Saturday morning, a well-tracked cross-country ski run ahead of us. Almost 200 people on the starting line, the majority of whom choose platforms instead of SPD, take a backpack on the 22-kilometer route, and cover the tight jeans with civil shorts. In addition, the visor on the helmet and loose, fluttering in the wind colored clothes and a thick, and even VERY TIGHT tire. To calculate the resistance that such a set puts, it would be necessary to study it the right to steal large numbers (Yes, I know that from the mathematical point of view, this law defines the chances of defeating the fatbike's time without dumping). It sounds a bit like a bad sleep of a horse. The worst part of all this is that we were also in this crowd.

If you have read previous entry (which I sincerely recommend, before getting into this) digging about what bike is the worst in the world, I have to sprinkle my head with ash and slightly draw conclusions. Yes, fatbike is hopelessly meaningless and stupid. Yes, it is almost always slower than other bikes and looks scant. And yes, even though the compulsive nature of bicycle shopaholic causes the bikes to pour out of my apartment, I would never buy a fatbike in my life.

We went to the Stołowe Mountains with fatbikes. It is there that probably the only race in Poland of these absurd machines is organized, which means that there must be exemplary conditions for such tests. After the second day of my stay, the ugly words in my head ended up (even inventing completely new ones). The title of this entry was to be: "fat on stools"- it was so bad. Sunday trip, which we started the early morning at about -14 ° C, changed my perception of this bike. Maybe not even what changed, because I still do not want to ever get on him, but I got a revelation.


Is fatbike quick faster than anything?


fatbike table mountains


Probably not. I am pretty sure that creating conditions where a fatbike will be the fastest choice is like creating a cross-country route where MTB has no chance. On Friday, as a prologue to the Monteria Fatbike Race Table Mountains, a time trial took place. The route is dizzying 3 km - to hit the box, you had to turn the average over 20 km / h. Given that it consisted of about 500 meters of vehicle, less than a kilometer of a single and 1.5 km of fast descent on the groomed ski slope, it seems quite simple. The problem is that, not counting the first 100-200 meters, the driveway can be overcome faster by any other bike, or even a breakthrough on the back (because of resistance), on the single I lay my head in the snow so many times that it didn't matter what I was traveling with, and at the descent, sick cotton wool (probably 360W to -10%) translated into a maximum speed of 45 km / h.


fatbike table mountains


The Sunday race was similar. For 23 kilometers of the route, the fatbike gave an advantage over the thick MTB (27.5+ or 29+) can in total on 300 meters - one steep and slippery driveway and fragments of singles with kicked, run down snow. Unfortunately, with our technique, the difficult terrain is overcome, either way, from the shoe. The route would probably pass a lot faster pass with an aggressive tread, I would have a few bruises more (and yes, I limited myself to around 6). I think I will not exaggerate, if I say that the normalized power from this race has exceeded 300W, which gave me quite an unexpectedly satisfying place in these symbolic, the best 10%. I think I would have been saving up to a couple of minutes on 29+. However, this was not a race for classic MTBs ...


Does the fat bike go better and more stable?


table mountains in winter


We have enjoyed riding these bikes for a long time. We had such a vision, as somewhere at the end of Poland we are speeding through white, snow powder, surrounded by trees and fresh air. We were not discouraged by a blow straight to the face on the way to Karłów, when in several more places the smoke from the chimneys tried to kill us, limiting visibility and strangling at the same time. Finally, the name Duszniki-Zdrój obliges. We were not even discouraged by the smoke, symbolizing another non-election of the Pope coming out of our center. Hot radiators, however, slightly stressed us, the amount of heat coming out of them was directly proportional to the amount of rubber that we left in the basement. Just as 3 weeks ago the dishes in the Karkonosze hut froze, so now we faced a dilemma: to open the window at minus a dozen degrees and choke in a dream or melt.


mongoose fatbike

photo by Piotr Olkowski


But it does not matter, we came here to ride. 200 meters from the house begin the ski and bicycle routes. It quickly turns out that in the area everything that is not asphalt and 2-meter snowdrift is here a cross-country ski run. With a slight embarrassment, we move her, keeping her possible near the edge - the fate, however, leave no trace behind us, we will not destroy anything. We feel somewhere in the middle, however, that it would be much nicer to come here with skis. At the first opportunity, following the dreams, we turn snow into the snow. The effect of this experiment is twofold depending on the speed. If we do it with momentum, the front wheel will immediately stop in the snow, and the rear wheel will change the speed vector from horizontal to vertical and before we make the necessary calculations to define our expected position, we will be head in the snow. At lower speeds, both wheels will stop at the same time and regardless of the term, we will be able to spin in place without falling over - the sight is quite comical.




In this way, our image of fatbikes breaks. This bike does not drive on the snow - after a moment of reflection, it makes sense. It would probably have to have a 2-wheel drive. Generally, it looks like this: driving on asphalt is a murder, riding on the ice is just as difficult as on any other, in the snow it is similar to other bicycles, in the snow it is slightly better than usual, but still slower than on 3 inches. The only moment when we reach the advantage is the driveway on which the grip ends - you can somehow tip to the top ... which of course is less effective than running up.


Who needs fatbike?

We have been looking for answers for a long time. Neither Mazovia nor race helped us. Being close to surrendering and giving up the hope of finding a meaning, a breakthrough took place. He came somewhere in the middle of the fairytale forest of the Stołowe Mountains. Well: we approached the idea of ​​a fatbike badly. It's as if we were wondering if the city bike is actually the fastest in city driving, but it does not matter. This bike was never meant to be fast. He never had to give time advantage in the field. This is a bike for a person who wants to travel 2-3 hours, renting it in a shelter at Hala Gąsienicowa, Kościelisko, Łeba or Szczeliniec. It is a bike that is supposed to be funny and we have to have fun on it without risking our health.

It would be enough for 29+, which in our opinion is the best choice for the conditions in which we found ourselves, but we are not the target here. The only question is whether the average recipient of the fatbike will be able to drive this machine under any of the hills. Even if not, he will enjoy it anyway, because he does not treat descent from the saddle as a grudge.


27.5 plus bike

The run-off route works almost like asphalt


For us, the experience with a 4.7-inch tire is a completely new experience. We are used to riding from dawn to dusk, and in 3 days in the mountains we traveled about 80 kilometers and it was enough for us. Driving a fatbike (or more bluntly: rolling) you forget about the equipment, it's more like a landscaped walk than cycling and there is nothing wrong with it.

I can not find anyone in my head to whom I could recommend this bike by buying. For borrowing, however - most of all, especially in nice nature. It's a strange feeling when on Sunday morning you come back home at 11 am after 30 kilometers and you are overcome by the feeling that on this day the bike is enough ...



As usual, someone mistook sport


Does the equipment matter?

Fatbikes are indecently expensive compared to what they offer. The cheapest (like Mongoose Argus Sport) start at around PLN 3,000 (excluding hypermarkets, of course) and offer a 3 × 9 drive, mechanical discs and at least 17 kilograms live weight. The first thought when you are overwhelmed by such mass is: "did you really want to save on buying so much?". If you take a bike for 2 hours from the shelter, you can experience it somehow, but if our adventure was to last longer (I don't know why anyone would want to), it is worth making a little extra both to reduce kilograms and a little better precision of drive operation . The 3 tops on the front also do not necessarily seem like a sensible idea.

In my opinion, it is worth looking for a stimulant, there are few, but in proportion to the level of interest. Good, factory-made equipment (e.g. Canyon Dude) can weigh 12-13kg - the difference is as if we installed a good road bike on the boot. A very good tire (like Bontrager Gnarwhal) costs almost PLN 500 or in the case of the 3.8 inch studded version (which was my dream during every ride) - over PLN 800. I skip the fact that such "Myk-Myk"From which I always laughed, he would save us his life many times - the possibility of leaving the saddle with a steering wheel on his arm would protect us against ... I will use the name of the meal from the bar next to us"fantasy with eggs".


27.5 plus

In order not to break this beautiful obstacle, Piotrek decides to move the bike over her


The most difficult decision, however, is the bike's setting itself. I always thought that the fulleys are the leaders here, when in two amoras we set up some SAGs, damping return, pressure, blockade and a thousand other things, but not. Choosing the right pressure in the face is not an issue. If we counted how many gums we touched on Saturday, it would certainly be more than ... put an ugly joke about Amsterdam here. I would like to remind you that we are not talking about differences in the order of a few atmospheres like in the road, and more about values ​​between 0.8 bar and 1.3 bar. It is not enough that we jump on a balloon, too much, that we are sitting on a vibrating vacuum cleaner (I do not know where such comparisons come from in this paragraph). We could not find ideal values.


I want this!

You do not want to - trust me.

The funniest thing about fatbikes is that you look at the pictures and scream under your breath "That's great! I have to try it. " However, it is not a bike that is great, but places where we can get to it. A 3-inch tire is calm enough, but fat adds some grotesque and meaningless effect. Before he even gets upset, he laughs and entertains for some time. I will never buy such a bike, I am sure of it, but in retrospect, I will remember a trip to the Table Mountains for a long time. Of course, as one of the best aesthetic and natural experiences, not a cycling trip.


Table Mountains Szczeliniec Wielki

Table Mountains seen from Szczeliniec Wielki


As for the loan in Warsaw, we took advantage of the courtesy:

Roadbike (to whom special thanks are due, since he bought a fata specially to rent it to us), who has two Mongoose fata on offer. Please like this profile ;-)

Sport Guruwho has one Fata and 27.5+ Fuji brands

Absolute Bikes (in the colors of which we go) who lent us the best 29+ on which we rode (because only): Trek Stache 7