Fat Sand Bikes are sweeping the nation with no letup in sight. Retailers
are hustling to meet the demand for these strange looking bikes with
giant tires. What exactly are these odd bicycles? Fat tire bikes have
much larger tires than a regular bike, often 4 to 5 inches wide. They
came on the scene about 10 years ago. They were first seen along the
Iditarod Trail in Alaska. Winter adventurers needed bicycles with bigger
tires to handle snow-packed conditions.
They are ideal for snow, dirt, loose gravel and any other conditions
where traction is paramount. In recent years, fat tire bikes have begun
to eat into the traditional mountain bike market. Many fat tire bike
aficionados are using them in summer as well as winter. There are even
reports of hunters using fat bikes to be able to go deep into prime
Roll Over Anything
These bikes, also called "flotation bikes," will roll over almost
anything with ease. They cover soft ground as well as rough terrain that
would stop a normal mountain bike. As they grew in popularity in winter
climes, snow bike races popped up everywhere. There are even websites
completely focused on snow bikes and snow bike gear. These bikes are so
popular many people cannot wait for their order to arrive. They call
dealers every day to see if there order has come in!
The Iditarod Trail Invitational is a bike race that runs almost 1000
miles along the path of the famous Iditarod Trail dog-sled competition.
Pioneering riders like Steve Baker created the original design to get
better traction on the rough terrain of the trail. In addition, he
wanted improved flotation on the packed sections.
The term "fat bike" was originated by bike designer Mark Gronewald. He
began producing his version of the revolutionary design in the late
1990s. It is hard to believe that there was not much interest in the
original designs until riders started winning lots of races. Now several
manufacturers offer a wide variety of models. As the market evolved,
manufacturers made modifications including making the hubs wider. It
made the bikes more comfortable and stronger at the same time.
Fat Sand Bikes
Over time, manufacturers created models for different terrains. Bikes
designed for the beach, often called a "fat sand bike," have frames and
tires created to handle both packed and loose sand. For example, at
FatSandBikes.com they offer the Terrain Destroyer 8 All-Purpose 8-Speed,
which features a construction entirely made from aluminum that includes
continuous housing cable guides, integral disk brake caliper mounts on
the rear wheels and water bottle bosses.
Consumers can choose from three different Terrain Destroyer sizes
including small, medium and plus-size editions. It has 26-inch diameter,
4-inch wide fat sand bike rims that feature a black anodized finish.
The fork is also made completely of aluminum. It has dual cable guides
and dual front disk brake caliper mounts.
Another popular model is the Fat Sand Cruiser "Three Speed Cruiser."
Considered a level up from the basic model, it provides three gears for
smooth, easy travel. Riders experience all the fun of the original with
the added benefit of three speeds.
This model also is made with all-aluminum construction and is available
in 15-inch, 17-inch and 20-inch sizes. The rims are made with a striking
black anodized finish and feature dramatic black steel spokes. Riding
is easy with the standard Shimano Nexus Three Speed gearbox. Owners will
be the envy of everyone in their group because it has the biggest,
fattest tires on the market.
From the misty beaches of Maine to the golden sands of the Southern
California coast these bikes are a hit. Riders around the country love
the ability to travel on sand with ease. While traditional bikes are
relegated to the boardwalk and the sidewalk, riders can cruise up and
down the beach to the wonderment and delight of everyone on the shore.
Fat tire bikes were born on the rugged terrain of the Iditarod Trail,
but their popularity has spread to every corner of the globe. Who knows?
They are growing so fast they may take over the entire bike in the next