There are many niches of bikes designed to meet the needs of many different people. The most recent niche we have been exposed to is electric bikes. Electric bikes are becoming the fastest growing mode of transport, but there are many different subcategories of electric bikes. One of which is the electric fat bike, which has its own unique characteristics. So in this post, we will answer the question, “Should I buy an electric fat bike?”
What Is An Electric Fat Bike?
There are a couple of different types of electric fat bikes. The first one is the electric fat mountain bike. These bikes look much like regular mountain bikes but have massive tyres, as the name suggests.
Electric Fat Mountain Bikes
These electric bikes can ride pretty much anywhere, thanks to the enhanced grip the tyres give you. Their original purpose was to enable people to ride on sand and snow. The extra width spreads the weight of the bike and rider over a larger surface area, keeping the tyre on top of the soft surface. If you were to ride a bike with regular width tyres on sand and snow, they would cut into the surface, making riding challenging or impossible. But, you can ride them on pretty much any surface with ease.
Therefore, electric fat mountain bikes can take you to places you previously couldn’t get to. Their extra traction allows you to ride over very technical terrain. Rocks, roots and mud prove to be no match for electric fat bikes, as the tyres can roll over them easily.
The other characteristic of fat tyres is that they act as the bike’s suspension. Their high volume absorbs vibrations and impacts from the terrain. The combination of shock absorption and traction make electric fat mountain bikes very stable. Therefore, you can ride them confident that you will not lose grip.
Electric Commuter Fat Bikes
The other type of electric fat bike is one used for commuting. The wheels are not as large as those on an electric fat mountain bike, but the benefits are similar. Their shock-absorbing properties create a comfortable ride, while their traction allows you to ride over different surfaces without any problems.
There are subcategories of electric commuter fat bikes too. For example, some are biased towards off-road capability. These bikes are ideal for people who want to use their bikes for fun at weekends, or their commutes consist of rough roads and light off-road sections.
Other electric commuter fat bikes are strictly for riding in the city. These bikes use fat tyres to give the rider confidence and supreme ride quality without the use of expensive suspension.
Who Should Ride An Electric Fat Bike?
Electric fat bikes are great fun for everyone and useful for a few (depending on which type you buy).
Who Owns Electric Fat Mountain Bikes?
Electric fat mountain bikes are ideal for people who want to be able to ride all year round. The fact that they can cope with snowy conditions means that you don’t have to miss out on your bike time.
Many electric fat mountain bike owners have one as part of their quiver of bikes. They will ride it only when the conditions call for it or if they want a bit of fun. Some people use electric their fat mountain bike as their commuter bike. The electric motor makes the inefficient high rolling resistance of the tyre size less of a problem. Therefore, they can ride to and from work in the snow with ease.
Electric fat mountain bikes are also great for people who live in sandy areas. Surfers use them to get to the best waves away from the crowded areas of the beach. But their ability to ride on forest and mountain trails is also a reason people buy them.
Those big squidgy tyres have lots of purchase when riding over obstacles, rocks and roots. Combined with the electric power, they clamber over them and up steep hills like a Land Rover.
If you are pretty nervous about riding technical terrain, an electric fat mountain bike is a good choice. They are very stable and give you lots of confidence that your front wheel will not wash out. Also, the extra grip in the corners makes you want to push harder each time.
Who owns Electric Fat Commuter Bikes?
Often electric bike manufacturers will fit their commuter bikes with fat tyres. The main reason for this is to create a comfortable riding experience.
Most commuters will only ride on paved and smooth surfaces, such as roads and cycle paths. Therefore, their electric fat commuter bikes will have smaller tyres. But the tyres still have enough volume to dampen vibrations and absorb bumps in the road.
Some of these bikes have suspension forks and shock absorbers, but these increase the bike’s price. People that ride these bikes want the ultimate in comfort or experience rough ground during their commute.
You can buy electric fat commuter bikes that are biased more towards riding rough terrain. These are great for exploring at the weekend or if your commute involves river or forest paths. Other fat electric commuter bikes are built for comfort and efficiency.
To make life easier for the commuter, some of these electric fat bikes are foldable. The ADO A20F is a good example, as it has chunky tyres and can be folded into a compact size. A commuter on a bike like this can keep it under their desk or their bed at home. These types of bikes are very popular with people living in urban areas where space is tight.
But these bikes are also great for people who like to ride their electric bikes at the weekend. They easily fit into cars, caravans and boats, so you can have a convenient and easy way of getting around.
What To Consider When Buying An Electric Fat Bike
If any of the above sounds like you, you will probably be thinking about buying an electric fat bike. We have discussed the different types of bikes, but you should consider a few other things before buying.
Frame Size And Type
Electric fat bike frame sizes are worked out in pretty much the same way as regular bikes. You need to check out the manufacturer’s sizing chart, but you will notice that most electric commuter fat bikes have adjustable seat posts and handlebars (especially the foldable ones).
The adjustability allows you to fine-tune your riding position to suit you perfectly.
You will also notice that some of these electric fat bikes will have different shaped frames. Step-thru and low frames are easier to mount and dismount than regular shaped frames. This is because you don’t need to lift your leg up high to get on and off the bike. Bikes with these frame designs are ideal for people with mobility issues or who wear long and flowing clothing.
All electric bikes either have their motor in the rear wheel’s hub (hub-mounted) or between the cranks (mid-mounted). If you are a serious mountain biker or ride somewhere with lots of hills, you should buy one with a mid-mounted motor.
Mid-mounted motors are connected directly to the drivetrain and give you a more natural riding experience. Also, the bike is evenly balanced, which makes riding technical terrain easier.
Bikes with hub-mounted motors are less expensive and are more common with folding electric fat bikes.
Electric Motor Power
Electric motor’s power ranges from 250W to over 1,000W depending on the model. Their power is measured in Watts (W), and how much power you need depends on what you want to use the bike for.
If you are just commuting or using it to get around, 250 to 500W will be sufficient. If you want to go off-road, you need to be looking at 500W and above.
However, you need to think about how heavy you are and if you will be carrying cargo. If you are carrying a little more weight, you will need a more powerful bike.
The range of your electric bike should be a significant factor in your decision. There are lots of things that affect your range before you need to charge the battery. Your weight, the terrain, how you ride, and the weather will all have an impact on how far your bike can go. But, most manufacturers will give you an average range per charge. You can expect stated figures ranging from 20 to 100 miles on a single charge.
You need to consider your average journey length and make sure your new electric fat bike can make it on a single charge.
Final Thoughts On Should I Buy An Electric Fat Bike?
If you want an electric bike that can go anywhere, at any time of year, buy an electric fat mountain bike. If you want a super comfortable ride quality, a fat electric commuter bike may be the best option for you.
However, you need to think about the practicalities of owning a fat bike. They don’t fit in bike racks and are a little heavier than regular electric bikes. Therefore, carrying them up and downstairs is more challenging.
Electric fat bikes definitely suit some people, but electric bikes with more traditional wheel sizes are more practical for many.