Fat Bike Buyer’s Guide: Mid-Range Models

Kona WO $1,899


I got to see one of these at Outerbike, but I didn’t get a chance to ride it. The alloy frame is outfitted with a respectable drivetrain mix of Shimano Deore and SLX components (including a Shadow Plus SLX rear derailleur), Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes, and Kona-branded cockpit bits. 4.5″ Vee Rubber Snowshoe tires on Sun Ringle wheels finish off the build. While the listed RRP for the WO is $2,575, you can pick up a complete rig here for $2,146.

Rocky Mountain Blizzard $1,899-$2,699

blizzard_70 2-2

The Rocky Mountain Blizzard is an aluminum-framed fat bike equipped with a RockShox Bluto suspension fork. The full-blown $2,699 model features the Bluto, a Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain, 4.7″ tires and more. The more affordable Deore model retails for $1,899 is kitted with a rigid aluminum fork, 4.7″ tires, and a Deore drivetrain.

Salsa Mukluk $1,899 – $4,899

The Mukluk is a tried-and-true alloy frame, symmetric (170mm) rear wheel, 3.8″-tired fat bike. The Mukluk 3 features a 10-speed SRAM drive train and SRAM DB3 brakes. Salsa also sells the Mukluk 2, which uses the same frame, but steps up to a RockShox Bluto suspension fork and SRAM Guide R brakes. The Mukluk 2 lists for $2,999. The Mukluk Ti busts into the high-end category, with a titanium frame, SRAM X1 drivetrain, and an MSRP of $4,899. The Mukluk line is well-established and can be found in many local bike shops, most of which will rent or demo them so that you can try before you buy, making this bike is a very good choice in this price range.

Specialized Fatboy $2,100-$4,200

2014-10-14 fatboy

The alloy-framed, carbon fork Fatboy has been designed from the ground up by Specialized and utilizes proprietary wheels and 4.6″ tires, with a mix of X7 drivetrain and Tektro brake components. The “Expert” model, retailing for $2,700, uses the same frame and wheelset, but steps up to hydraulic brakes and features some other tweaks.

The Pro model of the Fatboy busts into the high-end range, with an MSRP of $4,200. This price increase is due to a RockShox Bluto suspension fork, Shimano XT brakes, and a SRAM X01 1×11 drivetrain.

Genesis Caribou ~$2,149


Hailing from the UK, the Genesis Caribou ships with a fully-rigid steel frame and fork combination, 4″ tires, and a Shimano Deore drivetrain.

9:zero:7 190mm Susitna $2,199-$2,799

One of two fat bike companies based in Alaska, 9:zero:7 has released their tried-and-true frame geometry in a 190mm rear hub design capable of running 4.8″ wide tires. No, that’s not a typo… the tires are 5″ wide on a 100mm rim at normal inflation. The Susitna was tested and refined in self-supported arctic races like the one it is named after. The component specs feature a 10-speed SRAM X7 drivetrain, BB7 mechanical disc brakes, alloy cockpit, and Surly rims with 45NRTH tires. The Susitna is equally capable for racing or backcountry bikepacking. 9:Zero:7 also offers the same frame, but with RaceFace and an X9 drivetrain, for $2,799.

For even more options, 9:zero:7 has a brand-new frame designed around a 197mm subset, and they also have a 170mm centered hub frame.

Cogburn CB4 $2,200

The CB4 is a fairly-basic alloy-framed fat bike aimed at hunters and other outdoor sporting enthusiasts. It is offered in two sizes, small and large, and features a smart build with well-thought-out components. The finish is RealTree Xtra ® camo, and Cogburn also offers a line of accessories for mounting firearms, bows, etc. to the bike. The overall frame design is reminiscent of the Fatback (see below), but it is a couple hundred bucks less, and it’s certainly unique with its camo finish.

Sarma Vortex $1,490-$1,690


The Sarma Vortex is an aluminum-framed fat bike which ships with a carbon fork. The 2.0 model retails for $1,490 and comes with an X7 drivetrain and 4.7″ tires, while the 1.0 model retails for $1,690 and ships with an X7/X9 drivetrain, 4.8″ tires, and some other parts upgrades.

Salsa Blackborow $2,299-$2,799


The Blackborow is a thru axle-equipped aluminum rigid fat bike. The DS model features two singlespeed options, 4.8″ tires, and SRAM brakes. The Blackborow 1 rocks the same thru axles and 4.8″ tires but comes with a full SRAM X9/X7 10-speed drivetrain.

Norco Sasquatch $2,475


The Norco Sasquatch sports a RockShox Bluto suspension fork, a mix of Shimano SLX/XT for shifting, and SRAM Guide brakes for $2475 US.

Fatback Deluxe 170 $2,500-$3,260

After Surly, Fatback was the next production fat bike on the scene. Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, Fatback frames are welded in the US. They maintain a warehouse in Bend, OR for us crazy lower 48 mountain bikers who actually want to ride on snow. The deluxe model is well-suited for everyday trail riding or racing, but also features mount points to load it up for bike packing. Like the 9:zero:7, the Fatback was also honed over thousands of miles of self-supported racing in Alaska, resulting in an X9 drivetrain with grip shifters, BB7 brakes, and alloy cockpit bits. The stock Fatback UMA wheels are easily converted to tubeless, and I would highly recommend the carbon fork upgrade. The Fatback also comes in an SL model that features an upgraded X0 drivetrain, carbon cockpit, and American-made Hadley hubs. The SL 170 goes for $3,260. Check out my long term review of this bike here.

Surly Moonlander $2,550

The Moonlander is similar in design to the Pugsley, but features frame spacing suited for 4.8″ tires. Like the Pugs, the Moonlander is also steel, and an offset design. If steel and offset is your thing, and big tires make you happy, this is your bike. Be sure to read Jeff’s test ride review of this rig.

Surly Ice Cream Truck $2,700

2014-10-14 ice cream truck

The Ice Cream Truck is the first symmetrically-spaced fat bike from Surly, with 190mm spacing. However, the rear MDS dropouts allow you to run a 197mm thru axle, or a 190mm geared or singlespeed rear end. This steel-framed bike features slacker geometry than other Surly fat bikes, along with 5″ tires, a Shimano drivetrain with an XT rear derailleur, and SRAM Guide RS brakes. Be sure to read Jim’s test ride review of this bike.

Even More

Even more bikes in this price point, which were mentioned in other articles, include:

Click here for part 3: high-end models.

Click here for 22 brand-new fat bikes in 2015.

Your turn: Do you know any mid-range models that we missed? Fill us in by dropping a comment below!

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