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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, I’ve taken our popular budget fat bike buyer’s guide back to the drawing board, taking into account the latest changes and prices in the market in early 2017. The list is organized in ascending price order, and is grouped on two different pages. This first page includes fat bikes under $1,000, and page two holds fat bikes under $1,500. If you want to spend more than $1,500, check out the brief bulleted list at the end of page two, which goes up to $2,000. Prices have also been rounded to the closest $50 level whenever possible, and when MSRPs are the same, the listings have been alphabetized.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this list is not comprehensive, comprising every single fat bike from every minuscule and foreign manufacturer that retails for under $2,000. 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.

If you have a maximum price in mind that you can afford, read until you reach that point, stop, and then make your decision based on what you’ve read so far. If you have some flexibility in your budget, be sure to read the entire guide to determine what benefits a higher expenditure will get you.

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.

See Also
By Seth's Bike Hacks
 

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 Deadeye Monster – $400

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With a singlespeed drivetrain and an aluminum 6061 frame, the Gravity Deadeye Monster is about as basic of an entry into fat biking as you can find. Be forewarned: pedaling this beast around with one gear may prove to be a real challenge.

The fork is made of chromoly steel and the Deadeye Monster is spec’ed with Tektro Novela disc brakes, Vee Rubber Mission 26×4″ tires with a wire bead, and a WTB Speed V Sport saddle.

Gravity Bullseye Monster – $500

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Stepping up another notch is yet another 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.

Framed Minnesota 1.0 – $600

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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.

Gravity Bullseye Monster LTD – $600

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The Gravity Bullseye Monster LTD is Bluto-ready with a tapered steerer tube in its aluminum frame. However, the stock fork is made of chromoly steel.

This bike is spec’ed with a SRAM X4 2×8 drivetrain, Tektro Novela disc brakes, “26×4.25″ Vee Rubber BK Hillbille” tires, and P-80 rims with cutouts.

Kawasaki Sumo 4.0 – $600

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Actually, a Walmart fat bike did make it on this list: the Kawasaki Sumo. Don’t expect to see this $600 fat bike on the sales floor at your local Wally World, but you can order it on their website. With an 18.5″ aluminum frame and fork plus components that sound awfully familiar to other bikes on this list, the Sumo is a contender.

The Sumo is spec’ed with a 3×7 Shimano Altus drivetrain, Promax disc brakes, 26×4″ Hard Pack tires, “aluminum fat black rims,” a WTB Rocket V saddle, and Promax-branded cockpit bits. While I applaud Walmart’s effort on this front, comparing the component specs to those found on the Framed Minnesota 1.0 and some of the Motbecane bikes at this same price point, the Kawasaki still isn’t a great choice.

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 2.0 – $650

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The Framed Minnesota 2.0 rings up at just $50 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.

See Also
By Jeff Barber
 

Motobecane Boris X7 – $700

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The Motobecane Boris X7 model features an aluminum 6061 frame with a chromoly steel fork. The bike comes spec’ed with a SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain (the first 10-speed drivetrain on this list), Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes, 26×4″ Vee 8 tires, 26x32H Weinmann HL-80 rims with cutouts, a WTB Saddle, and Kalloy cockpit bits.

State Bicycle Co Megalith Singlespeed – $700

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With a 4130 chromoly steel frame and fork, the State Bicycle Co Megalith Singlespeed is the first fully-steel fat bike that we’ve seen on this list. While this bike is billed as a singlespeed, essentially it is a stripped-down version of the standard Megalith (see below) with a tensioner device used to turn it into a singlespeed. While undoubtedly many of the specs are better than the $400 Gravity Deadeye Monster singlespeed above, the Deadeye Monster’s sliding dropout tensioner design is much more elegant than the bolt on chain tensioner that the Megalith uses.

The Megalith Singlespeed is spec’ed with Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes, a rear freehub system that is “easily [convertible] to geared riding” (i.e. this is a stripped-down version of the standard Megalith), 26×4″ tires (no word on the brand), 100mm rims with drilled cutouts (no word on the brand), and a bottle opener mounted to the seat tube.

Framed Minnesota 3.0 – $750

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$100 more than the Minnesota 2.0, the 3.0 features 150mm front hub spacing and 190mm rear hub spacing in order to fit up to 4.7″ tires in this frame. Finally, we have reached the first 5-inch-compatible fat bike on this list! But unfortunately, while the 3.0 is 5-inch compatible, it still comes stock with 4″ tires. While the stock 3.0 comes with an aluminum frame and rigid aluminum fork, the tapered head tube allows the ability to upgrade the Minnesota 3.0 to a suspension fork.

The Minnesota 3.0 is spec’ed with a SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain; Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes (the nicest on this list so far); Framed Minnesota Fat 26×4″ tires; and Framed Aluminum Alloy 80mm Single Wall Rims with cutouts. Total claimed weight is 32lbs.

Mongoose Argus Comp – $750

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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 $750 the Argus Comp is the most 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).

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.

State Bicycle Co Megalith – $830

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The fully-built version of the State Bicycle Co Megalith features a 1×8 SRAM X4 drivetrain in addition to its steel frame and fork.

The Megalith is also spec’ed with Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes, 26×4″ tires (no word on the brand), 100mm rims with drilled cutouts (no word on the brand), and a bottle opener mounted to the seat tube.

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.

Norco Bigfoot 6.3 – $900

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The Norco Bigfoot 6.3 comes with an alloy frame and rigid alloy fork. It’s also spec’ed with a Shimano Deore 1×10 drivetrain with a shadow plus rear derailleur (the first clutch-style rear derailleur on this list), Tektro MD-280 disc brakes, CY 26×4″ tires, Alloy SW 80mm 26″ Fat rims, and lots of Norco-branded cockpit bits.

Diamondback El Oso de Acero – $950

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Diamondback’s El Oso de Acero 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.

Framed Minnesota 3.0 w/RST Fork – $1,000

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Add an RST Renegade suspension fork to the Framed Minnesota 3.0, and you can score the first fat bike with suspension on this list for just $1,000!

Like the standard 3.0, the 3.0 w/RST is spec’ed with a SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain; Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes; Framed Minnesota Fat 26×4″ tires; and Framed Aluminum Alloy 80mm Single Wall Rim with cutouts. Total claimed weight is 32lbs.

Fuji Wendigo 26 2.3 – $1,000

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The Fuji Wendigo 26 2.3 is notable as the first fat bike on our list to come stock with 5-inch tires! However, depending on how you define a 5-inch fat bike tire, you could consider the Rocky Mountain Blizzard -10, also ringing in at $1,000, to be tied in this respect. But the stock 4.7″ tires on the Fuji edge out the 4.5″ tires on the Rocky.

This rig also comes with an aluminum frame and fork with a tapered steerer tube, and it’s spec’ed with a Shimano SLX/Acera 3×9 drivetrain, Tektro M285 hydraulic disc brakes, Vee Bulldozer 26×4.7″ tires, 93mm-wide alloy rims with modern 197mm rear spacing, and Oval Concepts cockpit bits. Claimed weight is 37.73lbs.

Nashbar Fat Bike – $1,000

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The latest rendition of Nashbar’s Fat Bike features an aluminum frame and an aluminum fork–a significant departure from their previous full-steel Big Ol’ Fat Bike.

 

This bike is spec’ed with a SRAM X5 2×10 drivetrain, Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes, Duro Big D 26×4″ tires, and alloy rims with cutouts.

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.

Click to page two for fat bikes between $1,000 and $1,500.

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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?

  • 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!

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