In light of meeting my girlfriend and trying to find outdoor activities that we can both enjoy, I would like to try out fat tire bicycles. Being in Florida, there is sand everywhere and I think a fat tire bike would work good. We would mostly be on paved walking/cycling paths but occasionally sandy/dirt trails. No extreme terrain or hardcore riding but something maybe a little too rough for a beach cruiser type bike.

I see Mongoose fat tire bikes all over the interwebs. It looks like these are manufactured by Pacific Cycle. The Dolomite and Hitch models seem to be ok and can be had for about $350-$450.

Are these OK bikes or are there other brands that I should be looking at in that price range?

adam525i
adam525i Dork
12/31/21 11:34 a.m.

At that price point everything you look at new will have similar components and drawbacks. With those bikes the gearing always jumps out at me as being really tall but being in Florida where it is flat and newer riders spinning a gear probably isn't a concern. I'd be concerned how the bike holds up after some use, sand is hard on things and bikes like these don't haver very good seals (or grease sometimes so check that) so hubs, bottom bracket (what the crankset spins in) and headset can wear quickly and aren't easily serviceable on these sorts of bikes. Fat bikes are typically heavier and don't roll as well so you might find them tedious to ride on bike paths if Grandma is blowing by you on her hybrid :)

That's not to put you off of the bikes, anything that gets you out for a ride is a good thing. I'd see if you can rent something for a nice sunny day and see how you guys like them for the terrain you'll ride on and see if it is worth spending the money. If you can try other styles of bikes like a hybrid I think that would be worthwhile as well just so you can see what you are gaining and giving up with the fat tires and if those compromises are right for you.

Seth with Berm Peak did a couple of videos with the Dolomite down in Florida so check those out.

And don't think I'm anti-fat bike, I love my Giant Yukon 2 and ride it year round up here. The rides in the snow though are the highlight with it.

 

Brotus7
Brotus7 Dork
1/1/22 1:07 p.m.

I got my fatty a while back from bikesdirect.  I agree with Adam's comments, rent some bikes and see if it's something you really like.  I was working on a buddy's Specialized Fatboy a couple years ago after he took it on vacation to the Outer Banks. I don't know if he actually rode it in the ocean, but it felt like he did, then dropped it drivetrain side down in the sand! If you do get a fatty for riding in the sand, make sure to wash it down regularly to clean out the sand and lubricate the chain.

My experience buying a weird fat bike: besides being heavy, the frames and hubs flex. I ride a lot, so I wish I got a bike with an aluminum frame and thru axles. The rest of the stuff can be upgraded if you find it's limitations.

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
1/1/22 1:21 p.m.

I had a Mongoose Dolomite for years, it actually got stolen at one point and ended up taking down a bike stealing ring. I ended up giving it to a friend who loves it but I was never a fan. Snow riding sucks IMO but it was ok otherwise

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
1/1/22 1:31 p.m.

I've never needed more than my 2.5" Gary Fishers

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
1/1/22 6:24 p.m.

I've never rode one but they look fun in certain terrain. Not sure I'd want one as an only bike.

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
1/3/22 10:58 a.m.

I've ridden a number, and sand use like that is probably the only time I'd actually want to be on one. That price point will have heavy, but serviceable for casual use components. They'll probably be knocking on 40 lbs. I'd definitely rent before you buy. Riding fat bikes on sand, or snow, really is a slog. 

adam525i
adam525i Dork
1/7/22 11:56 a.m.

I feel like fat bikes get a bad reputation as there are so many lower end ones and to get into something better is going to cost more than a comparable less niche Mountain Bike. I love my Giant (expensive, but really good value compared to the other name brand offerings) to the point where I was considering selling my carbon FS 29er. My bike weighs a couple pounds more than my 29er so around 32-33 lbs which isn't bad at all, especially for someone my size. The tires are like having super wide tires on a Miata at an autocross, the cornering grip is amazing but if you took that Miata to a road course those wide tires would give up a lot down the straight. Grip is fun though, just lean the bike over and it keeps biting in, if a rock or root causes a little slide they just bite back in.

I have a friend though that is quite a bit smaller than me on a low end Specialized. It may have a name brand on the downtube but all of the components are pretty entry level and everything adds up to a bike that is tiny compared to mine (XXS frame instead of XL, 26" wheels instead of 27.5") but is closer to 40 lbs so it's a bit of a drag for her to ride. On top of that the stock specialized tires it came with feel more like plastic than rubber, they will float in sand/snow but they do not offer that amazing grip on a normal single track.

Riding on snow can be a slog but up here there are a lot of people doing it packing down the trails into amazing white ribbons through the forest (all of the walkers help too). It's to the point here that a lot of days you don't even need the fat tires as it is packed so well, if things ice up it can be faster than dirt provided you have studs. You don't move as fast but speed is relative anyway.

So yeah, for an only bike I don't think these are the answer unless there are specific circumstances that make them ideal.

And another pic from last year. Days like these are fun, reach out and bonk a tree with your hand as you go by and your friend riding behind you gets a face full of snow as it all falls off lol.

Cactus
Cactus HalfDork
1/16/22 9:11 p.m.

I have a full suspension fat bike and also a rigid one. Lots of fun (all bikes are, honestly) but you're burning a lot more calories to go the same speed as somebody on a road bike, or even just a beach cruiser. Not much stops you though. You can roll over pretty much anything, but the real advantage is that you have all the traction in the world, particularly when climbing. Local MTB trails have some rocky climbs out of creeks, and usually you have to be prepared to slip. Fat bike just monster trucks out of the creek bed like it wasn't even there.

 

As for sand and snow, think of it like snow shoeing. It's a lot more effort than just hiking a trail, but you actually keep moving in otherwise halting conditions.

Erich
Erich UberDork
1/17/22 8:46 a.m.

I have not ridden a true fat-bike, but my MTB is a "plus" bike, which is kinda an in-between size. Think 3 inch wide tires instead of 4 or 5 inches. 

I've found it to be a good-enough solution to traction in snow and sand, and float over potholes. I really can't see going any wider than 3 inches - these tires are already pretty dang heavy, 800 grams each, and fat tire bikes are at least 50% heavier yet. I don't notice the extra tire weight much until I hit a longer uphill. It's really been great for bikepacking, riding ~40 miles on dirt roads with a heavy load of camping supplies. 

I like it a lot, but plus bikes seem to be going away, and tires are moving narrower again. Most 27.5 tires are now 2.6 or narrower, same with 29ers. 

Cactus
Cactus HalfDork
1/17/22 2:02 p.m.

2.6 is still wider than the 2.1 that was MTB standard when I was a kid.

 

My full squish bike (salsa bucksaw) has 3.8" tires, and my Ridgid one I swap between 4 and 4.8.

jharry3
jharry3 Dork
1/17/22 4:19 p.m.

If you like to go fast the fat tires are an anchor.  Think of all that mass you have to move plus the rotational inertia of those big tires and the internal friction of those big tires flexing. Its why the road bike racers have gone to 20mm wide, hi pressure tires-   

If you are more into slower speed cruising then go for the big tires to get you through snow and sand.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 UltraDork
1/17/22 5:09 p.m.

I have a motive and from bikes direct. It's ridiculous and fun. I live on the flats in CA so I don't get up into the snow with it. I'm probably getting rid of it but for sand it would be great. 

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