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Exercise Intensity and Performance Aspects of Snow Biking through the Use of a Fat Bike

In recent years, fat bikes have become a popular option for mountain bikers. A fat bike is a mountain bike equipped with tires ranging from 9.3 – 10.1 cm wide, twice as wide as a traditional mountain bike tire (Barber, 2014). This allows them to be ridden at an inflation pressure as low as 27579 Pascal (4 PSI). The wide surface area, and low inflation pressure, of these tires allows for excellent handling of the bicycle while riding over sand, mud, and snow. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a traditional mountain bike to ride over such surfaces.

Winter fat bike riding. Photo courtesy of https://www.singletracks.com/


Exercise Intensity and Performance Aspects of Snow Biking through


The study concludes that performance differences aside, the present study shows that snow biking through the use of a fat bike can be completed at a very high exercise intensity.

The HR response suggests potential for similar aerobic training adaptations with ST vs. ET riding, however V̇O2 should be measured in future research to verify this. In a practical sense, competitive mountain bikers may use snow biking as a training method to maintain or improve aerobic fitness during winter months. Additionally, snow biking may help maintain or improve technical skills related to dynamic bike handling, whereas this is not conceivably possible through typical winter training methods completed on a stationary bicycle.

Published August 2015

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