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What’s So Special about Fat Bikes?

fat tire biking

Perhaps we all have heard or have seen these strange and at some point ridiculous bikes with unusually wide tires. Those are called fat bikes. We know them and we can easily identify them when we see one. But have you ever wondered why someone would like to ride a bike with such wide and unusual wheels?

There’s a strong point why you might want to have a bike like that for yourself. The first thing you think about when you see a fat bike on the street is its permeability and reliability. True, the first fat bike was designed by Mark Gronewald, an Alaskan who wanted to create an off-road bike that will be able to cope with high and dense snowdrifts.

Mark had just combined a regular mountain bike frame with extremely wide rims and tires. The produced bike was named a fat bike due to the most remarkable part of it – the wheels. A fat bike can really serve its purpose – wide tires can go through any terrain from deep snow to sand and tall grass. In simple words, a fat bike can go anywhere a regular bike can’t.

Since that, fat bikes started to gain wide popularity. Only a decade ago there were only a few people who knew about fat bikes and their very existence. But now you can see them everywhere, even where they are not needed. The endemic trend for fat bikes could be witnessed even in big cities.

You can see an amateur or a pro riding a fat bike through the city lanes or cycling along a country road. You can see a fat bike in almost every bicycle store. The first recorded mention of a fat bike is dated to 1932 when a representative of the Currys Company had seen a bike which was very similar to a modern fat bike and had published its photograph in the advertisement. And now they have become a common sight.

A fat bike is the most universal one

Fat bikes have been used for a long time by the Alaskans because the local climate makes the usage of regular bikes impossible for most of the year. Snow, icing, extremely high humidity, and nasty weather call for something unusual and very steady.

Spring slush and winter snowdrifts are nothing for a fat bike and such permeability is the main feature of this unusual bike. The mass production of fat bikes was launched in 2006 by the Surly Company. First models weren’t very handy because these bikes had lacked many features and technological nuances such as gear and brake systems. In fact, customers received only a frame with saddle and bars and tires with rims. All other parts they needed to assemble on their own. Despite that, fat bikes had gained wide popularity among avid and novice cyclists.

There are some terrains which couldn’t be crossed on a regular bike so here’s where a fat bike can show its advantages. The creation of such a bike had allowed the creation of a whole new riding style through highly rough terrains such as moving fields, snowdrifts, and muddy areas such as swamps.

Fat bike construction

big tire bicycle

Fat bike construction can confuse an untutored spectator although its assembly and technological characteristics can interest and intrigue anyone who knows something about the bikes. Some may think that its creator had a too rich and original fantasy. But anyway, fat bike characteristics condone its unusual appearance.

Every reasonable cyclist will want to ride such a vehicle just for once. The minimalist composition, extremely useful technological parts, and full permeability couldn’t leave anyone indifferent.

So what is so special about fat bikes?

wide tires bicycle

Of course their wheels. Their appearance could raise questions and even concerns but after the first ride, any cyclist will agree that this bike is perfect in the terms of off-road biking.

Extremely wide tires are characterized by a low pressure that provides full amortization and roughness absorbance. All roads would feel like a smooth and plain ground. A big contact surface provides a good roll forward and strong clutch. A fat bike can cope with sand, ice, mud, water, and even deep snow.

Fat bike’s wheels cannot fall through the sand or on the loose surface. A wide tire’s surface will let you easily roll forward. Ascents, ups, and down will be much easier to be coped with due to the tire’s clutching with the surface.

The fat bike doesn’t have any suspension, dampers, and many other sophisticated parts that are common for other bicycles. Hubs and cassettes cannot be broken as well as other parts are designed to cope with enormous loads and stress conditions such as humidity, dryness, and frost. A fat bike is very easy to be serviced due to the simplicity of its construction.

why fat bike

Fat bikes could run all year long. It is not afraid of frost, snow, desert heat, and other extreme external conditions. The simplicity of the fat bike’s construction allows you to throw away all your fears that something could break or fail.

When someone sees a fat bike he asks himself – why fat bike? Isn’t it better to ride regular bikes? But now you can see how many benefits it has in the terms of off-road and extreme cycling. A fat bike is designed for off-road riding and you can enjoy such cycling with ease. Riding a fat bike on the road might be not as pleasant as rolling forward on a road bike but when it comes to off-road and cross-country cycling, not a single bike can overcome a fat bike and its fat tires.

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