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.
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.
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.