- Most riders spend between $1200-1800 for a good fat bike. Cheaper models sacrifice ride quality and durability.
- The tires of most fat bikes range between 3.7- and 5.2-inches. The widest tires of all are best for soft snow, desert biking, mud.
- Get a bike with hydraulic disc brakes if you can afford it. If not, mechanical disc brakes are also good enough for most riders.
- Most fat bikes that we’ve selected come without suspension, but the front tire is so big and wide that it serves as one.
We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching many fat bikes to put together this list of the very best fat bikes for every budget and need. If you want a fast, lightweight, and nimble fat bike, get the Cannondale Fat CAAD 2. We also have some mid-fat tire bikes and some budget options as well.
-Best Overall Fat Bike-
- Fat CAAD, SmartForm C1 alloy frame
- Cannondale Fatty, Fat Rigid, 15 x 150mm front fork
- Shimano SLX M7000 drivetrain with 11-speed
- SRAM Level hydraulic disc with 180/160mm rotors
Promoted as Cannondale’s “entry-level” fat bike model, this reasonably-priced bike earns points for affordability as well as a mellow, smooth ride. This product prefers snow or dirt trails even though reviewers have called CAAD 2 “less lively and playful” than competitors when descending from aloft; it still earns kudos for climbing reasonably well.
The 1 x 11-speed drivetrain, 11 gears, and 4.0″ Maxxis Minion FBF tires offer plenty of traction and floatation when needed most. The long, 463mm chainstays contribute to front end stability even when conditions get steep.
Read more: Best Mountain Bikes for Beginners
Built around Cannondale’s Fat CAAD Smartform C1 Alloy frame and front fork, the axle spacing is adequate for modern fat bikes, and while it’s short on accessory mounting features, you can still count on the water bottle mount to keep you hydrated.
Shimano SLX M7000 drivetrain gets high marks from testers who have proclaimed this fat bike’s response crisp and precise, and SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes won’t let you down. This unisex mountain bike stays true to its brand, and while it may not come with as many bells and whistles as you desire, that doesn’t mean you won’t find this fat bike to be all you seek and more.
- Thru-axles front and rear
- El Oso 6061-T6 Double Butted Aluminum Frame
- Shimano Deore drivetrain with 10 speeds
- Kenda Juggernaut 26×4.5″, 60tpi tires
You don’t have to speak Spanish to understand Diamondback’s El Oso Dos fat bike’s spirit. Oso translates as “bear,” and according to product developers, this 2020 bike has the potential to outrun the fastest human at 27 mph and the quickest bear at 35 mph.
Read more: Best Kids Fat Bikes
What they fail to mention is that the condition of the body of the rider is the great equalizer when it comes to performance and comfort! Ready to take you to places you’ve only imagined, the El Oso Dos’s frame is crafted of light, durable, double-butted aluminum, and the alloy air-formed fork has attracted plenty of fans.
Fast, sleek, and ready to meet any terrain challenge cyclists decide to plunder, the company serves notice that the 26- x 4.5-inch tires are wide enough to take you places other bikes fear to tread. Material puns notwithstanding, riders won’t suffer from gear shortages.
This baby has 20, and they come from Shimano, but it’s the suspension system that serves as a rider’s surrogate atop those signature fat tires that can make a cyclist break into a happy dance.
When forced to stop, no need to hesitate. Even if you’re stopped in your tracks by one of the bears mentioned earlier, you can outrun him before braking courtesy of powerful TRP Spyke disc brakes that respond so adroitly; you’d better be prepared to brace for impact!
-Zippy and Agile-
- Manitou Mastodon 34 Comp front fork with 80mm travel
- Bontrager Gnarwhal Team Issue 27.5×3.80” fat tires
- SRAM Level T hydraulic disc
- SRAM SX Eagle shifters
How do you feel about acquiring a fat bike in a color that is so outrageous, Trek re-named the hue “Roarage”? The Farley 7 is a mountain bike on steroids, painted such a shade of orange you couldn’t get lost in a snowstorm if you tried, but take her for a test drive and you’ll find that this hot bike handles and feels just like your regular bike does.
Read more: Best Fat Bikes Under $1000
For those who have struggled to find the right saddle adjustment feature, you’ve found nirvana. You’ll be delighted to discover that you can lower the dropper post in mid-ride, so it’s out of the way when you charge downhills. You don’t have to do this, but knowing that you can is a bonus.
The Farley 7’s sleek frame is made of lightweight aluminum, and it’s been fitted with a wide-range drivetrain, dropper post, and the Manitou Mastodon fork is positioned to get this bike through different challenges that include snow and sand.
Moderately priced for the amount of power and performance you get, the Farley 7 practically guarantees the ride you dreamed of but never thought existed until you got on that saddle and took her through all 11 gears.
–Best Mid-Fat Tire-
- 27.5+ mid-fat tires
- RockShox 35 Gold RL Air Spring front fork with 120mm travel
- Maxxis Rekon, 27.5×2.80” tires
- SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain with 12 speed
Has this fat bike generated a fan club eager to give it reviews because of the way it looks or because the price tag is appealing? It’s probably both. This Roscoe hardtail loves to play in the dirt, taking you into the mire on 27.5+ mid-fat tires and offering riders the benefit of a wide-range 1×12 drivetrain and 120mm suspension fork.
Hone your calf muscles onboard the durable aluminum frame and grippy tires while enjoying the upgraded 120mm RockShox 35 Gold fork that features a lockout.
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The SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain treats a rider to a wide range of gears, and the dropper post responds to all types of configurations, going low on descents, corners, and jumps. Powerful hydraulic disc brakes deliver on quick stops. Still, the benefits riders most often describe while operating the Roscoe 8 is the stable, forgiving ways it improves a rider’s confidence and handling.
Like most Trek products, you get total control over lowering the saddle during descents and you can adjust the RockShox fork’s Solo Air spring to accommodate your height and weight for a custom ride. The fork’s lockout feature allows a rider to temporarily lock the suspension for better efficiency on flat stretches, too.
-Lightweight with top-quality components-
- Beargrease carbon frame
- SRAM SX Eagle 1 x 12 drivetrain
- SRAM Level Hydraulic Disc Brakes with 160mm rotors
- 45NRTH Dillinger 4, 27.5 x 3.8 in. tires
Forget the bikes you’ve had to eliminate from your shortlist because you’re not the skinniest rider on the planet. This SX Eagle fat bike has a maximum capacity of 305 pounds, so if you’re in the habit of carrying stuff on your bike, you’ve got some leeway here in the weight department.
The high-quality carbon-fiber frame is in it for the long haul, and because it’s stiffer than earlier Beargrease models, you can expect less vibration at any speed. Beargrease geometry features 445mm chainstays, more extended front/center, short stem, and wide bars, so you move confidently over myriad terrains.
The 27.5- x 3.8-inch wheel and tire improve and increase rollover, and you would be hard-pressed to find a more durable, lightweight carbon fork.This version of the SX Eagle’s optimal drivetrain design features narrow Q-factor cranks, for which any rider with stressed-out, perpetually achy knees will be eternally grateful.
Because this fat bike is engineered with an internal sleeved cable routing system, shifting and performance are both hyped, no matter how lousy conditions become during a ride.
As a bonus, you can count on fewer maintenance intervals, and you’ll find running new cables and housing to be an easy job even for newbies.
-Best Combo of Grip and Speed-
- Kona Fat 6061 Aluminum Butted Frame
- Schwalbe Jumbo Jim TR 26×4.8″ tires
- Shimano Deore drivetrain with 11 speed
- Shimano MT201 Hydraulic brakes with 180mm front/160mm rear rotor
The brand has been around since 1988 when entrepreneurs Dan Gerhard and Jacob Heilbron got into the bike business from their headquarters in the Pacific Northwest. Still, the Wo was the company’s first foray into fat bikes, and you’re going to like nearly everything about this new (and affordable) version.
Among the upgrades this product was treated to are an SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain with 11-50 tooth cassette and tubeless-ready Sun Ringle Mulefut 80mm Rims wrapped in 4.8-inches of Vee Rubber.
Fabricated of 6061 butted aluminum and featuring Shimano hydraulic brakes with 180mm front/160mm rear rotors, the new Wo cockpit is a fat biker’s dream thanks to its Kona XC/BC 35mm Bar/ XC/BC 35 Stem with Kona Lock-on Key Grip. Tires? They’re avalanche-ready. Literally. The bike’s front tire is a Vee Tire Snow Avalanche TR 26×4.8″ and the rear one is a Vee Tire Snowshoe XL TR 26×4.8″.
Leading the way is a Kona Wo Fat Disc Fork, SRAM SX Eagle crankset and SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. Perch yourself atop this Kona Fat saddle and wait for Mother Nature to do her winter thing so you can get out into the worst of it.
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-Great First Fat Bike-
- Rocky Mountain 6061 SL Series Alloy frame
- Sizes: SM-MD-LG-XL
- Tektro MD-M280 Hydraulic disc brakes
- Shimano Deore drivetrain with 10 speed
It’s anybody’s guess why a cyclist would prefer to get out and ride in a blizzard rather than waiting for things to clear up a bit, but if this describes you, just the name of this model could give you chills (the right kind). The Rocky Mountain BLIZZARD 10 belongs to a distinguished family of BLIZZARDs designed and made to laugh at weather extremes while giving riders a winter full of excitement.
Offering aggressive trail geometry and what the company refers to as “massively wide tires,” you’re likely to see how it feels to be a survivalist if your idea of a great time is long adventures in weather nobody else favors. Accomplish your wildest, most adventure-filled journey atop Maxxis FBF Folding 26 x 4.8 front and folding 26 x 4.8 rear tires with Rocky Mountain Speedhole 95mm rims and 2.0 stainless spokes.
Stay warm out there, so you return to your home base feeling happy and challenged rather than understanding how it feels to be a snowman.
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, but 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.
Related: When to Change Mountain Bike Tires
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 of between 190- and 197-mm.
Most fat bikes that we’ve selected come without suspension which is common among modern models. The reality is that you don’t need a front or rear suspension because the front tire is so big and wide that it serves as one.
Only Trek Roscoe 8, and Trek Farley 7 have front suspension, but those are special fat bikes. The first is a mid-fat bike made for trails, and the second one is a high-end fat bike with Manitou Mastodon 34 Comp air spring fork with lockout.
The general advice for most people is this – stick to a hardtail if your budget is low, and aim for a fat bike with front suspension if you can spend at least $1800-2000 on a bike.
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.
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.
Read more: Mongoose Dolomite Review
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.
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
All fat bikes on our list come with high-quality hydraulic disc brakes, so braking is one less thing to worry about.
How Much Should You Spend
When we talk about prices, we always have in mind the MSRP ( manufacturer’s suggested retail price ), which is the price manufacturer recommends. Often MSRP is different from retail prices due to supply/demand and other factors.
Average MSRP prices in our list range between $1250 and $2600, so you might say that there’s something out there for everyone eager to pilot this type of bike. Like every other consumer product on the market, you get what you pay for, and there are plenty of deals to be had—especially when a model or a line is closed out because a new or upgraded version debuts.
Read more: How Much Should You Spend on Your First Bike
Why It’s Hard to Find a Bike Right Now
Whether you rely upon mystery books or films to stay entertained — or you’re just curious about the strange disappearance of what was once an endless supply of bicycles — there’s no denying the pandemic’s impact on the market. The 2020 bicycle boom was probably the biggest one in our recent history, and you can see it even in Google Trends. Now at the beginning of 2021, most of the bikes online are still sold out.
Suppliers and distributors were hit as hard as consumers, resulting in production shortfalls and broken links between manufacturers and other bicycle-related businesses. Despite this confounding situation, there is light at the end of this long tunnel: Manufacturers are ramping up production of both components and bikes as the commercial world rebounds from circumstances that could not have been foreseen.
What is the best fat bike?