Are you looking for the best fat tire bike? We’ve scoured the Internet for the top eight selections which are all ideal for riding in challenging environments.
This fat tire bikes review is dedicated to providing you with essential information on each mountain bike and what conditions it’s suitable for.
However, if you’re in a rush, we recommend the Farley 5 bike as the best overall. With tires measuring 4.5 inches in width, this bike can cut through snow, dirt trails, and muddy conditions with ease. The tires also absorb the impact from traveling over rocks or bumpy surfaces. With a lightweight frame, this balances out the weight, so you can travel at full speed.
|Best Overall||Trek Farley 5||
|Premium Pick||Trek Farley 7||
|Best Entry-Level||Mongoose Dolomite||
|Salsa Mukluk SX Eagle||
|Best on a Budget||Framed Minnesota||
|Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Bike||
|Aluminum Fat Bike||
The Best Fat Tire Bikes 2020
1. Trek Farley 5 — Best Overall
The Farley 5 is one of the best fat tire bikes on the market and is a suitable women’s fat tire bike. Its tires measure 27.5 x 4.5 inches and are designed to keep you rolling faster, particularly on surfaces which are packed with snow or in muddy conditions. Alternatively, you can opt for 26 x 4.70 inches if you require chunkier tires for traveling in tough environments.
With this extra size and weight, the Farley 5 bike has a lightweight aluminum frame to counteract the extra weight and enable you to still ride one of the top bikes. The carbon fork makes this a great year-round mountain bike too, so you can cycle regardless of the weather or terrain you face.
The Farley 5 has a rigid back and its suspension works best on dirt trails and in smooth snow. In fact, its suspension isn’t designed for intense road conditions, although the fat tires absorb most of the shock when you’re riding.
2. Trek Farley 7 — Premium Pick
The Farley 7 is built for use throughout the year. The front wheel is designed with a Manitou Mastodon suspension fork with 80mm of travel, which enables you to travel across bumps and rocky surfaces without feeling any pressure. This feature is ideal for riding over dirt-covered surfaces or on rocky trails.
The 4.5-inch wide fat tires combine perfectly with the large 27.5-inch wheels, allowing you to travel faster as the wheels can roll over obstacles and surfaces smoothly. The tires are designed for better traction and stability, particularly when riding on hard surfaces at high speeds.
The spokes are made from stainless steel to ensure they’re long-lasting and durable. Weighing 35 pounds, the Farley 7 is a heavy bike, even for one with fat tires. It’s equipped with gears which are low enough for climbing uphill reasonably well and traveling around corners on a range of surfaces.
3. Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Men’s Mountain Bike — Best Entry-Level Fat Tire BikeMongoose Dolomite
This is the best men’s fat tire bike on our list with tires measuring 26 inches by 4 inches. Weighing a total of 59 pounds, it’s the heaviest bike on the list so far, but it’s kitted with a Shimano rear derailleur with seven speeds to make climbing uphill easy. Also, the twist shifters are smooth and convenient to adjust when riding.
So that you can travel at high speeds, this Mongoose mountain bike features lightweight alloy rims to minimize its weight, adding to the bike’s speed and performance. With fat tires, you can ride the Mongoose in snow, mud, and dirt for a cushioned ride.
The tires are knobby and provide plenty of traction when riding in dirt and mud to keep your safety in mind. This feature means you can even ride the bike on ice while remaining stable and in control. check our detailed review of Mongoose Mountian Bike.
4. Salsa Mukluk SX Eagle Fat Bike — Best for Thickness
The Salsa Mukluk is the best specialized fat tire bike for thickness. Measuring 4.8 inches in width, these are the fattest tires featured on this list. Also, the diameter of 26 inches helps to balance out the weight to improve stability and performance.
These fat tires deliver massive traction and optimum flotation when traveling on soft surfaces such as loose sand or snow. The Salsa Mukluk’s fat tires dampen most of the impact from bumps and rocky surfaces, and help to create a smooth and pleasurable ride.
The bike’s drivetrain provides plenty of power for climbing uphill and the array of low gears helps when traveling through light snow or in sandy conditions. It performs at its best on moderate terrain with smooth dirt conditions rather than large bumps. When riding with low pressure, the tires provide better traction and grip.
5. Framed Minnesota Bike — Best on a BudgetFramed Minnesota
This is the best fat tire bike for the money which also offers excellent features. The Framed Minnesota mountain bike features tires measuring 26 inches in diameter by 4 inches in width. Some of the knobs on the tires feature a stepped pattern which creates a stiffer ride when cycling on a hard pack trail.
The tires provide plenty of grip for off-road environments, in both wet and dry conditions. The tires are well-gripped and designed to shred through mud and grass with ease without slowing down too much.
You won’t experience much tire slip when traveling up steep, wet hills. This bike digs deep into conditions such as wet grass, which prevents you from losing traction and keeps you safe during uphill climbs. Even when coming back down hills, the bike sticks to the ground, preventing you from rolling downwards at full speed.
6. Diamondback Hardtail Bicycle — Best for Fattest TiresDiamondback Hardtail
If you’re looking for the fattest tires, Diamondback designed this mountain bike with a whopping 5 inches in width. This, combined with a 26-inch diameter, allows the tires to trail perfectly on a range of surfaces. It’s also perfect for riding on sand and snow and is reasonably-priced too.
With a combination of an aluminum frame, RockShox Bluto suspension fork and hydraulic disc brakes, this upper-end mountain bike performs well on touch surfaces. As a result, you can cruise through virtually any terrain without you or the bike feeling too much impact. The travel forks clear through the toughest terrain with ease.
It’s also an excellent choice for a comfortable and capable ride on trail rides and for crushing through obstacles. These fat tires will absorb the impact and pressure from pounding against the ground. It’s hard to believe that you’ll receive all these benefits for a total weight of just 34 pounds.
7. Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Bike — Best for SuspensionMongoose Malus Fat Tire Bike
With 4 inches of width, these tires are fat and not for the faint-hearted. The supersized width allows you to use this mountain bike uphill and downhill, across mud and snow, and over bumpy surfaces without feeling the impact or the bike suffering any damage. Its durable, hard-trail frame works great in combination with this extra width to further remove the pressure of tough terrains.
These tires roll over unstable surfaces perfectly and act as perfect shock absorbers. To further protect the tires, they’re framed with alloy rims, which protect the tires and makes them long-lasting, even though they are prone to picking up a few scratches and scrapes.
The Mongoose Malus mountain bike performs effectively in both wet and dry conditions, as the tires dig into the ground for grip and support, which keeps you stable on the bike, even when riding at high speeds.
8. Aluminum Fat Bike — Best Lightweight OptionAluminum Fat Bike
This mountain bike features tires which are 26 inches in diameter with a 4-inch width. This width makes this bike excellent for riding almost anywhere, including up and down hills. With 16-speed Sram Drivetrain components, you can adjust the riding style to prevent rolling downhill at excessive speeds.
These tires are wide and have high traction, so you can grip surfaces with ease. Their cheese-grated grips allow you to chop through mud and grass without any difficulty, while allowing you to ‘float’ over snow and sand, even when deep.
You’ll experience more control in loose conditions, such as when riding over gravel or loose mud. You can tailor these tires to your environment too, by deflating them for further traction and stability.
Are you struggling to sift through the above fat tire bikes? Here’s a buying guide to keep you on track throughout your search.
Lighter wheels are best for accelerating and slowing down faster as there’s less pressure on the bike frame. You can also climb uphill easily and change direction in a split second. A heavier and thicker wheel will require less effort when traveling through mud, snow, and uneven surfaces. However, the weight means that your bike won’t be able to pick up speed as quickly.
The wheels should also spin smoothly, so if you tend to ride where there’s grit and detritus on the ground, consider rubber seals to prevent them from hitting the bike and causing damage. To prevent slips and scrapes, consider wheels with more rubber to improve traction and stability.
Size and Fit
It’s important that you spend some time researching a bike that’s the best fit for you to make it safe to use and maximize its performance. Consider your height when deciding on the bike’s size:
- 4’10” to 5’2” — 13 to 14-inch frame
- 5’2” to 5’6” — 15 to 16-inch frame
- 5’6” to 5’10” — 17 to 18-inch frame
- 5’10” to 6’1” — 19 to 20-inch frame
- 6’1” to 6’4” — 21 to 22-inch frame
- 6’4” to 6’6” — 23 to 24-inch frame
Wheels and Dimensions
Wheel size is important for your riding style and height. Wheels which are 26 inches are ideal for freeriding, dirt jumps, and for kid’s bikes. Width also plays a crucial role in speed and agility. Most mountain bikes have tires which are 2.8 to 3 inches wide, offering excellent rollover capability.
However, in situations where you’ll be riding over bumps, or through mud and snow, fat tires are more beneficial. Fat tires provide better shock absorption, enabling the bike to absorb impact and pressure, rather than you doing it, which results in a more comfortable ride. As wider tires have a larger contact area on the ground, you can sometimes reach your destination quicker compared to when using thinner tires.
Look for tires which are at least 4 inches wide if you tend to ride across mud and in wet conditions. Anything larger than this is suitable for use on rougher terrain and bumps, but larger isn’t always better. The added weight can be difficult if you’re riding uphill, so you should consider a lightweight bike frame, such as aluminum, or at least a mountain bike with a range of low gears to help you travel uphill.
The tread on your bike’s tires plays an important role in their effectiveness and the comfort of your ride. Most mountain bikes have treads with small, closely spaced knobs which are suitable for smooth, dry trails. Widely-spaced knobs are designed for muddy and loose dirt conditions as they improve the handling and traction.
Small, evenly distributed knobs improve cornering, particularly when traveling at high speeds. Slick tires have little tread and can handle smooth surfaces like asphalt and cement but aren’t designed for wet and rough conditions which require more tread and grip.
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During the buying process, consider the environment and surfaces you’ll be riding on. The type of bike you buy will determine the environments in which you can cycle without any damage or discomfort.
Trail bikes aren’t designed for off-road use but are popular for offering traction, control, and stability. They can also keep you in an upright condition. Alternatively, high-quality mountain bikes are great for riding on loose and rocky terrain. They have more suspension for navigating over tough surfaces and hold up well for riding off-road.
Fork and Suspension
Generally speaking, the thicker the tires on a bike, the less suspension you’ll need, as the wheels will absorb a lot of the impact from the ground. The type of suspension you get will depend on the mountain bike you purchase.
For example, hardtail bikes have a suspension fork at the front, whereas full suspension bikes have front suspension forks and a rear shock absorber which makes them great for traveling on rough terrain. Full suspension bikes are ideal for tough surfaces, although they have a little additional weight.
Hardtail mountain bikes tend to be lighter but have less suspension, which isn’t an ideal choice if you’ll be riding over bumpy surfaces every day.
To figure out the right number of gears for you, consider your riding style and the environments in which you tend to cycle. For example, if you often ride uphill, you’ll need a range of low gears to tackle climbing. In this case, consider an 18-speed bike or upwards.
Alternatively, when riding on flat surfaces, you won’t require as many gears, and some basic bikes don’t even have any. Having a limited range isn’t a huge disadvantage if you’re often riding on smooth pavements, but this lacks versatility and can make up and downhill climbs virtually impossible, or at least unsafe.
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A bike with poor brakes will put you in danger. There are two types of brakes: hydraulic and mechanical. The former are filled with fluid, like that which you’ll find with a motorcycle or other vehicle. Mechanical brakes use a steel cable which requires pulling on the brake level in order to come to a stop. You need to apply less pressure with this type of brakes, which makes them more user-friendly.
Hydraulic brakes generally have more stopping power, whereas mechanical brakes are a less expensive option, although they are easier to maintain.
There are several different materials used to make bike frames. A popular material is aluminum, which is generally lighter than carbon fiber. One consideration to make with aluminum is that it’ll fail under the smallest amount of stress, which means you can’t add accessories or carry a large load on the bike.
Another common material is steel. This material is possible to make thin as it’s the most flexible of the materials used for bike frames. It’s also ideal for preventing injuries as it has a high threshold before any deformation or breakage occurs, making your bike long-lasting and sturdy.
Carbon fiber is the lightest material used in manufacturing bike frames, which makes it a suitable material for climbing uphill and traveling at high speed. It can easily absorb impact from bumps and rough terrain, which offers a more comfortable and relaxed experience for the rider.
Pros and Cons of Fat Tire Bikes
Bikes with fat tires are generally more comfortable to ride as the large volume and low pressure act as shock absorbers, so you don’t feel any impact on rough rides. Depending on the tires you purchase, you can generally alter the tire pressure from 7psi to 30psi, which allows you to adjust the pressure to your riding conditions and preferences.
Fat tires provide you with the ability to ride over snow, sand, mud, pavements, and many other types of terrain, so you can explore more places on your bike. They’re also highly beneficial in giving you greater confidence when riding your bike.
On the other hand, fat tires aren’t for everyone or all road conditions. As they’re much beefier than slim tires, they contribute to more weight on the bike – a typical bike with fat tires weighs around 30 pounds. This additional weight can make it harder to pick up speed.
They’re not beneficial when riding on smooth surfaces, so if you’re considering fat tires for pavements, think again. As fat tires are designed for tackling muddy sections, they simply ‘float’ on top of the surfaces, which doesn’t provide you with much traction or grip on smoother routes.
After reading this fat tire bikes review, we hope you have gained a clear insight into the factors to consider when choosing tires for your bikes. The Farley 5 is the clear winner as it keeps you rolling faster for longer, even in snow or muddy conditions. It’s also designed with a high-quality suspension system which works well on dirt trails and in snow.
For a runner-up, we recommend the Farley 7 bike. It’s designed for year-round use and features a Manitou Mastodon suspension fork to absorb impact when riding on dirt tracks or in mud and snow. The tires also travel smoothly over obstacles and offer exceptional traction while retaining stability.