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How To Ride a Fat Tire Bike in the Snow

September 9, 2022

Cycling is one of the most beneficial activities a person can do. It is good for heart health and overall health and well-being. Active people will find ways to use their bicycles all year, even during the colder winter months.

If you want to ride a bike in the winter, there are things you need to consider, especially the various trail conditions. The winter brings snow and ice to many parts of the country. Traveling over such terrain is not that easy for traditional bicycles.

For winter riders, fat tire bikes are often the best tools for the challenging terrain. If you want to start riding snowy trails, you might consider investing in a fat tire bike.

What Is a Fat Tire Bike Used For?

When looking at a fat tire bike, the abnormally large wheels can seem odd and even comical, but they serve a purpose. The bigger tires provide more traction and control in snow and ice. Fat tire bikes are also beneficial for riding over sandy terrain, making them useful for summer and winter riding.

Most winter riders will own at least one fat tire bicycle. If you are more of a classic rider but are considering venturing into winter riding, you should at least consider purchasing a fat tire bike.

Riding over icy roads and trails is more dangerous than riding trails after a rain in the summer. You will need tires with larger treads, providing more traction.

Is It Safe To Ride a Fat Tire Bike in the Snow?

It is not only safe to ride a fat tire bike in the snow; it is the reason the bikes exist. Fat tires provide more surface area, larger treads, and improved traction, allowing for safer travel in colder weather.

The extra tread space and surface area allow for greater control in slick conditions. However, winter riding is not the only time to use fat tire bikes. You can also use the bikes for unpredictable trail riding.

Many experienced riders recommend using lower tire pressure for winter riding because it increases traction and grip. However, you may want to talk with a local expert for more tips and guidance about winter riding.

Do Fat Tire Bikes Work on Ice?

Fat tire bikes do work on ice. However, you still need to use logic when riding in the winter. While fat tire bikes tend to be more stable on ice than traditional bikes, you can still take a spill.

The reason fat tire bikes are more stable is because of the larger surface area. If you use a lower tire pressure, you can increase the surface area and stability.

Still, riding any bicycle over ice and now does present risks to the rider, so you should always wear appropriate safety gear. A helmet is a must for riding at any time of the year.

Prepping Your Fat Tire Bike for a Snow Ride

The primary consideration when taking your fat tire bike out for a winter ride is lowering the tire pressure. While reducing the pressure can increase the amount of work to pedal and get where you're going, it is essential to safe trail riding.

You will also want to invest in winter-friendly layers. Wear gloves, goggles, scarves, or a mask. You want to stay warm and comfortable on the trail, especially if you are going any distance.

Also, remember that traveling 20+ miles on a mountain or road bike is not the same as traveling that distance on a fat tire bike in the snow. Be prepared to work.

Safety Precautions While Biking in the Snow

Biking in the snow is fun, but you must take some extra precautions. Winter riding often occurs in low light conditions, so you should always ride with your lights on. If you do not have lights, you should consider purchasing a set of front-mounted and rear-mounted lights. Also, consider reflectors for your wheels.

If you are traveling with gear, distribute the weight evenly on the bike. Also, lower your seat, allowing you to quickly put your foot to the ground if necessary.

Lower tire pressure, and ride in a lower gear. Suppose you come across an ice patch, coast. Pedaling too hard can cause you to lose control or crash.

What To Wear on Your Snowy Fat Tire Bike Ride

You need to dress for the weather when snow riding. You will want a winter coat, gloves, and possibly snow pants. However, you also want to ensure flexibility. Many winter coats and snow pants restrict movement.

When bicycling in the snow, you must maintain your ability to move freely. Therefore, look for a suitable coat that isn't overly padded or constricting, and do the same with pants.

You should also look for suitable boots and gloves. Many companies make boots and gloves specifically for cycling and depending on how often you plan on riding, specialty items might be worth the investment.

Maintaining Your Fat Tire Bike’s Condition During Snow Season

Maintaining a fat tire bike in the winter is the same as maintaining a traditional bike during the season. After a ride, make sure to clean the wheels and frame of any salt residue. Also, dry the frame thoroughly. Store the bike in a dry and safe place.

Whenever you are preparing to leave for a ride, check the tire pressure. Also, check the chains and brakes. Before going out for a ride, everything should be in working order.

If you have an electric bike, you do not want to store the battery outside in the cold. Whenever possible, keep the battery and bike in a warm space. Fat tire bikes are excellent bicycles for winter riding. The tires provide more traction and grip than traditional bike tires. However, like regular bicycles, fat tires require maintenance.

You should not assume a fat tire bike is easier to ride. The bikes can come with a learning curve and might be more challenging to ride in the winter, especially if you ride with lower tire pressure, as many pros recommend.

Do you think a fat tire bike is right for you? Check out a local retailer and take one for a spin.


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