Anyone who rides bikes consistently probably has some opinion on fat-tire bikes. Some people want absolutely nothing to do with them, while others love how easy to ride and comfortable they are.
Whether a person likes a fat bike or not comes down to personal preference. Are they actually harder to ride for an average bike rider? Here’s a closer look at the rideability of fat bikes.
You might think that fat bikes are harder to ride by just looking at them. They don’t look very nimble and just have the appearance of being very heavy.
Well, here are 5 reasons why you might be totally wrong in these presumptions.
1. Riding Off-Road
The go-to bike for off-road riding in the past has been the mountain bike. It still is a very popular option these days, but is it easier to ride off-road with a fatter tire with no shocks?
It depends on the ride, but they are a lot more than most realize. A fat tire bike has the ability to go over more random items off-road without causing discomfort (or holes in the tires).
With more surface area, it smooths out the ride and adds stability throughout. Compared to mountain bikes, fat tire options are much easier to dismount if something goes wrong off-road.
This is great for those who don’t like to feel the restrictions of being strapped in with toe clips. Some people get their toes stuck in the clips and can’t adequately protect themselves.
2. Riding in Any Weather
The thicker the tire, the easier it is to ride a bike in any condition. Sure, a road bike is usually the fastest and most efficient way to get from point A to point B on the pavement, but what happens if it recently rained or snowed?
What if part of the trip includes having to go off-road? The fat tire can handle anything thrown its way. Don’t believe the claims? It all comes down to a science.
Wide tires spread the weight of the bike and the rider out enough that it lessons the impact on the terrain. It allows riders to cut through tough areas without feeling like the tires are sinking into the terrain. Just think about how easily skinny tires can sink into snow, sand, or mud.
This also helps with puncture protection. Cutting down on flat tires is a huge plus for any rider.
3. A Comfortable Ride
Different people look for different qualities in a bike. A road bike is capable of beating a fat tire bike in a race, but it is not always about speed.
For some, road bikes are too hard to ride consistently around town. They might be great for the trails and setting new speed records, but comfort is not one of their specialties.
A fat bike is extremely easy to learn because the fear of losing balance or tipping over is reduced.
It’s comfortable to hop on and off as much as needed during a ride. It gives riders confidence, even if they don’t have much currently.
Fat bikes have a relaxed seat setup, so no one feels like they are constantly having to sit in an awkward position to ride. Speaking of which…
4. Easy on the body
As a person ages, the body begins to struggle with any type of exercise. Not only is peddling a strenuous activity but just getting on and off the bike is also difficult.
For health reasons, the ride is easier with fat tires. There is less jarring around because of the stability the tires provide. There is still a chance of injury with the hips, the knees, or other body parts, but a comfortable ride is easier for older people to incorporate in their daily lives.
There is also less of a chance that there is an accident with fat tire bikes. While a person is always taking the risk of any type of injury when they get on a bicycle, thick tires are a little bit safer for those who are not that familiar with riding in general.
The more familiar a person gets with the bicycle, the better off they are going to be.
Finally, in a more relaxed position, those with back problems won’t feel as much pain. Some just can’t ride in a road bike position for long periods of time. (Source)
5. Starting and Stopping
Most bike riders who look at fat tires for the first time think that it is very difficult to pedal over time. It is true to a certain extent, but these bikes are supposed to go on different terrains.
If someone is looking for a bicycle to ride on cement in perfect weather conditions all the time, this is not the best option. That’s not how life works, and that is the main reason why so many people find it just as easy to use compared to other models.
The tires are bigger and a little heavier, but a good frame on the bike is going to make a big difference. As long as the bike is relatively lightweight in the frame, there really is not that noticeable of a difference with fat tires.
Getting to top speed might take a little bit longer, but stopping is not really much different.
It’s unfair to judge any type of bicycle without giving it a try. While mountain bikes and road bikes are much preferred still to this day, fat tire bikes are starting to become a bit more popular.
They are perfect for people who want to have one bike to ride in many different areas around town. Anyone who punctures tires rather easily might also consider saving some money and going with a more durable option.
Make sure to sample one out and see what all the hype is about. There are some very affordable options that have great components and are light in weight.
It is still a little rare to find fatbike on the road, but they are becoming a little more prevalent. Give one or two a chance, and see if it is possibly a good fit going forward. Many people use this as their bicycle capable of doing any and everything.