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A fat bike is the best type of bicycle to experience what riding on mud or snow is all about. If you live in an area where the weather gets wet and cold in autumn and winter, the fat tire bike will allow you to extend your riding season and have more fun.
Fat bikes are also a fantastic choice for bikepacking, as they can go over different types of terrain, so you don’t need to push your bike as much.
Check out what Iohan Gueorguiev is doing on his for some inspiration!
However, choosing the best fat bike can be tricky for someone who has never ridden one. If you are on the lookout for some off-road thrill of this kind, here are the 10 best fat-tire bikes of our choice for 2020.
Pick one of these best fat bikes and then choose your muddy trail!
Our Top Pick – Best Carbon Fat Bike
Salsa Beargrease is a lightweight fat bike with a carbon frame and fork. It’s available in several builds, but today we are looking at the one with SRAM NX Eagle components — one of the best fat bikes for 2020.
Salsa Beargrease is not a cheap fat bike by any means — it costs more than $3,000, but it is relatively affordable for a full-carbon fat bike of this calibre.
The frame features internal cable routing and is dropper post ready as well.
Beargrease is fitted with SRAM’s most affordable 1×12 drivetrain, the NX Eagle. It features a 10-50T cassette and a 30T crankset which will give you plenty in terms of both high speed and low cadence.
Salsa makes several fat bike models, so they have plenty of experience when it comes to choosing the right parts. You can see that in the SRAM Guide T brakes which have excellent reviews online when it comes to performance and reliability.
Let’s not forget the 45NRTH Dillinger 4 tires, which are 27.5″ in diameter and 3.8″ in width and can be seen on many of the best fat bikes out there.
Salsa Beargrease also has a beautiful pink, black, and gray paint job and plenty of eyelets to mount different carriers and bags on it. Therefore, it’s ready for adventure whenever you are!
Close Second – Best with Front Suspension
Diamondback El Oso Tres is El Oso Uno’s big brother with a much better list of features. It is the right choice for riders who plan to take this bike out on dry and rowdy singletracks, in addition to mud and snow, to make the best use of the 100 mm front suspension fork.
Some might argue that a fat bike with a suspension fork is overkill, but they probably haven’t tried riding the Diamondback El Oso Tres. It is the best fat-tire bike you can find with 100 mm of travel up front, ideal for technical trails experienced riders might consider.
Apart from the Manitou Mastadon fork, this bike also comes equipped with a 1×11 Shimano XT M8000 Shadow Plus drivetrain, which is one of the best from Shimano’s lineup. The cassette has an 11-46T range, combined with a 28T crankset.
Diamondback El Oso Tres is one of the most capable bicycles around thanks to its massive 4″ wheels and squishy 100 mm front suspension.
The Maxxis Minion FBF/FBR 26×4.0″ EXO meet all requirements to be found on a fat bike and will roll over obstacles with ease. This is a rare fat bike with a dropper post which will come in handy when you descent or have to get on a fully-loaded bike.
We also like the Shimano SLX M7000 hydraulic disc brakes — there’s not really much that you can say about them other than that they stop on a dime.
With all of this in mind, Diamondback El Oso Tres is a bike that you can explore your limits with both in winter and summer, on any type of terrain.
Best Fat Bike For Kids
Fat bikes are extremely fun to ride, which is why they are a great choice if you’re planning to get your kid a bike. They are also stable and safe thanks to wide tires. Salsa Timberjack is one of the best fat bikes for kids out there.
Salsa is one of the most popular bike brands out there when it comes to building adventure and fat bikes. With Salsa Timberjack as an example, we can exactly see why.
Salsa Timberjack is a bike that will give kids the freedom to follow their mom and dad wherever they go, including the roughest and toughest of terrains.
Timberjack is an aluminum fat bike that’s pretty lightweight considering its bulkiness. It comes out at 24 lbs, so children will not struggle to push it or lift it up if need be.
The most important part on it is its massive 3″ tires that are 20 inches in diameter. These are Chao Yang tires, which are a decent entry-level choice.
Salsa has also equipped this model with 8 gears that can be shifted through with a Shimano Tourney rear derailleur. It is the cheapest choice you can get, but it’s more than enough for kids.
As it befits one of the best fat tire bikes, Timberjack comes with mechanical disc brakes that show no struggle when it comes to bringing this fun-factory to a stop.
The color is quite exciting as well, so we believe there’s nothing your kids will not love on Salsa Timberjack. Plus, you’ll like the value you get as well, which is equally as important!
Best Carbon Fork
If you want to ride year-round, without any limits, then Trek Farley 5 is the right choice for you. It is one of the best fat tire bikes for snow, but it does equally well when confronted with mud, sand, roots, or rocks.
This bike is not too expensive, which makes it a good introductory model and a decent investment into extending your mountain biking season.
Farley 5 comes with a lightweight Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame with internal cable routing. The frame also features stranglehold dropouts which allow you to change the wheelbase length of your bike. That means you can adjust the geometry or ride single-speed. The bike comes with a Bontrager Haru carbon fork which brings the weight down.
Part of the reason why Trek Farley 5 made it to our best fat bike list is that it has tubeless-ready rims and tires. The stock setup on it is not tubeless, but the 4.5″ wide Bontrager Gnarwhal Team Issue tires can easily roll without tubes. The same goes for the SUNRingle Mulefut 80 SL rims.
Trek Farley 5 is a ridiculously fun winter fat bike that comes with mid-range components and a very tempting price.
The bike is powered by a 1×10 drivetrain with a Shimano Deore M6000 rear mech. Excellent mid-range choice! To stop and enjoy the scenery once you’re out and about, just gently engage the SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes. These are coupled with 160 mm rotors.
All in all, there’s not much not to like about Trek Farley 5. It’s a remarkable fat bike for snowy weather that does its job well.
Great Alternative for Kids
Here’s another kids’ fat bike with plus-size tires, 20-inch wheels, and crazy-fun paint job that’s ideal for junior riders to learn the ropes of trail riding. Cannondale Cujo is the most lightweight choice in this price range for kids, weighing just over 21 lbs.
If you want a fat tire bike that is built especially for children, then Cannondale Cujo is the one. Its handlebar, saddle, crank, and brake levers are built specifically for sprouting cyclists and their smaller hands, legs, and feet.
The frame and fork on the Cujo are both made from the SmartForm C3 aluminum alloy which is seen on most adult bikes from Cannondale as well. The top tube slopes quite a bit, so the standover clearance is quite low, which translates to easy mounting and dismounting of the bike.
Cannondale Cujo rolls on plus-size 2.6″ Kenda tires that will teach kids about traction and grip. They instil confidence on loose surfaces and will definitely prevent quite a few unnecessary falls. Cannondale’s rims are double-walled, so they are strong enough to handle some beating.
Cannondale Cujo is jam-packed with features and solutions that make it the best fat tire bike for kids, including the geometry, components, and children-specific parts.
You’ll also see Shimano Tourney rear derailleur and a 1×7 drivetrain on this bike. Tourney is cheap and basic, but it’s the groupset most kids and most beginner riders start with — that’s what it’s made for.
Finally, the Tektro mechanical disc brakes are indispensable when riding down slopes or soaking the wheel in water and mud.
If you want to surprise your child with one of the best fat-tire bikes with a focus on low weight, Cannondale Cujo is more than a good choice.
Best Cheap Fat Bike
Few bike brands out there can come close to Diamondback when it comes to building adventure bikes. El Oso Uno is the best budget fat bike you can get for this amount of money. It’s the cheapest of the three El Oso models, but it’s definitely worth our attention.
Diamondback El Oso Uno is a cumbersome machine with a steel frame and fork. Steel is the choice of most world travelers since it can carry the most weight and it is the easiest to repair.
If you already have a primary bicycle and you do not have too much money to spend on a secondary one to ride when the weather is bad, then your funds can safely go here. You’ll get a decent amount of value from the components and the build.
Diamondback El Oso Uno is not the lightest fat bike out there, but its steel frame and fork might make it one of the most comfortable and most practical ones.
El Oso Uno comes with a 2×9 drivetrain, so you’re equipped with 18 wide-range gears to power through any mud pit. The components are mostly Shimano Alivio and Acera, with some SR Suntour and FSA parts. All of these are reliable and efficient enough for entry-level riders.
The star of the show is the Chaoyang Cruiser 26×4.0″ tires rolling on Diamondback rims. If you deflate them a bit, you can take them over rocks and snow and let them seek adventure for you.
The only downside is the weight, which is not uncommon for fat bikes but should still be pointed out. Other than that, Diamondback El Oso Uno checks all the requirements in this price range and is adventure-ready.
Best Price & Weight Value
Canyon Dude CF 8.0 is the best carbon fat bike on this list. It is the most affordable model with a full carbon frame on this list that offers Canyon’s signature quality build and design. It will ensure nothing will stand in your way on the road to success lined with roots, rocks, mud, and snow.
Canyon Dude CF 8.0 is basically an SUV in the world of cycling, jam-packed with high-tech components and solutions.
The carbon frame and fork on this bike provide you with stiffness, precision, and agility, whereas wide tires give you unlimited possibilities.
If you want the most possible value and you’re willing to spend a bit more money, that’s what you’ll get with this bike. It has one of the biggest tires of all the best fat bikes out there. The Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tires are 4.8″ wide and 26″ in diameter, so Dude looks more like a moto than a bike.
However, the bike is fitted with a 1×12 drivetrain and Shimano NX Eagle components, so you’ll be able to keep it going on different types of terrain quite easily.
You’ll also get Shimano MT420 hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano rotors which are precise, determined, and powerful the moment you engage the lever.
Canyon went all-in with the Dude CF 8.0 to offer the fat bike community something to truly be happy about!
Best Cargo Fat Bike
Salsa Blackborow is the best fat bike for touring. If you are planning to travel the world by staying off the beaten path, this is the bike that you can carry all of your belongings with. Essentially, it is a quirky-looking cargo fat bike with some pretty sweet specs.
Salsa Blackborow is the perfect bicycle to move all of your belongings from one house to another if you live in a remote area without any roads. However, a much more likely utilization would be to pack all of your essentials on it and make the world your home.
Salsa Blackborow is built on an extra-strong 6066-T6 aluminum frame and a Kingpin aluminum fork. The frame has an extended wheelbase and rear stays with remarkable carrying capacity. The rear rack supports up to four full-size panniers, and you can fit a few more on the fork.
If you want a fat bike that can carry the most weight and not budge a bit, then Surly Blackborow is the ultimate choice on the market.
What is the best fat bike? The one that gives you the most freedom. The tires this bike comes with are 27.5 x 3.8″ 45NRTH Dillinger 4, but the frame is compatible with 26 x 4.33″, 27.5 x 3″, and 29 x 3″ tires. Plenty of freedom there!
The groupset Salsa went with is SRAM GX Eagle which puts 12 gears at your disposal. It’s the best high mid-range choice from SRAM, so you’ll be quite happy with it.
Get Salsa Blackborow if you’re already planning your next adventure and don’t forget to share some photos
Strongest Fat Bike
Wednesday is one of Surly’s best fat bikes under $2,000. It sits in the middle of their adventure offering, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is not a seriously capable machine. It’s ideal for riders who intend to both travel and ride on trails, any day of the week, not just on Wednesday.
To make Wednesday, Surly re-examined all of their Trail and Touring models and borrowed all of the best elements. The result is a versatile fat-tire bicycle that can do whatever you set your mind to.
It’s made with Chromoly steel frame and fork which will last for years no matter how much abuse you put it through. The entire bike is packed with eyelets where you can fit racks, bags, water bottle holders, mudguards, and so on.
No matter where you decide to ride this bike, it has everything it needs to keep going. The most important of all is the 26 x 3.8″ Surly Nate tires riding on Surly My Other Brother Darryl tires. These are what you’d expect to see on a fat bike.
Then there’s the SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain which is SRAM’s cheapest 1×12 setup. It’s part of a mid-range group which means it has exquisite value for money.
Surly Wednesday is a strong and capable fat bike that performs remarkably on any day of the week and on any adventure you take it.
If you get carried away and pick up too much speed, Tektro’s hydraulic disc brakes will have no problem slowing you down and helping you regain control.
If you want the best fat bike from Surly at this price, end your search with the Wednesday!
Best Fat Tire Electric Bike
Let’s wrap up this list with the best fat tire electric bike money can get. It’s the most expensive choice on this list as well, but its price is well-justified. Norco Bigfoot VLT 1 is a hardtail aluminum fat bike with a powerful motor and a durable battery.
The main problem with fat bikes is their weight. That, however, is not a problem when you have a powerful Shimano STEPS E-8000 motor and a mighty 630 Wh battery that can give you an extra push whenever you need it.
Most fat bikes don’t have any suspension at all. However, Specialized Turbo Levo Expert has a smooth suspended fork. The exact fork is a Manitou Mastodon Pro w/Dorado Air that provides 100 mm of travel. That’s why this is the best fat-tire e-bike you can get.
You have the money to spare but you still don’t have the bike of your dreams? Then Norco Bigfoot VLT 1 can solve your first-world problems!
This is a 26″ bicycle with 4.6″ tires. That’s super wide! If you lower the pressure, imagine how much fun you can have riding on snow, sand, and even over rocks.
When you finish climbing and come to a downhill section, use the dropper post to give yourself some leverage and adjust the height in multiple positions.
Other components include a 1×12 SRAM NX drivetrain and SRAM Guide T hydraulic disc brakes, none of which require much introduction. They’re crème de la crème.
Start riding the best electric fat-tire bike and stop pushing uphill!
We chose these 10 best fat bikes to give you a broad spectrum to choose from. It includes different price ranges, component specs, geometries, and intended uses.
Whichever model you choose, you will end up with a reliable and dependable fat bike that will extend your riding season and give you new possibilities when it comes to choosing the route.
I hope you’re already planning your next fat tire adventure and you’ll share it with us!