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Fatbikes To Take You Well Off The Beaten Path

Depending on distance and terrain considerations, biking can be an efficient and fun way to get to where you want to go. While riding a bike off road can conjure up images of mountain bikes in your mind, there’s another type of bicycle that might be the better choice to ride over difficult to tread terrain, such as sand, snow and coarse gravel. This type of bike is often called a fatbike, or fat-tire bike.

Fatbikes are exactly what they sound like. They’re bicycles that are fitted with oversized tires. More accurately, they’re off-road specific bikes that are designed to ride over soft, difficult terrain, such as sand and snow. Their fat tires differ from tires fitted to traditional bikes in that the fat tire’s bulbous shape helps produce low ground pressure that allows riders to ride on unstable terrain, such as snow and sand. Over time, riders have realized that they’re stable to ride over other traditionally trouble-inducing surfaces such as mud, bogs, and rocky trails, as well.

Known for their stable and comfortable ride, fatbikes are popular amongst casual riders, athletes and explorers alike. In fact, races and festivals have sprouted up featuring fatbikes, as well as extreme expeditions including ones to Antarctica and the South Pole. To get you ready for your own expedition to parts unknown, we’ve gathered the latest and greatest fatbikes for you to consider as your next ride.

Cannondale/Bad Habit Carbon 1

Highlights: Cannondale completely re-designed Bad Habit Carbon 1 for the ‘19 model year to feature 130mm of front and rear suspension travel and all-new progressive geometry for enhanced riding. Its new proportional response suspension design maximizes performance for any trail you will encounter. If you’re looking to dominate the trails, this bike promises to do it, and then some.

Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
Shifter: SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed
Wheel Size: 27.5”
Tires: Maxxis Rekon 27.5 x 2.8 3C compound, EXO puncture protection, Tubeless Ready
Brakes: SRAM Guide R hydro disc, 180/180mm Centerline rotors

MSRP: $4,200

Diamondback/El Oso Tres

Highlights: Built with the most remote and technical trails in mind, Diamondback’s fat tire bike incorporates a go-anywhere suspension fork that is coupled with 26-inch high-volume/low-pressure Maxxis Minion tires to absorb trail obstacles for good measure. It features upgrades such as a KS E30i dropper seatpost for improved maneuverability and front and rear thru-axles for precise steering.

Frame Size: S/16, M/18, L/20
Shifter: Shimano XT M8000 Shadow Plus, 11-Speed
Wheel Size: 26”
Tires: Maxxis Minion FBF 26 x 4.0 EXO, TLR, Folding
Brakes: Shimano SLX M7000, w/180mm Front /180mm Rear Rotors

MSRP: $2,200

KHS/4 Season 5000

Highlights: Featuring KHS’s High Modulus MSD Full Carbon with 1.5-inch Taper Headtube, the frame contains its cable routing to keep the frame clean and its cables away from potential snags. It also is fitted with a full carbon straight blade fork or you can opt for an optional Wren WSF Inverted Suspension 110mm for a smoother ride.

Frame Size: S/15.5, M/17.5, L/19
Shifter: Shimano XT, SL-M8000, 11-Speed, Trigger, Right Only, I-Spec II
Wheel Size: 26”
Tires: Maxxis Colossus, 26 x 4.8, 120 TPI, Folding
Brakes: Shimano MT501, Hydraulic Disc, Servo Wave, 180/160mm Wave12 Rotors

MSRP: $3,029 starting

Pivot/LES Fat

Highlights: Made to adapt, the LES Fat is a four-season hardtail bike that can take on everything from singletrack riding to snow to sand surfaces. Pivot’s LES Fat is designed to be versatile and it shows by being compatible with almost every wheel size available, from 26” and 27.5” Fat to 27.5+ to 29er.

Frame Size: S/15, M/17, L/19
Shifter: Shimano XT M8000 11-Speed
Wheel Size: 27”
Tires: Maxxis Minion 27.5 x 3.8 EXO, TR
Brakes: Shimano XT M8000 brakes

MSRP: $3,999 starting

Rocky Mountain/Blizzard 30

Highlights: Boasting 120mm of front suspension travel, this fatbike is also designed with aggressive trail geometry and massively wide tires, which allow the Blizzard to ride like a proper mountain bike in soft terrain such as snow, sand, and anything else you get yourself into.

Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
Shifter: Shimano SLX
Wheel Size: 26”
Tires: Maxxis FBF EXO Tubeless Ready 26 x 4.8 / Maxxis FBR EXO Tubeless Ready 26 x 4.8
Brakes: Shimano MT400 / Shimano RT56 180mm / Shimano RT56 180mm

MSRP: $2,399

Surly/Ice Cream Truck

Highlights: Confidently roll over tree roots and fallen branches down miles of twisted singletrack on the Ice Cream Truck. Built to handle anything you can throw at it, this fatbike is not laden with stuff you don’t need but has what you do need in spades. It features a long toptube, short seatstays, and a 68-degree headtube angle that make it tight and maneuverable on fast, technical terrain.

Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
Shifter: Shimano SL-M7000-R SLX
Wheel Size: 26”
Tires: Surly Bud & Lou, 4.8”, 120tpi
Brakes: SRAM Level

MSRP: $2,000

Trek/Farley 9.8

Highlights: To travel far, you need to travel light. Trek has your bases covered with their Farley 9.8. Featuring an OCLV Mountain Carbon frame, a carbon fork and carbon wheels, it’s the lightest fatbike they make. Driven by a 1×12 SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain with the widest range of gears for varying terrain, Farley 9.8 can get you there with no time to spare.

Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Wheel Size: F:150 x 15, R:197 x 12
Tires: Bontrager Barbegazi, Tubeless Ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 27.5 x 4.50
Brakes: SRAM Guide RS hydraulic disc

MSRP: $5,150