I did another test ride of a fat bike yesterday. The really good piece of learning that came from that is that I didn't notice so much difference between this particular bike (that the shop was willing to sell for $1,400 since it's an older, out-of-date model) and the really expensive fat bike I'd ridden the day before. This reassured me that at least I hadn't been spoiled and could still excitedly consider a more economical solution. While I was riding, I noticed that the bike seemed to pull to the right. Then I noticed that it felt like it was pulling to the left. It seemed that once I started to make a turn, the bike pulled into the turn a bit. I hadn't noticed anything like that during the test ride on the other model the day before. When I mentioned this to the salesguy, he said "Definitely not." and went on to expound about the bike's excellent tracking and handling, etc. Don't you love it? I would have been open to hearing that he hadn't experienced this dynamic when riding this bike. I would have been open to speculating about different reasons why the bike was handling this way for me. (I actually was wondering about tire pressure; I think playing around with the amount of tire pressure might have changed how the bike handled.) Anyway, we didn't have a productive discussion about any of this because the guy simply thought he could deny my experience, talk me out of it by declaring my experience to be wrong...and I didn't have any interest in or energy for arguing with him.
[Update 4 Feb 2014: The Tire Inflation Tips included with my new fat bike includes: "Running a low PSI on harder surfaces will create 'self-steer' where front wheel pulls in turns." Ah ha! I thought so.]
In the end, since the Minnesota 2.0 fat bike had more impressive specs and components, and cost a lot less ($940 with shipping and a free extra wheel set), that's what I ordered. I would have preferred to spend my money here in Maine, but I didn't find enough options here to make that possible.
Oh, and one more thing: The guy I ordered my fat bike from says I can buy a stud kit and add my own studs to the mountain-bike tires that come on the extra wheel set. I think the fat tires will be great in snow, sand, dirt, mud. If the narrower mountain-bike tires have studs, they will be great on ice. Perfect.