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Will 4 inch tires work in soft sand, or do I need wider?

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Will 4 inch tires work in soft sand, or do I need wider?

Old 03-18-21, 06:46 PM
  #1  
Queequeg9800
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Will 4 inch tires work in soft sand, or do I need wider?

Planning to do some riding in very soft sand on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I've been trying hard to find a bike with the widest tires possible (e.g. 4.8 inch). However I'm coming up empty despite lots of searching on eBay, Bikes Direct, LBS retailers, Craigslist, etc etc.

However there are bikes available that can take up to 4 inch tires. Anyone have experience riding four inchers in soft sand, and might be willing to share? I'm driving a long way to the coast, and won't have the opportunity to test in advance.

Would be grateful for advice. Thank you!
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Old 03-18-21, 11:36 PM
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MarcusT
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4 in tires are a challenge on soft sand, but doable if you have strong legs. 5 would be much better. If you cannot find any for sale, perhaps you could consider renting one. I know many of the tourist towns are full of rental places.
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Old 03-21-21, 03:52 PM
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Ted Noiz
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Originally Posted by Queequeg9800 View Post
Planning to do some riding in very soft sand on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I've been trying hard to find a bike with the widest tires possible (e.g. 4.8 inch). However I'm coming up empty despite lots of searching on eBay, Bikes Direct, LBS retailers, Craigslist, etc etc.

However there are bikes available that can take up to 4 inch tires. Anyone have experience riding four inchers in soft sand, and might be willing to share? I'm driving a long way to the coast, and won't have the opportunity to test in advance.

Would be grateful for advice. Thank you!
My Specialized FUSE had 3" knobby tires and did perfectly on soft sand. It's all about the tire pressure. The softer the landscape--the softer the pressure. I drove my bike on the beach along the river, all soft sand, and even in the river to about half of the wheel in water. The deeper you get into the water however the bike will eventually start to float and you will come off the bike. Even a plus bike will do fine on soft sand if the air pressure is right.
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Old 03-22-21, 07:56 AM
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Hypno Toad
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I'll second Ted's post. I ride a Pugsley with 3.8" tires ... the tires, tread & pressure are the most important thing on soft conditions (sand or snow). Invest in high thread count tires, making the sidewalls softer at lower pressures, that is more important than 4 vs 5 inch tires.

I run Fat B Nimble in the summer for mostly gravel roads, and I run Dillinger4 in the winter for snow and all the fun winter stuff. I'll run the Dillinger4 tires under 4psi (~210 lbs rider with Pug), and I can ride unbroken trails ... it's will wear me out quickly, but it's ridable.

Frau Toad has Jumbo Jim for her Pug, and if I was picking a tire to focus on sandy conditions, I'd go with the Jumbo Jim.

This article has good info on tires for sand:
https://fatbikeplanet.com/5-best-fat...d-riding-2020/
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Old 03-22-21, 08:21 AM
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It depends whether the sand is damp or dry.

It is easy to ride a fat bike on damp sand. No doubt, some of the previous posters are talking about damp sand. Obviously the salt water will quickly destroy the bike.

You wont successfully ride a bike on dry sand. For dry sand, you need at least 400 mm (16 inch) wide tires.
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Old 03-22-21, 08:39 AM
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4.8" schwalbe Jumbo Jims at 4.5-6.0 psi gets me over sand all day long.

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Old 03-22-21, 10:18 AM
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Ted Noiz
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
It depends whether the sand is damp or dry.

It is easy to ride a fat bike on damp sand. No doubt, some of the previous posters are talking about damp sand. Obviously the salt water will quickly destroy the bike.

You wont successfully ride a bike on dry sand. For dry sand, you need at least 400 mm (16 inch) wide tires.
Seth, on a cheap Dolomite with dry sand, wet sand AND saltwater. Search his YouTube video: " Fatbiking in the wake of a cruise ship" HILARIOUS!
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Old 03-22-21, 04:06 PM
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Giant uses a 4.5" tire on their Yukon Fat bike. That's probably best. Perhaps with a light rider like myself at 140 lbs a 4" tire would be good in dry sand too. Perhaps the same traction as a 170 lb rider with the 4.5" tire.

I tried riding my mountain bike with 2.125" tires in dry sand. Good luck with that, I got about 50' scratching and clawing my way every foot. I didn't realize those beach cruisers with 2" tires do so well in sand because they ride on the damp sand near the water. So I tried it. Sure enough, No problem with my 2.125" knobby tires.

If your riding along the shore, You might be fine with 4" or even narrower tires, Even the 2" beach cruisers use. Those Fat bikes with a 4.5" tire are probably crucial for desert dwellers where dry sand is every where. Even my comfort bike with 1.95" tires is fine for grass, soft gravel and stones (with the right gear selection) I'm likely to encounter where I live, But dry sand is a whole different story.
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Old 03-22-21, 06:15 PM
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Don't know about the relative merits of 4 vs 5", but just thought I'd mention I just ordered this bike, and it's currently in stock and has 4.9" tires.
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...d-fatbikes.htm

I'm also hoping to ride in soft sand ...
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Old 03-25-21, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by trace View Post
Don't know about the relative merits of 4 vs 5", but just thought I'd mention I just ordered this bike, and it's currently in stock and has 4.9" tires.
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...d-fatbikes.htm

I'm also hoping to ride in soft sand ...
usable.

4.9 will definitely do. Good and fat! Experiment a lot with different lower tire pressures and find what works for you.
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