Who ate all the lies?

New project 😄

Even inside the world-of-endless-niche which hostsmountain biking, fat bikes are still bloody stupid. Not so much a problem looking for a solution, more a victim looking for a corner to hide in. Fat bikes unite ourbarrack-room lawyer community in universal mirth.

We point and giggle because of their innate pointlessness. Designed – although that’s a charitable use of the word – for sand and snow, they are defined by comedy outsize tyres clearly harvested from a tractor, rarely suspended by anything other than belief and ridden by men – always men – proudly bristling in the vanguard of ‘peak beard

They cost too much. You could buy a proper mountain bike for that*. Heavy, cumbersome, slowto climb and evenslowergoing down, a fat bike slumps into a niche no-one cares about labelled ‘rubbish at everything’. Except Snow and Sand. I’ll grant you that. But living in a landlocked county with bugger all winter precipitation, this doesn’t represent a killer sales pitch.

Why then Al did you buy one? That’s what they’ll be asking. All my friends with whom I share the dirty Sunday service. They won’t pose that actual question because that’s not the way frenzied piss taking actually works. I expect at least one member of the under-niche’d will need oxygen or the Heimlich manoeuvre to arrest their mirth.

There can be no argument – however well formed – to defend the indefensible. I’m not even going to try. My strategy is far more nuanced: I shall merely pretend to have gone stark, raving mad leaving me with no memory of wandering into a vast outdoors warehouse and returningwith this bastard love child of a MoonLander and a marketing professional owning just the one yellow crayon.

It won’t work of course. I expect the joshing to go on for, oh I don’t know let’s say, ever. Quite right too because this bike has many, many problems – the least of which is the reaction it inevitably draws. Those child-drawn tyres are inflated with single digit PSI. Translate that to the road, and it’d be easier to pick the bloody thing up and trudgeto your muddy destination.

When you arrivethings are unlikely to improve much. Massive tyres do offer a form of suspension. Technically we call this massively-undamped wrist splitting chaos with more than occasional squirm. You will absolutely be heading in one direction, but equally unequivocally this is not a direction in which you are even consulted. You mayattempt to stay this wild craft using skills long learned but they will serve you not at all. Eventually there will be a form of arrest as fat tyre consitenersagainst unforgiving tree.

You shalllreturn home battered, likely bloodied and burning with a hatred of men – shed based in remote winter regions and boasting the facial growth of a rhododendron – who felt sure this was a valid evolutionary branch of bikus suspensionus.

All this is true. Probably. But when you’re slaloming through the surprised shoppers of Go Outdoors, Gloucester whileshimmying between tented fabric in the camping aisle, there is a massive grin splitting your face whichnot even the fiercest beard could contain.

Yes Fat Bikes are stupid. Of course they are. But this one issomething else as well; cheap for a start, less than the cost of a decent set of forks**,£493 to be exact. The rolling chassis of frame and wheels are pretty good while the rest of the kit is pretty typical of a budget constricted product managers spreadsheet.

He or she doesn’t have my shed load of spares though. Even after building the moustache, there’s sufficient pre-loved collateral to fit proper brakes, wider bars and decent transmission. At which point there will be no excuse but to go and ride it.

I don’t expect it’ll be faster uphill or down than any of my current bikes. I don’t care. Nor will itbe clattering through serial obstacles by sheer dint of brilliant suspension and modern angles. I’m not much bothered by that either. Because I have a good feeling it’s going to make me giggle at any speed. You cannot look down at that front tyre and not crack a smile.

Those marketing types have missed a trick here. If they’d named this niche ‘silly bikes for big kids‘ they’d have sold a shit-load more. Jess jumped on this one in the shop and came back with exactly the grin that’d crept up on me in the tent section.

So will the maiden voyage but tomorrow on one of Matt’s Muddy Death Marches starting at 08:30 and finishingsomewhere close to darkness? Of course not, I have many other bikes far better suited. Instead, I’ll wait for a couple of spare hours, a stretch of loamy singletrack, a mind that isn’t fixed on fast forward,and a place where I can feel 10 years old again.

Fat is stupid. Stupid can be very good indeed.

* or for those living in the real world, a tidy 2nd hand small car.

** Not that I’m putting that out there as a rational purchasing decision.

2 thoughts on “Who ate all the lies?

  1. Adam Bird

    …and I can vouch after months of secret desire you can come up with some amazing reasons why you NEED one (and ultimately justify in the face of that joshing) – I was stood on a beach in Kent only a couple of weeks ago and thoughts “if only I had a fat bike I could make a really good run that incorporated this stretch of beach!” Far-fetched eh! Look forward to hear how much fun you have on it… May even see you on the hills in the near future!

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