One of the electric bike niches you may have come across is electric fat bikes. These are quite unusual looking bikes and are the subject of a lot of questions from the uninitiated. Therefore, in this post, we will answer the question of “what is an electric fat bike?” Electric bikes are being recognised as one of the main modes of transport of the future. Therefore, electric bike manufacturers now build them for pretty much every need, so an electric fat bike, may suit you.
You will learn about the details of these fantastic machines and work out if you need an electric fat bike in your life.
So What Is A Fat Tire Electric Bike?
An electric fat bike is an electric bike with massive, high volume tyres on each wheel. These tyres give the bike unique qualities, characteristics and capabilities. They will take you places that a regular bike (electric or not) won’t go.
Benefits Of Riding An Electric Fat Bike
You Can Ride Anywhere
Fat bikes were originally designed for riding over snow, sand and soft mud. Regular sized wheels and tyres find riding in these conditions challenging or impossible. Rather than cutting through the surface, fat tyres stay on top, spreading the weight of the bike and rider.
The idea of electric fat bikes is to allow you to ride all year round, no matter where you live or ride.
But, there are other benefits associated with these huge tyres. Riders have found that they provide extra stability, thanks to their larger contact patch with the ground. This gives you more grip, whether you are on natural terrain or paved surfaces.
The increased grip and stability on rough terrain instils confidence in the rider. When you ride over roots, rocks and uneven ground, you will feel less nervous, thanks to the extra stability. This enhances your riding experience, making it even more fun.
With more of the tyre in contact with the ground, you also get better power transfer from your pedalling. There is less chance of your bike wheel spinning on steep uphill sections with loose surfaces. This doesn’t stop you from having a ridiculous amount of fun while drifting the bike through snow, though!
You can enhance these benefits even more by running your electric fat bike with very low tyre pressures. This increases the tyre’s footprint even more, so you can ride over very soft surfaces, thanks to the extra “float”.
A Plush Ride Quality
But, you don’t need to be riding through forests, on beaches or on a snowy mountain to benefit from an electric fat bike. The squishiness of the fat tyres creates a very comfortable ride. The tyres act like the bike’s suspension, absorbing bumps, shock and vibrations during a ride. But you may want to pump the tyres up a little harder to make your pedalling more efficient.
This comfortable ride is why you find some electric commuter bikes with fat tyres. By using fat tyres rather than suspension, manufacturers can keep the bike’s price down while still creating a comfortable ride.
You can ride these bikes on lots of different surfaces. So if your commute involves cobbled streets, canal paths or rough roads, one of these bikes should be fine. However, these bikes are not suitable for riding on technical off-road roots. For this type of riding, you would need something more rugged.
What Are The Disadvantages?
As you can see, there are some excellent benefits of riding an electric fat bike. However, before you buy one, you should know about their disadvantages.
The huge size of the fat tyres gives them a high rolling resistance. This is because the larger contact patch with the ground increases friction. The extra friction makes pedalling less efficient. This isn’t much of a problem, thanks to the motor assistance. But, if you are used to riding an electric bike with regular size tyres, you may notice the electric fat bike has a reduced range.
Electric fat bikes are quite heavy when you compare them to traditional electric bikes. You will notice this more on electric fat mountain bikes due to their heavy-duty frames and wheels. Again, thanks to the motor assistance, the bike’s weight isn’t much of an issue while riding. But, you will notice the extra weight when it comes to carrying one or lifting it onto a bike rack.
We mentioned earlier that the large contact patch with the ground gives you more grip. However, in extreme circumstances, it can have the opposite effect. If you are riding through sloppy mud, the fat tyres may slide, where thinner tyres will grip. This won’t be a problem for most people, but it is worth being aware of, in case you get caught out.
Different Types Of Electric Fat Bike
Even though electric fat bikes are a niche of their own, the niche can be broken into more specific bikes. There are quite a lot of electric fat bike types to choose from, so we will drill down into each one.
Electric Fat Mountain Bikes
Electric fat mountain bikes look a lot like regular mountain bikes, but they have some very distinct characteristics.
The obvious difference is the wheels and tyres. But the frame is also much more burly to cope with the punishing environments in which they are ridden.
When you sit on an electric fat mountain bike, it will feel familiar. These bikes have the same geometry as regular mountain bikes, along with straight handlebars. Therefore, if you are familiar with a mountain bike, you won’t have any problems adapting to an electric fat mountain bike.
Some electric fat mountain bikes have front and rear suspension for extra squish. But depending on the type of terrain you ride, this might not be necessary. For many riders, the absorption from the tyres is plenty. However, an electric fat mountain bike with a quality suspension fork is nice to have.
Due to the extra weight and the technical terrain electric fat mountain bikes are ridden in, they need to have excellent brakes. Therefore, electric fat mountain bike manufacturers usually fit them with powerful hydraulic disc brakes. These will give them superior stopping power, but they also have great feel. This feel allows you to modulate your braking very well, keeping you in control during tricky descents.
Folding Electric Fat Bikes
Folding electric fat bikes are mainly used for commuting but are also great for leisure time. They are very versatile, thanks to their compactness and how they can ride over lots of different surfaces.
The compactness of folding electric fat bikes allows you to carry one in your car or on public transport. These foldable bikes are also easy to store too. The larger tyres make them a little less compact than bikes with regular-sized wheels, but they are still very convenient. Stashing one under a bed or desk is not a problem in most cases.
Electric Fat Bikes With Step-Through Frames
Electric fat bikes with step-through frames allow you to easily mount and dismount them. These are ideal for older riders or people who wear long flowing clothing. This is because it is easy to sit on the saddle without swinging your leg over the bike.
If you like to use your electric bike for shopping, one with a step-through frame may suit you well. This is because it is much easier to get on and off it at each shop.
Electric Beach Cruisers
Electric beach cruisers are a very different style of electric fat bike. They often have a vintage style, almost like an old motorbike. They have a very relaxed riding position and are super comfortable to ride.
As the name suggests, these bikes are designed for riding up and down the beach. If you ride one of these, you will make a statement and turn heads as you ride.
Often surfers use these bikes to ride along the beach to find the best waves. They can cover more ground on their beach cruiser with their board under their arm than on foot.
Some electric bikes can only be ridden when the conditions are right. Depending on where you live and ride, this can be limiting, as you may not be able to ride to work or to have fun.
But, an electric fat bike is suitable to be taken out in many different conditions. Whether it is a sunny day or ankle-deep in snow, you can ride an electric fat bike. This makes owning one a practical option, but the fun factor of being able to ride over any type of terrain and surface is addictive.
Check out our range of electric fat bikes to see which one suits you best.