forks, and extremely lightweight and
nimble bike setups are now possible.
Tire size and frame width/tire
acceptance are really crucial. Tire
sizes are increasing, and depending
on where you want to ride, a really
fat tire might be what you need. Make
sure the frame you buy can accept the
widest tire you will ever want to use.
Gearing: I have seen some hard
men run single-speeds, but most of
them who live in the areas of deeper
and softer snow have thrown in the
towel and gone for some form of gearing. Once you get hit with a bunch of
miles of soft snow and climbing terrain, you may have different thoughts
on gearing or the lack of it.
Tires: There are all sorts of them
out there. Again, you finally have some
choice in tire size and in tire tread.
True snow tires tend to be semi-smooth
with paddle-like tread patterns and are
the widest of the bunch. These rely on
fairly cold and dry snow conditions,
while wet and variable conditions
require more aggressive treads.
If you live in a place where you get
frequent soft snow and are constantly
dealing with soft conditions, then go
for the fattest tire you can get, as it will
aid in flotation and thus improve your
There are also studded tires available, and depending on where you’re
riding, they may or may not be right for
you. As singletrack trails become more
and more managed (some systems are
now grooming for fat bikes), the need
for studded tires becomes more important, mainly because compressed and
manipulated snow eventually becomes
ice, especially if it has not seen fresh
snow in a while.
Spiked: Studded tires turn frozen lakes and river riding into a whole new world of