Fat Bike Reviews

2016’s Hottest Fat Bikes – Part 1

Race bikes, do-it-all rigs, and budget-friendly buys
From lightweight racers, to budget friendly cruisers, to do-it-all rigs, these are the fat bikes you need to know about.

From lightweight racers, to budget friendly cruisers, to do-it-all rigs, these are the fat bikes you need to know about (click to enlarge).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Mtbr Ultimate Guide to winter mountain biking, fat bikes, gear, apparel and trainers. In the first two months of 2016, we are taking a deep dive into all manner of cold weather mountain bike gear, with round-ups and reviews of fat bikes, tires, wheels, apparel, trainers and more. To see all the articles, head over to our Winter Guide Hub Page and be sure to check out part 2 and part 3 of our Hottest Fat Bikes Round-Up.

Specialized Fat Boy Expert Carbon

Specialized Fat Boy Expert Carbon

You don’t have to race Specialized’s Fat Boy Carbon Expert to appreciate its go-fast capabilities. But you’ll certainly be happy if you do end up at a start line. This no holds barred competition machine blends a lightweight carbon frame and fork with composite HED wheels that are a snap to set up tubeless. The end result is a 24.2-pound (actual weight, size Large) fat bike that also happens to be on sale right now. Specialized MTB product manager Todd Cannatelli says the design goal was to replicate the fit and feel of the company’s Crave 29er hard tail. That means instead of following the crowd with a more slack front end, this Fat Boy has a 70.5-degree head angle that maintains the bike’s nimble handling. Chainstays are a middle of the road 455mm for added stability and less chance of packing up the frame with snow or mud. The lean to speed theme is continued with fast rolling Specialized 4.0 Ground Control tires and a quick shifting SRAM XO1 drivetrain. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr’s 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: $5399 (marked down from $6000) | More info at www.specialized.com

SCOTT Big Ed

SCOTT Big Ed

Though billed as a relatively basic fat bike, we’ve been impressed with the Big Ed’s bang for buck. As the name implies, this is no uber svelte race machine, but even at 32.3 pounds (actual weight, size Large) this big wheeled beast has a playful side thanks to its 69-degree head angle and 450mm chainstays. Spec highlights include snow munching 4.8” Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tires, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, a blended SRAM 2x drivetrain, and 100mm travel RockShox Bluto fork with remote lock-out. And like the Specialized Fat Boy, the alloy frame SCOTT Big Ed is on sale right now at 20% off, which drops the price roughly $600 below MSRP. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr’s 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: $2799, but currently on sale | More info at www.scott-sports.com

Borealis Crestone

Borealis Crestone

Blending a slack 70-degree head angle with long’ish 459mm chainstays, the new-for-2016 carbon frame Borealis Crestone is stable, relaxed and reasonably light. Our size XL tester came in at 30.5 pounds, but that’s with beefy 4.8” Maxxis Minion FBF trail tires wrapped around alloy 80mm Turnagain wheels, a RockShox Bluto fork, and a RockShox Reverb dropper post (which is not a stock option). If we were building this bike ourselves for winter use, we’d ditch the Bluto to save weight and cash, and use the extra money to upgrade the wheels. The frame’s tall’ish standover isn’t post-hole friendly, but frame bag aficionados will love the extra storage space. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr’s 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: from $5150 with Bluto | More info at www.fatbike.com

Felt DD 10

Felt DD 10

Felt’s top-end DD 10 (as in double dare) blends the top line functionality of a RockShox Bluto suspension fork and Shimano XT drivetrain with an alloy frame and house brand cockpit. The end result is a high performing fat bike that wont cost you the proverbial arm and leg. Schwalbe’s light and fast rolling 4.0 Jumbo Jim tires are wrapped around 80mm house brand alloy single-wall rims with machined cutouts. Head angle is a playful 70 degrees, while 455mm chainstays help you keep your line even in the softest snow. Actual weight for our size L tester is a reasonable 31.8 pounds. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr’s 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: $3000 | More info at www.feltbicycles.com

Lynskey Fatskey

Lynskey Fatskey

Titanium gurus Lynskey call their Fatskey the most fun riding bike they make, fat or otherwise. Frame highlights include geometry optimized for 100mm front suspension, write style dropouts with replaceable derailleur hanger, 197mm rear spacing with 12mm thru axle, a 100mm 1.375 x 24 UNC threaded bottom bracket shell, slider dropouts that can accommodate a standard quick release skewer, tapered integrated headtube, and clearance for up to 4.8” rear tire. Lynskey also increased rear-end stiffness with beefed up chainstays and seatstays, and all of it is made from helix’d 3/2.5 titanium tubing that’s available in three unique finishes: brushed, industrial mill, or satin. Lynskey sells complete bikes, or you can build it up yourself starting with the $2000 frame. | Price: complete 2016 bikes TBD | More info at lynskeyperformance.com

Continue to page 2 for more of 2016’s Hottest Fat Bikes »
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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Comments:

  • Andy says:

    Nearly 6k for a rigid fatbike with no suspension? Is that a joke? LOL

  • Phil says:

    + plus awesome twitchy handling. I wonder if it self steers badly. Of all the fat bikes out there there is very little discussion that I have seen regarding optimal geometry for these beast. My Fatback is terrifying going down anything steep during the summer compared to my Turner Burner. Designed primarily to be stable loaded for long distance bush riding its anything but playful. A buddy of mine sells hell out of the Ventana El Gordo because it has such good handling characteristics.

  • Brian says:

    Would recognize that mountain anywhere, good ol Crusty Butt

  • Joe says:

    I could not plunk down almost $6000 for a rigid/rigid bike of any kind. I thought road bike prices were bad. I don’t quite understand the high cost — you can purchase precision machined carbon fiber full suspension mountain bikes for that price. Perhaps it is economy of scale? Yikes!

  • Stumpy says:

    I bought a Pro Trail on their ‘Fat Savings’ sale. It’s awesome…

    Except, the bottom bracket squeaked like a overweight rat. Turns out that the assemblers used very little grease when they stuck the bottom bracket in the frame.

    And the reviewer was totally correct, the same frame is shared between the types of Fatboys. I have the front derailleur mounts of the 2×10 lower end rides. I guess, ‘just in case’?

    But the troubling issue for me is that out of two Specialized rides, I have had two issues, rather significant issues, with them. I’m batting 100% with issues.

    The Fatboy had the bottom bracket issue, and a Stump Jumper FSR Comp had an issue with the hub falling apart. Yeah. The wheel wouldn’t spin more than two or three revs after I really gave it a try while it was on a work stand.

    They make quality frames, and actually quality bikes, but I am thinking that I have to go through each one after I buy it to see what the assemblers missed, or cut corners on.

  • kathy ellis says:

    I have a Fatboy 415 FSX from 2000 that needs some parts but I can not find anywhere to get them, Can anyone help me?

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