Why Buy a Fat Tire Bike?Published on 05/13/2023 · 4 min readCycling Expert Julien Guarniere details everything you'd need to know about fat tire bikes and lists some of the top-rated options for fat tire bikes!
Photo by Himiway Bikes
Ever wish there was a bike to take you wherever you want to go without a second thought about the terrain you might encounter? You may be thinking, why not ride a gravel or a mountain bike to get you over rough terrain? A gravel bike is limited to, well, gravel, and a mountain bike by the size of its tires, clearance, and the rider's capabilities.
If only there was a bike that didn’t fear what path you took, could defeat challenging obstacles regardless of a rider's abilities, and be ridden year-round. But wait, there is! It’s called a fat tire bike. Just as the name suggests, it has big fat tires to get you wherever your heart desires.
Big Tires Mean Even Greater Possibilities
A fat bike, by definition, is a mountain bike-style frame fitted with extremely oversized tires. The tires can have a beefy tread run at lower pressures for improved grip on loose terrain, or less aggressive tread patterns pumped up to a higher pressure for smoother environments. In either situation, the principle is the same: bigger tires mean there is more tire and air volume to adapt to any terrain, no matter where you ride.
For example, a rider going through very rocky or wet conditions can lower the tire’s PSI (pressure \per\square inch) so it compresses on impact, essentially conforming to the surface on wet or uneven terrain. This allows people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy the great outdoors.
Fun for the Entire Family
Fat bikes are the perfect solution for quality family time and the activity to tear your kids away from video games, TV, or their favorite social media app. Fat bikes are extremely versatile and available in many sizes. Riding one is very intuitive, so anyone can enjoy this fun activity.
A fat bike’s oversized tires make you feel you’re floating like a butterfly as you ride. They are extremely easy to steer and can clear virtually any obstacle thanks to the behemoth tires. Fat bikes are so family-friendly that there are even companies that specialize in fat bike rentals to explore your local trails for the day, so you don’t even have to own a fat bike to experience the joy and comfort of one.
What's that? You have to hang up your road and mountain bike for the winter or do long boring days on the indoor trainer? This can be a thing of the past if you have a fat bike. No more excuses, now you can ride outdoors year-round!
Above, you can see me riding in the snow on my fat bike. Big knobby tires and low air pressure keep me from slipping and sliding around which means you can ride any snowy bike path or trail as if it were summer.
Types of Fat Bikes
Now you know what a fat bike is capable of, here's some info about which fat bikes are best suited for your riding style or budget.
Best Overall: Specialized Fat Boy
The Specialized Fatboy is that one bike that does it all, conquering all weather and seasons. With quality components and a sturdy frame design, this bike will last you a lifetime. It’s predictable at fast speeds on smooth surfaces and easy to control on technical or slippery terrain.
Best Budget: Rocky Mountain Blizzard 10
The Rocky Mountain Blizzard 10 has always been at the forefront of affordable off-road rigs, and the quality doesn't disappoint either. This bike is great for someone just getting into off-road riding. It comes with a wide range SunRace 11 - 40 cassette and 1x 24 tooth front chainring, which means no terrain or steep hills can stop you. Hydraulic brakes allow for secure braking on steep descents in all conditions.
Most Versatile: Trek Farley
This is truly one bike that can do it all. The Trek Farley has a slopestyle top tube that mimics a traditional mountain bike, making handling a priority. Trek is also an American brand, and with their factory in Wisconsin, you get fast shipping, as well as quality-made frames and components, all tested in the USA! So if you're looking for an upgraded ride for a bargain, this is the bike for you!
All in all, fat bikes are definitely here to stay and are wicked fun for all levels of skill. Take your family out on a bikepacking trip or just have fun ripping around town or your local trails!