Fat bikes were once considered sort of a gimmick or novelty, and mainly just for anyone needing a better way to get around on sand, snow, or mud.
As time has gone on, riders are discovering that these bikes are for more than just adverse conditions, and are just as viable on normal trails and surfaces as well.
When used properly, a fat bike can be a very effective choice when hitting the trails, or even making your way around urban areas, if you have the proper tire pressure. This makes them incredibly versatile, while providing a few distinct advantages over other bikes as well.
The Diamondback El Oso Grande is part of the company’s El Oso fat bike line, and represents the middle of the road in terms of the level of models available. This bike is a very strong player in the fat bike world, and combines a number of features and quality components together to create.
Part of the big reason for the Grande’s success is its overall design, which helps to support the key components that have been included to help riders get the more out of the bike as they can.
The El Oso Grande is ready to take on pretty much whatever is in your path from the moment it is assembled and set up. The bike is one of the more higher-end models in the world of fat bikes, and ensures a smooth and surprisingly efficient ride every time you take it out.
The bike’s frame is made from hydro-formed 6061 alloy aluminum, and showcases some very solid craftsmanship with the welding. The frame encourages the rider to take an ideal riding position, and also helps distribute weight properly. As for the bike’s weight, it comes in around 29 lbs. This isn’t light compared to other mountain bikes, but for a fat bike, it’s about where it should be.
The seatpost and handlebar are made from the same aluminum alloy material, helping to round out the overall design.
The fork doesn’t have any suspension, but the oversized tires to plenty of work as far as shock absorption goes. The rigid fork gives you better steering and pedal response, which is a major plus.
SRAM components are used for the gear shift system.
They provide quick response when shifting in a hurry, and remain precise and easy to operate for extended periods of time in between tuneups.
The gearing itself uses an FSA Comet Mega Exo 36/32T crank that is paired up with a Shimano HG50 10 speed cassette. The comes out to equal 20 speeds, which should be enough for most riding situations that you’d use a fat bike for.
The actual ratio of the gears is good for some of the more adverse riding situations you’ll encounter, with plenty of low and high gears to give you the right efficiency needed for slow and fast speeds.
Proper and effortless stopping power is a must for fat bikes, something Diamondback is well aware of. The TRP Spyre 160mm hydraulic disc brakes provide plenty of control and brake power when needed, without the need to mash down on the brake levers.
The Chaoyang cruiser 26” x 4.9” tires are the perfect choice for the El Oso Grande, as they give you a lot of ground coverage and added shock absorption, which can be adjusted depending on the PSI of the tires. In most cases, adding some extra air to the tires makes the bike easier to ride on for smoother surfaces or casual riding.
In the end, the El Oso Grande can be considered an entry-level fat bike, but it doesn’t look, feel, or perform like one. It’s a great way to get in to fat biking, or even as an upgrade from a current fat bike.
No one thing really stands out with the El Oso Grande, but rather everything sort of works together to create a high level of performance and ride that is capable of handling a wide range of surfaces and conditions.
The frame design is very strategic, and affects the overall ride. The tires are a major plus, as they provide excellent traction due to their tread design, but can also be adjusted with air pressure for any number of riding scenarios. The versatility is far beyond any normal tires.
The rider stance is another great aspect of this bike. You always feel comfortable in any position, and have an added amount of control over the bike that gives you confidence when the path gets a little treacherous. This is due to both the frame’s design, and the angle of the handlebars and length of the stem.
The saddle on the El Oso Grande is a huge miss. We aren’t exactly sure that Diamondback was thinking with that one. It’s almost as if they forgot about it, and just used whatever they had lying around.
If you spend your entire ride standing up this isn’t an issue, but if you’re like the 99% of riders who may actually want to sit down at some point, you’ll need a different saddle for sure.
We’d recommend you purchase a new saddle when you buy this bike, avoiding the issue entirely. Also, the bike is shipped partially assembled, so you’ll need to have a bike shop finish putting it all together and tuning it before your first ride.
Fat bikes may seem a bit tricky to shop for if you are inexperienced, but don’t worry about it.
These are still mountain bikes, and they still operate the same way. The Diamondback El Oso Grande is the perfect bike to get started with, and is capable of being slowly upgraded over time to keep it at the top of its game.
Even if you don’t plan on upgrading it often, the bike is still one of the best affordable fat bikes you can buy, and will definitely hold its own for years to come, just as it is when you get it. We love riding this bike, and we know you’ll love it to.
This post was last updated on September 21st, 2018 at 08:49 pm
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.