Bike Companies Killed the Fat Bike

Words Pete Roggeman
Date Jan 21, 2015

Bike companies listen up: you’re killing the fat bike.

This is not a rant about the merits or detriments of fat bikes. Do not picture me standing on a box full of unwanted front derailleurs, addressing a hostile crowd about why they need more inflated rubber girth in their lives. However there is a late night burrito’s worth of hot sauce in my chamois, and two more fat bike edits in the past week have made the burning worse.

“…utility doesn’t need to be dressed up in come-fuck-me boots and paraded in front of the internet in order to get a date. Utility sells itself.”

Hold on to your ill-tempered e-rage for a paragraph or two while I spin my 28 x 40 to the top of this argument.

For some, fat bikes are the flavour of the month. For others they are a slow-moving target that serves up easy pickings for little e-cannons firing Troll poop. More importantly, for a limited subset of the riding population, fat bikes provide great utility. Just like with any tool, that utility doesn’t need to be dressed up in come-fuck-me boots and paraded in front of the internet in order to get a date. Utility sells itself.

rocky-mountain-blizzard-fatfree-gully-brian-BPP_9360

This is the imagery the fat bike makers are kicking out. Looks pretty damn good, but if they rely on this too much, fat bikes are going the way of purple anodized QR skewers. Photo: Rocky Mountain Bicycles

The worst culprits are the companies making fat bikes, and then relying on edits of free riders to help sell them. Sit tight on my wheel for this – I’m only halfway to the top because these bikes have huge tires and they don’t climb all that fast.

I’ve been in those meetings. The product team hands the marketing manager a new bike and the GM says ‘promote this thing so the sales guys can sell it’. What is your best shot at creating interest around a utilitarian beast that is slow and clunky, despite being super useful for a small group of riders? Grab your freeriders and see what they can do with it. You’ll get the views, bro. But those vids are like ‘Dad humour’: they get easy laughs but they may not leave a lasting impression. They are marginalizing the fat bike’s utility by showing them being ridden in a way that few people can emulate and no one would do by choice.

“…rather than a few rides’ worth of flirty fun, they are condemning it to novelty status.”

Fat bikes deserve better. For those that use them to commute, transport stuff, trail ride or even race, fat bikes serve a valuable purpose and that isn’t going to change. Smart marketers should be trying to sell their bikes to those customers – they are the ones who will buy one this year and another a few years from now when geometry changes, or they decide on a carbon frame – not the ones who will ride it twice and then use it as a steel and rubber buffer between the wall of their garage and the bikes they actually ride.

186

This may not be as sexy as backflips and white roost, but Iditabike is the epitome of fat bike performance and manufacturers are missing out by not making a bigger deal out of it. Photo: http://iditarodtrailinvitational.com

Rather than promoting their true usefulness and speaking to those who could actually glean some utility out of it, rather than a few rides’ worth of flirty fun, fat bike makers are condemning it to novelty status. Omitting that story silently states that you don’t think it’s a great tool after all. They are setting it up to be a passing fad.

I’m not saying don’t make those videos; the guys in the Rocky video were having fun and I was left envious (but they were also using a snowmobile to shuttle up – and we’d all rather be on skis once a snowmobile is involved). Chris Akrigg made riding in dunes and coastal rocks look like something I’d like to try, but it didn’t make me want to own a fat bike, and the thought of pedaling through that soft sand when your two slash turns are done made me think I’d rather rent one for an hour and then go eat ice cream or something. Have some fun – we’re talking bikes after all – but show us the other side, too.

Akrigg_FatBike_sand

That looks fun as hell, for two slash turns. Then you have to slog it back up…

Where are the edits about fat bikes being ridden on snowy back roads, with campfires and bourbon and beards and cooking your whole breakfast in a cast iron pan full of bacon grease? What about riding them along coastal beaches as you seek out new places to play in the ocean? I want to watch that movie. I’ve seen a fat bike flipped, and it was funny and slightly impressive the first time. Just like cotton candy, it tastes good for a few seconds but doesn’t provide a lot of sustenance.

Gully_FatBike_BackFlip

Rocky’s vid about the Blizzard was fun to watch, but are any of us going to go to the trouble of organizing snowmobile shuttles so we can go fat biking? Photo: Rocky Mountain Bicycles

Everyone loved the Rocky fat bike vid because it was something new. Gully flipped one! But it wasn’t long before we saw more flips on fat bikes – each slightly clumsier than the last. Aaron Chase is an incredible jumper of bikes, but he was visibly struggling to get his wheels more than a few feet off the ground in many scenes in Pivot’s recent vid. Foes’ Mutz is a dually, ridden impressively in this vid made by one of their dealers, except why wouldn’t you choose a regular-wheeled bike when there’s only a trace of the devil’s dandruff? Exactly.

Hey fat bike companies: make a vid that shows them off in the way they’re actually intended to be used. I promise that will do a lot more to sell bikes than another rehash of the same idea that’s already feeling stale.


By all means make the ‘fun’ fat bike vids, but please give us some oatmeal with our cotton candy.

Trending on NSMB

Comments

wickedscholar
+1 wizardB
wickedscholar  - Dec. 7, 2016, 8:47 a.m.

They seem like a stupid fad invented by bike companies who just want stupid people to buy yet another bike for their collection. I could see them being useful for riding across the Sahara desert. Most of the people I see riding them are on the street, or single track. Gay as hell.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0 Derek Baker wizardB
Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 17, 2016, 9:09 a.m.

You lost me when you used 'gay' as a pejorative. That pretty much lets discounts the validity of the word scholar in your name.

Further, they're not for stupid people with too much money. They're useful in sand and snow. And right now the shore is covered in white stuff and the fat bikers are loving it. We're even going to be testing one or two.

Reply

robert-flowers
-1 wizardB
Robert Flowers  - May 1, 2016, 10:41 p.m.

I am an old retired fart who wants a fat bike with full suspension so I might hang a motorized kit on it to buzz into town (I live out in the desert) for a 6 pack.

Reply

robert-flowers
0
Robert Flowers  - May 1, 2016, 10:44 p.m.

There really IS an advantage to the Fat Bike load carrying capacity, (especially if you aren't peddling).

Reply

doctordee
+1 wizardB
DoctorDee  - Feb. 17, 2015, 5:34 a.m.

The problem with this is that it assumes that people who buy bikes, any kind of bikes, give a shit about marketing. And some of them do, so let them have all the Vimeos of Red Bullshit they want/need. Some of us buy plenty of bikes, some of us have already moved from our first heavy steel fat bike to our sleek and stealthy carbon one without ever seeing, or paying any attention to, any marketing whatsoever. Life's about riding, not about being marketed to.

Reply

brente
+1 wizardB
brente  - Jan. 25, 2015, 5:50 p.m.

Let the marketers do what they want i still ride 26 inch tires on a hardtail on Fromme and Seymour……. oh and have a blast doing it.

Reply

guest
0
guest  - Jan. 24, 2015, 10:50 a.m.

For the love of all things holy (if you believe in sky fairies) WOULD THE BIKE INDUSTRY STOP SAYING "EDIT"!!

Reply

jennaii88
+1 Derek Baker
jennaii88  - Jan. 22, 2015, 1:42 p.m.

Here's the real reason for freerider fat bike videos. Fat bikes
are now fun. Remember the very first fat bikes? They sucked, they were a side
show, and they rode like crap. But now, companies are putting some money into
them, and figured a bunch of stuff out to make them ride, well, like a decent
mtn. bike.

And let's face it, the bike companies are just after those already
hooked on bikes, how can they make you want to add another bike? Well, most
riders who tried the early fat bikes thought, "cute, but crappy."
What's the best way to bust that stereotype? Get your paid freerider to work
his style on a fat bike, and convince riders who thought fat bikes were lame
that they are indeed actually pretty fun.

It's just like 29ers years ago, everyone loathed them, and for
good reason, they sucked really bad. But then, as geometry and stiffness came
around, boom- freeriders pushing 29ers to the max.

Are fat bikes perfect for goofing around, and taking out to get
drunk in the woods? Hell yeah, but making a rad, watchable video of that is waaay harder
than getting your paid bro-brah to shred.

Reply

brian
0
Brian Goldstone  - Jan. 23, 2015, 8:35 p.m.

Bingo.

Reply

woodyak
0
woodyak .  - Jan. 22, 2015, 12:19 p.m.

If the marketers want to put out a Red Bull-esque video with fatbikes let them. Kinda cool to see what a pro can do on these things. I don't think anybody gets convinced that buying their fatbike will help them backflip one. Just because pros are freeriding them on Facebook doesn't mean the eskimos in AK and MN are going to throw their bikes in the trash.

I don't understand all the fat-hate going on. If you have no interest in them don't buy one, don't watch the video, don't waste your time reading and posting about them on the interwebz. I notice most of the hate comes from folks who never have ridden one. I guess now that 650B has gained acceptance folks need another target.

I recently picked up a fatty to bridge the seasons in the Boston area, where we often get "a wintery mix". I also wanted a backup bike to give my do-it-all 6×6 a rest. I've been kinda blown away at how well this thing pedals on everything. Recently we've had nothing but frozen dirt and ice and I think I'm actually faster on the fatty.

Fatbikes are about having fun on your bike. Anytime someone hops on my bike and bounces around on it they crack a big ass smile. What's wrong with that?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 22, 2015, 12:47 p.m.

Well, nothing's wrong with that, woodyak, and I think you'll notice I didn't say there was anything wrong with that kind of sentiment either 😉

If you look hard enough, you'll see that my article was in defense of the fat bike. I'm also not opposed to videos of people shredding and flipping on them. What I wrote was a warning about what could happen to fat bikes in the future if they're not portrayed…fairly.

Reply

woodyak
0
woodyak .  - Jan. 22, 2015, 12:55 p.m.

I hear what your saying. To be honest I don't really care wether fatbikes hit and stay in the mainstream. As long as I get to ride mine I'll be happy 🙂

Cheers!

Reply

paul-t
0
Paul T.  - Jan. 22, 2015, 10:45 a.m.

This article is complete bullshit. Who is this guy to tell me how to use the bike I want to buy? Why is his small list of intended uses for fat bikes the only reasonable list? That, and his wishlist of categories to market to already exists and has existed since this category emerged. You don't have to look farther than Salsa/Surly to see that. The same company who released a full suspension fat bike in carbon no less. How's that for utility?

Nothing is killing fat bikes. Their is not an LBS in my area who can keep stock of any Fat Bike for long. They never go on sale and the distributors sell out before they get to shipping their stock. If anything is "killing" the fat bike market it is not enough fat bikes in the market to meet demand.

My local MTB trails have a considerable amount of fat bikers now. They don't use fat bikes to "slog through dirt and snow", they use fat bikes because they are an inexpensive alternative to a full suspension bike for people who don't want to spend the money and aren't racing. They're fun and practical offroaders.

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 22, 2015, 12:50 p.m.

I'm not telling you how to ride it, Paul and I'm not trying to define the category, either. It sounds like where you're from, they're selling well - at least because, as you state, shops can't keep them in stock. By next year there will be a correction as shops place larger orders, distributors make bigger commitments, and every bike company that can will bring one to market. And then the market will either be flooded and they'll all be on sale, or the fat bike market will just continue to grow and absorb the glut of fat bikes being pumped out. If that happens, I'll be proven wrong. But we won't really know for a few years. In the meantime I can assure you, that article may contain some BS (in your opinion), but its bullshit status is far from complete.

Reply

paul-t
0
Paul T.  - Jan. 22, 2015, 4:59 p.m.

I apologize for the initial tone of my comment, however, I do stand by my point. I'd also like to start out with thanking you for responding to my comment and for writing this piece in the first place. Just being able to converse about our great sport is a wonderful thing.

Your article definitely sounded like you where trying to not just define, but constrain the segment of fat biking. But lets just go with this as a one line summary for your article: "Marketing departments at bicycle manufacturers are selling unrealistic or downright incorrect perceptions of fat bikes to the public, and this will hurt the sport in the future."

This has been true for every product ever sold since the dawn of "marketing", with few exceptions. Fine, you can argue that that doesn't make it right. But it's exceptionally daft on your part because fat bikes are more versatile, and inexpensive for that versatility, than any other off-road bike class before it. For as little as $1k, you can get a bike that will go anywhere and put a smile on your face. You may be getting there slower than that any one specific bike for a specific purpose (other than snow and sane of course), but it will get you there.

As cyclists, not of any specific sub class, we should be overjoyed that there is a new class of bikes making seasoned veterans and new comers alike, filled with 2 wheeled joy, regardless of weather they can do back flips on their fat bikes or not.

Specifically to your correction point, I feel the manufacturers/suppliers have been playing it cautious for while already. This years supplier situation, at least here in Canada, has been the same as previous years. Not enough bikes to meet demand. No supplier wants to be stuck with unsold inventory and I doubt they will be racing to "fix" that.

Edit: And I mean look at this thing

There are almost as many categories of fat bikes now as regular offroad bikes.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 23, 2015, 11:21 a.m.

It's ok, I'm well used to people using language or tone on the web that would never be used to my face. I won't hold it against you 😉 Even though you said I was being exceptionally daft - and again, that's debatable - because I still don't think you're getting my point. Rather than name-calling you on it, I'll try to explain.

If it sounded like I'm trying to constrain fat biking, it wasn't my intention. But I'm going to stick by the fact that no matter what is happening now while fat biking is in the middle of its 'darling' phase, I don't think people will continue to buy fat bikes and use them to ride in 'regular' trail riding situations unless there are extenuating circumstances. And by that I mean: it's their only bike, or they ride in winter more than summer, etc. Sure, you can take one along on a regular trail ride and pedal it and shred it and have fun, and some people are doing that - but how much of that is because of the novelty of it? You may disagree on that point, and that's fair. The thing is that when people are sold something that turns out to be different than what they thought they were buying, disenchantment will be damaging. No matter how versatile fat bikes are (and it's funny you were trying to talk me into this point when it was the one I was making in the first place), if they end up in the wrong hands, that is to say the hands that don't want to work with that tool - they'll still gather dust. For some people. Others will buy and use them for all the right reasons - and that's great.

Yes, I'm overjoyed that fat bikes bring joy to people. But you'd be bored as shit and not commenting if that's all I had written, correct? In addition, it's my job to poke and prod a little bit. I'm happy to help us all celebrate being bikers as well, but it's not that simple from this perspective.

On the supply/demand front, a little anecdote for you. A company that joined the fat bike foray this year was recently crowing about having sold out their first run on the day they released the bike. Great! Guess how many units that was? Fifty. If there are a dozen or two or three dozen companies that are happy about selling their first fifty (and this isn't a boutique manufacturer), that still isn't a lot of bikes. Yes, Surly and Salsa and others are selling them more than fifty at a time, but this is still a niche that is over-marketed by the brands at the moment. In two years we'll see how much attention they still get. Don't get me wrong, I'm pro fat bike, pro bike, pro ride whatever the hell you want as long as you're smiling, but I'm also wary of the mistakes that are made time and again in this business and I just hope we don't have a lot of tear-stained bourbon-scented beards a few years from now because the fat bike done got killed before it really got rolling.

Reply

mrride
0
mr.ride  - Feb. 12, 2015, 12:58 p.m.

isn't that how all catagory of bikes evolve, and it does not have to be a different kind of bike to do that, market demand is always changing.

Reply

mrride
-1 wizardB
mr.ride  - Feb. 12, 2015, 12:55 p.m.

Right on Paul, excellent. Pete, does not understand the good that being mainstream can bring, just a hater.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 wizardB
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 13, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

mr. ride, literally SEVEN lines above the one you're reading right now, you will see that I wrote: "…I'm pro fat bike, pro bike, pro ride whatever the hell you want as long as you're smiling…". Yep. Spoken like a true hater - you got me.

Reply

scooba-stevezee-novy
0
Scooba SteveZee Novy  - Jan. 22, 2015, 8:51 a.m.

Ha! There ain't nuthin' gonna kill the fat bike, but that headline did get me to read the article… I can say unequivocally that backflips and Fat Cargo Bikes already live together in harmony!
To give you a couple of examples -
I rode my fattie in the dirt jumps this summer. It rocked those table-tops so hard, nobody would have guessed. I am a strong supporter of fat bike air.
I also raced a fat cargo bike prototype recently in two events in Colorado, and it is fast, especially on the downhill. Yes, that's right, a fat cargo bike with XtraCycle panniers, launching the triples at night in the terrain park… Who would'a thunk it?

This is just like a rode vs. mountain biker argument. Intriguing, but it doesn't get us anywhere.

I'm all for pushing the limits of these bikes. Show me your stuff, people. Your fattie was intended to be rocked hard.

Reply

joe-murray
0
Joe Murray  - Jan. 22, 2015, 7:56 a.m.

Some people enjoy bike porn. Personally after 10 minutes of bike flipping I have more useful and for me, more interesting things to do. If bike pornographers want to use fat bikes then fine. It's not going to kill them and saying so is just stupid.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Jan. 22, 2015, 8:39 p.m.

Stupid. Really Joe?

Reply

thequa
0
TheQua  - Jan. 21, 2015, 10:03 p.m.

Fat bike bros (pugsley OG's) are just mad that fat bikes are evolving and becoming more than utility. To each his own. I would rock a carbon Beargrease with a bluto and a dropper post for copper harbor just as soon as I would ride a pugsley for romping around town to get my kimchi and kale. Everyone has their own speed, and more than a few people can wear more than one hat in that respect. The author seems to be putting all fatbikes in the same category which they are not. Not even close. The market is evolving and a wider tire can offer much more than utility and flotation when put to work properly. I've ridden Surly, Salsa, 907 and more, all very different bikes. Is an S-Works Venge a Gunnar Roadie? No, and they don't market the same either. Signed your broke ass small town bike shop mechanic. Just Ride.

Reply

frag-spawn
0
Frag Spawn  - Jan. 21, 2015, 9:59 p.m.

Fat bikes are to bike nerds, what casinos are to problem gamblers. Got a fat bike in you garage? You've just ticked off a use case no other bike can fill. Irrespective of how slow, heavy and cumbersome they are to ride.

Reply

alex
0
Alex  - Jan. 21, 2015, 7:45 p.m.

Please. Bring on the backflips… If I see one more bearded hipster's "edits about fat bikes being ridden on snowy back roads, with campfires and bourbon and beards and cooking your whole breakfast in a cast iron pan full of bacon grease" I might shove myself ass-first into a woodchipper.

J/ks I love the bearded hipster vids too.

I don't see the problem. Bikes are fun, the stuff in the vids looks fun… Done?

Reply

michael
0
Michael  - Jan. 21, 2015, 6:52 p.m.

Great article Pete, well written. Fat isn't for everyone but has it's place, much like 29er. I often wonder why the bike parks (especially Whistler already equipped to carry bikes) don't offer winter lift access for bikes? A couple of designated groomers and maybe even a few jump lines would be awesome!!! Just watch any of the Mega Avalanche races, what a hoot.

Reply

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - Jan. 21, 2015, 6:06 p.m.

Um isn't that how they sell all bikes? And cars? And… Most of the videos on NSMB are riders jumping shredding and hauling ass. There are a few token climbing shots but mostly downhill riding. What's the difference?

The Rocky vid won't make me any more or less interested. I ski or maybe snowshoe in snow. And I don't see how riding frozen packed roads will be better that XC of alpine skiing. I don't jump my regular mountainbike but the vids of free riders or DH racers don't really affect my buying. Don't agree with the writer.

Reply

doug-nielsen
0
Doug Nielsen  - Jan. 23, 2015, 8:09 a.m.

That's not his point. I think he's trying to say that they are advertising water and cookies when in fact milk and cookies is way better. If in this analogy the cookie is your standard trail they should be marketing something completely different because the mass majority of cookie monsters like milk. So… advertise that they need a fat bike for winter excursions, beach cruises, riding around the great salt lake, etc.-not for mastering their backflips and tail whips.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 23, 2015, 11:23 a.m.

Couldn't have said it better…in fact, I didn't. Well done, Doug.

Reply

cam-shook
0
Cam Shook  - Jan. 21, 2015, 5:49 p.m.

here's my (hopefully) constructive criticism. I didn't find the above article engaging. I enjoy written articles more than edits but I don't enjoy written articles about edits.

That being said the article did result in a number of pretty cool adventure edits posted to the comments section. I would never have looked for these myself so I appreciated seeing them here.

So the end result was good. Moving forward how can we hone in on bikes/biking /free-riding/adventure/racing without discussing "the media," "the bike companies," "the pros," "the photographers," or "the reviewers."

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Jan. 21, 2015, 10:01 p.m.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Have a look in our archives and you'll see many pieces that aren't about "the media," "the bike companies," "the pros," "the photographers," or "the reviewers." But we'll keep talking about those as well.

Reply

CraigH
0
Craig Hunt  - Jan. 21, 2015, 4:44 p.m.

Expedition fat bike video? What about one? "Lost Coast Fat Bike and Packraft: Pedal, Paddle, and Push"

Reply

oldmanbike
0
OldManBike  - Jan. 21, 2015, 4:18 p.m.

Not sure if I agree our not. But strong writing.

Reply

dave
0
dave  - Jan. 21, 2015, 3:36 p.m.

I can't seem to care about how fatbikes are marketed. That's the problem of the manufacturers and their bottom line. Fat bikes are a presence. They sell themselves to the right people. As for bourbon, beards and bacon, no, they are not just for hipsters.

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drewm
0
DrewM  - Jan. 21, 2015, 3:21 p.m.

As a utilitarian vehicle is there anything that any company has to offer beyond what Surly has been doing for years? No. So what option do companies have other than trying to convince the consumer that their trendy me-too product is "More Fun."Maybe it's just that my opinion of the industry's marketing machinations is sardonic, in general, to the point that I don't see anything out of the ordinary here.

That said, one of the places that - I think - the industry is making huge inroads is in recognizing that some ~50% of their potential customers are women and -- maybe I'm just a prude -- I thought this comparison was entirely un-neccesary "Just like with any tool, that utility doesn’t need to be dressed up in come-fuck-me boots and paraded in front of the internet in order to get a date" when the same under-edited-to-the-point-of-obfuscation editorial could have easily been published without it.

I guess you write to your audience (I'm guessing 100% of comments to this article are by men), but I think you could aim for a broader readership without making your editorials any less "cutting" and "honest" as appears to be the goal of the new-and-improved NSMB.com.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Jan. 21, 2015, 10:02 p.m.

Are you saying CFM boots are only for women? That's kind of sexist isn't it?

Reply

drewm
+1 wizardB
DrewM  - Jan. 21, 2015, 10:44 p.m.

No Cam, it isn't sexist. And the reason it isn't is that every single man (and also any woman if you have any reading this site) who was alive in the 90's knows exactly what Pete meant by "Come Fuck Me Boots."

If you aren't sure, you don't even have to dig down as far the Urban Dictionary for a refresh because it turns out even Wikipedia has an entry:

Reply

doug-nielsen
0
Doug Nielsen  - Jan. 21, 2015, 3:08 p.m.

Good article. 90% of the time I see those edits I wonder, "why aren't they just shredding it on a regular bike…seems kinda bulky and gangly to me…" still don't get it cus I put studded tires on my covert, lowered psi to 18 and ride just fine… I guess when I leave PC and head to shred on a beach I'll let you know??? I know, I know, they have their place too.

Reply

0
Tom  - Jan. 21, 2015, 1:46 p.m.

I seem to remember a lot of edits like this when 29ers were made mainstream. A good rider can ride anything well. That's all these type of edits advertise to me.

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singular-sam
0
Singular Sam  - Jan. 21, 2015, 1:13 p.m.

Nice one here -

Reply

slam69
0
slam69  - Jan. 21, 2015, 12:53 p.m.

We are a fatbike shop in Gloucestershire uk. we sell 98% fatbikes now, and to all types of rider with the vast majority experience mountain bikers.
The bike media have no idea but do we care? Not one bit.
Due to demand we are manufactiring our own brand now, companies like Hope are selling hubs like no tomorrow.
So if this article is saying theres no futuref or the fattie, haha. Think again.
We stock Salsa, Pivot Les Fat, Sarma, Rocky Mountain, OnOne, Surly and Smokestone. We are also the UK importer for FOES Mutz.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 13, 2015, 9:32 a.m.

That's great, slam. The article does not says there's no future for the fattie - go read it, you'll see.

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dfiler
0
dfiler  - Jan. 21, 2015, 12:19 p.m.

This article could be written about biking in general. A fatbike is the same weight as a normal "enduro" bike, whatever that is. Ride it up and down hills if you want. Or don't.

The author thinking that fatbikes are utility bikes shows that he's actually more out of touch than the bike companies. I for one like seeing the freeride edits. There are also plenty of slow, slogging snow edits out there. Both are good.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Jan. 21, 2015, 2:22 p.m.

That's an interesting comment. And bold. How exactly does this show that the author is more out of touch than the bike companies? You should probably back up a pronouncement like that if you'd like it to hold water. And saying a bike has utility (ie. it's useful) is different than saying it's a 'utility bike'.

Reply

anon
0
anon  - Jan. 22, 2015, 10:06 a.m.

I think what this commenter was getting at, and I agree with, is that bikes don't necessarily have to be about using the best tool for the job. And that riding a fat bike makes no less sense than riding an enduro bike, because at the end of the day we're just riding bicycles in dirt and if we were truly concerned with utility we would be doing something more sensible with our time, like working or doing our taxes.

My favorite bike right now is my steel hardtail. My choice in riding that bike is questioned on a somewhat regular basis with people wondering why on earth I'm not on a carbon enduroish bike like all my friends. I like the bike because a part of me WANTS to not be on a bike that makes sense. While I'm not a fan of fat bikes because of the slow handling, my sentiment for wanting a less than efficient bike could just as easily lead me to shredding a fatbike in the bike park on a beautiful summer day.

If I cared about utility I wouldn't be spending thousands of dollars every year, and two and a half days a week playing in the dirt and getting nothing productive done other than placing a smile on my face. My favorite activity now is almost the same now as it was when I rode my first tricycle down the driveway, and it makes no more sense now than it did then.

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - Jan. 22, 2015, 8:57 p.m.

Yep. For sure. I don't disagree with anything you've said there, but that doesn't address what Pete was saying in his article. He didn't say anything about how the average rider should use his or her bike. He also didn't recommend using the best tool for the job.

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casey-greene
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Casey Greene  - Jan. 21, 2015, 11:45 a.m.

This marketing makes perfect sense - spend very little money to create a potential market within a new user group.

Thinking about this a bit more, if I was a potential buyer looking to race the Iditasport I would research the crap out of every aspect of my trip by scouring all data on the internet. There is no video marketing needed. For instance, my bike buying would probably lead me to this:

If I was a Pinkbiker looking to extend my season all it would take is a couple rad back-fliping fatbike videos to get me going.

Let me put this a different way: Those videos are not meant for you. Or, me. While we might think it is neat, they are meant for the passionate freeridin, trail-building, red bull crowd who has to turn to backcountry or alpine skiing in the winter, but wouldn't if they had an option to ride a bike - and build legal non-permanent trail. Also, this will further the sport by making their summer activities easier. As you said, that backflip looks pretty tough even for those riders, but get it down it the winter, and it becomes incredible easy in the summer.

Sam just posted a great video of Doom and MikeC's trip. These videos are out there, but you need to tilt you view away from the mainstream industry media. Or maybe just the mainstream mountain bike media. MikeC's version from that trip was just featured on AJ a few weeks ago:

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casey-greene
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Casey Greene  - Jan. 21, 2015, 11:50 a.m.

And if you need more Idtasport, here is an hour long documentary from the 2001 event. I don't think it has changed that much:

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sam-haraldson
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Sam Haraldson  - Jan. 21, 2015, 11:52 a.m.

Thanks for adding this one, Casey. The people featured in this film (and others doing the same) are as elite as they get.

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scott-benson
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Scott Benson  - Jan. 21, 2015, 8:14 p.m.

Aren't most "sporting goods" marketed by professionals using them in a way not likely to be replicated by us average joes? Look at NHL players advertising hockey sticks ("why would I buy that stick if I can't shoot 100 miles an hour?")

I don't see this being any different, and I'm not saying any marketing scheme is honest and true. I'm saying this doesn't stand out like a sore thumb the way it is portraid in the article.

Who ever classified fat bikes as utilitarian? I am fairly utilitarian minded but I have a truck and a snowmobile for my utilitarian needs like hauling firewood or getting groceries. If I buy a fat bike it is strictly for pleasure.

And yes It is possible to ride a regular bike on groomed trails. My old man used to ride snowmobile trails on his only rocky in the 90s. You needed a cold night after a warm day to harden things up enough however

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sam-haraldson
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Sam Haraldson  - Jan. 21, 2015, 11:37 a.m.

I wholeheartedly support more fatbike expedition films!

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rob
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rob  - Jan. 21, 2015, 10:55 a.m.

Here's a little something that might fit your criteria:

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paddy
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Paddy  - Jan. 21, 2015, 7:32 p.m.

Wonder if you couldn't just ride a regular mountain bike on a "groomed" trail

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jfactor1
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jfactor1  - Jan. 22, 2015, 6:32 a.m.

Michigander here. Marquette gets almost 400cm of snow every winter so at any given time there's lots of it on the ground. The Snow Bike Route isn't groomed like a ski hill would be. Even though it's packed it'd be like riding on a muddy trail where you leave pizza cutter tracks everywhere you went. The Noquemenon Trail Network (the group responsible for Marquette's trails) publishes daily tire pressure recommendations to minimize this problem which even fat bikes can cause.

The NTN page has a lot more information about the SBR.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 22, 2015, 12:17 p.m.

Thanks for those tidbits, jfactor1, especially what you mention about daily tire pressure recos. Similar to xc ski centers recommending certain waxes for the day.

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Faction
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Derp  - Jan. 22, 2015, 7:57 p.m.

Where you can ride a regular bike, like the really firm sections, its almost like dirt therefore much faster and better than riding a fat bike. But, the fat bike can ride over more stuff, just much slower. Its like comparing a tractor to a sports car.

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eric-hunter
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Eric Hunter  - Jan. 23, 2015, 11:23 a.m.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 22, 2015, 12:43 p.m.

And it does fit the criteria (we did feature the Cold Rolled series right here on NSMB last year when it was released). I just watched it again - thanks for linking - and it's a great documentary.

However it wasn't made by a bike company - a key part of the criteria I mentioned. Salsa did support that video, and Surly is the most well-known fat bike manufacturer, who also are firmly planted on the adventure/utility side of the fat bike spectrum. But most of the Johnny-come-lately fat bike brands are not coming at it from this perspective and that's the danger I'm highlighting. If too many bikes are sold to shops and in turn onto customers who buy them and realize they're not as good at many things as they were led to believe (and by extension, not as fun for certain things), then some of that demand will dry up. Companies will abandon ship. And three or five years from now, we'll be back to only a few companies making them. Maybe that's all fat bikers need. Maybe that's all the natural demand that actually exists. Maybe I'm completely wrong. I suppose we won't know for several years.

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rob
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rob  - Jan. 23, 2015, 12:34 p.m.

Fair enough.

I wonder what would take the big companies getting into the fatbike segment to take a QPB-style approach to fatbike promotion. I'm sure they realize that the utility of fat floaty tires in sand and snow is the major advantage of fatbikes, but they're so deeply invested in their traditional race/feeride marketing they can't see past that, maybe? You definitely get at this a bit in your article.

And, yes, maybe fatbikers only need a few companies who know what they need to deliver to their customers, rather than a whole slew of companies who are definitely good at what they do, which might not be fatbikes. And that's perfectly OK, I think. That's the market at work.

Anyway, excellent article. Good food for thought.

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mrride
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mr.ride  - Feb. 12, 2015, 12:46 p.m.

if you thing Surly and Salsa were the first ones to build fat bikes you are the problem. I have heard the same bitch from people like you about mountain bikes,fixies,carbon, and on and on cant you be grateful that people are rideing instead of bitching about who is ruining what, liten up and go ride.

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adamgnewman
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adamgnewman  - Jan. 21, 2015, 10:33 a.m.

Like this?

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bsklasa
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bsklasa  - Jan. 21, 2015, 10:17 a.m.

yeah, right, okay. Like showing fat bike riders barely moving, struggling, and pushing their bikes around in the snow is going to convince anyone to buy one.

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coastmountainculturemagazine
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CoastMountainCultureMagazine  - Jan. 21, 2015, 9:47 a.m.

Here you go:

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mnfats
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MNfats  - Jan. 21, 2015, 9:37 a.m.

"Where are the edits about fat bikes being ridden on snowy back roads, with campfires and bourbon and beards and cooking your whole breakfast in a cast iron pan full of bacon grease?" My Instagram account.

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krem
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krem  - Jan. 21, 2015, 11:07 a.m.

Post a link!

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 21, 2015, 12:12 p.m.

Let's see it, MNfats!

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danny-waskiewicz
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Danny Waskiewicz  - Jan. 21, 2015, 9:32 a.m.

I've seen many a "social media marketing" post from the guys at Rocky Mountain, Redington, and Causewell promoting the fun and utility of fatbikes for the camping, fly fishing, bourbon variety. I've yet to see a moving picture "edit" containing those things, but who needs that?

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mattbc
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mattbc  - Jan. 21, 2015, 8:59 a.m.

Well said. Great article. I've been a fan of the fat bike for a few years now. I don't own one yet, only because I haven't figured the right angle to work my wife on to get her to let me buy one. When I first saw the new Rocky Blizzard in print and in the shops, I was impressed. But then I saw the video and I truly thought they did a disservice to the fat bike. They made it look like a novelty. Shuttling with a snowmobile? Whats up with that. I know a few guys that have fat bikes up at Sun Peaks. The mountain is fine with fat bikes and there hasn't been any conflict with user groups. For them its about maintaining winter fitness and actually riding. 3hrs to 4hrs night rides, traversing the snowshoe trails or Cat tracks to the top of the mountain. Or just plan old getting out riding trails, in the snow.

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sean
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Sean  - Jan. 21, 2015, 8:50 a.m.

Meh, let them market the shit out of it all they want with these types of videos. There is a school of Red Bull swigging kids that will pony up for a high dollar fatty, realize that they aren't Simmons or Chase and will dump them. Good. The rest of us will scoop them up barely used for cheap.

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jerry-hazard
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Jerry Hazard  - Jan. 21, 2015, 8:29 a.m.

Meh. If utility doesn't need to be dressed up in "fuck me" boots, it also doesn't need a fuck off denense. Utility also defends itself. After all, the road bikes doing back flips are cute, right? Gung ho marketing is fine as long as it only applies to enduro or dh, right? Just let them have their fun. Even if fatties fade in to obscurity, they'll still be more available than they were 5 years ago.

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Faction
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Derp  - Jan. 21, 2015, 6:01 a.m.

I think you need both types of marketing schemes. I definitely don't see myself as the Ididarod type guy but more the guy who wants to go fast and have fun. So that marketing works for me, and is part of the reason why I will probably buy a fatty.

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slyfink
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slyfink  - Jan. 21, 2015, 12:57 p.m.

I suggest you try one before giving into the marketing. if you want to "go fast and have fun", you may be dissapointed. I tried them and didn't like them. I imagine it's possible to "go fast and have fun" on them, but not for me and where I would ride them. It's easier to go fast and have fun on skis here….

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Faction
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Derp  - Jan. 21, 2015, 6:04 p.m.

I have tried them. Fast is a relative term. But here where I'm from there is snow on the ground every winter, making riding a regular bike pretty tough. for those times, a fat bike makes sense. Riding one in the summer or whenever a regular bike is better, just confuses me.

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paddy
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Paddy  - Jan. 21, 2015, 7:38 p.m.

Sand.

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Faction
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Derp  - Jan. 22, 2015, 7:39 a.m.

I get that, but for my own situation, I would not be looking to ride in sand given the amount of trails in this province. I suspect though that this is where fat bikes really shine?

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william_gibson
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William_Gibson  - Feb. 1, 2015, 8:15 p.m.

you would really want a Rohloff hub if you do a lot of sand miles, right? because it is hell on your bike…..

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tall-one
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tall one  - Jan. 21, 2015, 3:16 a.m.

sorry, that's the latest Version:

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tall-one
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tall one  - Jan. 21, 2015, 2:14 a.m.

A vid like this?

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Captain-Snappy
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Merwinn  - Jan. 21, 2015, 8:51 a.m.

Euro buddy raced a fully rigid Sandman in the 2010 BCBR and killed it. The only issue he had was the OTB in the WBP into a face slide on day 7. Then again, your legs and brain are fried anyways and your pretty much just trying to hang on for those last two hours. #goodtimes.

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eric-hunter
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Eric Hunter  - Jan. 23, 2015, 11:21 a.m.

Thats how you do it!

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Fatjeff
+1 PeterO
Jeff Richards  - Dec. 22, 2018, 2:06 p.m.

Prior to 2017 I dreaded winter solstice and the 2 months on either side.  It meant months of hibernating in the pain cave.  Then I bought a Fat Bike!  Found a group of riders that keep cranking through the snow.  These riders have turned the tide of winter solitude into Wednesday social rides, Sunday races.  And we don’t care what the weathers doing, nastier the better, snow, mud, slop bring it!  Too wet too ride in the spring? Not for us, The parks ask us to come out and smooth out the trails for them.  Fast is relative, in some conditions my fatty is way faster than my FS MTB in others not so much.  IMO the real beauty of Fat bikes is no one really cares what brand or what bling you bring.  Mud, Snow, Muck are great equalizers.

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PeterO
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PeterO  - Dec. 27, 2018, 10:11 a.m.

'Dunes' more great Akrigg skills!!

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Shoreloamer
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Greg Bly  - Dec. 28, 2018, 11:46 a.m.

I do cheap novice short films of me and friends riding. A few other people make quality budget edits.

All videos filmed with pros shows a terribly unrealistic view of how most people ride trails. One might call it fantasy .The common name is bike porn. We watch pros do carefully executed stunts and riding ,probably taking multiple attempts to achieve one shot. It might take four hours to get that perfect shot.

This has little to do with how you and I ride. 

Fat bikes are a toy . So is your 8000$ Enduro bike.

People make decisions on what bike to purchase watching bike videos? Really? I doubt it.

I would like to buy a fully rigid fat bike with powerful brakes and five inch tires. My mini DH bike gets me down any trail with mucho pleasure.

I would love to rediscover the thrill of riding on such a Fat Bike on the gnarliest of Shore trails.

I ride snow covered trails on my normal dual sus. If the snow is more than six inches deep your Fat bike is going nowhere fast.

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