Fat tire bikes have been around for a good while - but they gained their fair share of popularity only in the past few years. They can be an excellent option for everyday commutes, but fat tire bikes genuinely stand out in extreme weather and terrain conditions.
Of course, they aren’t perfect - fat-tire e-bikes have their disadvantages.
In here, we’re going to discuss the top 10 disadvantages of fat-tire electric bikes you should know, so continue scrolling for all the info!
Buying a fat tire electric bike is considered a big purchase, so you need to consider the upsides of getting one - as well as the downsides.
We’ll discuss the most notable disadvantages of a fat-tire bike below, so listen up carefully!
#1 The Weight
The first downside of fat-tire bikes is the weight; these electric bikes are heavier than your usual battery-powered ride. The bike will generally be much heavier than your average commuter bike because of the extra-large tires and rims.
Do note that entry-level e-bikes tend to be even heavier than the high-end models.
High-end models feature lightweight frames made out of high-grade aluminum or - even better - carbon fiber. That said, they are pretty expensive, too.
So, if you pick out a basic, affordable model, get ready for the extra pounds!
#2 The Price
One thing that makes fat-tire bikes so rare to see is their price. Fat-tire bikes feature high-cost components, which, in turn, affect the price tag.
Thanks to those components, even the basic fat-tire electric bike may set you back more than a thousand bucks. If you are only willing to try out a fat-tire bike to see if you like it, remember that it’s a costly investment.
So, if you aren’t too sure if you will like riding a fat-tire bike, we suggest you rent one out if that’s available in your area. That way, you can test it and know what to expect - without spending too much money on something you aren’t too sure you’d enjoy!
#3 Spare Parts
Finding the spare parts for a fat-tire electric bike can pose a real challenge because these bikes aren’t as common. To make a fat-tire bike, the manufacturers utilize particular components that are pretty pricy and hard to find.
If you’re searching for any of these particular parts, you’ll find that only a few bike shops around the country offer them. The components usually include tires, extra cranks, rear hubs, and rims. And to top it all off, these parts add on some extra weight.
Of course, if you’ll only use your electric bike to ride around the block or explore the local parks and woods, chances are you’ll never have to look for them. However, if you want to take a more extended trip states away, you will need to pack some extra components for safety.
#4 Less Traction On Pavement
Fat-tire e-bikes are great for plenty of things - but riding on pavement is not one of them. Fatties behave amazingly on uneven terrain, bumps, and potholes, but they don’t offer the same grip on the pavement.
Fat-tire bikes will have excellent grip even on mud and snow, and yet, regular rides on concrete will make you lose some grip. That makes fat-tire e-bikes a bit unsafe to ride on your city block - but if you invest in a high-end set of tires, you’ll get better traction.
Do note that this applies to low-quality fat tires rather than all fat tires out there. Quality tires will allow you to feel safe anywhere - including the busy streets of your city!
Read more: Benefits of owning fat-tire e-bike.
#5 The Speed
The fat-tire bike may be very attractive to see and extremely comfortable to ride, but they simply aren’t as fast as the usual e-bike. The heavier weight on top of the different tire pressure makes the so-called fatties unable to match the speeds of a commuter bike.
Fat-tire bikes are great for off-road rides, sure. However, they won’t go that fast on concrete or pavement. On top of that, they aren’t as precise handling-wise because of the larger tires.
So, if you are looking for a bike that will get you to and back from work in a pinch, a fat tire bike is perhaps not the best idea.
#6 Pressure Issues
Tire pressure is principal when it comes to all bikes - and yes, that also includes fat-tire e-bikes. Essentially, the tire pressure indicates how well your fat-tire bike lays on the ground - and for the fatties, the tire pressure can be a big issue.
If your tire pressure is too high, it’ll affect the comfort of your ride, and the ride will be harsher. If the tire pressure is a bit too low, you will get more rolling resistance, and to make it even worse, you could damage your rims severely.
All that makes a digital pressure checker a must-have. It will help you stay safe and comfortable during your rides - but it also adds to the hassle of maintaining a fat-tire bike.
#7 Difficult To Ride
Fat tire bikes work amazingly well on unlevel terrain - without the rider losing any comfort. That said, these bikes can be harder to pedal, especially on steep hills.
To make this e-bike move, you will need to break a sweat - unlike using a commuter bike. If you are dead set on buying a fat-tire bike, that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but it’ll be a challenge to get used to it.
#8 Pricy Upgrades
Upgrading your e-bike over time and customizing it means you get to have a ride that is entirely according to your liking. Fat-tire bikes are expensive to acquire, to begin with, and the upgrades are no different.
For example, adding a new suspension system could easily set you back a couple of hundreds of dollars, unlike a standard MTB bike.
So, this is genuinely something to consider before you order a fat-tire e-bike for yourself.
#9 Too Bulky For Bike Racks
Because of the massive tires, your fattie might not be able to fit into most bike racks out there. Bike racks are made for slimmer bikes, and they probably won’t be able to accommodate your fat-tire bike.
That can pose a real issue if you use your fat-tire bike to commute to work - and leaving it in the bike rack is your only option.
To solve this, you might have to invest in a new bike rack which only adds to the expenses of an already expensive bike.
What’s more, the fat-tire bikes are generally bulkier, so they can pose a real problem if you want to fit one in the back of your vehicle and transport it to a remote destination.
#10 Attracts Attention
We’ve already hinted that fat-tire e-bikes are less likely to be seen on the streets - because they aren’t as common as “standard” e-bikes. But that also means that your fat-tire electric ride might attract plenty of attention.
Sure, that sounds like a great thing - but unfortunately, it also means your e-bike’s more likely to get stolen.
We advise you to leave your bike locked - and only in spaces you’re sure are safe!
Top 10 Disadvantages of Fat Electric Bikes You Should Know - Bottom Line
To conclude, getting a fat-tire e-bike can be fun - they’re comfy to ride around the city and even better if you take them out in the wild. They’re uncommon and will surely attract plenty of looks when you take them out for a ride.
On the other hand, your fat-tire e-bike may have a few issues that can be a deal-breaker.
So, be sure to consider everything - the good and the bad - before you finally purchase a fat-tire bike for yourself!