A fat bike is a type of off-road bicycle made with oversized tires. These oversize tires have a special characteristic that differentiates them from other bikes. The tires typically measure more than 3.8 inches (or 97 mm) in diameter, while the rims measure more than 2.16 inches (or 55 mm). Fat bikes are also known as fat-tire bikes, named for their design that allows the vehicle to withstand low ground pressure. This particular design allows the vehicle to traverse unstable or supple terrain like sand, bogs, mud, and even snow in all its forms.
Fat bikes are not a recent phenomenon in the biking world. These vehicles have been around for more than a decade, and only recently have these bikes become popular in the mainstream biking world. In the past few years, fat bikes have made appearances for their versatility in many biking scenarios, such as extreme adventure racing.
Fat bikes might be the right bike for a number of cyclists. For example, if a cyclist lives in an area with unstable or soft terrain, a fat bike could provide a more stable biking experience for them. If you're in the market for a bike, a fat bike might be your next purchase.
How Do Fat Bikes Work?
Fat bikes work a little differently from your usual mountain bike. These bikes are best characterized by their wider than usual wheel, a feature that sets them apart from the typical mountain bike.
Mountain bikes usually have a wheel width measuring a little over two inches. In comparison, fat bike wheels typically measure double of a mountain bike wheel or even much more. Another characteristic that sets fat bikes apart from mountain bikes is the low pressures that the bikes can withstand. Fat bike tires can traverse at 10 psi or lower, however mountain bike tires can only handle anywhere from 25 to 65 psi at a time. The lower pressure helps fat bike tires grip more of the ground when the rider is on the bike, heavily increasing the surface area of the rubber.
What's another effect of the extra wide fat bike tire? The extra width lets the bike rider traverse unstable terrain with a lighter touch than if they rode a mountain bike. Fat bike riders can easily ‘glide' through snow or other slippery terrains that are much harder to traverse on a mountain bike.
The wider tires do make a fat bike heavier than the usual bike. However, many biking experts consider the weight penalty to be a non-issue, especially when the extra weight can help counterbalance any stability issues.
Why You Should Consider A Fat bike
A fat bike is not as big of a change from a regular mountain bike. In fact, this bicycle offers a little more than the usual bike, especially if a rider wants more control over their bicycle.
More stability and control. The fatter tires help give the entire bike better balance, allowing a rider to exert more control over where they may guide the bicycle. Instead of experiencing instability on softer trains like snow and sand, the tires of the fat bike spread and cover more ground, counterbalancing the rider's and the bike's weight, which in turns offers more stability.
More comfort and enjoyment. The word ‘fun' is associated with fat bikes for a reason. A lot of riders simply find riding fat bikes a more enjoyable experience than other types of bicycles. The larger tires of a fat bike allow the bike to be taken over any terrain, whether stable or unstable. The heaviness of the bike also feels more stable to most riders, making much of the rides they take feel more comfortable than if they rode a mountain bike. A fat bike can be ridden at the rider's leisure; it's not uncommon for a fat bike rider to go as fast or as slow as they desire. Beginners, especially those completely new to bike-riding, may prefer a fat bike for its stability and ease of control. In fact, fat bikes are fast becoming an entry point for many new bike riders for that reason.
More versatility when on the trail. Fat bikes are versatile. Although these bikes were originally designed for traversal in the harsh Alaskan snow trails, they eventually evolved into an all-season bike that can ride over all sorts of terrain. The fat bike frame took on traits from the mountain bike and changed the bike into something riders can enjoy year round. Besides the evolved frame, the tires are the biggest reasons why fat bikes are so versatile. The width of these tires allows the bike to traverse a number of different terrains, including gravel, mud, dirt, rocks, pavement, and different types of snow. Fat bikes are considered some of the easiest bikes to ride anywhere, and that's because of its characteristic wide tires that allow the bike to grip the ground better than a mountain bike.
So, Should You Get A Fat bike?
Should you buy a fat bike? The good news is that it doesn't cost more to buy one than if you wanted a mountain bike. Entry level fat bikes typically start from $1,500, which is around the same price as an entry level mountain bike.
In addition, many biking enthusiasts now prefer the stable feel of a fat bike. With a fat bike, bikers do not have to wait until the weather gets better to go out on the trail. The stability of the wider tires allows them to ride on difficult terrain, even when the weather might not be great. A lot of fat bike riders take their bikes on the trail year-round, affording them more stability even when riding difficult trails. Beginners especially benefit from the fat bike. The stability and comfort offered by a fat bike can help ease a beginner into regular bike-riding, particularly if they desire to switch to a bike for regular commuting or exercise.
Stability and ease of entry are some reasons why you might want to try a fat bike. If you live in an area with a lot of unstable terrains or just want a change from the usual mountain bike, a fat bike might be the right choice for you.
For the ultimate in biking resources, visit BikeJar.