2023-24 MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN, AND THE U.P. FAT BIKE RACES
Every single fatbike race and event in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Filter by state, try something that's over your head, pick up some maple syrup energy packets, and just go ride your bike. To submit an event, email email@example.com
ALL FAT BIKE RACES
Fat Bike Race Gear Checklist
Holy smokes, it gets cold up here. Just getting ready to ride in the winter takes so much longer than the summer. On bright side, there seems to be much fewer mosquitoes. Take your time, plan your layers carefully, enjoy the race, and make sure you have what you need to stay warm without overheating. Easier said than done.
Merino or alpaca wool socks
Wool base layer
Water (ideally, you can keep it insulated so it doesn't freeze)
Hat (I prefer an ultra thin windproof cap but wool is great too)
Goggles in extremely low temps
Face cover for low temps
Energy like bars, gels, candy, or maple syrup which doesn't freeze
Tools for if you break down (multitool, pump, straps, tire sealant)
Small frame bag or handlebar bag for gear or to dump a layer if you over heat
Tire Width, Studs, Tubes, & PSI
Ah yes, this is where all the best discourse takes place. People are passionate about their wheels and love sitting around with an espresso before the race casually asking each other, "what PSI you running?" Let's dive right in.
Tire Width for Fat Bike Racing
In general fat bike tires are 3.8" to 5" wide. If you know you'll mostly be riding groomed and packed single track, then tires on the narrower end are going to be faster for racing. If you'll be riding on mixed snow types and surfaces, wider is almost always better. Wider tires give you the flexibility to lower the pressure to get an ever wider footprint on the softest and deepest snow but can also be filled to a higher PSO to roll fast on hard surfaces.
Do You Need Studs For Racing?
Studs can be a major life saver. They offer no benefit on soft snow but when fat bike races get icy, they will save you from falling hard and fast. A lot of riders keep studs on all winter regardless of conditions because hitting a single patch of ice can send you to the hospital quickly if you go down. The biggest barrier is the cost. A studded tire is costly (as much as a car tire) and studding it yourself is a little cheaper (if you have studdable tires) but will take several hours.
Tubes vs Tubeless for Fat Bike Racing
Riding tubeless offers several benefits. A tubeless setup is a few pounds lighter and can give you better traction with improved cornering at lower pressures without the risk of a tube getting a pinch flat. On the down side, tubeless setups can get a little temperamental if you get several leak points that won't fill with tire sealant.
Tire Pressure & PSI
The ideal riding PSI depends on race day trail conditions. For soft dry snow that has low moisture, 1-4 PSI is a good range to make sure you're floating on the surface of the trail and not breaking through. If it's hard packed, high moisture, and consistently below freezing then 6-8 PSI is a good range. Watch the trail behind you to make sure you're not cutting ruts in the snow as tire pressure really depends on your weight and tire width.