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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  • jcote says:

    I remember many years back, we used to shovel out the trails to ride them. And, there were races like arrowhead, yukonultra, idadrod plus some in vermont on snowmobile trails. Not many showed up. I remember doing back country roads on sand filled roads (not salt) with studded tires we used to make with screws. People thought we were odd back then (10+ years back)… now, its the norm. With fat bikes.
    I still get a kick bringing out the cyclocross bike with 700×35 tires and head down the highway in the dead of winter… get odd looks.
    But, maybe one day the norm.

    good to see many out in the winter enjoying it rather than being stuck like a hamster on a trainer – yuk, who wants to do that… better being outside enjoying it all – pure freedom!

  • Vargus says:

    Rock On. My Neolithic Fat Biker Brother.

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