A fat bike is the massive new trend making a huge difference in the traditional methods of cycling. They have huge tractor-like balloon tires. You can ride it when it is freezing cold outside and in snowy or icy weather as well.
The name “fat bikes” comes from their extra-wide tires designed to maneuver on all types of terrain. With a fat bike, you can take on every condition the outdoors throws at you.
If you’re still wondering why fat bikes on the road are sweeping the nation, here we have some of the fat biking benefits. Let’s take a look at Fat bike benefits- why you should start in 2020 and what does it feel like to ride this bike?
About Fat Bikes
Fat bikes are a combination of frame of a mountain bike but with fat tires. These bikes are equipped with wide tires about 4” to 5”. Typically the rim size is 26”, but over time they have moved to 27.5” an 29” rim fat bikes. However, it is less about the rim size and more about tyre width.
With low tire pressure, they float on surfaces like snow and sand where normal road tires or mountain bikes would sink. You can ride a fat bike on normal trails as well, they are not an alternative for suspension. It is all about the grip with fat bikes.
Evolution of Fat Bikes- How Did it Start?
The story of the origin of fat bikes is a little complex.
Actually, two different places have claimed the invention of fat bikes around the same timeline. So, there is no one answer to where this transportation model started. It was more popular around the 80s when people needed reliable transportation during the heavy snow seasons in Alaska.
After the snowy weather, they quickly gained popularity in deserted climates as well. They could grip easily in the sand just like they did in the snow.
Surley bikes were amongst the first to commercially manufacture fat bikes with the initial name Pugsley. Now, it is the fastest-growing market with many other manufacturers jumping in the line, making a few different fat bikes concurrent with others.
Why Should You Start Fat Biking in 2020?
If you want to stay fit throughout the year, fat bikes make an outdoor exercise possible even during winters. Here are a few things to consider before getting your fat bike.
You must match the tyre width with your rim width. Rim width can range from 50mm up to 100+mm wide. Fat bike wheels do not come cheap. For any 4in tyre you will need a pair of rims about 60 to 80mm wide. A difference in a single mm can have a pronounced effect.
Many riders do not prefer tires bigger than 4in. Unless you’re planning to ride on snow or sand, you shouldn’t give in to the temptation of fattest possible tires. Because they will be too sluggish and bouncy which takes away all the fun.
A fat bike with a 4in tire can give you a complete fat experience without any drawbacks.
The extra haft of these fat rubber is a part of the ride experience and its performance. Going tubeless on a fat bike minimizes its benefits. It saves you a little bit of weight but sealing tires can be tricky and requires outlay on a tubeless tire inflator.
Fat bikes with fat tires and suspension have two very different jobs. Fat tires are not meant for soaking up bumps. They use their size to deform under pressure, increasing the amount of tire adhering.
The frame material on a bike only makes a difference in its weight. If you are looking to save weight, you can go carbon. If you do not have to worry about a few bucks extra bucks, you can go titanium. Or simply choose a steel or aluminum frame fat bike.
You do not have to worry much about the tire pattern and design. The sheer footprint of fat tires is responsible for generating traction. Do not choose the lightest tires for the sidewalls and tire weight as they will wibble around. They don’t ride well and offer no damping to counter bike bobbing.
You can find actuated disc brakes on fat bikes. They are not the best bike brakes but can be mechanically bodge repaired if anything goes wrong in the middle of the arctic.
Benefits of Fat Bikes
Fat bikes are practical. They give you an enhanced experience on the fun factor while riding. With the better traction of its big tires, you can extend your riding season during winter. Unlike a normal bike, a fat bike can roll at the same speed for a longer time even after you stop pedaling.
Fat bikes can handle different terrains. You can go cycling in winter, on rough and snowy roads. They can easily handle mud, sand, and rough trails.
It is a great option if you do not want to purchase different types of bikes for different purposes. If you live near an area with flooded roads as soon as it rains, this bike is the way to go. A fat bike can easily handle both on and off-road trips.
These bikes make their way through rough terrain frequently. Riding fat bikes feels like a dream with the combination of traction of a tank and the comfort of a memory foam pillow.
Fat bikes offer more traction, cushion, and comfort in your ride. You’re trading off ease and speed for very low resistance to rolling. Its extra weight can be balanced out with the extra comfort while you ride.
The soft tires on this one can easily absorb almost any bump on the trails, leaving you with a smooth and comfortable ride. But if you bump up the tire pressure, it undoes the feature allowing it to ride smoothly. Hence, making the ride rough.
Increases your Skill Capacity
Fat bikes take all the worries of people who cannot handle rough and challenging trails with traditional bikes. The traction on its tires allows you to take on challenging trails without any concern for some unseen pebble. The tires will glide right over such issues.
Disadvantages of Fat Bikes
After reading through all the reasons as to why one cannot get enough of fat bikes, you must be keen on grabbing one. But it is the best option for cyclists? We’ll figure that out with these few drawbacks of fat biking:
- It requires a huge initial investment and can be unreasonable for someone who is just a beginner.
- These bikes are built with heavy frames. Mixing it with soft tires makes it difficult to ride on the road.
- It works for you if you’re inclined towards fitness. But for normal commuters, a fat bike takes 10 times more effort.
- You can cover a few miles with these bikes. But aiming to go across town with speed will not be an easy task.
Fat Bikes vs Road Bikes / Dirt Bikes
Road bikes have narrow tires and are built with light frames. You can choose among a wide variety of styles and different frame shapes. They have curved handlebars and are made only for paved roads.
The main limitation is that it is not suitable for any other type of riding. However, fat bikes are capable of riding on any trails in any weather.
On the other hand, dirt bikes do have wider tires in comparison to road bikes but they are specifically designed for difficult trails and uneven terrain. Dirt bikes include suspension forks and shocks in front as well as the back.
Fat bikes are more comfortable than dirt bikes with low-pressure tires, allowing them to roll over obstacles easily. Fat tires can avoid every shock hitting the frame.
Fat tires are no longer a ride only for the winter, with the increase in popularity, they are spinning in warmer months as well. The first impression of these bikes is that it is going to be cumbersome, big, and slow. This concept changes right after you hop on one of the fat bikes and take it for a ride.
Table of Content
- About Fat Bikes
- Evolution of Fat Bikes- How Did it Start?
- Why Should You Start Fat Biking in 2020?
- Benefits of Fat Bikes
- Disadvantages of Fat Bikes
- Fat Bikes vs Road Bikes / Dirt Bikes
- Final Words,