Fat bikes open up a whole new world of riding possibilities. With their ultra-wide tires that excel on sand, snow and everything in between, fat bikes allow you to explore areas and conditions that are off limits to traditional mountain bikes. As interest in fat biking soars, so does demand for must-have accessories to enhance the fat biking experience. In this guide for fat bike newcomers and veterans alike, we’ll cover the key accessories to make your fat bike adventures more fun, comfortable and hassle-free.
Tires: Gain Traction on Any Terrain
The heart of any fat bike is found in its extra-wide tires, which typically range from 3.8-5 inches across. Wider than traditional mountain bike tires, these fat rubber shoes provide unmatched traction and floatation to tackle surfaces like snow, sand and loose dirt where narrower tires would simply spin out.
Upgrading to high-quality aftermarket tires can make a big difference in how your fat bike performs. Look for deep, widely-spaced knobs on tires to provide grip when riding over soft surfaces. Popular tire options include:
Surly Bud – This 4-inch tire offers a smooth center tread for low rolling resistance combined with square-edged shoulder knobs for cornering bite. A great all-around choice for trail and snow riding.
45NRTH Flowbeist – With a responsive casing and spaced-out, ramped knobs, the Flowbeist excels at shedding muck when riding in sloppy spring conditions.
Tire pressure also has a major influence on traction and ride feel on a fat bike. For most winter and soft surface riding, air down to 6-9psi to increase contact area. Be prepared to fine-tune pressure for conditions. Consider investing in a quality floor pump with pressure gauge.
Headwear: Guard Against Cold Temps
When the thermometer plummets, having proper cold weather headgear is vital for lasting more than a few minutes in frigid temps. Look for the following features when choosing hats and balaclavas for fat biking:
Wind Resistance – Windproof fleece or softshell hat materials prevent heat-sapping airflow to your head. Some models feature ear flaps for additional protection.
Moisture Wicking – Stay drier by choosing base layers and balaclavas made with sweat-wicking synthetics like polyester instead of cotton.
Full Face Coverage – For extreme cold, a balaclava offers full protection for vulnerable areas like your nose and checks. Fleece-lined neoprene versions offer wind resistance as well.
Popular picks include Seirus Innovation’s Combo Scarf, featuring a fleece outer layer and wicking liner, and the Pearl iZUMi PRO AmFIB Lite balaclava with one-way moisture transfer to keep your face dry. Staying warm and comfortable lets you extend the ride.
Footwear: Shield Feet From the Cold
Embracing winter riding conditions means keeping extremities like hands and feet shielded from freezing temps and biting wind chill. For keeping your feet warm while fat biking, turn to winter cycling shoes and booties designed to lock in heat down to -20°F and lower.
Key features to look for include:
Insulation – Primaloft and Thinsulate synthetic insulation materials retain warmth even when wet. Levels from 200g and higher provide ample warmth for most riders.
Weather Protection – Windproof, water-resistant uppers and sealed seams prevent snow and moisture from seeping in to cool your feet.
Closure System – Durable materials like Boa dials and hardy hook-and-loop closures stand up to freezing muck that can jam up zippers and laces.
Top picks for fat biking footwear include 45NRTH’s Japanther Boots featuring 400g Primaloft insulation, the Lake MXZ 303 with a neoprene collar to block drafts, and Pearl iZUMi’s Celsius line which uses recyclable Primaloft insulation to keep your piggies toasty.
Hydration Packs: Carry Water Onboard
Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you won’t work up a thirst while logging winter miles on your fat bike. Staying properly hydrated is important even when temperatures drop. That’s where a solid winter hydration pack comes in handy, allowing you to carry water while keeping it from freezing solid.
Seeking a pack purpose-built for fat biking and cold weather? Look for these helpful features:
Insulation – Sections of the reservoir and drink tube that contact the liquid feature insulation to slow heat transfer and keep liquids drinkably cool even when it’s frigid out. Popular insulating materials include neoprene and foil laminates.
Bite Valve Covers – Silicone or plastic covers for the drink nozzle prevent the liquid inside from freezing on contact with icy air while also keeping out trail grit.
Easy Filling – Wide mouth openings equipped with lockable slider seals make adding water a cinch while preventing spills, even with thick gloves on.
Top rated hydration packs include the Osprey Dyna series with insulated drink tubes and lockable bite valves, and the Platypus Tokul XC featuring an easy-access external fill port. Stay fueled up no matter what winter throws at you!
Handlebar Mitts: Guard Fingers From Frostbite
When riding fat bikes on snowy trails, it’s common for handlebars to become caked in frozen precipitation and ice. Grasping these frosty bars with bare hands is a recipe for painful frostbite and reduced control from numb fingers. The solution lies in handlebar mitts. Designed to shield your paws from direct contact with freezing aluminum bars, these cocoon-like mittens allow you to grip normally while keeping delicate digits toasty.
Seeking maximum warmth for your hands when the mercury plummets? Keep these features in mind when comparing options:
Weather Protection – Wind and water-resistant uppers reinforced with durable materials stand up to winter precipitation while locking in heat.
Cinch Systems – Elastic closures, Boa dials and hook-and-loop straps deliver a snug fit around wrists to close gaps where cold air intrudes.
Bar Connection – Mitts that feature reinforced panels connecting across the middle of the bar reduce heat loss by covering more surface area.
When shopping, look for models like 45NRTH’s Cobrafist mitts made with weatherproof, breathable shells or Bar Mitts’ extenders that transform normal gloves into toasty bar coverage. Don’t let icy trails freeze your fun!
GPS Devices: Stay Found in the Backcountry
Fat bikes open the door to venturing deep into remote winter wonderlands far off the beaten path. But stray too far into the backcountry and it’s easy to become disoriented among endless snow drifts once darkness falls. Heading out for wintery backcountry adventures calls for packing an emergency GPS locator beacon to pinpoint your location should you become stranded. These compact devices have come a long way in recent years with upgraded designs tailored for mountain sports.
When evaluating emergency locator beacons, keep an eye out for the following helpful traits:
Mapping Displays – Onboard color screens show your plotted route, ideal for keeping bearings without pulling out a separate device. Helpful for navigation assistance if caught after nightfall.
Smartphone Connectivity – Sync GPS data with a paired phone via Bluetooth to access downloaded maps and share ride details.
Impact Resistance – Ruggedized casings withstand jarring trail impacts and ultra-cold temperature extremes. Reassuring durability for active mountain use.
Well-rated locator beacons include the Garmin inReach Mini 2 and Somewear Labs’ Global Hotspot device with intelligent tracking features. Don’t let uncertain terrain leave you stranded — stay findable with a trusty GPS locator.
Exploring snow-covered landscapes by fat bike opens up cold weather riding possibilities like never before. With the must-have accessories detailed above, from toasty warm boots to emergency locators, you’ll be fully equipped to make the most of every frozen opportunity. Hit the icy trails in comfort and safety by gearing up with the ultimate winter accessories for maximum fat biking fun. Let it snow, let it snow!