If you’re thinking of setting off towards some more challenging terrain, a fat tire bike may have come up in your research before. Fat bikes have become widely popular as more and more people venture outside. As more people go outside, more people want to ride in every condition imaginable. As with most things, both outdoors and indoors, there are pros of fat bike riding and cons.
Fat biking vs. mountain biking is a huge debate these days, but fat bikes have been adapted to make them an excellent choice for people who want to venture further out. Typical mountain bikes just aren’t made for the tricky terrain you can find in the desert. When you transition from road to sand, you’ll find a typical mountain bike unable to get you everywhere you want to go.
What exactly is a fat bike?
Fat bikes are simple. Give a bike thicker tires, and you get an increase in contact area with the different terrain you’re riding on. No one is going to take a road bike into the snow, but you’ll see fat bikes cruise through it without issue. This is your biggest advantage of a fat tire bike, but there’s more to look at.
Pros of Fat Bike Riding
Like we mentioned earlier, fat tire bikes give you a huge amount of grip with more contact area. The tires on fat bikes are typically inflated to a lower psi, which allows for even more spread and grip on tricky surfaces such as sand and snow. Compared to typical mountain bikes, you will float on top of deep mud, snow, sand, anything you can put the bike up against. In the desert, this is key to providing the best and most reliable ride.
The full suspension system you find on most fat bikes and the deflated tires make for a much softer ride. This means you can go over rocky terrain without feeling it as much the next day.
Fat bikes often require a lower number of gears because your speed decreases naturally. This makes the bike much easier to take care of and less difficult to fix on your own. If you’re a beginner on a fat bike, this can be a huge advantage. Choosing a fat tire bike allows you to become much more self-sufficient when it comes to hiccups while out riding.
While some consider this one of the pros of fat bike riding, others would argue the exact opposite. The heavy weight of a fat bike frame makes it much more difficult to move forward. This can only be considered a pro if you ride solely for the workout. You’re guaranteed to get the workout you’re looking for while in the fat bike saddle.
Cons of Fat Bike Riding
A fat bike isn’t going to win any downhill competition any time soon. The heavy frame combined with the higher level of contact with the ground leads to a much slower ride. The tires are actively providing loads more rolling resistance that fights against all the work you have done to get your momentum up. On the plus side, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the scenery around you.
Harder to pedal
The heavyweight frame and lower number of gears results in a bike that’s much more difficult to pedal. A fat bike will push your body to extremes when you attempt any difficult climbs, but it will get you there in the end. Again, if you follow the no pain, no gain lifestyle, maybe this is an advantage for you.
Price is easily the largest of all fat bike disadvantages. Fat bikes can cost a fat penny. The initial investment you need to make will require saving, and the maintenance that can follow further down the road will continue to dig deeper into your wallet. Because of this, renting a fat bike, or going on a fat bike tour, is a great way to test out the waters.
Try fat biking out on a Sonoran Outdoor Adventure tour before you buy!