Test Ride Review: Framed Minnesota 2.0

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The Framed Minnesota 2.0 is a 4-inch 5-inch, alloy fat bike spec’d with a super affordable build kit and available for under $900. I took one for a quick spin during a recent trip to Framed’s home state, and here’s what I can tell you about this bike.

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The parts spec on this bike is pretty standard and comparable to what you’ll find on most snow-specific fat bikes: a rigid alloy fork, alloy hardtail frame, and alloy bar, stem, and seatpost. The components are a mix of SRAM X5 and X7, and the brakes are mechanical Avid BB5s BB7s. Framed has branded the 4-inch 4.8-inch, 120tpi tires, which seem to be made by Innova.  This isn’t a lightweight build by any stretch but then again, it’s completely reasonable and didn’t feel overly heavy or sluggish.

Yes, that is a growler cage. Sadly it does not come standard. :)
Yes, that is a growler cage. Sadly it does not come standard. 🙂

Framed also includes a pair of pinned alloy pedals, which is fairly unusual (some bikes in this price range include plastic pedals; most bikes above this price point don’t include pedals at all). I chose to use my own Eggbeater pedals, but I can say the Framed pedals felt solid and seemed pretty well constructed.

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The wheels are also Framed-branded and they’re single-walled for reduced weight. I really dig the blue finish which is matched to the Quando hubs and even the stem spacers. The result is one of the best looking sub-$1000 fat bikes I’ve seen.

Out on the trail the Framed Minnesota 2.0 handled well and offered an excellent gear range for grinding up short steeps and also hammering along the frozen greenway. The overall geometry offers a short-ish cockpit, which makes it an excellent choice for snow-day play dates.

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If I had a single complaint about the Framed Minnesota 2.0, it would be about the tires, though honestly I don’t know if my issue is with these specific tires, the terrain I rode, or just fat bike tires in general. Ok, here goes.

No big surprise, rIding on pavement was horribly slow and inefficient due to the low pressure I was running. And on icy patches I felt like I could use more control, despite the low pressure. Riding on the snow was great, though even in snow I felt like I could have used more corner knobs for the berms.

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Full disclosure: this was my first time riding a fat bike in the snow. I guess I had hoped the fat bike tires would be a bit more magical in terms of grip and control but in defense of these specific tires, a) they’re not studded, so they will slide on ice and b) they’re not skinny road tires, so they’re gonna drag on pavement. I guess the idea with tires like this is to stick to the snow when possible and slow down a bit in the turns.

Overall I was very impressed with the Framed Minnesota 2.0 and can say it’s a solid choice for getting around and playing in the snow!

Thanks to Gear Junkie for letting me borrow the Framed Minnesota 2.0 for a couple hours.

Article last updated 10:53am MDT 03/19/15.

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