Although the name states the obvious, there’s a little more to a fat tire bike than meets the eye! Fat tire bikes are essentially mountain bikes, but with larger tires, no gear system, better handling, and more versatility across otherwise impassible terrain. These unique bikes were first produced back in 2005, with the Surly Pugsley paving the way for future fat tire bikes, although its origins date back to the 1980s, with bike racers experimenting with the placement of two tires next to each other for more traction and surface area. But why are fat bikes so great?
Because of the tires’ unique design, fat bikes can easily stand up to almost any weather condition! These tires won’t slip on wet pavement or rocks, can power over the snow, through the mud, and can even tread through sand! Can you imagine trying to do any of that on a standard mountain bike?
This opens up a whole new world of biking possibilities, taking you to places you’d never thought you could ride a mountain bike! Now you’ll be able to bike on groomed trails in the winter, or scale alpine terrain that was previously only able to be hiked! You won’t have to postpone a ride on the trails if it’s raining; you’ll be able to wheel through mud and wet stones easily. Wherever you want to go, your fat tire will get you there!
The wide tread of fat bike tires allows for better grip and contact than traditional mountain bike tires! Because they are wider, more tire surface area makes contact with the ground, providing a better grip and decreased pressure on the bike. Fat tires also require a much lower air pressure, with as low as 10-15 psi as opposed to the 35-60 psi of normal mountain bike tires.
This difference in pressure and tread gives fat tire bikes their own suspension system of sorts. Because of the low psi and thick elastic rubber, the tires are more shock absorbent! Most fat tire bikes used to rely solely on this innate suspension system, but innovation has led to the development of fat tire bikes that have an additional actual suspension system for even better handling on tough terrain!
What started off as a goofy-looking trend has morphed into an awesome adventure phenomenon! If you love biking and are down for a new adventure, you’ll love taking your fat tire bike out and experimenting to see how it will work on terrains that your regular mountain bike can't handle!
Although fat tire bikes are generally easy to ride, they provide way more of a workout than normal mountain bikes! Without gears, you’ll have one speed, so powering up hillsides and over tricky terrain will take more strength and determination! However, this is great for experienced riders who are biking with less experienced bike riders, so that you can keep a better pace with them and feel challenged while doing so!
Other riders love their fat tire bikes because it essentially enriches their lives! This type of bike isn’t really about speed, it’s about exploring new places, taking a second to live more in the moment, and slow down to appreciate the beautiful nature around you! There is also a great community of fat tire bike riders, and competitions specifically for this type of bike are held all over so you can test your skills against other riders! If anything, your fat tire bike will surely be a conversation starter to those who aren’t familiar with them!