Why Are Fat Bikes So Expensive?


With fat bikes becoming so popular, one thing that has held back some from buying their own is the cost. Like any kind of bicycle, fat bikes can vary quite a bit in price. Many wonder why are fat bike so expensive?

It all depends on what type of specifications a person is looking for. It’s not only a form of entertainment but legitimate transportation as well.

What Makes Fat Bikes Pricey?

As is the case with any type of bike, the better the components are, the more expensive the bike will be. It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars if a person is trying to invest in the right set up for a fat bike.

What makes fat bikes, in particular, pricey? Some of it can also be applied to other types of bikes but, here are a few reasons why a good fat bike is going to cost a decent chunk of change.

Applicable To Any Type of Bike

Quality Costs Money

Anyone who has shopped for a bike at some point in their life understands that there are cheap options, and they’re expensive models to consider. Depending on how often a person is going to ride, their level of expertise and more, most people try to find something that fits into their price range.

An entry-level fat bike can be found for a couple of hundred dollars. It’s usually meant for casual use, or those just starting with riding this type of bike. Casual users also won’t need anything too durable, so that is where a cheaper option might come into play.

Once a person starts to get closer to $1000, they are buying a nice, mid-tier fat bike option. The components may be a little better, it might ride a little smoother, and it could depend on less overall maintenance throughout its life.

Still, it’s going to be somewhat limited if a person wants to truly see all the benefits of a fat bike. Most notably, bikes in this range will still be a bit on the heavy side, and they might not be capable of going everywhere off-road.

Anything over $1000 starts to get in the high-end price range. This is a very spread out price range, as a person can spend closer to $10,000 if they want the best of the best. For example, a fully carbon fiber fat bike frame is going to be very costly, but it’s also going to be extremely lightweight, durable and comfortable.

Weight Matters

Bikes are different than most other types of transportation. The focus is always on trying to reduce the weight of the bike, since every additional pound is one more that the person riding needs to account for. To make the lightest bikes possible, lightweight components are just part of the story. It also needs to be assembled with high precision, aerodynamic and more.

Most people overlook just how much difference a pound or two of weight can make. It might not seem like that much lifting the bike one time, but when riding for hours, it’s a huge difference-maker.

Includes “free” Maintenance

One of the great things about a lot of higher quality bikes from trusted brands is they come with free maintenance and/or replacement parts, at least for a certain amount of time. The standard seems to be one year, but some will offer replacement parts for much longer if something goes wrong.

Yes, it’s technically not “free” since a person is paying as part of the overall cost, but keep that in mind when spending a little more for a trusted brand.

Purchasing a cheap bike option might seem great at first, but upgrades, repairs and more make the bike priced at roughly the same as a more expensive, higher quality option.

Save the time and effort and just go with a bike that is ready to go in that case, unless you know a lot about upgrading bikes and doing repairs at home.

Applicable To Fat Bikes Only

Tires and Rims

The most noticeable feature of a fat bike is, of course, those huge tires. They are as strong and durable as a person can find for a bicycle, and that comes at a price. Compared to other bikes out there, tires and rims cost more on a fat bike.

Sometimes, high-end fat bike tires can cost more than tires for a car! Not only does more material need to be used, but it usually needs to be stronger, more durable and capable of taking anything on.

When fat bikes first started to take off in popularity, the tires and rims were both pretty heavy. It limited the growth initially, but they found ways to lower the weight significantly. That makes it a much easier ride for owners.

Unfortunately, only a few companies are putting in the time and effort to develop and evolve the tires. With limited competition, it’s easier for these companies to keep their prices somewhat high.

Spending a little extra for the top of the line tires and rims is not an issue for a lot of people, especially those who understand that dependable wheels make a huge difference.

Growing in Popularity

wheel fat bike in the store in the shop window

About a decade ago, there were very few people riding fat bikes. It was considered to be a niche type of bike, and eventually, people realize all the benefits they provide. This led to a boom in popularity, and some say the industry is still trying to catch up. With demand at an all-time high and supply not always the best, that leads to a premium price.

There was also just a few companies who went all-in with fat bikes early on. Manufacturers have been playing catch up since. Prices are noticeably dipping in the last few years with more competition, but there are still not as many fat bike options as other types of bikes out there.

It comes down to this: fat bikes are trendy right now. The options are growing, but it’s still harder to find a quality fat bike compared to the plethora of road, mountain, and dirt bikes out there. Until supply meets demand, there will be a slight premium.

How To Find A Great Price on a Fat Bike

Finding a great value on a fat bike might seem like hard work with so many factors working against a shopper listed above, but the internet simplifies the process quite a bit.

First, do enough research to know what is and what isn’t important to you individually. If you are currently carrying a decent amount of extra weight, getting the absolute lightest bike on the market is not really necessary. The same goes for a person who is only going to be casually riding. Shaving a few seconds off a ride usually isn’t worth the hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars.

Second, research as many brands as possible. Sometimes, the best deals come from up-and-coming brands trying to build a name for themselves.

Fat bike riding is still very niche, so don’t be close-minded to just a brand or two. The more options, the more chances of finding a great deal.

Finally, try to test ride a bike if at all possible before making a purchase. That isn’t always possible with every bike available online, but a local bike shop will at least have some similar options to test. This will allow a person to test size, weight, frame shape and more to see if it fits them.

A good fat bike, like any bicycle, will cost money. There are now enough options out there for people to find great value if they look hard enough. Know what you want, and it simplifies the shopping experience quite a bit.

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