Fat tires are typically about 4” in width – twice the width of an average mountain bike tire. Riders in Alaska are often given credit for inventing the first fat bikes, using them to improve traction in snowy conditions. Since then fat tire bikes have grown in popularity and people have been discovering all kinds of uses for fat bikes.
Fat tires hold a huge volume of air, and unlike smaller tires, you can run them with very low pressure (5lbs or even less) without fear of having the rim bottom out and puncture the inner tube or tire itself. Running low pressure affects the ride in many ways:STABILITY
One of the greatest advantages of fat tires is the stability they offer. This becomes especially evident when the bike is loaded with panniers, surf boards or skis for example. Much like a pick-up truck, fat bikes really come into their own when they’re loaded down.
Often overlooked is the fact that fat tires are much taller than a standard 26” mountain bike tire. In fact, they stand about as tall as 29” tires that have become popular in the past few years. Though the difference may seem small, tall tires are remarkably effective at smoothing out the terrain, minimizing the effect of rough surfaces.
The lower the tire pressure, the greater the surface area of the tire in contact with the ground. More surface area means more traction in all conditions. Increased traction is especially evident when riding in off-camber (sidehill) conditions.
Not surprisingly low tire pressure makes for an extremely comfortable ride over rough terrain.
ELECTRIC ASSIST & FAT TIRES
The tradeoff for the comfort, stability and traction of fat tires is reduced efficiency. Anyone who has ridden a bike with soft tires knows it is hard work. Try adding cargo. Try adding cargo and hills! Suddenly those sweet fat tires seem like a LOT of work. Making up for the inefficiencies of fat tires is one of the main reasons all our fat bikes are sold with electric assist.
… and it doesn’t hurt that e-bikes are ridiculously fun to ride!