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 – $549
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
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).
Motobecane Boris X5 – $600
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
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
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.
Diamondback El Oso Uno – $750
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.
KHS 4 Season 300 – $770
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
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.
KHS 4 Season 500 – $900
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
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
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
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
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+
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
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
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.
Norco Bigfoot 2 – $1,100
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.