Given I had over 4,000 K on my bikes this year, I decided to do something different over the winter. The problem was that any running caused my hip and back to act up. I did some snow shoeing but there has not been a lot of snow. And when I got out, the trails were packed down to a point most of the people I encountered were using hiking boots. The wider stance in using snow shoes also aggravated some issues. I did try fat biking but the bike was technically my size as I am either a large or medium and was given a large. I felt too high up and had some issues on steep hills but did love the cross country trails. The problem is that a good fat bike new is around $2,000. The good used ones were not much less - I suspect that people bought a fat bike, used it a couple of times and then it sat gathering dust. So they decided to sell it close to what they paid. Thus I came to the conclusion I could rent a bike at $45 for the half day, $60 for the full day or $75-90 for the high end bikes a couple of times a year and I would come out ahead. That is until I came across the Rocky Mountain Suzi Q.
I had assumed the Suzi Q as a women's bike but it was in reference to the "Q" factor that is how wide the cranks are and thus how wide you feet/ hip are apart. It is a 27.5" wheel and 3.8" tires. I decided this is the sort of bike I could use year round as a fast fat bike in the winter and a ++ mountain bike in the summer. The cheapest version was $2,400. Aluminum and decent parts. A fun extra bike but at $2,400, too rich for a 4th bike or so I thought. I could get the upgraded version for $2,700 on sale or $3,100 for the 2018 model. Getting close to twice as expensive as my road bike that I love and would not even get half the rides. The first carbon version was $3,900. And then the one I bought on sale for $3,999 and normally $5,400. Top of the line components but as light as a mountain bike and very responsive on test rides. Sell my mountain bike for $1,500 and not the worst purchase I ever made.
I have ridden it three times and I have been thrilled. Once on dirt trails the day I bought it. I was okay on ice but I was very unsure and unsteady but it did well. The next time was full snow up in the Spray Lakes area on the High Rockies trail. I was almost overwhelmed with doubt but the more I ride, the more fun I had. By the end, I was sad I had to turn around after an out of 1 hour. Last weekend, danger ice I had to walk through as people with studs were having issues but then 80 % + of fun riding. The bike performanced as well or better than I hoped. Still lacking skill but the wider tires helped conquer a few hills I would have struggled with and the down hills I was much more stable.
I do not regret getting this bike but no more fun stuff for me for awhile. I bought a Giant Fathom hardtail. The bike shop I bought it out pimped it up as an example of what one could do with the bones and was told it would be the sort of bike they might ride. The problem is that no one wants to offer me anything close to what the much better version of the bike is worth but based upon the plain version and with many more miles and pounding than I put on it. Changing tires on the Suzi Q might pose an issue in the field - through axle without a lever. And the light carbon good for uphills and wider tires on steeper down hills but the Fathom might still be a better cross country bike. There a few longer rides I can use the Fathom or to ride for an hour on a city park or two. Plus in a few years, I might need a new mountain bike and so rather than buy a cheap model then, why not keep a model that is hard to beat for price. The 2018 version that is virtually the same other than going to a tubless ready tire, same bike but $300 more.
And for anyone who has not tried fat biking, it is fun. It is also one heck of a great workout. I though mountain biking was good cardio with intervals, fat biking is even more so.
A cozy spot for triathletes and other multi-sporters
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