Fat Bike Reviews

6 quick spinning fat bike wheels

Lowering rotating weight means upping your fat bike’s speed
Lowering rotational weight is one of the best ways to spend upgrade dollars — especially if you're talking fat bikes.

Lowering rotational weight is one of the best ways to spend upgrade dollars — especially if you’re talking fat bikes.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Mtbr Ultimate Guide to winter mountain biking, fat bikes, gear, apparel and trainers. 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.

For any wheeled vehicle, lowering rotational weight is one of the best ways to spend upgrade dollars. Just like on road and traditional mountain bikes, fat bikes benefit from lighter wheels. The big difference is just how much heft can be dropped. Installing a lighter set of wheels and going tubeless can drop pounds where mountain bikers typically measure gains in grams. Here are some (but certainly not all) of the best fat tire wheels on the market.

Bontrager Jackalope TLR Disc 26

Bontrager Jackalope

Bontrager’s Jackalope wheels are original running gear on Trek’s Farley fat bikes. With aluminum, tubeless ready, 80mm wide rims and 135/150mm front and 170/177mm rear axle options, Jackalope’s are a great option for 4” tire users looking for a new set of hoops. The hubs features interchangeable axles that allow for conversions to fit more frames and forks. Offset spoke hole drilling adds wheel strength. With the use of a tubeless rim strips, Bontrager’s Jackalope wheels can help drop significant weight from a fat bike. | Price: $999 | More info at www.trekbikes.com

Borealis Elite Carbon Wheels

Borealis Elite Carbon

The 80mm Reynolds carbon fiber rims on Borealis’ Elite Carbon wheels are made exclusively for Borealis. They use a double wall construction, are made in the USA, and weigh in at just 610 grams per rim. Laced to Borealis hubs using Wheelsmith spokes, the Elite Carbon wheels help fat bikers lose rotating weight on their steeds. Borealis’ hubs come in 150 thru axle front and 197x12mm rear. Axle caps are available to convert rear hubs to 190mm QR. Both Shimano and SRAM XD drivers are available in the black, red or blue hubs. | Price: $2300 (now on sale for $1699) | More info at www.fatbike.com

Fyxation Blackhawk Wheels

Fyxation Blackhawk

Fyxation’s Blackhawk wheelset is its most popular model. Priced at a budget-conscious $595, they are hand built in the U.S. at Fyxation’s Milwaukee, Wisconsin, headquarters. Fyxation boasts that this in-house assembly gives them tight quality control and the ability to easily customize wheels to suit customer needs. Using Fyxation hubs with 150/197mm front and rear spacing, Wheelsmith spokes and Sun-Ringle rims, a pair weighs in at 2700 grams. For those using a fat bike year round, also consider Fyxations’s 29+ Mulefut build for summer riding. | Price: $595 | More info at www.fyxation.com

HED B.A.D. Wheels

HED B.A.D.

HED’s fat bike wheel range is growing all the time. Its Big Alloy Deal (B.A.D.) wheelset is the newest in the Big Deal platform. Just like its carbon Big Deal rim brethren, the single wall construction is tubeless ready without a rim strip. The 80mm rims weigh 640 grams each. At the wheels’ center are HED’s new Brick House hubs, available in 135mm QR and thru-axle, 150mm thru front standards, and 170mm QR, 177mm thru, 190mm QR and 197mm thru rear axle variants. The pair weighs in at 2160 grams and are available now with both Shimano and SRAM XD cassette bodies. | Price: $1200 | More info at hedcycling.com

Industry Nine BigRig845 Wheels

Industry Nine BigRig845

While Industry Nine offers carbon fat bike wheel options, it’s the BigRig845 that brings top-shelf performance in a more approachable package. With a bit more meat on the bones, I9 claims these wheels are up to year-round trail riding, even on the gnarly Pisgah trails in I9’s North Carolina backyard. With a myriad of color options and I9’s impressive, Asheville-made hubs, the BigRig845 wheels are offered in 170/177mm and 190/197mm rear spacing and 135-150mm front spacing. The rims have a 84.5mm internal width and are tubeless compatible. Full color customization is available and lead times are 2-3 weeks. | Price: $1275 base price ($1,435 as shown) | More info at www.industrynine.net

Kuroshiro Enso 6105 Rims

Kuroshiro Enso 6105

If you’re looking for premium fat bike rims, look no further. Billed as the widest fat bike rim on the market, Kuroshiro’s Enso 6105 is imported by Red Bear Products, another brainchild of Advocate Cycle’s Tim Krueger. Manufactured in Italy using an autoclave instead of a pressure mold, the Kuroshiro claims its rims have far better compaction than anything else in the bicycle industry. This leads to high strength while minimizing excess material. The Enso 6105 rim also features Kuroshiro’s Alpha Ridge design, which reinforces the rim. This ridge is also home to the spoke nipple holes, in this case designed for use with Sapim’s Polyax nipples. These nipples create a seal with the rim, eliminating the need for a tubeless rim strip. It’s super trick. Red Bear Products sells rims or builds them into Tune and Industry Nine hubs for an additional cost. | Price: $995 per rim | More info at www.redbearproducts.com

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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