I reviewed 7 of the best fat tire bikes to find out which one offered the best value and is ultimately the best fat bike around.
As a cyclist who likes to try out all corners of the sport, fat tire bikes are an exciting one. They still have that novelty element, y'know?
But maybe electric bikes aren't your thing so let's consider the other best fat bikes around to see what is your thing! 🙂
|Preview||Bike Model||No. Of Speeds||Suspension Type||Wheel Size||Brake Style||More Information|
|Framed Minnesota 1.0||10||Hardtail||26”||Mechanical Disc||CHECK PRICE|
|Mongoose Juneau||6||Rigid||26”||Mechanical Disc||CHECK PRICE|
|Mongoose Dolomite||7||Rigid||26”||Machanical Disc||CHECK PRICE|
|Ecotric 26'' Electric Fat Bike||7||Hardtail||26”||Mechanical Disc||CHECK PRICE|
|Surly Ice Cream Truck Fat Bike||12||Hardtail||26”||Mechanical Disc||Check Price|
|Cyrusher XF900 750W Electric Fat Bike||21||Full-Suspension||26”||Hydraulic Disc||CHECK PRICE|
|Trek Farley 5 Fat Bike||10||Rigid||27.5”||Hydraulic Disc||Check Price|
I'm going to get straight in with Framed. These guys have a good name in the fat bike market and they're known for producing high-quality bikes that don't cost the earth.
With the Minnesota, you get a 6061 Aluminum alloy frame and fork. This helps to keep the weight of the fat bike down so it remains easy to control when you're on the trails.
Framed claim that the Minnesota is the fat bike that made fat bikes what they are today...I'm not going to argue with that claim.
They have made several key changes to this Minnesota fat tire bike, in previous years it has a SRAM 1x9 drivetrain, and whilst that was perfectly fine, they've now opted for a Shimano Deore M6000 wide-range 1x10 drivetrain.
It's more precise so your gear changes will be smoother and it should give you all the gearing you need.
One reason I particularly like this fat tire bike is that it's a 1x system with the drivetrain, operated by Shimano Deore shifters. 1x drivetrains make life simple if you need to change gear quickly, you have only one chainring to contend with.
Disc braking is done by mechanical brakes, whilst not the best, they are going to adequate and stop you when you need it. Another big plus is that the performance won't be affected by poor weather, or even if you're cycling in the snow!
A lot of this fat bike is branded Framed and many of the components are Framed and clearly so. It's something I like because it shows that they have faith in their products. Would you put on your name on something you weren't proud of?... I wouldn't!
Mongoose is a brand well know in the mountain biking world (some would say of the best) and they're taking the fat bike world by storm too.
The Mongoose Juneau is a fat tire bike designed for hitting the trails. With these fat bikes, you get an aluminum frame, making things lightweight, yet, sturdy and keeps the fat bike nimble.
It comes with a Corsa steel fork, that works well to absorb the rocks, roots, etc along the terrain.
Tire pressures are important on a bike, particularly a fat tire bike, with this Mongoose Juneau model the tire pressure can be adjusted depending on your flotation needs so it gives you the best chance of finding the most comfortable position.
This fat bike comes with 26" tires and in typical fat tire fashion, they are 4 inches wide. So if you're looking for a fat bike that will be responsive and reactive then this could be the fat bike for you.
I like that Mongoose thought to mount the tires on Cora alloy rims as this helps to keep the weight down.
Moreover, the tires are deep and have thick knobs so if you want to take your fat bike in the snow and sand, it's going to be more than capable.
The Juneau comes with a Shimano Tourney drivetrain, with 16-speeds. If I'm looking for a weak point in this fat bike, I would say it's here. 16-speeds are perfect for a fat tire bike. It's unlikely you're going to be taking on steep hills...but even if you are, it's going to be capable. The number of gears is pretty much perfect.
Shimano Tourney isn't the best groupset that money can buy. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad and it's certainly going to be sufficient for the majority of riders and if in due course, you feel like you want to upgrade, a groupset can be upgraded relatively easily.
As with many bikes in the fat bike sector, the Mongoose comes with disc brakes. Disc brake performance is superior to that of rim brake and for a fat bike, that's pretty essential. Let's face it, they're big bikes and you could be traveling at speed so you need to know that you can stop when you want to.
The Mongoose Juneau is available in one frame but it will accommodate a wide range of cyclists, from 5'4" to 6'2".
Overall, this fat tire mountain bike is a gentle giant that takes you into its grasps and keeps you safe for whatever adventure you want to go on!
It's an entry-level fat bike that won't just appeal to beginners but anyone who wants to try out a fat tire mountain bike!
I know, I know, another fat bike from Mongoose...what can I say? They know what they're doing!
This fat tire bike is an entry-level bike, it's affordable and for the price, it's feature-packed...impressively so.
You are somewhat restricted as far as size is concerned as it's available in Large, otherwise known as 18". It does cover a good range of rider heights though, 5'6" to 6'.
One point I will say that this fat tire bicycle is designed to be used on the sand as a beach cruiser, not as a replacement for mountain bikes.
You get a solid steel frame and the forks can take a tire width of 4.5" so a fair amount of scope to widen the tires if you find that you want/need to.
A steel frame does add weight but it also ensures that the bike is durable and built to last. Whatever material you choose for your frame, there is always going to be some degree of compromise so it's just a matter of deciding what that will be!
The fat bike comes with 26" x 4" Kenda Juggernaut tires and to finish it off, the rims are 80mm but they have cutouts and this keeps the weight down. It's another example of how Mongoose has thought through the design of this fat bike.
As a result, you get a nice durable frame that sits on huge tires. Frankly, rolling terrain is no match, this fat bike goes over snow and sand easily...though I'd recommend low-inflated tires for this!
Moving onto the braking system, surprising for the price, you get some nice mechanical discs so stopping power isn't going to be an issue.
There is a 1x7 Shimano drivetrain, and that comes with a Sunrace cassette. You may be thinking that a 7-speed option isn't enough but in most cases, it's going to be perfect.
However, if you do have a lot of climbing you want to do on your adventure then perhaps this isn't the bicycle for you.
Overall, the Mongoose Dolomite is one of the best fat tire bikes available on a budget. Thanks to the components, it will be suitable for riding all year round, even on rough terrains.
A fat bike with a difference... an electric one! This electric fat tire bike comes with a 500-watt brushless rear motor so you're going to have power when you need it most.
You get a choice of assist settings; pedaling without assistance, pedal-assist, or pure electric.
You're now probably wondering about range?
Well if you choose pure electric mode then you're looking at getting up to 18.5 miles on a single charge. This does vary depending on the terrain, your weight, and other factors.
Speaking of rider weight, the maximum rider weight is 265lbs.
When you use it with pedal-assist mode, you should be looking at around a 33-mile range on a single charge.
If that's not enough:
The machine is powerful and so is the battery at 36V/13Ah. The good news is that it's easy to charge as it's removable so you aren't limited to taking the full-fat bike to a charging point. This may not seem like a hassle but I can tell you, in practice, it certainly can be!
I do like the fact the charging time is around 6 - 8 hours which is the general length of a shift at work so you can pop the battery on charge when you get into the office and know you've got a full charge when you leave.
To enhance security the battery can get locked into position on the fat bike.
When you have the battery switched on, this fat bike can reach a top speed of 25mph before the bike will cut out, and then you're left to pedal on your own.
For some, I get that 25 mph may not seem very quick, especially if you're used to traveling by car but as a cyclist, I can tell you that you're going to want to have that backed up with some serious stopping power.
Fortunately, Ecotric has equipped this fat tire bike with mechanical discs so stopping at speed shouldn't be a problem.
As an electric fat tire mountain bike, it has lots to offer and offers some of the best value.
Whilst it isn't the lightest of fat tire bikes at 72lbs, it's not the heaviest and the manufacturer has taken steps to keep the weight of the fat bike as low as possible by using an aluminum frame. It remains durable but it saves a few lbs when compared to steel. So it could be argued that it's the best of both worlds.
The front suspension makes for a comfortable ride, particularly when paired with the fat tires that help you to take the rough terrains, sand, and snow with ease and comfort.
What's so good about the Ice Cream Truck? Well, the steel frame, superb geometry, and the excellent Shimano SLX drivetrain.
Something I hear people say about fat-tire bikes is that you don't get much feeling when you ride them. To some extent, I do know what they mean.
However, when it comes to this fat tire bike, I disagree. It features a steel frame and its responsiveness is fantastic.
I think that's the point with a steel frame, it either works for you, or it doesn't. It works through the snow, sand, and mud without much trouble at all.
That feeling is definitely enhanced by the geometry of the Ice Cream Truck. It has a playful feel to it...it's fun to ride.
In many ways, this fat bike feels like a downhill bike. As it rolls over easy terrain, there is a bright, lively feel to it, I have to admit, it's quite addictive!
That coupled with the fact that the head tube has some slackness to it, gives you a solid, stable feel when you're going downhill or taking on rough terrains.
You can't help but get the feeling that this fat tire bike is there for an adventure. Surly has ensured that you can have almost any attachment you want on this fat bike, though I've got news for you top-tube bag fans...there's no room for those here.
I can't fault the components on this fat tire bike. They're high-end in places, mid-range in others. I especially like that it comes with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes (Tektro 520) as it's a step up from mechanical.
The tires are great, 4.8" Surly Bud and Lou tires, with great traction. They sit on My Other Brother Daryl's wheels. These feel like a match made in heaven on this fat bike.
I like that the tires are tubeless-ready, though would I make the switch?
Probably not when it comes to fat-tire bikes. For most other bikes, I'm all for the tubeless system, I find it comfortable and takes away some worry.
However, when it comes to fat-tire bikes, I don't feel it's needed, it could potentially be more hassle than it's worth.
The best bit of this fat bike?
The key feature of this fat tire bike has to be the drivetrain, Shimano SLX 12-speed drivetrain.
SLX is a quality drivetrain from Shimano and it's going to give you smooth, reliable, and responsive shifting, even when you're in rougher conditions.
Shimano SLX does cost more money than other drivetrains, I can't argue that, however, I do feel like it's a fantastic option for fat bikes. It never misses a beat, shifting is smooth, regardless of load.
Sure, some people are all for SRAM SX Eagle and I can see how it works well but SLX works perfectly on these fat-tire bikes.
I would recommend that you keep an eye out for is the sizing. I would recommend it with any of the bike models but Surly seems to be shorter than most manufacturers' models...which isn't a bad thing, it's just a fact.
Something which a few reviews have noticed that when you order a fat bike from Surly is that they arrive with a lot of grease in the hubs.
Why is this bad?
It can cause engagement issues quite quickly if you're riding somewhere where it's not going to be an idea...a cold climate for example.
If that's you, then you're going to want to strip these fat tire bikes down and find a lighter grease as this will be more resistant to colder weather.
As I say, these are tiny niggles and this fat bike is a winner. It's durable and designed to stand the test of time, that's for sure.
If you're looking for a fat tire bike that can offer you a little something different from the competition, then this model should be on your list.
The bottom bracket, height, stack, and reach all make this ride different from other fat bikes. It feels like it's got spirit and a playful side, that's more than happy to come out to play when you ask it!
Of course, that may not be for everybody but if you do a mix of riding then it could be the best fat tire bike for you.
If you're into long, straight terrain, then it may not be the best choice, but give it a test ride and see what you think!
Electric bikes are taking the world by storm and their popularity is always increasing so it feels only right that we should look at another e-bike. This time, a lot of inspiration has come from the motorcycle so something a little different!
Cyrusher aren't new to the e-bike world and they're causing quite a stir as they offer decent components at an attractive price point.
This fat bike is being marketed as a dual-purpose bike, good on trails and as a city bike. It's designed to take on any mountain you encounter, snow or no snow.
Basically, they started with a motorcycle-style concept and turned it into a fat bike and somehow it works really well!
This motorcycle design is apparent from the double-crown suspension fork at the front. I have to give it to Cyrusher, it looks to be more robust than a usual mountain bike so it does give you a sense that it's going to be perfect for rough riding.
If I'm looking to be disappointed in the appearance, it would be at the rear, the suspension is quite discreet, which is unusual for fat bikes/mountain bikes but it certainly does the job so I shouldn't complain.
The motors of these fat tire bikes are powerful, at 750W, you can reach a top speed of 28mph...whether you can legally or not, is something you need to be aware of so be sure to check the laws surrounding e-bikes in your country!
So these fat bikes are fast, how well can you stop?
Very well! The Cyrusher comes with Tektro hydraulic disc brakes front and rear so it effectively has everything you need.
When it comes to braking power, you get a decent set of Tektro hydraulic brakes that work with 180mm rotors.
The battery is removable and has an impressive range of 50 miles on a single charge. Charging time isn't a hardship either, you're only looking at around 4 - 6 hours for this fat tire bike to fully charge. Battery-wise, that's one of the best we've seen.
To top things off you get a nice 250-lumen headlight (personally I'd top this up with a more powerful one too if you're going to be doing a lot of night riding), an LCD display so you can see your range, speed, and other stats and 4" Kenda Juggernaut tires so keep you comfortable.
Want to see a video review? Check this out.
The Farley models are Trek's fat bike range. The Trek Farley 5 is the base model, it's affordable and at an attractive price point, which ought to get people interested in fat bikes.
Trek say it's a solid expedition bike and I'm with them on that one, it would keep any mountain biker happy.
The components give you great performance, as you'd expect from Trek. It's one of the best fat bikes when it comes to value for money as you get a first-class performance from this bike.
If you've ever come into contact with a frame from Trek, you'll know that they're good quality and the Trek Farley is no expectation.
In typical Trek fashion, it's a sleek and understated design (okay, apart from the standard large logo on the down tube!). It looks purposeful.
The geometry is set up for all-round use and all the cabling is internal, including the dropper seatpost hydraulics.
There is a horizontal dropout and that's ready for geared or single speed use. This is one of few fat tire bikes that is available in a large range of sizes; riders from 5' up to 6'8" will be able to find a Trek Farley 5 to fit them.
We've seen a few fat bikes that have opted to put a suspension on at the front. There isn't a right or a wrong. For Trek, they've decided not to, preferring to give you a rigid fork that lets the bike tires to soak up the terrain...and that they do!
10-speed Shimano drivetrain is a good option. If you wanted to go for more gears, there is the option with the higher Trek Farley models. Would you notice the difference? In most cases it's unlikely.
On the other hand,
It feels like there is a slight compromise with the brakes. They're hydraulic but the rotors come in at 160mm, which is less than we've seen on other models. Though again, it's not something that will affect the majority of riders and you should have enough stopping for even for these fat bike tires.
So on paper the Farley 5 is a solid fat tire bike and when you take it on the trails, it doesn't disappoint, it delivers.
The Farley 5 range are fat bikes where you feel comfortable on, and enough so that you want to push your limits...in the best way.
The 27.5-inch tires give you the momentum and stability to push. Off the mark, it isn't the quickest but it'll keep going and they certainly perform well in the snow or sand.
One of the highest praises you can give a bike is that it just works. It works so well that you don't even think about it and that's where these fat bikes strike the right notes.
Here's a video from Trek to give you a good overview of the Farley bike models:
Before you go out and pick up a fat bike, there are a few features you may want to be aware of so you can choose the most suitable model for you.
Mountain bikes used to come with standard 26" wheels. These days you can pick up MTBs with 27.5" or 29" wheels too. 26" wheels are becoming few and far between. However, all these sizes are available on fat-tire bikes too.
So what are the benefits of each and which one is the best?
Well, with larger wheels you're going to find it easier to roll over things like roots, bumps, etc so it does usually make for a more comfortable ride. The downside is that you don't get quite the same level of control as you do with smaller wheels.
If you favor technical trails and tight turns then smaller wheels could be the best option for you.
Larger wheels work well when you're looking for sustained rolling, which is why they are popular with cross-country riders.
Taller riders seem to favor larger wheels.
Wheel size is important but so too is frame size. For me, it's slightly more important as if the frame size is wrong on your fat bike, you are unlikely to end up being comfortable when you're cycling.
The bad news is that there isn't a standard when it comes to sizing and each manufacturer tends to be slightly different but not too different that it's a minefield and they all produce sizing charts so that makes things easier to work out which frame is the best fit.
Some brands will list sizes like S, M, L, whilst others work in cms, so 49cm, 54cm, 56cm.
Something I would suggest is that you look at each specific model separately as the sizes can vary. If you find yourself between sizes, go for the smaller size and it is usually easier to make the frame work for you and find the best fit.
As with anything bike-related, your local bike shop is always there to help and advise...become friends with them! 🙂
Without question, the bike is an important element but it can be easy to forget that you need to consider where you'll be riding as this can impact how you set up your fat tire bicycle, especially tires and tire pressure.
Tire pressure can impact the energy needed when pedaling, braking, and steering. Get it wrong and you could be working harder than you need to.
Different terrain calls for different types of fat tires:
With a fat bike, you get the choice between rim and disc. You're more likely to see rim brakes on entry-level bikes but even the entry-level fat bikes are beginning to feature disc brakes.
So let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of both.
When it comes to disc, a brake rotor will be mounted onto the wheel hub and gripped by the brakes.
There are two types of disc braking systems; mechanical and hydraulic.
With mechanical disc brakes, they use a cable to activate the brake, occasionally you will need to manually adjust things as the pads do wear out.
Whereas hydraulic disc brakes tend to be stronger. They are capable of self-adjusting when the pads wear. So they require less in the way of maintenance and generally perform better than mechanical too. Though as you'd expect, that luxury comes at a price so they are more expensive than mechanical.
Whichever disc brake you go for, they provide you with consistent braking, whatever the weather conditions, and give you better performance when faced with steep sections and wet conditions, including snow.
It's also fair to say that this type of braking system is good to have in the sand too.
The benefit of mechanical discs is that they are easy to service, whereas hydraulic can be more difficult.
Overall though, discs are inexpensive and relatively easy to replace!
A rim braking system takes the pads and that is what grips directly onto the rim of the wheel.
They're cheap and something you can monitor easily and when it comes to replacing, this can be done easily.
The issue with rim braking system is that they do wear out the wheel rim over time so this is something to watch. Don't get me wrong, this is going to be a long process so it shouldn't be a major concern.
Rims do provide you with less stopping power than discs and if your bike is quite heavy, this should be a factor...fat bikes are quite heavy after all. They don't work as well in wet conditions either. That's not to say they don't work because they absolutely do but when compared to disc, there is a difference.
You're also going to have to work harder to stop too as you usually have to press harder on the brake when you need to stop.
Working out the gearing on a bike has is done by taking the front chainring number and multiplying that by the total sprockets on the cassette.
How many speeds a bike comes with varies massively, even with fat-tire bikes. You can have a single-speed fat bike if you wanted to or one with 30 or more.
If you have a lot of climbing to do (or you like hills), then opt for more gears. If you enjoy easy pedaling and having a higher cadence, then a greater number will be helpful too.
If you're a strong cyclist then you will find that you don't need a big drivetrain. However, what is good to keep in mind is that fat bikes are heavier than mountain bikes so don't forget to factor that in!
It can be tempting to load your fat bike up with as big a gearing as you can afford, I'd dissuade you from doing that. The drivetrain does add weight to the fat tire bike (any bike for that matter) so if you don't need them, don't get them!
A 1x drivetrain system is becoming increasingly popular and they do have many benefits, in particular, there is less cabling required and less maintenance.
Ultimately, which gear range is the best comes down to personal choice.
Suspension forks aren't common on fat-tire bikes. The fat tires take care of providing the rider with a comfortable ride so you tend to be cushioned enough.
If you think that fat bikes were originally designed to be used primarily in the snow, you can see why suspension wouldn't be much of a concern.
Having said that,
It's not out of the question so let's look at the different types of suspension and see what might suit you best.
Fat bikes aren't going anywhere so you might as well join in the fun and get one to go alongside your mountain bike!
For me, the best fat bike is the Cyrusher XF900 750W Electric Fat Bike. I love the appearance of this bike, it's different and its aluminum frame keeps the weight down. Not that weight should be too much of a concern as the 750w machine has a range of up to 50 miles!
That's one of the big reasons why it takes the best fat bike prize, what a range!
What do you look for in fat bikes?