Taking the best parts of fat bikes and e-bikes has always made sense. Extra-wide tires (four inches or more) boost comfort and rollover capability, while an electric motor takes the grueling effort out of powering the big bike. And we’re starting to see reliable electric fat bikes dip below the $1,500 threshold, making them an attractive proposition for anyone looking to explore all types of terrain. Check out our top five electric fat bikes of the moment, and keep scrolling for buying advice and more details on these rides.
Fat Tire E-Bike Pros and Cons
Putting massive tires on a bike means a few trade-offs. Here’s what you should expect.
High-volume tires allow you to run low tire pressures, and low tire pressures typically beget a more comfortable ride. Fat bike tires take that notion to the extreme. Whereas you might run 60+ psi for a road bike, 40+ psi for a hybrid, and 20+ psi for a mountain bike, fat bikes allow you to ride with as little as 5 to 10 psi in your tires. You’ll want to add pressure for pavement and remove air for off-road riding—there are plenty of helpful guides online, like this one from MTBR—but the overall decrease in tire pressure allows the tires to compress over bumps, smoothing out the ride for you.
Another benefit of big tires and low tire pressures is off-road ability. Fat tire e-bikes can traverse snow, sand, mud, and some mountain bike trails, depending on trail difficulty and your own handling skills, of course. With slightly higher tire pressure, they work well on pavement, too, using the big tires as suspension to smooth out bumpy pavement.
Fewer, But More Inconvenient, Flat Tires
Fat bike tires can go flat for a variety of reasons, but one advantage to the construction is their resistance to pinch flats: The tire sidewall is so tall that it’s more difficult to compress it fully and pinch the tube against the rim. Still, you’re susceptible to punctures and tears from off-road and urban riding, and carrying a fat tire tube is more inconvenient than a normal tube. If you flat on the wheel with the hub motor (all five of our picks have this style of motor), you’ll have to unplug the motor to disconnect the wheel and change the flat. We’d recommend practicing this at home so you know how to do it on the road, and carry an extra tube, flat kit, and pump. If you’re plagued by punctures where you live, consider investing in a pair of tire liners to fortify your rubber.
How We Chose
The fat tire e-bike category is expanding rapidly, and we’re seeing new brands pop up seemingly every month. There are more options than we’ve included here, but we stuck to bikes we’ve tested and brands that maintain a solid track record of customer support. We’ve ridden and tested every bike on this list but the RadRover; given our experience with three other Rad Power Bikes, we feel confident including it as well. We’ll update this list in the future as we test to include more bikes and brands, so let us know in the comments if there’s a particular one you’d like us to review.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 5
Power: 750W | Weight: 69 lb. | Max assisted speed: 20 mph
The RadRover is likely the most popular fat tire e-bike in the U.S., according to import records (it produces its bikes in China) that show Rad sales surpassing other domestic competitors by a significant margin. So think of the RadRover as the Ford Model T of fat tire e-bikes: Cheap, reliable, and for everyone. There’s ample power from a one-horsepower geared hub motor to help you get the 69-pound bike up to speed and mechanical disc brakes to stop it. Puncture-resistant, four-inch-wide tires reliably help you get where you’re going. A comfort saddle, fenders, and integrated lights round out this well-equipped adventure machine.
Power: 500W | Weight: 67 lb. | Max assisted (and throttle) speed: 20 mph
You can identify e-bikes from Latvian entrepreneur Storm Sondors in part by the distinct front-triangle battery pack—and because they’re so affordable. For less than the cost of most non-electric fat bikes, you get one with a motor, and you’ll find few cheaper ways to hit the road (or gravel path, or sand, or light singletrack). There’s a throttle and a grip shifter for ease of power delivery and gear changes, although it’s too easy to twist the grip shift unintentionally over rough terrain. The 500-watt hub motor is powerful enough but wails like a dying animal when you show it a steep hill. And the Sondors X handles unlike any bike we’ve tested. The moment you lean into a corner, the shifting momentum of the high-mounted battery dives the bike deeper into the turn, forcing you to push your inside hand just to maintain the angle. It’s controllable once you get the hang of it, but we wouldn’t suggest high-speed maneuvers or trail riding, which was terrifying on the big, suspension-less bike when we tried it. On all other fat-biking surfaces, the Sondors X is an unbeatable buy.
Rad Power Bikes RadRunner 1
Power: 750W | Weight: 65 lb. | Max assisted speed: 20 mph
Rad designed the RadRunner to haul cargo while being nimble enough to outrun your deadlines. The step-through frame has mounts for front and rear racks, and you can also opt to buy the $99 center console to add a third storage option between your legs. For the front and rear racks, options include baskets, bags, insulated bags, platforms, panniers, and more. And there’s a solid e-bike beneath all that utility. The 750-watt rear hub motor has enough torque to take you and all your stuff up hills and across level pavement at a comfortable 20 mph, and the 3.3-inch-wide Kenda K-Rad tires balloon out over rough pavement and rocks, allowing you to take the RadRunner 1 (and whatever you choose to put on it) almost anywhere.
Power: 500W | Weight: 66 lb. | Max assisted (and throttle) speed: 20 mph
With a front suspension fork and four-inch-wide tires, Aventon’s Sinch broadens the types of terrain on which you can ride your folding e-bike. A 500-watt motor gives you the power and torque you need to climb hills, and a throttle gives you the option of not pedaling at all. Its off-road stature means the Sinch isn’t the most portable folder on this list; it’s 66 pounds and takes up nearly 17 cubic feet while folded. That means the Sinch is better for people buying a folding e-bike to take up minimal space in an RV or apartment, not those needing to carry their bike regularly.
Juiced Bikes Scorpion
Power: 750W | Weight: 100 lb. | Max assisted (and throttle) speed: 28 mph
The Scorpion rides the line between e-bike and moped; it’s 100-pound weight and lack of saddle height adjustment makes it fairly useless as a bike when the battery is dead. But to ride as an e-bike, it’s an absolute hoot. There’s pedal-assist and a throttle, giving you the option to ride it more like a moped when you’re not in the mood to pedal. The squishy (and badass-looking) dual crown fork and rear coil shocks give you a superbly smooth ride, and the wide, thick tires cling to the road. Combined with the weight of the bike, the suspension and sticky tires mean you can use all of the Scorpion’s performance on crappy pavement and over loose and bumpy terrain.
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