Going Fat !!
It was Summer 2015, the weather in Egypt can reach 35-40 degrees celsius. It is quite hard to go cycling during these periods. The best time to go riding was early morning around 7 am. I had plenty of time to go through the web and search for the perfectfatbike for me. I started with Trek bikes site since I tried one of their bikes when I was cycling in Dahab (Read all about it here).
Trek was selling fatbikes with massive durable frames and patented full suspension and brakes. You can get the feeling that the pictures of these bikes are painted by artists. What stopped me from purchasing is the price tag. I was still a beginner and I didn’t know if fatbikes were for me or not. I was looking to invest in an affordable fatbike. Next, I found another manufacturer who called themselves “Siberian Born Fatbikes – Sarma“. Sarma is dedicated to selling fatbikes only. They don’t have patents like Trek bikes but their bikes look quite durable as well. Although Sarma is nearly half price than Trek bikes, I was looking for more and more affordable bikes. I went to the local market to search for fatbike but I got disappointed since there are not a lot of variety here in Egypt.
After days of searching, I found this site called Bikes Direct. They sell from road bikes to fatbikes as low as $400. I browsed their fatbikes section until I found this fatbike called Gravity Bullseye Monster. I found out it is easier to buy it from amazon than their site.The design of this bike caught my eyes. The frame is made from Aluminium, 26″ tires 4″ thickness (26 x 4″), 8 speed back cassette and 2 speed front with trigger shifters. This video below shows the performance of this low budget bike on snow.
If you browse through the site, you can see a lof of photos from customers who have ridden this bike on heavy snow and dirt.The bike costs only $499. The one thing this bike does not have is a suspension but I found out that the fat tires work well as full suspension. Most fatbikes do not have any suspension so I didn’t mind.
Next, was the selection of frame size. My old mountain bike was a 17″ size frame and it was suitable for me. Unfortunately, this bike had 14″, 16″ and 18″ only. The site mentioned that 14″ frame size suit riders of height from 5’4″ to 5’7″ while the 18″ is suitable for 5’7″ to 5’10” heights. Since I was 5’6″, the chart dictates me to purchase 14″ frame. This made me confuse since my old bike was 17″ and I was riding smoothly on it. Of course, I didn’t have the luxury to try it since I was purchasing it 5000 miles away from the USA. I decided to try my luck and follow the charts.
So now I choose the fatbike and the frame size, I was left with the color. The black color the best color since it gives the bike a sense of power and mystery when riding it. It gives the feeling that you were riding batman’s bicycle.
Last but not least was how to ship this bike internationally. The site accepts US credit card and ships free to all USA states. The solution was to bring a forwarding company to handle the purchase, shipping, and customs. But the problem with forwarding companies that they charge $15-$20 for every kilo shipped, which was quite a lot. Shipping will cost me more than half the price of the bike itself (in my caseshipping cost was $352). I was searching for a forwarding company on the web with lower shipping rates until I found a local forward company called “Edfaly” (an Arabic word means ‘Pay for me’) which offer elite programs to ship anything from the USA for free (Now they offer 80% discount only). This program cost me 500 EGP ($71 back then). I was thrilled. You can imagine the savings that I made from the receipt below.
After a month or so, I received a huge box from the forwarding company with the bike. It was 23 Kg and it took two persons to carry the box due to its large size. The bike was about 80% assembled and I continued combining all the remaining parts alone. After completing its assembly, I found the bike weights only 15 Kg. Don’t get fooled with the fat tires, they are fat and big but they are light in weight.
During a very hot weekend, I took the fatbike for a spin in a paved road to make sure it was assembled properly. The bicycle is very stable. Because of the 4″ tires, you exert more power to pedal than the conventional 2″ mountain bikes. This bike was not meant to be ridden on paved roads for sure. If you joined a bunch of skinny road cyclist with this fatbike, all of them will definitely pass by and leave you behind.
The bike attracted many people on the street that day. I lot of cars had stopped me to ask about the bike. I noticed something weird during hard turns. The pedals were hitting front tires. The friction between the two so was strong that the bicycle goes into a complete stop when turning. You can see this in the picture below. I stopped and examed the bike in details. At the beginning, I thought it was a manufacturing fault but after some time, I knew what the problem was. The bike’s fork was reversed which decreased the clearance between the front tire and the pedals. In no time, I revered the fork and I was off on the road again.
I made a slow 22 Km that day and burnt a lot of calories, one of the main features of riding a fatbike. I have decided to try my new fabike at ‘Wadi Degla‘, you can read all about it in my next post ‘Fat ride at Wadi Degla’
The Conclusion to my experience, you can save on cost when shipping a fatbike internationally from the USA can. There are a lot of who can offer 80%-100% discounted shipping fees. There are three companies similar to ‘Edfaly‘ company that I can recommend which are is
- MyUSA, a globe trustworthy company which offers cheap shipping rates even than “Edfaly’.
2 ) Borderlinx: Another forwarding company which I personally used before. The best thing about them is that they ship really really fast.
A piece of advice:
– Try to ride any bike before you purchase it. Sometimes it is hard to convince the local shops with this but try to insist on taking it for a short ride.
-If you are shipping to Egypt, do not use the service of ‘Edfaly‘ site.Recently, there have been tons of complaints regarding their service nowadays.
Two weeks after receiving my fatbike, I went to ‘Dahab’ to test it on the rock/sandy beaches like I did before in March 2014.
You can read all about in my next post – Riding Fat to Abu Galum.