Like almost everything related to mountain biking, fatbikes or ‘fattys’ come from the United States. Specifically, these bikes with very fat wheels were designed to roll on snow, in the northern parts of North America. In fact, in places like Alaska there is a certain notorious race with this type of bike. Due to the type of tire, with a very large volume, this type of bike is ideal both for rolling on snow and on sand or dunes … That is, in principle they were conceived to facilitate riding on soft surfaces.
Well, fatbikes are a very different type of bike than a conventional mountain bike. Among other features, very large fork and rear wheel arches are required, so you will not be able to use fatbike wheels on a conventional bike frame. To this you can put tires as wide as they accept the wheel arch (that is, the width of the fork or the frame at the rear). But it will never be a fatbike. Take into account that, for example, the rims of a fatbike wheel are much wider than conventional wheels.
What we did not imagine is that after a few years, these bikes were going to become fashionable and were going to arrive in Europe, in our country, as one more option of the wide range of possibilities of the mtb. Right now we have 26, 27.5 and 29-inch wheels, to which we must add the fatbikes and their huge 3.5-4.5-inch tires. As we say, some of the most important mountain biking brands have launched to present their own fatbike model, for example Himiway with its Himiway fat tires bike
For those who are familiar with the subject, we will say that a fatbike is a robust frame bike and whose main characteristic is that it allows a much wider wheel arch than usual. In this way, we can fit much wider wheels and tires: up to 4.5 or 5 “, when the widest on other types of bikes is 2.5”. Wheels, therefore, are the essential element of fattys, 26 “rim wheels, but whose large ball makes their actual pedaling circumference very close to that of a 29”. This large ball allows these tires to be carried at very low pressures, which has a double effect: it allows great grip and cushions bumps. For example, an electric fat tire bike is a completely rigid bike, even on the fork, because the tires it has act as the suspension.
Fatbikes are considerably heavier bikes than other more conventional models. Only the wheels can weigh about 3kg each. Therefore, speed is not the main attraction that fattys offer us. The strong point of this type of bike is, rather, that they offer a type of fun very similar to that of a double suspension, even with long travel, but on a rigid frame and without dampers. Let’s say that in exchange for a little more weight and that it costs a little more to pedal on it (fattys “drag” a lot when pedaling) we have a very versatile bike, at an affordable cost and even more affordable maintenance. Of course, if we opted for a bike with these characteristics, speed would no longer be a priority in bike rides.