What is the Difference Between Fat Bike and Mountain Bike

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What is the Difference Between Fat Bike and Mountain Bike

At first glance, the width of the tires is the primary difference between a fat bike and a mountain bike. Fat bike tires often measure 3.8 inches to 5.2 inches wide, while mountain bike tires usually measure 1.9 inches to 2.6 inches wide.

For sure, you have already heard of a mountain bike, but how about the fat bike? One of the critical argument topics among bike enthusiasts is the difference between a fat bike and a mountain bike.

I love bikes, and I know there are many bike variations on the market, where each has its own specialties and qualities. That is why I will help you distinguish what is the difference between a fat bike and a mountain bike

If you are torn between fat bikes and mountain bikes, this post will help you gain valuable ideas about the difference between the two bikes. Keep reading and enjoy the following topics:

  • What is a Fat Bike 

  • What is a Mountain Bike 

  • Fat Bike VS Mountain Bike: What is the Difference 

  • Fat Bikes VS Mountain Bikes: The Advantages 

What is a Fat Bike

A fat bike has become a popular thing lately for use on daily commutes and trails. It has distinct motorcycle-fat tires that often measure 3.8 inches or wider and rims that generally measure 2.6 inches or wider. 

The wheels, fork, and frame are designed to accommodate the wide tires. This bike generally runs at a low pressure of 5 to 14 psi. The wide tires help distribute the weight of the rider and the bike over a larger surface as compared to regular bike tires. In return, ground pressure is reduced, allowing the rider to float over unstable or soft surfaces. 

A bike tire is designed for riding on soft sand and deep snow. It also performs well in desert environments, loose gravel, bogs, and mud.

What is a Mountain Bike

A mountain bike is a legendary option in the bicycle enthusiast cycles. Since the 80s, it has been one of the top-selling bicycles. This bike offers superb durability alongside the ability to perform in different terrains.

Anyone who prefers rough terrain or loves to ride in the countryside will find this bike an excellent companion. It quickly adapts to the environment’s harshness, giving the ride a comfortable, unforgettable experience. 

The wheels come with a reliable traction level, ensuring that the rider effectively controls the bike while minimizing the chances of injuries and accidents. The brake system of this bike is also excellent. It used hydraulic disk brakes to deliver a snappy handling experience. 

What is the Difference Between Fat Bike and Mountain Bike

What is the Difference Between Fat Bike VS Mountain Bike

The primary difference between these two bikes is the tires’ width. The tires in a fat bike measure 3.8 inches to 5.2 inches; on the other hand, the tires in a mountain bike measure 1.9 inches to 2.6 inches.


A fat bike has wider rims than a mountain bike, accommodating wide tires. The rims measure 55mm or even wider. Most rims in mountain bikes measure 30mm.

When it comes to diameter, fat bike rims generally measure 26 inches to 27.5 inches. The high-volume fat tires require the wheels to have the same diameter as the 29 inches wheels, which is common on mountain bikes.

Frames and Hub Spacing

Having extra clearance in fat bike framing helps prevent the wide tires from rubbing. Manufacturers have created extra-wide form arms, chainstays, and seat stays to solve that issue. As a result, a fat bike has a wider hub spacing than a mountain bike.

A fat bike uses extra wide hubs measuring 170 to 190mm, while a mountain bike uses 142 mm hubs.

What is the Difference Between Fat Bike and Mountain Bike

Bottom Bracket and Crank Spindle

Since the rear hub spacing and tires are wide in a fat bike, so the crank spindle and bottom bracket are also wider too. In return, there is more space between the chainring and frame. That way, the chain will not run at an extreme angle.

The standard crank spindles and bottom brackets measure 100mm, respectively. Several manufacturers switch to 132mm cranks and bottom brackets. Meanwhile, a mountain bike often uses bottom brackets that measure from 68mm up to 73mm.

Pressure in Tires

Fat bike tires run at low pressure, from 5 to 14 psi, while mountain bike tires run at 22 to 25 psi. Since the fat bike tires are voluminous, they will not hit the rim and bottom out if the rider hits an obstacle.


The customization option is another critical point of comparison between a fat bike and a mountain bike. There are fewer options when it comes to upgrading a far bike. On the other hand, a mountain bike is widely customizable. Riders can change their bike’s aesthetics and tweak their performance.


Before buying a particular bike, bike enthusiasts should consider its purpose. A fat bike is meant for use in unconventional environments like snow and sand. It exerts enough weight distribution and pressure to traverse through the area with ease. Meanwhile, a mountain bike comes with a superb suspension and is meant for hilly regions.


 When comparing fat and mountain bikes, someone must consider the components. A fat bicycle comes with a beefy, heavier build, while a mountain bike comes with a lightweight body to easily climb up a mountain. 

What is the Difference Between Fat Bike and Mountain Bike

Fat Bikes VS Mountain Bikes: The Advantages 

Each of these two offers advantages to the riders. Check them out below:

Advantages of Fat Bikes

Ride in Mud, Loose Sand, and Deep Snow

Since the fat bike-wide tires can distribute well the rider’s weight and gear across the more surfaced area, the rider can run the bike in mud, deep snow, or loose sand. The tires apply less pressure on the ground, allowing them to roll over the mud, sand, and snow.

Comfortable Riding Experience

Having high-volume tires help the bike run at low pressure, making the tires extremely soft. Remember that soft tires are effective at absorbing vibrations and shocks from the trail or road. Once the rider hits a rock, the tire will deform around the object and absorb the impact rather than bounce off. As a result, the rider will experience improved comfort and reduced fatigue.

Excellent Grip or Traction 

If the fat tires come with wider and higher volume, traction or grip increases through the creation of more friction between the ground and the tire. The rider can also run the tires at low pressure of 5 to 8 psi, making the tires soft while more tread contacting the ground. As a result, more traction is achieved. The extra traction in the tires is critical when riding surfaces such as wet rocks, sand, or snow.

What is the Difference Between Fat Bike and Mountain Bike

Designed for all Weather Conditions

People who reside in snowy climates often store their bikes during the winter months. The good news is that anyone can enjoy biking all year round with fat bikes. That is because they can handle ice and snow incredibly well.

Less Cracked Rims and Broken Spokes

The fat bike’s high-volume tires are effective at absorbing shocks. The spokes and rims take a bit of impact when the rider hits something, a drop, or a bump from the ledge. Since the wide tire rims have more material than a mountain bike has, they are structurally stronger. Additionally, a fat bike has smaller rim diameter that utilize shorter spokes that are structurally more robust than the longer spokes.

Advantage of Mountain Bikes 

Better Parts Availability

A mountain bike is one of the most common bicycle types, making it easier for the riders to find a spare tube, tire, and other components. The ease of finding spare parts depends on the wheel size. For instance, 26 inches are easily found in the developing world, while the 700c wheel parts are easily found in the developed world.

More Maneuverable

A mountain bike is more responsive because it has a lighter wheel that can steer faster. Since the bike is lighter, the rider can maneuver it much easier. With increased maneuverability, riders can navigate technical terrains more efficiently.

Less Rolling Resistance

Mountain bike tires run at a higher pressure and are narrower to ensure a smaller contact patch with the ground. As a result, the tires create less resistance. If the tires are narrower, less air resistance is created while riding at speed.

What is the Difference Between Fat Bike and Mountain Bike

Lighter Bike Tires and Rims

Mountain bike tires and rims are lighter because they are narrower and use fewer materials. Generally, the bike weighs 5 to 10 pounds. A more lightweight bike is more maneuverable, faster, and more efficient. 

Run Road Tires

Many mountain bike rims accept road tires as narrow as 28mm. Having these narrow tires help to improve the bike’s efficiency while enabling the rider to ride at a faster average speed. 

Learn More Technical Skills 

A mountain bike requires the rider to avoid obstacles. Riders have to learn how to balance, climb, and climb while riding through complicated regions. They may also need to know how to hop, drop, and lift a wheel. The more skills they have, the more terrains they can ride.

Final Thoughts

Buying a bike is one of the most defining moments in someone’s life. As you have gone through this post, you are now more aware of the difference between fat and mountain bikes. Additionally, if you want to end up with high-quality bikes, you can consider buying Mongoose Dolomite Men Fat Tire Mountain Bike or Hiland Mountain Bike Shimano. Happy biking!

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