Best Fat Bike Tires: Get the Right Rubber for Your Ride
Smooth out your riding experience with these top-rated fat bike tires
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED 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
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
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
- 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!