Nashbar Big Ol’ Fat Bike – Fat is the New Fun

DCIM100GOPRO

The Big Ol’ Fat Bike totally rocks on rocks.

The first time I saw a fat bike in a magazine, I remember thinking there was no way I would ever have fun on a bike like that. Oh man, was I wrong.

Then a few months ago, into the office rolled the prototype Nashbar Big Ol’ Fat Bike, where a small gaggle of geeks flocked…what can you say? The bike is a looker.

Here’s what we beheld:

FatBike

But all hyperbole aside, how does The Big Ol’ Fat Bike perform? Nashbar’s team of trail junkies put this bike through the ringer, and here’s what we found:

Respectably Specced:

Firstly, the Big Ol’ Fatbike‘s custom-butted 4130 chromoly frame and fork make an ideal foundation for a bike that’s all about fun. It’s very tough, very rideable, and the geometry is slightly laid back making it comfortable, keeping the front end really responsive for a bike with such wide tires. A SRAM X5/X7 3×9 drivetrain gives you plenty of crank on rolling terrain and keeps the climbing fun. You certainly won’t be making an investment in pro-level components with the Big Ol’ Fat Bike, but the drivetrain is some of SRAM’s best technology–these components shift when you say so, and don’t go out of adjustment.  The Hayes MX5 Mechanical disc brakes certainly do the job, but some of us would have liked a bigger rotor up front.

Especially at the price point, you get a lot of performance and durability.

Nashbar Big Ol' Fat Bike

Nashbar Big Ol’ Fat Bike in its natural element

The Ride:

Are fat bikes are only for sand or snow or really muddy conditions? It’s true that fat bikes easily outperform in these areas, but countless fat bikers out there are saying these make great everyday bikes. There’s a lot of blog chatter on the subject…check it out.

Many of us wondered about the rolling resistance disadvantage that comes with 4″ of rubber at about 10 PSI. The verdict comes in pretty quickly after you hit the trail…this thing is fun. If it’s not as fast as your other bike, it doesn’t matter. You’d probably never win any XC races on a fat bike, unless you’re a total animal.

At first, the huge centrifugal pull from the greater wheel/tire mass takes some getting used to; but once you learn that you can lean lower, dig in deeper, and corner harder, aggressive riding comes easy. Not one of us felt bogged down – “fun” seemed to be the operative word.

Kayauwee Elevation

I rode the Big Ol’ Fat Bike on one of NC’s gnarliest XC trails, Uwharrie National Forest’s Keyauwee Trail. The longest climb is 2.5 miles, some of which is steep and technical. Big Ol’ handled it nicely.

People noted the surprising ease of climbing, the full-suspension-like trail absorbing, and of course the absolutely superior cornering. Plus, the longer wheel base, stiff fork, extra weight, and fat tires make landing big air a breeze if that’s your thing.

Aggressive, mud shedding knobs and pressure as low as 8psi bring you to new adventures in cornering, or digging through snow or slop.

Aggressive, mud shedding knobs and pressure as low as 8psi bring you to new adventures in cornering, or digging through snow or slop.

You’re wondering about weight?

It’s a good idea to check your inner weight weenie at the door when assessing any fat bike. Not that weight is irrelevant, but these are big bikes.  At 35 lbs and change, the Big Ol’ Fat Bike is right there with the Surly Pugsley.

As a tip, since Big Ol’s rear drop outs are horizontal, keep that rear skewer nice and tight to keep the wheel centered perfectly. Quick release skewers don’t dig into chromoly the way they do aluminum or carbon, and between cranking and braking with a wheel of that size, there’s plenty of torque on the skewer.

Upgradable?

The Big Ol’ Fat Bike‘s components are solid across the board, but if you had a mind to drop some grammage, there’s plenty of Nashbar carbon that could get you there for less than you think. The platform pedals that come on this bike are great, but if you like a lot of riders, you’ll be switching out for your preferred brand of clipless pedals.

And of course, throw your favorite saddle on there and become the rear admiral of your fat bike.

nashbar_fat_bike_6

Not just for snow and slop, fat bikes make worthy and fun XC bikes.

Take it all around:

The bottom line is that the fun factor and the value are the key draws to this bike. The frame, fork, and all the components are designed for the rigors of real mountain biking, so you get a bike that’s ready for serious riding right out-of-the-box. Getting a chromo fat bike with a SRAM X-5/X7  3×9 drivetrain and all alloy components and quality rubber for a grand is not bad at all.

For some riders, their fat bike has become their go-to bike; for others, it’s nice to switch up because the fat bike is just so easy and fun to ride. For me, I choose it often, and never regret it.

Oh, and many will be wondering about sizes:

Posted in Product Reviews
37 comments on “Nashbar Big Ol’ Fat Bike – Fat is the New Fun
  1. dave says:

    Who thinks they’re the writer,you have to look close at the pic to see the tyre size. What’s going to be the next industry fad

  2. dave says:

    3*9 or 3*10?? Saw both in article

  3. David Cobb says:

    Bought time ya’ll got on the band wag’n. Well I was gonna go out an buy one but maybe I’ll jus’ hold off ’till I win this one!!!

  4. Andy says:

    I would love to give one of these a whirl! we have a lot of paved trails and some XC trails that I would like to try one on. :)

  5. jake says:

    Will there be frame sizes to accommodate tall riders (6′-3″). I don’t like teetering on an long seat post. What is the gear range?

  6. Bear says:

    How do you enter the contest of the BIG BIKE if you are not on Facebook and choose not to be?
    Thanks!

    • F. Planter says:

      Hey @Bear, here are the instructions from our rules:

      By Mail: During the Promotion Period, send a 3″x5″ lined white notecard with entrants’ email address, first and last name, mailing zip code & phone number hand-written on it to: Nashbar Big Ol’ Fat Bike Giveaway, 1 Performance Way, Chapel Hill, NC 27517. You will then receive one (1) entry into the Sweepstakes – only one (1) entry allowed per email address. All entries must be received no later than 11:59:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

      Good luck!

  7. G Popp says:

    Why do you make people, who choose not to use Facebook, have to enter the contest in a non-electronic manner? Am I to believe that the entries sent in via postal mail will be transcribed into electronic form and included with the Facebook generated entries? Or will the Facebook entries will be printed out and drawn from a hopper containing the postal entries? Both methods require time and resources that could be overcome by having an alternative on-line entry process.

    Please re-consider the use of Facebook “likes” as the only means of electronic entry in future contests. I will mail in an entry via the postal service but I do not have much faith that it will truly be included with the Facebook entries.

    • F. Planter says:

      Have faith @G Popp! Not everybody digs Facebook, so all entries (FB or otherwise) are put into a spreadsheet and the winner is picked via random search.

  8. Robert Decker says:

    Thanks for the chance to win

  9. LJ Kelenski says:

    I think the fat tire bikes are great for the in between times when the weather is not good for riding your street bike and there is to much snow for your mountain bike. Keeps you exercising without being on a trainer.

  10. Shawn says:

    Can you tell us what the rear spacing is (170mm?) and what kind of bearings are in the hubs (cartridge or loose ball)?

    • F. Planter says:

      @Shawn Sure thing. Yes it’s 170mm with cartridge in the front and 2 cartridge, 2 looseball in the rear.

      • Shawn says:

        Thanks for the answer. Can you tell me if the loose bearings are in the freehub or support the entire hub assembly? I’m not familiar with hubs that have both types of bearings.

        • F. Planter says:

          Howdy @Shawn…Technically all the bearings are sealed since there are sealed covers on both sides of the hub. The looseballs are sealed within the hub body, the cartridge bearings are in the freehub. Hope that helps!

  11. Ronald Ensley says:

    Great looking bike wish it was mine

  12. Kerrye says:

    So this is the purrfect Mountie for us BMX junkies out there?

    • F. Planter says:

      @Kerrye…it certainly could be. It’s simple and fun and really easy to land. Nice for a chronic face-planter such as myself!

      • Kerrye says:

        If I win this bike, I hope the 17″ one comes with 175mm cranks- I’m gonna need them for my long legs- LOL!
        It seems most companies put shorter cranks on their bikes than what even most of my girlfriends need.
        The fu-fu myth that women need shorter cranks is not true here in the pacific NW.

  13. Dexter Cherry says:

    Great looking bike, Hope I win it.

  14. rob info says:

    Cool that Nashbar is jumping in with an entry-level fat bike. But “Surprising ease of climbing”, that’s bordering on BS. Fat bikes climb some stuff better than other bikes, like conditions where a ton of grip is needed, but it’s never “easy”, in my opinion.

  15. Enizete Lane says:

    Wonderful bike…..hope I win….please count me in, thanks!!

  16. Lose Weight says:

    Hi just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

  17. Martin Prince Jr says:

    I’d love to ride this year round in Alaska! Would be nice to have now since we have no snow in Southwest AK!

  18. Burn Fat says:

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    Great article.

  22. Max shred says:

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  23. build muscle says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
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  24. Bob says:

    What is the stand over height on the size 17 and 15?

  25. Rideon says:

    Well, that sure looks like fun for now I’m enjoying the mtb “kinda sorta fat” build with 2.35 tires http://biketourings.com/3/post/2013/11/building-a-fat-tire-touring-trekking-commuter-bike-by-rideon.html

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