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If you are a novice bike rider who is perplexed about buying a fat bike or do not know if the investment is worthy, this is for you. A fat bike is intrinsically an off-road bike that will help you maneuver difficult terrain with an ease you can only imagine.
You can ride a fat bike practically everywhere, especially in sand, snow and mud. If you live in rocky, mountainous terrain and have always wondered how to conquer the bumps and snow, a fat bike is the way forward.
Owing to the large tires that run at low pressure, you will feel as if your fat bike floats over soft surfaces like sand. Even without suspension, it will seem that the tires absorb the shocks and bumps of the surface.
If you have been looking to buy a fat bike to finally explore the unknown regions, you might have noticed that they are expensive. For an entry-level fat bike rider, it’s important to invest in the right bike, which is affordable and can give value for their money.
We’ve curated a list of fat bikes that you can look into before buying the perfect one!
5 Best Entry-Level Fat Bikes & Reviews
1. Framed Minnesota 1.2 Fat Bike
A great entry-level fat bike, Framed Minnesota is constructed using the 6061 Aluminum alloy that makes it so much lighter than steel. Weight is crucial when it comes to fat bikes since they are generally heavier due to the tires.
With massive wheels, the bike has a 26-inch wheelset. These are single-walled alloy wheels with 4-inch Vee rubber tires that’ll ensure that your bike will cut through steep terrain with absolute ease. The rim cutouts along the center cut down the weight considerably.
Also, the fork accommodates wheels 26” x 4.8” to 29” x 2” so you can swap out the tires according to your preference.
For gearing, this bike sports a Truvativ crankset (32T) paired with an SRAM X5 10-speed trigger shifters and rear derailleurs. For an entry-level setup, the X5 offers excellent value.
The Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes provide with a great stopping power required to control the massive fat bike.
The geometry of the bike is impressive and unique. The ride is upright, suitable for a middle frame. With about 35 pounds of weight, the bike is great for anyone transitioning from a regular to a fat bike. It’s very light, compared to other fat bikes, making it great for men and women riders, both.
If you are worried about how to assemble the bike, the bike comes 90% assembled.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Affordable and great value for money
- Lower end KT Quando hubs
Our Verdict: For under a thousand bucks, Minnesota 1.2 is an amazing fat bike to invest in as an entry-level biker. If you have a slightly better budget, the Minnesota 2.0 and 2.2 series are better bikes that’ll provide you with more features.
2. Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike
What if your budget is tight and yet, you want a taste of fat biking? Mongoose’s insanely inexpensive Dolomite fat bike is a perfect choice for novice riders.
The bike features a standard steel frame, about 17” in size with a neutral riding position. The fork comes with slightly oversized tubing.
For riders of different heights, the threadless headset is adjustable. The frame is suitable for riders who are 5”6’ to 6” tall.
The Dolomite features a basic Shimano Altus rear derailleur with seven speeds, paired with a twist gear shifter, making the gear changes and shifts smooth.
It has front and rear mechanical disc brakes that have decent stopping power. You can always tune it up for better performance.
The bike is slightly heavy, weighing about 48 pounds but at the price that Mongoose offers, it’s a great trade-off.
The bike comes almost assembled, and according to the users, it’s very easy to assemble the rest of it.
The Dolomite has a lot of buyers and good reviews because of its super affordable price range and value for money that it provides. As an entry-level bike, it offers a lot more than one can expect.
- Provides great value for money
- Threadless headset for easy adjustability
- Does not work great on fresh snow
- Complaints of uncomfortable seating
Our Verdict: This bike is great if you aren’t sure about fat biking, but still want to try your hand at it. You can upgrade it to your liking and make it more suitable for you to ride. There aren’t a lot of fat bikes available at this price range, and hence, most of the entry-level riders often prefer this.
3. Mongoose Vinson Fat Tire Mountain Bike
We do not know how, but Mongoose manages to deliver great bikes at an affordable price range. It is great for riders who want to explore the territory of fat biking.
The entry-level Vinson has an aluminum body that reduces the weight of the already heavy fat bike considerably. It is durable and lighter compared to steel.
You can ride over sand, snow, rugged and super bumpy terrain, thanks to the knobby 4” fat tires and durable alloy rims. So, instead of being cooped up inside the house in winter, you can get great exercise on this fat bike, which is sure to be a lot of fun, too.
For crisp and powerful stopping power, the bike features dual mechanical disc brakes. It doesn’t matter what terrain you want to explore; you would have full control over your bike at any time.
For smooth shifting and gears, Vinson is equipped with 24-speed SRAM X4 trigger shifters, reliable Shimano/ SRAM X4 drivetrain and a sturdy three-piece alloy crank.
The bike is slightly on the heavier side, weighing about 44 pounds, but it’s an excellent option for novice riders who do not want to burn a hole in their pocket while experimenting with fat biking.
- Great value for money
- Easy to assemble
- Great value for money
- Not fun to ride on urban roads
Our Verdict: For bumpy terrain, this is a fun ride that’s easy on the pockets and would help you know if you enjoy the idea of fat biking. People who’ve bought this bike love the gearing and the experience of riding it on the mountains.
4. Diamondback El Oso Fat Bike
This rugged bike is for you if your budget is slightly higher. It’s a great entry-level bike, with a durable and light aluminum frame with hydroformed tubing.
The frame design is on the larger side, making it more suitable for people with a height of 5”7’ to about 6” feet tall.
It features a 120 mm travel RockShox Bluto fork which contributes a lot to the comfort of the bike, along with a smooth-shifting Shimano 2×10 drivetrain.
The high volume, low-pressure tires make the impossible terrain look easy to ride. The tires are 26” x 4.5”, and the bike can handle upto 5” wide wheels.
What’s great about this bike is that it has the Shimano M447 hydraulic brakes which are a notch above the mechanical disc brakes. They have better stopping power and less force is required to apply the lever.
The bike comes 85% assembled, and if you are good with the mechanics of it, it will take you under half an hour to set it up.
- Works well on fresh snow
- Easy to assemble
- Rims are not tubeless ready
Our Verdict: The Diamondback El Oso (meaning ‘The Bear’) is a high-end entry-level bike that people who’ve invested in, have loved. It’s slightly expensive but offers the hydraulic brake system, the Bluto fork and other features that make it a fantastic fat bike to own. It provides great value for money!
5. Framed Wolftrax Alloy Women’s Fat Bike
It gets infuriating sometimes because there aren’t enough women’s fat bikes in the market. You can surely ride a men’s bike too, but there are some differences in the making of the two.
The geometry of a women’s bicycle depends on a lot of things. For instance, women’s bikes have shorter reach length since women, on average, have a shorter torso length.
This bike’s a game-changer, constructed using the Wolftrax alloy frame. It is made using a hydroforming process. The material is used as required, building a lightweight frame that delivers powers and increases performance.
The bike features the Shimano Deore drivetrain, which is top quality and highly durable. It has the intuitive Dyna-Sys gear combination that manages to make the ride incredibly smooth.
For shifting and gearing, the Wolftrax features the 10-speed X5 SRAM trigger shifters with front X7 derailleur and rear X5 dérailleur. The X5 components help take off-roading to the next level.
Equipped with the BB5 dual disc brakes, the bike will provide you with immense control and powerful stopping precision. It’s highly recommended and required considering the kind of terrain you’d be dealing with.
The bike is partially assembled, and it’s advisable to use professional help in case you aren’t well-versed with putting the bike together.
- Extremely lightweight, weighing about 33 pounds
- Highly durable
- The straight handlebars make for an uncomfortable wrist position
Our Verdict: It’s a great entry-level bike for women who want to get into fat biking or mountain biking. It becomes effortless to climb steep ascents or control the bike while making a descent with this bike. The bike is perfect for all kinds of terrain, especially if you live in a cold place where it snows quite often.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Fat Bike
It is essential to know what kind of terrain you want to ride on. Based on it, you’ll need to choose the tires, whether 4” or 5”. It is vital to measure the rims and select the tire appropriately. The ‘floatation’ of the tire depends on its thickness.
Most riders prefer the 4-inch tires since they work well on a variety of terrains. Although the 5” tires might seem tempting, you should go for them only if you have to ride the snow or sand most of the time. They are more sluggish and bouncy and would become not-so-fun very soon.
Suspension in fat bikes is different from that of a regular mountain bike. Due to the thickness of the fat tires, you’ll notice that the bike can absorb shocks even without a suspension. Based on your budget and preferences, you should opt for the best quality suspension that’ll make for a comfortable ride.
Geometry & Frame
The geometry of the bike differs from model to model. Based on your height, body and weight, you should opt for a bike that’s the most comfortable. Most fat bikes are suitable for people above 5”7’ so if you are shorter; it might be slightly challenging to find a fat bike for your frame.
It’s also important to think of the frame material of the bike since it contributes to the weight of the bike. Fat bikes are heavier compared to regular bikes, and the choice of material becomes essential. Steel is heavier than aluminum but also cheaper. So, choose what fits your budget the best.
Fat biking aficionados prefer the hydraulic brake system since it provides a lot more stopping power and efficiency than the mechanical disk brakes. But it also makes the bike more expensive.
Choosing your first fat bike can be a little tricky, especially if you’ve never ridden one before and do not know if you are going to enjoy it. But, if you do enjoy biking, it won’t be a surprise that you’d love the thrill of exploring difficult terrains on a fat bike.
Fat bikes are enjoyable to ride and more comfortable to pedal than they look. It’ll make your dream of bikepacking come true.
And the eyeballs it’ll grab, that will never get old!