Fat Tire Bikes – Beginners’ Guide

Fat Tire Bikes - The Complete Guide

If you’re curious about fat tire bikes, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, Fat Tire Bikes – Beginners’ Guide, we explore everything you need to know about fat tire bikes, from their history to the different types available on the market today.

We’ll also cover the best ways to choose the perfect fat tire bike for you and provide FAQs about fat tire bikes so that you can have all the information you need before making your purchase.

Finally, our final section will discuss wheel size, tires, frames, and suspension. So make sure to check out this blog to learn all you need about fat tire bikes!

What Is A Fat Tire Bike?

What Is A Fat Tire Bike?

Fat tire bikes are a type of bike that uses specially designed tires that are wider than those on traditional bikes. The wide or fat tire is made to grip the ground better. This makes them a lot more stable than traditional bikes, which makes them great for riding on rough terrain or surfaces.

Since the tires have a greater area that comes into contact with the ground at any given instant, they provide more traction and stability, allowing you to go over snow, sand, and other terrains.

History of Fat Tire Bikes

Since the early 1900s, fat bikes have been around, the contemporary-looking fat bikes, however, only emerged in the 1970s and 1980s.

In its infancy, in an attempt to make bicycles safer for the winter riding, Alaskan bike frame builders started experimenting with bike parts and tires to produce a bike that would be compatible with different terrains.

In 1999, two designers emerged and met to discuss their work at the Interbike Show. Shortly after, in 2001, frame designer Mark Gronewald, who hailed from Alaska, started referring to his bikes as “Fat Bikes.” A decade later, Gronewald added a bike to his production with a full range of gears.

Surly Bikes, established in Bloomington, Minnesota, went on to produce their specialized frame in 2005 that was called The Pugsley. It was with The Pugsley that fat tire bikes were made available to the general public.

Other companies went on to produce their design for fat bikes, and today you can see more fat bikes on dirt trails and roads than ever.

Video: Fat Tire Bikes – Beginner’s Guide

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What Are The Benefits Of Riding A Fat Tire Bike?

Here are some advantages of fat tire bikes:

  • The purpose of fat tire bikes is for such things as mountain biking, touring, commuting, and more.
  • They’re suitable for aerobic workouts because you’re working your entire body.
  • You don’t have to worry about getting stuck in snow or mud – fat tires make it easy to go anywhere you want on the bike.
  • Allow for bike riding even in cold, snowy months.
  • They’re fun and easy to ride, making them great for commuting or exploring new areas.

Types Of Fat Tire Bikes

Fat Tire Bikes - Beginners' Guide

Regular Fat Tire

  • A typical Fat Tire Bike has some things in common with a traditional bike; it has two wheels, handlebars, and pedals. The significant difference is found in the size of the tires – it has much wider tires allowing for use on multiple types of terrain.


  • A folding fat tire bike is usually smaller than the typical non-folding model. Folding allows for easier storage and transport.

Fat Tire Electric Bike (e-bike)

  • An electric bike or pedal assist bike will provide assistance going up hills or even if you prefer an easier ride.
  • Most come with the option of pedal assist or full throttle, where the bike does the work.

How To Choose The Perfect Fat Tire Bike For You

Before choosing a fat tire bike, consider the type of riding you’ll be doing. Choose the type of fat tire bike that best suits your style and cycling needs. Be sure also to consider the bike’s size and weight.

Fat Tire Bikes - Beginners' Guide

What To Consider When Purchasing a Fat Tire Bicycle

Bike Size

With all bikes, you want to be sure to get a bike that fits your body.

Like traditional bikes, fat tire bikes come with different wheel sizes. You can find a fat tire bike with 20″ wheels, but these are usually folding bikes. The more typical wheel sizes are 24, 26, 27, and 29 inches.

The main measurement you’ll want to consider is your height. It stands to reason that taller people will be more comfortable with a taller frame, and a person that is shorter will feel more comfortable with a small frame.

Your height, torso length, inseam, and arm length are some of the body measurements you’d want to take.

Most manufacturers will give you a suggested bike size based on your height.

Bike Weight

Because most fat tire bikes are heavier than most traditional bikes you will lose the advantage of the momentum you get with, say, a street bike that has thin tires. By losing that momentum, it will be harder to climb hills. As you can imagine climbing a hill on a bike that is 28 lbs will be easier than getting up the same hill with 34 lbs.


The type of material fat bike frames are made of is an important factor in choosing your bike.

Three popular frame materials are:

  • Aluminum:
    • Lightweight
    • Inexpensive
  • Carbon
    • Usually Lighter Than Aluminum
  • Steel
    • Heavy
    • Long Lasting
    • More Expensive
    • Can Rust
  • Titanium
    • Corrosion Proof
    • Durable
    • Higher Price Point


The suspension is what absorbs shock when riding. Suspension becomes more important if you plan to ride on rough trails where you can encounter numerous bumps and potholes. You will want better suspension riding on trails than you will need riding on pavement.

Tire Width

Fat Tire Bikes - Beginners' Guide

Depending on the type of terrain you plan to ride on, you’ll want to look at the width of the tires. The wider the tire, the more traction you will get.

For instance, if you plan to ride in soft surfaces like sand or snow, you’ll want to look at gaining the most traction, which you will get by having the widest fat bike tires possible (4.8-5″).

Wheel Size

Like traditional bikes, fat bikes come with different wheel sizes. You can find a fat tire bike with 20″ wheels, but these are usually folding bikes. The more typical wheel sizes are 24, 26, 27, and 29 inches.

Most manufacturers will provide a sizing chart that corresponds with a person’s height on what size wheel would fit the person best.


Are Fat Tires Faster Than Traditional Bicycles?

Generally, fat tire bikes are slower than conventional bicycles. The bike’s frame configuration and geometry make it difficult to go as fast as a regular bike. However, there are exceptions to this rule – some fat tire bikes can be quite speedy!

Are There Electric Fat Bikes?

Fat Tire Bikes - Beginners' Guide

Absolutely. Electric Fat Bikes merge the features of a fat tire bike with an e-bike. An Electric Fat Bike usually has 4″ tires and a motor making it easier for the rider, especially in rougher terrain or going uphill.

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Final Words

By reading Fat Tire Bikes – Beginners’ Guide, you explored everything from the history to the different types of fat tire bikes available today,

If you’re considering purchasing a fat tire bike, we hope you found this article helpful in making a more informed decision.

If you still need clarification about buying one, feel free to consult a professional in this field. They can also help you pick the perfect fat tire bike for your unique needs and style preferences.

What are your thoughts about fat tire bikes? Please comment below.

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