Borealis Echo GX Fat Bike
When fat bikes first appeared on the scene, their chunky tires and less than svelte designs inspired skepticism. How could a bike that big be any fun at all? It turns they are, and not only in the snow. The big wheels offer unparalleled traction that makes getting uphill easier and riding downhill a giddy, grin-inducing experience.
Based in Colorado, Borealis builds carbon-framed fat bikes and was the first to offer a fat bike with a suspension fork, the Echo. The new Echo GX from Borealis offers the same carbon frame as the Echo, but at about half the $5,900 price. That comes in part thanks to the new SRAM GX 1x11 drivetrain, which is an impressively affordable version of SRAM's popular single-chainring set-up. You can expect to see more newly affordable bikes popping up with this SRAM release in the coming months.
With the Echo GX, Borealis set out to build an approachable, but upgrade-ready carbon fat bike. The Echo GX comes with a rigid fork, but it could easily be upgraded with a Rockshox Bluto, like its more expensive sibling, the Echo. With its 3.8-inch tires, the Borealis is ready to monster truck just about any obstacle, while the Echo GXs carbon frame keeps the overall weight at a manageable 28.5 pounds. [$3,000; fatbike.com]