Rarely in life is the decision to ‘get fat’ a positive move.
That is, unless you’re talking about cycling.
The best fat tire bikes can take your outdoor pedaling to new environments, elevate health and provide a remarkably novel experience for the whole family.
Here’s the lowdown on owning the beefiest of bikes.
The Top 5 Best Fat Tire Bikes:
What Is A Fat Tire Bike?
The name kind of gives it away.
Fat tire bikes (also known as fat bikes or fatbikes) are cycles that manufacturers design typically for use in off-road conditions.
I know what you’re thinking—that’s a mountain bike.
True, but fat bikes differ in that they have larger rims—and you’ve guessed it—fatter tires. Typically, these cycles have rims between 26-27.5 inches in diameter and tires with a massive width of 3-5 inches (compared to 2.36 inches in a standard mountain bike).
This allows them to cope more comfortably with extreme terrains and inclines than your standard mountain model. In cycling terms, they ‘float’ over these challenging surfaces.
Currently, these bikes are seriously ‘on-trend.’ So, if you want to be a hit with your kids, your family need fat bikes. Since their introduction in 2005 (the Pugsley), these cycles have experienced enormous growth in popularity, with annual sales exceeding $30 million.
Incredible Benefits of a Fat Tire Bike
You already have a family of bikes in your garage—why do you need another one?
Fat tire bikes can elevate your cycling pleasure and rewards dramatically. They’re equally suitable as a second bike or to replace your standard road machine.
Here’s why you’re missing out:
Extends Your Cycling Season
If you’re anything like my family, our outdoor cycling tails off during the winter months. I consider icy conditions a little precarious—and trying to push a standard mountain bike through snow is virtually impossible.
So, at this time of year, I hit the indoor bike as often as I can. But, getting the kids to do the same is an exercise in futility. Furthermore, stationary cycling while staring at a wall is frustratingly monotonous and doesn’t provide those mental benefits that being in the great outdoors can deliver.
The greater contact area of fat tires lowers impact pressure—allowing you and your family to ride effortlessly over ice and snow. Hence, your cycling hobby doesn’t have to go into hibernation during winter.
Increases Your Range of Environments
While mountain bikes may cope with most conditions—they still find sand and extremely boggy land tough to deal with.
The greater traction and surface area that fat tire bikes provide means you can hit the beaches or marshy areas on your cycle. Additionally, this ‘grip-ability’ is often increased by enthusiasts by letting some air out of their tires.
Hence, if you’re stuck riding the same tried and tested trails every week—the best fat tire bikes can open a new realm of options that are bound to keep you and your kids entertained.
I first started cycling a few years ago to boost my health—before it became an obsession!
By allowing you to cycle all-year-round and enabling you to ride in more challenging environments—the best fat tire bikes will raise these health benefits even further. Thus, allowing you to say goodbye to that insulating winter fat accumulation.
How to Choose the Best Fat Tire Bikes?
Selecting one of the best fat tire bikes means ensuring it’s going to meet you and your family's specific demands.
Here are some key points to consider:
Weight and Frame
The frame material determines both the strength and weight of your fat tire bike.
While seriously top-end cycles can include titanium or carbon-fiber frames—usually most manufacturers construct them from steel or aluminum.
Aluminum is lighter than steel, although it isn’t as robust. Hence, if you’re using your cycle in more extreme conditions, consider a steel bike. Or, if you lack strength and/or likely to be frequently lifting your bike—a lighter aluminum style may be more applicable.
While fat bikes do have more substantial tires than their standard mountain bike counterparts—don’t expect the increased rubber to act as vibration or shock-absorbers.
In truth, these larger tires have little impact-reducing effects. Hence, if you don’t want to feel every bump and divot in the ground, opt for a cycle with fork suspension. Conversely, if feeling ‘in-touch’ with your environment is important, you may decide to forego this feature.
Drivetrain and Gearing
Consider the environment in which you’ll use your fat tire bike.
More undulating land, whether off or on-road, will require a higher number of gears to make your riding more efficient. Alternatively, if you’re powering along relatively flat areas, a broad gearing spectrum may be unnecessary.
Furthermore, some users and children may not want the complication of an extensive drivetrain—preferring to keep their cycling as simple as possible.
The Top Five Best Fat Bikes
After examining users’ fat tire bike reviews, researching the opinions of cycling experts and utilizing my own knowledge and experience—here are my choices of the best fat tire bikes.
Weight: 59 pounds
Wheel size: 26 inches
If you’re looking for the best fat tire bike on the market that packs in features yet is at a price that isn’t going to break the bank—in my opinion, there’s nothing to surpass it.
Mongoose is a California-based manufacturer, with a history dating back over 45 years. It’s known by road-riding enthusiasts around the world for its quality and reliable cycles.
This boldly-styled bike, with its durable steel frame and supersized tires, should cope with the most extreme and challenging of terrains. Including the manufacturer’s bespoke all-terrain knobby tires, I’d suggest that it will offer unsurpassed grip compared to its competitors.
For those people who want a more simple drivetrain—this fat tire bike may appeal. A seven-speed Shimano unit powers this machine. I’d propose that this will be ideal for cyclists who experience low to intermediate undulation in their regular outings.
Furthermore, if you’re pushing up some thigh-burning hills, for a steel bike, it’s surprisingly lightweight. The manufacturer has compensated for the robust frame and large tires by including alloy rims to lower overall mass.
This fat tire bike is suitable for users from five feet six inches through to six feet tall.
- Weighs 59 pounds—lightweight for a large steel fat tire bike.
- Available in a choice of nine colors.
- Mechanical disc brakes.
- Threadless headset for easy height adjustment.
- Possibly one of the best fat tire bikes for the money.
- Includes a lifetime warranty.
- Has beach-cruiser pedals for increased grip and safe placement for falls.
- Easy to assemble.
- Lack of suspension may be an issue for some riders.
- Plastic chain-guard lacks the durability of the rest of the cycle.
Weight: 50 pounds
Wheel size: 26 inches
I’d put forward that if you need a lightweight cycle—this could be one of the best fat tire bikes for you.
With its durable aluminum frame, this unit may appeal to cyclists who lack the strength to power a heavier bike or are frequently mounting and unmounting on vehicle racks.
Additionally, this fat bike is suitable for the majority of age levels and heights—since you can buy this model in frame sizes ranging from 14 inches through to 22 inches.
Whether on the road or tougher terrain—I suggest that this cycle will provide all the ground-grip you demand. It boasts four-inch, super-wide and high-traction tires that I feel, will offer immense floatation over the most slippery of surfaces.
In my opinion, with its 16-speed SRAM drivetrain, this fat tire bike should make easy work of uphill gradients. Furthermore, you should be able to safely control your descents with this cycle’s front and rear Tektro disc brakes.
While the robust fat tires should easily manage sharp-edged materials such as shale and slate—should a puncture occur, don’t worry. Quick-release wheels mean simple removal, allowing you to make light work of repair.
- Available in a choice of three colors.
- Durable yet lightweight aluminum frame.
- Wide range of sizing options.
- Forks will accommodate up to a 4.5-inch tire should you want to ‘go large.’
- Easy for cycle-novices to assemble.
- Particularly suited to beach use.
- Understated appearance for the more reserved cyclist.
- Front and rear Tektro disc brakes.
- May provide a ‘hard’ ride with its lack of fork suspension.
- Pedal durability appears questionable, which for those with the intention of heavy-use, could mean frequent replacement.
Weight: 35.3 pounds
Wheel size: 26 inches
Some people call fat bikes the monster trucks of cycles. If your image is important, and you’re looking for the beefiest and meanest appearing machine on the road or mountain—this could be one of the best fat tire bikes.
Only available in black, the matt finish on this cycle gives it a beast-like feel. Combine that with its massive four-inch tires and an urban-grime style typeface—you have a behemoth of a bicycle.
Despite its formidable appearance—it’s remarkably light. With its aluminum frame weighing just 35.3 pounds, I’d suggest this is an excellent choice for those demanding the ultimate in gargantuan impact but not at the cost of strength.
If you’re planning on taking this animal out on rugged and rigorous terrain—I’d propose its 10-speed SRAM drivetrain will eat through whatever you throw at it.
Furthermore, its NECO 100 mm sealed bottom bracket means even when putting this bike through heavy punishment—its bearings remain unaffected by the elements, keeping your crank turning smoothly.
Additionally, this might be a good choice for cyclists looking for adaptability. The manufacturer has designed the forks to accommodate wheel sizes from a broad 26 inches by 4.8 inches, down to the narrower 29 inches by two inches. Hence, giving you the capability of swapping your substantial winter tires to summer slims for fair-weather riding and commuting.
- Can accommodate RockShox suspension forks if you require.
- Corrosion-resistant frame for all-weather use.
- Includes a tapered chainring for smooth gear transitions.
- Mechanical disc brakes.
- Velo plush saddle for those who find longer rides hard on the butt.
- Sturdy tubular 6061 aluminum frame.
- Urban styling.
- Ability to accommodate both slim and wide wheels as the seasons change.
- 10-speed SRAM drivetrain.
- The manufacturer recommends that a professional bike mechanic should assemble this cycle.
- Lacks a front-wheel quick-release mechanism.
Weight: 55 pounds
Wheel size: 26 inches
This my second pick from the Mongoose stable—and one which I’d suggest is one of the best fat tire bikes for those adventurous cyclists who want the widest of wheels.
With tires measuring 4.25 inches wide—this is a cycle that should easily cope with more challenging terrains such as coarse dirt, sand, embankments, snow and rocks. Furthermore, the sturdy steel-frame will provide reassuring strength when pushing both you and your cycle to the limits.
A Shimano rear drivetrain powers this fat tire bike, giving you the choice of seven different speed options to accommodate flat or inclined terrain. Additionally, should you be powering uphill, I’d propose the light-alloy rims provide essential weight-saving—reducing the effort on your powerhouse thighs.
This cycle possesses 2.5-inch low rise handlebars, which may appeal to those who like the comfort of a forward riding position. Furthermore, they incorporate twist-shifters for easy gear transitioning—without you having to remove your hands from the handlebars.
A choice of eight different color options, combined with contrasting rims, provides a modern aesthetic that should suit all tastes.
- Alloy A-head stem.
- 4.25-inch wide tires.
- Respected manufacturer with over 45 years’ experience.
- Mechanical front and rear disc brakes for immediate stopping and downhill speed control.
- Available for self-assembly or ready-assembled (at an additional cost).
- Lightweight alloy rims.
- Beach-cruiser frame.
- Comfortable and friction-improving hand grips.
- Three-piece cranks for additional reliability.
- Available in eight modern color options.
- The mountain-style saddle may not suit those looking for a more cushioned ride.
- Lacks suspension and cannot accommodate retrofit upgrades.
- Will require additional greasing for initial use—the factory provided lubrication is insufficient.
Weight: 56 pounds
Wheel size: 26-27.5 inches
As a bike that’s seriously big, beefy and will not break the budget—I’d recommend this as the best cheap bike on the market.
If the usual 26-inch fat cycle wheels simply aren’t large enough for your needs, this machine ups the ante by also offering a 27.5-inch version. This may suit those looking to tackle more awkward obstacles by providing a decreased angle of attack.
Furthermore, when speed is crucial, these larger wheels hold a greater degree of rotational inertia. Once you’re moving, it’s easier to keep going at the same velocity.
The 21-speed shifters with a smooth Shimano rear derailleur complement the substantial steel frame. I’d suggest it’s ideal for cyclists who demand complete control of their drivetrain. Despite being a hefty bike, the alloy wheel rims reduce overall weight and should provide reliable strength on demanding ground.
If your idea is to take this bike on extreme and uneven terrain—you may welcome the front-fork suspension. Thus absorbing heavy impacts and promoting a cleaner and more pleasant ride.
It incorporates rear and front aluminum disc brakes, delivering impressive stopping-power and promoting enhanced controllability on those steep descents.
Finally, with the capacity to take up to 440 pounds of weight—I’d put forward that this cycle will suit larger cyclists who may find standard bikes lack durability.
- Available in four different colors.
- Excellent value-to-quality balance.
- Suitable for cyclists from five feet three inches through to six feet.
- Reassuring stable foot placement.
- Initial assembly is simple, even for novices.
- Front and rear disc brakes.
- Smooth-shifting operation between the gears.
- 21-speed drivetrain.
- Front suspension to improve ride comfort and safety.
- Equally at home on wastelands, mountains, snow, sand and city roads.
- Saddle isn’t particularly comfortable.
- Decorative stickers peel easily after a few weeks of use.
- Hand grips may lack sufficient traction for some cyclists—especially in moist conditions.
The Best Fat Tire Bikes Conclusion
For me, these fat tire bikes make either a fun second cycle or can replace your everyday machine—offering both road and off-road capabilities.
While the five cycles I’ve listed above are all incredible examples of these powerful bicycles—for me, one model stands out—and is supported by the fat bike reviews from experts in the industry.
The Mongoose Dolomite fat bike, in my opinion, has everything you need in a monster cycle and isn’t going to break the bank.
With bold styling—this bike will look equally impressive on city streets, beaches or mountains. While having a sturdy steel frame, this isn’t at the expense of weight, which the manufacturer has reduced by including lightweight alloy rims.
This cycle’s seven-speed drivetrain should meet the gearing demands of most users, and the mechanical disc brakes will give reassuring stopping and downhill control.
However, for the ultimate in fat tire bikes—my pick is the Mongoose Dolomite.