I have been researching fat bikes for a few years. I have a pretty good idea (maybe expectation is a better word) of what they can do and can't do. I think that the general consensus is that they are fun. I like fun. I need fun. So Friday I purchased a Salsa Mukluk. I had fun. Is it over the top and impractical? Yes, but in a fun way!
A fool and his money..........
The first thing I did was prep the bike for riding. I abuse my stuff, after all, that is what big dumb animals do, so I take care where I can. I purchase rolls of "helicopter tape" which is used on helicopter propellers to protect the blade from debris. It is clear and protects the frame from cable rub. It isn't cheap but I prefer that over worn paint on the head tube after one ride. I pulled the rear cassette and removed the "pie plate," which helps me maintain my street cred! I also stick 3M waterproof electrical tape on the drive side seat stay which reduces the noise of chain slap while protecting the frame.
Most of the reviews that I read were pretty much spot on. What you gain with momentum and cushion you lose in weight. I took it to Sylvan Island on Saturday to get a feel for this ride. In big dumb animal style the first thing I did was ride to the end of the island to ride on the muddy banks of Old Man River.
It can be done, but riding in the soft mud requires a lot of work. You wouldn't ride there unless there was nowhere else to ride. The only thing that I want to change are the brakes. I learned quickly that the combination of big tires and big rider mean a lot of momentum and reduced braking. I am not sure why they didn't spec it with a larger/better front rotor.
However, this thing is impressive in the grassy area where all of the fisherman walk. This thing rolls over small holes and brick sized rocks hidden in the grassy area that would either severely hinder or stop a 29er or 26" bike.
This is the first time I have said "I cannot wait until winter" in years.