Do Fat Bikes Need Suspension? It Depends

Are you an all-year rider and wondering whether or not you need a suspension on your fat bike for the snowless season? If so, you aren’t alone. Where or not fat bikes need suspension really depends on the rider and terrain. Let’s so if suspension is right for you.

Why Most Fat Bikes Don’t Have Suspension

Most fat bikes on the market don’t come with suspension. In fact, it is only until recently that suspensions are being installed on fat bikes.

Traditionally, fit bikes didn’t have suspension because they were created to be ridden on snow and sand where a suspension isn’t needed. Any vibrations or bumps that did happen were easily absorbed by the wide low-pressure tires that acted as shock absorbers.

Other riders still hold the belief that fat bikes are only for snow riding. While fat bikes were originally invented for that purpose, riders are now using fat bikes all year round.

With more ridding and more terrain, comes the need for more suspension. While some still prefer a rigid fork, tires don’t quite offer the same type of suspension that a well-tuned suspended fork does.

Should You get Suspension?

Full suspension fat bike
A full suspension fat bike

Hands down, fat bikes, are comfortable and easy to ride. They are perfect for many riders, but should you still get a suspension?

I would say YES.

If you plan to ride your fat bike all year round, I would advise you to get the suspension.

When riding on smooth snow, the vibration and shock are minimal. In this terrain, a suspension may seem like unnecessary as it adds additional weight to your already heavy bike. But things are different when riding on super rough snowy, sandy, or rocky terrain. Often, the vibration is just too much and even with the stability of the large tires, a suspension can make for a much better ride.

A suspension gives you better control by granting you better steering precision. A suspension also helps you not feel any impact on the trail, boosting your confidence as you ride.

Can You Install a Suspension on a Fat Bike?

Yes, you add suspension to a fat bike. If you are sold on the idea of a suspension but don’t want to buy a new suspended fat bike, you can always install a suspension one. I would, however, advise that you get a professional to fix for you.

You can get a full-suspension fat bike on the market, though most riders will prefer the front suspension. Rear suspension is an option, but it will often add on too much weight on your bike for most riders’ liking.

Whether you choose a rigid or suspension fork, remember that the fat tires are for grip and traction, while the suspension is for control. A fat tire is not an alternative to a suspension. Each has its entirely different use but both work together to optimize your riding ability.