You may have noticed that “Fat” bikes are making a comeback these days. Named for their oversized tyres, this isn’t the first time these Tonneka-truck two-wheelers have made an appearance on the mountain bike scene. In fact, Fat bikes were some of the very first mountain bikes to see wide use, and quite a few of them wore the Specialized S on their head tube.
While it’s undeniable that the modern Specialized Fatboy line springs from the same gene pool as these earlier fat-tyre bikes, this new Fatboy represents a big step forward with a host of new technologies that make it supremely capable in nearly any type of terrain.
How is this new Specialized Fatboy different? First, it’s stronger and much lighter than its ancestors thanks to a fully butted M4 aluminium alloy frame. The Fatboy’s geometry is based on that of a 29-inch hardtail trail bike, so it feels confident in the corners and capable when rolling over obstacles. Of course, the bike’s calling card is its signature 4.6-inch tyres. Based on a design borrowed from other Specialized trail tyres, you’ll find the same technologies used by skinnier Specialized rolling stock such as an Aramid bead and 120TPI-durometre rubber.
The larger footprint that the “Fatty” enjoys due to its special tyres allows it to roll quickly on snow and loose terrain, making it a four-season-capable bike. Because riding in snow requires the use of thicker gloves that can negatively affect rider dexterity, the Fatboy uses a handlebar mounted grip shifter to fire off quick changes through its 2x10 transmission.
Rather than using a conventional coil- or air-spring suspension, which can be difficult to tune for extremely soft terrain such as snow and sand, the Fatboy features a solid front fork that will track true. Upgraded models receive a carbon fibre unit for improved compliance and reduced weight.
The Fatboy line includes a number of different trim levels, which means that even riders who are “watching their financial figure” can indulge just a little bit. The different trim levels offered are:
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