If there is one thing that everyone should respect about bicycles, it’s the ability to find a bicycle that you can ride anywhere. No matter the type of track or the weather condition, there is a bike for you. Want a lightweight bicycle that you can use to do tricks and bunny hop around? BMX is the model for you. Do you want one suitable for uphill roads? A good mountain bike will help you reach that peak.
There has been a rising trend of a new type of bicycle recently, the appropriately called fat bike. It doesn’t matter if you are a bicycle aficionado or the new guy in the bicycle world, you must have some questions about those bikes and fat tires in general: What is the preferred surface, are they good in a particular one, how to take care of those tires and such, Well, in this article, you will find answers to the burning questions of whether those tires are especially effective in, say, snowy roads, can they be used on other surfaces, and many other useful pieces of information about the so-called fat bikes. Enjoy!
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What Are Fat Tire Bikes and What Sets Them Apart From Standard Bikes?
Fat tire bikes, also known as fat bikes, are bicycles that have two wide tires, usually 4 to5 inches wide. The width of the tires helps with traction on non-traditional surfaces, giving the rider more stability over longer periods of riding. What also differs them from regularly sized tires is that they do not require the air pressure to be near the maximum, they basically “float” at the low air pressure, which helps the rider go over previously inaccessible surfaces or areas, such as snow, sand, or mud.
Its history is interesting because fat bikes have existed since the early 20th century, but their popularity started rising in the 1980s, especially in places where bikes that can conquer the harsh surroundings were required, surroundings such as the snowy trails of Alaska, and the soft sands of New Mexico.
Fat bikes have also been used in various expeditions to the North and South Pole. Many traversals of the Poles have been attempted, the most known being Daniel P. Burton riding 775 miles across Antarctica to the South Pole using a fat-tire bike.
Besides the expeditions, people have seen the competitive potential of fat bikes and various sporting events have started to form around the United States since the early 2000s, one of the most famous events is the Iditarod Trail Invitational, an endurance event with a 130, 350, and 1000 mile-long distance endurance races.
Fat bikes also provide riders with various health benefits. Firstly, you can ride them during the winter. Everyone gains a few pounds during the winter but fat bike riders do not, because snow cannot stop them. In addition to making you pedal harder to push the rolling resistance, the cold weather will also boost your immune system making you less susceptible to illnesses.
Secondly, the fat tires and softer surfaces will make you pedal more and help in gaining increased muscle endurance. Add on that a higher gear and you will become an epitome of strength and health.
Finally, fat bike riding will help you with your stability and balance. Fat bikes require more rider control during turning or maneuvering, due to the wheels width, making it more difficult to control than a normal bicycle.
Is Snow The Best Surface For Fat Tire Bikes?
Most people have probably seen a lot of fat-tire bikes around mountainous areas. The bicycle has been constructed to be used on soft surfaces, as the wide tires establish a bigger area of contact with the surface it is being ridden on, and the heavier frame further helps with the stability and traction, but it is not supposed to be ridden at high speeds.
To be clear, the fat bike is excellent for endurance events where speed is not of great importance, but it can, of course, be used on hard surfaces as well. Have in mind that a fat bike is not played to its strengths if ridden on non-soft surfaces.
So snow, along with other soft surfaces like sand or mud, is one of the surfaces that fat bikes have literally been made for! As previously stated in the article, a lot of expeditions in areas with heavy snow have been carried out using fat bikes, and their whole existence revolved around conquering the harsh snow of Alaska.
Having said that, owning a fat-tire bike does not mean that one can only use it during the winter! Most people can use the fat bikes on hard surfaces without problems, as they are considered to be an all-terrain vehicle of sorts. As long as you are alright with riding it leisurely around the neighborhood and don’t mind the slower speeds due to the width of the wheel, you will not make a mistake if you are seriously thinking about buying one.
The best thing about bicycles overall is that there is always a bicycle for a specific need, location, or weather condition. Whether it is a lightweight BMX for a leisure ride around the neighborhood or a heavy-duty mountain bike for curvy mountain areas, there is always one for everything. Such is the case with the fat bikes which are currently enjoying huge popularity among both casual enjoyers and hardcore bicycle enthusiasts.
So have no worries if you are planning on or have just bought a fat bike: you can ride it anywhere you want, without worrying that a hurdle will stop you along the ride.
Are fat bikes more expensive than other, regular bicycles?
Unfortunately, due to the wheel size, special gears and brakes are required, which increases the price of the whole bicycle.