The rebirth of bicycles as a primary means of commuting is mostly thanks to the addition of electric bike components, which was inevitably going to inspire more innovation. Not surprisingly, most of these innovations are geared towards more specialized applications of bicycles and their ebike offspring. Everything from compact folding bikes for inner city use to electric cargo bikes have become realistic alternatives to their automobile counterparts.
Dirt roads, deep mud, sand, rocky trails, and beaches have been dominated primarily by All-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. Electric Bicycles have been limited by their thin tires that end up digging into soft or loose surfaces, which leads to them getting bogged down.
But, things have changed, and thanks to new wider tires with a larger contact area, fat ebikes are offering a whole new way to explore the same paths.
Why Fat Tires?
Well, at first glance, it’s for looking cool. No doubt, the oversized tires will catch the eye as passersby do double takes to see what they’ve just seen was real. There is, in fact, much more to fat bikes than their ubiquitous appearance, though, and it all starts with their all-weather flexibility.
If you live in an area that has four distinct seasons, then inevitably there will be the weather that makes your two-wheeled sidekick seem a less appealing mode of transportation, especially in the snow. The 3.8 inch and larger fat bike tires change all that.
Suddenly winter snow goes from deterrent to incentive when it comes to going out for a ride. Then there’s hitting bumpy dirt roads or rocky trails in the great outdoors. The wide wheels on pressures as low as 10 to 15 psi glide over the much of the difficult terrain so you can explore farther. Fat tires also provide cushion and shock damping, which provides an overall smoother ride.
The Drawback of Fat Tires
There are several drawbacks to fat bike tires. For starters, electric fat bikes are not safe for mountain biking, primarily because they are harder to handle. Braking isn’t as precise, and performance isn’t as good as you would get with regular mountain bike tires.
In addition, they also drag to the left and right, especially on pavement. Because of the thickness of the tire, it is noisier on roads and can be easily punctured which can cause some frustrating delays.
As a rider, you might think just the tires are bigger in electric fat bikes but that’s actually not the case. Fat tires also make the frame, rim and axles bigger and heavier, which isn’t ideal for everyone, especially if you have to lug the ebike upstairs to work or an apartment floor.
If you’re looking to do more on your ebike, a fat ebike can open up the possibilities, depending on what you’re looking for. It can cruise through the weekdays in comfort, and then crush whatever trail-riding challenge is thrown at you on the weekends. Question is: what do you want to be doing on the weekends?