As cycling trend sees a major shift from skinny tires that offer the least of resistance to the oversized ones dragging the rider, the growing popularity of fat bikes cannot be denied. Fat bike started to hit the cycling scene about ten years ago, and seems to have struck the right notes for many due to sheer necessity rather than the fancy elements surrounding it.
A fat bike uses tires that are typically around 3.8 inches or more in width. This, as compared to mountain bikes is almost twice the width; with a width of just 2 to 2.4 inches being used by most bikers. Road bikes use tires with a width less than one inch. The simple reason for sticking to slim ones is to reduce road resistance due to friction.
Obviously, fat bikes are the hardest to pedal. Their wide tires offer other advantages otherwise concealed from adventure cyclist. Fat bikes are feasible to ride in mud, snow, sand and dirt, which make them suitable for use all year round. They have the advantage of riding in snow and sand easily without being an accomplished mountain biker. They are made without overly technical components, quite friendly for beginners who often find fat tires forgiving to start with. The otherwise previously unattended places covered in snow such as Bend, Oregon and Telluride, Colorado have now been added to adventure travel catalogues. These versatile bikes are yet to evolve and see their use in otherwise uncharted territories for bikers, opening doors to new adventure trips.
The origin of these bikes has been debated, though two trends are likely to have emerged simultaneously: riding in the long Alaskan winters and using them in the desert sands in American Southwest. These are extremes where regular mountain bikes would be considered unusable. The trend picked speed when Surly Bikes started to mass manufacture fat bikes in 2005. Following this, every major bike company started producing at least one model of the bike.