Review: Specialized Fatboy Pro
The Specs1 of 12
Frame: Specialized M4 Premium Aluminum, butted with smooth welds
Fork: RockShox Bluto RL
Components: Shimano XT disc brakes; SRAM X01 shifters/rear derailleur; Race Face Next SL crankset
Wheelset: Specialized Fatboy SL
Tires: Specialized Ground Control Fat
Seatpost: Command Post BlackLite
The Frame2 of 12
Fat bikes are known for their ability to perform in the snow. The aluminum build of the Fatboy Pro is lighter than we expected, and was remarkably comfortable even when we took it to the dirt. Coupled with the performance of the Bluto RL RockShox front fork, this is a frame—and a bike—that has surprising versatility.
The Frame (Continued)3 of 12
As for aesthetics, the welds are smooth at the joints and aren't very noticeable. The color scheme of the Pro model also stands out from the lower end models of the Fatboy line. The wide, flat downtube is both functional and pleasing to the eye.
The Components4 of 12
The Command dropper seatpost was one of my favorite specs on the Fatboy Pro. Dropping it on downhill sections made controlling this bike much easier, giving the bike the ability to hit turns at high speeds.
The Components (Continued)5 of 12
The real star of the show though are the rims and tires. The Fat SL disc 26-inch wheels and the 4.6-inch wide Ground Control tires were designed together to handle even the worst terrain. You can ride up curbs, over packed snow and through tough singletrack trails without even noticing the terrain.
The Components (Continued)6 of 12
The precision shifting of SRAM's XO1 and Shimano's disc brakes are unmatched in performance from any other company on the market.
The Ride7 of 12
The first things you'll notice about the Fatboy Pro is that it's lighter than it should be and that it's remarkably easy to handle. It flies down hills on the trail and is easy to control in tight turns. While it isn't going to be as fast as a more traditional mountain bike, when the road heads up you won't be slowed to the pace of a snail. It accelerates well and can ride over absolutely anything without stopping you. The 11-42 rear cassette should help you to get over really steep trails too.
The Ride (Continued)8 of 12
The wide tires really turns this bike into a monster truck. For a beginner new to the sport of mountain biking, the Fatboy has the ability to take away mistakes that a novice rider might make out on the trail. A line you shouldn't have taken will be crushed instead. This kind of freedom makes this bike a fun option for everyone, and on just about every kind of surface you can think of from the trail to the snow to urban roads.
The Ride (Continued)9 of 12
If you're going to use this bike in the snow, you won't be disappointed. In 3 to 4 inches of soft powder and run with a lower tire pressure, the Fatboy stayed upright when other fat bikes did not. The bike shines on packed snow or over tracks where snowmobiles or cars have driven. It's fast, easy to control, and stops with precision.
The Verdict10 of 12
This bike is a surprise. It can be really easy for a road cyclist to get so caught up with Strava and power meters that he or she forgets how much fun riding a bike is supposed to be. As an urban commuter, riding this bike compared to a standard road bike is shocking to the system. Instead of avoiding every pothole, rock or piece of glass in sight, you will actually find yourself looking for objects to run over. It's like being inside a monster truck when you're used to driving a sports car. It's just different, and the freedom it provides might also give you a fresh perspective on the sport.
The Verdict (Continued)11 of 12
Every ride doesn't have to be about how fast you can get there. Sometimes, it's good just to have fun doing it. And the Specialized Fatboy Pro will definitely provide you with a whole lot of fun—whether you want to ride around the city, trails, the sand or the snow.
So if you're thinking about joining the fat bike club, the Fatboy Pro is a bike that won't steer you wrong.