Fat bikes opened up new terrain for riding when the frames that could accommodate extra wide rubber were first introduced. For Canadians, it meant that riding on snow became a real possibility and instead of switching to cross country skies or snow shoes, avid cyclists could roll out their fat rubber and hit up trails that before would have been inaccessible.
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They have since become the steeds of trail bike packers and many find uses for them in all seasons beyond the sandy and snowy surfaces they were designed to make accessible. Whether you hate them or love them they serve a purpose and many Canadians appreciate what they offer during the winter months. Here are five fat bikes available this winter that caught our eyes.
Trek Farley 5
With a light strong, aluminium frame the Farley 5—which comes in carbon models as well—was designed for speed. With clearance for tires as wide as 5″ it comes equipped with 27.5×4″ wheels but can fit 26″ x 5″ as well. This versatility is designed to make it a good choice regardless of season or conditions. The geometry also makes it good for handling in snow or on technical trails. The internal derailleur and drop post cabling is also a nice feature. The Trek Farley 5 starts at US$2,100 and has a claimed weight of 32.06 lbs. Visit trekbikes.com for more information.
Scott Big Jon
The Scott Big Jon is a fat bike that comes loaded with features. Like the Trek it has 197 mm rear hub spacing and front and back thru axles. It also has bolts for racks and fenders, an essential feature if you plan on doing bike packing. Specced with reliable components including a Syncros cockpit and Shimano Deore 2×10 groupset, it comes in at the affordable end of the spectrum at US$1,600 and is well equipped for fat bike adventures. Visit scott-sports.com for more information.
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Rocky Mountain Blizzard -50
Rocky Mountain’s updated top-end Blizzard -50 features 120 mm travel suspension with a trail geometry for more of a mountain bike feel but still features 4.8″ of clearance. The reach was lengthened, the chainstays were shortened, the bottom bracket was dropped and the head tube angle was slackened. A 1×11 setup on Shimano XT this is a dialed in Fat Bike retailing for $3,500 with the lower end model the Blizzard -10 coming in at $1,300. For more information visitbikes.com
Cannondale Fat CAAD 1
Cannondale’s entry into the fat bike market was with the alloy Fat CAAD 1. Featuring the companies signature fork, in this case a Lefty Olaf which is an air-sprung piece of suspension that has 100mm of travel. The Fat CAAD uses a slightly different geometry featuring a 60 mm offset fork with a relatively slack head handle to give riders more control at low speeds while still being stable at higher speeds. The top-end CAAD 1 equipped with a 1×11 SRAM X01 it retails for $3,500. Visit cannondale.com for more information.
Felt Fat DD30
The Felt Double Double was the companies first foray into the fat bike market last year and continues to offer a nicely designed package. Rack mounts, front and back, offer increased versatility making it a nice addition to the stable especially for those who foresee trail bike packing adventures in their future. Able to fit 4.25″ rubber the Fat DD30 offers a versatile package at US$1,700. Visit feltbicycles.com for more information.
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