Much like the 29er movement from a few years ago, the fat bike is gaining momentum in the market. The question is: Will it ever be more than a niche product?
In 2004 I bought a Karate Monkey. At that time, not many people knew what a 29er was. To me it just made sense, so I took the plunge and ordered one online without ever seeing a 29er in person. Eight years later 29ers are everywhere, because apparently they really did make sense.
I'm a little late arriving to the fat bike party. The "snow people" have been riding them for a while now, but here in California they are still a novelty. I think once people realize this isn't just a bike for nutjobs in Minnesota and Alaska, the platform will take off.
I have been watching what On One is doing with their fat bike with great interest. I am a big fan of On One anyway, and I think they are bringing a different perspective to the table. This bike isn't being designed for the typical snow or sand riding. They are aiming at something with fat tires that handles like . . . a mountain bike.
I like the Surly just fine. The Pugsley is a monster truck—stable and predictable—that crushes everything in its path. But so far it's kind of tall and short for my liking. Not bad for what it's designed for, but I am still a racer at heart. I can't help but wonder about a bike that's a little bit more like an off-road racer: longer, lower, steeper and quicker.
That said, I have yet to dip the Pugs' tires in snow, where I hear the benefits of slower steering will become more apparent. Hopefully it will eventually snow in the Sierras.
At any rate, it's going to be fun watching this species evolve.