Winter Fat Bike Project Part 1

When I started looking around for a fat bike to ride this winter, I got a bit of sticker shock. Most of the bikes I found started above $1k, and a few topped out in the $2,500 range. That’s not to say that they are not worth it, but I just wanted something affordable with big fat tires to ride in the snow. So I checked with Bikes Direct, as they always have fair prices if you’re willing to choose your size online and do a little final assembly work. For $499 shipped, I found their 2016 Gravity Bullseye Monster to be the best value as a base for my project bike. Even if I spent another $500 on it over time, I would have a bike set up exactly as a wanted, without a big hit to my wallet.

2016 Gravity Bullseye Monster, as delivered

For the price, you get an aluminum frame and Cro-Mo fork with disc mounts, and all sorts of rack and bottle mount options.The drivetrain of the Bullseye Monster is SRAM 2×8 – nothing to get excited about, but it works. In place of the big ring, which is not needed on this rig, you get a nice little bash guard. As fat bikes get ridden as though they were monster trucks, and roll over everything in their path, I think this was a good idea. Tektro Novela discs front and rear provide enough stopping power, as long as you break them in properly. It does have 80mm rims (wrapped in Vee Rubber 26×4.0 Mission tires), which will let me run some fat tires at very low pressures. I do like the WTB seat, which I have on another bike as well. The rest of the spec is pretty generic, but it gets the job done.

Ready to be assembled

For those not familiar with Bikes Direct, they ship out their bikes about 90% assembled. On my Bullseye Monster, I had to install the bars, pedals, and front wheel, then make some cable adjustments. Not a big deal for me, but you should know some basic bike maintenance, or have a friend that does, if you plan on ordering from them. Total time from taking it out of the box to first test ride was less than 30 minutes, and that was at a relaxed pace. Double that for 30-40 passes up and down the street while I bedded the brakes and fine-tuned my shifting, and it was ready for the trails within an hour.

All put together, and ready to roll over stuff

Because the initial price of the Bullseye Monster is so low, if any parts break or wear out, they can be replaced easily enough, as I should have a wad of cash left over from not going all out on a more expensive bike up front. Which brings us to the first upgrade. The 620mm riser bar was a bit too narrow for me. Before my first ride, I swapped it for a 685mm wide bar, with a 31.8 clamp size. That meant a new stem too. I kept the same 90mm length and 10 degree rise, and by going with some bike shop take-offs, got them both for only $20. Nothing fancy, but a better fit for me.

That’s it for the first installation of this series. It’s built, and adjusted. Next week I’ll share opinions from my first ride, along with some other changes made to the bike.

Cost breakdown so far:

2016 Gravity Bullseye Monster $499

Take-off bar and stem $20

– Brian

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This is going to turn into some awesome articles to follow. Can’t wait! #FattyLover


Hey, that’s a pretty good deal! I too, can’t wait, to see how it rides!


It’s been a lot of fun so far. These are not bikes for going fast, they are for having fun, and riding places and in weather your XC bike or skinny tire road bikes fear.


So…..anymore upgrades?


I received my monster yesterday and have already ripped it apart and started to swap out parts. Front derailleur removed and cranks changed out. Running Bontrager race lights with Raceface narrow wide 30t chainring. Now sporting a 1×9 drive train. 11-32 xt cassette and shimano xt rear derailleur and shifter. Syncros seatpost and Tioga Spyder seat. Profile design free ride handlebars with lockon grips. Sealed bearing headset. Avid bb5 brakes with 203mm ashima airotors front and back. Bike is down to 33lbs. Planning on lighter tires/tubes and bottom bracket at some point. Like to see this bike get under 30 lbs but not sure if it’s possible without using carbon parts.


We could easily double or triple the cost of this bike with upgrades, but the point of the project is to keep it fun and affordable. The drivetrain may be a weak point, but won’t get replaced until it fails. Given the speeds I’ve been crawling in snow, the stock brakes are fine. I do have a different fender set to try, which may work better with the rear rack. And some new Maxxis tires are going to replace the stock ones soon.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x