What is a fat bike? A new step in the evolution of mountain biking or just someone else decided to invent a bicycle again? Let’s figure out what kind of fat bike it is, as well as to whom and why it is suitable.
Looking at a fat bike it immediately becomes clear that we are talking about its wheels, which are much thicker than mountain bike wheels. Fat bike riding is still considered a fairly new sport, but it has been popular in the world for almost 30 years (although the first bicycles with thick wheels were mentioned in the press in the 30s of the twentieth century).
So what is a fat bike? This is an SUV among bicycles. A bike for those who love uncompromising riding all year round. Thanks to its thick wheels, a fat bike has increased cross-country ability not only along with the rough track – the elements of mountain bicycles. He easily rides on dry sand, land, swampy, loose plain, snow and other rough terrains. This is a transport for fishermen, hunters, extreme photographers, wilderness enthusiasts, and simply uncompromising off-road lovers. And that is why the Delfast company, which specializes in the production of electric vehicles for tourism, simply could not ignore this segment of bicycles. In our lineup, the glorious family of fat bikes is represented by the Delfast OFF-ROAD model.
A bit of history. In America, as a form of winter activity, riding on fat bikes spread relatively recently in the 90s of the last century, and from there it reached the rest of the world. The “father” of a fat bike is Alaska-based Mark Gronewald, who coined the term fat bike. He, like a real cyclist, could not remain without his beloved transport during the long northern winter. Then this guy hand-stretched the three-inch (7.62 cm) tires of his bike to the size of a standard bicycle rim (8 cm). As a result, his brainchild made it possible to enjoy cycling not only on flat paths on warm summer days but also in the snowy February forest. Sheldon Brown, an American bicycle expert, and popular bicycle mechanic, even called this event one of the most important for cyclists after the invention of the mountain bike. It is noteworthy that it was on a fat bike that the cyclist Maria Leierstam conquered the South Pole in 2013. Previously, no other bicycle model could get there. Hence, another name for the fat bike is snow bike.
If you have a fat bike, winter will definitely not be boring. After all, you can have a great time, play sports and explore the surroundings at the same time. If you manage to find people who are as keen on cycling as you are, you can go out of town to ride along the snowy paths that cars do not run the risk of, because thanks to the wide tires, such a bicycle will not fail. Also, on a fat bike, you can go down to the coast of a frozen river or even go on ice and drive several kilometers along the frozen river bed in search of a place for winter fishing. The main thing is to make sure that the ice on the river is strong and that you are not in danger. And do not forget to dress properly for a winter bike so that winter riding is good, not bad. After all, at the speed of a cyclist the unprotected areas of the skin (usually the neck and wrists) instantly become insensitive and frostbitten. This is especially important to consider when riding an electric bike, since the speed is much higher, and you can not pedal at all. Therefore, if you are seriously going to ride an electric fat bike in winter, you should get some special clothes. In addition, professionals are advised to dress in layers, choose clothes with long sleeves, and also do not forget about thermal underwear. After all, clothes from ordinary cotton fabric, in this case, do not fit in any way – it gets wet from sweat and does not dry out. As a result, you run the risk of getting cold really fast.
Also in winter, a cyclist’s backpack must have a thermos or a special two-layer flask, spare cap, gloves, nutritious food and a kit with spare parts for minor repairs. I would like to draw attention to the fact that, as we have already noted above, fat bike is very popular for riding on other surfaces, and not just covered with ice and snow.
And in general, even where the mountain bike, even on specialized mud tires, makes the biker not very confident, and can even force him to become a pedestrian temporarily, a fat bike feels like a fish in the water. It is worth noting the explosive growth in popularity of fat bikes for riding on sand, including on sun-drenched beaches. Probably today riding in the sun, along the line of the surf on the shore of the sea or ocean, is becoming even more popular. This side of the bike was highly appreciated by surfing enthusiasts who can make it possible for almost any previously inaccessible beach.
It is worth noting that thick wheels are a noticeable, but not the main feature of fat bikes. The main thing is the low pressure in the tires, which they can have without the risk of puncture or breakdown of the wheel due to their hefty tires, which sometimes reach 5.5 inches and wide rims from 65 to 100 mm. All this allows you to keep the pressure in the cells of the fat bike in the range from 0.5 atm. up to 2 atm. The physical features of these wheels are in a large volume of air chambers, which provides excellent shock-absorbing properties. Also, low pressure is required to increase the area of support on the ground, snow or sand, and thus reduce the pressure on each specific centimeter of the surface. Lower pressure – higher passability. No wonder low-pressure tires are so popular with BRP, Polaris, Arctic Cat and other similar manufacturers of equipment designed specifically for driving on full terrain.
Standard fat bikes usually do without suspension precisely because of the peculiarity of tires, but our model has a front fork with a shock absorber. For many bikers, this is even more important than the all-terrain bike. Wide tires add extra comfort during the ride. Indeed, pits and bumps are almost not felt on the fat bike, because such wheels “swallow” them. The difference is especially noticeable on the gravel road and other minor roughness’s of the road, which make an ordinary mountain bike tremble and someone who sits on it with a small tremor.
But we still use the front suspension, because our bike allows you to develop significantly higher speeds compared to a conventional, non-electric fat bike and during high-speed off-road driving, situations may arise when the shock-absorbing effect of only tires is not enough. Do not forget that an ordinary fat bike rarely travels at speeds higher than 10-15 km / h, and an electric bike easily accelerates to 45 km / h!
We also installed a rear shock absorber. In Delfast OFFROAD it is installed to compensate for the high torque of the motor wheel, whose power in the top model reaches 5000W!
Another advantage of a fat bike that simply cannot be ignored is its unusual appearance. Although they did not appear yesterday, they are still very few and you will certainly not be stripped of attention, both from pedestrians and drivers. This is especially true for powerful electric models. And of course, we are simply obliged to answer the questions if there is a specificity of managing a bike and …
Is it hard to ride on it?
At first glance it seems that it is extremely difficult to ride a bike and it’s all somehow unstable and “loose”, but this is not so. Modern fat bikes are stable and reliable in motion. Despite the large wheels, the pacing of the fat bike is almost no different from a regular bike. Riding an ordinary fat bike will become much harder only at speeds above 25-30 km / h. If you need faster, a bike is simply not suitable because of the high resistance of wide rubber. But there was a way out – electric fat bike Delfast OFFROAD. By the way, the pedals remained in place, and you can simply use them with a discharged battery (in case of unforeseen circumstances).
The advantages of an electric fat bike on the face value are high speeds. The battery charge (depending on the capacity and intensity of the ride, of course) is enough for a trip over 100 km. Do not forget about the ability to use the power of the motor as an aid in pedaling, which, by the way, saves a lot of battery. Or you can, having pedaled on your own, allow the electric motor to take you home, tired of pedaling. But the most important thing is that an electric fat bike allows people who have not previously been allowed to travel off the beaten path. Literally.