Does anyone have experience or knowledge to share about Fat Tire bikes?

stevenast

Well-Known Member
There's been some discussion about fat tire bikes:
- How do they handle and corner at speeds of 20 miles per hour or so?
- On pavement? Off road?
- How are they for riding longer distances?
- Will a motor turn one of these bikes into a decent commuter?
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Disclaimer: I don't own fat tire eBike nor have I ridden a fat tire eBike
Qualifier: I own two fat tire bikes and ride them

The following is only a personal opinion and to a degree an attempt to have fun.

It is logical but one must say that compared to regular bikes, Fat bikes are slow. The tires are noisy on the paved road. Pedaling a fat bike on a paved road, to a degree, makes you feel like that guy:



having said that

Fat bikes are great fun on the beach where regular bikes can't go and where mountain bikes experience hardship. Riding one in the morning at low tide with the joggers and walkers while the sun is rising (east coast) is pure bliss. Find a long enough beach (our longest is 7.5 miles) and you got yourself a nice 15 mile bike ride.

Fat bikes are great fun to ride on snowmobile trails and snowshoe trails. Find a trail with mild, rolling hills, through a forest that acts as a windbreaker and you got yourself a nice way to spend a winter day.

Fat bikes are great fun to ride on mountain bike trails. They roll over roots and rocks better or comparable than a mountain bike (sort of). For me, ideally on moderate ups and downs.

Fat bikes are great fun to ride downhill at ski areas where you can take them up on a lift - disclaimer - I have never done that :) but I have biked and hiked up a mountain and rode the bike down. I wouldn't want to say that hiking a fat bike up a mountain is great fun though haha.

Fat bikes are great as an access vehicle to remote locations that lack nice hiking trails but have dirt roads. Awesome on this type of multiday camping bikepacking trip.


Here is where I think fat tire eBikes would be really great:
Snow and slightly deeper snow.

Fat biking in new unconsolidated snow is pretty much bad. No matter how wide your tires are or how fit you claim to be you still breathe a sigh of relief when you get on more consolidated snow. the deeper the snow and depending on your fitness you will not be able to ride some of it. Adding electric motor to the mix will give you the extra percentage to ride in deeper snow and of course on snowy uphill section you would have had to hike up.

ebike Fat biking in the snow could be great if your commute is on unpaved roads. That means that after a few winter storms you either have to hike the trail with snow shoes to pack it down or stop riding altogether. Adding eBike Fat Bike to your commuting mix could extend your biking season and add another fun twist to the route.
 
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pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
I'll say a few things! Before I start, there is a metric ton of useful info on tires in the fat bike sub forum over at mtbr. Fat-bike.com is also a good resource with lots of tire and fat specific predict reviews.

There are a couple of known pretty bad tires, specifically vee missions and vee 8s - these were very common on a lot of bikes, however this has been changing recently (none of the newer electric fat bikes have them, seems as though the kenda juggernauts are becoming more of a standard - and they are significantly better!). I have had the vee8s on my current fat bike, as well as a set of 45nrth husker dus and I just bought a (single) 4.5 kenda juggernaut to try out. This is a bit larger than the other tires I've had, but still rides very well (though it has obviously more resistance, I'd say about 15-20% more than the 4 inch tires I've run previously).

The tires known to have trouble with self steering seem to have too much contact patch with the road/surface. In my limited experience the knobbier tires provide some separation from the pavement, enough to eliminate the self-steer issues.

Regarding tires at speed, I have a pretty good dip long dip with a couple of curves (one tight) on my ride to the bus stop that gets me up to at least 20mph, and the husker du and juggernaut tires handle the speed and corners without issue - in one direction it is a hard corner at speed, through some grass and over the curb and I barely notice any of it! The fat tires are very forgiving and comfortable riding without any suspension.

That leads me to ride - fat tires actually roll quite well at speed, and the extra cushion of the tires to me (a big guy) matches any front suspension I've had on a normal mtb. Long rides should not be an issue comfort-wise. I think with proper tire inflation for the road a fat bike actually will make a decent commuting bike - we'll hear more I'm sure as they seem to be starting to pick up in terms of sales and different options out there.
 

vincent713

Active Member
Awesome inputs on fat tires! I currently own a mtb ebike but I have converted it to more of a hybrid with a more upright sitting position. I live in a suburb where I ride mostly on flat pavements with a few hills here and there. There are also a few open field grass where I ride to fly my RC helicopters. I like the looks of fat tires and considering it to be my next ebike. I've seen some fat tires with a shape of a spider on the treads, are these any good or bad? Here's a bike I found for $1600 shipped to my door. Has a 500watt rear motor, 48v 10mAh, 6 speed rear Shamano, dual disk brakes and LCD display. What do you guys think?0840A41C@C5ECBC6D.421C4155.png 0840A41C@C5ECBC6D.421C4155.png
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pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
The spider tread tires are all show but a no-go - junk that you'd have to replace (and will likely self-steer like crazy as the tread is shallow and will have too much rubber contact with the road).

That bike looks alright, priced in the with most of the market currently for entry level. The battery is decent if they are using good cells (Samsung seem to be the standard), if you could confirm that info with the seller it would be good info to have.

I know there are controversies surrounding some of the current crowd-funding fat bikes, but I have thrown my hat in the ring for a Radrover - I think it has better specs than that bike, for less, though you'd have to wait a few months for the bike to arrive. The campaign owners have been solid with answering questions posed and have an established background in the electric vehicle industry (even if they are essentially shipping a spec'd bike from China in the radrover). If you go with the bike above, you are still buying a Chinese spec'd bike with lower end components, just from someone who chose to purchase the bike in bulk rather than use crowd-funding to help fund their purchase/order. That is my 2 cents on that subject anyway :)
 

vincent713

Active Member
The 48v battery on that bike is from Samsung. I did come across the Radrover when I was doing research on fat tire bikes, it was $1099 + shipping at the time and currently still same price, how much did you pay for it? At the current price for this bike it's still a good deal. Let's face it, everything is made in China these days, even high end clothes and purses. A lot of the ebikes sold in the US are imported from China. The key components are motor, battery, controller and derailleur. Anything else you can replace or upgrade for cheap. The Radrover looks really nice and the specs looks promising but the only thing I don't like is the placement of the controller.That spot is a magnet for mud and water. Would be nice if it came with fenders. I'm still shopping and browsing to see what is out there. I've never purchased anything from a crowd-funding and of course this makes me skeptical. I hope you get your bike soon and maybe you can sell it to me for $1099? j/j :)
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
I got in at the start so $999 plus shipping (actually was in for one of the partial payment options $549, with the remainder due when the bike is actually shipping). I'm sure a shield could be rigged to protect the controller, agree it isn't the best spot but it is fairly common anyway. And you're spot on about Chinese goods, but I appreciated that the campaign owner didn't try to pass it off as an in house custom design, but simply parts chosen based on their own building experience in the industry.

First thing I'm going to do with the radrover when I get it are see if the 4.5 inch juggernaut tire I just bought fits on the front (it should) and the rear (it might), but the 4.0 juggernauts should be a good tire right from the start too. Also swapping the freewheel to a 7spd dnp 11-32t (the shimano one coming on the bike is only a 14-28t range). If I weren't comfortable doing some of that stuff myself I'd probably stay away from the crowdfunding bikes.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Hope you guys start a fat ebike thread and educate the rest of us... IMO they are slow heavy and handle like poo... But I'm willing to be swayed!
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
Those trails are not everywhere. In the DC area we have a lot of paved trails which are connected, I could ride forever almost and not leave a trail, I am not familiar w even 1 mtn trail such as the one talked about here
 

vincent713

Active Member
JoePah - this thread IS dedicated for fat tire bikes and we're all learning and giving our inputs. Hopefully everyone who has a lot of knowledge can shed some light so others can learn from it. :)
 

vincent713

Active Member
Although there are a lot of bike trails where I live, I've never been on one. I live in a suburb and mostly ride on pavements, there are quite a few occasions where I ride off road at a close by field. I like to cruise around and explore surrounding neighborhoods within 20 - 30 mile radius. The only thing I'm afraid of with a fat tire bike is running out of battery juice. I would HATE to pedal it home especially if I'm 20 miles away from home and it's dark. The current ebike I have now have 2 inch tires and I can feel the exhaustion just pedaling 5 miles.
 

jazz

Well-Known Member
I have ridden a fat bike (non electric) a few times and find them fun to ride. They handle pretty well and ride smooth. I have only used them on light trails but they handled it with no problem and I think the wider surface area is a plus. Seemed very stable. Worked pretty well in sand. Never tried snow though. I would like to have a fat ebike .
 

vincent713

Active Member
I came across this fat tire ebike online, so simplistic in design yet has everything I want in an ebike. I love the battery and controller location makes it clean, hidden and flows with the bike so smoothly. I like the looks of a cruiser style with fat tires, it has an upright comfortable sitting position. If I had this bike, I wouldn't even pedal even though it has multi gears. I would cruise around in it like a moped. Throw in some half fenders to give it that bobber style look and it would be PERFECT!

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vincent713

Active Member
Do any of you guys know how to install a head light using wires from the controller that runs off of the main battery?
 

Marty

Member
Thinner tires roll easier, get better range and are more fun to ride.
 
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Marty

Member
Although there are a lot of bike trails where I live, I've never been on one. I live in a suburb and mostly ride on pavements, there are quite a few occasions where I ride off road at a close by field. I like to cruise around and explore surrounding neighborhoods within 20 - 30 mile radius. The only thing I'm afraid of with a fat tire bike is running out of battery juice. I would HATE to pedal it home especially if I'm 20 miles away from home and it's dark. The current ebike I have now have 2 inch tires and I can feel the exhaustion just pedaling 5 miles.

I ride 28 x 700C in some mild off road places, and it works pretty well. A bike should ride as well with the motor off as well as on, don't you think?
 

vincent713

Active Member
Marty - it depends on what type of riding you are into. Commuter, cross country, exercising, recreational etc. you would build or buy a bike that suits your purpose. As far as fat tire bikes, I would use it for commuting through rough terrain or recreational using mostly throttle mode.