What is a “fat bike”? 

Upon first glance, they look like a mountain bike with fat tires.  This is true, but what allows this to happen is a wider fork, bottom bracket, and rear triangle.  This allows the bikes to handle rims as wide as 100mm, and tires over 5″ wide.  The fat tires, ridden at low tire pressures, give these bikes the stability to ride at very low speeds, and the ability to float over sand and snow and and almost anything, while minimally impacting the trail.

What snow conditions are best for fat bikes?

Generally, firm/ condensed snow is best.  Obviously, grooming creates these perfect conditions.  Snow that has been packed by snowmobile,  snowshoe, or other means can also be rideable.   BE AWARE – Conditions are ever changing.  Much like skiing/snowboarding,  you should always be assessing the feel and sounds of the snow, and keep an eye out for icy patches.

What if I hit ice on my fat bike?

If you’re going through an icey patch, remember these tires are not studded.  They’re made to “float” over snow.  They will not perform well on ice.  Go slower, but keep enough speed to stay in a straight line and have your balance centered.  Don’t try to turn or the bike will slip out from under you.  Brake before you hit the ice, not while you’re on it.  If you need to, get off and walk (carefully).  Icey patches are rare and usually small, but they do exist more and more as the temps get warmer in the day, thawing puddles and then re-freezing at night.

Is there anywhere in the Black Hills to rent or buy fat bikes?

Yes. We rent and sell fat bikes. Come see us!

What trails are legal to ride a fat bike on?

Fat biking is still relatively new to the Black Hills, but there are trails around Spearfish like Big Hill Trails, Rapid City like Skyline and only a couple miles from Xtreme Dakota Bicycles we have 7th Calvary Trail. . Trail map for 7th Calvary Trails on right hand side of this page.

What tire pressure should I use?

For riding on snow, usually 5-10psi is best, although you can go all the way down to 3psi (any lower and your rims might bottom out over bumpy terrain).  The rule of thumb is, “when in doubt, let air out”.  The softer the conditions, the lower the pressure.  If you’re riding on harder dirt or mountain bike trails during the summer, usually 15psi is a good starting point.

Should I use clipless or platform pedals?

Whatever you’re comfy with.  Platform pedals allow you to use a variety of boots, giving you more options for warmth.  If you go clipless, it’s best to have cycling winter boots or winter booties over your shoes.  Keep them toes toasty!

Can I ride on snow with a regular mountain bike?

We don’t recommend it.  They tend to dig into the snow and become more of a hassle than an enjoyable ride.  Fat bikes float on top of snow.  Areas around the country that allow fat bikes on groomed trails do not allow mountain bikes for these reasons.  Keep the mountain bikes in the garage until Spring brings the hero dirt.

Still have more questions? Contact us!