Fat bikes are growing heavily in popularity, leading many to buy one! However with so many different types of bikes on the market today, and with limited space, you want to make sure that the bike you buy is the right one for you, as it likely is going to be the only what you own. With fat bikes being such a unique type of bike, you probably are wondering if these really can be your only bike.
So can a fat bike be your only bike? Fat tire bikes can actually make an awesome only bike, they are versatile, durable, and over all a simple bike. However there are downsides in the fact that they are heavy, are not quite as trail capable, and it can be difficult to find replacement parts for them.
4 Reasons Why A Fat Bike Can Be Your Only Bike
While fat tire bikes do have their limitations that you should be aware of, I am a positive person (for the most part) so let’s go over why a fat tire bike might actually be a great “only bike”.
1. Fat bikes are extremely versatile
We have talked quite a bit about these types of bikes, and the fact that they are awesome in the snow, are great for beginners and more. You can easily use them on pavement, trails, gravel, or just around your neighborhood.
Because of this versatility, you can use it as your only bicycle easily! That said, there may be some deal breakers for you, so make sure to read until the end.
2. Fat tire bikes are generally very simply designed
These bikes generally are a very simple bike, without front or rear suspension (because the tires work as suspension), and the frame itself is generally a basic no-nonsense frame. They also have simple drivetrains, and simple shifters.
Because of this, they are easy to maintain with a basic maintenance kit, making them a great bike to use all year round without regular breakdowns.
3. You can heavily adjust tire pressures to fit the situation
Fat tire bikes have huge tires, which is obviously where they got their name, so you can heavily adjust their tire pressure to fit the situation.
Are you commuting to work? Make the pressure higher to lower the rolling resistance. Taking the bike through the snow or on a trail? Lower the pressure to give you more grip.
The best way to do this is by taking along a portable bike pump like this one!
4. Lots of traction
Another awesome thing about having such huge tires, is the fact that you get a lot of traction along with that! Much like vehicles, if you are off-roading, you want to lower the PSI in the tires, which then gives a larger point of contact from the tire to the ground.
Because of the huge tires on the fat tire bike, lowering this pressure gives you a much bigger patch than you can find on virtually any other type of bicycle on the road today.
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5 Reasons why Fat tire bike may NOT be a good only bike
Now that you know why a fat tire bike may make an awesome only bike, lets go into the drawbacks, so that you can decide for yourself on if these are deal breakers or not.
1. Fat tire bikes are rigid
A fat bike is certainly much more rigid. But, comparatively, you will get a better suspension system than other mountain bikes.
On smooth terrain, you will not notice any problem with the rigidity of the mountain bike. However, on inclement terrain, the bike will slow down. The impact absorption capacity will be less.
The rigidity can also bog you down. It will tire you more on longer trails.
Only when you’re okay with that can you go ahead and buy the fat bike.
2. These bikes tend to be very heavy comparatively
Fat bikes consist of heavier tires. The heavier tires ensure that the overall bike is heavy. Not only that, the accessories of the tires are heavier.
The heavy frame and the heavy bike means that it is difficult for you to attain high speed when you’re using a fat bike.
The problem with them is that the cost of the lightweight fat-tire bikes is so high that you can easily buy a stock fat tire bike and a standard mountain bike within that budget.
Before you buy a fat bike as your only bike, do make sure that you are aware of its weight and the amount of effort you will have to ride it.
3. Fat tire bikes can’t go on all of the trails
The bike which you have will also determine the trails which you can cover.
When you have only a fat bike, you can cover snowy terrain easily. However, if you plan on covering very steep trails, you might not have great control, especially on the downside.
This certainly reduces the trails which you can cover. You have to keep this factor in mind before buying a fat bike as your only bike.
4. Tire pressure on fat tire bikes is very important
The performance of the fat bike depends on the pressure on its tires. If the pressure is not in the ideal range, it will become really difficult for you to drive the fat bike.
If the tire pressure is more than the ideal range, the bike will become bouncy. On the other hand, if it is less, the rolling resistance will be high.
It means that you will have to maintain the ideal tire pressure if you want the mountain bike to interact with the ground in a predictable way.
In a nutshell, you will have to pay much more attention to the pressure of the fat tire bike in comparison with the stock mountain bike.
5. It can be hard to find replacement parts for fat tire bikes
The part availability of fat bikes is not as high as the normal mountain bikes. Especially when you’re going for a fat bike which is not that popular.
In that case, you cannot replace the parts in a jiffy like with stock mountain bike.
Of course, you can order those parts online, but that will take time. Only if you’re ready to wait out when you’re in need of parts can you use the fat bike as your only bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people use their fat tire bikes as mountain bikes! These bicycles are very reminiscent of old school mountain bikes that just so happen to have larger tires, meaning they are still great for using in off-road situations!
Fat tire bikes are very easy to ride! Their wide wheels, and plenty of traction make for a ride that even beginners should have no problem using.
Fat bikes have a considerable amount of rolling resistance! This means they are not nearly as ideal for long distances as bicycles like Gravel or Road Bikes. That said, if the long distance you are dealing with is on snow, it will be much better than any other bike out there.
Fat tire bikes can make an awesome only bicycle! Sure, they are heavier, and not perfect for every situation, but they can be used in every situation, unlike most other bikes on the road today.
I hope this opened up some possibilities in your bike hunt!