Are Fat Tires Better for Heavy Riders?

Fat tires by their very nature can indeed carry more weight. Some can even hold up to 400 pounds which is good news for larger riders. 

But when it comes to riding style and performance, it normally does not mean that as a bigger rider, you should always opt to go for fat tires. There are still better choices out on the market, that do not compromise tire performance. 

Fat tires are quite heavy, which also equates to rolling resistance and overall added weight. But first, let us look into how fat tires are better for heavier riders. 

Bike Tires and Their Limits

The type of tire you use directly impacts the total weight capacity of your bike. Especially on the rear end since it carries the bulk of the weight most of the time. 

The tires of a fat tire bike can carry more weight because they are simply built for that very purpose. Aside from the fact that tires are built larger for specific terrain types, essentially they are also much stronger and would be able to carry more weight. 

Larger tires are also wider thus it covers a larger contact patch with the ground. This translates to better weight distribution. And if you are a heavier rider, fat tires will make your riding experience more comfortable, stable, and safer from burping. 

Sometimes, tire manufacturers do state what is the limit for their tries. But since bikes have tires, it still does not mean that you can add both limits to get the total weight restriction for your bike. 

You also have to get into details, the riding style that you do, how much weight is situated on the rear, and how much on the front. Weight distribution is essential because you might be pushing your tires to the limit and you do not even know it. 

Normally rear tires carry most of the weight at about 60% to 40% ratio, whether they have a lightweight aluminum frame, steel frame, or carbon. This is true for most bikes depending on the style of riding that you do or if you are into bikes for big guys.

On average, normal bike tires have a limit of around 100 to 150 pounds. Or it could be a little more depending on the type of casing the tire is built with.

On the other hand, fat tires on an aluminum frame bike can handle a weight that is greater than 150 pounds. Some are even built to handle riders heavier than 200 pounds. This means, fatter tires are more capable especially fat-tire bikes that are built for heavier riders.

Also, note that the suspension fork also plays a huge role in the safety of bikes for heavy riders so you better make sure you have it dialed properly.

How to know the limits of your bike tires?

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There is no set standard for the limit of each tire of a fat tire bike because it varies from one brand to another. Even tire types of a fat tire mountain bike from the same brand would vary depending on their use. 

So if you are wondering about how to get the specification for each tire, you should visit the manufacturer’s website. It is very seldom that weight limits are mentioned in tire packaging and other marketing materials, thus it is only fitting that we reach out to the manufacturer directly. 

Before tires are rolled out from the factory, they will undergo stress testing, especially for an electric bike as these are for heavy riders. This means that tires are pushed to their limits which includes overinflation, and weight tests. 

If you are in the process of researching for good tires, you can look for tire reviews on the internet. Or just simply email the manufacturer if you have questions about the tire of your choice. Also note that the tires of road bikes are lighter and have a lower weight limit which means they are not as durable as mountain bike tires. Weight limit plays a huge role here because this is where safety depends on. You don’t have to worry too much, though, if you have mechanical disc brakes because this can modulate braking and improve maneuverability.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Tires Depending

If you are a rider then you should be quite aware that biking has many riding styles. These should also be put into consideration when you are looking for the perfect tire. 

Let us look at enduro mountain biking as an example. You do not need to purchase a fat bike since most of them are not capable enough for enduro trails. But, enduro bikes are built to be sturdy enough to endure massive amounts of punishment and are capable enough to carry heavier riders. 

Although fat tires do not fit enduro bikes, enduro tires are capable enough to carry heavier weight. This is because they are built with a stronger casing compared to normal street tires. 

One thing you should consider though that rear tires carry most of the punishment when out on the trails. Especially when you are riding an aggressive hardtail, rear tires act as an added suspension for both the bike and the rider. 

And if you ride this kind of biking discipline, then you should know how to choose the tire that would suit your needs.

You can get larger tires and install them on wider rims. Although this setup is not as fat as fat bike tires, the added volume can greatly help in terms of the added strength of the tires and providing a more comfortable ride

For the most part, this type of tire setup can be used for most mountain biking disciplines. The only downside is that it will add more weight to your bike. 

If you are more into freeride, and BMX riding, the same theory applies. But if you are only interested in leisure riding and exercise, then a simple fat bike installed with those large wheels will work for you. 

Conclusion

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There are many types of bike tires out on the market that is already very capable. What you need to do is to know what type of riding you want to do on mountain bikes. 

Different riding styles have different needs and specifications, that is why you should be doing your research before purchasing a specific tire. 

If you are looking for an all-rounder, a good mountain bike, or a fat mountain bike can easily be the best choice for you. Just slap in a good set of tires and you are good to go. 

What’s important is safety thus you should always be aware of your bike’s limits. But no worries since there are also the options that you can have bike manufacturers customize a bike for you.

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.