Cycling Around the World

Touring on a Fat Bike

Well there are plenty of people out there doing it

Bikes with fat wheels and tyres are not new, far from it, but they have come a long way, and Fat Bike Touring is becoming increasingly more popular.

Since researching my own tour on a standard touring setup, I came across so many other people touring with Fat Bikes.

There as so many advantages, and so many reasons not to choose one, but each to their own really, and it all depends on the king of terrain you plan to traverse.

Benefits of a Fat Bike for Touring:

Accessibility, to be able to pretty much go anywhere you want. Deep sand and beaches, rocky ground, roads, tracks, snow, and even large puddles. For me, I like the idea of being able to cycle off the tarmac and straight onto to gravel or sand when a truck is thundering behind you.

Grip, although on ice - like all bikes - they may not be so great, for almost every other surface they are.

Heavier - usually - than regular Mountain Bikes, so could give better stability in strong winds, although with more of an area for the wind to hit, that's debatable.

A softer ride, as although there is usually no added suspension, the tyres themselves offer it. You can regulate the tyre pressure for a firmer ride of course, but even then it will not be as firm as a road bike.

Getting off the beaten track, can be really important when touring, as you could find better places to wild camp away from the road and out of sight. You also get to see the places that other cycle tourers wouldn't without pushing their bikes.

Curiosity value. People are likely to want a closer look, to ask questions, and even ask to have a go. Getting talking to locals is a great way of finding places to stay and interacting with other people on long lonely stretches is important.

Against for some

Prices are very high for a high end Fat Bike that will take you touring, but maintenance is believed to be much easier and cheaper.

Slower, on the road, as there is more contact with the ground and a much heavier weight.

Gearing is limited on many Fat Bikes, with some just having one. There is news that with touring in mind, many more manufacturers are working on more gears to choose from.

Parts might not be easy to get hold of while touring, especially in countries that rarely even see a Fat Bike. Touring bikes for world tours, are usually best to be in a 26" wheel size and of a steel frame, and in the shape of a road or even mountain bike, as locals will usually have some way of fixing a problem on a bike they are used to seeing, and tyres and wheels can be purchased easily too.

Transportation, with regard to getting your bike on and off a plane if your island or country hopping, could be expensive due to weight and size.