Scott Big Ed fat bike review

Everyman snow machine provides easy entrée into wintertime riding

Fat Bike Winter Guide
Descending is snappy and fun, especially on singletrack trail.

Descending is snappy and fun, especially on singletrack trail (click to enlarge).

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

Lowdown: Scott Big Ed Fat Bike

As its name clearly indicates, this fat bike offering from Swiss bike maker Scott is not some pretentious carbon weight weenie draped in a bunch of high-dollar components. Instead, the alloy frame Big Ed is an everyman snow machine, designed to provide easy entrée into the world of wintertime riding without overtaxing your retirement savings. But just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it’s good. See how the Big Ed fattie fared in our full review below.

Stat Box
Frame: 6061 aluminum, 4.8” tire clearance, BB121 Bars: 740mm Syncros AM1.5 (35mm clamp section)
Fork: RockShox 100mm Bluto with remote lockout Stem: 30mm Syncros XM 1.5 (35mm bar clamp)
Headtube angle: 69 degrees Wheels: Syncros 80mm (not tubeless)
Standover: 83.5cm Tires: Schwalbe Jumbo Jim EVO 26×4.8”
Chainstay length: 450mm Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Axle spacing: Direct mount dropouts, 197x12mm Weight: 32.3 pounds size large
Drivetrain: SRAM X9/X7, e*thirteen chainrings Price: $2799 (but currently on sale)
Brakes: Shimano M506 hydraulic disc Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 Chilis-out-of-5
Rotors: 180mm front/160mm rear

  • Low standover height
  • Heavy bike
  • External cables easier to service
  • Heavy wheels
  • Wide bars/short stem improves control
  • Not tubeless
  • Great looking bike
  • Max saddle height 79cm
  • Fast, light tires
  • Cluttered cockpit
  • Solid braking performance
  • Cheap bottle cage bolts
  • Wide gear range with 2x set-up
  • Questionable tire durability
  • Ample heel clearance
  • No dropper post
  • Remote lock-out
  • Stability at high speed
  • Snappy handling
  • Mid-tier shifting performance
  • Suspension fork increases versatility
  • Suspension performance in extreme cold
  • QR seatpost clamp
  • Good value

Review: Scott Bike Ed Fat Bike

In some ways the act of owning (or simply riding) a fat bike is an exercise in compromise. In nearly all cases you’re sacrificing weight (especially the rotating kind) in exchange for access to year-round pedaling and/or the amazing dry-conditions traction that’s delivered by a 4-plus-inch tire inflated to single digit PSI. The question then becomes how much sacrifice are you willing to make. The answer will lie in part (if not entirely) on what you intend to use said fat bike for.

Course recon for the upcoming Fat Bike World Championships on the Scott Big Ed.

Course recon for the upcoming Fat Bike World Championships on the Scott Big Ed (click to enlarge).

In my admittedly limited time in the deep end of this big wheeled pool, I’ve come to the conclusion that for my personal use, winter — and specifically riding on snow — is why I want a fat bike in my life. The variability in activity choice it avails here in the Colorado Rockies is a true godsend. Or put another way, when the skiing sucks, the fat biking is great. Two months into winter and I’ve yet to even consider riding the trainer.

Total weight sans pedals, 32.3 pounds size large.

Total weight sans pedals, 32.3 pounds size large (click to enlarge).

But I’m also not overly concerned with how much the bike weighs, or whether or not I could bag a few Strava KoMs on my next outing. For me, it’s simply been a conduit to pleasant outdoor activity during a time of year when a lot of cyclists are trapped indoors.

People love this bike's paint scheme.

People love this bike’s paint scheme (click to enlarge).

The deeper point for the purposes of this review is that for snow-only riding, I’m far less inclined to drop a bunch of dough on a fat bike since it will likely collect dust a good portion of the year. It’s for that reason that I’ve been so enamored with the Scott Big Ed. Yes, it’s a hardtail that weighs north of 32 pounds. But it’s also simple and affordable and has opened the door to lots of wintertime fun.

SRAM's X9/X7 2x drivetrain provides plenty of gear range, but we'd prefer a 1x set-up.

SRAM’s X9/X7 2x drivetrain provides plenty of gear range, but we’d prefer a 1x set-up (click to enlarge).

Basic Build

Outside of the 100mm RockShox Bluto, the Scott Big Ed’s component spec is mid-tier basic. The alloy frame comes draped with a host of house brand alloy cockpit parts, nothing fancy (non-tubeless) wheels, and a blended SRAM X9/X7 2x drivetrain and mid-level Shimano hydraulic brakes, all of it routed externally. Tires are Schwalbe’s Jumbo Jim EVO 26×4.8”, which are light and fast rolling, but have a rep for being puncture prone. (Note that they actually measured about 4.5″ at 7psi.)

But here again, I fall back to my use argument. If you’re planning to ride primarily on snow, punctures aren’t really a big concern. And the Jumbo Jims roll great on groomed and hardpack snow. Just don’t expect them to hook up like tank treads in deep powder. I’ve tried. They don’t.

Continue to page 2 for more of our Scott Big Ed fat bike review »
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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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  • Bikerjosh says:

    Suspension on a fat bike with those massive low pressure tires; really? No, really?

  • Michael Banks says:

    Jim, would it be possible to see your data? I am very interested in this not only as a cyclist but as a researcher having worked with very precise measuring instruments in wheelchair push-force requirements for different tire/caster configurations. As you know, friction and rolling resistance are so interesting because of the multifactorial nature that produces them. It would be nice to see some hard data on this well worn topic within wheeled mobility circles. Thanks.

    • Jim says:

      Here are some professional results… but they only went up to 4.0″ tires. His data matched ours exactly.

      We came to the conclusion that on snow… tubeless 120 tpi tires with just enough air pressure to “Leave a Flat Track” was the lowest rolling resistance possible for a given rider with any given conditions. “Leave a Flat Track” is the principle we have been working with the USFS to gain access to winter trails. It is a win-win for all nordic users… The hard part was getting nordic bikers to let the air out of their tires. Conventional wisdom says more air = lower rolling resistance and that is simply not true when riding on snow.

  • Don says:

    I threw some 29er wheels on my Big Ed from BikesDirect and now it’s a 4 season bike. I’m digging it.

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