A sleek invention of the 21st century, fat bikes are loved and dislike in almost equal measures. For some, the wide tires- usually between 5 and 4 inches- seem off-putting but, for others, they couldn’t care less what it looks like. They love the bike for it has to offer beyond looks and that forms the subject of today’s discussion as we take a look at some unique advantages of fat bikes.
I’ve gathered the 10 advantages that I could think of plus asked a few of my fellow bat bikers about what they like most when it comes to riding their fatbikes!
1) Punctures are a thing of the past
Well, not entirely, but at least they are not as prone to punctures as other normal mountain bikes are. This excellent immunity to pinch flats stems from the use of low-pressure tires which exert little force on the ground for pointy things to pierce through. Besides that, it would also take a tremendous amount of effort to get through a 3.5-pound tire held in place by a 3-inch rim.
That’s not to say that fat bikes can never get flats because as long as thorns continue to exist that will always be an ever-present risk. However, they are desirable because they can be seamlessly made tubeless, thereby getting around that problem altogether.
Therefore, staring down at a flat while you’re a long way from home in the backdrop of an impending storm is something you’ll only hear about from other people because you’ll most likely never experience it yourself.
2) Where can’t it go?
For an ordinary mountain, the answer to that is a lot of places. For a fat bike, well, it seems the sky is the limit. If you like to venture across terrains where only mountain goats can hack it, these kinds of bikes are your safest bet.
The immense traction and vast grip offered by huge tires ensure they make light work of the most grueling of surfaces. Be it muddy paths, wet stone, or snowy hills, nowhere is out of bounds.
This excellent cycling power is all down to simple physics. The increased contact surface area reduces the sum total of pressure acting on the ground hence why the bike won’t slip on snow or even the mellowest sandy beaches. Something that cannot be said of a regular MTB.
3) Unrivaled ride comfort
The low tire pressure affords high levels of comfort hence why they need not be inflated too much. Between 4 and 8 psi proves the ideal range with it able to handle even lower pressure than that without significantly increasing the peddling task on the rider.
Of course, the amount of air in your tires will strongly coincide with the type of terrain you’ll be traversing. Be it sand, snow, pavement and of course, your typical mountain bike trail.
Moreover, while technically fat bikes don’t have any suspension system in place as they instead have a rigid and compact frame, the fat tires double up as all the suspension you’ll ever need while on snow, sand, and pavement.
They tend to become squishier as a result of increased rubber elasticity at low pressure, and this soaks up bumps and shocks during cycling. My fatty has a front suspension because I ride my fat bike on a lot of MTB trails and the added suspension is a great feature to have.
4) Little maintenance work
A scan of the body of the fat tire bike and it instantly becomes clear that simple is the prevailing theme as far as the bike frame is concerned. Very little work is put into it, but that is, in fact, a good thing. The robust build alleviates the use of moving or delicate parts, thereby circumventing damage and the need for replacement.
Sure you’ll pay through the nose for a fat bike at first, but the return on investment makes it a worthwhile purchase in the long run. A seemingly exorbitant price tag is well leveled off by an almost non-existent maintenance expenditure, Mostly because crashing on snow and sand is much less destructive on your bike than an MTB trail!
5) A real challenge
As mentioned before, fat bikes are great on soft surfaces and snow. No doubt about that. But that’s not to say that riding one is as easy as taking a walk in the park because it isn’t. And fat bike enthusiasts wouldn’t have it any other way.
The one sped capability ensures you’re in for some huffing and puffing. But it is desirably welcomed that that is the case because it affords high-impact exercises to work the muscles thoroughly.
If finding some time for the gym has proven as elusive as a midday sun in Antarctica, incorporating this bike into your routine is sure to help you stay fit.
6) Great for newbies
Long ago, learning to ride a bike involved a whole lot of falling than riding. Hence why certain difficulties in life are faced with the encouragement of getting back on the saddle and trying again.
Now though, the fat tire bike ensures you’ll not fall as often courtesy of the huge tires that offer better balance.
Even someone who’s never touched a bike in his/her life takes to the fat tire bike like a duck to water. It’s that easy. Plus, the limited speed imposed by the bulky nature of the bike sees to it that injuries are of a lesser severity compared to when honing your skills with a standard mountain bike.
7) A whole lot of fun
Who says fat bikes aren’t fun because they provide that in spades. They offer a different perspective to cycling and the distinct features and look makes riding all the more enjoyable.
In fact, experienced riders have said that the fat bike feels kind of like riding a horse and a bike at the same time. It might not have the blistering pace of the animal, but that’s not the point of a fat bike. The point is taking in the outdoors whilst keeping at a soothingly slow pace.
Fun also comes in the ability to get to those hard-to-reach areas where a normal bike can’t dare to venture. What’s more, it also offers a nice excuse to socialize. Its unique characteristics are sure to earn you a couple of stares- and a few words as well- from curious passersby.
8) Access to unique competitions
If you ever wanted to feel part of a secret club or something of the sort, a fatbike offers that exclusivity you so desire. Their slower pace means they can’t take part in ordinary MTBs races, thereby necessitating the need for events explicitly targeting this group of riders.
You’ll get the opportunity to meet other fat bike lovers- maybe learn one or two pointers along the way- while pitting your skills against worthy opponents.
Such events are also an excellent place to witness enthralling fat bike variations. Kind of like a car show which brings together all manner of eccentric mods and reimagination.
9) Staying In Shape All Year!
The one thing that I love the most about my fat bike is the fun I can have with a bike all year round! I ride my MTB in the summer and fall months and my fat bike mostly in the winter months.
I, of course, like riding my fatty in the summer. It’s fun to switch it up and flip your regular routine on its head!
The best thing about being able to ride your bicycle during all four seasons is that you won’t need a stationary bike to stay in shape. When the snow melts, you’ll be ready to hit the trails on your MTB!
Are you on the fence regarding the fat tire bike? Well, as you can see, it’s not a bad option for the experienced or inexperienced rider alike. It’s versatile; it’s fun, requires little maintenance, and offers excellent durability.