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Are Cheap Fat Bikes Any Good?

Fat bike in the field

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The first thing to know when looking for a fat bike is that there are different types of fat bikes, and they vary in price.

Cheap fat bikes are not as durable as more expensive ones, but they still have some benefits. For example, cheap fat bikes are lighter than other models and can be easier to maneuver due to their smaller size. What a person may consider good depends on the definition, but I will, for the sake of this article, consider a bike good if it works as intended and is reliable.

How Much Is A Cheap Fat Bike?

A fat bike is a type of mountain bike that has large, low-pressure tires. The term “fat” is in reference to the width of the tires and rims.

It can be a challenge to determine how much a cheap fat bike will cost. This is because there are so many different types of fat bikes that have different features and prices.

While you can get bikes with fat tires at big box stores, those tend to have a lot of corners cut to get the prices way down and when you are out on the trail you may find that parts can’t hold up much more than mild riding. Part of the fun of fat tire bikes is that they can run over virtually everything, and ideally you don’t want your ride spoiled by broken suspension pieces.

So in this article I am consider budget anything under $1000. I have lists here on the site of fat bikes under $1000 and fat bikes under $500 so there are a lot of choices here and these bikes are made by top brands and these things will handle your riding and then some. In fact, brands like Mongoose and 1UP have good warranties so you know you’re getting a real quality bike.

What Are Reasons For Getting A Cheap Fat Bike?

A cheap fat bike is a great investment for those who are looking to get into the sport, but don’t want to spend a lot of money.

The benefits of getting a cheaper fat bike are:

  • You can get into the sport without breaking your bank.
  • You can try out different types of bikes before deciding on which one is best for you.
  • You don’t need to worry about upgrading your bike right away.

If you are a beginner, I would definitely look for a cheap fat bike. By cheap, I’m saying under $1000 (or even under $500 if you can). There are bikes made by Mongoose and other well-known manufacturers that fall into this range and I feel confident recommending them.

Performance-wise, Are They Any Different Than More Expensive Ones?

One of the most common questions that people have about cheap fat bikes is whether or not they perform as well as more expensive ones. The answer is sort of. How’s that? The reality is that cheaper bikes weigh a little more, the suspensions are a little less capable, things of that nature.

What it means is that they are not going to perform at the same level as the more expensive ones, but it really only makes a difference if you are biking and riding at that upper level. If you’re just out riding and learning things, the cheap fat bikes are going to be plenty for what you need. You’ll know when you need to upgrade.

So generally I’d say keep it under $1000 for now, and when you need a bike capable of more, you won’t be reading articles like this one. There are lots of reasons to get out and riding a fat tire bike and you really appreciate it once you do it.

Do I Really Need To Spend Big Bucks To Get A Fat Bike?

The conclusion of this article is that it’s up to you to decide what you want. If you’re someone who just wants a bike to go on a leisurely ride, then a cheaper bike will do. But if you’re someone who wants to use the bike for commuting and have other purposes in mind, then an expensive one might be more suitable to match your needs.

It all really depends on what you need in a fat tire bike and how much you are willing to spend on it. In fact, I’d say do this first before you go looking so it makes it easier to get down to your perfect fat bike.

About the Author

Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed