Fat bikes vs Full suspension bikes(Everything you need to know) – GoMTBiking

Published by Praful N on

Fat bikes are becoming popular every day and are compared to traditional mountain bikes called a full suspension. Are they better than full-suspension bikes?

What is the difference between a fat bike and a full-suspension bike?

Full suspension bikes are better than fat bikes on trails because of the difference in suspension whereas fat bikes are better on snow and sand because of the wider tires. Also, fat bikes can be good as full-suspension bikes on trails because of the inbuilt wider tires. 

As I said, fat bikes are not that good compared to the full suspension bikes on trails, mainly going uphill but still, these bikes are amazing and fun to ride because of the fat tire’s capability.

In this article, I’ll discuss everything about the differences and why one bike is better than the other in different places.

Are full suspension bikes better than fat bikes on trails?

Yes, full-suspension bikes are better than fat bikes on trails because of their suspension capabilities, and the bikes are specially designed for trail rides. But that doesn’t mean that fat bikes aren’t a good option for trails.

They are one of the best sometimes the best for some riders because it’s a completely different experience when it comes to riding fat bikes, they’re fun because they easily roll over the rocks and you’ll not even feel the pressure.

Two main differences completely change the look and the rideability of the bikes. Let’s look at some of the differences between full-suspension bikes and fat bikes.

  • The first difference is going to be tires. Fat bikes are known as fat bikes because of their tires, they’re huge and big. They come with 4-5inches wider tires with 5-10 psi. This is very low pressure compared to the full suspension bikes which come with little thinner tires. They come up with 2.4-3.8 inches wide with 20+psi.
  • The frame of the Fat bikes is flexible which is a plus point because they allow you to switch wheels & tires which can be 27.5 or 29er.
  • Because of the thicker tires, fat bikes are just fun and which makes it amazing on trails. But compared to full suspension tires, the fat bikes struggle a bit and you’ll need to pedal more on uphill conditions. Whereas full suspension bikes are much better at climbing compared to the fat bikes. Mainly cross country bikes, trail bikes, and enduro bikes are better compared to the fat bikes on climbing because of the thinner tires and the smaller frame.
  • On the technical downhill terrains, fat bikes can be as good as a full-suspension bike. As you know the fat bike tires, act as a suspension for the fat bikes. But still, tires are good traction, but having a suspension system can completely change the way you ride on the rocky downhill as they keep you in control by handling the roughest bumps and drops. Whereas fat bikes are good but compared to the full suspension bikes, they might lose a point mainly comparing with the bikes which are specially built for downhill like downhill bikes and enduro bikes. As I said, it depends on the rider’s choice and fat bikes tend to be fun to ride and the tires & bike structure acts as a load-bearing option for the ride which makes it roll over the rocks easily.
  • As I said, the main differences are tires and the suspension. Full suspension bike has suspension frame whereas fat bikes come up with the rigid frame with no suspension. This makes the full suspension bikes better at the technical rocky terrains. But still, fat bikes can also handle the rocky terrains to some extent because the tires themselves act as a suspension.

All these differences, don’t make a fat bike weak on trails. They’re also considered to be the best by some riders because the experience is completely different on fat bikes, and yes they’re fun to ride.

Read more: Are fat bikes fast? (Everything you need to know about fat bike’s speed) – GoMTBiking

Are full suspension bikes better than fat bikes on snow/sand?

No, full-suspension bikes are not better than fat bikes on snow or sand because they’re not designed for these smoother grainy surfaces like sand or snow. On the other hand, fat bikes are amazing on snow/sand because of the tires which they have. 

They go very smoothly compared to full suspension mountain bikes. It’s all about how you ride, the only bikes which can have the lowest tire pressure of 5-20 psi compared to any bikes are fat bikes which makes them super-efficient on snow or sand.

As you know, these bikes are designed for snow and sand with a wider structure and built-in frame that creates a proper distribution of the weights with the wider tires installed.

Whereas full suspension mountain bikes struggle a bit on snow, because of the thin tires which make makes it inefficient on snow compared to fat bikes.

Are full suspension bikes better than fat bikes on road?

Yes, full-suspension mountain bikes are better than fat bikes on roads because the higher pressure in the thinner tires makes them less vulnerable to friction and rolling resistance compared to the fat bikes which come up with thick tires with lower tire pressure makes it harder to pedal on smoother surfaces like road or pavement. 

As you know both bikes are not the best choice for riding on roads or pavements compared to road bikes. But full suspension mountain bikes are a much better option compared to fat bikes because of the thinner tires. Even if they have a suspension system, they’re still better than fat bikes on roads.

Also, fat bikes are heavier compared to full suspension mountain bikes because of the wider and heavier frame. So yes that’s another con for fat bikes on roads. But the tires create a larger impact on your pedaling.

Fat bikes are just not that good on roads, you can take this is as an advantage if the fat bike is your only bike because the harder you pedal, the better the workout. So yes take this is in a positive way and enjoy the fat biking.

Read more: Can you ride a fat bike on road or pavement? – GoMTBiking

Should I buy a fat bike or a full-suspension bike?

It all depends on where you’re riding 90% of the time. If you’re riding most of the time on snow or you’re a winter rider, then there’s no match for fat bikes. They’re the best option to go for if you’re interested in riding on snow and also the beaches.

Whereas full suspension bikes are the typical mountain bikes which are mainly designed for trails. If you’re riding mostly riding technical downhill, cross country, or normal trails then full-suspension bikes are the best option to go for. They’re so good at handling the rocky bumps and jumps because of their suspension system.

This doesn’t mean that fat bikes are not a good choice for summer riding, they’re also amazing at trails. But depends mostly on your riding priorities. If it’s only summer riding, then full-suspension bikes are the ones to go. If you’re riding the whole year including winter and summer, then fat bikes are much better at adapting to both conditions.

Do fat bike needs suspension?

The short answer is it depends!! If he’s a summer fat biker who rides on technical rocky terrain, then he might need a suspension. It all depends on the rider if he’s okay with the fat tires giving him sufficient traction then the fat bike doesn’t need any suspension. If he’s a winter fat biker, suspension for fat bikes is not needed. 

Nowadays you’ll see some fat bikes in the market are installed with suspension. But that’s not common, they are the recent launches. When it comes to the traditional fat bikes, it’s always a rigid frame.

For most of the time, fat bikes are owned by winter riders. For riding in winter or snow, there’s no need for any suspension on fat bikes because the wider low-pressure tires are good at traction and enough to handle the conditions of snow.

If you’re a mountain biker who rides all year, then my recommendation would be to get a suspension fat bike or suspension installed on your fat bike. This will largely benefit you if you’re riding terrains that are rocky and bumpy.

The added suspension with the wider tires would be amazing fun for any mountain biker. But still, riders prefer it with the traditional way, they enjoy fat bikes with a rigid frame.

Read more: Do I need full-suspension fat bikes? 

My takeaway

What the major difference between fat bikes and full suspension bikes? It’s the suspension and tires of a full suspenseful-suspension bike respectively. Fat bikes come with wider tires making them great on trails. But full suspension bikes tend to be better at rocky trails, because of the suspension.

Whereas on snow or sand, fat bikes are the best option compared to full suspension mountain bikes because of the low-pressure tires.

It all depends on you, if you’re interested in both winter and summer, then fat bikes are the best. Whereas full suspension is the best choice if you’re riding on rocky terrains.

If you enjoyed reading his article about fat bikes vs full-suspension mountain bikes, share it with your friends and colleagues. 

Keep riding😉