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9 Best Kids Fat Bikes (Plus Mid-Fat and Plus-Sized Kids Bikes)

timberjack plus-sized kids bikes

For those of us in snowy climates, fat biking extends the mountain biking season to year-round.  It provides good exercise, allows you to explore favorite trails in winter, and is a heck of a lot of fun.  And now, more and more bike manufacturers are making fat bikes for kids as well.

My 4-year-old is sad that there isn’t a fat bike small enough for him, but there are plenty of options in the 20″ and 24″ fat bikes (ages 6+).  (If you’re not sure what that sizing means, keep reading).

This is a list of my five favorite kids fat bikes, as well as some runners-up.  The honorable mentions include several mid-fat and plus-sized kids bikes that work well on snow and sand as well.

But First, What Is A Fat Bike?

Fat bikes are mountain bikes with wide-rimmed wheels and “fat” approximately 4-inch tires.  Because the tires are so wide, they can be run with very low air pressure.  As a result, they can be ridden on snow or sand. 

They can also be ridden like a regular mountain bike on singletrack. Because many kids bikes don’t have suspension, the fat tires can also be nice because they provide a little extra cushioning.

What About Mid-Fat And Plus-Sized Kids Bikes?

While a true “fat bike” has 4″ tires, kids can easily get away with running mid-fat (3″) tires or even plus-sized (2.6″+) tires on snow. Their bikes are smaller and they simply don’t weigh enough to require true fat tires to roll over snow and sand.

Unless you are riding in some deep serious snow (which isn’t something kids generally like to do anyway), you can probably get away with one of the mid-sized or plus-sized bikes listed below.

The bonus to a plus-sized bike is that you can ride it on dirt or trail as well as on snow/sand. (You probably wouldn’t want to do that with a true fat-tire bike). The one caveat to that is that plus-sized bikes are heavier. If you are a serious mountain bike family doing long rides, you might want to choose a fat bike for winter and a regular mountain bike for summer riding.


Best Kids Fat Bikes – 4″ Tires

These bikes are true fat bikes with 4 inch wide tires. They are great for families doing serious riding in the snow.

BikeSizePrice
1Specialized Kids Fatboy20″ / 24″$770 / $800
2Diamondback El Oso Nino20″$550
39:Zero:7 NX Squall24″$1,799
4Mongoose Argus Trail 2424″Price not available *
(Last updated: 2020-11-23 at 06:22 – <a href=”https://rascalrides.com/amazon-pricing-availability-disclaimer/”>More Info</a>)</span> </p>

Specialized Kids Fatboy

Specialized Fatboy 20

The Specialized Fatboy comes in both a 20” and 24” version.  This top-of-the-line bike features Tektro brakes, 90mm Specialized-branded rims, and appropriately sized lock-on grips.  It’s also the lightest bike on our Top 5 list.

Price: $770 / $800


Diamondback El Oso Nino

The Diamondback El Oso Nino is a mini version of the El Oso Grande, so parent and kiddo can be twins.  The Nino is a pretty snazzy 20 inch fat bike at a decent pricepoint.  The bike is decked out with mechanical disk brakes and Shimano drivetrain.

Price: $550


9:Zero:7 NX Squall

907 squall kids fat bike

The 9:Zero:7 NX Squall ain’t cheap but it is fantastic.  If your family takes winter fat-biking seriously, this is the bike you want.  To help offset the investment, the bike will also accept smaller tires for summertime riding.  The bike comes with a carbon fork, Avid disc brakes, and SRAM NX 11 speed drivetrain.

Price (MSRP): $1,699


Mongoose Argus Trail 24

Generally, we steer people away from Mongoose kids bikes, but the Mongoose Argus Trail 24 is actually pretty decent–especially if your just looking for a bike to tool around in the snow now and again. It has an 8-speed Shimano drivetrain, mechanical disc brakes, and nice wide 4″ tires. That, and the price can’t be beat.

Price: $509.99 (Last updated: 2020-11-17 at 08:49 – More Info)


Best Mid-Fat + Plus Sized Bikes

Because kids don’t weigh very much, mid-fat (2.8″-3″) tires can work just as well in the snow, and may weigh a little less than a true fat bike. Plus-sized tires (2.6″+) can also work pretty well, but will be best suited to hard-packed groomers.

BikeWheel SizePrice
1Salsa Timberjack20″/24″$449/$509
2Cannondale Cujo Plus20″/24″$450 / $525
3Trek Roscoe 2424″$530
4Vitus 20+/24+20″/24″$399 / $449
5Co-Op Cycles REV 20 Plus20″$339

Salsa Timberjack

Salsa Timberjack 20 Kids Bike

The Salsa Timberjack comes in two versions–the Timberjack 20 and Timberjack 24. It has plus-sized tires (3″) that are fat-enough for use both on dirt and hard-pack snow.  The bike is marketed as an “adventure” bike and has mounts for gear (should your family want to do some bikepacking or touring).

Tire Size: 3″

MSRP: $449/$509


Cannondale Cujo Plus

cannondale cujo kids plus bike

The Cannondale Cujo Plus comes in both a 20 and 24 inch version.  It’s surprisingly light for a plus bike and has a lifetime warranty.  Score.  The components are top-notch including Tektro brakes and a Shimano 7-speed drivetrain.

Tire Size: 2.6″

MSRP: $450 / $525


Trek Roscoe 24

trek roscoe 24 inch kids mountain bike

The Trek Roscoe is a mid-fat (2.8″ tire) mountain bike for kids. We like the low standover height, simple 1×8 Shimano drivetrain, and flush-mount rear brake caliper. It can double as both a trail bike in the summer and a snow bike in the winter.

Tire Size: 2.8″

MSRP: $530


Vitus 20+/24+

vitus 20 plus kids bike

Both the Vitus 20+ and the Vitus 24+ are awesome plus-size tire options out of the UK. These bikes provide superior value for the price. Components include Tektro hydraulic disc brakes and 2.6″ Kenda tires.

Tire Size: 2.6″

MSRP: $399 / $449


Co-Op Cycles REV 20 Plus

If you’re an REI member with a dividend burning a hole in your pocket, the Co-Op Cycles REV 20 Plus might be a super attractive option. They’ve kept the price low with “off brand” componenets, but overall it’s a decent little bike for rolling around in the snow.

Tire Size: 2.6″

Price: $339


How to Choose a Fat Bike for Your Child

Weight

Because of the wide wheels and big tires, kids fat bikes usually have a weight problem-ha!  The weights of many of the bikes on this list are comparable with an adult-sized fat bike, but the riders are usually much, much smaller and lighter. 

This causes a definite body weight to bike weight ratio issue.  For this reason, I would recommend choosing a bike based on weight first and components/price second.

Brakes

Assuming you are buying a fat bike for use in snow rather than sand, disc brakes are definitely the way to go.   Riding in snow makes for wet riding, and brake pads quickly get saturated. 

Of course, there are different levels of quality when it comes to disc brakes.  Many of the bikes on this list have either Tektro or Avid brakes–both solid choices.

Size

While it’s always best to measure your child AND compare to the manufacturer’s guidelines before buying a bike (read this article for tips on doing so), here are some very general guidelines for choosing the right sized bike.

Wheel sizeAgeHeightInseam
20”6-94’0”-4’5”22-25”55-63 cm
24”8-114’5”-4’9”24-28”60-72 cm

Components and Price

Generally speaking, the more you pay for a kids fat bike, the higher quality the components will be.  Better quality components make for a more enjoyable ride, lighter bike weight, and longer life of the bike.  I always urge parents to spend as much as they comfortably can.


Comparison Chart: 20 Inch and 24 Inch Fat Tire Bikes

Looking for specs on all these bikes?  Here’s a quick look at wheel size, weight, frame material, and brakes.

BikeWheel SizeWeight (lbs)Tire WidthFrame
Specialized Kids Fatboy 2020″284.0"Aluminum
Salsa Timberjack 2020″253.0"Aluminum
Diamondback El Oso Nino20″354.0"Steel
Specialized Kids Fatboy 2424″294.0"Aluminum
Salsa Timberjack 2424″253.0"Aluminum
9:Zero:7 NX Squall24"4.0"Aluminum
Cannondale Cujo Plus 2020"21.72.6"Aluminum
Cannondale Cujo Plus 2424"24.42.6"Aluminum
Vitus 20 Plus20"21.82.6"Aluminum
Vitus 24 Plus24"2.6"Aluminum
Trek Roscoe24"25.752.8"Aluminum
Mongoose Argus Trail 2424"4"Aluminum
Co-Op Cycles REV 20 Plus20"242.6"Aluminum

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15 thoughts on “9 Best Kids Fat Bikes (Plus Mid-Fat and Plus-Sized Kids Bikes)”

  1. The Cannondale looks like it will be my daughters’ next bikes. 21lbs for only $450?! That’s lighter than bikes that cost twice as much.

    Reply
  2. Have a 4’ 8” 8.75 y/o boy that weighs 132.6lbs. Wears a men’s 7.5 baseball cleat and a 10.5 (wedding ring finger) ring. He’s going to be a BIG boy. What might be the best option to fit him a few years? He outgrew his Schwinn 20” mountain bike in about 4 months.

    If we’re going to spend some dough on a great bike for him, I want it to last at least 2-3 years, barring any huge growth spurt like he had this past fall. HELP! He looks soooo silly on his 20” Schwinn mountain bike!

    Reply
  3. My granddaughter is 4’9” and 80 pounds. Would you recommend a 20” or 24” inch fat tire bike? I have read contradicting recommendations and so am feeling a bit confused!

    Reply
    • Hi Linda, 24″ for sure! In fact, she could even be ready for an XS adult fat bike but since there are so few of them, I’d probably stick with a 24″. If you can, measure her inseam and then compare it to the manufacturer’s size chart before buying. That’s the best way to be certain you are getting the right size bike.
      Cheers,
      KB

      Reply
      • actually, from my experience most of them just use height, not inseam measurements. And in regards to buying the XS–that costs twice as much as a kid’s bike, so if you’re expecting the kid to grow a lot more, I’d stick with the cheaper kid bike. And also, kids have a different riding style than adults and a good kid’s bike will be designed to accommodate that style. I’m a small adult who fits kids bikes. The thing I’ve found is also the braking and shifting components of kids bikes are designed for smaller hands, which I love, because even on my 48 cm my small hands have trouble braking and shifting.

        Reply
  4. Any tips for riding just on the sand? I have three boys ages 5,6 & 6. We live on the beach in the Dominican Republic and don’t have roads where we can ride bikes. We do have miles of beaches though right out our front door. Trying to figure out the best bikes for the boys to ride in the sand, for their size and for a budget of buying three of them.

    Reply
  5. Hi Kristy,
    The wider the tires are, the easier it will be. Also, make sure to ride the tires with really low tire pressure. They should be a lot “flatter” than they would be riding on pavement.

    Considering that you are going to be riding on flat beach (and not in the mountains) you don’t need to worry as much about weight. You’ll also be getting a lot of salt and water on the bike, so I wouldn’t spend a ton of money on these bikes either….Make sure to wipe down the chain each time you’re done riding.

    Once it’s finally time to go ride, remember that wet, compacted sand is a LOT easier to ride so stay close to the water.

    Good luck!
    KB

    Reply
  6. We bought our 9yr old daughter a Salsa timberjack. It has been one of the best investments we’ve ever made. It’s a great bike with a really slack and long geometry that just soaks up the bumps. It has a simple drivetrain. Mechanical disc brakes work perfect for her at 75Lbs.
    8 yr little sister is blasting tough trails with it too. Looks like the frame will fit a 24×4.00 tire when I need to replace the stock ones.
    Can’t say enough.
    We’ll probably buy a second one if an amazing XS doesn’t magically appear.

    Reply
  7. Specialized isn’t making fat bikes anymore and the 20″ fat bike from last year is no where to be found! I’m in the market for a true fat bike (we live in Minnesota). Any other tips for finding a 20″? Looks like the Diamondback has a waitlist and I’m on the fence about the Mongoose….

    Reply

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