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7 Best Fat Bikes of 2023: Winter is Here!

Best Overall
Salsa Heyday 5.6 Advent
9.8

Designed for versatility across different environments, the Salsa Heyday 5.6 Adventure fat-tire bicycle features a design that places its center of gravity both lower and towards the rear.

Budget Pick
Mongoose Dolomite
8.8

One of the best fat bikes you can find on the market for less than $1,000. Affordable, robust and fun to ride! 

Best Electric
RadRover 6
9.2

The electric fat bike that set the standard now does it all. In its sixth version, this premier model fuses robustness with nimbleness to create an unbeatable experience.

What makes a good fat bike?

Wide Tires: The hallmark of a fat bike is its wide tires, typically 4 inches or wider. These provide increased traction and stability on soft, unstable surfaces by distributing the bike’s weight over a larger area.

Durable Frame: The frame should be sturdy enough to handle the additional stresses from riding on uneven terrain. Materials like aluminum and steel are common for their balance of strength, durability, and weight.

Low Tire Pressure Compatibility: The ability to run tires at low pressure (often as low as 5 PSI) is crucial for maximizing traction and stability on soft surfaces.

Suspension: While many fat bikes are rigid (no suspension), some come with a front suspension fork. This can be beneficial for riding on rough, uneven terrain, as it helps absorb shocks and improve comfort.

Drivetrain: Look for a bike with a reliable drivetrain that can handle the rigors of off-road use. A wide range of gears helps navigate varied terrains, though some fat bikes use a single-speed setup for simplicity and lower maintenance.

Best Fat Tire Bikes of 2023

Salsa Heyday 5.6 Advent

Price: $1,699 | Weight: 34 1/2 lbs | Wheel Size: 26 inches | Wheel Width: 4.6 inches

What’s good 👍

  1. Stability in Challenging Terrain: The low and rearward center of gravity enhances stability, making it ideal for navigating rough and uneven surfaces.
  2. Versatile Frame Design: The aluminum frame offers durability and includes multiple mounts for water bottles and accessories, increasing its utility for long rides.
  3. Wide Tire Accommodation: The frame’s 197 mm rear spacing allows for up to 5-inch tires, providing excellent traction and comfort on various surfaces.
  4. Flexible Drivetrain Options: The Alternator 1.0 dropouts support single-speed and geared drivetrains, catering to different riding preferences and needs.
  5. Advanced Fork Design: The Bearpaw fork with carbon fiber legs and an aluminum steerer tube offers a balance of strength and weight efficiency and additional mount options.
  6. Internal Cable Routing: This feature ensures a cleaner aesthetic and better protection of the cables, enhancing the bike’s overall functionality and appearance.

What’s not so good 👎

  1. Only one color option: Depending on personal preferences, the bike’s aesthetics might not appeal to all riders.

The Salsa Heyday 5.6 Advent is a versatile fat-tire bike that performs well in various conditions. Its low and rearward center of gravity ensures stability on challenging terrains.

The bike features a robust aluminum frame with multiple mounting points for water bottles and accessories. It accommodates up to 5-inch tires thanks to its 197 mm rear spacing. The 100 mm threaded bottom bracket offers flexibility in crank choices, enhancing its adaptability.

The bike’s Alternator 1.0 dropouts support both single-speed and geared drivetrains, with short chainstays for improved handling. The Bearpaw fork, combining carbon fiber legs and an aluminum steerer tube, includes mounts for additional gear. Full-length internal cable housing and dropper post routing are integrated for a cleaner look and better performance.

The bike can also be fitted with a Salsa Alternator 190 rear rack using specific adapters, though these are not provided with the bike. This design makes the Salsa Heyday 5.6 Advent a highly customizable and capable bike for adventurers and fat biking.

Mongoose Dolomite

Price: $650 | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

RadRover 6

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Surly Wednesday

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Fezzari Kings Peak Comp

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Canyon Dude CF 7

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Framed Minnesota 26”

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Salsa Mukluk Deore 11

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Aventon Aventure.2 E-bike

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Otso Voytek

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

QuietKat Jeep Ebike

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Trek Farley 9.6

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Mongoose Argus ST Fat Tire Bike

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:

Aventon Sinch 2 Foldable Fat Tire Ebike

Price:  | Weight: | Wheel Size: | Wheel Width:


How to choose a fat bike?

Wheels and Tires

According to Adventure Cycling’s Fat Bike School, there have been more wheel technology changes than those of any other fat tire bike components. “The essence of a fat bike is its rims and tires.

Fat tires range in size from about 3.7- and 5.2-inches, [and they’re] typically mounted to rims measuring 50–100mm,” say experts.

The widest tires of all are best for soft snow, desert biking, and the occasional beach foray. Still, these oversized tires also serve a second purpose: for folks who aren’t as slim as they might like to be, fat tires on today’s market can be a boon to those who never met a pizza they couldn’t consume solo and in one sitting.

Narrower tires are ideal for racing and riding groomed surfaces and nicely suit cyclists who don’t require as much flotation as others—factor in wheel dropout spacing. For example, 4-inch tires tend to feature spacing between 190 mm and 197 mm.

Suspension

Suspension plays a crucial role in the design and functionality of fat bikes. While many of these bikes are designed to be rigid, meaning they lack any form of suspension, there is a growing trend towards incorporating a front suspension fork.

This addition particularly benefits riders who frequently traverse rough and uneven terrain. The primary advantage of a front suspension fork is its ability to absorb shocks, which not only enhances the overall comfort of the ride but also improves the bike’s handling on challenging surfaces.

This can make a noticeable difference in ride quality, especially on longer journeys or when navigating through particularly rugged landscapes. By mitigating the impact of bumps and obstacles, a front suspension fork helps maintain better control and reduces rider fatigue, allowing for a more enjoyable and efficient cycling experience.

Tire Pressure

If you have a rigid fat bike ( without front suspension ), you should have a lot less pressure on the front tire than you have on the rear tire because this will be your suspension.

Here, you have a table with the tire pressure needed for different terrains.

TerrainPSI
Snow5-8 PSI
Sand8-10 PSI
Trail12-15 PSI
Asphalt20-25 PSI

Gearing

There’s no fat bike fan on the planet who won’t agree that the drivetrain on a fat bike is more critical than it is on a regular bike simply because traditional bikes tend not to go where fat bikes dare to go.

Name a surface or weather condition to which fat bikes aren’t subjected, and that’s the reason why. Taken to the lowest denominator on the topic of drivetrains and fat bikes, everything comes down to internal and external gearing.

You’ll more likely find external low gearing systems on fat bikes, so adjusting from technical terrain to getting down and dirty in mud can be more easily accomplished when it comes to powering those chunky wheels.

Brakes

According to most fat bike mechanics and sales experts, you can’t get a better brake for your ride than disc brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are powerful and reliable despite all of the challenges Mother Nature throws your way. Unlike rim brakes, they’re not going to crash and burn in the event you land less than gracefully as you sail over rugged terrain.

Related: Hydraulic vs. Mechanical Disc Brakes

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