Before the Holidays we did a bit on many of the currently available fat-bikes that are aimed at kids and I asked for readers to send me their impressions if they’ve owned a 20” or 24” fat-bike that one of their kids was riding. Tom, from Edmonton, sent us this story on the Specialized Fatboy 24 that his son rides. Read on!
After years on a fatbike, I was so excited to see high quality kids’ versions hitting the market. We got our 10 year old son, Siors, a Fatboy 24 as soon as they hit the market. He got a few days on snow in early spring. More importantly, he found that the traction and stability in the summer was far superior to his Hotrock 24 XC on singletrack. The good news was that fit-wise, reach and stand over are very comparable between the larger of the Hotrock 24’s and the Fatboy 24. He changed from a timid kid who would put up with going out to ride with a lot of coaxing to asking to go mountain biking on more and more challenging trails.
As far as the Specialized part of the equation goes, the build is sensible and durable. For genuine off road riding a wider range 10-speed and a smaller ring up front would be nice, especially as more gears have started trickling down price points. I had a 12-36 cassette in the parts box which helped a little. The flip side of this is that his Fatboy and his Hotrock weigh about the same. When comparing the cost of the bike to a new tablet or video game console, it is worth every penny. That $1000 price point seems to give a good balance of components and quality no matter the brand.
Now that we are seeing Plus-Sized kids’ bikes, I wouldn’t even consider a regular mountain bike if you want your kids to get the most fun they can have off the pavement. For my dollar, and my latitude, I still choose Fat over Plus.
Tom, Edmonton, AB
Do you have a story about your families experiences with 20” or 24” fat-bikes? We’d love to hear about them? Email me at email@example.com and let’s so a story!
Totally agree with everything you said. I’m in Red Deer and I didn’t go Specialized but I did get both my kids on Charged Cooker fatties this year, a 20″ and a 24″. My daughter, on the 24″ was very timid riding her 20″ bike and really didn’t want to go off pavement. I got her on this Cooker and she’s riding right along with me now. The great thing was that the 24 came in a nice blue color too so I accented it up with pink for her and when she moves on to 26″, my son will be ready for the 24″ and I can just switch up the accent colors! They love them and I love the fact I can get my kids out everywhere I go now.
Great to hear about you and the kids on the Cookers. I’m looking at the 24″ for my daugher this spring and was hoping it would be a year-round ride for her.
I’m not sure how I missed your comment until just today but I thought I’d respond and see how it went with your Cooker 24 and your daughter?
My kids and I put a pile of miles on fat tires this summer and they are just loving it. My little guy had a growth spurt so he’s at the top end of his 20″ but it’ll work until spring and then I’ll have to find him a little larger one!
Hope it all worked out with yours too.
I know this is an old article, but I feel that it is still relevant. I live in Sweden and got Specialized FatBoy 24’s for both my kids, ages 8 and 10. They absolutely love them and I love riding with them. They are both more confident on trails and gravel roads, and there have been no crashes so far, where there were a few on the previous “normal” bikes.
For both bikes, I swapped out the front 32T chainring for a 30T on my 10yr old and a 26T on my 8yr old’s bike. I will probably move to a 30T on the 8yr old’s bike because on his third ride he was already on the small cog hauling ass. He probably “should” be on a 20″ model, but it was hard to find the bike here in Sweden, and after spending that much, I want him to have it as long as he can. Seems to be working out though he is on his tippy-toes with the seat all the way down.
For the front chainrings, I very much recommend USA Made Components “Sharktooth Pro 104BCD” chainrings. They are the only ones that I have ever seen that go below 30T on a 104BCD, beautifully made, and have an integrated bash-guard due to their construction. Additionally, they move the chainring inboard about 5mm which helps the chain line. Definitely worth the purchase.
The fascinating thing is that the FatBoy 24 weighs less than my daughter’s previous 20″ girls bike, and due to the gearing, she is tearing up hills on this fat bike where she would walk her previous bike up. So it has been a lot more fun for her, and make getting out for a bike ride a lot more accessible for all of us. Couldn’t be happier!