbikes I've seen lately are e-Fatbikes and I think that will be a market that continues to expand (like all ebike sales) for a bit.
Ugh. That's another problem.

E-bikes are driving the parts market towards tank-like, automotive-grade parts to deal with the extra weight and sometimes torque of electric motors.
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Old 08-02-22, 08:05 AM
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Fat bike sales have peaked. Everyone that wants one has purchased one. Without a fat bike I wouldn't be riding in the winter. There are still people riding fat bikes and will continue to ride them. Fat bikes aren't going anywhere and neither are the supplies for them.

You may want to upgrade to something other than a Pugsley. The tech on fat bikes moved very quickly in short span and now has settled on wider hubs for wider tires and 1x drivetrain. Surly and their steel bikes have been dying for a while. Of the people ride with and all the places that I go fat biking in the winter...I never see a Surly out there. Nobody wants them.
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Old 08-02-22, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Fat bike sales have peaked. Everyone that wants one has purchased one. Without a fat bike I wouldn't be riding in the winter. There are still people riding fat bikes and will continue to ride them. Fat bikes aren't going anywhere and neither are the supplies for them.

You may want to upgrade to something other than a Pugsley. The tech on fat bikes moved very quickly in short span and now has settled on wider hubs for wider tires and 1x drivetrain. Surly and their steel bikes have been dying for a while. Of the people ride with and all the places that I go fat biking in the winter...I never see a Surly out there. Nobody wants them.
I had the second year Pugsley. It was a good excursion bike, but Surly became too proud of their product and their hubris showed.

As for the 'decline' of the Fat Bike?
Pffft, nope.
All of the ME TOO brands jumped in on the fad are leaving (good riddance) and are chasing the next wiz bang trend.
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Old 08-03-22, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
I had the second year Pugsley. It was a good excursion bike, but Surly became too proud of their product and their hubris showed.
Surly = QBP

Salsa = QBP

Not sure if they let the separate divisions run their own show, but Surly could have taken some cues from Salsa to remain somewhat relevant in the fat bike market for the fans of Steel. But even then...fat bikes are heavy enough on their own. Steel makes it even worse. Steel is why I never purchased a Pugsley early on and is eventually why I moved from an Aluminum Fat bike to a Carbon Fat bike.
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Old 08-03-22, 09:56 AM
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I dunno my ICT has everything I want in a fatbike. 197mm rear spacing, room for over 5" tires, the 44 headset standard, 100mm BB, lots of bosses to mount stuff for when I finally take it bikepacking. The geometry with a mastodon pro is the perfect combination of rowdy trail bike and forest trekking/exploration bike.

It's not so heavy that I'd notice even on steep hills. I'll wheelie before the weight becomes an issue.

the nice thing about Surly is that they make large sizes. The XL ICT was one of the only available fatbikes that fit me. And there aren't that many fatbike models that have sizes for me anyway.
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Old 08-17-22, 10:11 PM
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I never saw fatbikes in my area until the ebikes came along. Now I see a number of them in the city. Usually ridden on sidewalks using only the throttle.
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Old 08-18-22, 02:14 PM
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I totally get moving away from fatbikes for places without snow, even if my fattie is my only mtn bike - I commute, solo road ride and BMX race in the summer, don't really get to trails much.

Other than beach, I can't think of another spot where they're actually better than a mtn bike.

That being said - enough of the world gets significant snow that they're around to stay.
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Old 08-18-22, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Viich View Post
Other than beach, I can't think of another spot where they're actually better than a mtn bike.
.
Mud, deep leaves, riding were there are not trails.

My Fat bike gets most of its use in the shoulder seasons when the trails are a muddy, mucky, leafy mess.
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Old 08-23-22, 10:42 AM
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Mine only gets used when there is snow on the ground. Its useful life is December through March.

If the trails are muddy or mucky then I'm not riding them...Premature wear and tear on the drivetrain. Leafy mess doesn't bother me with 2.4" tires on the MTB.
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Old 08-24-22, 04:40 PM
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Fat bikes are just getting started in Houston. They aren't exclusive for sand and snow. I never take my Farley out without piquing the interest of several riders. I used to never see another one. Now I see one almost every time I ride.

*
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Old 08-25-22, 10:29 PM
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I ride mine year around, dry/wet/snow/sand/muck

No excuses
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