The Best Fat Tire Bikes

Fat tire bikes are becoming more and more popular. They make bike riding so much fun in such a wide selection of environments that it's not hard to see why. Here are our favorites.

Buying a fat tire bike

Fat tire bikes are amazing fun and provide a smooth enjoyable ride. They’re also bound to turn heads. Just look how amazingly cool they are! Many fat bike reviews out there are aimed at experienced riders, so we’ve done our best to make these reviews as newbie friendly as possible.

We want everyone to find their perfect fit. For the most part, we think the Diamondback El Oso is the best fat tire bike for sale today. Its price does make it a little less suited for beginners than some of the other options, though.

If you’re just starting out, take a look at the Mongoose Fat Bike options. These are excellent budget fat bikes for beginners and will lead you to fall in love them.

The first two bikes on our list are for serious bikers. If you’re in the market for the best fat bike possible, it’s these two you want to pay attention to. There’s not all that much point risking a costly purchase if you aren’t sure fat bikes are for you.

Always start with something reasonably priced that’ll give you a good feel for the style and feeling. The aluminum frames of the Mongoose Juneau make it perfect for beginners who may not be able to handle the extra weight of a steel frame. We can take a close look at each of the bikes on our list now. Below are the best fat bikes for riders looking to up their game and try something new in the process.

Diamondback Bicycles El Oso

I absolutely love this bike. My main goal in buying a new bike was to find one that I could ride to work even in the winter. These fat tires handle the snow and ice with no problem.

The aluminum frame is ideal because it doesn’t rust, even when I have to leave it chained outside for a few hours.

This summer, I plan on taking it off-trail and seeing how it handles in the dunes.

The bike arrived almost ready to go. The assembly process only took me twenty minutes, but this isn’t the first bicycle I’ve constructed.

In a day and age where most products come with little to no instructions or maybe a link to a website, I was really happy with the extensive owner’s manual that came in a bound folder.

It even came with the torque wrench I needed to tighten all of the fasteners.

This bike is not cheap, but it is hands down one of the best fat tire bikes that you can buy.

I have seen much more expensive bikes at my local shop that did not have nearly as many features. The value I got with this bike is amazing.

It’s been an excellent daily commuter for me and its SO much fun.

We had more to say about this bike here

BEIOU Full Carbon Fat Tire

When shopping for fat tire bike, I did my research. I spent hours reading fat tire bike reviews. One of the reasons I decided to go with this bike was the reputation BEIOU has for producing high-quality carbon fiber bikes.

This bike has ended up being a great buy for me.

This is a really nice looking bike. The 3k Glossy Black Green is even more stunning in person than the pictures showed online.

I have gotten many compliments while riding it around town. The frame, seat post, handlebar, and fork are all full carbon.

Even the wheel hubs are carbon. They are 26″ which is a great size because they are easy to find in stores if you need replacements.

I love the hydraulic braking system on this bike. It is the Shimano M135, which is supposed to be top of the line.

That means it requires braking fluid, but it also means that it is great for making emergency stops.

This bike wasn’t cheap, but I still feel like it was a good buy. With all the carbon fiber pieces I am anticipating it will last me a long time. So far, I haven’t come across a type of terrain that this bike can’t handle.

Read our reactions to this bike here

Mongoose Juneau 26″ Fat Tire

This bike serves my needs well. I have a different bike that I use for daily commuting but I needed something for when the trails I take to work get muddy.

Since it wasn’t going to be my primary, I didn’t want to spend a thousand dollars but at the same time, I did not want to end up with a piece of junk. I feel I chose right when I bought this bike.

It has an aluminum bike frame, which is preferable over any other material in my opinion because it never rusts. The tires are oversized and can get through the mud with ease.

The tires are monstrous, a whopping 4″ wide. I have since learned that they come even bigger, but I can’t imagine that being necessary.

Honestly, I may make this bike my primary because of the way it flies over sticks and small rocks. On top of the tires, the oversized frame is really helpful for clearing obstacles.

So far, I have only had one flat. Both the front and back wheels have the quick release lever, which meant changing the tire was a breeze.

I do worry about someone stealing them, but so far I have been lucky.

For someone who wants a fat tire for casual riding, I highly recommend this one. It was really good bang for my buck and I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

Gravity Monster Fat Bike

Finding a bike that can handle my 6’4 frame has always been a challenge. This fat bike was up to the task though, and I absolutely love riding it.

I got the biggest size, which is 22″. I haven’t enjoyed bike riding this much since I was a kid.

I knew I wanted to find a fat tire bike in the mid-price range. While I don’t use it often enough to drop a grand or two, I also didn’t want something cheap and easily breakable.

After reading a lot of fat tire bike reviews, I decided to go with the Gravity Monster.

The instruction manual was a little confusing in my opinion, but I managed to get it all set up in just under an hour. I’m not so sure beginners would find it that easy.

I took it to a friend of mine at the bike store and he couldn’t stop smiling. Considering I didn’t buy it from them, that seemed like high praise! He did tell me about a lot of upgrades I could make, but for now I find this bike fun to ride as is.

For anyone looking for a decent fat tire bike, I highly recommend this one. I think it is the best fat tire bike for value.

Mongoose Dolomite 26” Fat Tire

When I first started shopping for a fat tire bike a while back, I was floored by how expensive some of them were.

I almost gave up but after reading all the fat tire bike reviews I decided to give the Mongoose Dolomite a chance. I am really glad I did!

People stop and stare when I ride this bike. I choose to believe it is because they are jealous!

Is this bike lightweight? Absolutely not. Does it matter? I don’t think so.

This bike is incredibly sturdy, which is all that matters to me. It works like a champ, shifting gears with ease and braking on a dime.

So far I’ve had it out on pavement, sand, and dirt. I’m actually looking forward to winter this year so I can try it on the snow.

The bike was easy to assemble. The tires were even inflated enough to ride straight out of the box.

I did need to take it to a shop to get help adjusting the brake pads because they were rubbing.

After that minor adjustment, it was a beautiful bike to ride. If you are looking for your first fat tire bike, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

A Guide To Buying The Best Fat Tire Bike

Best fat tire bikes

Fat tire bikes have exploded in popularity in recent years. That is because on top of being fun to ride, they also can handle terrain that most bikes simply cannot. Their reputation is nearing that of the ever popular single speed bike.

In order to qualify as a fat tire bike, the tires have to be at least 4 inches wide. Originally, these bikes were designed for snow or sand riding but the uses have grown over time.

You may be interested in buying a fat tire bike for a lot of reasons, like:

  • You will get to explore places you never thought possible
  • Weather will no longer stop you from getting out and riding
  • There is very little maintenance required for this bike
  • It is one of the most comfortable bikes you will ever ride
  • The balance on these bikes is unparalleled

There are several things that set fat tire bikes apart from conventional mountain bikes. Obviously, the wheel clearance is much bigger to accommodate the large tires.

You will not see rim brakes on these bikes because they won’t fit or stop a bike this size.

They run low gears to keep the wheels moving over difficult terrain. The gears also allow you to pedal easily and enjoy a cushy ride.

If you are in the market for your first fat tire bike, there are a lot of things to consider when making your choice.

Frame Material

There are several different materials fat tire bikes come in. The most common two aluminum and stainless steel.

As the popularity of fat bikes has risen and more manufacturers have gotten in on the game, carbon fiber is now becoming more common.

There are even some bikes on the market made of titanium. The best material for you is going to depend on how you use your bike.

If it is your daily commuter, you may want something a little more lightweight, such as aluminum. If you do a lot of off-trail riding, you may want something sturdier, like steel.

Tire Size

You knew you were going to end up with fat tires, but did you know there were two different options when it came to how fat? The options are 4″ or 5″, and the one for you depends on what you are trying to get out of your bike.

The 4″ tires are significantly lighter, and the bikes that run them are often a bit cheaper. They allow the chainstays to be shorter, which in turn allows for more responsive handling.

The other option, 5″ tires, offer maximum flotation on all those fun surfaces you are probably buying a fat tire bike to ride on (snow, sand, mud, etc.).

These bad boys add weight, so if you are carrying your bike upstairs or riding long distances daily, you may want to stick with 4″.

It is very important that the rim width and the tire width are compatible. Using too wide of a tire on a narrow rim can lead to stability issues and damage the tire.

The tires that come with your bike will obviously fit well and you can always stick with those.

Keep in mind that you can always put smaller tires on rims meant for 5″ tires, but you can’t put bigger tires on rims meant for 4″ ones.

Brakes

Disc or hydraulic brakes? Both are good options with different advantages and disadvantages.

  • Disc Brakes: For the purpose of fat tire bikes, disc brakes refers to cable-actuated ones. These are easier to set up and maintain than hydraulic brakes. They are often also cheaper. You will have to use more pressure on this type of braking system. If you are planning on riding in arctic conditions, this may be the better option for you because they have no fluid that can freeze.
  • Hydraulic Brakes: These brakes feel crisper than disc ones. Far less pressure is needed to stop, and they feel more responsive. The precision is especially useful for technical riding. On the negative side, if they break out on the trail it would be difficult to fix them. They are more complicated to set up and maintain. If you are riding in warmer weather, these are a great choice. If you want to use these in colder conditions, look for a system that uses DOT fluid instead of mineral oil.

Suspension

Believe it or not, your fat tire bike may come without suspension. This isn’t necessarily a sign of a cheap bike.

There are fans on both sides of the suspension vs. rigid argument. Here is a breakdown of how having suspension or not will affect your ride:

  • Rigid: This style of fat bike is lighter. They also take less maintenance. On the flip side, you can be in for a pretty bumpy ride, depending on the terrain you are riding on.
  • Suspension: You are in for a much more comfortable ride. However, you are adding weight to your bike and there is more you have to maintain on it.

More and more, fat bikes are coming with suspension forks, or at least the ability to have one added.

If you are not sure which type of bike is right for you, look for a rigid bike that is “suspension ready.” That way, your options are open.

Drivetrain

Bikes will either have an external or internal gearing. External gearing is much more common on all bikes, not just fat tire ones.

Internal drivetrains can protect your drive bits, but they are also a lot more complicated to maintain and fix. External gearing will likely serve your purposes just fine.

Weight

Serious bike riders know that how much their bike weighs greatly impacts how often and where they can use it.

With a fat bike, you are generally traveling at slower speeds and are less likely to have as much momentum to get you up those big hills. In these cases, that extra five pounds or so can really come back to haunt you.

The original fat bike makers did not really care about weight. Their goal was durability and making sure these bikes could get over any type of terrain.

As they have become more mainstream, manufacturers are trying to incorporate some more lightweight features.

If you are concerned about the weight of your bike (and you probably should be, at least a little,) look for features that add as little weight as possible.

Aluminum and carbon fiber are good lightweight options for the frame. If you want to shave off a few pounds, going with 4″ tires can help you accomplish that.

A major way to shave off weight is to have tubeless tires. It is very hard to find a fat tire bike for sale with this feature.

If you go this route, you will likely need a professional to make the conversion for you.

Many fat tires rims are not designed for tubeless tires, and many tweaks could be necessary to make it work.

Size

With a fat bike, you actually have more wiggle room with sizing than you would other road or mountain bikes. That being said, you still want to choose a size that is compatible with your height and the riding positions you prefer.

Currently, carbon fiber bikes tend to only come in three or four sizes. People who are shorter than 5’4 may have a hard time finding one that will work for them. Luckily, aluminum bikes tend to have many more options.

Due to the tall tires, fat tire bikes may seem too big for someone on the shorter side, but with proper research, anyone should be able to find one to fit them.

Enjoyment

Odds are, you are looking for a bike that you enjoy riding. People needing transportation and nothing else rarely look into fat tire bikes.

Make sure the bike you end up with is comfortable for you and suited for the types of terrain you plan to ride it on.

What a Good Fat Tire Bike Will Have

The right bike for you will depend on your experience level and how you want to use it, but the following are things that will make sure your bike is a good fit for you:

  • Comes in your size
  • Sealed bearings for durability
  • Capability to hold 5” tires
  • Suspension compatible
  • Decently lightweight

Once you’ve decided what features are right for you, it is just a matter of finding a bike with your sense of style.

There are many beautiful fat bikes on the market today at a variety of price points.

A fat bike can really expand the area a cyclist can explore. They are particularly popular among backpackers and other explorers but can be just as fun and useful for the average cyclist.

A fat tire bike doesn’t have to be terribly expensive. A cheap fat tire bike can be just as fun.

If you take your time and do your research, you are likely to end up with a bike you will enjoy for years to come.