BIKING

Best Fat Bikes: Choosing The Best Companion for Your Adventure Races

riding fat fat in the woods
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

How did fat bikes get popular suddenly? In the last decade, you might only see one or few on the road. Now you see more of them more often because of their versatility and function. That’s why many adventure racers ride the best fat bikes and get the most out of them.

The thin-wheeled bicycles are still more common. But as you get into more outdoor adventures, you will see that fat tire bikes are ruling the road. That’s because they are different from the traditional bicycles around. The key is on the tires themselves.

What difference does it make if the bike’s got fat tires? One is that there’s more surface area for the rubber tire.That’s the main reason why many adventure racers choose fat tire bikes. It gives them the advantage. Although you will still need some effort to get through, the fat tire bikes make it easier.

Another main reason is that fat bikes just look cool. This is the case especially when there’s no one in your neighborhood or friends who have that kind of bike. You can set the trend and they will never go back.

guys riding fat bikes on snow

But before you buy a fat tire bike and conquer the streets and adventure races, you need to know the most important features you should look for. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn what specific things experienced adventurers consider when choosing a fat bike. You’ll also learn here the different features of available fat bikes out there in the market.

How to choose the best fat tire bike: Features and specifications

It’s good to follow what the experienced bikers are doing. This way, you’ll avoid most of the mistakes when it comes to buying new gear. That’s why you can read here the most important features they look for.

Tire width

Most traditional bicycles only have tires with widths of a little over 2 inches. Fat bikes, on the other hand, have tire widths of up to 5 inches. The appearance can greatly vary depending on which width you choose. If you go right away with the 5-inch width tires, expect to surprise yourself with the sudden change.

different width tires

Aside from appearance, the tire width can also affect the balance. Not only the adventure racers like the fat bikes, the beginners also have a preference for them. That’s because the additional width provides more balance and stability to beginning bikers.

When it comes to adventure racing, thicker tires can also provide more grip onto the ground. The larger surface area distributes the pressure and makes it much easier to go through snow, sand, or mud.

Frame material

The frame material is also important because it’s the backbone of the bike. It’s the foundation and any structure is only good as its foundation. Why is it important to check the frame material? First reason is that it dictates the durability of the bike. If you’ve got a strong frame you can also say that you have a strong bike.

fat bike frame

Another reason is that the frame material also has something to contribute to weight. Get a heavy frame and you’ll also have a heavy bike. Many fat bikes now are made from aluminum. Aside from the durability of aluminum, it’s also lightweight. Other bikes are made from steel frames, titanium, or even carbon fiber. These are all strong materials that can handle the weight and adventure.

Brakes

Many people still stick with traditional brakes (mechanical and cable-actuated). Aside from being reliable, these brakes are also easy to set up and adjust. Even beginners can start tinkering with them as soon as they get hands on these brakes.However, there are better brakes depending on where you will use your fat bike.

For instance, hydraulic disc brakes can work well in slightly warmer climates. In colder weather, you can also use hydraulic disc brakes but this time use DOT fluid instead of mineral oil.

hydraulic disc brake

One reason is that brake systems that use DOT fluid provide lower viscosity (resistance to flow) than those with mineral oil. The latter becomes thicker as you approach colder temperatures. The thicker fluid provides the feel of being sluggish whenever you use the brakes.

It’s good to take note of what type of weather will you be encountering during your adventure. Once you have your fat bike ready, you can also make adjustments depending on your preference, riding speed, and adventure. The key here is to prioritize safety and make sure the brakes are working properly.

Total weight of the bike

The extra weight will affect the riding experience and comfort. When you have a heavier bike, expect to expend more effort on handling and maneuvering it.

Aside from the frame material, the tire width can also contribute to the weight. The extra weight could be 4 pounds. That’s because aside from the wider tires, you will also need wider and heavier rims to accommodate those tires.

jumping with fat bike

Four pounds seems only a small deal. However, think of how many miles and how regularly you will be using the bike. That extra weight can take its toll as you cover more miles and more adventures. It’s especially the case when the terrain is far from ordinary, like mud and snow for example.

For many adventure racers though, the extra weight is worth the price. Because of the fat tires, they can now achieve more balance and expend less effort. It’s also a cooler thing to see because the fat tire bikes somehow signify strength and adventure.

Popular fat bikes that adventurers love

Now that you’ve learned the specific features you should look for, next is you’ll read about the different fat bikes available in the market today. You can easily compare their features and see which one is the best for you. You’ll be better equipped to choose the best because of what you’ve read earlier.

Mongoose Dolomite Fat Bike

Mongoose Dolomite 26” Men’s Fat Tire Bike

Tire width: 4 inches

Specific features: Mechanical disc brakes, all terrain knobby tires, beach cruiser pedals, steel frame material.

The Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Bike is one of the most popular fat tire bikes out there. Many customers have already bought one and used it in their adventures. Some even reported that they’ve been using it for months and years and it’s still working and looking as good as new.It’s sturdy and tough.

It’s within a reasonable price range and there’s nothing too fancy.The brakes are strong and reliable. The frame material is steel which is why it’s sturdy enough and a bit lightweight. The overall design is also a plus point because it looks cool and ready to use anytime.

For almost all terrains, you can count on this fat tire bicycle. You can feel the cushiony ride whenever you’re out there conquering the terrains. Whether it’s sand or snow, the tires will help you maneuver and push forward. It’s not effortless. But those fat tires make it easier to accomplish what you want.

Furthermore, this bike is also good for everyday riding. You will feel the comfort and you might experience better stability with it. It’s no wonder many bikers choose this over all the others.

Check the price on Amazon

Diamondback El Oso De Acero Fat Bike

Diamondback Bicycles El Oso De Acero Fat Mountain Bike

Tire width: Up to 5 inches

Specific features: Steel frame material, heat-treated tubes, Tektro Mira disc brakes with 160 mm rotors.

When you first look at the Diamondback El Oso De Acero Fat Bike, it’s hard to not pay attention to the tires themselves. That’s because they are far from normal size. In addition, you will notice immediately the contrast. You will see that the frames are just sleek and thin.The El Oso de Acero’s classic steel lines signify sophistication, simplicity, and elegance.

You will often wonder how such a thin frame can handle the weight of the bike and user. The secret is in the steel frame. It is heat-treated and butted so you’re sure that they’re up to measurements and reliability standards. Every detail is built and included to provide a reliable riding experience to many customers.

Aside from the frame and the tires, the Tektro Mira disc brakes are also worth paying attention to. They’re both reliable and powerful. That’s why you can rely on them whether you’re just on a flat road or on a muddy terrain.

This is a great choice for both beginners and experienced adventurers. This bike is a great for those looking for reliability and elegance.

Check the price on Amazon

SE Bikes [email protected] Fat Tire Bike

SE Bikes F@E Fat Tire Bike

Tire width: 4 inches

Specific features: Hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano components, aluminum frame, over 35 pounds total weight.

The SE [email protected] Fat Bike is pricey, but the quality can be said to be far from average. It covers the basics and also provides enough traction, whether you’re conquering sand or snow terrains. All the components signify quality and high standards. You also have those dependable hydraulic brakes you can count on whenever you’re out on the road.

The weight can be an issue. However, this is a common feature in almost fat tire bikes. Fat tires and wider rims add more weight. The frames could also be much thicker and stronger so that they can endure the additional weight.

Overall, it’s a nice bike to have. The price might be an issue especially if it’s your first time to buy a bike of this type. It might be better to try the more affordable ones first before investing a lot in fat bikes.

Check the price on Amazon

Kawasaki Sumo 4.0 Fat Bike

Kawasaki Sumo 4.0 Fat Tire Bicycle

Tire width: 4 inches

Specific features: Aluminum diamond frame, nylon pedals, 21 Speed Shimano EF-51 Trigger Shifters and Derailleurs and Cassette with 170 mm aluminum crank arms, Promax disc brakes and brake levers.

The Kawasaki Sumo 4.0 Fat Bike has features that are important for experienced adventure racers. That’s because every advantage can get them closer to winning or fully enjoying the adventure. They need to cover all grounds so they can optimize their performance.For example, the aluminum diamond frame takes less weight.

Powerful and thick tires combined with less weight is a great advantage. Adventurers can get the best of both worlds and maximize their performance on the road. The 4-inch tires provide enough “float” even if you’re riding over gravel or mud. These make it an easier experience for riders even during long-distance trips.

The Kawasaki Sumo 4.0 Fat Tire Bicycle also has reliable front and rear disc brakes. They remain clean and reliable even when you’re out on the road and the bike is encountering mud and sand. It’s even good enough when you’re crossing a riverbed.

This is a good fat bicycle for both beginners and experienced cyclists. However, the price is a bit high. If you’re into competitive adventure races, this is one of the best fat bikes out there. It will deliver and it will help you fully enjoy the ride.

Check the price on Amazon

Monster Fat Bike

Monster Mens Fat Tire Bicycle

Tire width: 4 inches

Specific features: Aluminum frame, Tektro disc brakes in front and rear.

The Monster Fat Bike has the look and feel of a common mountain bike. However, the power is different. It’s built to conquer rough roads and terrains. It provides better than average traction and you can use on almost any terrain. It also has powerful brakes both on the rear and front. This is an important feature because brakes can make or break your day.

The adventure can be unpredictable and you need powerful and reliable brakes for that. This fat tire bicycle is somehow in the midrange when it comes to pricing. It’s good enough for most terrains and even beginners can find great use with it.

Check the price on Amazon

GMC Yukon Fat Bike

GMC Yukon Fat Bike

Tire width: 4 inches

Specific features: 26-inch height, aluminum frame, high tensile steel fork, ABK cable disc brakes, Shimano Revo 7 speed shifter.

The GMC Yukon Fat Bike has a frame that is sturdy because of the aluminum material.The 4-inch tires are also good for covering tracks and different terrains. It’s almost an ideal width so you can ride on snow, mud, or sand with ease. In other words, this one covers the basics.

The good news here is that the price is a bit friendly. You get good features while you’re paying for less. That’s why many beginners and experienced adventure racers take a look at this before looking somewhere else. In terms of flexibility and versatility, the Shimano Revo 7 speed shifter, Tourney rear derailleaur, and a wide range Shimano 14-34 cassette will give you a lot of options.

It doesn’t matter much how steep the trails are. Overall, it’s a good fat tire bike you can rely on whenever you’re ready for an outdoor adventure. You won’t get left behind while enjoying the full ride.

Check the price on Amazon

Framed Minnesota 2.0 Fat Bike

Framed Minnesota 2.0 Fat Bike

Tire width: 4 inches

Specific features: 6061 aluminum alloy frame, 14G stainless steel spokes, F&R Avid BB5 brakes with 160 mm rotors, chain with X9 rust-proof finish.

First thing that will catch your attention on the Framed Minnesota 2.0 Fat Bike is its design. The white and red combination tells you that it’s a bike built for elegance and style. It’s also an eye-catcher. Many of your friends or fellow riders will take a second or third glance at your fat bicycle.

Aside from its appearance, the 6061 aluminum alloy frame also deserves some attention. This type of allow shows good mechanical properties which makes it ideal for many purposes. It’s a more cost-effective material while also showing strength and reliability.

It’s got a sweet price but every detail is worth it. The Framed Minnesota 2.0 Fat Bike is a good bicycle that can please even the meticulous adventure racers.

Check the price on Amazon

Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL Studded Fat Bike Tire

Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL Studded tire

Tire width: 4.8 inches

Specific features: 240 aluminum carbide studs inserted, with silica compound that aids in traction, max tire pressure is 20 psi.

Aside from the fat bikes themselves, you also need to consider what tires you would use for your upcoming adventures. Your bike might only be as good as tires you use.That’s why many experienced bikers use the Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL Studded Fat Bike Tire.

It follows high standards and is meant to endure the rough and unpredictable terrain commonly experienced by adventurous bikers. It’s a high-end tire. However, you can be sure of its performance. It has tightly spaced center knobs for lower rolling resistance.

The silica compound added also helps in getting traction even in wet and snowy conditions. Even in colder temperatures, you can be sure of a stable traction. This is important in fully enjoying the ride and having the peace of mind even when the weather gets rough.

Check the price on Amazon

Your new fat bike for your upcoming outdoor adventures

Fat bikes are on the trend these recent years. That’s because they offer a different experience. They also look cool which makes them a clear choice for many outdoor enthusiasts. It’s easy to choose and buy one, especially if you’ve read all the tips and insights above. One thing’s for certain, you’ll be riding one in no time.

If you have any questions or comments regarding fat bikes, comment below. Your ideas and insights might help fellow adventurers or beginners.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

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