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Best Fat Bike: our pick of the best bikes available this year

Best Fat Bike
(Image credit: Courtesty)

Fat bikes are for those who want to keep riding through hell or high water. Snow covering your local trails? No problem. Does your weekend adventure take you through a mud bog? A 5in fat bike tire will glide over the top, hardly leaving a mark. Fat bikes are also the perfect tool for those who live on the coast to rip out beach miles over hard and soft sand.

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With their monster truck tires, fat bikes are also popular for bike packing, because the high volume tires can be run at such low pressures the tires will float over just about any soft surface, and dampen vibrations from rough surfaces and square edges.

Read on for our favourite fat bike available today.

Best Fat Bike available today

Best Fat Bike: Pivot Les

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Pivot Les

Punny fattie with no shortage of performance

Wheel size: 27.5, 29in | Suspension: No | Frame material: Carbon

Pivot hollow core carbon frame 
Swinger 2 dropout 
Wise component choice

With some clever wordplay in the name, Pivot’s Les Fat is a rigid fat bike that comes stock with 27.5in wheels and tires, but thanks to the Swinger 2 dropout, it can adjust the chainstay length to accommodate different wheel and tyre sizes. At the front, Pivot offers headset options allow you to run 29+ wheels with a rigid fork or fat suspension forks like the Manitou Mastodon or RockShox Bluto. Slot in the 18mm cup and you can run up to a 27.5in wheel with 3.8in tires, or 26-inch wheel with 4.8in balloons. 

The frame is made using Pivots hollow-core carbon fibre moulding and is backed by the brand's 10-year warranty. The Pro XT build uses a mix of Shimano’s 12-speed XT and SLX components to provide braking and shifting accuracy while saving money. Sun Ringle provides the wheels while Pivot's own carbon components make up the rest of the build kit. 

Best Fat Bike: Kona Wozo

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Kona Wozo

A hardy hardtail with giant tires

Wheel size: 27.5in | Suspension: : Yes | Frame material: Aluminium

Modern geometry 
100mm fork 
External cable routing 
Dropper post
Suffers from understeer

The Wazo is based around mid-fat 27.5-inch x 3.8in tires, which still provide plenty of flotation, reduces some of the rotating weight, and makes the bike feel more spritely than some of its lumbering slow 26-inch x 5in relatives. The frame is aluminium, which keeps the price and the weight low, the chassis is stable and precise when the trail transitions from snow and ice back to rocks and roots. 

We really love the Wazo because it doesn’t bear the old school geometry other fat bikes do, with the bike featuring a 450mm reach in a size medium and slack (for a fat bike) 68.5-degree head angle. The bike comes stock with a Manitou Mastodon fork for a bit of extra squish and comes with Trans-X dropper post to keep you out of trouble when things get rowdy. 

Best Fat Bike: Trek Farley 5

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Trek Farley 5

Versatile fat bike for all-season use

Wheel size: 26in, 27.5in | Suspension: No | Frame material: Carbon

Sliding dropout 
Frame mounts 
Multiple whee lsizes 
Dropper post

Winters in Wisconsin are harsh and cold, and so it’s no surprise to see a bike rolling out of the big red barn designed to excel in snowy conditions. The bike is based around a 150mm hub and the front and a 197mm hub at the rear, allowing a 26-inch x 5in tire to plough through soft snow like an icebreaker boat, or a 27.5-inch x 4.5in tire is still massive, adds a bit of rolling speed. 

Made from Trek’s Alpha Platinum Aluminium, some of the Farley's wheel and tire size adaptability is thanks to the sliding dropout, which allows riders to customize handling characteristics. Should you like the Farly to accompany you on a multi-day adventure, there are rack mounts throughout, so the bike, not your body, can carry the weight. Best of all, it comes with a dropper post. 

Best Fat Bike: Norco Bigfoot 2

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Norco Bigfoot 2

Perfect for winter riding in the great white north

Wheel size: 26in | Suspension: No | Frame material: Carbon

Modern geometry 
Internal cables 
Components chosen for cold weather performance

Norco has revamped all of its bikes based around keeping the rider's weight centred between the wheels. Everything from it’s XC to Enduro bikes have grown longer, slacker and more capable, and the Bigfoot fat bike is no exception. With a 68.5-degree head angle and 440mm reach in a size medium, it’s ready to charge through snow-covered technical lines, without leaving you with brown snow pants. 

Rolling on 26-inch x 4.6in Terrene Cake Eater tires, they are stud friendly if you have to contend with ice on your winter rides — Norco says the frame has clearance for 5in tires should you want to go fatter. The structure and fork are made of aluminium, and the cables are internally routed for a clean look. Norco says it chose the SRAM brakes and TranzX YSP18 130mm dropper post because they maintain performance when the temperatures plummet.

Best Fat Bike: Salsa Mukluk

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Salsa Mukluk

Ready for adventure or a day of single track shredding

Wheel size: 26-29in | Suspension: No | Frame material: Carbon

Fork length corrected for 120mm fork 
Narrow for a fat bike 
Q-factor 
Tire and wheel size compatibility

A Mukluk is a high soft book worn by Arctic Aboriginal people and is traditionally made of reindeer or seal skin; it’s also what Salsa calls its do-everything adventure bike. The frame is tuned to provide max comfort and is equipped with Salsa’s Alternator 2.0 Dropouts, which allow for chainstay lengths from 432-450mm, and tires from 26-inch x 5in to 29-inch x 2.3in.

The frame comes with Salsa’s Kingpin carbon fork, with two sets of three-tack bosses for bottle cages or the brand's Anything Cages. The axle to crown height is the same as a 120mm suspension fork so that you can slot in a RockShox Bluto or Manitou Mastodon should you want to soften the front end.  The frame is 1x and 2x compatible, and the brand has used a 100mm threaded bb and 197mm symmetrical rear end, to keep the Q-factor manageable for riders with sensitive knees and hips.

Best Fat Bike: Surly Ice Cream Truck

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Surly Ice Cream Truck

Steel is real

Wheel size: 26in | Suspension: No | Frame material: Steel

Steel frame 
Aggressive geometry
Heavy

With modern geometry and an aggressive feel, the Surly Ice Cream Truck is a steel fat bike that is anything but boring. With steel tubing and 26-inch x 5in wheels and tires, the Ice Cream Truck is hefty on the scale, but the frame dampens vibration like…well, steel. 

The fork is suspension corrected, and there are provisions for a stealth dropper post and a front derailleur if 2x is your thing. With a 68.0-degree head angle, and 427mm reach in a size medium, it rides a lot like your trail bike, but can steamroll through snow and sand; Surly even says you could jump a grizzly aboard the Ice Cream Truck if the situation arises.

Best Fat Bike: Canyon Dude CF 8.0 Trail

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Canyon Dude CF 8.0 Trail

Value for money fat bike

Wheel size: 26in | Suspension: Yes | Frame material: Carbon

Weight 
Value 
Carbon frame

With it’s direct to consumer sales model, Canyon can offer deals that that most other brands just can’t match, and the Dude CF 8.0 is the perfect example. For $3,000, you get a full carbon frame, Manitou Mastodon Pro, SRAM Eagle NX 12-speed drivetrain, and Shimano MT420 brakes. 

The frame sees a sliding dropout and comes spec’d with DTSwiss BR 2300 80mm rims, complete with milled cutouts, which are finished in Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 4.8in tires. What’s most impressive is the weight claimed at 14.96kg.