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Do Fat Tire Bikes Hold More Weight?


Fat tire bikes have noticeably thicker wheels, and you’re probably wondering what the advantage of these wheels is because, honestly, the answer probably isn’t style. The first thing that comes to mind is if bigger tires mean you can put more weight on the bike.

So, do fat tire bikes hold more weight? Bikes with fat tires can hold more weight on them, which is why they are perfect for those who weigh more. Some fat tire bikes can hold up to 400 pounds.

There is more than one reason why you should think about how much weight your tires can hold, and being overweight is only one of these reasons. There are also a few factors that you can use to help you to determine how much weight you can safely put on a bike.

Weight Limit Vs. Bike Tires

The tire that is on a bike directly impacts how much weight the bike can hold. There are two reasons that fat tire bikes can hold more weight than other types of bike.

  • #1. The first reason is that fat tires are simply built to hold more weight. This is done by using sturdy materials like steel instead of aluminum for the rim and spokes of the wheel.
  • #2. The second reason is the fact that the tire is wider and therefore has a larger contact area with the ground to distribute the weight. This makes fat tires both more stable and more comfortable as well.

Sometimes the maker of the tires will state the weight limit is for a specific, single tire, but bikes have two tires, of course, and each tire is only carrying a portion of the weight that is put on the bike.

Depending on how the seat is situated, in most cases, the weight is distributed to where it has around 40% of the weight on the front tire and 60% of the weight on the rear tire. This means that if both tires have a weight limit of 150 pounds, then you can safely have nearly 300 pounds of weight on the bike.

Most regular bike tires have a weight limit of around 100 pounds or a little more, sometimes reaching near 150 pounds. On the other hand, fat bike tires can often handle closer to 200 pounds of weight per tire.

This means that bikes with fat tires are capable of handling riders that are close to 400 pounds in weight. You should always verify the weight limit of both the tires and the frame of the bike though, and keep the weight ratio in mind when trying to determine if a bike can support your weight or not.

How To Tell How Much Weight A Bike Tire Can Hold

How much weight a fat tire bike can hold is something that varies from brand to brand and even from one bike to another within the same brand. The first place you can look at for the weight limit of the bike in question is on the bike’s product page.

If it is not listed there, then the next place you can look at is the FAQ page on the website of the brand, which will sometimes have this information. As a last resort, you can always call or email the manufacturers who are sure to know the answer.

In addition to the weight limit of the tire, there is also a weight limit that the frame of a bike can hold as well. Lightweight racing bikes, foldable bikes, and air bikes can often not even hold 200 pounds.

However, there are bicycle companies that cater to only riders who are very heavy. These companies make sure that every part of the bike can handle the weight and specialize in fat tire bikes. A couple of these are:

Some of these bicycles that they make are made out of specialized steel and can hold close to 500 pounds in weight. It is always better to verify the weight limit of a bike before you buy it.

Some signs that there is too much weight on a bike tire are:

  • Trouble With Tire Pressure: The more weight that you put on a bike, the more air pressure that you will have to put into the tires to keep the rims from hitting the ground. If the amount of pressure that you need to put into the tire is at or above the maximum recommended tire pressure, then there is too much weight on the bike for those tires.
  • Spokes Breaking: Too much weight can also cause the spokes of a wheel to break with even the slightest bump in the road. To counteract this, you should go with a wheel that has spokes that are made with stainless steel or at least steel, and that has more spokes to it.

Why You Should Get A Fat Tire Bike That Can Hold More Weight

If you’re trying to decide whether you should go with a fat tire bike or not, then we’ve got you covered. There are three main reasons why you may need a fat tire bike, and we will go into each of them below.  

Reason #1: Fat Tire Bikes Can Hold More Weight

Whether you are overweight or just have a large frame, fat tire bikes will hold up better under your weight than other types of bikes. Both the tires and the frame are at play here. You’ll be hard pressed to find a typical bike that can hold 400 pounds.

Reason #2: Fat Tire Bikes Are Good If You Are Touring

If you plan on going touring, then you are going to need to be able to handle the extra weight on your bike. There are many essential items that you will need to take with you on your trip, depending on where you are going and how long you plan your trip to take. These items can add up in both weight and bulk quickly.

Even if you cut down on the weight that you have to put on your bike by arranging stopping points ahead of time where you can restock on food, water, and other necessities, you will be still likely be carrying a substantial amount of excess weight on your bike.

If you use your bike to get to work and carry your laptop or other items on your bike, don’t forget that this counts as weight on your bike. Any time you get on your bike with a backpack or put something in your bike’s saddlebags, you’re adding weight to the bike.

Reason #3: Fat Tire Bikes Are Good For Riding In Bad Conditions

The same weight distribution that allows a fat tire bike to hold more weight also means that these bikes are better suited for riding over snow, mud, sand, and anything else that a tire will tend to sink into instead of going over.

Fat tires will also roll over small bumps or holes, which, if it is raining, you may have a harder time seeing in time to avoid hitting. This means that in both winter and wet conditions, bikes with fat tires are much safer to have.

This also makes for a smoother ride in typical riding conditions.

Final Thoughts

If you are close to the weight limit on a certain bike and are not certain if you should get it, you should look at what kind of riding you will be doing on it. If you will only be riding your bike on smooth roads and never anything else, then you can get away with being slightly over the weight limit.

On the other hand, if you will be riding on roads that are full of potholes or riding over other bumpy terrains, then you should be well below the maximum weight limit for your safety.

Keep in mind that if you cannot find a bike that you like that can carry your weight, then there is always the option of having a custom bike made just for you. While this option is more expensive, it is sometimes the better option instead of telling yourself that you must lose weight before you can get your bike.

Related articles:

Can Heavy and Big Men Ride Road Bikes?

Why Are Fat Tire Bikes so Expensive? Are They Worth It?

How Fast Can You Go on a Fat Bike?

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