The 5 Best Kids Fat Bikes

The 5 Best Kids Fat 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 7+).  (If you’re not sure what that sizing means, keep reading).  This is a list of my five favorite kids fat bikes–and a few extras thrown in for good measure.

But first, let me answer that question that some of you are thinking….

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.

The 5 Best Kids Fat Bikes

Note: If you’re looking for specs on any of these bikes, make sure to scroll to the comparison chart at the bottom of the article.  You’ll find info on wheel size, weight, brakes, etc.

Specialized Kids Fatboy

Specialized Fatboy 20

The Kids 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 & Where to Buy:

Diamondback El Oso Nino

Diamondback El Oso Nino

The El Oso comes in a Grande and Nino version, 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 & Where to Buy:

Framed Mini Sota

Framed Mini Sota

The Mini-Sota is the child’s version of the Framed “Minnesota.”  Pretty clever.  This 24 inch fat bike comes with high quality components like a SRAM X4 1×9 drivetrain and Avid BB5 disk brakes.

Price & Where to Buy:

Trek Farley

Trek Farley Kids Fat Bike

 

Trek certainly hasn’t cut any corners with the Farley 24.  Of course, they have haven’t cut any corners with the price tag either—but if you can afford it, this is one nice bike to find under the Christmas tree.  From the hydraulic disk brakes to adjustable-reach brake levers—this bike is perfection.

Price & Where to Buy:

Norco Bigfoot 24

Norco Bigfoot

The Norco Bigfoot works just as well on trail as it does on snow.  It is specd out with Tekro disc brakes and a Shimano Deore drivetrain.  The one bummer about this bike is that I’d expect to see a lighter weight for the price.

Price & Where to Buy:

Honorable Mentions

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 some bikepacking or touring).

To learn more, read our recent announcement on the release of the Salsa Timberjack.

Price & Where to Buy:

TykesBykes Fat Bike

TykesBykes Kids Fat Bike

TykesBykes (now rebranded as Stampede Bikes) are well known for producing high-quality kids bikes at a low price. Even with the fantastic price tag, it still comes in at sub-30 pounds.

Price & Where to Buy:

Mongoose Massif

Mongoose Massif Kids Fat Bike

While I usually recommend staying far away from bikes that you can buy at big box stores, the Mongoose Kong is actually a decent bike if you are just want to get out and play in the snow a bit.  If you are buying a fat bike for your child’s primary mountain bike, I would stay away from this one.

Price & Where to Buy:

KHS Raptor+

KHS Raptor+

This bike technically has plus-sized tires (20×3.0) but in most snow conditions it will still work well.  Because the tires aren’t quite as fat, it also has the added benefit of working well as a year-round mountain bike.  The only thing I’m not crazy about are the v-brakes rather than disk.

Price & Where to Buy:

How to Choose a Fat Bike for Your Child

timberjack plus-sized kids bikes

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 size Age Height Inseam
20” 7-10 4’0”-4’5” 22-25”55-63 cm
24” 9-11 4’5”-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.

Bike Price (MSRP) Size Weight Frame Brakes
Specialized Kids Fatboy 20 $770 20″ 28 Aluminum Mechanical disk
Salsa Timberjack 20 $560 20″ 25 Aluminum Mechanical disk
TykesBykes Fat Bike $249 20″ 29 Aluminum Mechanical disk
Mongoose Massif $197 20″ 34 Steel Mechanical disk
Diamondback El Oso Nino $450 20″ 35 Steel Mechanical disk
KHS Raptor+ $289 20″ 35 Aluminum V-brake
Specialized Kids Fatboy 24 $800 24″ 29 Aluminum Mechanical disk
Trek Farley 24 $990 24″ 29 Aluminum Hydraulic disk
Framed Mini Sota $690 24″ 31 Aluminum Mechanical disk
Norco Bigfoot $829 24″ 33 Aluminum Mechanical disk
Salsa Timberjack 24 $560 24″ 25 Aluminum Mechanical disk

 


Kristen

Kristen is a project manager and writer. She spends all her free time mountain biking with her family on the trails in Salt Lake City and Park City, UT.

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