You probably have seen fat bikes in your neighborhood, and you fancy them. But since you are not sure what you’ll get, you are a little hesitant. Now you are asking, ‘is a fat tire bike worth it?’
Fat tire bikes come with supersized wheels and wide knobby tires to enjoy massive traction and comfort on all terrains and weather. That makes them ideal for trail riding, off-road adventures, Bikepacking, expedition rides, and touring.
Perhaps, you have a mountain bike and are not sure if you should get a fat bike. For that reason, I’ll make a side-by-side comparison of the two to help you choose between them.
But does that mean that fat bikes are flawless?
Of course not! We’ll look at its disadvantages and compare them with its advantages when giving our verdict.
But first, what is a fat tire exactly?
A fat tire bike is a specialty bike with extra-wide tires and supersized wheels. The tires usually are 3.75-5 inches wide to allow you to roll over soft sand, snow, mud, and other challenging terrains.
The wide tires also absorb shock since these bikes don’t come with suspension. And because of their massive wheels and tires, these bikes have thicker and more robust frames.
In a hurry? Check out our most recommended fat bikes below:
5 Best Fat Tire Bikes
Mongoose Dolomite: Best Men’s Mountain Fat Bike
- Mongoose Malus: Best Adult Cruiser Fat Bike 3
Dynacraft Krusher Fat Bike: Best Budget Fat Bike
Mongoose Argus MX: Best Kids’ Fat Bike
- Speedrid Electric Bike: Best Electric Fat Bike
Is A Fat Tire Bike Worth It? (Fat Bike Pros and Cons)
Fat Tire Bike Pros
Here are the most outstanding qualities of fat bikes:
1. All-Terrain Pick
Whether you want to ride on soft sand, thick mud, snow, dirt trails, rocky grounds, or paved roads, you can conquer everything with a fat tire bike.
That’s primarily because of their massive wheels and supersized tires, which roll over surfaces.
A fat tire bike like the Mongoose Dolomite Fat Bike comes with supersized all-terrain knobby tires to take on terrains that a regular mountain bike cannot handle.
Overall, this beast of a bike offers adventurous men the most exhilarating experience, regardless of the road condition.
2. All-Weather Choice
Fat bikes are also your all-season choice. Whether it’s winter or summer, you can ride a fat bike in all road conditions. Simply put, the bad weather cannot stop you from fat biking.
Generally, fat tires have enough traction not to slip when it pours, and they also don’t sink for being massive. And since the bikes are heavier, they also resist wind drag.
3. Unmatched Comfort Off-road
Regardless of where you ride a fat bike, its comfort is unequaled. Though these bikes don’t have suspension, they make up for it with their supersized tires that soak up all bumps.
The bikes run on low tire pressure to absorb shock and enhance your off-road cycling comfort maximally.
4. Fat Tire Bikes Promise Worthy Bike Variety
Even though mountain fat bikes are the most popular fat bikes on the market, we’ve other types of fat-tire bikes.
The Mongoose Malus Fat Bike, for example, is more of a cruiser fat bike than a mountain fat bike.
Its supersized beach cruiser-style frame offers you extra clearance to ride on virtually any terrain, thus the best unisex adult cruiser fat bike.
We even have kids’ fat bikes like the Mongoose Argus MX Kids Bike, which offers kids a BMX-like fat biking experience.
5. Unequaled Balance and Traction Off-road
Fat tire bikes are generally slower than regular bikes, thus safer. They also enjoy more balance and traction off-road than other bikes.
As a result, they are the most beginner-friendly bikes that anyone could wish for, more so during the unpredictable winter.
So, anyone who wants to learn to cycle should practice with a fat bike.
6. Fat Bikes Are the Real Deal for Challenging One-Self
Whether you want to go for a trail adventure, Bikepacking exploits, or just an expedition ride, there is no better bike choice than a fat bike.
It allows you to challenge yourself in the funniest and most adrenaline-charging manner. It’s suitable for exercise, thrill, and mad fun off-road.
7. Fewer Bent Rims and Broken Spokes
Yes, it’s not easy to replace the fat tire wheel. But it’s also true that the wheel doesn’t break or bend like regular bikes.
Their robust spokes don’t break often, and their rims don’t bend easily, either. As a result, the wheel maintenance and repair costs are much lower.
Fat Tire Bike Cons.
Now, here are the concerns that come with fat bikes:
a) Costlier than Most Bikes
Fat bikes cost more than most bikes. While it’s possible to get a decent mountain bike for $500, most mid-range fat bikes cost $700-$1500.
The reason for that is that their specialty components like robust wheels, supersized tires, and hubs cost more.
There are, however, a few other fat bikes that come at a budget. You are more likely to find them in one-speed, and a classic example is the Dynacraft Krusher Fat Bike which cost under $300.
Overall, this fat bike suits boys and men on a budget who don’t mind doing some heavy pedaling, especially for exercise reasons.
b) More Rolling Resistance
Let’s face it;
You cannot expect a bike with 5-inch wide tires to roll as smoothly as that with 2.5-inch wide wheels.
So, even though fat tires have unbelievable traction off-road, it’s usually their undoing on-road.
They suffer more rolling resistance on paved roads, and you’ll need to use extra energy to overcome it.
c) Heavier than Most Bikes
Compared to regular bikes, fat bikes are considerably heavier. While the average MTBs, for example, weighs about 30 pounds, most fat bikes weigh 40-45 pounds.
So, that’s a huge setback if you plan to cycle light.
d) Slower than Most Bikes
The fact that fat bikes are heavier means they are slower than the average bikes.
The other reason is the rolling resistance that they suffer on-road.
I, however, don’t see this as a serious concern, given that you can always go for an electric fat bike.
A fat e-bike like the Speedrid Electric Bike can hit 22-23mph on a perfect road, making it one of the fastest e-bikes on the market.
So, Is a Fat Bike worth It? Our Verdict
Irrefutably, fat bikes are considerably slower than the average mountain bike. They are also costlier and not the smoothest on-road.
But despite that, these bikes have unmatched comfort and traction off-road. Remarkably, there’s nowhere you cannot go with a fat bike!
Even more thrilling is the fact that you can ride a fat bike in all weather. The bikes are also beginner-friendly, ever-reliable, and fun to ride.
So, we can confidently argue that these bikes are worth what you pay.
Given their versatility all-year-round and across varying terrains, fat tire bikes are suitable for:
- Exercising (for weight loss or keeping fit)
- Off-trail adventures
- Expedition rides
- Off-road commuting
Fat Tire Bike VS Mountain Bike – Is a Fat Bike Worth It?
You probably are asking, ‘but I already have a mountain bike? Why should I replace it with a fat bike?’
Let me start by confirming that most fat bikes are mountain bike types.
So, you can still enjoy the comfort of your current mountain bike and much more if you upgrade to a fat tire mountain bike like the Mongoose Dolomite Fat Bike or any other.
But still, you don’t have to get a fat tire MTB if you don’t want to. You can get a cruiser like the Mongoose Malus, a fat tire e-bike like the Speedrid Electric Bike, or any other.
Now, let’s compare a fat tire bike and a regular MTB side by side.
|26”, 27.5”, & 29”
|26” & 27.5”
|Come with suspension apart from rigid mountain bikes
|Lighter than fat bikes
|Heavier than mountain bikes
|Faster than fat bikes
|Slower than mountain bikes
|Less rolling resistance
|More rolling resistance
|Not as much traction as fat bikes
|Enjoy more off-road traction
|It doesn’t absorb as much shock as fat bikes
|It soaks a lot of shocks
|It cannot handle soft sand, snow, or thick mud.
|Handles all terrains in all weather conditions
|Wheel prone to damage
|Less prone to damage
|Cheaper than fat bikes
|Costlier than most bikes
So, What Should I Get a Fat Bike or Mountain Bike?
If you plan to ride on-road and off-road but not on soft sand, snow, or thick mud, go for a mountain bike.
But if you plan to ride on all-terrain, including soft sand, snows, and thick mud, consider investing in a fat bike. Or better, get a fat tire mountain bike.
Though a fat bike is not as fast or light as an MTB, its off-road traction and control are unrivaled.
1. Is a Fat Tire Bike Easier To Ride?
Surprisingly, fat tire bikes are easier to ride off-road than most bikes. The extra-wide tires give you extra control and traction.
As a result, fat tire bikes are best for beginner cyclists, especially those riding off-road.
2. Are Fat Bike Tires Better?
Fat bike tires roll over sand, mud, snow, and other hard-to-ride terrains. The tires also absorb excess shock to cushion your ride, and they run on low tire pressure, thus more stable.
So, they make fat bikes better than MTBs off-road as they can take all-road conditions.
3. What Is The Advantage Of Fat-Tire Bikes?
Fat tire bikes allow you to ride on soft sand, thick mud, rock, snow, and other terrains that you cannot conquer with a regular mountain bike.
They are also reasonably slow, and as a result safe, and enjoy more traction, shock absorption, and control than mountain bikes.
4. Do Fat Tire Bikes Burn More Calories?
Due to their massive tires and heavy frames, fat-tire bikes require more effort to pedal than most bikes.
As a result, you are likely to burn more calories than you would with other bikes.
On average, you can burn up to 1000 calories an hour when fat biking.
5. Are Fat Bikes Good for Beginners?
Since fat bikes have supersized tires, they enjoy more traction and stability off-road. The tires also run on low pressure to give you more control.
As a result, these bikes are very beginner-friendly. They also absorb extra shock, thus comfortable for beginners.
6. Are Fat Tire Bikes Harder To Ride?
Contrary to most perceptions, fat tire bikes are not harder to ride. They offer you better control and stability off-road.
They also enjoy more traction, making them more comfortable on snow, dirt, mud, and other challenging terrains.
Fat bikes are not just for off-road cycling. You can also ride them on paved roads.
However, they are slower on pavements because the broader tires suffer more rolling resistance on smooth surfaces.
8. What Is the Point of Fat-Tire Bikes?
A fat tire bike features fat tires that offer massive traction, shock absorption, and stability off-road.
As a result, it’s easier to ride over soft sand, snow, dirt, and mud with a fat bike than any other bicycle.
9. Why Are Fat Tire Bikes So Expensive?
Fat tire bikes cost more money to customize. Their specialty wheels, tires, frames, and hubs are costlier than what you find on regular cycles.
Also, since they are known to handle rugged conditions, more people want to buy them.
So, the demand is higher than the supply, and that has seen most sellers increase the bikes’ prices.
Is A Fat Tire Bike Worth It? Closing Thought
If you plan to tackle the off-road and conquer challenging terrains like soft sand, mud, rocky roads, dirt trails, and snow, a fat bike is worth it.
Its comfort is unequaled, and its traction is unrivaled. So, you get value for what you pay for.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the downside of using a fat bike?
A fat bike, while it comes with its set of advantages, has a significant drawback in its weight. Because fat bikes tend to be heavier than their standard counterparts, they often prove to be more challenging when it comes to pedalling, particularly when going uphill. The augmented rotating mass and rolling resistance adds another layer of difficulty since these factors slow down the speeding-up process and stall acceleration. As someone who has been cycling for a while, I can attest to the fact that the extra effort required when riding a fat bike is not always preferable when seeking a smooth and light ride, especially for the less experienced cyclists.
Are fat tire bikes superior to regular bikes?
Versatility is a mark of excellence when it comes to biking. This is precisely where fat bikes shine. They are designed to traverse a wider variety of terrains, from snowy landscapes to sandy shores, an attribute that many regular bikes lack. Enlarged tyres come with an expanded grip and traction, and functioning on lower tyre pressure, they optimize your pedalling experience over surfaces that would typically cause conventional tyres to give up. I recall using a fat bike on a beach trip once, and it was indeed a transformative experience- the ability to ride effortlessly on soft sand without sinking was truly remarkable!
What benefits does a fat tire bike offer?
One thing I’ve learned over the years from my biking experience is that fat tires bring a unique set of benefits to the table. They offer a superior level of traction, stability, and comfort that is not common with standard tyres. Ideal for off-road cycling, fat tires have a knack for rolling over diverse terrains, whether it’s loose gravel, muddy tracks, snowy hills, or sandy beaches. Their range of application pretty much covers all ground, from casual rides to adventure trails, making them a fantastic all-rounder for every cycling enthusiast out there.
What is the lifespan of fat tire bikes?
While the initial cost of a fat tire bike might be a little daunting due to their specialized manufacturing process and large material-volume requirement, the benefits are well worth the investment. Speaking from personal experience, high-quality fat tires offer an impressive durability, lasting anywhere from 2,500–3,000 miles with regular use. They not only extend your riding season by enabling you to ride in challenging conditions, like during the winter months on snow or ice, but also enhance your safety by offering superior traction. This combination of extended usage and enhanced safety make fat tire bikes an excellent investment in the long run.