THE SITUATION: While manufacturers of road bikes continue in the quest to get lighter and lighter, that’s not the case with mountain bikes. In fact, fat is all the rage when it comes to the off-road machines. Fat-tire bikes, with tires as wide as 4 inches and more, are designed to be ridden through the snow and really sloppy terrain. The newest grouping of mountain bikes features tires a step below those behemoths, but wider than traditional tires. Why the emphasis on the big wheels? The larger tires need less air pressure, which provides better cushioning on the trail. They also create more contact with the ground, giving you better traction while climbing, cornering and descending.
AN OPTION: The Specialized Fuse Comp 6Fattie features one of the wider tires in this new group of bikes (3 inches), and at its price point, it’s one of the more reasonably priced. You won’t get rear suspension, but with the big tires most people won’t miss it. The aluminum frame offers a light and responsive ride, and the disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power. For riders who like to push themselves on the trails, this new breed of mountain bike is certainly worth a test drive.