Fat Bike Reviews

2016’s Hottest Fat Bikes – Part 2

Carbon for any budget, go anywhere adventure rigs, even full suspension
Part two of our collection of the hottest fat bikes on the market including carbon hardtails for big and small budgets, go anywhere adventure bikes and yes, even full suspension and electric fat bikes.

Part two of our hottest fat bikes round-up includes carbon hardtails for any budget, go anywhere adventure bikes, and even full suspension and electric rigs (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 1 and part 3 of our Hottest Fat Bikes Round-Up..

Pivot LES Fat

Pivot LES Fat

Pivot Cycles is one of the most popular brands in the mountain biking world due to their bike designs, build quality and ability to give the mountain bike buyer what they want. That their appeal extends into the world of fat bikes should come as no surprise. The Pivot LES Fat is a carbon hardtail that is the epitome of versatility and flexibility. Regardless of where you use it (snow, sand, dirt) and how you use it, the LES Fat can be set up for snow riding, touring, adventure riding and all around trail riding.

One of the key factors of to this flexibility is the Swinger II dropout system that allows riders to change both chainstay length and the bottom bracket height to suit their needs. This allows the LES Fat to fit up to 26×5″ fat bike tires as well as 27.5+ and 29+ wheels. It also comes with two headset cups (18mm and zero stack) to provide correct geometry no matter what size wheels you choose to run.

The Pivot carbon rigid fork has plenty of tire clearance and keeps geometry consistent should you choose to change to a suspension fat bike fork (read: Bluto). The frame also comes ready for either 1x or 2x drivetrains and has a very narrow Q factor to keep the chainline efficient and to give the rider a more natural stance than other fat bikes on the market.

Of course, the carbon frame features Pivot’s hollow-core internal molding process that produces a frame that is light, stiff and strong. The bike features internal cable routing with a cable port system to ensure clean cable routing and keep foul weather at bay. It also has internal routing options for a dropper post. For touring duty, the LES Fat has rear rack mounts and three water bottle mounts.

And if you’re still not sure about the capability of this bike, don’t miss their video featuring Aaron Chase jumping, hucking, scrubbing and jibbing the heck out of the Pivot LES Fat at Highland MTB Park in New Hampshire. Available with two spec levels (SRAM XX1 and SRAM X01) the X01 level features SRAM GX/X0 1×11 drivetrain, SRAM Guide R brakes, e*Thirteen cranks, RaceFace bars, Sun Ringle Mulefut 80mm rims with Salsa hubs and Maxxis Mammoth tires. | Price: $4699 | More info at www.pivotcycles.com

RSD Mayor Orange

RSD Bikes Mayor

Available in both titanium and aluminum, the Mayor is an interesting bike from RSD Bikes. Based in Toronto, they’re obviously intimately familiar with cold weather riding. The Mayor aluminum (pictured) is available in two finishes, Orange or Raw. RSD uses 6061 tubing for the frame, which is joined to a RSD carbon fork. This is one fat bike that is built for aggressive riding with beefy stays and wide axle spacing for any suspension fork or fat tire that you might want to try.

Along with the sturdy frame is a slacked-out geometry that encourages the rider to get rowdy. With the dialed geometry the Mayor retains fairly nimble handling with a nice snappy feel to it. But perhaps the best feature of the RSD Mayor is the solid value that it offers. Available in three build options, the best buy comes with a SRAM 1×10 drivetrain, Sun Ringle Mulefut wheels and RSD carbon fork. | Price: $2099 | More info at rsdbikes.com

Fezzari Kings Peak

Fezzari Kings Peak

The Kings Peak fat bike from Fezzari is one of their best sellers, so much so they are running slim on certain sizes already. It’s not surprising though, since this may be just about the best bargain around for a carbon framed fat bike. That’s paired with a rigid carbon fork with tapered carbon steerer. The frame features slick internal cable routing and has integrated rear wheel pannier rack mounts.

The Kings Peak is also ready for dirt or snow. Fezzari offers a build option with 4.0″ tires for those who plan to ride this fattie on dirt, otherwise the bike is shod with 4.8″ tires to pull snow duty (the Kings Peak has clearance all the way up to 5″). Available in with Shimano XT 1×11 for $2999 or Shimano SLX/Deore 2×10 for $2399. And yes, that’s the price for a complete bike. | Price: from $2399 | More info at www.fezzari.com

Salsa Bucksaw

Salsa Bucksaw

The Salsa Bucksaw stands out from the sea of fat bikes because it is one of the only full suspension fat bikes currently on the market. It utilizes the same Split Pivot rear suspension design that the rest of the Salsa mountain bike full suspension line uses. The Bucksaw has 100mm of travel that is tuned for the lower pressure/higher volume of a fat bike tire. Up front, a 100mm travel RockShox Bluto fork with 50mm of offset (to keep the handling on the more nimble side) keeps the ride smooth and in control. The alloy frame has carbon fiber seatsays for increased stiffness and less weight. The Bucksaw is optimized for 4″ tires but can also run up to a 3.25″ 27.5+ tires.

With a full suspension fat bike, the capabilities of the bike on rough terrain and downhills is its strong point. Its abilities are many and in our short ride on this bike at the Sea Otter Classic, we found it to be a surprisingly efficient climber. Braking hard into rough turns showed that the suspension remained active, rather than stiffening up like other designs.

As shown here, the 6061 aluminum frame uses a RockShox Monarch RT3 rear shock (matched with the aforementioned Bluto RL). The drivetrain is a SRAM X01 1×11 setup with SRAM Guide R brakes and Surly Marge Lite rims with Surly Nate 3.8″ tires. The Transparent Blue finish gives the bike a nice look. Weighs is around 32 pounds. The Bucksaw is also available in a higher spec carbon framed model (X01) at $6499 and more affordable alloy frame with SRAM GX1 at $3999. | Price: $4999 | More info at www.salsacycles.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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  • 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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