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Whether you’re new to mountain biking and have decided that a fat bike is the best one-quiver bike you can buy on a budget, or you’ve been mountain biking for decades and have finally decided to add a fat bike to your stable, choosing to purchase an affordable fat bike initially instead of a high-dollar rig makes a ton of sense. It makes sense to test the waters with a reasonable investment, and if you decide you absolutely love the sport of mountain biking–and fat biking more specifically–you can easily upgrade in a few years.

To help you decide which fat bike is right for you, the list is organized in ascending price order including fat bikes as low as $500 to fat bikes under $1,500. Prices have also been rounded to the closest $50 level whenever possible, and when MSRPs are the same, the listings have been alphabetized.  This list is not comprehensive, yet hopefully it comes close: I’ve scoured the internet, checked all the big brands, delved into all the direct-to-consumer sites, and surveyed our forum users–all in an attempt to discover the best deals and prices.

Fat Bikes Under $1,000

While you can purchase a fat bike at Walmart for just over a hundred bucks, I don’t recommend it: it will be extremely heavy and cumbersome, and likely won’t stand the test of time.

That said, I don’t necessarily claim that the least expensive bikes that I’ve included on this list will last, either, but these will still be a much better investment of your dollars than going to Walmart.

Gravity Bullseye Monster – $500

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On the low end of the budget we have a Bikes Direct special: the Gravity Bullseye Monster. With an aluminum 6061 frame and a chromoly steel fork, the main difference between the Bullseye and the Deadeye is the addition of a SRAM X4 2×8 drivetrain.

The Bullseye Monster is spec’ed with the same Tektro Novela disc brakes, Vee Rubber Mission 26×4″ tires with a wire bead, and WTB Speed V Sport saddle as the Deadeye above.

 

Mongoose Argus Sport – $600

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While Mongoose is now mostly known as a big box store brand, in recent years they’ve produced many solid entry-level and mid-range mountain bikes, including the Argus line of fat bikes. At $600 the Argus Sport is affordable, offering an aluminum frame and fork.

The Argus Comp is spec’ed with a low-end Shimano drivetrain with a 9-speed Sunrace cassette, Mongoose hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors (the first hydraulic brakes on this list), Kenda Juggernaut 26×4″ tires, and 100mm wide rims with cutouts (no word on the brand).

Buy Mongoose Argus Sport Fat Bike on Amazon.com

Motobecane Boris X5 – $600

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The Motobecane Boris X5 features a hydroformed aluminum frame and a chromoly steel fork. It comes spec’ed with a SRAM X5 2×9 drivetrain, Tektro Novela disc brakes, 26×4″ BigAdventures tires, and Weinmann HL-80 rims with cutouts.

Framed Minnesota 1.0 – $690

Framed Minnesota 2.0 fat bike

Framed Minnesota 1.0 photo: framedbikes.com

Get used to seeing the name “Framed” on this list, as they dominate the high quality/low cost fat bike market. The Framed Minnesota 1.0 is the bottom of their barrel, yet with a high quality aluminum frame and fork and a decent parts build, it offers great quality on the dollar.

The Minnesota 1.0 is spec’ed with a SRAM X4 1×9 drivetrain, Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes, 80mm-wide Framed Aluminum rims with cut-outs, Framed Minnesota 26×4″ tires, and Frame-branded cockpit components. Claimed weight for the complete bike is 35lbs, 3oz

Framed Minnesota 2.0 – $700

Framed Minnesota 2.0 fat bike

Framed Minnesota 2.0 photo: framedbikes.com

The Framed Minnesota 2.0 rings up at just $10 more than the 1.0 model. The main difference from the 1.0? An improvement in the drivetrain, bumping it up to a SRAM X5/X7 2×9 combination. Claimed weight is 34lbs 4oz–almost a full pound lighter than the 1.0 above.

The Minnesota 2.0 is also spec’ed with Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes, 80mm-wide Framed Aluminum rims with cut outs, Framed Minnesota 26×4″ tires, and Frame-branded cockpit components. Be sure to read Jeff’s test ride review.

Buy Framed Minnesota 2.0 on Amazon.com

Diamondback El Oso Uno – $750

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Diamondback’s El Oso Uno sports a steel frame and fork and is spec’ed with a Shimano Alivio 3×9 drivetrain, Tektro Mira mechanical disc brakes, Chaoyang Cruiser 26×4″ tires, DB75mm Wide w/28mm cutout rims, and plenty of Diamondback-branded cockpit bits.

Buy Diamondback El Oso Uno at REI.com

KHS 4 Season 300 – $770

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The KHS 4 Season 300 features an aluminum frame with a chromoly steel fork. It comes spec’ed with a Shimano Alivio/RD-TX800 drivetrain with an 8-speed cassette, Bengal MB606 mechanical disc brakes, Knobby 26×4″ tires, alloy 80mm rims “w/triangle holes,” and KHS-branded cockpit bits.

Raleigh Pardner – $800

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With a steel frame, fork, and a multi-speed drivetrain, the Raleigh Pardner is the first fully-steel fat bike with a multi-gear drivetrain on this list.

The Pardner is spec’ed with a Shimano Alivio 9-speed drivetrain; Tektro Mira mechanical disc brakes; CY 26×4.0″ tires; and “Raleigh Prospect 80, 26X32h, 73mm wide” rims with cutouts.

Buy Raleigh Pardner Fat Bike on Amazon.com

KHS 4 Season 500 – $900

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The KHS 4 Season 500 features the same alloy frame and steel fork as the 300, but with an upgraded parts kit. The 500 is spec’ed with a Shimano M3000/661 SLX drivetrain with a 9-speed cassette, Shimano BR-M355 hydraulic disc brakes, Knobby 26×4″ tires, alloy 80mm rims “w/triangle holes,” and KHS-branded cockpit bits.

 

 

Rocky Mountain Blizzard -10 – $1,000

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The Rocky Mountain Blizzard -10 model comes in just below $1,000 with an aluminum frame and fork. Most riders tend to define a 5-inch fat bike as any fatty with tires over the 4-inch mark (it’s relatively rare to find a full 5-inch tire), but the Blizzard splits the difference at 4.5″. The clearance is likely plenty wide to accommodate a fatter 4.8″ tread as an after market upgrade.

The Blizzard -10 is spec’ed with a Shimano Altus 1x drivetrain, a 12-36T Shimano cassette, Tektro M280 mechanical disc brakes, Kenda Juggernaut 26×4.5″ tires, Rocky Mountain Speedhole 95mm rims, and Rocky Mountain-branded cockpit bits.

 

Fat Bikes Under $1,500

You can score a pretty excellent starter fat bike for $1,000 or less. However, if you have a bit more cash to spend, these fat bikes under $1,500 offer a significant increase in quality.

Motobecane Lurch – $1,100

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The Motobecane Lurch features a chromoly steel frame and rigid fork, with a tapered headtube that’s ready to accommodate a suspension fork upgrade. The Lurch is spec’ed with a SRAM GX 2×10 drivetrain with a Type 2 clutch-style rear derailleur (arguably the best drivetrain on this list so far), Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes, Maxxis Minion 26×4.8″ tires, “tubeless-compatible SUN-RINGLE Mulefüt SL 80mm” rims, and aluminum cockpit bits. (The Maxxis tires are spec’ed stock according to the spec sheet on the website, but aren’t pictured above.)

Motobecane Sturgis – $1,100

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The Motobecane Sturgis comes in two different configurations, both at the $1,100 price point. The standard Sturgis comes with a hydroformed aluminum frame and bladed aluminum fork–the main difference between this bike and the identically-priced Lurch. The standard Sturgis is spec’ed with a 2×10 drivetrain with a SRAM GX Type 2 rear derailleur, Tektro Draco hydraulic disc brakes, Maxxis Minion 26×4.8″ FBF/FBR tires, and SUN-RINGLE Mulefüt SL 80mm rims.

Charge Cooker Maxi 1 – ~$1,120

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The Charge Cooker Maxi 1 features an aluminum frame with a chromoly steel fork. It’s spec’ed with a SRAM X5 2×10 drivetrain (according to the website stats, although the image above features a 1x drivetrain), Pro Max Render mechanical disc brakes, Maxxis Mammoth 26×4″ tires, and Charge Fat 26″ 80mm rims.

 

Framed Wolftrax 27.5 – $1,100+

Framed Wolftrax Alloy Fat Bike

Framed Wolftrax Alloy Fat Bike photo: framedbikes.com

The Framed Wolftrax 27.5 Fat Bike is made from hydroformed aluminum and your choice of fork options: RST Renegade 100mm, Framed Carbon Fork, Framed Alloy Fork as well as two drivetrain options: X7 1×10 or NX Eagle 1×12. However, it’s important to note some fork/drivetrain combinations will exceed our $1500 budget by $100 and the NX 1×12 and RST 100mm fork option pushes well beyond the budget to $1800.

KHS 4 Season 1000 – $1,200

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The KHS 4 Season 1000 features an aluminum frame with a chromoly steel fork. It’s spec’ed with a SRAM X5/X7 2×10 drivetrain with a Type 2 clutch-style rear derailleur, Hayes Dyno hydraulic disc brakes, Knobby 26×4.9″ tires (the widest tires on this list so far), and 100mm-wide alloy rims.

Mongoose Argus Comp – $1,200

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The Mongoose Argus Comp features an aluminum frame and fork with a tapered steerer, as well as a 15mm thru axle. It’s spec’ed with a Shimano SLX 2×10 drivetrain, Shimano BR-M365 hydraulic disc brakes, Kenda Juggernaut 26×4.5″ tires, and 100mm rims with cut outs.

Buy Mongoose Argus Comp on Amazon.com

 

Norco Bigfoot 2 – $1,100

Norco Bigfoot 2 fat bike

Norco Bigfoot 2

The Norco Bigfoot 2 features an aluminum frame and rigid aluminum fork with tapered steerer tube. It comes spec’ed with a SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain and CY H-5176 26×4.9” tires.

 

Felt DD 70 – $1,300

Felt DD70 Fat Bike

Felt DD70 Fat Bike

The Felt DD 70 features an aluminum hydroformed frame and a bladed aluminum fork with a tapered steerer tube. The DD 70 is spec’ed with a SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 26×4″ tires, and 80mm alloy rims.

Motobecane Lurch FS – $1,300

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Despite the FS in the product name, the Lurch FS essentially adds a 120mm-travel RockShox Bluto suspension fork to the chromoly steel hardtail frame of the Lurch. The Lurch FS is spec’ed with a SRAM GX 2×10 drivetrain with a Type 2 clutch-style rear derailleur, Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes, Maxxis Minion 26×4.8″ tires, and SUN-RINGLE Mulefüt SL 80mm rims.

SE F@R 26″ – $1,350

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SE enters the fray with their F@R fat bike. The F@R features an aluminum frame and fork with a tapered steerer, and is spec’ed with a Shimano Deore 2×10 drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes (no mention of the model name), Vee Bulldozer 26×4.7″ tires, Weinmann HL-102 rims, and a Kore cockpit. Claimed weight is 35.82lbs.

 

Motobecane NightTrain – $1,400

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The Motobecane NightTrain features a hydroformed aluminum frame with a bladed aluminum fork. It comes spec’ed with a SRAM GX 2×11 drivetrain (the first 2×11 drivetrain on this list, tied with the Boris The Evil Brut), SRAM Guide RS hydraulic disc brakes (the best brakes on this list so far, tied with the Boris), Maxxis Minion 26×4.8″ tires, and SUN-RINGLE Mulefüt SL 80mm rims.

Specialized Fatboy SE – $1,400

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The Fatboy SE from Specialized is the first showing from one of the Big 3 on our budget list. Not only that, but the Fatboy (across all models) claimed the coveted #1 spot on our reader’s choice “10 Best Fat Bikes” list, To see the base model dipping all the way down to the $1,400 price point is impressive indeed.

The Fatboy SE features an aluminum frame with 190mm rear spacing and a bladed aluminum fork. It comes spec’ed with a SRAM X5 2×10 drivetrain (compare to the Beargrease), Tektro Areis mechanical disc brakes, Ground Control Fat 26×4.6″ tires, and Specialized 26″ 86mm-wide rims.

Motobecane NightTrain Express – $1,500

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The Motobecane NightTrain Express features an aluminum frame and a rigid carbon fork. It comes spec’ed with a SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain with RaceFace bits, SRAM Guide RS hydraulic disc brakes, Maxxis Minion 26×4.8″ tires, and SUN-RINGLE Mulefüt SL 80mm rims.

Motobecane Sturgis Bullet – $1,500

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The Motobecane Sturgis Bullet features a hydroformed aluminum frame paired with a 100mm-travel RockShox Bluto suspension fork. It comes spec’ed with a SRAM X5/GX 2×10 drivetrain with a Type 2 clutch-style rear derailleur, Tektro Draco hydraulic disc brakes, Maxxis Minion 26×4.8″ tires, and Sun-Ringle Mulefüt SL 80mm rims.

Surly Wednesday – $1,500

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The venerable Surly has finally squeezed a bike onto this list at the ninth hour! The Wednesday features a steel frame and a rigid steel fork, and comes spec’ed with a 2×10 SRAM X5/GX drivetrain with a clutch-style rear derailleur, Hayes MX Comp disc brakes, Surly Nate 26×3.8″ tires, and Surly My Other Brother Darryl 80mm rims with speedholes.

Buy Surly Wednesday on Aventuron.com

See Also
By Jeff Barber
 

Still have some cash to spend? Here are a couple fatties worth looking at if you’re able to spend a couple hundred more beyond $1500.

Last updated by Leah Barber on Wednesday, October 31,2018.

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# Comments

  • delphinide

    I have a friend with the Mongoose and he has fun on it, but it is a beast. Watching Manuel Beastly slay the pros on that bike is still one of my favorite videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq0-drRmvNM&noredirect=1

    I hear that the ON ONE model apparently has the shortest chainstays on the market and is a very lively bike. I haven’t had time to compare it to all of the other bikes, but the geometry looks really relaxed.

    • OhioPT

      Kona WoZo has the shortest chainstays at 420mm (adjustable to longer if desired via sliding dropouts). I’ve been riding mine with a 29+ wheel/tire combo since snow has been almost non-existent this winter in my area. It’s a sweet bike.

  • stumpyfsr

    Mongoose could sell more Beasts if they at least include derailer hanger and ability to fit disc brakes. One speed isn’t enough for riding in the snow. Unless you’re a Monster 😀
    If I’d be on the market for a fatbike I’d order that Motobecane – a lot of bike for that price.

  • RidingPastor

    I really like the combo of the Bikesdirect one. I think a geared bike for snow riding makes sense. I am not sure what I would need one for in NC but it sure looks fun for the snow.

    • stumpyfsr

      These bikes have limits due to snow depth and consistency. From my experience it sinks in a foot of slushy snow (3.8 tire). They really shine on sand, mud, loose gravel etc. Still, fatbike brought me to places where normal bike won’t.
      You should try one on the local singletrack – wide tires provide so much traction that leaning in that sharp turn feels like cheating compared to traditional wheels.

    • stumpyfsr

      Exactly, @maddslacker. Fatbikes are fun on dry trails too.

  • jmdesign

    Bikesdirect still have some FB4 Comp and Elite model fatbikes available for ordering!

  • Ironked

    I just heard about the Walmart Mongoose Beast last week after seeing one on the street. There was a guy riding one around the racks in Walmart last night. Looked clownish, cruiser tires. Googled it. There are bike modders buying them just to play with. They acknowledge that quality is low, but what they do with them as cheap raw material is a hoot.

  • Fred Cotterell

    I have been a mountain biker for 28 years. I* have ridden many different models and owned quite a few. I currently own and ride a Gravity Bullseye Monster. It is My daily ride, ride as I do not own a car. I use it for everything. In fact I ride trails six days a week in an effort to loose weight.
    Monster has held up in the four months I have had it. It hassn’t had any mechanical problems and my only issue is the tires. which I plan on replacing in December.
    It has a really nice ride and it handles very well on the dirt. I chose the matte black model and the finish is great. The Sram x4 deraiuer works without a hitch.
    I hope you review this bike as a beginner’s model

  • John Lutterman

    Anyone know anything about the Mongoose “Compac” kid’s 20″ fat bike? Looks similar to the Massif, but the Compac comes with knobby tires (mandatory for riding in the snow) instead of the cruiser-slicks on the Massif. Am thinking about getting one for my nephew.

  • Amanda Swal

    I would like a recommendation for a Florida trail rider. I live in the north central area of Florida and we do have bike trails here. The altitude and ruggedness is probably what most of you consider a bunny hill. I did get a Mongoose Beast as a trial and I like the idea that it is all terrain. I used to have a mtn bike and a beach cruiser but I want to minimize. I no longer attend the gym spin classes and want to ride outdoors more. After some time riding this bike (I’m not taking it off road as I can tell it would be cumbersome, previously owned a Jamis for trails, I can tell the difference) what bike under 1k would you recommend best for a Florida trail?

    • rmap01

      Greg, I – for one – appreciate the update. However, the Salsa Beargrease is completely outdated. For 2018, even the least expensive model comes with a carbon frame and a 1x drivetrain. With that said, the “entry level” Beargrease Carbon NX is priced @ $1,999 so it wouldn’t even make the budget bike list.

  • triton189

    Gravity bullseye monster got me into fat biking and I never regretted it. Swap the tires and tubes out and you have a fun inexpensive fattie!

  • budgetbiker

    Note that the BD Quigley is no longer sold due to issues with the frames cracking, poor design. Also note that some of these bikes can be found much cheaper than list price (i.e. Fuji and SE bikes in particular), I bought an F@R for $599 from Amazon (!!) and put on 1,300 miles before components just gave out.

    Off-brand carbon forks are a great upgrade for any of these bikes and can almost always be bought for under $100 from China. I’ve had good luck on three carbon forks I ordered from China, and they save a lot of weight. Note that carbon fat bike frames also start at $300 (it is cheaper to build up a carbon fat bike from an open mold frame than to buy one).

  • James Manning

    Looking to pick up 2-4 Fat Bikes for touring on beaches, city streets, gravel and light snow in the winter for around the $500 price point. This review was first written in 2013 wondering if there are any really solid options for what im looking for in 2018!

    • Jeff Barber

      This was completely revised just last year (2017) so most of the info should be up to date.

  • Phonebem

    I’ve spent the winter riding a Wendigo 2.3 (available for $750). While it’s no lightweight by any means, it’s a pretty good deal on a third bike to try snow riding. If you like it, the 5” tire capability make it highly upgradable. The 93mm wheels, while not light, allow a huge footprint for soft conditions.

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