It’s always fat bike season at ERIK’S. People ride them in every condition possible: snow, dirt, pavement, beaches. You name it, a fat bike can do it. Of course, what they’re designed for, and where they’ll out-perform any other bike, is snow.
Looking to get into winter riding? Here’s what you need to know about fat biking.
All the Bikes!
The one thing every fat bike has in common is wide tires. The width allows for lower air pressure and more traction, as well as more float. Float is the ability for a bike to stay above snow, mud, and the like. A true fat bike will have tires from 4-5 inches in width. Less than that, and you sacrifice float and traction for precision and rolling efficiency. More than that and you’re looking at a motorcycle.
Why So Many Bikes?
What differentiates one fat bike from another, and what explains the range of prices, is pretty simple. As you go up in price you’ll find the bikes get lighter, more efficient, and have higher-end parts. Frames will move from steel, to aluminum, to carbon. This means frames will be both lighter and provide more pedaling efficiency. Wheels and tires will also be lighter as you move up in price, which greatly increases pedaling efficiency and handling. The end result is that high-end fat bikes are engineered to overcome the inherent inefficiencies of fat bikes, and they do it quite well. Click here to check out ERIK’S huge selection of fat bikes for every budget.
The Importance of Pressure
After you settle on a model, the nuances of fat-biking are found in experimenting with the air pressure in the tires. Road bike tires can run as high as 120+ PSI, whereas fat bike can go as low as 4 PSI. Because the tires have so much air volume, a shift in as little as 1 psi will affect the ride. Slick, icy conditions? Take some air out to increase traction. Perfect day and riding on pavement? Max out the tires to reduce drag. Perfect air pressure is determined not only by the ride conditions, but also your weight and your own preferences. Going tubeless will allow you run even lower tire pressures while decreasing rolling resistance.