Editor's Note: This article is part of the Mtbr Ultimate Guide to winter mountain biking, fat bikes, gear, apparel and trainers. In the first two months of 2016, we are taking a deep dive into all manner of cold weather mountain bike gear, with round-ups and reviews of fat bikes, tires, wheels, apparel, trainers and more. To see all the articles, head over to our Winter Guide Hub Page and be sure to check out part 2 and part 3 of our Hottest Fat Bikes Round-Up.

Specialized Fat Boy Expert Carbon

Specialized Fat Boy Expert Carbon

You don't have to race Specialized's Fat Boy Carbon Expert to appreciate its go-fast capabilities. But you'll certainly be happy if you do end up at a start line. This no holds barred competition machine blends a lightweight carbon frame and fork with composite HED wheels that are a snap to set up tubeless. The end result is a 24.2-pound (actual weight, size Large) fat bike that also happens to be on sale right now. Specialized MTB product manager Todd Cannatelli says the design goal was to replicate the fit and feel of the company's Crave 29er hard tail. That means instead of following the crowd with a more slack front end, this Fat Boy has a 70.5-degree head angle that maintains the bike's nimble handling. Chainstays are a middle of the road 455mm for added stability and less chance of packing up the frame with snow or mud. The lean to speed theme is continued with fast rolling Specialized 4.0 Ground Control tires and a quick shifting SRAM XO1 drivetrain. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr's 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: $5399 (marked down from $6000) | More info at www.specialized.com

SCOTT Big Ed

SCOTT Big Ed

Though billed as a relatively basic fat bike, we've been impressed with the Big Ed's bang for buck. As the name implies, this is no uber svelte race machine, but even at 32.3 pounds (actual weight, size Large) this big wheeled beast has a playful side thanks to its 69-degree head angle and 450mm chainstays. Spec highlights include snow munching 4.8" Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tires, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, a blended SRAM 2x drivetrain, and 100mm travel RockShox Bluto fork with remote lock-out. And like the Specialized Fat Boy, the alloy frame SCOTT Big Ed is on sale right now at 20% off, which drops the price roughly $600 below MSRP. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr's 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: $2799, but currently on sale | More info at www.scott-sports.com

Borealis Crestone

Borealis Crestone

Blending a slack 70-degree head angle with long'ish 459mm chainstays, the new-for-2016 carbon frame Borealis Crestone is stable, relaxed and reasonably light. Our size XL tester came in at 30.5 pounds, but that's with beefy 4.8" Maxxis Minion FBF trail tires wrapped around alloy 80mm Turnagain wheels, a RockShox Bluto fork, and a RockShox Reverb dropper post (which is not a stock option). If we were building this bike ourselves for winter use, we'd ditch the Bluto to save weight and cash, and use the extra money to upgrade the wheels. The frame's tall'ish standover isn't post-hole friendly, but frame bag aficionados will love the extra storage space. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr's 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: from $5150 with Bluto | More info at www.fatbike.com

Felt DD 10

Felt DD 10

Felt's top-end DD 10 (as in double dare) blends the top line functionality of a RockShox Bluto suspension fork and Shimano XT drivetrain with an alloy frame and house brand cockpit. The end result is a high performing fat bike that wont cost you the proverbial arm and leg. Schwalbe's light and fast rolling 4.0 Jumbo Jim tires are wrapped around 80mm house brand alloy single-wall rims with machined cutouts. Head angle is a playful 70 degrees, while 455mm chainstays help you keep your line even in the softest snow. Actual weight for our size L tester is a reasonable 31.8 pounds. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr's 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: $3000 | More info at www.feltbicycles.com

Lynskey Fatskey

Lynskey Fatskey

Titanium gurus Lynskey call their Fatskey the most fun riding bike they make, fat or otherwise. Frame highlights include geometry optimized for 100mm front suspension, write style dropouts with replaceable derailleur hanger, 197mm rear spacing with 12mm thru axle, a 100mm 1.375 x 24 UNC threaded bottom bracket shell, slider dropouts that can accommodate a standard quick release skewer, tapered integrated headtube, and clearance for up to 4.8" rear tire. Lynskey also increased rear-end stiffness with beefed up chainstays and seatstays, and all of it is made from helix'd 3/2.5 titanium tubing that's available in three unique finishes: brushed, industrial mill, or satin. Lynskey sells complete bikes, or you can build it up yourself starting with the $2000 frame. | Price: complete 2016 bikes TBD | More info at lynskeyperformance.com

Continue to page 2 for more of 2016's Hottest Fat Bikes »



Trek Farley 9.8

Trek Farley 9.8

If bigger is better, than Trek's Farley 9.8 is a solid choice. Utilizing 197mm rear axle spacing, this lightweight composite frame accepts tires up to 26x5", which is ideal for those truly deep winter adventures. You can also go the other direction, swapping on 27.5" wheels with up to 4" tires. That's a lot of choice packed into one bike. Other highlights include stock inclusion of Bontrager TLR system wheels, meaning you can say goodbye to the added weight of bulky fat bike tubes but still run low traction-enhancing pressure. The Farley 9.8 is the top of the line offering, and comes dressed with SRAM Guide brakes, a SRAM XO/X1 blended drivetrain, and lightweight 80mm Trek Wampa carbon wheels sheathed with Bontrager Hodag tubeless ready tires. Head tube angle is a playful 69 degrees, while super short 440mm chainstays make this one snappy handling ride - even in the snow. | Price: $4800 | More info at www.trekbikes.com

Ibis Trans-Fat

Ibis Trans-Fat

For the rider seeking winter-summer versatility, it's hard to beat the new Trans-Fat, which like the Ibis Tranny 29, has a removable rear triangle. That means space for up to a 4.0" tire - and the ability to swap out the rear and return to standard tire clearance. It also means you can breakdown the bike into two pieces, thus avoiding onerous airline baggage fees. The just released Trans-Fat is available as a complete fat bike with a 1x Shimano XT, KS Lev dropper post, and 120mm RockShox Bluto fork, or as a frameset ($1700) or retrofit kit ($699). Learn more here. | Price: $5099 for complete bike | More info at www.ibiscycles.com

Charge Cooker Maxi 1

Charge Cooker Maxi 1

For the rider not ready to make the full fat bike commitment, the Cooker Maxi 1 from Great Britain-based Charge offers a reasonable entry point. An aluminum frame and triple butted cro-moly fork are dressed with a SRAM X5 2x10 groupset, Promax mechanical disc brakes, house brand fat bike rims, and Maxxis Mammoth 120TPI folding bead tires. Not surprisingly this isn't the lightest bike out there. Our size Medium tester weighs a stout 33.1 pounds. But if you're just starting out, and aren't looking to race or take down Strava KoMs, this bike will do just fine. Head angle is a twitchy 71 degree, while 450mm chainstays are designed to maintain straight line stability without being sluggishly long. Look for a full review soon as part of Mtbr's 2016 Ultimate Guide to Winter Mountain Biking. | Price: $1200 | More info at www.chargebikes.com

Motobecane Lurch

Motobecane Lurch

For the truly budget conscious, you'll be hard pressed to find a lower priced deal than the Motobecane Lurch. The alloy frame's combination of 447mm chainstays and a 70.5-degree head angle nets a playful ride that's most comfortable in steep descents. Key spec includes a blended SRAM X7/X9 2x drivetrain, tubeless compatible Sun-Ringle Mulefüt SL 80mm wheels, and 4.5" Vee Rubber Snowshoe 72tpi tires. Brakes are Avid mechanical disc, while the cockpit, saddle and seatpost are a mix of WTB and housebrand parts. None of it is overly sexy. But for a thousand bucks it's a solid deal that will allow you to take the fat biking plunge. | Price: $1000 | More info at www.bikesdirect.com