9 Reasons Why Fat Bikes are Easier to Ride


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Fat bikes are becoming more popular all the time, and a lot of this is down to how easy they are to ride.

I first tried a fat bike last year when we got a bit of snow, and they really stand out as a unique type of bike with so much going for them.

In this guide, I’ll explain exactly what makes them so easy to ride, with lots of top tips on how to get the most out of the experience.

Why fat bikes are easier to ride

1. Fat Bikes are Fantastic For All Types of Terrain

The first reason as to why they are easier to ride is the fact they are suitable for all types of terrain.

It means you can pretty much take them anywhere, and that’s a great thing. Whether it’s taking a fat bike to work, on mountain bike trails, or completely off-road, this bike can do it all.

Of course, this is connected to the way in which the bike is set up, and those chunky wheels make a huge difference. Even if there’s little grip on the terrain, this bike will still be able to find what little grip exists.

These bikes were initially created for use in conditions such as ice and snow. That has led to them being developed in such a way that any terrain is not a barrier.

No matter the weather conditions, this bike will prove itself to be invaluable to you, and that’s a pretty cool thing. [Source]

So if you love some versatility on where you ride, then a fat bike can easily be one single solution that promises to provide you with a whole lot of options.

2. You Have More Balance

My second reason is that fat bikes provide you with a greater sense of balance when riding them.

This is due to the thicker rims, so you are aware that more of the bike is in constant contact with the ground at all times.

That knowledge, and actually feeling it beneath you, makes a huge difference to how you feel on the bike. You don’t have the impression that you are balanced on this thin piece of rubber and that anything could throw you off at any moment.

That just does not happen.

With that greater feeling of balance comes more confidence.

That will also then transform your riding ability, and you will then experience a greater sense of freedom with your fat bike.

Also, it will then encourage you to go to various spots and explore.

The sense of having more material in contact with the ground makes such a difference to you.

If you already feel that a mountain bike provides you with a substantial amount of balance, then you will still be blown away with a fat bike.

In fact, after experiencing a fat bike, you may not want to transition back to a normal bike ever again.

3. The Pressure Acts as a Shock Absorber

Generally speaking, the pressure in the wheels is lower with a fat bike, and that means they act like a shock absorber.

Here is a table of the average tire pressure in different types of bikes:

Type of bikeAverage Tire Pressure
29er Mountain bike20 to 28psi
Road bike90 to 130 psi
Mountain bike25 to 35 psi
Hybrid bike40 to 70 psi
Fat bike12 to 20 psi

You can see how fat bikes are considerably lower in tire pressure than any other make of bike.

As a result, you have a more comfortable ride, and it also gives you the sense of having more control on your fat bike.

But when we say the pressure is lower, we are only talking about small amounts. However, this small drop in pressure does make a difference. 

Acting like a shock absorber means there’s less chance of you being thrown off as a result of all those humps and bumps. That doesn’t even include the debris you can ride over that would have then created a real jarring effect. 

By doing something to reduce that jolt you receive when riding over something, it means you will not have that feeling of constantly fighting against the bike.

That is where it makes riding so much easier.

Also, it means you will no longer feel as if you could be thrown off at any given moment. That knowledge allows you to relax on your bike, and you will then enjoy the ride more than you would have otherwise done.

Fat bike on the beach
The low pressure of a fat bikes tires acts as a wonderful natural shock absorber

4. It Puts Less Stress On Your Body

Cycling in any form can put a lot of stress on your body. This is especially true when battling against conditions, and that applies no matter if it’s the weather or the terrain.

A fat bike is capable of reducing the level of stress on your body thanks to those chunky wheels, and that is why they are then easier to ride. 

The problem with stress is that it’s going to tire you out. It creates aches and pains in your body, and that sort of thing is seriously unpleasant.

Ultimately, it also then leads to you being unable to handle the bike in the right way, and your enjoyment levels will plummet.

A fat bike removes so much of that pressure and stress. It means you can relax more on your bike, and actually enjoy what is going on around you. This is clearly thanks to the balance and shock absorber reasons mentioned above, so look at the stress part as being a positive by-product of this.

5. They Give You a Smoother Ride

When you put the different reasons that we have already mentioned together, it all results in a fat bike being capable of delivering you a much smoother ride.

When you have a smoother ride, it also means an easier one as it doesn’t feel as if you need to really work at it.

It’s important to remember that I am talking about a smoother ride on all sorts of terrain. Even snow is not going to prove to be that difficult to you.

But to give a better explanation as to what is happening, I need to look at the wheels.

Your typical set of wheels for a fat bike will be wider, thicker, deliver extra grip and traction, and then the low pressure approach will also really kick into action.

Keep in mind that their wheels are substantially larger than you would see even on a mountain bike.

It’s almost as if the wheels on a fat bike will absorb whatever it comes across, at least to a certain extent, and that leads to easier handling.

When this happens, you feel more confident in using your fat bike, and that will be reflected in how often you go out, and also where you take it.

6. You Have So Much More Traction

You are also going to have so much more traction when it comes to a fat bike compared to other makes and models.

You may have initially thought that a normal mountain bike offered amazing traction, which it can do, but it’s nothing compared to a fat bike.

The traction is what will stop those wheels from sliding out when you go over different terrain. The fact you know that your wheels are going to stay right there with you is going to give your confidence a serious boost. 

Keep in mind that fat bike wheels are made for this very purpose.

They were initially designed to allow people to ride on snow and ice, and that stuff has next to no grip. So, special wheels were created to combat those conditions.

This led to what we see on a fat bike today, and it really does make such a huge difference.

So traction is a big deal, and fat bikes have it in huge amounts. That will change how you ride them, and it also improves your overall experience.

7. They Aren’t All About Speed

These bikes are not all about speed, and that’s a good thing. By reducing the speed aspect, it does often mean you have more control over what is going on.

You feel you can react better to events and happenings. You have the feeling that you can cope with whatever the bike, or terrain, is going to throw at you.

And all of that is very, very true. You do sacrifice a bit of speed with a fat bike, due to them being heavier, but the control and grip you gain as a direct result of that makes it worthwhile. 

These bikes are more for exploring and getting to places while enjoying the ride. They are not all about getting from point A to point B in the quickest time possible.

It’s about having fun when moving between the two points, and that does not always have to involve speed.

So, they are easier to ride because they bring the speed down slightly, and they are then easier to control and handle, especially in an emergency.

Two riders on fat bikes going down a snowy path
Forget about speed when you’re out on a fat bike, but instead concentrate on the comfort and fluidity of your ride

8. Their Comfort Levels

Fat bikes are extremely comfortable to ride, and that will also make a significant difference when it comes to your experience on them.

Yes, they do not have shock absorbers, but everything else is designed to make sure you are not being thrown around on a constant basis.

If you feel your body is not being thrown around, then you can relax.

By relaxing, you are reducing the stress on your body that we mentioned earlier. It all leads to something that is far more enjoyable, and it should mean you get out on your bike a lot more as well.

But this comfort level concept is something people take for granted, and that’s wrong.

You shouldn’t finish a ride and feel as if you have been beaten up in the process. You should have that feeling in your legs of having had a good ride rather than anything else.

9. The Bike Feels Sturdy and Stable

The final reason is that these bikes feel exceptionally sturdy and stable below you. If you have ever ridden a mountain bike, then a fat bike takes things to a whole new level. 

Everything feels chunkier with a fat bike, but that strength and solidity is a huge deal. When riding a fat bike, you feel that it really can go anywhere you want it to go.

You develop a belief that it can withstand a whole lot of punishment, and still be free from damage. 

Just as with pretty much anything else, having a belief and faith in your equipment makes using it a lot easier, and also more fun. You know the bike is going to be sturdy and can withstand so much, so you feel you can take it over any terrain.

The faith and confidence you get from being able to do this then becomes apparent in the way you use the bike.

Those difficult trails that incorporate rough and tough terrain will suddenly appear a lot easier, and also more appealing. This is all thanks to the way in which these bikes are made, and that is why they are also easier to ride than other options.

Final Thoughts

And those are nine reasons why fat bikes are indeed easier to ride. As you can see, they are all extremely positive reasons why you should give a fat bike a shot, if you have not already done so.

Don’t allow yourself to be put off by the bulky nature of the bike.

Also, don’t think that these bikes will add a huge amount of weight.

Yes, they are heavier due to the larger frame and wheels, but they also provide you with the opportunity to go ahead and get out onto all types of terrain using just the one bike.

At the end of the day, unless you are into racing on the road, then this bike will cover every aspect and eventuality that you may come across. They are brilliant to own, and you could easily find yourself exploring new trails and rides that you never even knew existed, and that in itself is a brilliant thing.

Martin Williams

Martin has been tearing up all sorts of trails on a range of bikes ever since he was young. He once cycled across France, and once fell into a canal on a hybrid. He writes about everything to do with cycling on our site. You can find out more about him at bicycle2work.com/about-martin-williams/

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