Best fat bikes of 2015

Despite being a relatively young cycling niche, fat bikes have already sprouted several evolutionary branches. We tested six of the best fat bikes on the market from across these burgeoning sub-categories to bring you the best fat bikes of 2015. But before we jump into the details, here’s a rundown of the current state of the fat bike market to help you find right type of fat bike for you.

The surly ice cream truck isn't light, but it can tackle any terrain:

 

First and foremost, fat bikes are all about delivering superior traction and floatation over unpacked surfaces but there is a lot of variation in how riders are using them.

There are expedition-worthy fat bikes, such as the Surly Ice Cream Truck, with voluminous 5in tyres and a huge assortment of braze-ons for racks, mudguards and cargo carriers.

For more the slightly less adventurous, there are fat bikes designed for daily use on singletrack – snowy or dry – and shorter bikepacking trips closer to home, such as the Felt Double Double, Trek Farley and Specialized Fatboy.

If racing is your thing, there are also a number of lightweight carbon models, such as the Borealis Echo, that make it clear that fat doesn’t always mean heavy.

Last but not least, there are a handful of full suspension fat bikes, such as the Turner King Khan, which can go pretty much anywhere.

Despite its funny name, the Ice Cream Truck is a serious go-anywhere, do-anything fat bike worthy of weekend or weeklong adventures. The 4130 chromoly steel frameset isn’t light, but it’s well designed, with front and rear thru-axles and a steel fork that can easily be swapped for a RockShox Bluto suspension fork.

The Ice Cream Truck comes with a solid component spec, including Surly’s own 26×4.8in Bud and Lou tyres, which are exceptionally capable of chomping through unpacked snow and make short work of rocky trails, too.
Despite being a relatively young cycling niche, fat bikes have already sprouted several evolutionary branches. We tested six of the best fat bikes on the market from across these burgeoning sub-categories to bring you the best fat bikes of 2015. But before we jump into the details, here’s a rundown of the current state of the fat bike market to help you find right type of fat bike for you.

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First and foremost, fat bikes are all about delivering superior traction and floatation over unpacked surfaces but there is a lot of variation in how riders are using them.

There are expedition-worthy fat bikes, such as the Surly Ice Cream Truck, with voluminous 5in tyres and a huge assortment of braze-ons for racks, mudguards and cargo carriers.

For more the slightly less adventurous, there are fat bikes designed for daily use on singletrack – snowy or dry – and shorter bikepacking trips closer to home, such as the Felt Double Double, Trek Farley and Specialized Fatboy.

If racing is your thing, there are also a number of lightweight carbon models, such as the Borealis Echo, that make it clear that fat doesn’t always mean heavy.

Last but not least, there are a handful of full suspension fat bikes, such as the Turner King Khan, which can go pretty much anywhere.

Surly Ice Cream Truck – £2,400 / AU$3,850

BikeRadar score
4.5/5
The surly ice cream truck isn’t light, but it can tackle any terrain:
Despite its funny name, the Ice Cream Truck is a serious go-anywhere, do-anything fat bike worthy of weekend or weeklong adventures. The 4130 chromoly steel frameset isn’t light, but it’s well designed, with front and rear thru-axles and a steel fork that can easily be swapped for a RockShox Bluto suspension fork.

The Ice Cream Truck comes with a solid component spec, including Surly’s own 26×4.8in Bud and Lou tyres, which are exceptionally capable of chomping through unpacked snow and make short work of rocky trails, too.

Read the full Surly Ice Cream Truckfull review here.

Turner King Khan fat bike frame – £2,995 / AU$3,454
Fat bikes do have lots of built-in squish on account of the giant tyres but that motion is undamped and essentially impossible to tune. Add front and rear suspension to the equation and you have a go-anywhere, do-anything trail conqueror.

If your fat biking is restricted to winter riding, the King Khan is probably overkill. The rear suspension is nice but comes with hefty weight penalty over a similarly priced (and lighter) carbon hardtail.

That said, we had by far the most fun on the King Khan of any fat bikes we’ve ridden, and that may be all that matters.

[“source-bikeradar”]