Although quite less popular than mountain bikes and BMX, fat bikes are not really new in the market. They were introduced way back in 2005 with 3.8-inch-wide tires. In one glance, the huge tires do not seem to fit right with bicycle frames.
However, regardless of how awkward they look during the time, fat tires are vital especially during winter. They are primarily used to traverse snowy trails. But years later, fat bikes became more accepted in the market. By 2012, the fat bike craze was in full swing.
Other than snow trails, bikes with fat tires are then used even on sand, mud, rocks, and other terrains that were deemed to be impassable before. How can fat bikes do this?
How Fat Tires Work
As you may instantly think, fat tire bikes are heavier than other bikes. However, because of the massive volume of the tires, they can work well even with very low air pressure. The low level of air pressure in the tires causes floatation that allows the tires to roll in different types of terrain – from snows, to sand, to rocks, and almost everywhere.
Top 5 Best Fat Bike Tires
1. Maxxis Hookworm BMX/Urban Bike Tire
The Maxxis Hookworm BMX bike tire is perfect for urban bike riders. It will do well both on the streets and in the park. They can roll smoothly and almost too quietly on anything you might encounter on the streets – potholes, gravels, curbs and what not.
Maxxis Hookworm bike tire is also durable for whatever exhibitions you may want to do on the street. Whether you want to get your bike jumping on the staircase or maybe you want to grind the rails on a skate park, this fat tire can handle all those. Planning to do some extreme bike stunts? This bike tire can surely handle what you want to do.
The bike tire is designed with bead-to-bead thread that allows it to handle all the stunt abuses and challenges on the streets. It is available in various sizes – 16”, 20”, standard 26”, and even 29”. With such great specifications, maybe you are worried about its price. Well, you should not since it is priced at the same range with those of other quite popular brands.
See more information on Maxxis Hookworm BMX/Urban Bike Tire.
- Tough and durable
- Suitable for aggressive urban bike riders
- Available in various sizes
2. Schwalbe Fat Frank Tire – 26in
This Schwalbe Fat Frank Tire measures 26 inches that will fit standard fat tire mountain bikes. Its rubber construction makes it reliable even on rough terrains. It also has the pressure rating of 20-55 psi, making it pretty useful for various types of cycling purposes.
The Schwalbe Fat Frank Tire is designed to be strong to partner with your adventure in different types of terrains – whether on street, parks, or even mud. Whatever your terrain is, this tire sure can handle it well.
See more information on Schwalbe Fat Frank Tire – 26in .
- Standard size
- Works well with different terrain types
- Useful for a variety of cycling
3. Origin8 Supercell Wire Bead Fat Bike Tires, 26 X 4.0″, Black/Black
Origin8 Supercell Wire Bead Fat Bike Tire is one of the great choices when you need a tire that can roll pretty fast without compromising the cornering. Yes, this tire from Origin8 is great on both of those. It can run pretty well both on dry or wet tracks, and does not even create much noise.
It is designed with large evacuation channels and siping for efficient water distribution. It can also run well at 20 psi.
See more information on Origin8 Supercell Wire Bead Fat Bike Tires
- Produces less noise and with better grip
- Low pressure tire
- Rolls fast
4. Maxxis Ardent Mountain Bike Tire
If compared to the stock tires that may have come with your bike, the Maxxis Ardent can sure roll faster. They are also durable through various types of terrain – from mud, to ice, and even snow.
However, if you are intending to perform some extreme exhibitions with this tire, then you might want to reconsider. Although it is tough and can roll faster, it is not really designed for extreme stunts or any aggressive bike rides.
See more information on Maxxis Ardent Mountain Bike Tire.
- Fast rolling
- Great for various type of terrains
5. Bell Comfort Glide Bike Tires
The Bell Comfort Glide Bike Tire is one of the cheapest options you will find on the market.
It boasts of using Kevlar that adds protection over your tire. This Kevlar cover layer is made from DuPont chemicals that make the layer extra tough and durable.
As such, overall, the Bell Comfort Bike Tire is designed for streets, difficult bike trails and other terrains. Its material composition makes sure that the tire won’t easily be punctured by the objects it may run on.
See more information on Bell Comfort Glide Bike Tires.
Types Of Fat Bike Tires
The market of fat bike tires has expanded quite rapidly. Although some may not notice it but there are many different types of fat tires to choose from. So if you are a beginner in fat bikes, this may help you have an idea .
Aggressive fat bike tires
This type is perfect for adventurers – those who wouldn’t be stopped by any kind of terrain. Aggressive fat bike tires can easily run over snow, mud, rocks, and almost everything that’s on the way.
All-Rounder fat bike tires
This type is particularly designed for excellent cornering and swift rolling. These tires work best on packed snow or dry trail, yet they can also be ridden well even on quite normal conditions.
Fast rolling fat bike tires
From the term itself, this type of tires specializes in speed. It’s the type to go to if you are planning to join a fat bike race, or if you simply want to ride fast.
Five Types Of Fat Tire Terrain
While other types of bikes are limited only to a certain type of terrain – such as the pavement for road bikes, or dirt and rocks, for the dirt bike, fat bike tires, on the other hand, can easily be ridden in different types of terrain. They are unarguably the most versatile bike tires. To give you a better picture, here are the five types of terrain that will be perfect for your fat tire (Source).
Most vehicles, even technologically-advanced ones, have a hard time going through snow-covered roads or tracks.
However, for fat tire bikes, snow is not a problem. Compared to other bikes, fat bikes can go through snow and make the snow-covered track an exciting adventure. The best for fat tires are those snow packed like on a Nordic ski trail.
Just like snow, sand can also be quite challenging for other types of bike tires. But, for fat tires that are wide and have low tire pressure, sand is another terrain for adventures.
With fat tire bikes, you can easily ride across loose, sandy beaches.
Even the rocks can’t stop fat tire bikes. Again, because of the low air pressure and the size of the tires, the impacts from the rocks lessen. Other types of bikes may suddenly stop or even be destroyed when you ride them over the rocks, but not the fat tire bikes.
Logs and thumps are also challenging obstacles for other types of bikes, but not for fat tire bikes. Because of the low tire pressure and especially if you’ll add extra side tires, logs and thumps will just make your bike ride more fun!
Believe it or not, yes, you can even ride your fat tire bike even on top of ice and glaciers. But although you can, you must do so with utmost caution.
When To Replace Your Tires
There are two cues that tell it’s time to replace your tires. First is when your tires are already worn out and the second is if your bike rides or handles are not particularly fun and satisfying, and you believe that a new rubber will help.
How to identify worn-out tires?
One easiest sign that says your tire is already wearing out is when your tires suddenly get flat several times in a week. When this happens, it means that the thread of your tire is already too thin and it can no longer protect the tube inside the tire from the sharp things you are running over.
So to prevent experiencing flat tire along your ride, it would also help to inspect the thread of your tire. When the grooves on it have disappeared, then you might want to replace your tire already.
Another sign, especially for your rear tire, is when the top of the thread flattened. This is called squaring off and it tends to slow you down significantly.
You should also be cautious once you start seeing the threads of the casing underneath. It means that your tire is already too thin and would almost expose the tube inside. This tube is not designed to have contact on any type of terrain, unless you’re looking for some kind of problem on your bike.
Evidently, frequent use of your bike will wear your tires out, but so does not using them. If your bike was just stored for years, the tire tends to rot, harden and/or crack with age. So before you ride a bike that’s been stored for month or years, better inspect its tires thoroughly. You might need to inflate or replace them first so you can have a smooth, problem-free ride.
Advantages Of Fat Tire Bike
As fat bikes are becoming more popular, here are the top five advantages that you have when you own a fat bike.
- Brings out the adventure in you
As mentioned above, a fat bike tire can work best even on five different terrains. As such, a fat bike will let you take almost any adventure and will allow you to explore any place you wish to.
It’s almost a given, actually. Since you can go anywhere and almost everywhere with your fat bike, fun is a guarantee.
You may ride your bike however you wish – whether leisurely or extremely, relaxed or with exhibitions, fast or slow. It’s all up to you since you’re making your own adventure. One common observation is that even those who are just taking a fat bike for a test ride always come back wearing a smile.
The large tires make the fat bike more comfortable. Since they have low pressure, they act as shock absorbers. They take on the vibration from your ride, minimizing the stress that your hand and lower back would have experienced.
- Easy to Ride
Most people assume that because fat bikes are larger than the ordinary, they thought that these bikes are also a lot heavier and harder to control. However, such is not the case.
Most first timers are actually surprised after their first test rides when they find out how easy to ride fat bikes are. Because of the larger tires, riders tend to have more control and balance over the bikes. And with such control, even new riders can easily gain confidence.
During its conception, fat bikes were originally intended to be ridden over snow. However, with some configurations in the frame designs and parts, fat bikes became all-season bikes.
You can use them on snow, pavement, sand, mud, rocks. Again, wherever you wish to go on your adventure.
Although it took years before the public appreciated fat tire bikes, they sure are fun and great for adventures. We hope that you have chosen the fat tire that will be perfect for your own kind of adventure.
Just remember to always inspect your tire before riding your bike and to replace any tire once you’ve noticed the signs mentioned above. Otherwise, you will be risking not just the fun of your bike ride but your life as well.
So, ride safe! Enjoy!