Fat Bike Vs Road Bike: A Two-Wheeler Comparison

Nowadays, riding bikes has become much more popular on the roadside or even while climbing hills. But we become perplexed when choosing the right bike for us. As a result, “fat bike vs road bike” becomes the contradictory part since we found both types of bikes in the professional cyclists’ picks.

Generally, a fat bike is an off-road bicycle with extended wide tires. Since the tires are wider and thicker, they offer less speed but have more traction. But road bikes with narrow tires are great for extra speed. On the other hand, road bikes cannot handle tough terrain during rainy and cold weather, whereas fat bikes are ideal on the roadside or on trails.

Today’s article is a proper guideline and a comparison round between road bikes and fat bikes. After completing this article, you’ll be able to choose the better-performing two-wheeler bicycle.

Fat Bike Vs Road Bike: Advantages and Disadvantages

In general, your riding preferences and needs will determine the bike’s usability. But how would riding a fat-tired bike or a narrow-tired bike over soft rock roads compare in terms of the ride as well as effort? Do we know what exactly fat bikes and road bikes are constructed for? Let us guide you to knowing the difference and capacity of both bicycles.

What Do We Consider A Fat Bike?

Many people lack knowledge regarding fat bikes when they are just starting out cycling. Basically, the fat bike often referred to as the wide-tire snow bike, is an off-roadside bicycle constructed to perform on low ground stress to let the rider ride on soft, challenging terrain such as snow, mud, sand, and bogs. The general tire size we will find is 3.8″ (97 mm) or even more. Plus, the rims will be 2.16″.

What Do We Consider A Road Bike?

For riding on a paved surface rather than rough terrain, road bikes are an accurate pick. We often seek extra speed on empty roads to ride like horses, and you can achieve a good pace by paddling your road bike. So, road bikes will be the obvious choice for city residents due to their streamlined design and improved aerodynamics. Plus, road bikes can run under great pressure, typically around 100 PSI.

Are Fat Bikes Good On The Road?

Yes, it’s theoretically true that you can enjoy your ride on both roads and trails with the fat bike, and you’ll also get extra traction. Yet cycling on mud or snow doesn’t offer the same performance advantages.

But you need a fat bike if you prefer to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, or you may travel by bicycle. Also, it would be much preferable to ride a skinny tire bicycle to navigate through the mud or on any tough terrain.

Are Fat Bikes Good For Long Distance?

are fat bikes good for long distance

Undoubtedly, you’ll be able to ride the fat bike for a long time with extra comfort on any surface. Those who want to exercise or go on lengthy trips can also choose the fat bikes. Even you can burn up to a thousand calories each hour.

People often ask, “Are fat-tire bikes good on the pavement?” Basically, fat-tire bikes are suitable for all types of terrain and particularly for paved areas. The biggest selling point comes from this feature. Even so, the bike will be excellent for touring because of its MTB-style extra-wide tires.

Are Road Bikes Good For Long Distance?

Road bikes are ideal for traveling long distances, and an 80-kilometer daily commute on a decent hybrid is manageable. Most road bikes can’t handle big loads, and they’re not appropriate for touring. Additionally, off-road grounds make it difficult for cyclists who have road bikes with narrow tires.

See Also: Convert road bike to hybrid

How Far Can You Ride on a Fat Bike?

Let’s say you ride an MTB or a gravel-specialized fat bike. To be a little bit safer on the pavement, you’ve even installed road tires. But how far can it go without compromising safety?

If you are intending to go cycling in any challenging snow terrain or among jammed sand, such bikes can perform admirably for 1,000 kilometers. But, going on too long a tour is not advisable.

How Far Can You Ride On A Road Bike?

Distances longer than 20 miles with a road bike will make you feel uncomfortable. But a road bike cyclist can often cover 55 to 60 kilometers per day. In order to understand the distance capability, you should count 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) as the total distance a road bike can go.

Is It Harder To Pedal A Fat Tire Bike? 5 Common Facts

No, pedaling a big-tire bike is not challenging. Instead, they are simpler to pedal across any type of road surface, such as snow, sand, mud, rocks, hills, and anywhere else. But in case of tire contact and friction with your ground, fat tire bikes become a little bit tougher to pedal when moving. For the cyclist, we have some facts based on pedaling with a fat bike.

  1. Whether it’s the sand, beach, or any snowy ground, big-tired fat bikes can handle any type of terrain.
  2. During the summertime or in the winter, fat bikes will be beneficial for traveling on roads.
  3. Overweight people can find it challenging to pedal.
  4. Sometimes fat tire bike seems awkward while pedaling.
  5. Also, a fat bike is much easier to ride since it’s large and has weight-distributing wheels.

Is A Road Bike Hard To Ride?

No, riding a road bike will give you speed and a simple cycling experience on paved surfaces. Indeed, it’s possible that the handling of the bicycle is a little bit different than all the conventional bikes out there.

A road bike will be shaky and unstable when riding compared to a mountain or fat bike. Therefore, you’ll need to have controlling ability. Also, they are quicker than elliptical trainers on wheels, skates, reclining bicycles, scooters, or even red wagons.

Advantages of Fat Bikes

Fat bikes have different levels of beneficial facts. Whether it’s a question of distance, comfort, or perhaps some other benefits that can be given by fat bikes. However, let’s explore all the positive facts about fat-tire bikes.

  • When matched with low tire pressure, the wide tires give you more traction and grip.
  • Compared to normal bicycles, traveling in any type of terrain like snow or sand with a fat tire is much more agreeable.
  • For accurate off-road riding and roaming, fat bikes are best!
  • Such a bike is much more flexible and simpler to handle since it has big, fat tires, which can help you ride on the surface rather than in the air.
  • For better versatility, make sure you pick the fat-tire bike.
  • Fat bikes are amazing for exercise and even better for building muscle.
  • Since the bikes are made of strong frames, they will be much more durable and can sustain heavy use.

Disadvantages of Fat Bike

It’s not necessary to be perfect from every angle! So, there should be some flaws, negative points, or disadvantages to the fat bike. However, let’s see what the points are that we should be careful of when we have a fat tire bike.

  • For a decent fat bike, you’ll have to invest a good amount of money, which means fat bikes are expensive.
  • Such bikes move a little bit slower.
  • If any of the bike parts get damaged, replacement becomes troublesome as fat tire bike parts are not always available.
  • Extra weight due to wide tires is a nuisance!
  • Frequently, it’s more difficult to steer a bike with fat tires on any technical ground.
  • Almost all the power comes from muscles.
  • There is a possibility of knee or hip injuries.

See Also: Can you put fat tires on any bike

Advantages of Road Bike

benefits of a road bike

It’s not like fat bikes are always better. On the other hand, we have road bikes, which are convenient for other purposes. So, let’s see when we should pick the road bike and how the bike received positive feedback from the cyclist.

  • Road bikes are available at an affordable price.
  • For outstanding speed, road bikes are amazing!
  • You’ll notice ergonomic design goes into the road bike.
  • Road bikes are lightweight, have different hand positions, and are aerodynamic.
  • Climbing hills become simple with road bikes or mountain bikes, and you can even quickly twist through tight or crowded corners when riding on a busy street.
  • You will also get cardio benefits from using the bike.
  • Use your road bike for the commute when you have a lengthy cycling plan. Even on the weekend, you can ride 50 miles on this type of bike.

Disadvantages Of Road Bike

The road bike is good for speed, but in comparison with the fat bike, you’ll find some problems with a road bike. Let’s see what are the cons of road bikes or the type of bikes that we consider mountain bikes.

  • The road bike is unsuitable for navigating rough terrain or any obstacles like roots, rocks, and more.
  • The strength of a lighter frame is lower than that of an off-road or traveling frame.
  • On uneven terrain, lightweight wheels cause serious damage.
  • Simple maneuvers like accelerating or braking will be challenging since they provide less traction.
  • Riding in traffic is quite risky and might be impacted by the drop bar’s existence.
  • The beginner will have difficulty riding the narrow-tired roadside bike.
  • Even road bikes are quite expensive, and their parts are not always available.

Fat Bike Versus Road Bike: Tire Size Comparison

Whenever you compare the tire diameters of a fat bike and a road bike, you’ll see that the tires on the fat bikes have a larger diameter, measuring 26″ to 27.5″. The rims usually have a width of 50 to 100 mm or 3.8″ to 5.2″. Additionally, the size of the front hubs is around 135 to 170mm, whereas the rear hub spacing is 170 to 190mm.

In contrast, the majority of road bikes’ outside diameter is 700 mm, where the width starts at 23mm. You’ll find the rear wheel hubs can be 120, 126, or 130 mm wide and 100 mm wide in the front hub. However, you can have a look at the chart to distinguish between fat wheels and road bike wheels.

Types of BikeFat BikesRoad Bike
Width of Tire100 to 127mm23 to 29mm
Tire Pressure5 to 15 PSI80 to 130 psi
Weight Capacity200 pounds (Each Tire)110 to 175

Speed Comparison: Between Fat Bike Versus Road Bike

fat bike vs road bike speed

The fat-wheel bikes, which have fatter tires and are heavier and have additional traction, will be slower than the road bikes. bars, an upright design, and tires bigger than 2″ are all features of this bike, so slow movement is quite normal for this type of bike. Also, as a daily commuter, you’ll need to expend energy to move with the bike.

The road bikes offer outstanding riding speed on paved surfaces, and it’s possible because you have narrower tires and a lightweight design. You can even ride at a good pace without feeling any body pressure. Say thanks to the drop bars and racy geometry, as they will ensure more speedy performance!

Riding on Different Terrains: An Experience Among Fat and Road Bicycles

Road bikes are mostly made for smooth ground. Basically, these bikes are good for the occasional off-road tour. Even individuals ride such bikes for regular commuting. Additionally, riding a road bike will make you feel bumpier due to improper stabilization. However, office goers can be comfortable with road bikes.

On the other hand, for taking pleasure in the journey on various mountain trails, fat bikes are a gift. Although the road bike may not provide the same level of comfort, the increased traction will make it appropriate while roaming on snowy or muddy ground. We highly recommend riding the fat-wheel bikes for trekking, hiking, and traveling.

See Also: What happens when you ride a bicycle every day

Pedaling Comfort: Between Fat Bike And Road Bike

Don’t you prefer effortless pedaling? Road bikes will make pedaling easier due to their lightweight style, thin tires, and reduced traction. And there will be no stress while riding!

In comparison with road bikes, fat bikes call for slightly harder pedaling. It happens because of the thick tire and additional traction. Hence, more stress and fatigue will happen!

Maintenance And Pricing: Difference Between Fat Bike And Road Bike

Do we know which bike, between the road bike and the fat bike, will be much more affordable? Compared to road bikes, fat-tire bicycles are significantly more expensive. The cost of a fat bike can range from $250 to $500. On the other hand, a road bike can be under $5000 when it’s premium, and the regular type of road bike is usually around $250.

Regardless of the type of bike you ride, whether it has broad or narrow tires, you must always maintain the bike and keep it secure from any damage. If you don’t use the bike for a long period of time, it will eventually become damaged, corroded, or need to be repaired for sure. Thus, ensure you check the bikes’ condition and frequently enjoy your rides with them.


For having more sense of which bicycle you should pick, fat and road bike can be more specified with information if you check the Q&A section. We have the frequently asked questions that will guide you more in understanding the two-wheeler differences.

1. Are fat bikes harder to ride?

No, riding a fat bike is considerably simpler on sand, mud, snow, hills, or any other kind of ground. A fat bike might lessen the amount of stress on your body since it has large wheels. Also, such kinds of bikes give the riders more traction.

2. Is a fat bike better than normal bike?

Genuinely, fat-wheel bikes make it easier to ride on challenging terrain, which is difficult with normal bicycles. Fat tires offer extra traction and easy riding, which is better than a normal bike.

3. Fat bike vs MTB which is better?

A fat-wheel bicycle requires more effort than a mountain bicycle. According to our site, both bike types have different purposes, so you should pick the one that is comfortable for you. Usually, fat tire bikes are 3.8 to 5.2 inches wide, whereas mountain bikes can be between 1.9 and 2.6 inches wide.

4. Can a fat bike go uphill?

Yes, you can ride your fat bike uphill. As the bike has large tires and extra traction, it will climb ideally.

5. How much weight can fat tire bikes hold?

The typical weight restriction for bicycle tires is between 100 and 400 pounds. Also, the majority of the weight limit is 300 lbs., and it can exceed 400 lbs.

See Also: Fat bike vs Mountain bike

Wrapping Up

Have you understood the distinctions between a fat bike vs road bike? In short, a fat bike is basically made of fat tires that offer increased traction, good controllability, and most importantly, the ability to travel through any tough terrain. Whereas road bikes will have thin tires and less stabilization but offer excellent speed while navigating.

However, if you ever want to decide on the best bike for riding, make sure you check the pros and cons of a fat and road bike. If it’s for an office job, the road bike is good, but if it’s for traveling or hiking, go with the fatter one.

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