Full Suspension vs. Fat Tire

Scramjett

New Member
Hi Court,

At some point I plan to get an eMTB and I've been scouring both the EBR forums and other places on the internet regarding this question. Direct sale companies (Juiced, Rad, etc.) don't really seem to have any full suspension bikes and just fat tire bikes (and many of them have no suspension at all). The more mainstream brands (Specialized, Trek, Bulls, etc.) offer full suspension bikes but don't seem to have any with fat tires (that I've seen at least). Many of the regular MTB forums seem to be divided into 3 camps: FS is enough, Fat tires are enough, having both is the dream! I know you're a fan of full suspension but I've also heard some of the experts at my various LBS's sing praises about fat tires. So, the question is actually two pronged. The first part is: since it seems to be one or the other, which is best: full suspension, fat tire, or wait for someone to have both? The second part is: why are so many ebike brands either/or and not both? Is it a cost thing or something else?
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
You need to research a little more. Quite a few full suspension fat bikes available. For really technical mtb riding, the big 4” tires don’t help with quick maneuvers.
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
Biktrix Juggernaut FS is a wonderful fat tire bike but with 4" tires and 70+ pounds it's not a mountain bike by any means. Lots of fat tired FS bikes if you look.
 

Scramjett

New Member
I should probably clarify that I'm looking at mountain biking that's not too extreme. This is something that I'm looking for as a light mountain bike and winter weather commuter (no snow in my area, just rain). I'm in my 40s and I've suffered too many dislocated shoulders for anything too technical. I was thinking that fat tired bikes might be good for traction in muddy spots and puddles. But, one of the things I've seen in my research is that the larger tires aren't so good with maneuverability.

@Feliz In my research, I've also noticed that the fat tires seem to be more for snow, sand, gravel and other "soft" trails. Is that what you're hinting at?

@Feliz and @rich c I guess there are a lot of ebike brands I didn't know about since I've not heard of Biktrix before. But then, I didn't even know Bulls existed until I started following EBR and that seems like a pretty popular brand!
 

Nomad

Member
I should probably clarify that I'm looking at mountain biking that's not too extreme. This is something that I'm looking for as a light mountain bike and winter weather commuter (no snow in my area, just rain). I'm in my 40s and I've suffered too many dislocated shoulders for anything too technical. I was thinking that fat tired bikes might be good for traction in muddy spots and puddles. But, one of the things I've seen in my research is that the larger tires aren't so good with maneuverability.

@Feliz In my research, I've also noticed that the fat tires seem to be more for snow, sand, gravel and other "soft" trails. Is that what you're hinting at?

@Feliz and @rich c I guess there are a lot of ebike brands I didn't know about since I've not heard of Biktrix before. But then, I didn't even know Bulls existed until I started following EBR and that seems like a pretty popular brand!
As you have gather by now there are fat bikes out there with suspension specialized makes some as well. Remember though that indeed those big tires do act as a suspension so for a lot of riding it might not real be much of a factor and futher more some forks are just gimicks. That being said real suspension forks are a whole differnt story. I think for your riding and many others including some "pro riders" ridged forks can be the way to go. Also yes they may be FAT butt remember mountain bikers;) there's a good reason for that and besides being ebikes the difference isn't quite the same as nonpowered. As far as maneuverability you should check a few out in one sence they can be more stable even a nonpower fatty can give you some insight reguarding that but also keep mind the geometry of a bike plays a key roll in how it handles.
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
Scramjet, that's exactly what I'm saying, I have both mountain bikes and fat tired bikes and they are two different beasts. I used to compete in mountain biking and I still mountain bike, I have never seen a serious mountain biker on a fat tired bike. I use my fat tired bikes, a Radrover and Biktrix Juggernaut, mostly as you have described, they are great in snow and sand.
 

Nomad

Member
Scramjet, that's exactly what I'm saying, I have both mountain bikes and fat tired bikes and they are two different beasts. I used to compete in mountain biking and I still mountain bike, I have never seen a serious mountain biker on a fat tired bike. I use my fat tired bikes, a Radrover and Biktrix Juggernaut, mostly as you have described, they are great in snow and sand.
I say take a good look around things are changing and there are some serious bikes out there on all fronts. I think you'll see some fat tired mountain bikes in the future in hard core competitions. Yes they can be different beast but, I think you just haven't seen a serious mountain biker on one bet there a pro rider on one right now probably a higher end one. Have good day Feliz remember dirt bike tires are fat compared to bicycles:D
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
4” tires have a pretty big crown. Not much help in puddles, and if you get knobbies, no good on wet pavement either.
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
Nomad, I guess you have more experience than I do, I've only been riding for over 70 years and mountain biking for 40 years and have eight eBikes. Oh ya, I'm senile.
 
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Feliz

Well-Known Member
4” tires have a pretty big crown. Not much help in puddles, and if you get knobbies, no good on wet pavement either.
I have a bike with 3" tires and find that too clumsy off-road. Good point about tires, no tire will do everything or even a few things.

I see it all time at our bike parks, families and individuals pushing their 70+ pound fat tire bikes around frustrated and wondering why they can't go anywhere, a salesman at a store told them they were mountain bikes. The next day the bikes are on Craigslist.
 
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Nomad

Member
Nomad, I guess you have more experience than I do, I've only mountain biked for 40 years and have eight eBikes.
no I think some people just take different line. So you started back when ross made mt bikes in the beginning. That is in know way a dig I just remember those days. Don't get me wrong like for instance I was thinking of that puddle that depend on a few things like what if it's mud hehe tread pattern etc.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Fat tires shouldn’t be considered as a replacement for suspension. I find most fat bike geometry more akin to hybrid frames. To much weight on the handlebars. I bought one, added a hub motor for winter riding and I hate it. I’m certain I’d have been better off with a MTB. That sai, what do you tide and like now? My favorite eBikes were favored pedal bike frame geometry. Reminds me I have a new set of Panaracer tires and tubes to sell.... some neighbour kid is gonna get a BikesDirect fatbike. And someone else a 1000W FB hub motor.
 

linklemming

Active Member
I have ridden several fat bikes offroad, its a different experience for sure. I have tried to convince myself to buy one many times and just cant justify it. Yes, they are great in the snow (only if the conditions are perfect).

As Thomas has mentioned, fat tires are not a replacement for suspension. While he uses geometry as an argument my argument is 'damping'. Watch a few videos of fat bikes on you tube and they just seem to go 'boing, boing,boing' because nothing is damping the spring of the tires. You see the same thing watching monster trucks driving around.

Something else to consider (Plus bikes). I LOVE my 27.5+ hardtail eMTB. Super traction, not too big on the tires. Pretty good in the snow/wet/soft trails. Basically a great compromise. Only negative is tires are $$$. If I was to have only 1 bike it would be a 27.5+ hardtail eMTB.

Nothing wrong with FS, I love it and have been using it for 20 years. Just bought a FS acoustic(non electric, 29x2.3) MTB on black friday.
 
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Feliz

Well-Known Member
I have ridden several fat bikes offroad, its a different experience for sure. I have tried to convince myself to buy one many times and just cant justify it. Yes, they are great in the snow (only if the conditions are perfect).

As Thomas has mentioned, fat tires are not a replacement for suspension. While he uses geometry as an argument my argument is 'damping'. Watch a few videos of fat bikes on you tube and they just seem to go 'boing, boing,boing' because nothing is damping the spring of the tires. You see the same thing watching monster trucks driving around.

Something else to consider (Plus bikes). I LOVE my 27.5+ hardtail eMTB. Super traction, not too big on the tires. Pretty good in the snow/wet/soft trails. Basically a great compromise. Only negative is tires are $$$. If I was to have only 1 bike it would be a 27.5+ hardtail eMTB.

Nothing wrong with FS, I love it and have been using it for 20 years. Just bought a FS acoustic(non electric) MTB on black friday.
Like a pogo stick, if anyone know what they are any more.
 

Scramjett

New Member
Fat tires shouldn’t be considered as a replacement for suspension.
As Thomas has mentioned, fat tires are not a replacement for suspension.
This is actually what I wanted to know. Some of the direct sale bike companies, like Rad and Juiced, have "off-road" bikes that are, I'm assuming, meant to appeal to mountain bikers but they have fat tires and no full suspension. In fact, they likely have no suspension at all! Are they trying to market these as a sort of "poor man's" mountain bike and keeping costs low by using fat tires in lieu of suspension?
 

Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
Good grief, some of the information passed on. Most of it is good, alot misinformed!:rolleyes:

Scramjett: I'm the owner of two fatbikes. The first, a Specialized Fatboy. Hard tail, no suspension save for the Cane Creek Thudbuster LT I installed. 4.6 inch wide tires, ridden up to 20 psi on asphalt roads. I have about 4000 miles on my Fatboy; bought new.

My other bike, which has effectively knocked out further use of the Fatboy, is my Haibike Full FatSix. One of the premium fatbikes out there, with top tier components compared to that Bixtrix fatbike mentioned elsewhere. Yamaha PW drive. Fully decked out by me with front and rear racks to accomodate all kinds of Ortlieb bags for day rides or touring. Front Schmidt SON28 dyno hub powering up a front German made Schmidt Edelux II headlight and Schmidt Son rear tail light. Tubeless tires. Cane Creek Ergo bar ends on a 60mm riser bar by Spank. Ergon saddle. Abus Bordo lock.

With that out of the way, I ride this bike anywhere, anytime, any condition except water fording. As it should be with any other ebike.

The Fatboy convinced me I could ride this bike on asphalt, albeit it's gonna be averaging about 13 mph. But no bike ever made me smile as to the "feel" of the bike when starting out on every single ride.....there is simply no substitute for the feeling of control and stability on the fat tires. None.

Unlike skinnier mtb tires, my fatbikes easily go through the deep sugar sand of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. THIS is where a fatbike really shines, sugar sand and snow. It's just a matter of airing down to 6 or 8 psi and you are good to go. Done with the deep sand? Air back up and bike on!

Truth is, most of my miles accumulated on the Haibike is on asphalt roads. Last count, 9400 miles on the odometer after putting her into full time service in the late spring of 2017. Asphalt roads mean nothing with this Yamaha ebike drive. In the height of summer when I am in the best of cycling shape, I can linger at 19-20 mph at the motor cutout on a 16mph plus average speed on a 20 mile run that I typically make.

Any ideas of a fat tired ebike not good on riding asphalt roads is rubbish. This past summer, I ebiked the Full FatSix from home on the western side of NJ, to the east coast of NJ at the Atlantic Ocean, then turned around back home. Summer time, 90 degrees plus, 95 miles. All on asphalt.

A fat tired ebike can go anywhere a mtb can go....and then some. It may not be faster (who really cares about that?) or lightning twitch-quick maneuverable on some Alpine Pass (who really goes down that stuff on a forum such as this one?); but it is like a Jeep Rubicon of all bicycles, hands down. The Rock Shox front and rear suspension on the Haibike takes out the dips and crowns of the local roads I ride here in NJ. Suspension on high end bikes are nothing like the dual suspension bikes that first came out in the 1990's. They are a real game changer in rider comfort!

Some pics of the Fatboy and the Haibike Full FatSix......
 

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