Updated on August 18, 2022
They are becoming increasingly popular for off-road riding and bikepacking as a replacement for mountain bikes Fun, unusual, and able to go places no other bike can, including thick snow and loose sand, these bikes are a blast to ride. This article compares the benefits and drawbacks of riding a fat bike against a mountain bike so that you can make an informed decision about which type of bike is right for you. Here are some other things to keep in mind when shopping for a fat bike or mountain bike.
What is the Difference Between a Fat Bike and Mountain Bike?
The breadth of the tyres is the primary distinction between a fat bike and a mountain bike. Fat bike tyres range in width from 3.8″ to 5.2″ (96-132mm). As a point of reference, mountain bike tyres typically have a width of 1.9″-2.6″. (48-66mm).
Compared to mountain bikes, fat bikes require bigger rims to fit tyres that are as broad as those on fat bikes. The most common fat bike rims are 65mm in diameter, but they can be as wide as 55mm. The average width of a mountain bike rim is 30 millimetres. Fat bike rims have a diameter of 26″ or 27.5″. The wheels are similar in diameter to modern mountain bike 29″ wheels because of the high volume tyres.
Wide tyres can cause rubbing on fat bike frames, thus they require additional clearance. Additionally, fork arms, seatstays, and chainstays are made wider by manufacturers. As a result, fat bikes have hub spacing that is significantly larger than mountain bikes. Wider hubs are used in fat bikes, ranging in size from 170-190mm in width. Mountain bikes with 142mm hubs are a good comparison.
What are Fat Tires Bikes Used For?
When the terrain is too soft for a standard bicycle, fat bikes are the best option.
When it comes to sandy beaches, fat bikes are more than capable, whereas road bikes would immediately sink into the ground with their tyres.
Similar to mountain biking, if you’re a fan of winter cycling and live in a place where large snowfalls are common, a fat bike will be your best bet.
Fat bikes, as I have previously indicated, are more than capable of traversing paved terrain such as roads. You’ll find it easier to ride on the road if your tyres are inflated. Additionally, when riding a fat bike with tyres at greater psi, pedal strokes will be less exhausting.
What Is A Mountain Bike
This is because mountain bikes are built to last longer than other types of bikes. Components and frames alike can be damaged by varying terrain.
Strong wheels, knobby tires, adjustable suspension, sturdy frames, powerful brakes, and a straight handlebar are some elements that facilitate durability.
A mountain bike can be classified according to suspension type:
- Rigid (no suspension)
- Hardtail (suspension fork)
- Full suspension (suspension fork and rear suspension)
Traction, shock absorption, and comfort all play a role in mountain biking, regardless of the style of bike you’re looking at.
The most popular mountain bike types can be broadly classified as terrain-specific.
- Cross country: nimble bike favoring fast-paced riding and uphill tracks.
- Trail: equally capable on uphill and technical downhills.
- Enduro: favors downhill riding, with enough gears to get you back up the next hill
- Downhill: only for racing downhill at incredible speeds. Near impossible to ride back up a hill. They are usually transported by lift or vehicle.
Mountain bikes can be used recreationally for touring and commuting efficiently.
A Quick Off-Road Bicycle Wheels and Tire Size Comparison
- Mountain bike tires ranging from 1.9″ to 2.6″ broad. The internal width of most mountain bike rims is between 25 and 30 millimetres. 26″, 650b, and 29er are the most common mountain bike wheel diameters.
- Fat bike tires Inches broad, they’re between 3.8″ to 5.2″. 50-100mm broad is usual for the rims In general, 26″ or 27.5″ diameter wheels are used on most fat bikes. The rear hub spacing on a fat bike is often 170mm or 190mm. Front hubs range in size from 135 to 170 millimetres.
- Plus tires measure in the range of 2.8-3.3 inches in width. Internal rim widths between 34mm and 40mm are considered optimum. 26″, 650b, and 29er are the most common plus bike wheel diameters. These are newer sizes that have gained popularity in the last five years or so.
Fat Bike Benefits
- There is no need to worry about your fat bike sinking into mud or snow because it rolls over these types of surfaces with ease.
- Because of the wider tyres and more aggressive tread on fat bikes, riders can go faster through turns without losing control.
- To boost grip and damping, you can ride fat bike tyres at extremely low pressure, which makes for a more enjoyable ride.
- Owners of fat bikes are able to ride in practically any weather conditions, regardless of the season.
- Pinch puncture risk is much reduced while riding a fat bike with low-psi tyres.
- You may be able to use ordinary 27.5″, 29er or 29+ mtb tyres on some fat bike wheels that are suitable with 2-3″ tyres.
- Fat bikes are good for steep hillclimbs on slick or rough terrain, which may come as a surprise to some.
Mountain Bike Benefits
What to Wear When Riding a Fat Bike
From desert heat to alpine snow, fat bikes have been found to be useful in a wide range of circumstances.
It is imperative that you dress adequately for the weather, taking safety gear into account while you do so.
You should always wear a helmet while riding your bike regardless of the weather conditions: hot, cold, rain, or shine. Wear a helmet when you’re out and about.
Sunglasses, knee and elbow protection, and other safety gear may be necessary, depending on the type of riding you plan to perform.
The weather and terrain you’ll be riding in should factor into your choice of clothing, as should other factors like visibility and comfort.
A solid pair of cycling shorts is a must-have if you plan on riding your fat bike for extended distances. The delicate parts of your body will be spared from discomfort thanks to these!
Hey, all I am Joe Marino I love to ride bikes and teach others how to ride them. Most of my articles are about which bike is best for others. I am passionate about cycling and it shows, whether I am writing about a $25 bicycle from any random website or a $5000 Santa Cruz.
I have always been the guy who gets calls from friends while at work asking which bike they should buy. I have written about the best city bike for commuting, the best folding bike for use on public transit, and even what to keep in mind when shopping for kids’ bikes.
You can follow my blog and read all of my other articles on my website.