Road biking is a sport that has seen renewed interest during the past few years, and especially during the past 12 months. It’s an easy way to get outside, explore, and exercise. Manufacturers have been innovating more rapidly to fill this burgeoning demand. E-bikes, or electric bikes, have definitely seen an increase in popularity. Another style of bike that has become significantly more popular is the fat tire bike. These are similar to regular bikes but have widened seat and chainstays and widened forks to accommodate special tires that can be around 4 inches wide. These super-wide tires allow you to float more easily over snow, rocks, roots, and soft sand. Essentially, they make it easier to bike in all conditions in all seasons. Ahead are our top picks for fat bikes in 2021.
- Best Value: Mongoose Dolomite
- Best for Kids: BMC Blast
- Best for Cargo: Surly Big Fat Dummy
- Best Full-Suspension: ICAN Carbon Full-Suspension
- Best Electric Fat Bike: Rad Rover v5
- Best Premium Brand: Canyon Dude CF 8
- Best Front-Suspension: Borealis Echo
- Best Road Cruiser: Firmstrong Bruiser
- Best Trike: Belize Bicycle Company Tri-Rider
The Mongoose Dolomite provides great value for the money. Is it the lightest fat tire mountain bike? No. Does it have the best components? Also, no. Will it allow you to get outside, pedal around, and experience everything a fat bike has to offer? Absolutely. If you plan to bike around occasionally and want to save money to buy a nice bike helmet to protect your dome, the Dolomite is for you.
The Blast is engineered for younger riders between 5 and 8 years of age. Constructed from strong, double-butted aluminum tubing, it will survive the abuse that kids can dish out. A 1×8 SRAM drivetrain provides enough gears to handle almost any terrain challenge. Importantly, the included sticker kit allows little riders to customize the bike to their liking.
Surly is known for offering bikes that are extremely durable and well-built. The Fat Dummy cargo bike is no different. It features a 4130 Chromoly steel frame with a double-butted main triangle for strength and rigidity. The extended-length cargo area and included fabric panniers allow you to carry a bunch of stuff — groceries, kids, maybe even your partner after a few too many drinks at the bar. Big 180mm SRAM disc brakes help you bring everything to a halt when needed.
One of the benefits of fat-tire bikes is the air volume of the tires themselves. It helps to absorb bumps in the trail. However, what if you’d like to do some more extreme biking? Maybe hit some jumps or drop off of small cliffs? A full-suspension carbon fat bike like the ICAN will help keep you comfortable while you do it. It is specced out decently, with a mostly Shimano Deore groupset and Rockshox suspension. With fork travel of 100mm and rear shock travel of 51mm, it’ll provide a supple ride no matter what kind of stunts you perform.
RAD Power Bikes was one of the first to popularize electric bikes. Its first products went to market with smaller 20-inch wheels, but over time it’s added more standard tire sizes to bikes in the product line. For example, the Rad Rover 5 has 26-inch wheels for great rolling efficiency. It also includes fenders for rainy rides and a suspension fork to smooth out your ride. With 750W of power on demand and a 48V, 14 Ah battery, it can provide enough power to get you up and over almost any hill.
Canyon builds some of the nicer mountain bikes out there. Their Dude CF 8 fat bike is no different. Most of the 1×12 groupset is SRAM SX Eagle, one of the nicest component offerings on the market. 180mm brake rotors with Shimano SM-RT10 twin-piston calipers provide excellent stopping performance. A carbon fiber frame and fork help to keep weight to a minimum.
Sometimes, a full-suspension setup might be overkill for the type of riding you’d like to do, but a fully rigid bike might not provide enough comfort. This is where front suspension bikes are valuable — enough suppleness to keep you comfortable but enough rigidity to provide great pedaling efficiency. Incorporating the new Rockshox BLUTO fat bike suspension fork, the Borealis Echo is a front-suspension bike to consider. Most of the groupset is either SRAM or AVID for a good blend of performance and value. Internal cable routing for the brakes, shifters, and dropper seat post cables helps to keep things clean and clutter-free.
What if your only plans for your new fat bike are to take it for leisurely cruises down to the beach or to your local park? Surely, you don’t need a high-tech frame, suspension, or any bells and whistles. The Bruiser from Firmstrong might be the perfect bike for you. With a laid-back riding position, a simple 7-speed Shimano drivetrain, and disc brakes, it provides everything you need and nothing you don’t. Most fat bikes have knobby tires, which provide lots of grip in the dirt or snow but are kind of noisy and inefficient on pavement. The smooth tires on the Bruiser provide a nice, quiet ride.
Alright, alright — the title of this article is “The 9 Best Fat Tire Bikes to Buy Now,” but what’s the issue with adding a trike to the mix? We’d say that, with wheels, the more the merrier. With a weight capacity of 260 pounds on the rear rack, the Belize Bicycle Company Tri-Rider can help you move big things. Stopping power comes from a front disc brake and enclosed rear band brake. A single-speed drivetrain keeps things simple. This trike would be perfect for cruising down to the home center to pick up your new refrigerator — or, you know, just cruising around town in general.
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