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March 12, 2014, 3:32 p.m. -  taprider

#!markdown I have ridden mtn bikes a lot on snow and ice having grown up in the interior of BC, and later living many winters on ski hills and in Alberta. I have even raced the Iditabike in Alaska and the Muffaloose ice road race from Fort McMurray to Fort Chip. So, in my opinion… Fat bikes have an advantage when riding over a thin frozen crust or a thin layer of packed powder over loose snow, or for variable conditions where you may inadvetantly punch through. However, for hard packed snow (such that you could easily run without snow shoes) then a fat bike does not have an advantage over a 2.5″ tire (actually a disadvantage because of the extra weight and poor handling for xc type racing). In the majority of cases there is a narrow margin between any tire width >2.25″ working and the loose and deep conditions where even a 5″ is not enough. I have even tried the catepillar tracked SkiTrax bike with a ski on the front. Super fun downhill in powder and in the moguls, but you still couldn't pedal it over the flats in any type of condition that it would be an advantage over a fat bike.

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