May 17

Fat Tire Electric Bike Buying Guide

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Fat tire electric bikes are turning out to be the rising star in the popular electric biking scene. Thanks to their overall versatility, they continue to attract a steady stream of fans with each day that passes. 

For those looking to join the growing fat bike bandwagon, you might be wondering where to start. Well, there are various styles and brands of fat tire e-bikes in the market; no shortage of options. 

Unfortunately, not all fat tire e-bikes are created equal!

So, how do you select the best fat tire e-bikes for you? In this post, we take a look at the factors to consider when shopping for a fat tire electric bike.  

Fat tire electric bike?

Type of Fat Tire Bike

The first decision you have to make is the style of electric fat tire bike that will best suit you. Generally, fat bikes come with a range of options as it is in other types of electric bikes. These include fat tire eMTBs, fat tire hunting e-bikes, folding fat tire e-bikes, and all-round fat tire e-bikes. 

The features and specs will vary from one type of fat tire e-bike to another, and this is done to allow the bike to thrive in unique situations.

Fat Tire Electric Mountain Bikes 

Just like ordinary eMTBs, fat tire e-bikes are built for off-road terrains. The only thing is that their capabilities are enhanced with the larger tires and heavier frame. If you are thinking of exploring remote and rugged trails, then this will be a great option for you. Between the massive tires and suspension fork, there is enough cushioning and shock absorption to keep your ride comfortable on the bumpiest of surfaces. 

Wallke Folding Electric Mountain Bike

Folding Fat Tire Bikes

Folding bikes are typically meant to increase the practicality of a bike, especially when used for commuting. For this reason, they are quite popular among urban dwellers looking for a convenient way to get to work or school. 

Their generally smaller frame size compared to other types of fat-tire bikes and collapsibility allows you to economize on space. With a folding bike, it’s possible to get into the subway and even store it under the office desk when you get to work.  

As such, you don’t have to worry about paying for parking space in public bike racks or thieves getting hold of your prized possession. 

Ancheer fat tire bike

Hunting Fat Tire Electric Bikes

From a distance, hunting fat tire e-bikes look more or less similar to fat tire eMTBs. However, the major difference comes in the complementary accessories slapped onto hunting bikes. These are meant to make them the ultimate tool for a hunter or outdoorsman. 

For instance, you will notice an increase in storage capacity with more racks and mounts on the bikes. The frame is also a little more rugged to sustain the rigors of the rougher backcountry trails. 

All-round Fat Tire Electric Bikes

Just like the name suggests, all-round fat tire e-bikes are built to suit different riding situations. They act as a bridge between the other forms of fat tire e-bikes as long as you are not looking for a folding frame. 

Generally, they are ideal for cruising around town while running errands. They are equipped with accessories to let you carry luggage comfortably but lack the super high specifications to keep the price reasonable. 

Size of the Frame

The frames used on electric fat-tire bikes are not very different from those you see on regular bikes. The main distinction is that fat bike frames come with a widened front fork and rear seat stay to accommodate the super-wide tires. 

Accurate knowledge of the frame size is, therefore, crucial because it determines how comfortable you will be when riding the bike. But how do you go about finding the right frame size for you when choosing a fat tire electric bike? 

Firstly, you need to know the various sizes of your body, like arms, height, etc.before you even start exploring the different frame sizes available. If you already own a bike that you’ve been riding, this might be a great place to start. All you need to do is let the frame dimensions of your current bike guide you in finding the right frame size. 

Simply compare this with the measurements listed on the e-bikes in the store and find one that matches your bike. The main measurement you should be interested in is the frame height. Tall riders will generally feel comfortable on taller frames and the reverse is true for short people. 

But if you don’t have a bike to do this, you will have to take the longer route and perform the sizing from scratch. You want to take a couple of measurements of your body, including your height, torso length, inseam, and arm length. 

Note that bike sizes are usually based on a rider’s height and body frame, so your weight shouldn’t be an issue, at least not when it comes to sizing. Also, remember to remove your shoes when taking these measurements and get a friend to help out if possible. 

Brakes

A heavy fat tire electric bike moving at high speed carries a lot of momentum; it takes a lot of braking power to stop it in its tracks. Luckily, e-bike braking has made huge steps in recent years. Fat tire e-bikes today are outfitted with high-quality disc brakes on the front and rear wheels to provide sufficient braking power.

Nevertheless, three main factors should be considered when examining the braking specs of an e-bike. These include the pistons, rotor size, and whether the bike uses hydraulic or mechanical-disc brakes. 

The size of the rotor affects the brake’s stopping ability in that larger rotors offer greater potential stopping power compared to smaller ones. Furthermore, the brake caliper uses a piston to squeeze the pads onto the brake’s rotor. 

Generally, more pistons result in quicker stopping force, hence greater braking performance. Most brakes on a fat tire e-bike will either come with 2 or 4 pistons. Last but not least, you should check whether you’re getting hydraulic or mechanical-disc brakes. 

These two types deliver different braking experiences. While the mechanical disc brakes use a cable to close the brake caliper, hydraulic disc brakes make use of fluid pressure to force the closure of the brake calipers.

Essentially, hydraulic disc brakes are more efficient compared to mechanical ones. They are more responsive and are more reliable when it comes to braking. They also don’t require too much effort when pulling the brake levers to engage. But with the efficiency comes an increase in cost, so that is something you might also need to consider. 

For a person using a fat tire e-bike to commute to work and back home, mechanical disc brakes should get the job done. But if you plan to push the bike to its speed limits and ride up and down hills, then only hydraulic disc brakes will provide the power to stop a fat tire e-bike. 

Type of Motor on the E-bike

The motor is the heart of any electric bike. It plays a huge role in the overall performance of the bike regarding its intended purpose. Generally, e-bike motors are divided into 3 main categories, including front hub, mid-drive, and rear-hub motor. 

These 3 categories essentially get their name from the placement of the motor on the bike. The front and rear hub motors sit in the center of the front and rear tire respectively, whereas the mid-drive motor is mounted on the e-bike’s bottom bracket, where the crank and pedals are located. 

The main difference between each type of motor lies in the power produced, the cost, as well as the riding experience. 

Mid-drive Motor

Mid-drive motors tend to be the most expensive category of e-bike motors. This is because they produce the highest amount of power and also provide better balance to the bike’s weight thanks to the central placement. 

The low positioning of the motor keeps the bike at equilibrium while the center of gravity remains low. Generally, you’re more likely to find mid-drive motors on fat tire eMTBS and e-hunting bikes. 

bafang mid drive

Front and Rear Hub Motors

These types of e-bike motors are typically more affordable compared to mid-drive motors. Front hub motors are commonly paired with folding fat tire e-bikes whereas rear hub motors are used across the different types of electric fat-tire bikes. 

What differentiates these two motor types is the riding experience. While the front hub motor powers the front wheel, pulling the bike forward, the rear hub motor pushes the bike. You will notice this when negotiating corners and climbing hilly trials, although the differences are generally subtle. 

So, if you plan to ride your bike on mostly rugged off-road trails, mid-drive motors will deliver better performance. But if the fat tire e-bike is simply for commuting to work on relatively lighter paths, then choose a front or rear hub drive. 

Hub-drive Motors

Power Rating of the Motor

The power produced by the motor influences the top speed the bike can achieve and the ease with which the fat tire e-bike can accelerate and clear ascends. E-bike motor power is typically expressed as Watt (W), which is the standard unit. 

Overall, three common power outputs are used on electric bikes, and these are 500W, 750W, and 1000W. Before you spend on the bike, it’s important to determine how much motor power will suit your adventure. 

Aside from your primary intention of using the bike, you also want to consider the amount of weight you expect the electric bicycle to move. For instance, if you want a fat tire e-bike to simply take you to school and back, you should be okay with a 500W motor. 

However, if you’re thinking of venturing off-road into the more rugged and hilly trails, then you’ll need a motor with at least 750W of power. This is typically what you’ll find on electric mountain bikes and hunting bikes. 

In this case, you’re likely to be carrying and moving heavy loads using the bike, hence a lot of power is required. Finally, consider your own weight when choosing the power of the motor. Naturally, a heavier person will gravitate towards higher power output. 

Battery Brand

The battery is a crucial component of the electric fat tire bike. The quality of the battery will influence its shelf life and the way it performs in poor weather. Note that e-bike batteries deteriorate in capacity with every subsequent charging cycle; you want to get the best quality in the market to maximize its lifespan. 

To do this, it’s important to check the manufacturer of the battery. Be sure to look for reputable brands like Samsung and LG for the best battery performance.  When scrutinizing the battery specs on a fat tire e-bike, you are bound to notice some recurring features listed on different batteries. 

These will mainly include the Voltage (expressed as V) and Amp Hours (expressed as Ah). Both these are important as they can guide you in determining the capacity of the battery. Voltage is simply a measure of how much power can potentially be sent to the motor by the battery.

In most high-quality fat tire e-bike batteries, the voltage will range between 36V and 48V. The more the voltage, the more power the battery can send to the motor. However, keep in mind that as the voltage increases, so does the cost of the battery (bike).

Meanwhile, Amp-hours is a measure of the battery’s capacity-it can be compared to the amount of fuel a car holds in its gas tank. Usually, a higher Ah rated battery will hold more charge than a lower-rated one but also cost more. 

Battery Capacity

Check the Capacity of the Battery

The capacity is another crucial factor to consider as it influences the duration you’ll continue enjoying the electric assistance. This is generally referred to as the range of the battery and manufacturers will typically state this on the battery specifications. 

The range of the battery is also influenced by a couple of features, including the weight of the rider, riding terrain, PAS level, etc. Most e-bike batteries will offer you a maximum range of between 20 and 60 miles, so it’s up to you to figure how much will be enough for your rides. 

Suspension

Suspension has become a common feature in the latest models of electric fat-tire bikes. You’ll mostly see a front suspension, although some brands are designed with both front and rear suspension. 

Suspension is usually important when you want to ride on rough trails where you are bound to encounter numerous bumps and potholes. It serves to provide shock absorption when going over such terrain to ensure your riding comfort. 

So, if you are just trying to get to work or school on the smooth and relatively flat city streets, then you shouldn’t worry too much about suspension on your electric fat tire bike. 


Conclusion

Fat tire e-bikes have brought a new and exciting dimension to the whole electric biking experience. They are so versatile that you can take them anywhere without compromising on performance. 

But choosing the right type of fat tire e-bike can be a little bit complicated, especially for the uninitiated. If you are thinking of getting yourself a unit, consider the guide above to make a more informed decision. 


About the author

Emma was born and raised in the UK, studied in Amsterdam (where she discovered her passion for biking), and is currently living in Ohio. Her main passion is cycling, that's why she is always looking for an amazing new e-bike to make her journey even more unforgettable!


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