Best Fat Bike Tires of 2021
Want to ride your bike in the most extreme conditions possible? Only a fat bike will get you there.
For a long time, virtually all-mountain bike tires all came in similar widths. As cyclists ventured further away from paved roads and towards more unruly surfaces, the innovation of fat bikes was born. With bigger tires, you have much better traction and the ability to “float” on soft surfaces like sand and snow. They also provide you with a considerable amount of suspension. Fat bike tires are made for different types of riding, some are optimized for winter use while others are completely slick and feel great on pavement.
In general, fat bike tires are more expensive than traditional width tires. This is because they are still relatively new and considered to be a niche product. Still, compared to other upgrades changing your tires is an affordable and easy way to change the way your bike feels.
Tubeless vs Tubes
Fat bike tires can be run both tubeless and with tubes. There are a few benefits to both.
- Can be run at lower tire pressures, which reduces the chances of getting a flat and gives you better traction.
- Lighter than tubes, especially in extra wide sizes which require huge tubes.
- Tubeless tires will automatically repair themselves when there is a small puncture. Larger holes can be patched quickly and without taking the tire off the rim.
- Easier to service and make it much simpler to swap out to different tires, with no messy clean-up.
- In general, it is cheaper to use tubes than to set your tires up tubeless.
- In extremely cold temperatures, tubes perform better than tubeless because there is no liquid that can freeze.
Most common fat bike tire sizes
The first generation of fat bikes all used 26″ wheelbases. Therefore, the most common diameter is 26″, although a few new fat bike frames are beginning to incorporate the 27.5″ fat wheelbases. Some fat e-bikes also use smaller (20″) wheelbases. When it comes to 29″ rims, the maximum tire width commercially available is about 3 inches which are considered to be a “plus” sized tire.
Have you been using the recommended pressure?
Because of their gigantic volume, fat bike tires don’t need the same high pressure as regular bike tires. The air pressure of a fat bike tire will greatly affect its performance, and different pressures are appropriate for different types of riding.
A good fat bike tire pressure for summer trail riding will usually fall between 11-16 PSI. This range gives a decent amount of suspension and traction while still protecting the rim from dents.
The best fat bike tire pressure for winter will be lower, somewhere in the 7-10 PSI range. The low pressure gives better traction on iced-over roads and trails.
When riding on the pavement it’s typical to run fat tires at a higher pressure in order to decrease rolling resistance. Remember however that lower tire pressures usually result in fewer punctures from objects like broken glass and metal shards.
Best Fat Bike Tire brands
Most major tire companies offer a few fat tires, however, there are a few brands that really stand out. 45NRTH is a fat-specific tire manufacturer that specializes in winter tires. They offer a variety of studded tires for extreme conditions.
Terrene is another fat-specific company with a wide variety of widths and diameters to choose from. Surly makes a good selection of fat bike tires to match their fat frames, and they were the first brand to offer fat tires.
Several other tire brands have added more fat options steadily over the last few years. Teravail, Maxxis, and Vee offer high quality fat/plus tires.
What is the TPI?
Threads Per Inch – 120 is the average among fat-tire bikes. The more threads, the more durable a bike tire is. A higher thread count also means a heavier tire.
Table of Contents
20″ fat bike tires
Best 20″ Fat Bike Tires
Mongoose Fat Tire Bike Tire, Mountain Bike Accessory
Best budget replacement tire
With a score of 4.4 / 5 out of 560+ ratings, the Mongoose fat bike tire is a perfect tire for many folding electric bike owners who have gone through their first set of tires. It works great on a variety of surfaces and will allow you to take your bike on more adventures than ever before.
- Heavy-duty rubber for extended tire life
- Knobby, aggressive tread pattern to provide added traction around corners and while climbing,
- With added tire volume, it also allows you to roll over obstacles more easily with less feedback, smoothing out the trail.
- It is durably constructed, making it ideal for riding in almost any environment.
Vee Tire Co. Apache Fattyslick
King of the road
The Vee Tire Co. Apache Fattyslick is a fat tire intended for city use. it is made of a silica compound that provides a great grip even on wet pavement. If you own an E-bike with a 20-inch wheelbase and do mostly urban riding, the Fattyslick is a great option that may even extend the range of a single charge by lessening rolling resistance on your tires.
- Minimal rolling resistance due to the treadless design.
- Tubeless-ready silica compound is ready for riding in the rain.
- Designed for pavement use, still offers you the extra suspension of a fat bike tire.
- 120 TPI, folding tire.
Best 26″ Fat Bike Tires
Kenda Juggernaut Pro DTC Fat Bicycle Tire
26×4 / 26×4.5 / 26×4.8
Lightweight off-road tire
Kenda based the design of their Juggernaut Pro off one of their previous models – the Kenda Millville 2 motorbike tire. It is designed to perform well on a variety of surfaces, all while coming in at a relatively light weight that allows for excellent float in snow or sand.
- Dual Tread Compound is fast-rolling and durable on the center tread and sticky on the corners for better handling.
- Aggressive tread pattern works well on dry and wet hard pack, snow, and light mud.
- 120 TPI tire is suitable for use with tubes and tubeless.
- Comes in three different widths to accommodate different riding styles.
45NRTH Wrathchild Studded Tire
Best fat bike tire for snow and ice!
The Wrathchild from 45NRTH is a super aggressive studded fat bike tire that has been engineered to ride Icy winter roads and provide good acceleration and stopping power. The concave carbide-tipped studs bite into the ice with an extra sharp edge, providing superior performance when compared to rubber tread.
- 252 aluminum studs make the Wrathchild competent in even the gnarliest winter conditions, and they are replaceable to increase the longevity of the tire.
- An aggressive tread pattern further increases tire performance.
- Extra-wide 4.6-inch profile allows the tire to roll over deep snow without sinking.
- 120 TPI with folding bead strakes a balance between light weight and durability.
45NRTH Dillinger Studded Tire
26×4 / 26×4.6
Fast cousin of the Wrathchild, still shreds!
The Dillinger from 45NRTH is a slightly less aggressive tire when compared to the Wrathchild above. It features the same replaceable carbide-tipped aluminum studs with a tighter spacing in between the center treads for faster rolling. Some people like to use the Dillinger in the rear for good acceleration and Wrathchild upfront for more grip.
- 258 carbide-tipped aluminum studs provide reliable traction over ice, snow, and slush.
- 4.0 and 4.8-inch widths offer versatility whether riding over icy roads or through thick snow.
- 120 TPI; folding tire.
Bomber front wheel handling
The Surly Bud is a front-specific tire made to be used in conjunction with the Lou, another fat tire from Surly. The knobby tread pattern is designed to aid in steering performance as well as braking. The treads are also siped so that mud, snow, and water will shed quickly.
- A front-specific tire designed for steering duty and improved handling around corners.
- Kevlar sidewalls protect against sharp rocks and pinch flats.
- Designed to work well in both summer and winter conditions.
- 120 TPI, tubeless-ready.
Awesome traction in the back
The Lou is Surly’s rear-specific fat tire designed to be used alongside Bud (or any other front-specific fat tire). It has tall treads that bite deep into the ground to provide good stability on a variety of surfaces. The Lou’s center tread pattern consists of long knobs that run perpendicular to the tire’s direction of spin, resulting in more traction while accelerating and better stability overall.
- Rear specific tire which optimizes stableness and quick acceleration.
- Extra tall knobs are suitable for a variety of unfavorable riding surfaces.
- 120 TPI, tubeless-ready.
Maxxis Minion FBR
Fat take on a classic DH design
The Maxxis Minion originally came about as a downhill tire and quickly became famous for its great durability and performance on demanding rides. The FBR is a rear-specific, fat version of the classic Minion. It shares the same legendary tread pattern, dual tread compound, and EXO/TR sidewall technology as the Maxxis DHR II, only in a fatter width. Pair the FBR with a Minion FBF or any other front-specific fat bike tire for a high-performance setup that will last for years.
- Rear-specific tire optimized for fast acceleration and stability.
- Dual tread compound for a fast-rolling center with tacky edges that provide better cornering.
- EXO/TR sidewall technology is tubeless-ready yet still provides burly protection against punctures and cuts.
- 120 TPI, folding tire.
26 x 3.8
Aggressive and fast!
The Surly Nate is an aggressive tire with a fast-rolling center meant to take on any type of condition thrown at it. The tread design is somewhat similar to their rear-specific Lou, but it also has an extra tread that wraps around the side. Nate is designed for unruly trails, ones that are off-camber and therefore easy to slip off without superior grip.
- A fast-rolling center with tall siped treads is ideal for racing and riding on difficult terrain.
- Supple tire casing with widely spaced knobs feels extra grippy and smooth.
- Heavy and light sidewall options for maximizing either weight savings or durability.
- 60/120TPI, tubeless-ready.
Best 27.5″ Fat Bike Tires
TERAVAIL CORONADO 27.5″ PLUS TIRE
27.5 x 3
Super reliable 27.5+
Teravail’s Coronado tire is a plus-sized 27.5 that will fit on many modern mountain bike frames that aren’t explicitly designed for fat tires. It has a wide enough profile that it floats over sand and allows for more exploration compared to regular mountain bike tires. The Coronado comes in two different weights, as well as black and tan sidewall options.
- The Tan sidewall option is an easy way to add style to any bike.
- Three inch profile works well on sandy rides where skinnier tires would sink.
- Dual tread with aramid fiber reinforcement is durable and grippy
- 60/120 TPI, tubeless-ready.
TERRENE CAKE EATER
Full fat 27.5 winter tire
The Cake Eater from Terrene is a 27.5 fat tire that can be used with extra studs during winter and without them during the summer when they become unnecessary. The treads in the center are relatively short and make the tire roll faster while the outer tread is tall and helps with steering on slippery surfaces. The Cake eater is an incredibly capable tire that will shred in even the toughest of conditions.
- Custom studdable side tread provides extra traction in bad conditions.
- A combination of short and tall treads gives a good balance between speed and grip
- 120 TPI, tubeless-ready.
Best 29″ Plus Bike Tires
SURLY DIRT WIZARD
The Dirt Wizards are a great way to transform a 29er into a more capable offroad bike that can handle rolling over sand, mud, dirt, and snow. The extra knobby design bites into slippery surfaces well and holds bikes on track more than most other 29+ tires on the market. For extending a 29-inch tire to handle more challenging surfaces, the Dirt Wizard is a great choice.
- Tall knobby tread design rips into many different riding surfaces with ease
- Two different weights give a choice between heavy-duty durability and gram-saving speed.
- Anti-cut nylon inserts protect the sidewall.
- 60/120 TPI, tubeless-ready.
WTB RANGER TOUGH
The Ranger is WTB’s “do it all” tire meant to ride anywhere from singletrack trail to bikepacking adventures. It has a tread pattern that balances speed, traction, and weight nicely. The tough has a dual-ply 60 TPI casing, is more durable and heavier than the single-ply version and gets better reviews when viewed in comparison. For transforming a 29er rig into a more capable offroad machine, the Ranger from WTB is tough to beat.
- Fast-rolling center tread mixed with knobs around the sides for well-rounded performance.
- Dual-ply casing is long-lasting whether used on local trails or multi-country trips.
- Multi-directional siping on the tread helps shed muck fast.
- 60 TPI, tubeless-ready.
What About the Fat Bike Tire Tubes?
t’s recommended to pick up some tubes along with tires in order to install them quickly and test them out before committing to going tubeless. Check out some different options below.