One of the fastest selling new bicycles is becoming quite popular here in the Seacoast. It’s called a fat bike — a type of mountain bike with a very wide tire.

Typically a fat bike tire is 4-5 inches wide, twice the size of the normal mountain bike tire that comes in at 2 inches. They also weigh a bit more than the average bike, but still perform well, despite their mammoth size, according to John Gromek of Exeter Cycle.

Gromek says he has been selling a lot of these new ‘juiced up’ bikes.

“There are many brands of fat bikes on the market, and more all the time. One of our favorites is the ‘Fatboy’ from the Specialized Bike Company,” Gromek says.

These big bikes have big roots, beginning in way, way up north.

“They are ridden on trails and in the woods. Fat bikes originated in Alaska for the ‘Iditabike’ race, similar to the Iditarod race for dog sleds,” Gromek says.


There are no iconic dog races to fuel riders’ passions on the Seacoast, but the oversized bikes are becoming trendy regardless.

“In our area they became popular as a bike to be ridden ‘off-road’ in the winter when snow prevents the use of a normal mountain bike,” Gromek says. The large tire allows this bike to be ridden on soft surfaces like snow or sand; they also easily and more securely roll over rocks and gaps. “They look like they will roll over everything and they will! Like a monster truck but a bike.”

In a mixed rural and city landscape like the Seacoast it isn’t surprising that the masses aren’t just reserving the bikes for snow travel; they are continuing to use them all year round as well.

The oversized bikes are fun, but don’t expect a low price point if you are looking to get one yourself.

Jeff Latimer of Gus’ Bike Shop in North Hampton says their Fat Bikes run anywhere from $1,400 to almost six grand. A large investment for sure, but these bad boys allow you to train all year long.

“Most folks put their road bikes up when winter hits and the salt goes on the roads. Once the snow gets deep the traditional mountain bike sinks into the snow. The fat bikes provide great flotation and grip in winter conditions so you can keep riding through the winter months. While a lot of folks got them to ride in snow they quickly discovered how much fun they are on the beach,” Latimer adds.


So who’s buying these new “big boned” bikes?

“The demographic is similar to the mountain bike, men and women from 20 to 65 years old, people who are already cycling enthusiasts,” Gromek says.

With the appeal of the fat bike growing it’s been hard for the bike shops to keep up.

“It’s our first year to carry them and we pre-sold about half of our initial order before the bikes even arrived,” Latimer says.

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