Review: Diamondback El Oso Dos & El Oso Grande
This is a review of the Diamondback El Oso Dos, and the Diamondback El Oso Grande. Before buying these two fat bikes, I had no idea that the mere idea of fat bikes was so contentious. A lot of people think that fat bikes should only be used for winter riding, or on the beach. And although they are the bosses of riding on snow and sand, they also versatile bikes that fit our needs wonderfully when we first got them, and still enjoy them now.
When we first sold our house in 2017, moved into our converted school bus, and hit the road for parts unknown, we decided to get a bike to replace our minivan. We could fit it in our bus when travelling, and then could explore the places that we travelled to.
Enter our TerraTrike Tandem Pro, pulling two Croozer child trailers. We were a sight, and after rigging up an electric assist onto it, we could fly. Well, not really, but it sure helped us petal up the hills with those trailers! We explored Quebec City, parts of Nova Scotia, and it replaced our minivan for 6 months. It was so fun, and let me tell you, recumbent trikes are so stinking comfortable!
But although we enjoyed riding the tandem, we bemoaned the fact that we were missing out on some really beautiful off road trails that cannot be traversed in a bike set-up that is longer than our 2007 Toyota Sienna. Its skinny touring tires are like riding on pizza cutters on anything but pavement or dry hard-packed gravel roads. So when we were planning an extended bike trip with the kids across Florida, we decided to look at different bike options.
Our main considerations and requirements were:
Large tires to float over soft ground while hauling a lot of weight.
Ability to bike in the ditch or on sandy/muddy service roads with ease in order to stay out of traffic.
Two wheels for going on mountain biking trails.
Needing to bring 4 little girls along.
So after looking at the options and our requirements, we decided on the Diamondback El Oso Dos and El Oso Grande. We were now two of the crazy fat bike people!
We were able to purchase these bikes on Diamondback's Black Friday sale, making these 2 fat beauties the cheapest entry level fat bike that we could find at the time (2017).
The Diamondback bikes fit our requirements because they had two wheels, and they were FAT.
Having two wheels made it possible to navigate single-track, bump over curbs, or ride that fine white line on the edge of the road, where it just wasn’t possible with our Trike. There are fat trikes on the market, and someday I would love to try one, but 2 wheels was what we needed. Now we could also go on mountain bike trails and explore hard to get to places! We had more options when it came to carrying the kids as well.
The best part of any fat bike is its tires. Their FAT tires (hence the name). While remembering what it was like riding our tandem on wet gravel, I took my first ride on a fat bike on loose sand. It made me want to cry from happiness! Pulling a heavy load and biking on wet or dry sand was no longer a torturing experience! Even riding in a wet ditch, or over rocks and roots was easier.
(If you want to see some sweet fat bike touring, check out ForestyForest on YouTube.)
We also needed our bikes to carry a lot of weight. And they have! These bikes were our pack mules on our bike trip and we treated them as such. We loaded them down with kids, gear and food, and the bikes handled the weight wonderfully. They allowed our family to travel on the unbeaten path, over soft and unsteady ground, on sidewalks and through ditches. They made it possible to bike up mountain trails and see beautiful views from the top and for that I am so thankful! Having this flexibility has offered us some spectacular views of the wild of northern and northwest Florida.
Our new bikes came in the mail nicely packaged and very easy to put together with the supplied manuals. If you can't read, or don't want to read you can also watch assembly videos at Diamondback or probably on YouTube. When they arrived, everything was adjusted perfectly and didn't need to be adjusted till about after 200 miles of riding. The include saddle was a racing style saddle, and we replaced them with a much softer saddle when we started off on our packed-down touring trip, but prefer the racing saddle for mountain/downhill biking.
We have used these bikes as all-around town bikes, aggressively riding on mountain bike trails, pulling child trailers, on pump tracks, and still love them. They have allowed our family to do some really neat things, and we are anxious to plan our next off-road family trip on these fat bikes… perhaps across Newfoundland?