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

fat tire bike

Fat bikes are becoming more and more popular. Why are they used? And what's the point of their massive looking tires? We take a look in this article.

Have you ever wondered what fat tire bikes are and why they seem to be so popular all of a sudden?

Briefly put, a fat-tire bike is an off-road bike with larger than average tires. They’re usually significantly larger to the point where to the uninitiated, they can look a bit ridiculous (but that’s part of the fun!). Generally speaking, the rims are 2.6 inches or wider and the tires are at least 3.8 inches.

The tires are often not fully inflated; inflating fat tires to somewhere between eight to ten psi can help get far better traction and navigate through some very tough terrains.

Reasons Fat Tire Bikes are Popular

So now you know what fat tire bikes are. Why is it that you suddenly see and hear about them everywhere these days? Here’s a few reasons why they’ve grown in popularity:

1. Fat Bikes are Unrivaled on Rough Terrain

a fat tire bike on snow

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

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.

2. They’re Great Exercise for Getting in Shape

While these bikes have better balance than most other bikes, making them great for beginners, they are more difficult to pedal. This extra effort is the reason you burn large amounts of calories in a short period of time.

In fact, there’s reports of people burning 1000 calories per hour. It’s clear to see why people might switch their gym membership for a fat-tire bike; they’re a fun and efficient way to burn huge amounts of calories.

If you’ve got a competitive edge, training for a race might also be of interest to you. Not only do you burn calories and keep yourself in shape, but you can also make yourself mentally stronger.

3. They’re Brilliant at Getting Literally Anywhere

fat tire bicycle

Of course, the reason most people buy bicycles still applies; to get you places. Due to their rugged nature fat tire bikes allow you to see places you wouldn’t normally get to. That rough trail that you normally couldn’t bike is now open for you to explore.

4. They are Easy to Use and Great for Beginners

Plenty of people avoid riding bikes because of their lack of coordination or fear of injury. One of the main draws to fat tire bikes is they can make you feel like you’re 8 years old again; in a good way.

I rediscovered my love for cycling through cycling my commute to work, but playing with mountain bikes (especially fat bikes) on the weekends is what kept me in love with it. Riding bikes like these are something totally different to get stuck into.

The tires are less likely to lose traction, and you’re less likely to slide out of control. Remember that secure feeling you had when learning to ride a bike with training wheels? You almost feel untouchable. You most definitely are at risk of injuring yourself when riding one, yet compared to some other more nimble feeling bikes, they somehow feel much more secure.

Remember to always wear the appropriate and required safety gear when riding any bicycle.

Starting to get the picture?

Fat tire bikes are more than just a trend and are an extremely practical and fun way to conquer harsh terrain.

If you’re considering investing in one we’ve written a guide where we round-up some of the best fat tire bikes around, which will help you discover how far you can take fat biking (spoiler alert: pretty far!).