What are Fat Tire Bikes and Why are they so Popular?

Fat bikes are becoming more and more popular. Why are they used? And what's the point of those ridiculous looking tires? We take a look.

why fat tire bike

Ever wondered what fat tire bikes are? Wondered why they’re gaining so much popularity?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, then keep reading!

A fat-tire bike is an off road bicycle with larger than average tires. Generally, the rims are 2.6 inches or wider and the tires are at least 3.8 inches.

The tires are often not inflated fully. Inflating tires between eight to ten psi helps them to navigate through tough terrains.

Rough Terrain

Buying a fat tire bike

Now that you know what a fat tired bike is, you may be wondering what you can use it for.

The number one use is for difficult terrain that you wouldn’t be able to navigate successfully on other bicycles. These bikes can navigate all terrain types including mud, snow, wet concrete, sand, and hills.

Their improved grip goes a long way towards making them good for these terrains, but it’s also recommended that you play with different tire pressures to see which ones are best for each.

This bike’s extra weight also helps it be resistant to wind. With your fat bike, you can now bike year round with no restrictions! No more putting your bike away for the winter!


While these bikes have better balance than other bikes, making them great for beginners, they are more difficult to pedal.

They have no gears, and take more effort to move. This extra effort is the reason you burn large amounts of calories in a short period of time.

How many calories? It’s estimated you can burn roughly 1,000 calories an hour! That’s comparable to some of the most difficult workouts you can find.

Burning these large amounts of calories, you would expect the recovery from your workout to be long. This isn’t the case however, you can actually expect your recovery time to be shorter.

When you exercise with a fat bike, the exercise is not weight bearing and this is why you wont have as long of a recovery time.

The best part of using a fat bike to exercise? No more being stuck in the gym throughout the winter, you can actually get outside and get your exercise out in nature year long.

One last perk for riding in the winter, the cold air actually boosts your metabolism!


guide to fat tire bike

Fat bikes are great for training for a race. Not only do you burn calories, build muscle, and keep yourself in shape year round, you can also make yourself mentally stronger.

If you’ve spent your entire winter in cold damp conditions, powering through the discomforts of the weather as well as the workout, when racing season comes around you’ll be ready to handle anything.

Less than desirable racing conditions might get your opponents down and give them a disadvantage, but not you! Fat bikes aren’t just good for preparing you for an average bicycle race, you can also join a race made for fat bikes.

If you’re new to this sport you will want to find a race with a shorter distance, and be prepared to ride in rough conditions. An average fat bike race can be anywhere from 15 to 20 miles. There are a few things to do before getting into a race:

  1. Check prices and accommodations. A good way to do this is to read the comments under the race listing. Get suggestions from fellow bikers.
  2. Make sure you bring nutrition. You will want to bring foods that are good for energy as well as water. You may want to purchase a hydration pack. Nobody wants to get half way through and run out of food or water, this could be dangerous!
  3. Get yourself the proper gear. Especially if your race is being held in the winter. Some items of clothing you will need are: A thermal base layer, ski pants, a midweight cycling jacket, waterproof hiking boots, a beanie made from a breathable material, a helmet, insulated biking gloves, and goggles. Try to find goggles that have anti fog built in so you don’t end up with your vision compromised.

The last thing you’ll want to be sure to do, is to experiment with tire pressure.

Like I mentioned earlier, different tire pressures are better for different terrains. Knowing which tire pressures are best ahead of time will help you navigate whatever terrain you may encounter on your race far more easily and give you a little bit of an edge.


If you like hunting or camping you know that the best places are always far out in the wild. Walking back on foot can take a long time and cost you valuable hours you could be setting up camp or getting that buck lined up in your sights.

Now, with a fat bike you can load up your pack, strap what you need to your back and cycle back to the perfect spot. It’s not the fastest mode of transportation, but it will get you there faster than being on foot while still getting that exercise and fresh air.


My favorite use for the fat bike? Fun!

Go see places you wouldn’t normally get to see. That rough trail that you normally couldn’t bike is now open for you to explore.

Take some friends or family members and spend some time bonding. There isn’t anywhere you cant take your bike so go out, have an adventure, make some memories!

In conclusion, there are a lot of reasons to buy a fat bike from getting more adventure, fueling your competitive nature, and just getting yourself in better shape.

If you’re still on the fence I’d highly suggest taking one on a test drive, see what It can do. You might find yourself an avid fan of them in no time! They’re definitely now one of my favorite types of bike.