Top 5 Fat Bikes

Josh Kirchhoff

Updated March 19, 2024

Winter is in full force, but that doesn’t mean your fun on two wheels has to stop! Enter the fat bike, who’s voluminous tires allow it to ride on top of forest debris, sand, and of course, snow. And while these plus sized machines had a brief stint in the limelight a decade ago, nowadays they’re largely enjoyed by a core group of die hard cyclists who aren’t about to let less than ideal conditions stop them from riding, or even racing, their bike. So we’re paying homage to the dogged fat bike and those who ride them with a list of our five favorite models of 2024.

Best Lightweight Fat Bike:
RSD Mayor V5 Titanium 1x11NX CF

Lightweight fat bike with modern geometry. Earns 4.5/5 rating.

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that all fat bikes we’re hefty, 40 lb machines, and while many are, the winner of our first category, the best lightweight fat bike, most certainly is not! The RSD Mayor Titanium CF tips the scale at just 26.2 lbs or 11.9 kgs, which is light for any trail bike, let alone one with nearly 5” wide tires! This low weight is due to the use of titanium for the frame and carbon fiber for the rigid fork, but if you want a little extra cushion up front, RSD offers the bike with a 100 mm Manitou Mastodon instead.

And before you start thinking that this welter weight is only capable of traversing flat, non technical terrain, just wait ‘til you hear about its geometry! The Mayor features a 67 degree HTA,  which is on the slack side of the fat bike spectrum, making it perfect for modern single track trails.

Another thing keeping the Mayor’s weight low is RSD's choice to spec the bike with smaller, 26” wheels, which are wrapped in 4.8” Maxxis Minion FBF and FBR tires. The rest of the bike’s components are largely taken care of by SRAM and Raceface, with SRAM Level T brakes and an 11 speed SRAM NX drivetrain. The inclusion of an 11 speed drivetrain with a relatively narrow 11-42 tooth cassette is a bit of a bummer, but with a total price of just $3,949 for a titanium bike it’s hard to complain too much. 

In total, the RSD Mayor’s ultra-light build and modern geometry will make it ride more similar to your traditional trail bike than just about any bike on this list, and for that reason we’re going to give it 4.5 out of 5 goats. Not only that, but it also happens to my favorite of the five bikes we’re talking about today; I’m a sucker for that titanium frame!

Best Pedal Assist Fat Bike:
Rocky Mountain Blizzard Powerplay A30 Microshift

Pedal-assist fat bike with modern geometry and powerful motor. Earns 5/5 rating.

Moving on then from our lightest bike to our heaviest, because our second category is the best pedal assist fat bike. The winner here is the Rocky Mountain Blizzard Powerplay A30, which lists for $5,169. Like the RSD, the Blizzard’s alloy frame and carbon fork feature modern, trail bike geometry, with a slack 66 degree headtube angle and long reaches and low standover heights across all sizes.

The bike is powered by a 108 Nm Dyname 4.0 motor paired to a 720 Wh battery. This is in turn connected to a 10 speed Microshift Advent X drivetrain. Collectively, these two should have no issue powering your bike up even the steepest snow covered hills. Speaking of powering through terrain, the Blizzard rolls on a pair of massive 27.5x4.5” VeeTire Snow Avalanche stud-compatible tires, and lastly, a set of SRAM Level brakes are there to slow you back down again.

The Blizzard Powerplay A10’s dialed drive system, modern geometry, and relatively affordable price make it a winner in our book, earning it a full 5 out of 5 goats. The pedal-assist fat bike category is still quite small, which is honestly a bit surprising as I can’t think of a place I’d appreciate the extra help of a motor more than when slugging up steep snowy climbs, and if anyone from Rocky Mountain happens to be listening, we’d love to take this bike out for a rip sometime!

Best Budget Fat Bike:

Our third category is the best budget friendly fat bike, and the winner here is the State Bicycle Co 6061 Trail+, which at just $999 is a killer deal! The bike’s geometry is more akin to a commuter or hybrid than a mountain bike, making it great for getting around town in the winter months. 

As you’d imagine for a $1,000 bike, the Trail+ comes with a relatively basic set of components. The bike uses a nine speed Shimano Altus drivetrain, whose lack of clutch and narrow 11-36t cassette are another reason why this bike is probably best left for commuting through town then tackling single track or groomed fat bike trails. Braking duties are covered by Tektro, with the MD-M300 mechanical disk brakes. Lastly, the Trail+ rolls on 26x4.5” Kenda Juggernaut tires. This puts the weight of the bike at 40 lbs or 18.1 kgs, the heaviest analog bike on our list.

The State 6061 Trail+ is one of the few decently spec'd fat bikes you can find for under $1,000, and that alone will earn it a score of 4 out of 5 goats. The bike’s only real drawback is the Altus drivetrain which greatly reduces the bike capability in off road settings, but thankfully this could be swapped out with minimal effort or expense.

While most people use fat bikes as a means of winter transportation or cross training for the summer, there’s a diehard few who focus their entire calendar year around fat bike racing, and that’s what our next category is all about. The Salsa Beargrease C XT wins our award for the best race-ready fat bike, who’s full carbon frame and fork put its weight at a spritely 29.9 lbs or 13.6 kgs. Speaking to the bike’s racing nature is an XC inspired geometry, with a 68.6 degree HTA and short 440 mm chainstays. Lastly, the frame and fork feature a slew of mounting points for added gear for those multi day races and adventures.

MSRP
$4,199$5,169$999$3,999
Spec Level
Weight
54.7 lbs29.9 lbs
Frame
TitaniumAluminumAluminumCarbon
Fork
CarbonCarbonAluminumCarbon
Wheel Size
26″27.5″26″27.5″
Brakes
Hydraulic DiscHydraulic DiscMechanical DiscHydraulic Disc
Motor
Dyname 700W 108Nm mid-drive
Battery
720Wh
Groupset
NX, Race FacemicroSHIFT Advent X, Race FaceShimanoXT, Race Face
Drivetrain
1 × 111 × 101 × 91 × 12
Seatpost
RigidDropper
Where to Buy
$999

At State Bicycle Co.

$3,999

At Mike’s Bikes