Fat tire bicycles are becoming extremely popular! Not only do they look extremely cool, but they are also incredibly easy to ride, and are very versatile. A common question many people ask though, has to do about snow!
Are fat tire bikes good for snow? Fat tire bikes are one of the best solutions if you are planning to be riding in the snow! With their wide tires, it offers plenty of surface area to spread out any weight along the snow (think snow shoes). That said, they aren’t completely perfect!
Why are fat tire bikes good in snow?
Fat tire bikes are good for the winter for a couple of reasons. These bikes have mountain bike frame with extra-wide forks to allow enough clearance for the minimum 3.8 inches wide fat tire (you can get up to 5 width or more).
The benefits of having a fat tire bike are that you have more grip and traction on the road or trail.
Making them an excellent choice during the winter months. Even if you are not in a part of the world that regularly gets snow, fat tires also give your bike more traction in wet conditions.
The additional traction comes from an increased surface area with the road or track, which helps distribute your weight over a greater area, thus increasing friction.
Fat tires (like these ones here) are also knobby and have deep treads. The deep tread helps to cut through the soft ground (such as snow).
You do not fill fat tires with the same amount of pressure you would need on road bikes or even mountain bikes. This further improves traction by increasing the surface area and acting as a form of suspension, making your ride more uncomfortable.
What are the downsides of riding a fat tire bike in snow?
The downside of fat tire bikes is that they are cumbersome to ride in ordinary conditions. All that additional surface area creates a lot of rolling resistance, especially on roads.
There is also a limit that any bike can be ridden in the snow. Any more than 4 inches and it will be impossible to build up any moment.
Even a few inches of snow will require extra effort, but a fat tire bike will be your best bet to attempt to cycle in these conditions.
So yes, fat tire bikes are suitable for the winter if you will be offroading and expecting snow this winter.
If you are sticking to the road and do not usually get more than a few inches of snow on that road at any time during the year, you can still cycle safely on a standard bicycle with good quality tires that can be ridden all year round.
One recommendation to negate this a bit, is to purchase some thinner fat bike tires like these ones for the non-snowy times of the year, and then some thicker versions for the snowy times like these ones!
Why would you ride a fat tire bike in snow?
For those of you that are wondering why in the world you would even want to ride a fat tire bike in the snow. There are a couple great reasons!
The first reason is for adventure! Riding bikes in the snow allows you to quickly traverse through an awesome landscape. For those that have spent time in the snow, you know how awesome the scenery can be.
Another reason you may want to ride in the snow is strictly for exercise! Many places have snow for quite a few months out of the year, and exercise shouldn’t end when the snow flies. Fat tire bikes will allow you to continue that exercise throughout the winter, and all year round.
Finally, the last reason, is for transportation! If you don’t use or have a car, bikes are going to be your next best bet. However if you can’t ride your bike due to snow, you can’t get to work or your grocery store.
How much snow can a fat bike go through?
For the most part, while fat tire bikes are great in the snow, they aren’t built to go through un-groomed snow! Likely the most un-compact snow the bike can go through would be around 4″ of snow.
That said, most towns that have snow do tend to have groomed trails that you can enjoy your fat bike on considerably more than any other type of bike on the market today.
If you are looking to go snow biking, you should definitely start your shopping for a fat tire bike now! This one is one of my personal favorites, as it is an inexpensive start.
Frequently Asked Questions
Due to the fact that fat tire bikes are already so heavy, you should have no problem wearing all of your winter clothing that you normally would! Keep in mind though, that with the energy output, you will likely get very warm after a while of riding your bike.
Generally speaking, fat tire bikes are easy to ride and balance on. However they do require more energy output, as you have to move the now larger tires to get up to speed.
A fat tire bike is very much like a mountain bike, just with thicker tires! That said, unlike mountain bikes, fat tire bikes many times are not equipped with any form of suspension, and instead rely on the thick tires to offer softening a blow.
While fat tire bikes are probably the best bicycle you can buy for the winter, they definitely have their downsides when it comes to using them the rest of the year.
However if you are okay with a little extra effort, to make sure you are able to ride in those winter months, then these bicycles are going to be your best bet! On that note though, don’t leave your bike in the snow, its better to store it in a shed, or indoors.