Before I get to the fat bike review and epic video that I am stoked to share with you, I have a question for you: Do you want to help low-income city kids have life-changing wilderness experiences? If so, I’m going to ask you for some money. You probably saw it coming.
Avry and I have sponsors for our thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, but they aren’t able to donate to scholarships for the kids. And this is where you can help.
If you like what we do and believe in the magic of the outdoors, please send us whatever you can. It doesn’t have to be a ton: twenty, ten, even five bucks add up if enough of you do it. Every single cent donated goes directly to scholarships — let me say that again: all the money goes to the kids.
We believe in epic adventures for good causes, and this is one of the best causes we’ve come across.
If you’d like to donate, please go to cycked.org/give and click the big pink button. It’s easy, and secure. And thank you.
The Framed Fat Bike
I first met the Minnesota 2.0 Women’s Framed Fat Bike at Outdoor Retailer this summer. It looked so big, so muscly, so sexy. I couldn’t not ask about it. And then, two months later, I couldn’t believe my luck when I was sent one to try myself.
The fat bike was a monster in my apartment — taking up space like some guys do on buses — sprawling its massive tires and handlebars everywhere. I took it for a spin around the neighborhood and construction workers cat called the bike.
I have major tire envy.
We looked good together. I imagined us having a whirlwind romance, full of moonlit rides along the ocean (this thing is a beast in sand) and sunrise spins through daisy-filled meadows. But I thought that Cole Porter was probably right: it “was too hot, not to cool down.” I mean, I am such a small person and the fat bike was so very big, how could we make it work?
But I’ve been known to be wrong, every now and then.
It was our first trip to Duthie Hill, a mountain bike park close to Seattle, where I fell hard for this bike. At first, it was literally. I had too much air in the tires and before we even got into the park the bike flew out from under me while riding across a large wooden feature. But then my heart followed.
Where I was a Nervous Nancy (sorry to all the Nancy’s out there!) before, I dominated this time. Tree roots got crushed, rocks didn’t register, and jumping felt like a dream.
I’ve jumped quite a few horses before, over cross rails and tree stumps, oxfords and water features. I rode primarily to fly through the air — which is probably one of the reasons I like to swing around on rock walls. But before our trip to Duthie, I didn’t know that I liked jumping bikes.
Minnesota and I flew over everything that came our way. The flowing slalom became a fantastically fun roller coaster. What I once called the roller coaster became a runway to the moon. The bike, heavier than the others I’ve tried, ran us down hills and flung us off the other side — and the giant tires made landings unbelievably (in the actual sense of the word) easy.
The owner of Framed Bikes told me that fat bikes are perfect for beginners. I completely agree. When I rode another trail with a friend north of Seattle, I was in over my head. There was enough mud to satisfy five generations of potbellied pigs and technical turns and ups and downs that make my knees weak. Minnesota took me by the hand and gently led me over everything. No hill was too steep, no turn too quick, no rock too large to stop this bike. I can only imagine what it would do with an expert.
I was asked quite a few questions about our relationship, but by and large the most asked was: “What about the rolling resistance?”
This bike has insanely large tires and, clocking in 33 pounds, it’s not the lightest on the market (it’s also not as heavy as it looks!). But it isn’t trying to be. The speed it loses climbing hills or rolling along flat trail is more than made up for flying downhill. I didn’t notice being more tired on climbs than I have been on other mountain bikes, but I did notice feeling far more comfortable with slipping. The larger tires meant that when I slid over wet roots and rocks, I was caught faster than I would be on other bikes.
I had to send this beauty home a few weeks ago, and I am still heart sick. When I get back from the Pacific Crest Trail, I know my first big purchase will be a Framed Fat Bike. If you’re on the fence, I’d say: ride it — I dare you to not take it home.