Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Specialized Fatboy slick MTB tyres review

Posted by Matt | September 2, 2008 | 12 comments so far

Slick and semi slick MTB tyres
Ok, I promised I’d cut down on the slick tyre ramblings but having just fitted a pair of Specialized Fatboy slick MTB tyres at the recommendation of Felix and Rob I thought I can’t pass up the opportunity for a review.

So first of all, why slick MTB tyres? Well, in my case I don’t have a road bike so in order to get some mileage in while my collarbone heals properly I thought I’d get out on the road.

MTB treads tend to drag far too much for comfortable progress on the road and can be a bit squirmy in the corners so it makes sense to try slicks. In the real world most people would probably find a benefit from slicks if they plan to commute to work, saving vital energy for the slog home!

There’s two ways to get MTB slicks, the super skinny approach such as these Specialized Fatboy tyres which comes with no tread, 1.25 width and puncture protection, or a larger carcass ‘halfway house’ route such as the Continental Cityride 1.5 slicks I tried last week. The main benefit really is that the larger tyre means you can get away with a standard MTB inner tube rather than the 1-1.15 type I had to buy for the Fatboys, at extra cost. In use, the larger tyre also has a slightly softer ride due to the extra volume.

Having tried the Cityride tyres I was a bit dubious about bothering with the expense of the Fatboys but since I’d gone ahead and ordered them anyway (and knowing Colin would want his back at some stage) I thought I’d give them a try. And was very surprised by them.

I expected them to have a harsh ride — not a bit of it, in practice they rolled as close as dammit to the Cityrides that I tried earlier. Smooth over tarmac they absorbed the bumps much more generously than I had hoped. This was admittedly helped by the Marzocchi Marathon forks up front and the inherently compliant nature of my Inbred classic but it was still a good performance.

The main benefit over the Cityrides was actually weight – when you add the smaller carcass and lightweight tubes together they’re a lot lighter than you’d think. So small was the profile of the tyres I actually had to recalibrate my speedo, you can see the difference quite clearly in the picture (there’s more for comparison on Flickr). My On-one just looks bizarre with such undersized wheels on it.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased. With slicks it’s not that you put in any less work than with standard tyres, it’s just that you tend to travel more quickly over a given distance. Even in my weakened state I managed 15.4mph average over six miles today with a pretty stiff headwind.

You focus much more on the rhythm of the ride, your cadence etc. and you become noticeably reluctant to slow down below the pace you’ve set yourself with the result that although you’d think you’d have an easier time with slicks you get home just as exhausted, if not more so than ever.

I bit of mental adjustment needed there I think. I mean, what am I trying to prove! Anyway, if you commute, think seriously about these tyres.


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 12 comments on ‘Specialized Fatboy slick MTB tyres review’

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  1. Dominic says:


    Was in the Discovery (red) last night thought I saw you on the Lower Road heading towards Bookham, also been coming home from work and thought I had seen someone on an On-one on the road.

    Give us a wave, silver hybrid, blue gloves big blue rucksack, I have now sold the car so the bike is my one means of transport. Hope it all goes ok. Not sure about slicks in the winter though!!!!



  2. Matt says:

    Yup that was probably me Dom.

    There can’t be many other people anywhere with an old On-one and skinny tyres. I have seen a guy riding home on a pale green Inbred 456 recently though (remember them), but not on the Lower Road.

    If the rider was red in the face and gasping for air then it definitely was me!

    I’ll look out for you next time…

  3. Muddymoles says:

    I kissed a girl and I liked it…

    A road bike? Mark dallies extravagantly with the Dark Side.

  4. Muddymoles says:

    Morning ride

    Early morning is a great time to get out and get some exercise in before a days work gets in the way.

  5. Muddymoles says:

    My retro bike project

    It may be a bit old in the tooth but a good bike like the 1998 Marin Muirwoods never truly dies. It just gets used in different ways.

  6. Reflexive says:

    Hey if have them filled up to 7.0 bar (must do!) they let you feel and hear (plop) every little stone but you can ride even through glass (tried it alot riding in the city)without any punctutres. You will be alot faster or much more relaxed depending on your style. Sometimes i use two kicks and keep roling for half a mile.

    I have an old FOCUS black hills with hard tail with Stx RC and Deore Hardware some Suntour parts. Its such a damn nice ride!

  7. Reflexive says:

    But be carefull if its wet… its slick!

    You could easily kill yourself on wet cobble stone pavement.

  8. Muddymoles says:

    Retro bike builds are nearly here

    A 1998 Marin Muirwoods and a 1999 Marin Nail Trail form the basis of two retro bike builds, including V-brakes – remember them?!

  9. Vlad says:

    I’m liking this review!
    I have a bike with these fitted on arriving on Wednesday.
    I was wondering what your thoughts were on riding these on an MTB in London during the winter (yes, it will be wet, etc).

  10. Related: I kissed a girl and I liked it… | Mutterings, Stuff & nonsense | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  11. Related: Morning ride | Rides | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  12. Related: I am Lazarus | Mutterings, Lifestyle | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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