If you have just bought a fat bike, congratulations and welcome to a fun riding future. One thing you might want to think about before it is too late is making sure you can inflate your tires, both in the event of getting a flat, or simply because they have gone down a little and you want to get a better riding experience. But do you need a special pump for fat bike tires? They are bigger, after all, so you would be right to think this. Well in this guide, I will answer that question.
For those looking for the short answer…
No, you don’t need a special pump for fat bike tires and you can use any normal bike pump. To make your life as easy as possible though, you should make sure you have a pump that has a pressure gauge, can output a lot of air per pump and has the right valve for your tire.
Want to learn more? Then read on…
Do You Need a Special Pump for Fat Bike Tires?
Fat bike tires are bigger than the tires on other bikes, which means they need a lot more air. Whilst you might think that this would require a special pump, you would be surprised to learn that you don’t. You can actually use any bike pump you have to inflate your tires.
Whilst you might not need a special pump, there are some particular features that you should look for when buying a pump for your fat bike:
1. Pressure Gauge
When riding fat-tire bikes, you don’t tend to pump your tires up to be fully firm, like you would do with a road bike. To ensure you get the right tire pressure, you should make sure you buy a pump with a pressure gauge.
2. Large Inflation Capacity
Whilst you will be inflating the tires to a lower PSI, they still need a lot of air. Pumping a fully flat tire up with a small hand pump is going to take a while. You should therefore try and get a fat bike pump that has a high air output per pump.
3. Tire Value
Make sure that any pump you buy has the correct adapter for the value type on your bike tire. There are two main types of value, Schrader and Presta, which require different adapters.
Related: How Do CO2 Cartridges Work?
How Do You Pump up Fat Bike Tires?
Pumping up a fat bike tire is a fairly simple process and is the same as it is with any other bike tire.
- Check the valve type on your bike
- Attach your pump to your tire valve
- Inflate the tire/inner tube
- Check the PSI on the tire
- Remove the pump from the tire
What Pressure Should My Fat Bike Tires Be?
In order to ensure a smooth ride over snow, sand, and other winter terrains, it is important to properly inflate your tires. In addition to traction, tire pressure also affects the bike’s handling and efficiency in slushy conditions. The best way to have a fat bike that expires well on snow is to determine what pressure feels right for you. This will vary from rider to rider based upon weight, terrain, riding style, etc., but generally speaking, if you are comfortable with the feel of your current pressures, then they’re probably fine.
We have a more comprehensive guide to fat bike tire pressures if you want to get the most optimised PSI for your riding conditions but in general. As a general rule of thumb though, you should have a tire pressure of between 10-12 PSI for riding on harder surfaces and between 4-6 for riding on softer surfaces, such as snow and sand.
So there you go, you don’t need to get a special pump for your fat bike tires. If you already have a pump lying around, this will probably do. However, if you want to fine-tune your tire pressures, or simply make life a little easier for yourself, you should get a pump with a pressure gauge and a high volume of air output per pump.
Andy is an avid cyclist who enjoys nothing more than a ride out in the hills. Competing in track, road, time trial and mountain bike events in the past, he prefers slower rides out with his family these days.