Fat tire bikes came into being around 2005 with the introduction of the ‘Pugsley’, which was the first bike to support 3.8-inch wide tires.
It was a bike invented with the intention of allowing avid cyclists to ride across snowy trails, plowing through obstacles like a jeep.
However, not long after its inception did more people start taking on this type of bike as a new way to exercise in the winter.
Despite how near-comical the proportions of a fat bike are, it only takes a single ride on one to understand why they are so loved.
The fatness of the tires create a huge contact patch with the ground, grabbing up the traction on slick and loose surfaces.
While they are heavier than most bikes and turn more slowly, speed and agility are not their focus. These bikes have massive volume tires that allow you to run air pressures so low that they barely even register.
This means that they have a flotation that allows them to roll over snow, sand, mud, wet roots, rocks and any other terrain that any either bike would scream at the sight of.
Are fat bikes comfortable?
Have you ever ridden a bike and gone over some bumps and known your backside will be paying for that later?
Well, fat bikes don’t have that problem so much, they save your rear end. This makes fat bikes very comfortable.
Thanks to the large volume low pressure tires, these bikes absorb shock.
Their chunky tires may seem like something of a problem, that would make the bike less maneuverable, and yes, while they are heavy and more clunky, you won’t be feeling it if you go over some rough terrain.
Since these large, or fat, tires absorb most of the vibration from your ride, there is also less stress and strain on your lower back and hands, so your whole body can benefit from this.
The tire pressure on fat bikes is also adjustable from 30 psi to 7 psi! (However, this does depend on the individual and the tire).
But, this does mean that the rider can adjust the tire pressure to suit riding conditions and comfort levels too.
Most of these bikes can also be fitted with front suspension too which adds even more to the shock absorption, but this is only really recommended if you do trail riding in the summer months.
Nonetheless, fat tire bikes are 100% comfortable, you will find the ride more enjoyable and less painful, with fat tires that absorb the shock so much, you won’t even feel it.
Are fat bikes good on gravel?
Fat bikes are like the pinnacle of adventure bikes in existence. While gravel bikes are great, they do not quite compare to the skill and ability of fat bikes.
Having wide tires means that a rider can go over pretty much any kind of surface without any real issue. They also open up a whole new world with the ability to go for a ride any time of the year, regardless of the weather.
Not that you’d want to go cycling in a blizzard, technically, you probably could with a fat bike.
Fat bikes are very flexible, strong and capable of all the gear you would want, and yet they can still pick up speed. Okay, they are never going to be as speedy as lightweight bikes, but the real goal of fat bikes is to tackle unruly terrain.
They can handle gravel, sandy beaches, snow, and mud with no issues. You can climb and will always feel in control.
A fat bike can handle gravel with ease, there is no issue there at all, in fact, this is what they are made for.
And while they can tackle gravel, if your gravel path turns into a muddy mess, you won’t have to turn back or circle around, your fat bike has got this.
No more terrain specifications, cycle where you want when you want, with a fat bike.
Are fat bikes good for exercise?
Any bike is a good bike for exercise, but fat bikes really up the game.
They aren’t about going as fast as possible, they are about giving you everything you could want, whenever you want it.
This means that if you would normally wait until the warmer months to get fit because your bike simply cannot tackle the outdoor environments in the winter, you won’t have to, not with a fat bike. You can exercise all year round with no hold up.
It keeps you in shape, not only do you have to push all that resistance on a fat bike, but thanks to the whole nature of fat biking you will never coast.
It will be steady pedaling the whole way.
You can also expect to shed the pounds you gained from that hefty thanksgiving dinner and holiday feast as cycling in the cold means that your body’s metabolism will have to work harder to stay warm, you will burn even more calories, which is just what you want to hear after that hibernation weight hit.
It is probably super obvious, but you will also build muscular endurance, you need to produce more power to get those tires going, especially on harder terrain, so while it is fun and enjoyable, you are also building up bigger muscle while doing so!
Are fat bikes safer?
Fat bike tires are a very enjoyable means of exercise and getting around.
They provide good grip on even the most uneven terrain you could imagine cycling on.
They allow sport lovers to get a good workout even when winter hits and the snows fall, or if you fancy a cycle down the beach, or through a muddy forest.
While you may think that these bikes are best suited to the sporty types, that isn't strictly true. They do not require much care, and so they are also an ideal choice for the average biker that needs a bike for basic transportation.
Not only this but fat tire bikes are also much safer than standard bikes.
Their fat tires provide more contact surface and since they are heavier they are much less likely to be blown away by the wind, even if the winds are strong.
They will also not slip off moist or soft surfaces, so if you cycle to work, you may find safety on a fat bike during those hardy, icy winter months.
In short fat bikes are most certainly safer than other bikes, their fat tires offer more stability and elemental endurance than other bikes, you won’t get blown away, you won’t slip away, and you will find that a fat tire bike will tackle any terrain that could otherwise be dangerous, as if it were nothing.
Are fat bikes slower?
Some people like bikes for speed, if you are one of those people then a fat bike is not for you.
These bikes are not for racing and speed, they are endurance bikes. They challenge you and take you to places you never biked before.
Ft bikes are ideal for riding on tough terrain like snow, soft surfaces, or uneven terrains. This does not mean that riding them will be a walk in the park.
You test yourself and build muscle and endurance. You will likely burn more calories riding one of these than a normal bike because it takes more work.
Even more so, due to the extra weight the tires add to the bike, they will also be slower and are a little more difficult to handle.
But, this does mean that you will get the exercise you seek for both your lower and upper body with a bike like this.
These bikes are not for speed, they are for power and resistance in unkind environments, who needs speed when you can go cycling in the snow anyway?
Despite the lack of speed you will be able to cycle in places that you were not able to before, a whole new world will be opened up to you on your cycling ventures. This is definitely much better than that extra speed.
Can fat bikes climb?
Fat bikes are known for being endurance adventure bikes, so you may wonder if they can climb well. Well, fat bikes are essentially just mountain bikes with buff tires.
They can climb just fine as long as they are able to get traction, just like any mountain bike.
The big tires, if selected and inflated adequately for the conditions you face, and help you climb up unruly conditions in winter months that a normal skinny mountain bike could not even dream of.
Even so, snow and ice can be very slippery, and it is wise to remember that this is still just a bike and not a magical bike.
So, there will be situations in which you will have to walk if the conditions or grade is too slippery.
You should also consider extra measures for some situations.
Such as, in ice you will need studs, a fat knobby tire would simply spin on slick ice, so these added on will prevent that spin and help you cycle on icy paths.
If you face steep snow then you will need aggressive knobs, and for deep and soft snow you will require a wide/ fat tire at low pressure.
Riding a fat bike means that you will ride more each winter than you are now, while some days the conditions may be too extreme, you will have more opportunity than you did before.
Can a fat bike be your only bike?
There is absolutely no reason that a fat bike can’t be your only bike.
A fat bike is a brilliant bike to have and since it works well on all terrain it can definitely be your only bike if you want that.
However, do be realistic about what a fat bike can and cannot do.
Remember that most fat bikes are rigid, there are some niche suspension options that you can get, however this tends to be expensive.
A rigid bike like a fat bike can be very fast and efficient on smooth surfaces, however on rougher terrain you will have to slow down in order to maintain control, you may still get some absorbing impacts, and so you may find that the ride is heavier and slower.
If you want to go biking to increase your endurance, then a fat bike is a good shout for sure, as it will most definitely build muscle and eat those calories as you have to work much harder on rougher terrain.
So, they do ride well on flat terrain too, but the ride is much more exerting on hard terrain, but remember, this harder terrain is usually not so accessible.