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Remember the first time you saw a fat bike? You probably asked “what is that thing?”, and then wondered what it would be like to ride around on those enormous balloon-like tires. Fat bikes – usually defined as bikes with tires over 4” wide – have been around for some time but have become much more popular over the last few years. They were originally designed for riding in sand or snow, but riders discovered that they perform well on other forms of terrain as well, and today it’s common to see fat bikes on everything from urban bike paths to challenging mountain bike trails.

Fat bikes use those huge tires to soak up bumps and many don’t come with mechanical suspension. That allows manufacturers to price them lower than conventional mountain bikes, and there’s a wide range of budget-friendly options available. This guide to the best fat bikes under $2000 should help you choose the one that’s best for you!

For more of our top bike gear recommendations, check out the Best Fat Bike Tires.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Fat Bikes Under $2000

  1. Mongoose Vinson
  2. Diamondback El OSO Nino
  3. Mongoose Malus
  4. Gravity Monster
  5. Framed Minnesota 2.0
  6. Framed Minnesota 1.2
  7. Gravity Bullseye Monster Five X
  8. Diamondback El Oso Dos
  9. Vtuvia Electric

 

Comparison Table - Best Fat Bikes Under $2000

PictureNameFrame MaterialDrivetrainBrakesWeightPriceRating
Mongoose VinsonAluminum3x8Mechanical Disc34 lbs$4.0
Diamondback El OSO NinoSteel1x7Mechanical Disc35 lbs 8 oz$4.0
Mongoose MalusSteel1x7Mechanical Disc42 lbs$3.5
Gravity MonsterAluminum2x8Mechanical Disc30 lbs$4.0
Framed Minnesota 2.0Aluminum2x9Mechanical Disc33 lbs 9 oz$2.0
Framed Minnesota 1.2Aluminum1x10Mechanical Disc35.3 lbs$4.0
Gravity Bullseye Monster Five XAluminum1x10Mechanical DiscN/A$$4.5
Diamondback El Oso DosAluminum2x10Mechanical Disc34.8 lbs$$4.0
-Vtuvia ElectricAluminum1x10Hydraulic DiscN/A$$$4.7
PictureNameFrame MaterialDrivetrainBrakesWeightPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - Best Bikes for Fat Biking Under $2000

Mongoose Vinson

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 34 lbs
  • Drivetrain: 3x8
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • SRAM Drivetrain Gives Wide Gear Range For Riding Any Terrain
  • 24” Wheels Perfectly Sized For Riders 4’ to 5’2” Tall
  • Aluminum Frame Gives Low Weight For The Price

BEST SMALL PERSON’S FAT BIKE

Riding a bike that’s slightly too big can take a lot of the fun out of biking, especially when you’re starting to hit technical trails. This bike hits a happy medium between kids bikes and adult bikes, giving older children and small adults a fat bike they can ride with confidence that they’re controlling the bike, not the other way around. 

The aluminum alloy frame shaves weight, the SRAM drivetrain brings big-brand shifting quality to a bike with an entry level price, and the supersized 4” tires roll over everything and suck up bumps. If you’re on the small side and looking for an affordable bike that isn’t too big to control, here’s your ride!

Diamondback El OSO Nino

Specs
  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 35 lbs 8 oz
  • Drivetrain: 1x7
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Shimano Seven-Speed Drivetrain With Grip Shifters For Easy Shifting
  • Simple, Durable Mechanical Disc Brakes Give Sure Stopping Power
  • Rugged High Tensile Steel Frame

BEST FAT BIKE FOR KIDS

Kids love bikes, and they love taking bikes to places where adults would fear to pedal. That often includes mud, sand, snow, and other loose or soft surfaces, which makes a fat bike a natural for the younger rider. Besides, what kid doesn’t want to ride a two-wheeled monster truck? 

This kid-specific ride is built around a bombproof steel frame, with seven-speed Shimano grip shifters handling the gear changes and mechanical disc brakes providing sure stops. 20” wheels plus 4” tires gives plenty of sizing latitude, and this bike is ideal for taking 5-11 year old riders into the muck and out the other side. They may not come out clean, but they’ll be smiling!

Mongoose Malus

Specs
  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Weight: 42 lbs
  • Drivetrain: 1x7
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Shimano Drivetrain For Smooth Shifting
  • Mechanical Disc Brakes For Reliable Stopping
  • Steel Frame For Strength And Reliability

BEST LOW BUDGET FAT BIKE

Mongoose has a reputation for delivering bikes that are reliable and affordable, and this is no exception. Don’t expect a high-end machine at this price point, but if you’re looking to get on the trails with the lowest possible budget this is a great way to do it. The bike is undeniably heavy, but it’s sturdy and functional and it will do what you need it to do!

Gravity Monster

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 30 lbs
  • Drivetrain: 2x8
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Mix Of Shimano And SRAM Drivetrain Parts For Smooth Shifting
  • Reliable Mechanical Disc Brakes
  • Aluminum Frame Cuts Weight

BEST LIGHTER WEIGHT LOW BUDGET ALTERNATIVE

If you’re looking for an inexpensive trail-ready fat bike and the Mongoose Malus seems a little too heavy, check out this alternative. The aluminum frame drops the weight considerably and the 2×8 drivetrain gives more gear options to make climbing a bit simpler. Components from high-end market leaders SRAM and Shimano round out this capable and well-reviewed package!

Framed Minnesota 2.0

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 33 lbs 9 oz
  • Drivetrain: 2x9
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Built For The Female Off-Road Rider
  • Shorter Top Tube Gives Better Control For Smaller Riders
  • 2x9 Drivetrain Gives A Wide Gear Range For Maximum Versatility

BEST BUDGET WOMEN’S FAT BIKE

Framed is known for building affordable, sensible fat bikes that combine high-quality components with practical design. This female-specific model delivers everything a fat bike rider needs for confidence on the trail without breaking the budget. A shortened top tube brings the seat and the handlebars closer together to assure control for smaller-framed riders, while a female-specific saddle and shorter handlebars round out a package that is easy for a smaller-framed woman to control. The component package includes a SRAM drivetrain and Avid brakes, bringing the quality and performance of world-class brands to a budget bicycle.

Framed Minnesota 1.2

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 35.3 lbs
  • Drivetrain: 1x10
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Rigid Fork Can Be Upgraded To A Suspension Fork For A Plusher Ride
  • Parts From Top Manufacturers: SRAM Drivetrain And Avid Brakes
  • 1x10 Drivetrain Gives A Wide Gear Range For Maximum Versatility

BEST BUDGET FAT BIKE

The Framed Minnesota is still in the budget bike range but kicks the quality up a notch, including a 1×10 drivetrain produced by SRAM, one of the world’s leading drivetrain manufacturers, that gives you the gear range needed for anything from steep climbs to level cruising. That drivetrain is complemented by a range of parts from well-known manufacturers. This well-reviewed combination delivers the best component range you’re likely to find in a budget fat bike and will be at home on any trail!

Gravity Bullseye Monster Five X

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: N/A
  • Drivetrain: 1x10
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Through Axle Suspension Fork Gives A Plush Ride And Keeps Your Wheel Straight
  • Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes For Reliable Stopping
  • Super Wide 4.9” Tires: Fatter Than Fat!
  • Wide Size Range To Fit Any Rider

BEST AFFORDABLE FRONT SUSPENSION FAT BIKE

The Bullseye Monster introduces front suspension and ultra-wide 4.9” tires to an affordable fat bike build, producing a machine that’s ready and raring to eat up rough technical trails. The combination of the 120mm of front fork travel and the inherent squish of those enormous tires smooths bumps and gets you over obstacles with ease. 

Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and the SRAM GX drivetrain round out a very affordable bike that’s ready for the rough stuff! There’s also an unusually wide range of sizes available, making this a great choice for large or small riders. The wide size range makes it impossible to quote a weight for the bike but it’s competitive with bikes of similar specifications.

Diamondback El Oso Dos

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 34.8 lbs
  • Drivetrain: 2x10
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc
Features
  • Front Through-Axle Keeps Front End Under Control
  • Shimano 2x10 Drivetrain Delivers Wide Gear Range
  • Strong Reinforced Aluminum Frame

BEST ALL AROUND FAT BIKE

Diamondback has a reputation for delivering functional, high-quality bikes at affordable price points, and the El Oso Dos is a great example of how they got that reputation. There’s no single feature that stands out: it’s just an all-around solid package that delivers the goods on the trail or on the road. If you’re after a practical, eminently rideable, and versatile fat bike at a moderate price point, this is a great choice!

Vtuvia Electric

Specs
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: N/A
  • Drivetrain: 1x10
  • Brakes: Hydraulic Disc
Features
  • Electric-Assist Fat Bike With 60-75 Mile Range Per Charge
  • Durable Samsung Lithium Battery
  • Intelligent Pedal Assist Blends Pedal And Motor Power

BEST ELECTRIC ASSIST FAT BIKE UNDER $2000

Some people feel that using an electric-assist bike is cheating. Others think they’re a natural extension of technology and a useful addition to the bike lineup, especially for bike commuters or riders who face extended climbs that they aren’t quite ready to take on! 

If you’re in the latter category, this contender comes with an “intelligent pedal assist” system that reads your pedaling power and feeds power to the system proportionally to achieve your desired speed. If you want to do it the old fashioned way, the 1×10 Shimano drivetrain is more than able and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes will stop you however you’re powered. The brushless motor gets 60-75 miles on a single 5-6 hour charge and there’s a 2-year warranty on the frame and motor.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A FAT BIKE

As with any mountain bike, it’s best to start your search for a fat bike with a realistic assessment of your needs. Will you be riding on snow and sand, on smooth cross country trails, on rough technical trails, on roads, or a blend of all of them? How much climbing do you expect to do? Once you’ve homed in on your riding style you’ll be ready to select the bike that best suits that style. There are plenty of good quality fat bikes available at quite reasonable prices and you’re sure to find something that will fit your requirements from the list above!

Buying a fat bike is a lot like buying any other mountain bike. There are lots of models available, at prices ranging from quite low to very high. Which one is right for you? Sorting that out requires a realistic look at what you want to do with your bike and what kind of bike and components you really need. Read on to learn about everything you should consider when buying your first (or fifth) fat bike and then get to riding!

KNOW WHERE YOU’LL RIDE

Most of us do most of our riding near where we live. That means that the type of riding we’ll do depends largely on the trails and riding areas that are accessible. If you’re relatively new to riding you’ll want to take a look at the local trails and talk to some local riders to get an idea of what bikes fit best.

 

KNOW YOUR RIDING STYLE

Fat bikes were originally designed for riding on very loose surfaces like sand and snow. If you plan on that sort of riding you’ll want the widest possible tires, leaning closer to the 5” range. Many fat bike riders now use their bikes as conventional mountain bikes, riding the same trails that anyone else would.

If you plan to ride steep or rough trails you’ll be looking for bikes with sturdy components from reputable manufacturers, and possibly for bikes with front suspension. Those may be less important if you’ll be riding your bike mainly around town and trying out a few trails on the side. If you do a lot of climbing, you’ll want to look for wide gear ratios and quality drivetrains that can stand up to pressure.

 

DECIDE WHAT YOU NEED

Cycling is a gear-intensive sport and it’s easy to get carried away with fancy components and the various options that manufacturers promote. High-end parts are lots of fun but they can get very expensive very quickly, and most riders, especially beginners and novice riders, don’t really need them. The mid-level and even entry-level lines from major manufacturers are well made and serviceable and will do everything you need. Don’t worry if you can’t afford or don’t want to spend on the latest and greatest. Ride what you’ve got, don’t get carried away by comparing bikes, and focus on building up your strength, endurance, and skills. Those stay with you no matter what you ride!

 

LEARN MORE

REI has a good general guide to choosing a mountain bike, or try this guide to how to choose your fat bike, or this review of everything you need to know about fat bikes.

 

 

SPECS AND FEATURES EXPLAINED

FRAME MATERIALS

Fat bike frames are made from steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber.

Steel frames are strong, inexpensive, and relatively heavy.

Aluminum is a highly adaptable material and is used in bikes of many different price points. It is lighter than steel and delivers plenty of strength if properly formed and welded. Hydroformed aluminum tubes can be curved and tapered to reduce weight without cutting strength. Extra butting on frame joints increases strength.

Carbon fiber frames are light and strong and typically used on more expensive bikes.

DRIVETRAIN

A bicycle’s drivetrain delivers power from the pedals to the rear wheel, and allows you to shift gears so you can pedal on anything from steep hills to level ground.

Drivetrains are classified by the number of chainrings in the front and rear. A bike with one ring in front and ten in back has a 1×10 drivetrain. Shifting the chain from one ring to another gives you different gear combinations for different purposes.

SRAM and Shimano dominate the drivetrain market and their components, especially in the middle to higher end models, are a significant selling point for bike makers.

Bicycle drivetrains involve many different components and can take some time to understand. REI has a guide on how to use bike gears that gives a good summary of how drivetrains work and how to use them effectively.

BRAKES

Almost all modern bicycles use disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are inexpensive, reliable, and effective. Hydraulic disc brakes are more expensive but give greater control and sensitivity and place less stress on the hands. Again, Shimano and SRAM are the preferred brands, with Avid brakes,now a subsidiary of SRAM, holding a good reputation in the mechanical disc brake market.

WEIGHT

Fat bikes tend to be heavier than conventional mountain bikes, mainly because tires and inner tubes are a large part of overall bike weight and fat bikes use big tires. Some fat bike inner tubes can weigh in at a pound each! Consider weight before you buy, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of climbing or if you need to carry your bike up stairs or rack it on a vehicle.

FORKS

The fork is the part of the bike that holds the front wheel and connects it to the frame. Fat bikes rely on huge squishy tires to absorb impact and many of them use rigid forks rather than the suspension forks that are typically used on conventional mountain bikes. Some fat bikes that are oriented toward rough terrain do use suspension forks, usually wide-clearance forks made specifically for fat bikes, like the RockShox Bluto or the Manitou Mastodon.

TIRES

Fat bikes are all about those giant tires, but not all fat bike tires are the same. Some bikes come with tires in the 4” range and some have only enough frame and fork clearance to accommodate tires of that size. Others, especially those intended for use on snow, sand, or rough trails, use 4.5” or even 5” tires. If you think you might want to use larger tires than the original spec on the bike you’re considering, make sure the clearance is wide enough to accommodate them.

Premium tire brands like Maxxis and Kenda are often preferred, especially by riders who expect to be riding on rough trails where grip is a priority.

SEATPOSTS

Most riders prefer to keep their seats high for maximum pedaling power on climbs or flat ground and to lower it and stand up on the pedals for control on descents. Conventional rigid seatposts have to be manually adjusted, which means stopping and getting off the bike to change your seat height. Dropper posts adjust automatically using handlebar-mounted controls. If your trails involve a lot of transitions between up and down, a dropper seatpost can be a big advantage.

CABLE AND HOSE ROUTING

Brakes, derailleurs, and dropper seatposts are linked to their controls by cables or hydraulic hoses. These are usually bundled and tied to the frame by cable ties. Some frames use internal routing to keep them inside the frame tubes, which gives a cleaner appearance and reduces snags but can make controls harder to reach for maintenance.

THROUGH AXLES

Both front and rear wheels are traditionally mounted to the frame and fork by quick-release skewers. Bikes designed for rough terrain often replace the skewer with a thicker, stronger through axle, which takes a bit longer to remove but keeps the bike more rigid and controllable.

READ MORE

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About The Author

Steve Rogers operates an adventure travel business in the mountains of the northern Philippines, where he organizes and guides mountain biking, canyoneering, trekking, and white water rafting and kayaking trips. He has guided sea kayak trips among the islands of northern Palawan and sailed small catamarans up and down the coast of western Luzon. He owns an outdoor shop, accumulates excessive quantities of gear, and occasionally throws shields around. He is the primary author of Action Asia’s Adventure Travel Guide to the Philippines and has written extensively on a wide variety of topics.

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