Fat Bike Tire Sizes: What to Consider When Choosing Fat Tire Sizes

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Fat bikes have come a long way in the short span of a little over a decade, which isn’t all that surprising.

Just one look at it, and you will immediately see why many riders choose it over regular bikes.

As you may already know, one of the most obvious differences between a fat bike and a regular bike is its tires.

The rims and tires are the main essences of a fat bike, which is why it’s essential to understand them before you even look for one.

We decided to shed some light on fat bike tire sizes to help you pick the right one.

Basically, you will need to look at where you will be riding it and what suits your preference.

Before we get to it, though, let’s talk about the basics first.

What Is a Fat Bike?

Originally, fat bikes were designed for cyclists to ride on all terrains and different weather conditions.

Mountain bikes are only ideal for riding in the mountains and not necessarily for other terrains. Also, some MTB models can be quite pricey.

While regular city bicycles are more accommodating in terms of budgets, they are not really safe for riding on snow, mountains, and rough terrains.

This is where the fat bike comes in, essentially bridging the gap between the two.

The best thing about it is that the tires on these bikes can be deflated (or inflated) to handle obstacles better.

To make things even more impressive, the broader area keeps the rider stable much better than a regular bike.

Is a Fat Bike Harder to Ride?

The fat bike was originally meant for use by mid-level to professional cyclists.

However, over time, it has trickled down to casual riding and even for beginner riders.

This is mainly thanks to the fact that you can use it in several different situations, making it a convenient choice for anyone.

Does this mean riding a fat bike is not challenging at all?

As a matter of fact, you will find that fat bikes are much easier to ride than most other bikes on the market.

Fat tires have larger widths and lower tire pressure, so you have more control over the bike when riding on off-road trails and during turns.

what are the fat bike tire sizes

Fat Bike Tire Sizes

Fat bikes often feature 26-inch tires, but even 27.5-inch tires are not that uncommon anymore.

With that in mind, what do you get from having tires in this size anyway?

Basically, a larger wheel would mean faster rolling, which would make riding through and over trail obstacles much more manageable and effortless.

Fat tires can come with several different rim widths, too, ranging anywhere from 60 to 100 mm.

Obviously, a wider tire will need a wider rim, but a narrower rim can make the bike feel lighter and livelier.

Types of Fat Bike Tires and Their Sizes

Since there are several different fat bike tire types, it means there are different sizes, too.

Let’s briefly discuss the top types of fat bike tires so that you can choose one as per your needs.

Fat Bike Street Tires

While these fat bike tires can be found in almost any width, it is typically narrower than usual. They tend to be between 3.5 and four inches.

Furthermore, these tires tend to be smoother, making them more efficient to ride on street roads.

If this is the type of tire you are looking for, we recommend checking out the Origin 8 Captiv-8er, Origin 8 Supercell, and Surly Black Floyd.

Fat Bike Slick Tires

Slick tires, as the name suggests, are designed with an entirely smooth drawing and are ideal for riding on smooth and flat terrain.

These tires tend to be around 26 and 27 inches in size. A great example of this tire is the Vee Apache Slick of 26 x 4.5 inches.

Fat Bike Studded Tires

If you are looking for a fat bike tire ideal for trails with rock and sand, we recommend looking at studded tires.

You will find these tires in various designs, but size-wise, they range between 26 and 27.5 inches. The width varies between 3.8 inches and five inches.

These tires also work great on snow and ice.

Fat Bike Snow Tires

Fat bikes mainly got popular because you can ride them in snow.

As the name suggests, snow tires are meant to be used on snow and ice.

They are usually the same size as studded tires, but you can find bigger sizes that are wider too.

Keep in mind that if the wheel is wider, it will provide you with more grip and offer ease of movement.

For better grip when riding on snow or ice, these tires are designed with studs, too.

Maxxis Fat Bike Tires

Up until now, we have recommended different types of fat bike tires from various brands.

One particular brand we haven’t talked about so far is Maxxis, and that’s because it deserves its own section.

Maxxis offers 26 to 29-inch fat bike tires along with a wide range of widths from 3.8 and five inches.

Some of the top fat bike tires from Maxxis include the Maxxis Minion FBF for wet and loose ground, Maxxis Mammoth for all terrains, and Maxxis Colossus.

Fat Bike Tire Size Chart

Here’s a fat bike tire size chart to help you understand these tires better.

Tire TypeSize (in inches)Width (in inches)
Street Tires263 to 4
Slick Tires26 to 274 to 4.5
Studded Tires26 to 27.53.8 to 5
Snow Tires26 to 283.8 to 5
Maxxis Tires26 to 293.8 to 5

What Is the Widest Fat Bike Tire?

Most fat bike tires tend to top out at 4.8 to five inches.

However, the SnowShoe XL has taken this a bit further with a whopping width of 5.05 inches.

Can I Put Fat Tires on Any Bike?

No, you cannot put your fat tires on any bike other than your fat bike.

Other bikes cannot accommodate the size of fat tires.

Fat Bike Tire Considerations

To get a better understanding of fat bikes, here are the top considerations to keep in mind:


It’s important you select a fat bike wheel size that will suit your ride plans perfectly.

If you aren’t sure which tire size will work the best (and you intend to do some off-trail adventures on snow or sand), we recommend going as big as possible.

Else, you can stick to four-inch tires if you are mostly riding on summer dirt and groomed snow trails.

It is also essential that you pay attention to the tire’s tread pattern.

Large and widely spaced knobs will offer more traction but tend to be slow rolling.

Speed and traction typically work in opposition to each other. This means the security you get from a high-traction tire will compromise its rolling efficiency.

Conversely, fat bikes that are super-fast tend to be useless in rougher terrains. They are most suited to riding on smoother terrains.

Build and Weight

Construction and casing weight is also important to consider.

Use tubeless-ready tire casings whenever tubeless installation is planned. We strongly recommend reinforced tubeless-ready tires in the desert.

Lightweight models are ideal for winter riding, where puncture risks tend to be minimal. These are known to improve performance at low tire pressure.

Fat bike tires with tubeless systems have become more common in winter, as the technology is steadily becoming more reliable.

That said, most fat bike tires come with tubes in them, and only a few are sold with tubeless-ready equipment. We believe that this will change in the next few years.

Studded tires from high-end brands are mostly available in four-inch and 4.6-inch sizes from brands like Terrene and 45NRTH.

Choose tires like this for winter riding, especially where there are icy streets and loose snow.

Fat bike studded tires are an unparalleled tool.

However, bear in mind that these tires are incredibly pricey. One pair can set you back by hundreds of dollars, but they will last for years.

Tire Pressure

In addition to getting the right fat bike wheel size, it is also vital that you look at tire pressure.

This is the best trick when you have to fine-tune your fat bike’s performance.

If you are using five-inch-wide tires in soft conditions, keep the pressure as low as four psi.

In rougher or firmer terrains, or if you are looking to ride at higher speeds, use more pressure in your tire to increase the support and also sharpen the handling of the bike.

Ideally, we recommend keeping the tire pressure at eight PSI for mild conditions, between 12 and 15 PSI for trail riding, and between 20 and 25 PSI for urban or on-road riding.

There may be a possibility that you will have to change the pressure in your tires multiple times on a single ride as and when you encounter different conditions.

Keep trying out different pressures in the tire to see which works the best for you. Remember, fat bike tires are very sensitive to tire pressure changes.

Since it has a large volume of air, a difference of just one or two PSI can make a noticeable difference with how the tire will interact with the terrain you are riding on.

To have the best fat bike riding experience, invest in a high-quality digital tire pressure gauge.


In addition to the tire, also pay close attention to the bike’s rim. Pick one that suits your intended ride plans.

Typically, the rim size on most bikes will be around 80- and 90-mm.

Narrow rims are not as useful when used in soft conditions but can be nimbler when used in a general-purpose all-terrain bike in the summers.

We recommend wider rims for larger riders looking to do backcountry rides during any season.

Almost all fat bike rims are constructed from aluminum and will come with a single wall or a hybrid construction.

Furthermore, there will be weight-saving cutouts along the rim’s center.

Over the last few seasons, many aluminum rims, like the Sun Ringlé Mulefüt and Surly MOBD, have brought tubeless-ready designs into the entry-level fat bike market.

High-end fat bikes come with wider carbon rims that help save a tremendous amount of weight when paired with tubeless tires.

All of this can make the fat bike weigh remarkably lightweight, possibly less than 20 pounds.

Can You Put Smaller Tires on a Fat Bike?

While you can put smaller tires on a fat bike, the bike will end up being too low to the ground, which will hit your cranks constantly.

To put smaller tires on your fat bike, you will need to change the entire wheelset, including narrower rims to accommodate the smaller tire.

As recommended earlier, look for bike models that can accommodate fat bike tires as well as mountain bike tires.

Fat Bike Wheel Swapping

There are specific models of fat bikes on the market designed to accommodate both fat-tire rims and standard 27.5 or 29-inch mountain bike rims.

These models may be ideal for cyclists who do not want to ride one type of bike all year long.

A bike frame with multiple configurations will let you have one bike with various personalities.

In sand or snow, run your bike with a fat-tire setup.

For biking on mountain trails, get yourself a set of mountain bike wheels with narrower rims. This makes it ideal for everyday riding, too.

Every fat bike comes built with different hub standards, which means you may likely have to get another set of wheels to enjoy various options.


Now that you have a better understanding of fat tire bike sizes, getting the perfect pair that suits your needs becomes easy.

Take the time to choose the right set for your fat bike to guarantee you’re getting the most out of your every ride.

A good quality pair will significantly improve your bike’s traction, speed, and overall handling. At the same time, it will also reduce the time you spend fixing any flats.

Remember that the type you choose will largely influence the terrain that the bike will be suited to the best.

Let this guide help you find the right fat bike tire sizes so that you can hit the road as soon as possible.

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