With 2020 coming to an end, many manufacturers are hyping up their 2021 fat bikes models already. There are going to be some really nice options available from the main competitors, and new innovations are always coming onto the scene as well.
When looking at all the differences offered out there, which ones are the best of the best? Not all the details are available for every single model just yet, but these are fascinating options to look forward to trying out on different trails.
Salsa has decided to update their all-conditions fat bike considerably in 2021. The Salsa Mukluk is going to feature plenty of changes, with one stand out feature being the new Alternator 2.0.
These dropouts will allow riders to get the chainstay like they want, extending it from 432 mm to 439 mm. This also will allow them to adjust traction and handling no matter what type of surface they are on.
Another change is the fact that there will be internal cable routing to clean everything up well. Even though the bikes do not ship with the front derailleur, a person can use either a 1-by or 2-by drivetrain.
Finally, Salsa has made it a little more flexible with wheels. The build itself comes with 26-inch tires, but there are ways to put on 27.5-inch or even 29-inch wheels if a person wants to. Having this flexibility helps out in customizing and getting exactly what a person wants out of it.
Starting at around $1500, this is a fairly affordable option that people are going to enjoy. They have some carbon versions as well, so no matter what type of skill level a person is at with fat bike riding, they can find what they want.
- Ability to extend the chainstay line.
- Better internal cable routing.
- More flexibility with wheels.
- The carbon option gets a little expensive.
- Some believe that they could do more with the wheels.
2021 Trek Farley 9.6
The Farley line of Trek bikes continues to be one of the most popular options out there (My personal favorite on this list) for anyone getting into fat biking. They are pretty affordable, work on just about any type of service, and look great as well.
The 2021 model seems to be heading in the right direction once again, as they have made some slight upgrades to make it the best one yet.
In particular, the Farley 9.6 looks to be one of the best. It is a rigid fat bike that has high-end components, along with some amazing hydraulic disc brakes.
It weighs in at just under 30 pounds and feels lighter when tuned to a person’s body and benefiting from perfect tire pressure.
This is one of the best performing fat bikes out there and meant for speeding more than anything else. It can allow people to put up better numbers as far as performance is concerned.
Not everyone is looking to opt for comfort, as there is a bit of a sacrifice going with this geometry. People can still ride for a long time, but it is more for speed and proper handling. It’s still one of the best bikes out there, and worthy of an investment.
- Very fast fat bike.
- Top Farley option.
- Premium components.
- Not extremely comfortable.
- Repairs can be costly.
2021 Trek Farley 5
Not everyone has a ton of money to spend on a fat bike, which is why the Trek Farley 5 is always a popular choice for those who want something nice without having to break the bank.
There is no doubt that this is one of the better budget options out there, even if a person has to make a few sacrifices here and there to get the price down to that price point.
The first sacrifice is that a person is only going to have mid-range components on this bike right away. There is a chance to upgrade it if the person wants to focus on one particular aspect of the bike, but the stock version is not going to be the absolute best.
What exactly does that mean? The Trek Farley 5 weighs a little bit heavier when riding, and it might struggle a little bit more with challenging inclines.
A person will not notice a huge difference, but it is enough if moving down from a more expensive option. Those who do not know any better will not really feel any difference whatsoever.
To make up for the subpar components, these do come equipped with very nice tires. The Bontrager Gnarwhal team issue tires are thick and grippy, allowing people to carve through just about any terrain with these. It is definitely one of the standout features with this model.
- Affordable fat bike option from Trek.
- Excellent tires for the price.
- Easy for all types of riders.
- Subpar components.
- Fairly heavy.
Salsa Beargrease Carbon X01 Eagle
Some people have plenty of money to spend on a fat bike, and they want to get something that will perform at a fantastic level. If that is the case, the Salsa Beargrease Carbon X01 Eagle might be the way to go.
It has everything that a person can imagine, although it comes in at a pretty hefty price. The 27.5-inch carbon frame has every high-end component a person could ask for, as well as hydraulic disc brakes.
A person will know that they see one of these ride by as well, as they have some pretty amazing color choices that make them stand out.
The drawback here is that not everyone is going to benefit from all of these additions, as the price tag is going to scare some people away.
It is around $6000, which is going to be out of the price range for a lot of people. There are some more budget-friendly often from Salsa, including the one other one listed in this article, but some people are really looking for the best of the best.
This is a bike that will last a very long time if it is appropriately maintained throughout his life.
- Excellent all-around bike.
- High-end components.
- Very lightweight.
- Color and design might be too loud for some.
2021 Rocky Mountain Blizzard 50
The Rocky Mountain Blizzard line (Source) is one of the more popular fat bike options out there. As one can guess from the name, it does exceptionally well in adverse weather conditions.
This model particularly is a very rigid fat bike that has a carbon fork and other components that help with the ride. A person will feel very comfortable on this bike at all times, and they never feel like they are overwhelmed with handling.
The Shimano groupset and cassette is certainly a nice touch, and the other components make this one of the highest quality fat bikes right off the rack.
However, something that a lot of people will notice is that these come with excellent tires instead of having to go in the secondary market and look for something different.
The cake eater fast-rolling tubeless tires are large, grippy, and ready to roll for miles and miles. They are ready for just about any type of train, and they will last a long time since they are tubeless.
A lot of people will upgrade their tires on existing fat bikes to something similar to this, so it is nice to have it built-in.
Rocky Mountain also offers the 30, which is a few hundred dollars less. There is a little bit of lower quality with the components, but people who want to save a little bit of money can go in that direction if they wish. There are also some unique colors for those people interested in a particular cosmetic.
- High-quality components.
- Built to handle really tough weather conditions.
- Outstanding to his tires.
- Not incredibly different from the cheaper Rocky Mountain Blizzard 30.
- Sizing might be a little off for some individuals.
2021 Kona Woo
If a person is not that familiar with fat bikes, they might not know too much about this brand (source). It has really turned out to be one of the more popular options out there right now, with the 2021 option looking like its best yet.
The 26-inch aluminum frame will create a very rigid fat bike that has quality components. The most notable high-end component is the carbon triple mount fork, but it also has an excellent group set, crank, and cassette.
Priced at just around $2000, it is certainly one that is in the mid-range as far as price is concerned. This makes it an option many end up loving.
If there is a negative, it is a bit puzzling that there is no amount available for any type of rear rack or other storage. This can be problematic for ones who want to go on very long rides with the bike, because it is pretty hard to pack everything on the frame.
It does lighten everything a little bit, but some people do not like the trade-off. Kona always does a little something different with their color and style when upgrading to a new bike, so that is something to keep in mind as well.
All in all, it is a fat bike worth investing in if a person wants to try something different. They seem to be upgrading all the time, and this bike stands up against any other option out there right now.
- Lightweight aluminum frame.
- High-quality components.
- Affordably priced.
- No rear rack.
- Tires are subpar.
2021 Cannondale CAAD 1
Cannondale might not be as well known in the fat bike community as other companies, but anyone who knows anything about bikes has seen them around. (source)
They offer a pretty affordable and lightweight aluminum frame option that offers a great amount of value for those not wanting to break the bank.
Fat bike riding and get expensive in a hurry, but those who do not take it particularly seriously might just need something a little more casual.
That is not to say that the 2021 version of this bike is going to be a piece of junk by any means. In fact, it is something that outperforms its price tag, providing riders with Shimano parts and durable components that just make a lot of sense.
Give this fat bike option a try in-store if possible, as they seem to be very set on the 2021 model being outstanding overall. Cannondale seems to be more and more of a player in the fat bike industry, especially if this one ends up being a hit.
- Affordably priced.
- Offers plenty of customization options.
- Some components need instantly replacing.
- The company is still finding its footing.
What to expect as a fat bike shopper in 2021?
The current pandemic messed up a lot of different industries, and the fat bike industry suffered just like everyone else. While sales have stayed pretty solid as people look for alternatives to get in shape and stay healthy, factories were forced to shut down, and teams lost valuable time in development.
It is safe to assume that the normal advancements might not happen this upcoming year as far as new models are concerned. This does not mean that there is no reason to invest in a new bike, but major jumps might need to wait for a year or two.
It is tough figuring out exactly what will happen as far as trends are concerned, but this type of bike riding is only going to continue growing.
People might be a little more economical with what buying decisions they make overall, but there will still be an interest in getting the best bikes out there if possible.
What To Look For When Shopping For a Fat Bike in 2021?
Like the last few years, there are a few things to know about that base before making a purchase. It is a pretty big investment when buying brand new, so no one should be jumping in and taking the first one without some comparison shopping.
A lot of fat bike options these days have the opportunity to use different tire sizes depending on what type of style a person is into.
This comes in handy for those who might not be sure right away, but it makes sense to try to buy something that fits a particular type of writing.
There are a lot of people who want the most comfortable ride possible, and that means going with a pretty wide tire overall. What a person sacrifice is speed, but not everyone is trying to set records when they are out on a ride.
It is more about staying safe and enjoying things, and if that is the case, go as fat as possible.
Just about every fat bike these days is a rigid fat bike, But there is a reason for that. A traditional mountain bike might have front shocks, but it weighs down an already pretty heavy fat bike down if they are included.
Most people do not really need it, especially if they inflate the tires correctly.
A fatter tire is going to absorb a lot of the shock, so people are going to feel that same type of pain when they are writing.
It might seem tough for people to buy a bike without any type of suspension. But many people who have been riding for a long time gave it up years ago. It is really not that big of a deal at the end of the day.