Fat Tire bikes are a decade old since their inception but only made their way to the limelight towards the end of the 20th century. The fat-tire bikes have not been fully embraced in the mainstream society but are slowly worming their way into the modern world. Their unique appearance combined with their strong structure and excellent performance when used for adventures and in races makes them a must-have in the modern society.
The primary purpose of the Fat tire bikes is to tackle the diverse terrains, and this covers both snow and sand. The wide tires offer a perfect balance and an enhanced grip and traction. The tires of the bike have low pressure and which makes it easy for them to roll over obstacles, thus riders are protected from the impact of jumping over obstacles. If you are still not convinced about the fat tire bikes below are some of its advantage and disadvantages to help you make a conscious choice.
Table of Contents
- Advantages of Fat Tire Bikes
- Disadvantages of Fat Tire Bikes
Advantages of Fat Tire Bikes
Are not Weather Tolerant
The advantage of investing in a fat tire bike is that you will be able to cycle on wet stone, you can ride them on mud without sliding and you can also ride them on snow. And as if the above is not enough, the fat bikes easily resist the strong winds and are a good alternative to public transport when it is not raining.
Are not Maintenance Intensive
There isn’t much that went into the manufacturing of the fat tire bikes, the frame is pretty simple with minimal parts that might need repair or replacement. The above is among the reasons that make the fat bikes expensive, but even at that, you can be sure that you will not spend half of your time getting it repaired.
Offer the Perfect Balance
Fat tire bikes are characteristic of fat tires that offer a wide contact once they hit the roads and which translates to enhanced balance. This feature is good for beginners who are yet to learn how to achieve the perfect balance when riding a bicycle.
The wide contact surface makes the fat tire bike usable by the new, intermediate, and professional riders but with some little practice. Also, the bike is heavy, and riding it at a faster speed is next to impossible meaning that riders are less likely to get injured.
The extra wheel contact allows the fat tire bike to roll over obstacles such as rocks but with enhanced stability. And while the fat tire bike is not exactly a speed bike, the extra traction for the deeply grooved tires will allow you to ascend quite steadily.
Exposes riders to unique competitions
Fat tire bike owners get a chance to showcase their riding skills in unique competitions. Fat tire bikes are not fast but that does not mean that they cannot compete against each other. Event organizers have been swift in coming up with races tailor made to cater to the fat tire bike owners.
Disadvantages of Fat Tire Bikes
Fat Tire Bikes are Heavy
The components used in the construction of fat tire bikes are heavy and this goes for the tires, tubes, and rims. Some of the base models have been determined to weigh a maximum of 36 pounds and a minimum of 33 pounds. There are also premium models that have been determined to weigh no more than 30 pounds.
Currently, however, fat tire bike manufacturers are selling fat bikes with a lighter frame derived from carbon fiber. Additionally, the custom bikes have their structures scaled down to as little as 22 pounds.
Fat Tire Bikes are not Grippy on All Grounds
Fat tire bikes do not have much grip and traction on gravel grounds. The tire bike will also be less grippy when used in areas with deep mud or snow. The above conditions can be quite unsafe for riders, notable is that not all Fat tires are not reliable, most of the cheap models could be difficult to use in extreme weather conditions, but the most expensive options could be reliable.
Difficult to Pedal
As mentioned above Fat bikes feature a heavy construction and this could make pedaling under specific circumstances challenging. For example, riders might find it hard to pedal the fat tire bikes on asphalt or pavements, we are, however, not saying that they won’t be able to completely pedal on these surfaces. But that the pedaling speed could be significantly slower when compared to pedaling the standard bikes on a similar surface.
Replacement Parts are not Easily Available
The parts and features incorporated in the manufacture of the fat tire bike are quite expensive and unique. And only a few outlets retail the replacement parts, for example, you might not be able to find the replacement rims, cranks, tires, or hubs. Notable is that while you might be able to find some of these replacement parts and features in your local retail shops. Once you venture into foreign lands then your fat tire bike might become redundant pretty quick when you are not able to find the replacement parts.
The Upgrades Cost a Pretty Penny
Upgrading your fat tire bike by incorporating a new suspension among other high-end components can be quite costly at least when compared to upgrading the same features on your standard MTB. Individuals who are, therefore, looking to invest in full suspension bikes to ride the mountain bike trails when summer comes. They might as well prepare for the damage that is about to occur in their bank balance.
Fat Tire Bikes are Slow
As mentioned earlier the materials used in the construction of the fat tire bikes are not exactly light in weight thus when you combine the decreased tire pressure and the heavier frames, you will discover that the fat bikes are slower at least when compared to other models. The bike’s precision also seems to be compromised when riding on the regular trails as the rolling resistance and enhanced weight meant that you move at a much slower pace.
Fat Bikes are Show Stoppers
Fat tire bikes are not equipped with common features, and the heavy construction is bound to catch the eyes of passers-by. And while this could be a thing for the sophomores, it could turn out to be very ugly as you might attract the wrong group of onlookers who would want to forcefully take the bike from you.
Fat Tire Bikes Tire Pressure
If you thought that the upgrades are the only thing that you might have to worry about, then you have one more thing coming. And which is the tire pressure. We already established that for you to be able to handle your fat tire bike the pressure must be low. So if by any chance you end up putting more pressure than normal the bike will end up being bouncy, and lower pressure than normal means that the rolling resistance will be more and could possibly damage your bike rims.
To counter this problem riders are asked to always carry with them a digital pressure gauge so that they are always on top of their fat-tire bike’s pressure.
Despite having so many disadvantages, you will agree that most of the negative conditions are manageable. For example, when it comes to finding the upgrade materials, you can always have them shipped to your new location, and if you want a fat tire bike that is light in weight, you can always settle with the new models that are made with the carbon fiber material.
Are the fat tire bikes faster?
Fat tire bikes are not fast and neither are they easy to maneuver, but the new models that feature a carbon fiber frame are faster.
Can I use the fat tire bike on smooth surfaces?
Yes, the fat tire bikes have good traction on smooth surfaces but their performance cannot be compared with that of a standard bike.