Why I don't use a fat bike for my winter bicycle commute

Why I don't use a fat bike for my winter bicycle commute

Perhaps the most common question I get from winter cyclists these days is simple: Why don’t you ride a fat bike for your winter commute?
It’s true, I don’t. I ride a built-for-winter commuter bike that has non-rusting parts and skinny tires. But fat bikes are pretty amazing winter machines, and I’ve ridden plenty of fun miles on one. So here I lay out my case for why a fat bike isn’t my commuter choice, but maybe for you.

#bikecommuting #biketowork #cycling

My everyday winter commuter bike (affiliate link): https://bit.ly/2PhqUqF

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Tom Babin is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling: https://rmbooks.com/book/frostbike/

Readers Comments (38)

  1. Knight Rider Explorer May 9, 2021 @ 12:48 am

    Get a carbon fat bike šŸ˜€
    I use one for winter and a hybrid for summer

  2. I ride my fat bike trough snowy forest roads when going to work. A normal bike simply isn’t adequate for a job like that. When it comes to the bike getting destroyed, as far as I’m concerned the bike is useless if I don’t ride it. It’s a tool and it’s made to be used. If it breaks I repair it.

  3. Buy cheap fat bike.

  4. Excellent comparison, it totally fits with what I’ve done since I got my first fatbike in 2005, and even my plus size bike before that. And remember, there is no law that says that you can’t pull the fatbike out in the morning aftar a huge snowstorm and go back to the regular bike the following day.

  5. Evan Bulthuis May 9, 2021 @ 12:51 am

    one is a mountain bike and one is a road bike

  6. The real question is.. do you want a bike to enjoy in the wood and offroad trail or do some wet cold pavement … for my part im a mtb guy fat bike is a must.

  7. Ebiking and Games May 9, 2021 @ 12:59 am

    I have e fatbike whit studs for offroad. Its a beast!!

  8. Pros. Your hams and quads will get massive.

  9. Russell Maxwell May 9, 2021 @ 1:01 am

    I’ve used a regular old junk mountain bike with decent noby tires for years works fine. End off story.

  10. Old Man Fat Bike May 9, 2021 @ 1:03 am

    Good pros and cons of both. Thanks a bunch!! Ride On Shifter šŸ™‚

  11. Doug Underwood May 9, 2021 @ 1:04 am

    I appreciate your diplomacy !

  12. Mark Asselstine May 9, 2021 @ 1:08 am

    Use Rust Check liberally on non aluminum components. The fat bike does tend to cause snow and slush to spray outwardly as well which makes it get less grimy. Good rundown though. Thanks.

  13. make it electric

  14. thephoenix4ever May 9, 2021 @ 1:12 am

    I used a converted 90s rigid MTB as my winter commuter in a city that occasionally got snow but plowed regularly and so there wasn’t a lot of loose snow to deal with on the roads or sidewalks. Studded tires were great for ice buildup. Now I live in a mountain town and the 2" wide tires and weak rim brakes don’t work well when there’s so much loose snow and steep hills. Also the pathways aren’t plowed. So fat bike it is. I think a fat bike commuter is overkill for most places in the USA though.

  15. I opted for a fat bike for this coming winter. I am concerned about about destroying the bike too., so I guess I’ll be degreasing the gears and chain a lot.

  16. Rob Davidson May 9, 2021 @ 1:13 am

    I am building up old ā€˜84 Trek mountain bike, steel frame, with studded tires, pogies. In my city they donā€™t use deicing chemicals. I am upgrading the twist shifters, which are great with mittens. Next build will be aluminum frame with disc brakes and more fender clearance. Or just get another garage sale 90ā€™s 26ā€ Trek and move the better bits. NE Wyoming. And get your book.

  17. fat bike riders:
    you don’t much care, probably, but your tire ruts pretty much destroy commuter trails for non-fat bikes. anyway, a plea: if possible, please try to ride to one side, in a moderately straight path…..
    thank you

  18. David Paradise May 9, 2021 @ 1:15 am

    What are some of your favorite ebikes? I have spent months researching this stuff and the options are endless. Thanks in advance!

  19. David Paradise May 9, 2021 @ 1:17 am

    Does anyone have any feedback on the Himiway Cruiser bike for $1399? It’s supposed to be Rad Rovers knock off but I’ve heard good things about it. Any feedback is appreciated as always!

  20. You hit the nail on the head in regards to expense!
    Winter really destroys bike components, especially when municipalities use chemical snow and ice mitigation strategies.
    In edmonton, on my route, it is mandatory as 1/3 and up to all of my route is poorly maintained in the winter months.
    Thanks for the useful video!!

  21. Snowfall Eon May 9, 2021 @ 1:22 am

    Our roads in Green Bay aren’t just watery asphault as your video suggests they are where you live. A lot of people who consider fat bikes probably aren’t riding on basically clear roads in winter.

  22. Do you know that God loves ya šŸ™‚His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead on the third day. If we REPENT of our sins and believe + trust in Lord Jesus, we can be saved. ā¤ļø From hell and lake of fire, to everlasting LIFE.

  23. 1984 -Oclock May 9, 2021 @ 1:24 am

    when I had a fatbike, I still commuted in the snow, on the roadbike…even with it only having front brakes. Fatbikes sound good, but you end up taking longer and going slower because they are so heavy and inefficient. plus sliding on roadbikes can be really fun. I actually passed a few cars on my roadbike in the snow xd

  24. I don’t either. They’re too, too slow.

  25. Is it good for snow driving ?

  26. Slow Down Move over Share the road with cyclist May 9, 2021 @ 1:28 am

    if you bike in the winter these will cost you an arm and a Leg because you have to get two tires and most of these tires will run at 300 each plus tax

  27. Pete Herrera May 9, 2021 @ 1:28 am

    In my humbly opinion you should advertise Fatbikes as being the best all purpose road and off-road bikes that a person can buy instead of advertising it as a bike for riding in the snow.

    Which means it is not made for riding in the snow only. Here is two more uses of the Fatbike.

    There is a point to riding a Fatbike on the street only.

    I put the max amount of tire pressure in my fat bike tires and then ride exclusively on a paved road only for the traction and the resistance that the paved road and a fat-bike tire offer

    in an effort to lose weight and to get into better shape.

    I live in Colorado where 7-10 percent grade climbs are not uncommon and they can last 7 to 10 miles. And of course, Riding a fat bike is Better on the knees and joints than running. So if you want to get into better shape. ride a fat bike on paved roads as I have described above rather than running. Below is an example of a Fat bike.

    and for touring the great outdoors.


    Everything is about marketing ones product.

  28. I think I would like to get a fat bike. Looks real fun for winter.

  29. Looks like your riding a priority bike continuum onyx

  30. TO Cycle Commuter May 9, 2021 @ 1:33 am

    Really liking all this winter biking content.
    Does it rain in Calgary in the winter? I didn’t think so, but don’t know for sure…
    This year in Toronto, we’ve had the usual freeze / thaw cycles that you mention you have to deal with. But this year, we’ve also had a few significant rain events: the main river in Toronto flooded in early January. It’s been raining off and on for two days now in Toronto. If I can avoid riding in the actual rain, I actually like it because it washes most of the salt away. I remember last year we had a lot of freezing rain. Suffice to say, my studded tires make me feel a lot more comfortable, even though it’s overkill for the majority of the commuting days.

  31. Great ideas here. I’m thinking of a RadRunner for the mud and sand here. At the coast we have salt air all year long so expensive bikes are a bad idea. Right now I’m using a low geared folder with BMX tires and a BMX bar for upright seating. It’s ideal for my local runs which include roads and level trails.

  32. You have made a really good case for someone to get a fat-bike – in winter.

  33. Allan Valeriano May 9, 2021 @ 1:38 am

    Dude, why is your front light pointing to heaven?
    Put that thing down! You’re probably blinding everybody on the road.

  34. Jeff Mcilroy May 9, 2021 @ 1:39 am

    I absolutely love my fat bike but I only use it on trails.. to slow for a commute for sure but fun as hell, on the trails itā€™s like driving a 4 wheeler

  35. Please be aware: there are other people using the trails. If you ride a fat bike on a commuter trail, try to keep straight and to a side. Why should you care? Decency, I guess. Your tread path is like a huge, deep, curved channel. Once it refreezes, it’s hard enough to yank the wheel of a "regular" bike.
    It is a tough, tough ride to fight through fat bike grooves where some guy has meandered all over the path "for the helluva it". This is the biggest change for me, a regular winter rider, over the lat ten years. Where used to be it was all thin grooves and you only had to dodge boot-prints, now many more fat-bike grooves.

  36. Mariusz Marchewski May 9, 2021 @ 1:41 am

    I would add one more thing to the commuter bike: you can use fenders that actually work šŸ˜‰

  37. Fat bikes will help you lose weight. I love passing congested traffic in a snow storm with my fat bike.

  38. terry aqualad May 9, 2021 @ 1:47 am

    My fatbike is my all time commuter

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