Fat bikes have been gaining popularity in recent years, and not for no reason. This new type of bike allows riders to travel across trails they never would have dared to before thanks to the fat tires that give the bike its name. Fat bikes are especially great for regions like Canada with diverse terrain that boast trails too difficult for normal bikes to handle. These bikes have the exceptional ability to traverse snow, sand, rocky paths, and just about every rough surface in between. They can also be used for day-to-day biking, for instance biking from home to work, thanks to their versatile nature.
What exactly are fat bikes?
Though they have become more popular, the term fat bike still isn’t one often brought up in everyday conversation. They’re essentially mountain bikes, but fat bikes separate themselves from the pack with their thick tires—usually around 4-5 inches wide—that are inflated in a way that allows them to deform and cover the most surface area possible while biking. This feature is sometimes referred to as a bike’s “floatation.” They also have a lower tire pressure than other bikes, which is how their tires are able to adjust to different surfaces so that riders can float over them with ease. Floatation is what enables fat bikes to cross snow and sand, for where road or dirt bikes would sink in the surface; fat bikes are able to float over them. In the case of bumpy trails, a fat bike’s low-pressure tires enable it to roll over small rocks and other such debris. The wide tires and low pressure mean fat bike tires have greater traction than that of regular bikes, which is another factor that contributes to their success in going over difficult terrain.
Fat Bike Uses
Despite the fact their claim to fame is their ability to travel over snow, sand, and the like, fat bikes are actually quite the versatile form of transportation. Their tires are advertised with loftier achievements in mind, but really fat bikes have no problem acting as a road bike. The two principle differences between a road bike and fat bike, when the fat bike is being used as a road bike, are the bike’s weight and the smoothness of the ride. Fat bikes are significantly heavier than road bikes, meaning they travel slower. This means fat bikes can provide a better work out over less distance compared to a road bike, and when riding a fat bike users will have more time to appreciate the scenery around them. They provide a smoother ride than road bikes thanks to their special tires that mould around imperfections in paved roads, eliminating bumps to a degree. Fat bikes are also preferable to road bikes for bikers whose daily paths are often covered with ice or other materials that might make biking a challenge as they can ride over those with no problem.
Of course, just as they’re promised to be able to, fat bikes are great to take on trails and adventures all over every type of terrain imaginable. Fat bikes are now allowed on some popular snow trails previously exclusive to snowmobiles, meaning that bikers can begin expanding their horizons and adding snowy landscapes to their list of trails. Geographically diverse places like Canada aren’t just limited to just snowy areas, which means fat bike owners have plenty of opportunities to put their purchase to good use at all times of year.
Buying a Fat Bike
As the demand for them increases, fat bikes are becoming more readily available and easy to purchase. They are available in both online and brick-and-mortar shops. There are, as should be expected, different models produced by different companies and different versions have their own set of benefits. Some produce bikes with lighter frames made of carbon rather than aluminum and some have suspension forks while others do not. What’s the best one to purchase depends on what the user has planned for the bike. For instance, someone who is able to afford it and plans to use their fat bike as more of a general-purpose bike and will likely be taking their bike across paved roads would benefit from one with a carbon frame and suspension fork. There are far more factors besides these two to look into before purchasing a fat bike, examples being rim widths and brakes. Considering their prices, buying a fat bike is an investment, which means proper research is necessary before settling for one. For many it is a worthy investment because not only can it be used as an all-in-one bike (no need to own both a road bike and a mountain bike) but it also opens up a new world of fun in the form of previously inaccessible trails.