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Fat Bike Riders

I have a couple newbie questions for all you fat bike riders. I’ve been looking at them a little bit and was wondering about tire width. I very much want to stay in the budget entry level category. Two of the budget bikes I have found in the $600-$800 range use 4″ tires and one I found in the $1000 range uses 4.8″ tires. So question is what width is everyone running? From what I read 4″ should be suitable for me but I would never be able to go bigger. Would I need to go bigger? My style of riding would probably be around town, commuting to work in all 4 seasons (only a few blocks to my work) and some weekend warrior trips to local trails. No black diamond stuff and I don’t see myself riding on sand or fluffy snow and I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little bit of a fair weather rider. I like the idea of saving $200-$300 on the 4″ bike over the 4.8″ bike but in the long run I guess I will spend the extra $300 if I will be much happier with fatter tires. Let me know thoughts, opinions, advice. Thanks all you cool cats and kittens!

5 Replies

T. Gap Woo, April 27, 2020 at 11:00 am

[quote quote=1318554]I have a couple newbie questions for all you fat bike riders.[/quote]

I will leave the technical aspects of this issue to those experts who are experienced in the matter.

As a retired teacher who worked with superb teams of English Language Arts teachers over my career, I have one question for you. When you refer to fat bike riders, do you mean “fat bike” riders or fat “bike riders”? ? (rim shot).

I know I promised on a different thread to stop with the jokes, but I couldn’t resist this opportunity.

Seriously, regardless of the recommendations you’ll get, go with whatever you are most comfortable with and is within your price range.

See you along the I-O-Way in 2021.


Groeny82, April 27, 2020 at 11:28 am

Haha, I should say riders of all sizes that ride bikes of the fat tire variety.


KenH, April 27, 2020 at 12:49 pm

I, regrettably, am becoming a fat bike rider in the one sense but not the other. My bike can run tires up to, perhaps, 2.5 inches, maybe 3 depending on the tread and casing profile. So, I can’t help you from direct experience. However, to me it seems like your riding goals will be well served by 4 or 4.8. I think the main benefits of the wider tire come when you ride on the surfaces you say you don’t want to ride on and that even then 4 is pretty good. Wider tires are a big help in dealing with imperfect paved road surfaces and that is why I run tires wider than most people here would run. A 4 inch tire would be even better but the bikes that will take them and that have all the other features that I wanted the last time I bought a new bike cost more than I was willing to pay so I “settled” for 2+.

I guess I would suggest that you look at the tires that are available in those two widths. Do both offer tire types that you like? How do the prices compare? If you don’t have anything that is driving you to one or the other and if no one else can give you one then factors like that might make a good way to decide between them.

Luckily I now have an extra 12 months to work on that fat rider thing! It is good to see the silver linings in unwelcome decisions.


B C, April 27, 2020 at 5:05 pm

The 4 inch tire will suit you well. I moved back to Iowa in 2018 after 18 years in Southern California. I bought a Felt fat bike with 4 inch tires to ride in the winter. It cost 1000 dollars. I took it out for a few test rides in June and haven’t stopped riding it since. I absolutely love that bike. It is always my first choice. The 4 inch tires are great in snow with 4-10 psi, great on the paved road with up to 20 psi, and really fun on single track. I have even considered it for Ragbrai, but haven’t tried it yet. At least in my opinion it is a great bike to have as an option. Enjoy.


tjdale57, May 8, 2020 at 7:25 pm

Have you considered 29 plus? Love my Surly Ogre 29×2.5.


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