Monday, January 20, 2014

How much fat is good?

These are some of my observations from last Saturday's fat bike race:

The first thing that became obvious to me (before I got too tired to notice anything obvious!), was that my 4.8" tires were a clear advantage over the bikes that ran the more common 3.7" tires. I was able to ride over/through more of the ruts and soft, washed out areas without dabbing. I witnessed this several times from riders I was following during the first lap.

However, as I grew more tired of hauling the extra weight of the Moonlander (and it's heavier wheels) around on the second lap, I then began to notice the advantage of having a lighter bike, as a few of these same guys could throw the bike around and maneuver it through the mess. Maybe if a guy is heavy and strong (especially in the upper body), the Moonlander would offer the best advantage. His weight would also require a wider tire to minimize sinking.

But if the rider is light, agile, and experienced in quicker bike maneuvers (such as a BMX rider), the lighter machine might be the better choice. One particular rider was popping up his front end in areas where (with my heavier bike and lack of skill in bike maneuvering) I would try to roll over or plow through the same conditions.

In general, the wider tires offer less of an advantage in the groomed conditions that are more common in organized events, but instead would still be the best (choice) in the worst conditions.

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