Monday, February 11, 2013

Bigger is Floatier

Awoke to 14" of fresh snow blanketing the trail for my morning commute, a welcomed return to winter, after the 40 degree temperatures over the weekend.  Riding through snow of this depth always leaves an unique track pattern.  Alternating "pedal dabs" at each low point of the pedal stroke, dipping into the untouched powder on either side of the tire track. 
Soft untracked trail conditions such as these is where fatbikes and their large volume rubber really shine.  If a 3.8" tire offers superior traction and floatation to a conventional mountain bike, then a 4.8" tire will surely allow further increase in said benefits.  Is the weight penalty and additional cost of  my 100mm rims with 4.8" wide tires worth it?  The marketing gurus at Surly Bikes would have me believe so.   

The depth of the  aforementioned 'pedal dabs' can serve as a good visual indicator of how much "float" your fat-tires are actually providing in soft snow conditions.  

The sole other bike track on the trail this morning was undoubtedly left by another fatbike equipped with with 70-80mm rims and 4.0" Husker Du tires.  In riding next to the other track and observing the depth of the other pedal dabs, they appeared to be over an inch deeper into the top layer of snow than those left by my Surly Moonlander.  All other variables being equal, my wide rims and tires appear to have afforded me more float in the soft snow in this morning's conditions, or perhaps the other rider weighed 60 pounds more than me.  Maybe it's my susceptibility to marketing or a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance, I believe that my controlled objective scientific study has proven bigger is floatier when the going gets soft, but admittedly a different story on hard-pack.  

EDIT: Surly announced today that they have official discontinued the fat tire that started a revolution in cycling: The Surly Endomorph is no more; Long live Big Fat Larry, Bud, Lou, and whatever gargantuan tires await our future. 

No comments:

Post a Comment