Snow Balance – No Balance
I am beginning to think that I would have been better off getting studded tires for my Neko than getting a fat tire bike for riding on snow. My biking so far this winter has been mainly on ice. Still, there’s enough snow around to work on negotiating a variety of conditions.
So far I’ve alternated between riding on ice, snow, and deep ruts. The ruts are the trickiest. My tires bounce from one side of the ice and snow wall to the other as I slip and slide and bump along in a far from straight line.
There is a new bike trail being built to connect bike routes from Anoka to Ramsey and give cyclists a way to avoid riding on Hwy 10 to travel north. But between the flooding that ran from Spring through much of the Summer and the all too short in-between time, before the snow and frozen ground started, the city has only gotten as far as putting down dirt fill to create a trail across the King’s Island, and starting two bridge crossings to get onto and off of the island.
The rough trail is a good place to practice on my bike without anyone seeing how clumsy I am.
I’m glad you’re giving a fat bike a try!
If you are lucky enough to have packed trails, then you do run into ice sometimes. I think you’ll find that your fat tires will handle it better than regular mtb tires. But, if you’re really desperate, there are studded tires for fat bikes. For years before fat bikes were common, I tried to ride in snow on a regular mtb with studded tires. It was a complete and utter failure. You fishtail and can’t get any traction if there’s appreciable snow.
If you run really low tire pressure (like 5 psi) on a fat bike, then you don’t bounce around so much. It makes the bike more stable and helps you to “float” when you ride trails with loose (unpacked) snow on them.
I was very tentative when I first rode a fat bike. Now it feels like I’m riding a monster truck that’s almost indestructible. I think that you’ll like it more as you do it more. One important thing is to remember that it’s not the same as riding a mtb on dirt. It takes different skills and a different mentality.
Thanks for the tips KB! It’s true that the fat tire is definitely a different feel! It does not exactly turn on a dime. When I first rode it on dry pavement, I loved the sound the wheels make. I feel like a tank coming through and that makes me smile.