Surly Moonlander Fat Bike
BEST FOR: LEVITATING
The new standard in oversize, the Moonlander sports 4.7-inch tires for over an inch more rubber-to-ground contact than other fat bikes get. Not even the deepest sand, thickest mud, or cruddiest snow could slow this sparkly black chrome-moly-and-steel monster truck. And at 34.5 pounds, it’s not even the heaviest big bike around. The extra width (100-millimeter hubs in front and rear) forced Surly to drop the drivetrain to a 2x9 configuration, which we found a bit lacking in range, and the thumb shifters were fiddly. Of course, none of that mattered when we were easily clambering over terrain typically reserved for rock crawlers.
Salsa Cycles Mukluk 3 Fat Bike
BEST FOR: THE BUDGET MINDED
The Mukluk 3 strikes the perfect balance of high performance and fun, with hard-working parts, like a SRAM X7 drivetrain and Avid mechanical brakes, and a frame geometry that’s easygoing but still quick. At 35.7 pounds, it’s the heaviest bike here. But if you’re just looking to hoot around on slushy streets and snow-packed wilderness trails, the Mukluk 3 has you covered.
Speedway Cycles Fatback Fat Bike
BEST FOR: RACERS
Every major snow-bike race in 2012 (including the granddaddy, the Iditabike) was won aboard one of these Alaskan race rigs. The Fatback is blinged out with a house-branded carbon fork and carbon wheels (which are a pound lighter than the competition’s) and 45Nrth’s siped Hüsker Dü tires. Tons of standover and minimal heft (just 27 pounds) make it feel more XC than XXL. For going fast when it’s freezing, there’s no better choice.