What Is a Fat Bike?

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More than anything, cycling has been and will always be an excellent mode of transportation and a great way to get some exercise in.

If you are like most kids, you probably had a bike or two of your own when you were growing up.

While we grew up riding regular bikes, many are curious to know what is a fat bike.

This rather new type of MTB is becoming more and more popular among riders from across the world.

And it’s not surprising, too.

After all, no one can really deny how massive and durable it is compared to traditional mountain bikes.

To decide if it deserves a spot in your garage, let’s talk about fat tire bikes in more detail.

What Is a Fat Bike?

In a nutshell, fat bikes are designed for adventurous cyclists wishing to go for rides in all kinds of weather conditions and challenging terrains. How so?

The issue with regular MTBs is that while they work great on mountain trails, they don’t particularly do well on other terrains.

What’s more, they can be incredibly expensive, too.

On the other hand, city bikes (while indeed cheaper) are extremely dangerous to ride on mountain trails or uneven terrain.

Fat bikes address these concerns and are made to give the rider a comfortable ride regardless of how challenging the terrain is.

Are Fat Bikes Harder to Ride?

Compared to what we are all used to riding growing up, will fat bikes give you a hard time? Not at all.

While it may take some time to get used to the added weight and bulk, riding a fat bike is relatively easy.

You can thank the big, fat tires for that, as they give the rider excellent traction and control.

Besides, how much harder are fat tire bikes to ride depends on your definition of a ride anyway.

Naturally, you will find that it will be harder to pedal because of the heavier weight.

Nevertheless, it does ride exceptionally well on rough terrains, which is simply next to impossible with city bikes.

Can You Ride a Fat Tire Bike on Pavement?

If your concern is speed as you ride on smooth pavement, a fat bike is not what you’re looking for.

Yes, you can ride a fat tire bike on pavement, but it won’t be the most comfortable ride.

This is because you would have to pedal really hard to propel it forward, as it is not meant for smooth roads.

Are Fat Bikes Good for Beginners?

Since fat bikes allow riders to take on any surface that others have a hard time with, they have grown considerably in popularity, especially for beginner riders.

Now, as for the ride itself, it completely depends on what surface you will be riding on.

Ideally, fat bikes work the best on rougher surfaces like snow, sand, and rocky roads.

The larger tires are there to absorb shocks from the uneven surface. On the other hand, they go over sand and snow instead of sinking in.

Again, if you use a fat bike on a smoother trail or a pavement, it will be harder.

You will have to put more force pedaling to get the speed you are looking for; it does not mean that you cannot ride it on smooth terrain, though.

Weight is the biggest culprit for the difference and the difficulty in riding a fat bike.

Of course, you can pick one with a carbon fiber frame, which is significantly lighter.

The problem is, it costs considerably more than regular aluminum-frame fat bikes.

Fat tires themselves weigh much more and usually tend to be a bit deflated or more deflated, depending on the terrain.

These bikes also offer good suspension, so you can get more control when riding on bumps. It also allows the tire to manage better traction.

This combination (as beneficial as it is) makes pedaling the bike harder than traditional bikes.

what is a fat bike

What Is a Fat Bike Good For?

Unlike your run-of-the-mill MTBs, you can use fat bikes on snow and sand.

These tires can be inflated and deflated to handle different obstacles.

At the same time, the broader part of the tire helps keep the rider stable much better than a regular bike.

Here are its pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s something worth spending your money on:


  • Transitions through different kinds of terrain with ease
  • Can handle sand and snow significantly better than regular bikes
  • Much heavier, which means they provide the rider with an excellent workout
  • Better suspension system makes it easier and more comfortable to go on uneven and rough terrains
  • Slower speed that makes it safe for beginner riders
  • Isn’t too complicated and does not need a lot of maintenance
  • Can be used all year long


  • The heavy weight makes it more challenging to go fast
  • Since they are big in size, they are not the most portable.
  • Completely muscle-powered
  • Expensive (a good-quality fat bike can easily set you back by more than a thousand dollars)

Is a Fat Tire Bike for You?

Yes and no. When deciding whether a fat bike is a good fit for your lifestyle or not, obviously, there are multiple factors to consider.

While you do not need a fat tire bike if you are primarily riding on smooth terrains, they can be quite beneficial when riding on sand, snow, or rough roads.

The fatter and wider tires (with some amount of deflation) make you feel as though you’re floating when riding on rocks and snow, making for a more comfortable ride.

It is also worth noting that since fat bike tires are becoming increasingly popular, more and more companies are constantly coming out with a variety of bikes and tires.

This leaves you with ample choices to choose one based on what suits your preferences and needs perfectly.

For instance, if you will be riding the bike on icy streets, you need to consider fat bikes with studded tires.

If you are riding your bike on trails filled with powdery snow, wide tires on 100 mm rims will work the best.

Just ensure you are taking your time to figure your riding habits first and then select the right kind of fat bike.

How Much Do Fat Bikes Cost?

The thing with fat bikes is that they can vary wildly in their pricing.

There are several factors that affect the costing, from the brand itself, the material used to make it, and other special features.

To begin with, fat bikes are more expensive than regular bikes and mountain bikes (entry-level to mid-level mountain bikes but not high-end mountain bikes).

A budget-friendly fat bike can already set you back anywhere from $500 to $1,500.

This range is still quite reasonable, considering how much they cost when they first hit the market and how difficult it was to find one.

Of course, you can get a much cheaper fat bike from a store like Walmart.

The problem is, it will not be sturdy at all, which is something you don’t want when riding in the mountains.

If you are on the market for a fat bike, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.

These include the material of the frame (a lighter frame would be best, but they are expensive), tire width (similarly, the bigger the width, the better, but it will be more expensive), and, of course, the brand.

If you choose the best in each of these categories, don’t be surprised to find the cost going up to $2,000 and even $3,000.

You can be sure that these expensive fat bikes are built exceptionally well and can withstand challenging terrains.

Moreover, they will last a long time if taken care of properly.

Take your time and try around different models to see which one suits your needs and budget perfectly.

Are Fat Bikes Worth It?

If you are going to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a fat bike, it is important to know whether these bikes are even worth it or not.

Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question, as it ultimately depends on the kind of rider you are.

If you are a rider who will cycle year-round on off-road and rough trails, sand, and snow, a fat bike is definitely worth spending your money on.

Mainly because these are made for rough terrains, they are sturdy and are fun to ride.

On the other hand, if you are a cyclist who mostly rides on smooth trails and pavements, we do not recommend spending so much money on fat bikes.

Again, consider the kind of rider you are and where you will most likely be riding.


While you already know what is a fat bike, there is still a lot more you can learn about it that we haven’t covered.

Yes, it may seem rather daunting at first, but it is an excellent and reliable mode of transport, especially on rough terrains.

Don’t be intimidated by its bigger size and heavier weight. With enough practice, you’d soon be riding up the nearest trails.

Just make sure you choose one that fits your budget and your needs perfectly, and you’d be able to guarantee the best rides of your life.

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