Have you ever taken a look outside during the winter and thought, “Man, I’d love to ride my bike through that snow”? While some people will likely stare at you and wonder if you have a few screws loose, the fact of the matter is that a lot of people are just like you.
This is just one of the many reasons that fat bikes exist. These bikes have large tires that allow for easy traversal of rough terrains, such as off-road and through thick snow.
If riding your bike in these conditions is something that you have always wanted to do, then chances are you will want to buy one of these bikes. If that’s the case, then to help you in your journey, we will be providing you with five of the best fat bikes money can buy.
As with anything in life, there are a few things that you may want to take into consideration before buying a fat bike.
These types of bikes are supposed to be designed to tackle harsh conditions, while still being able to give the rider a comfortable ride. So it stands to reason that the make of the fat bike’s frame and its tires, as well as their strength, should be taken into consideration before making a purchase.
Many manufacturers will usually list the types of materials they use to make their bikes on their websites or other product listings. From here, you can usually gather how strong a bike will be based on what is used to make them, but sometimes this isn’t enough.
For additional help, you should go to the most reliable source there is: the users of the products themselves. Many consumers will leave reviews of products on websites such as Amazon, which can help to give an idea of if a certain bike will be able to stand up against the various riggers it will go through.
A fat bike is designed more specifically for off-road conditions, with the larger tires designed to cut through mud and dirt, among other terrains, easily. However, when it comes to regular bike riding, these bikes are not as well suited, as their heavier weight and design can make them difficult choices for everyday use.
If you are a casual bike rider or one who rides a bicycle for racing or other athletic endeavors, then chances are a fat bike is not for you. Should you be up to trying something a bit out of the ordinary, however, and want to see how far you can really go on a bicycle, then you may want to consider a fat bike.
The final thing that should be considered is price. Should you be in the market to buy a fat bike, then you should probably be willing to pay a good chunk of change for it, as none of these bikes come too cheap.
There is also a wide range in terms of cost that some of these bikes come in. While it is possible to find some of these bikes within the $200 dollar range, it is just as likely to find a few brands that break $700 dollars, or even higher. So you will want to know before going into your purchase just how much you will be willing to spend on a fat bike.
Mongoose is a brand name that you should probably expect to pop up more than once on this list, as they are one of the leading manufacturers of fat tire bikes. Quality is one of the reasons that Mongoose has such a hold on this market, as is the case with this bike, the Dolomite.
The Dolomite features 26×4 inch knobby tires, which is a design that helps the bike to easily cut through even the thickest of mud. These thick tires come equipped with a disc braking system, which allows users to stop on a dime if need be.
The frame of this bike is super strong as well, being able to hold up to 400 pounds in weight easily. These are also one of the cheapest fat bike options you can find, with a price point of around $220 dollars, which makes the Dolomite both an affordable and heavy duty option.
While it does help to support heavier weights, the bike is quite heavy, even for a fat bike. This nearly 50 pound weight may make the bike to hefty for some users to move around.
Construction of these bikes can sometimes be a bit on the difficult side as well. While you should be fine if you know a thing or two about bikes, the included instructions for the Dolomite don’t do much for someone who’s never constructed a bike, with the instructions being confusing and hard to understand.
The name GMC should be recognizable to almost anyone who drives a vehicle, as they are a well known name in the automotive industry. What many do not realize, however, is that they have also had a line of successful bicycles under their belt. The Yukon is one such bike.
One thing that the Yukon has that many bicycle riders will love is an adjustable bike seat. The ability to adjust the height of this seat makes it possible for many users to use the Yukon, no matter if they are over six feet tall, or around the five-foot mark.
Unlike the previous bicycle we looked at, the Dolomite, the Yukon is very easy to build, with a good portion of the bike already assembled upon arrival. With the Yukon, you also get the large 26×4 wheels that can make the bike move through any terrain, and a seven gear speed shift, to adjust just how fast you go through said terrain.
Some of the Yukon bikes that riders have received have come with missing parts. While this issue doesn’t effect everyone, the missing components have led to some issues with users losing tires while riding, or other pieces falling off the bike.
In addition to this, the brakes are not the best on the Yukon. While it will stop the user, sometimes the brakes are slow to respond, and the bike also won’t stop immediately if need be, more often than not with the rider skidding to a stop.
Kind of like I had said earlier in the introduction, some users of fat bikes like to use their bike to drive through thick snow. When I think of states that get this kind of weather, Minnesota is one of those that come to mind, making the name of our next bike, the Framed Minnesota, very appropriate.
Every inch of metal on this bike, from the frame to the handlebar, is made with strong alloy metal. This material is one that is really hard to damage, meaning that you never have to worry about your bike falling apart mid-ride.
If you are looking for a fat bike that is a bit on the lighter side as well, then the Minnesota is the bike for you, weighing just over 30 pounds. This lighter weight, plus the thick tires and large pedals, make cruising through mud and snow easy as could possibly be.
In addition to all this, construction of the Yukon is fairly simple, with the bike being partially assembled on arrival. One of the pieces that you will have to put on the bike, the chain, is made as strong as the frame itself, being coated with an anti-rust agent that allows you to keep your bike out in the rain without worry.
Honestly, there isn’t much bad to say about the Minnesota outside the price. While this is a great fat bike, the $750 dollar price may be a bit much for some people to pay.
See, I wasn’t lying to you earlier when I said that we may see Mongoose make a second appearance on our list. But with a bike like this, the Hitch, it’s easy to see why Mongoose has popped up again.
The “cruiser” designed frame of the Hitch is one thing that makes this bike unique. This frame allows for additional clearance when driving through certain terrains, making it possible to cruise through mud, dirt, and snow without having to worry about the bottom of your bike getting messed up as well.
This frame is made of pure steel as well. This gives the Hitch a strong frame that is difficult to break or damage, and which can also support even the heaviest of potential riders. Plus, you get a lot of the great features that you got with the Dolomite as well, including the disc braking system and thick tires.
Speaking of the Dolomite, if you thought that bike was heavy then this one may be overkill. This beast of a bike comes up to nearly 60 pounds in weight, making this one of the heaviest fat bikes available.
Probably a bigger issue is the Hitch’s brakes. While this may just be a few isolated cases, some riders have stated that the brakes just flat out did not work. This can make for a very serious issue, but one that affects very few buyers of the bike.
Our final bike for today comes courtesy of another powerhouse brand name for bicycles with Diamondback. The name of this bike is the El Oso Grande, and as the name implies, it is a bike that you can expect some big things from.
One of the many unique features that the El Oso Grande has is the large number of speed options it provides. With literally twenty different speeds to choose from, you will be able to take this bike on anything from a leisurely stroll to an intense bike race, all with just the switch of a gear.
No matter how fast you may be going, the El Oso Grande’s mechanical disc brakes will be able to slow you down in a heartbeat if you so choose. Should the worst happen and you do end up crashing into something, your bike will remain damage free, thanks to the thick aluminum frame with hydroformed tubing. (Now if only you could say the same about yourself.)
The big con of this bike is obvious with just one glance at the nearly $1300 dollar price tag. This is far and away one of the priciest fat bikes you will find that isn’t an electric powered bike. While you do get the quality that you pay for, what you have to pay may be too much for a lot of people.
Fat bikes are a great way to get out and explore the world in ways that you have never done before. Snow, dirt, and steep hills will not be able to stand in your way if you have a fat bike on your side, helping to make our big world that much larger.
Did you watch Tim Johnson’s Historic Fat Bike Winter Ascent?