First Look: $899 'Minnesota' Fat Bike

It’s easy to drop $2,000 or more on a fat bike. And until now the niche-but-growing category catered far more to riders with money to spend rather than the masses.

That changes this winter with the release of the Minnesota 2.0 from Framed Bikes, which costs $899.

We got an exclusive scoop and the industry’s first look at the bike this week, just in time for a snow storm so we could ride the bike on its native terrain.

Minnesota Fat Bike.jpg

Minnesota 2.0 from Framed Bikes

In short, we can’t find this bike’s Achilles heel. For $899, this is the best deal we’ve ever seen in the fat-bike category.

Indeed, for that price you get a fat bike that rides like models that cost near twice the money.

The 120 tpi tires are a welcome sight on a bike at this price point, as were the included quality platform pedals, SRAM drive train, and its 6061 aluminum frame and fork.

It weighed 34 pounds, 14 ounces on our scale covered in dirt and slush from the trail. This is by no means light, but it is in line with bikes that may cost nearly $1,000 more.

The Minnesota 2.0 has one of the shortest top tubes in the game, resulting in a more “trail” geometry, which gets the rider up over the front wheel more than other bikes like the Salsa Mukluk or (perhaps its most comparable competition) the Motobecane Fantom. Those bikes have top tubes that are about 3cm longer in each size.

The short top tube was apparent to us right away on the first test ride. The Minnesota 2.0 turns easier and faster, and it also feels slightly more twitchy than other bikes. It’s nothing drastic, as the fork angle is the industry standard and the rear chainstays are not super short, but it’s different.

vee rubber fat bike tire.jpg

4-inch-wide tires from Vee Rubber

With this geometry you will not look toward this bike for logging huge miles on the Arrowhead trail or other fat-tire ultras. But that’s not the market for this bike, as evidenced by a lack of any fender or rack attachments and just one bottle cage mount.

The Minnesota 2.0 is for sale now, but the bikes will not ship until January or early February. You can pre-order or see all the specs here.

As a promotion, The-House.com (the distributor of Framed Bikes) is shipping a free 29er wheelset during the launch of the bike. This is a great value, and it also demonstrates the fact that the company built the bike for year-round use — switch the wheels when the snow melts and put on the 29ers to change the bike to a rigid mtb.

Overall, we have enjoyed riding this bike during our test so far and we recommend it if you’re looking to save some cash. We really like the look, too. The designers at Framed have made smart choices all around.

To put the Minnesota 2.0 in further perspective, this bike has a very comparable component spec to the Surly Pugsley, it weighs at least a pound less, and it costs about $800 less. And that is with the included pedals and a second wheelset during the promotion now. If you can find a better fat-bike value out there please drop us a line.

Mean time, we’re going to saddle up and get outside. It’s still snowing in Minnesota today and the trails are calling this bike’s name.

—Tom Puzak is a contributing editor and an endurance racer on Team GearJunkie/WEDALI.

Framed Fat Bike - Minnesota .jpg

Posted by Beren - 12/05/2013 11:20 AM

Looks like a pretty sweet rig. I love that they’re able to build these for nearly half the price of a Surly and still maintain quality. I’m not quite ready to jump on a fat bike yet, but when I am, this will probably be the bike for me.

Posted by Doug - 12/05/2013 01:17 PM

They should have named it the MinneSNOWda :)

This is definitely a great deal, but honestly you do get better specs with the Pugs. Doesn’t the entry level pugs have at least Nate’s for tires? The Vee Rubber missions are what helps keep the price of these and the BD Motobecane’s down… since Vee is basically giving them away since no one wants them. Two Surly Nate’s are going to cost you $240 alone… so that’s what ads up as well as better hubs.

But yes, for the price… this is a top-pick.

Posted by JP LaMere - 12/05/2013 02:29 PM

Very cool! Bikes in general are way over priced which is why I started LaMere Cycles…..just paid a bunch of money to get our own carbon fat bike made….samples arriving this week….it will be the most affordable carbon fat bike on the market with the lightest frame/fork….hoping to build them out at sub 22lbs….

http://www.lamerecycles.com/#!fat-bike/c1ff7

Thx JP

Posted by Chris - 12/05/2013 03:32 PM

#Doug
I thought the Pugsley only came stock with 27tpi Nate’s. I don’t have a fat bike yet but I thought the higher the tpi the more expensive and the better/more supple the grip? When researching the Motobecane bikes they’re all 72tpi wire bead Missions which are a lot heavier. All the reviews I’ve read on the 120tpi Missions seem pretty positive. I guess for just a snow bike I’d like the knobby Nate’s but for snow/dirt I’m leaning towards the Missions…and the price difference between the Minnesota and Pugsley. Sorry for the verbal diarrhea…just wanted to talk it out before spending $900-$1,800.
Thanks,
Chris

Posted by Scott - 12/06/2013 12:48 PM

How about build quality? Frame welds? Assembly? Framed has a mediocre-at-best reputation in its core, the BMX community, with a lot of reputed quality control issues.

Posted by Tom Puzak - 12/06/2013 11:11 PM

Thanks for the comments all!

Doug – Surly Nate 27tpi (pugs) < Vee Rubber Mission 120 tpi (this bike) < Surly Nate 120tpi (no stock bike that I am aware of)

JP – Get in touch with us about testing your Carbon Fat bike if you’re interested.

Chris – You will be rewarded by shopping around, and sound like you’re reading the right stuff.

Scott – No apparent build quality issues, shifts surprisingly well, welds were smooth, hubs/pawls have not locked up, and we rode today at -5 F. With that said, I’d put my money on the pugs lasting longer, provided rust is avoided by applying framesaver or fogging/linseed oil competently. We will update if we are able to break this thing.

Posted by Pavel - 01/03/2014 01:06 PM

I am looking forward to buy this bike, but for shipment cost calculatition to Europe I would need dimensional sizes of the box. Could you anyone give me these dimensions? I propose that it doesn´t matter what size of the frame is in, but for the case I am going to order 20” frame with those extra pair of wheels.

Posted by David Davis - 01/22/2014 07:51 AM

Hi, thanks for the review. Can you tell me if the Quando hubs on the Minnesota fat bike have sealed cartridge bearings or cup and cone? Thanks!

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