Last updated by Greg Heil on 10/23/14. For a more up-to-date list of the best fat bikes, check out “The 10 Best Fat Bikes of 2016 – Readers’ Choice Awards.”
If you’re not satisfied with what everyone else is riding, or if you routinely spend more on your bikes than on your cars, then this is the category for you. These high-end models range in price from $3,001 to sell-a-kidney.
Sarma Shaman $2,535-$3,575
Hailing from Russia, Sarma has been making a name for themselves in the fat bike market with their carbon rims, and now with their complete fat bikes as well. The Shaman is a full-carbon rigid fat bike that’s available with an X9 build kit for $4,250 or an XX1 build kit for $5,900. Both bikes ship with 4.25″ tires.
Salsa Beargease $2,599-$5,599
Unlike most fat bikes, the Beargrease is designed to be a fat race / trail bike, not a bikepacking steed. As such, it is lightweight and designed for fast speeds and confident handling. That’s not to say other fat bikes aren’t, it’s just the primary goal here. The Beargrease is available in three different build kits.
The Beargrease 2 actually falls in our mid-range category with an MSRP of $2,599. This model of the Beargrease is kitted with a rigid aluminum frame and fork, which is why it’s so much more affordable than its full-carbon brethren. The 2 is built up with 3.8″ tires, a 2×10 SRAM X7/X9 drivetrain, and SRAM DB5 brakes.
The Beargrease Carbon 1 retails for $3,699 and sports a rigid carbon frame and fork, 3.8″ tires, a SRAM X1 1×11 drivetrain, and SRAM DB5 brakes.
The top-end Beargrease Carbon XX1 retails for $5,599 and is built with a–you guessed it–SRAM XX1 1×11 drivetrain, 3.8″ tires, and SRAM X0 brakes.
Boo Bicycles Alubooyah $2,930-$4,895
The Alubooyah fat bike from Boo Bicycles is made of a combination of bamboo tubing with aluminum joints. According to Boo Bicycles, bamboo is “stiffer than aluminum, and absorbs shock four times better than carbon fiber. That means that you get a frame that feels more ‘planted’ than anything else on the market, but doesn’t shudder when pushed to the brink.”
The Alubooyah is available as a frame-only for $795, or with three different build kits–all of which come with 4.8″ tires. The 14k build kit retails for $2,930, technically putting it in our mid-range models category, and comes with an SLX build kit. The 18k retails for $3,305 and comes with an XT drivetrain. The top-end 24k build retails for $4,895 and boasts an XTR 11-speed drivetrain, Thomson cockpit, tubeless wheels, and plenty of other blingy bits.
Sandman Atacama ~$3,137
Based in Belgium, Sandman has made quite a name for themselves in the fat bike market, as all the comments we’ve received about them on previous fat bike roundups can attest. The Atacama is the most affordable fat bike from Sandman, but it still ranks in our high-end category. Boasting an aluminum frame and a steel fork, this bike is built with 3.8″ tires, Shimano Deore brakes, and an SLX/XT drivetrain.
11nine Simus $3,199
11nine Fat Bikes hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, and their Simus hardtail fat bike features 11nine’s own 110mm-travel 34mm-stanchioned inverted LuLu suspension fork. The rest of the bike is built with a Shimano SLX drivetrain, SLX brakes, and 4.25″ tires.
Scott Big Ed $3,250
The Big Ed is Scott’s inaugural fat bike offering and it comes stock with an aluminum frame, RockShox Bluto fork, SRAM X7/X9 2×10 drivetrain, and 4.5″ tires
Borealis Yampa $3,599-$5,549
Colorado Springs-based Borealis is a newcomer to the fat bike market, and they’ve burst out of the gate with a carbon fiber frame and fork that supports the new 190mm hub standard, and therefore 4.8″ tires. Borealis is all about the weight savings, and even the relatively-modest X9/0 build comes in around the mid 20’s for weight. You read that right. Be sure to check out Greg’s test ride review of the Yampa.
The Yampa is available in three build kits: the X0/X9 for $3,599, the X01 for $4,699, and the XX1 for $5,549. With a claimed weight of 21 lbs (using Borealis carbon rims), the XX1-built Yampa is allegedly the lightest fat bike on the planet.
Fatback 190 X01 $3,699
Not given to fancy model names, this Fatback model is just what it says: a 190mm rear-spaced frame equipped with an X01 drivetrain. The build is otherwise similar to the Deluxe model in the mid-range list, except it’s capable of running 4.8″ tires. Check out Greg’s Outerbike review of this bike here.
Carver Titanium O’Beast $3,800
Hailing from my native state of Maine, where they know a thing or two about snow, Carver presents their hand-welded titanium fatty, with a smart build geared toward reliability and comfort. Matte black alloy cockpit components handle the contact points, and in addition to the supple ride from the dropped top tube titanium frame, 4.8″ tires and a carbon fork further dampen trail chatter. The bike is also available with a Ti fork. The $3,800 build comes with an XT drivetrain and XT brakes. This is the gentleman’s fat bike. The only thing missing is a King Cage whiskey flask holder.
Carver Carbo’Beast $3,800
Conveniently featuring the same MSRP as their titanium-framed fat bike, Carver’s new full-carbon fat bike comes with 5″ tires, an XT drivetrain, and XT brakes. With a frameset weight of just 2.5 pounds, even with thru axles front and back, this bike is set to be light and fast.
9:zero:7 Tusken $3,900
This is the first belt drive-capable bike in the list. The base of the Tusken model is the 135mm sliding dropout 9:zero:7 frame. This frame allows the Gates belt drive system to be mounted, which turns a Rohloff internally-geared hub. The Rohloff hub and split frame design are expensive, and are reflected in the overall price of this otherwise mediocre build. Those of you needing this setup, you know who you are.
Salsa Bucksaw $3,999-$4,999
The full suspension Salsa Bucksaw has revolutionized the fat bike market so radically that it will never be the same again. The Bucksaw is available in two build kits: the 1 and the 2. Both Bucksaws feature the same aluminum frame and 100mm of RockShox Bluto/Monarch RT3 suspension and 4″ wheels, but the lower-cost model comes with a SRAM X7/X9 2×10 build kit and the higher-cost model sports a SRAM X01 1×11 drivetrain. Be sure to check out Jeff’s test ride review for more information.
Turner King Khan $TBD
While the Turner King Khan still hasn’t been released yet, and consequently the price is still TBD, this rig is more than worthy of gracing this list. This full-suspension fatty is optimized around 120mm of travel and comes with a RockShox Bluto fork, Fox CTD rear shock, 4″ tires, and an XX1 drivetrain. While we don’t yet know what the MSRP will be for this rig, don’t expect it to be cheap.
Borealis Echo $3,999-$5,999
The Echo is Borealis’s suspension-optimized fat bike, and comes stock with the RockShox Bluto suspension fork, a carbon hardtail frame, and full-size 5″ tires. The Echo is available in three build kits: The X0/X9 for $3,999, X01 for $5,099, and XX1 for $5,999. Be sure to read Jim’s test ride review of the Echo.
What if some brewery guys in Colorado got bored (or drunk?) and decided to build bikes? Well, their fat bike would look just like this. That’s right, Oskar Blues Brewery has got ya covered with tasty libations and a legit hand-welded, steel-framed fatty. They display it with a White Brothers (also from Colorado) Snowpack fork and a mix of SLX, Deore, FSA, and RaceFace components, as well as some Surly rims laced to White Industries hubs. Or they can sell you just the frame for $1,500, and you can spend the rest on Dale’s Pale Ale. It’s all good!