LAST UPDATED: January 9, 2021
Best Fat Bike Tires: Get the Right Rubber for Your Ride
Smooth out your riding experience with these top-rated fat bike tires
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PUBLISHED ON January 9, 2021
Bikes are a great mode of both exercise and transportation, and they’re fun to ride. But if you’re someone who uses their bike beyond a weekend ride here and there, you might need tires that are more heavy-duty than normal. Fat bike tires are the perfect solution. These unique ties act as shock absorbers, which makes riding any bike more comfortable. And they’re especially beneficial for anyone who’s taking a bike off paved roads and onto tough or rough trails. Fat bike tires allow for easy maneuverability, reduced vibrations, and almost effortless rides on surfaces of all different kinds.
Because these tires are larger and thicker than regular bike tires, they’re able to provide increased balance and more control, making them ideal choices for riders who are new to long rides like racing, trail riding, and marathons. But most importantly of all, fat bike tires offer versatility that basic bike tires cannot. With fat tires on your bike, you’ll be able to ride on everything from snow to sand to gravel to dirt. Check out the best fat bike tires below.
Featuring multiple layers of reliable textiles, this tire is lightweight yet extremely durable. It resists punctures and optimizes biking speed.
- Tires have a prominent sidewall
- Limited risk of punctures
- Meant for use during all seasons
- Sidewall of tires can suffer bead damage
- Can result in problems with inner bike tube structure
Strong and durable, these tires feature prominent tread at the center to optimize traction. Working on multiple terrains, these tires minimize resistance.
- Made of eco-friendly materials
- Extra textile layer to add puncture resistance
- Comes at an affordable price point
- Tread can wear down quickly when used on pavement
- Limited resistance makes shifting ground challenging
Ideal for time spent racing, these tires are geared towards mountain bikers. Meant to optimize durability, the rubber structure works in all weather conditions.
- Makes it easier to ride at high speeds
- Tires are lightweight and retain pressure well
- Tubeless tire design for versatility
- Not as good at urban riding. Will lose traction over time
- Rubber material can be vulnerable to puncture damage
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Benefits of Fat Bike Tires
- Comfort through the added surface area. Fat bike tires are wider than other varieties, meaning there is more area over which any force gets spread. While you sit and pedal, the tire takes on the surrounding vibrations and distributes that pressure evenly. When the force is spread across a bigger area, you feel it less.
- Shock absorption by buffering against bumps. You can get fat bike tires for both trail riding and road racing. Each of these situations is vulnerable to small hills, stray roots, and plain old bumps in the road. Fat bike tires prevent you from feeling these disturbances. They absorb the shock so that you don’t have to.
- Durability and high performance. High-quality fat bike tires are built to last over the long term. They are made out of a thick rubber material that incorporates both tread and grooves. When used on the proper surfaces, these tires are extremely durable and long-lasting (particularly when reinforced with a sidewall).
- Work on multiple terrains. You can get fat bike tires that work on all types of surfaces. The nature of fat bike tires is that they are wider than other bikes and heavier duty. This means that you can get this sort of tire for anything from mountain biking to road biking. Most are crafted to transition between the different types of terrain.
- Size and speed. Fat bike tires are, by their very nature, bigger than other models. When this is balanced by well-placed grooves and tread, as well as a lightweight design, you can get the best of both size and speed. While it might not be as fast as an electric bike, the bigger surface area can improve your traction and enable you to ride at a faster pace.
Types of Fat Bike Tires
Also called a clincher tire, this is one of the more common types of fat bike tires. It consists of two pieces. The first is the tire tube, which is the inner component that holds onto most of the air. The external tire consists of heavy-duty rubber and the tread. The bead is the part of the tire itself that holds onto the wheel rim.
A less common type of tire is the tubular design, though you can still find quite a few of these as fat bike tires. The difference is that a tubular tire consists of a single part that has to be attached directly to the rim. These tires are good at buffering against vibrations, though are more vulnerable to damage. They are also more likely to require frequent reinflation and pressure checks.
After commencing operations in 1871 as a rubber company, the brand went on to become the first-ever manufacturer of vehicle tires that incorporated a groove. The business focuses strictly on tires, ranging from cars to trucks to bikes. One of its most popular selections is the Continental Grand Prix 5000 Tires.
Opening its doors in 1967, this Taiwan-based bicycle tire supply company has become a top manufacturer of tires for bikes across the globe. It has a wide range of offerings, including tires of various treads and sizes. A leading selection is the Maxxis Hookworm Urban Bike Tire.
A leading supplier of all types of tires, the Schwinn Bicycle Company was founded in Chicago in 1895. Since that time, it has grown into one of the most well-known suppliers of bike gear on the international market. One of its top offerings is the Schwinn Cruiser Bike Tire.
Fat Bike Tire Pricing
- Under $50: Many tubular tires fall within this price range. Usually coming as either a single or a double, the tires are typically good for at least a season.
- Between $50 and $100: The most common price range, you can find tubular and clincher tires in this range. The higher end of the spectrum often includes a full set of tires.
- $100 and up: High-end clincher tires fall in this range. Generally, when you purchase tires priced at over $100, you can expect a complete set.
Perhaps the most important part of any tire, the tread on a fat bike setup needs to be spread out evenly. The distribution of this part is what dictates the speed at which you can travel. It also determines the level of grip you will have over your path. Tires with less tread are meant for riding on pavement and asphalt since the road would wear down the tread. Conversely, mountain bikes need a distinct tread to get the necessary grip.
In all cases, tires are made out of rubber. The type of rubber, whether it’s synthetic or natural, and supplemental materials vary. The thicker the rubber, the heavier the tire will be. However, it will also add a lot of strength to the tire itself. Beading is another part that deserves consideration. Often, it is made out of Kevlar, a sturdy material that will fortify the tire’s hold on the rim.
The valve is the part of the tire where you inflate it. Essential to keep the tire at the proper pressure level, the valve should be subtle yet easy to access. There are different types of valves, including the Schrader to the Presta. While there are small differences between each, they will both work with standard inflation and pressure-checking tool.
The sidewall of a tire is the part that reinforces the entire structure. It consists of string-type lines of rubber, called cords. This component also often highlights the specifications of the tire itself. Measured as a ratio against the width of the tire, the sidewall ratio is usually a bit lower on fat bike tires. Nonetheless, it provides a helpful level of reinforcement against damage to the tire.
- Size. Whenever you are getting a tire, an important thing to consider is whether or not it will fit your bike’s rims. Fat bike tires have particular sizing needs. As a result, they fit on fewer bikes. Be sure to consult the specs on both your bike and the tires. If a tire isn’t compatible with the rims, it won’t be a viable solution.
- Terrain. Next, think about the type of surface on which you ride your bike. Are you more frequently riding on pavement or mountainous trails? Depending on your answer, you will need a tire with a different tread. Hilly, bumpy treks need extra traction whereas commuter bikes need less.
- Type. Think about the type of tire you want. There are options for both tubular and clincher, though beaded tires tend to be more popular. While they still need an inner tube, the tire is less susceptible to damage and requires less upkeep. However, if you don’t want to get both a tube and a tire, you may want the simplicity of the tubular type.
- Maintenance. Consider the type of upkeep the tire will demand. This ranges to the repair demand you can expect. Is there added puncture resistance? If not, you may need to look into patch kits. Think about the level of pressure the tire holds and how often you will need to check it. Additionally, consider that mountain bike tires tend to be a bit more tedious to clean.
- Durability. Finally, you’ll want to think about the durability of the tread itself. Assume that you will always use it on the proper type of surface. How long is it expected to last? While heavy tread tends to have the most upfront benefits, moderate tread generally lasts longer (since there is less to wear down). While they won’t last as long as motorcycle tires, you can still expect a lot of use out of a good set of fat bike tires.
Best Fat Bike Tires Reviews & Recommendations 2021
There are no better fat bike tires than those that can stand up to any road and any obstacle, and that’s exactly why the Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Road Bike Tire is the best of the best. Made by hand in Germany in 23 millimeters, 25 millimeters, and 28-millimeter versions, these fat bike tires weave together advanced tire technology with decades of tradition and quality. This Continental tire includes Vectran puncture protection, which means each is made with reinforcing and matrix fibers to increase strength and prevent damage. That makes these fat bike tires as strong as steel — but they’re still lightweight, resistant to abrasion, and well protected. This tire can tackle any kind of weather or road conditions you encounter, and it’ll deliver excellent adhesion even on slick roads and in cold temperatures.
It’s worth noting that, despite the overall strength of these tires, the sidewall can be warped if put under too much pressure. This can result in issues with the inner tube on your bike wheels.
An excellent all-around fat bike tire that offers great stability and great value, the Continental Ride Tour Replacement Bike Tire is an excellent choice for riders’ needs. This tire choice features continuous center tread, which helps ensure it rolls evenly and provides ample traction around corners. Each tire is made with a durable casing, extra puncture protection, and long-lasting tread that won’t wear out quickly. Built for trekking around town or tackling a daily commute, this fat bike tire is superb for its price. It’s durable, reliable, and able to deliver great traction even on wet, muddy, or dirt roads. You can choose from five different rim diameters, and no matter the size you’ll discover that this fat tire can absorb the shock of bumps, gravel, and even sticks on every ride.
Bear in mind that, even though the tires are affordable and great on rougher roads, the tread makes them less useful when riding on pavement. Stick to mountain biking for best results and to limit wear and tear.
Though the Maxxis Ardent tire is a race-winning bike tire, this tire can handle any terrain and any kind of ride. While all fat tires are designed for versatility, this is one tire that both professionals and amateur riders love for durability and capability. Built with dual-compound rubber using 60Tpi construction, the Maxxis Ardent tire features the ultimate sidewall technology within a lightweight tire. It’s the best choice for those who traverse mixed terrain on a bike, as this fat bike tire can withstand rocky terrain, varied road conditions, and changes that you might encounter along each ride. They’re easy to install on your bike, and they’re built to prevent rips even in the thorniest, craggiest conditions. And even after thousands of miles and many, many bike rides, this tire can keep riding and rolling.
Despite the versatility of these tires, they are not the best suited to urban riding due to the distinct tread. To prevent early wear and tear, it’s better to stick to more forgiving trails.
The Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS Wire Tire is the top choice for anyone who relies on a bike for their daily commute. Made with Marathon Silica compound, Kevlar-MB-belt, and long-lasting Reflex sidewalls, this bike tire is built to prevent rips, tears, and punctures. The tires roll smoothly and effortlessly during rides, and they’re able to handle thousands of miles and many years on all different kinds of terrain. The Schwalbe Marathon Plus can stand up against a commute and off-road trail riding. It’s a tire that’s reliable and durable, and you won’t need to worry about hitting bumps along the way. Additionally, this fat bike tire features light-reflecting sidewalls that increase visibility on the road — and that can make a huge difference for your safety if you’re riding in the dark.
It’s worth a mention that these tires aren’t as effective when used off-road. Due to the nature of the tread, it’s best if you stick to asphalt and pavement.
From commuting to marathon riding to trail paths, the Continental ShieldWall Mountain Bike Tire is an excellent all-terrain choice. Built for competition and marathons, this fat bike tire is designed to specifically handle long rides. It offers low rolling resistance, is good at self-damping, and won’t weigh you or your bike down. Featuring three layers of high-quality tubeless-ready casing, it’s also a tire that won’t puncture easily. The tread on this fat bike tire provides you with an outstanding, effective grip on any surface, and you’ll get many miles out of it over its lifetime. And while this tire can handle commuting and street riding, it’s a standout on enduro and “all-mountain” bikes. You’ll have traction on even the most difficult trails, and each ride will still be flexible and maneuverable.
Keep in mind that, because of the traction being designed for use on both trails and roads, these tires can wear down prematurely.
When you’re looking for a tire that can tackle any kind of weather and road, the Mongoose Fat Bike Tire is a worthy selection. In appearance alone, it stands out thanks to the distinct texturing and the well-spaced tread. The material consists of a tough and thick rubber that is meant to extend the lifespan of the tire. Across the surface of the flat tire is a tough tread that is crafted to optimize traction on any kind of road. The angle of the tread at each side is there to assist when turning or riding up a steep hill. It is balanced by the grooves at the center of the tire which prevents you from taking on pebbles and doesn’t add to drag. Easily letting you maneuver changes in terrain, these durable tires are well worth an honorable mention.
The tire is designed exclusively for use with fat bikes, meaning it won’t work on any other models. As a result, check the compatibility beforehand to prevent damage.
If you want to be able to ride at a quick pace without too many vibrations, the Maxxis Hookworm Urban Bike Tire is an excellent choice. It touts a unique appearance that focuses on retaining its structure despite ongoing friction with the pavement. Instead of featuring textured treads that protrude throughout the tire, it incorporates grooves. These enable the tire to move more smoothly and entirely limit resistance. Since there is nothing adding friction between you and the ground, you can move at a quicker pace. Plus, the grooving structure lets moisture flow right out of the tire. Rated for 65 pounds per square inch, these sidewall-protected tires are crafted to last. Protected against damage through the clever construct, these tires are a good way to go.
Bear in mind that, while the tire is terrific at pavement travel, it isn’t a good choice for riding on trails or hilly terrain. Stick with racing on the asphalt to prevent issues with punctures and wear.
The Schwinn Replacement Bike Tire is a fantastic choice for those looking to swap out their current set. You can get these reliable tires in a wide range of sizes and styles, each offering different benefits. The versatility means that you can find a fitting tire to attach to pretty much any bicycle. Each is crafted using a high-grade rubber material and features a distinct tread. The majority incorporate a bead structure that assists the tires in holding their position on the wheel. The shallow design of the tires makes it so that you won’t puncture the tire easily, nor will you take on pebbles while you ride. Designed for hybrid function, these tires are excellent at switching terrains. They provide a smooth riding experience on all types of surfaces.
It should be noted that, while the tires are thick and resistant to puncture, they lack a distinct sidewall for protection. As a result, you should check the pressure more frequently.
For those looking to work with their tubular tire design, the VeloTubes Fat Bike Tire Tube is an excellent choice. The tube itself enables you to use whatever type of tire you choose and fortify its abilities. This particular set comes between 3.5 and 4.5 inches, making it one of the larger options on the market. It fills quickly, thanks to the Presta valve design. Since you can remove the core of the structure, it is easier to maintain than a lot of other tubes. Worried about it causing drag by adding weight to your ride? Each of these tubes adds only half a kilogram, so you can move smoothly and unencumbered. When these user-friendly tubes are in place, they offer a lot of extra vibration-resistance, regardless of the surface on which you’re riding.
Keep in mind that, while the tubes are ideal for fat bike tires, you need to use them in conjunction with a separate fat bike tire. Be sure that the tube fits with the tire you are choosing.
When it comes to gaining purchase over slippery surfaces, the Maxxis High Roller Dual Compound Folding Tire is an excellent way to go. It is constructed using high-grade rubber material that is built to withstand a whole lot of wear and tear. The tire itself is of the folding variety, incorporating a bead to increase its tensile strength. As a result of the design, the tire is easy to install on your bike. Once in place, it buffers you against the vibrations of riding, as well as the bumps in the road. The tire stands out in that it is designed to achieve high speeds on trails. Unlike other racing tires which focus on road riding, these tires are meant for mountain biking. The tread is durable and the tire itself is very long-lasting.
While the tires are great when off-roading, they leave something to be desired on the road. You can use them for commutes, though the tire may not achieve as high of a speed.
- Check the pressure of your tires before every bike ride.
- Keep a pressure gauge and a bike tire inflator on hand.
- Store the tires away from debris to prevent the risk of damage.
- Stick to the proper types of terrain when riding your bike.
- Clean the tires before your next ride to avoid the risk of punctures.
- Keep repair equipment with you when you go on rides, just in case.
- Replace both tires at the same time to ensure optimal balance.
Q. What is the best fat tire bike for the money?
When it comes to value, it’s a balance of durability, effectiveness, and price. The best fat bike tire will work well and last for a long time. A good option is the Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Road Bike Tire.
Q. Can I put fat tires on any bike?
Fat tires are meant for use exclusively on a fat bike. Regular bikes are not equipped to support fat tires, though tires for standard rides come in various widths. This enables you to enhance a standard bike, like a mountain bike or a ride meant for commuting. Fat bike tires are a very specific piece of equipment that needs a suitable frame to function properly.
Q. How long do fat bike tires last?
Ultimately, it depends on how you maintain the bike and your riding style. In most cases, you can get about 3,000 miles of riding. If you are riding on rougher terrain or racing with the bike, you can expect more wear and tear. Ensure proper maintenance to get the most out of the tires.
Q. How much do fat tire bikes cost?
You can find fat bike tires at a wide range of prices. Higher-end and heavier models tend to run close to $1,000. However, there are options for this sort of bike that are more affordable and fall in the three-figure range. The good news is that, in most cases, this type of bike is incredibly durable.
Now that you’re familiar with the world of fat bike tires, you can make your pick. It could be the Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Road Bike Tire or the value of the Continental Ride Tour Replacement Bike Tire. There’s a set for every situation.
Do you have some fat tire experience? Share your story in the comments below. Happy riding!