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The Pros and Cons of E-Bikes and Fat Tire Bikes Versus Bicycles

 Posted on: November 10th, 2021

The Pros and Cons of E-Bikes and Fat Tire Bikes Versus Bicycles
Riding through the rocky terrian with a Fat Tire Bike

Looking for a cycling option outside your standard bicycles? You might consider researching electric bicycles (e-bikes) or fat tire bikes as an alternative.

Both of these bikes provide you with a way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors, but each also has drawbacks, such as the relative lack of transportation options when compared to the selection of carriers for standard bicycles.

Elevate Outdoor E-Bike/Fat Tire Bike Rack
The Elevate Outdoor E-Bike/Fat Tire Bike Rack has wider platforms to accommodate the larger tires.

Here’s a look at the advantages and disadvantages of these types of bikes to help you make your decision.

E-Bike example
Example of Model X E-Bike. Image belongs to Electric Bike Company


Some of the advantages of electric bikes include:

  • Accessible exercise: E-bikes are a great option for people who want to exercise more but have health conditions that limit their physical activity and capabilities. E-bikes allow you to control how much assistance you get from the motor, so people of all health and fitness levels can get the right difficulty level for their needs.
  • Fun with others: Because of the accessibility of these bikes for people of all fitness levels, you can get out and enjoy time on the trails with your whole family or any friends, regardless of their cycling skill level.
  • Farther travel: E-bikes allow you to reduce the amount of effort you put in to your ride to the point where you can extend your rides nearly twice as far, or more!
  • Cheap transportation option: When compared to other types of transportation, such as mopeds or vehicles, electric bikes are much less expensive, and you don’t have to worry about paying for parking or refueling a gas tank.

However, there are some drawbacks of e-bikes, such as:

  • Cost versus standard bikes: While the cost of e-bikes versus mopeds is much more affordable in most cases, the cost versus standard bikes is typically going to be much greater. This means you’ll need to make a significant upfront investment, and thus must be sure you will continue to use the bike for a long time.
  • Specialized parts: Standard bicycle parts are simple and easy to find, and DIY enthusiasts can easily do their own bike maintenance. This gets more complex with e-bikes, which have more specialized parts that aren’t as easy to find or work with.
  • Legality: The relatively new nature of e-bikes occasionally creates some legal gray areas for how they should be treated on the road. There isn’t any similar gray area with standard bikes.
Fat Tire Bike example
Example of Fat Tire Bike.

Fat tire bikes

The other option we will look at is fat tire bikes, which are just what they sound like: bicycles with oversized tires. Here’s a quick look at the advantages:

  • Traction: The larger contact surface of the tire with the ground results in better grip and traction, which is particularly beneficial for riders that like to ride on soft or unstable terrain. This means if you do a lot of trail or dirt riding, this will be a better option for you than many types of standard bicycles.
  • Versatility: That traction for soft and unstable ground also makes the bike highly versatile. You can bring out the fat tires for just about any type of condition and trust that you’re going to get good results. The same is not true for every type of standard bike.

Some drawbacks to consider before purchasing a fat tire bike include:

  • Expense: Like e-bikes, fat tire bikes are going to be more expensive than standard bikes because they are more specialized. The special rims, tubes, tires and other components all cost more, raising the overall price of the bike.
  • Weight: Fat tire bikes weigh more than standard bikes, which isn’t surprising, when you consider the greater size of many of the important components. There are some manufacturers selling bike frames with lighter materials, like carbon fiber, but this increases the expense.
  • Slow: The heavier frames, decreased tire pressure and greater friction with the ground (which can make it harder to pedal) really hampers the speed of these bikes. If you’re looking to get around quickly, this isn’t the bike for you. But in areas and terrains where speed isn’t the primary concern, they perform great.

Be sure to keep all of these considerations in mind when trying to determine which type of bike is best for your needs.