Fat tired vs regular city bike

kimsbrian

New Member
Region
USA
Hi all,
I'm new to the biking recently moved to Mountain View and am looking at making an ebike my transportation mode for everything. My commute is 7.5 miles each way through some trails. I'm 5 feet 7 inches and weigh around 165 pounds.

I've never ridden a bike to commute or on non paved roads. I read that fat tired bikes are good for snow and generally uneven terrain. It doesn't snow at all in Mountain View but most of my commute to work passes is through a trail. Here's a video of what the commute looks like.

All the other rides to the grocery store or downtown would be on paved bike lanes. Am I being overly cautious or would a fat tire bike be a better fit for my use.

My budget is anywhere from 1 to 2k. I'm not too knowledgeable about the market for ebikes but I've read Juiced or Radpower ebikes are decent and good value for that price range.

If I go with a fat tire bike, I'd go with the Radrover or Ripcurrent. If a regular commuter bike would be better I'd be deciding between the cross current and Radcity/mission. Am I missing other good alternatives? One consideration is that I'm a relatively new commuter bike so an upright position would be more comfortable than leaning forward.
 
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fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
as long as there is not a lot of loose material you can ride with road tires. we often ride our tandem on dry packed trails.
IMG_3077.jpeg
 

kimsbrian

New Member
Region
USA
as long as there is not a lot of loose material you can ride with road tires. we often ride our tandem on dry packed trails.View attachment 99237
I'm not too well versed on the types of path trails so sorry if I make a mistake on terminology. From the video it seems a lot of the trail looks like packed dirt. However, around 1:20 it shows quite a bit of loose gravel. Are road tires able to handle that?
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I use 2.4" Swalbe Super Moto X tires on my eMtb. So much better than fat tires! The only snow that fat tires are good on is powder and groomed trails. They are dangerous on ice and horrible in slush. It feels like you are riding a bulldozer in slush!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I ride 2.1" kenda or giant knobbies on pavement, mostly. But I get run off into the dirt or grass frequently by motor vehicles that won't yield me 30" of pavement. Slows me down, but I don't fall down or get stuck or anything. I have to be careful getting back on pavement to not go up the edge of the asphalt at too small of an angle, of course. My bike has no suspension.
I've got a schalbe marathon street tire on the front this month. It does tend to skid off the edges of ruts in mud or grass worse than the knobby I'm used to. Putting off changeover: the wheel is tubeless & I don't know how it will handle a tire with a tube.
Fat tires I hear are real energy sappers. Great fashion statement, great for fluffy beach sand & powder snow. Not much else.
I see the word "grocery". Be aware cargo on the back of a conventional MTB or cruiser lifts weight off the front tire and makes the front prone to skidding or snapping sideways. Had that happen 5 times, dumping me on my chin. Cargo in a front basket must be steered, unless the bike has a way to mount a front basket to the frame like a $5000 specialized I saw last week. Or my $2000 yubabike. Euronau has a similar front basket. Stretch frame cargo bikes like bodaboda, euronau, blix packa, put your weight on the front, leave the back for the cargo. No falls on my chin since I bought the yuba bodaboda, 7800 miles 3.7 years.
I'm 68", 160 lb. I like a 17" frame so I can touch the ground with my toes stopped, & still have leg almost straight at the bottom when pedaling.
 
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linklemming

Well-Known Member
I used to live in Mountain View and am familiar with those trails. I see no reason to need a fat bike for those conditions. I also rode all the MTB trails in the SF bay area from Sant Cruz to Marin and even Lake Tahoe and dont see why anyone would want a fat tire bike in the Bay Area. That being said, many on this forum love them and they will likely chime in soon :D

I think the Juice crosscurrent with 2.1 Marathon Plus MTB tires would be fine for those conditions, in addition...its effectively flatproof.
https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/off-road_tires/marathon_plus_mtb

I ran those tires (actually a 2.25 up front) without fenders for about 4k miles on my Juiced Crosscurrent X which was about 70% offroad with much of that packed dirt like shown. It was pretty much my gravel bike.

I started a thread awhile back on my Juiced Crosscurrent X in the "Discussion by Brand & User Reviews/Juiced" forum

FWIW, I upgraded from the CrosscurrentX to a DIY ebike for additional performance including running fatter tires as the crosscurrent was limited to a 2.1 in the rear. I just like the comfort of larger tires more (currently running 2.6 tires)

Lots of other bikes to choose from. I suggest finding an ebike store and trying a few bikes.
 
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mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
fat tires are for snow, sand, other very loose surfaces.

for riding in the south bay, on road, paved trails, packed dirt trails (like sections of the bay trail), even fire roads, you don't need anything like that, and over a decent length commute it just slows you down. i ride that kind of stuff with my road bike slicks, but what you probably want is something like a gravel bike tire, 38-42mm with some tread, especially on the sides. continental terra speed, panaracer gravel king, specialized pathfinder pro, schwalbe g-one, etc etc.

the 2.3" tires on something like the radcity4 are fine, no doubt, but IMO it's wasted energy and/or lost speed for urban riding. juiced crosscurrent x has well specified tires for urban riding. puncture resistance should be high on your list.

if a little more expensive bike is of interest, check out the gazelle medeo t10 or similar. the dutch know commuter bikes :D
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
However, around 1:20 it shows quite a bit of loose gravel. Are road tires able to handle that?

for riding in the south bay, on road, paved trails, packed dirt trails (like sections of the bay trail), even fire roads, you don't need anything like that, and over a decent length commute it just slows you down. i ride that kind of stuff with my road bike slicks, but what you probably want is something like a gravel bike tire, 38-42mm with some tread, especially on the sides. continental terra speed, panaracer gravel king, specialized pathfinder pro, schwalbe g-one, etc etc.

So-called "gravel bikes" (a road bikes with 38/1.5" tires) are made to ride gravel. Just saying to highlight the fact you don't need fat tires for gravel.


I use 2.4" Swalbe Super Moto X tires on my eMtb. So much better than fat tires! The only snow that fat tires are good on is powder and groomed trails. They are dangerous on ice and horrible in slush. It feels like you are riding a bulldozer in slush!

I live in Mountain View and ride bikes on those trails plus local roads. My ebike has Schwalbe Big Ben Plus at 2.1inch


Works like a champ so far.
Wise remarks. 2.1 or 2.4" tires are stil not the fat ones.

1630992915097.png

This e-bike rides on 37 mm tyres, and the only suspension is a suspension stem and seatpost. The tires are Schwalbe Smart Sam (pavement/off-road ones). Are your roads worse than that @kimsbrian?
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Another vote for Schwalbe Super Moto-X in the 2.4" size. Lacking those, something in the 2.1"-2.4" w/street tread are a great compromise. Just don't get knobby style tires. They'll make you nuts due to the noise on pavement.

4" hard to justify due to rolling resistance.
 

kimsbrian

New Member
Region
USA
Thank you all so much! It's awesome to have so much help and that I can have people who rode the exact trails I do share their experience. The consensus here definitely seems to say that fat tires are unnecessary for my needs so I'll definitely take that advice. I'm still trying to decide the actual bike but whichever one I choose I'll probably add the Schwalbe tires everyone keeps recommending. Thanks again everyone!
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
Thank you all so much! It's awesome to have so much help and that I can have people who rode the exact trails I do share their experience. The consensus here definitely seems to say that fat tires are unnecessary for my needs so I'll definitely take that advice. I'm still trying to decide the actual bike but whichever one I choose I'll probably add the Schwalbe tires everyone keeps recommending. Thanks again everyone!
lmao, im sure some of the people saying Fat Tires are not necessary have never even been on a Fat Tire bike lol, people often like to peddle the gear that they are into(puns intended)! My advice is try to test ride both if you can, i think most E-Bike tires can handle your commute just fine.
Full Fat 4in tires have a comfortable soft ride with a bouncy feel when compared to other tires, but handaling is less crisp, if you think thats something you might enjoy maybe Fat tire is for you.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Thank you all so much! It's awesome to have so much help and that I can have people who rode the exact trails I do share their experience. The consensus here definitely seems to say that fat tires are unnecessary for my needs so I'll definitely take that advice. I'm still trying to decide the actual bike but whichever one I choose I'll probably add the Schwalbe tires everyone keeps recommending. Thanks again everyone!
Kim: the main reason 20" folders are offered with fat tyres is those wheels are dramatically small, and would be vulnerable to potholes otherwise. A normal size wheels (27.5" for thicker tyres and 28/29" for thinner ones) accept "normal" tyres to good effect. Note: 28" or 29" is virtually the same.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
lmao, im sure some of the people saying Fat Tires are not necessary have never even been on a Fat Tire bike lol, people often like to peddle the gear that they are into(puns intended)! My advice is try to test ride both if you can, i think most E-Bike tires can handle your commute just fine.
Full Fat 4in tires have a comfortable soft ride with a bouncy feel when compared to other tires, but handaling is less crisp, if you think thats something you might enjoy maybe Fat tire is for you.
6 bikes in in my stable (I'm a snowbird with 2 homes). 5 are "city" bikes and all are equipped with Schwalbe 2.4 tires. The 6th bike is a fattie, that I bought to see what the 4" hubub was all about. I consider the decision to buy that fattie a mistake (an expensive mistake!), and am currently in the process of collecting parts to convert it to 27.5"x2.8". More than willing to share why I consider the 4" a mistake, but it makes for boring reading for those interested in just the short story. I DID convert the OEM knobby tires that came on it to street tread.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Another vote for Schwalbe Super Moto-X in the 2.4" size. Lacking those, something in the 2.1"-2.4" w/street tread are a great compromise. Just don't get knobby style tires. They'll make you nuts due to the noise on pavement.

The knobs, if taller than 3/32", prevent flats. I don't run slime, liners, armor, or tubeless, and the last flat I got that wasn't a blowout of the tire carcass was 4 years ago. (run tires < 5 years old). 26 x 2.1" Knobbies are $26, schwalbes about twice as much.
The noise helps keep pedestrians from wandering into my path.
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Another vote for Schwalbe Super Moto-X in the 2.4" size.
Add me to the this vote. My Ride1Up 700 came with these. Pure pleasure after years of riding a hybrid bike with much narrower tires.

I also agree recommending against fat tire.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
My bikes are 26x2.3, 27.5x2.3 and 27.5x 3" and i would grab the 27.5x 3" bike if i was commuting that rout in the video.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
lmao, im sure some of the people saying Fat Tires are not necessary have never even been on a Fat Tire bike lol, people often like to peddle the gear that they are into(puns intended)! My advice is try to test ride both if you can, i think most E-Bike tires can handle your commute just fine.
Full Fat 4in tires have a comfortable soft ride with a bouncy feel when compared to other tires, but handaling is less crisp, if you think thats something you might enjoy maybe Fat tire is for you.
Its true fat tires are NOT necessary. But they are nice to have.

A lot of the prejudice against fat tires is just that. The same sort of thing you hear from cyclists about how ebikes suck and are awful and smell bad etc. Sure, they are not for everyone. But the increased sidewall, the increased contact patch, the freight-train stability... couple that to the increased power delivery of an ebike and suddenly you have a case for fat tires on gravel, packed dirt and pavement. The great equalizer that takes fat bikes out of their overland (not even a trail) niche is the electric motor. Without that... yeah sure they would suck. But with an electric motor boosting your pedal assist (and increasing your speed) most of the negatives disappear, and new positives emerge.

Ordinarily when someone makes the 'motorcycle' comparison to any ebike, I want to shove something sharp up their butt. But in this case the comparison is apt: How many motorcycles do you see with 700x23c tires? The bigger tires have a purpose with an ebike whose speed and weight are both increased. You don't have to have them on all your bikes (I sure don't) but they can absolutely serve a purpose... on a commuter especially.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Note: These are just opinions. "Fat Tire" is associated with "Fat Bike." These bikes have a wider bottom bracket, often 100 or even 120mm instead of a normal 68mm wide bottom bracket. This is to accommodate for the wider chain stays to fit the wider tires. This also pushes the chain line out so that it is never really straight and is highly cross chained in the lower gears. Fat bikes are cumbersome to ride and not at all agile. Freight trains do not maneuver well, like when you see some freshly broken glass on the trail at the last second. The fat bike thing appeals to people who do not really ride bikes but want a look. This is sort of like people who want a lowrider car or a Pitbull for a pet. Once you get over 45's or 50's you are past marginal gains with added width and into negative territory - that is if you are not riding on fresh powder snow or loose sand. I like WTB 700x40's for urban, trails, and gravel. 650bx50's are also nice on some bikes. I made a $150 bike electric this week and used the gravel 700x40's. Zoom to see the tread.
 

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