Here I am on the White River State Trail in Wisconsin and as you can see, its packed with snow. There is no way my mountain bike is going to get down this trail. The solution? Get myself a Fat Bike!
I only learned about Fat Bikes a couple years ago when I joined my local bike group. These bikes have very wide, “fat” wheels that can trek through snow, sand and big obstacles. Think winter tires for your car. The only thing is, you cannot just switch out the wheels on your regular framed mountain bike, you need a whole new bike. Hello, wallet.
Recommended Entry Level Fat Bikes
After researching several articles, the main entry level bikes and brands to consider are:
Mongoose Argus or Malus
An entry level brand with good reviews from several sources is the Mongoose Argus or Malus. This has a price range in the mid-high $400’s and there are several different models. I always look for the height range recommended for the rider and this one is a bit unclear since in the heading it states 5′-5’5″ and in the description it states 5-5″-6′. I have a question into customer service but until then riders under 5’5″ will need to look longer for bikes with smaller frames.
Specialized Fat Boy
My friend and avid mountain bike rider, Mark, has a Specialized Fat Boy. He’s been riding for over 30 years and is my go to with any hardcore mountain biking questions. This is just one of a garage full of bikes in his arsenal but he swears by it in the winter. The current price point is $1875 and its in stock in every size.
After looking at several write ups on fat bikes for female riders, the femmecyclist had done a nice job reviewing and providing a nice chart for comparison of various bikes made for women to consider. The Framed Minnesota is the choice for an entry level budget. The price is now $1049.49; $250 more than when the below comparison graph was published in November of 2021. A reasonable jump considering the demand and the supply chain issues as a result of the pandemic.
This bike is in the mid-range price point and has several builds so you can get a smaller frame if you’re shorter (like me at 5’3’). The review for the Farley 5 is on several bike blogs and retails for $1999. The Farley 7 is now in archived and no longer for sale after the Fat Bike review on Bycling.com’s February 7, 2021 article posted. And if you’re wondering if the bike is named after actor comedian Chris Farley, his family sure thought so, and filed a lawsuit in 2018.
So if you’re tempted to go out on a crisp, sunny blue skyed winter day, have no fear and get your butt in gear on a fat bike.
It is definitely going into my budget for next year!