Why are the e-bike sold only with heavy inefficient fat tires?

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Why do you need lighter components on an ebike? You need more durability since you ride more and longer. I've been ebiking for a two years now four seasons. I'm sick of chain and cassette replacements. My next ebike will be belt driven. I commute so I don't care about weight, I care more about durability and ability to work in the elements.
Contrary to what some here believe, I believe it's about priorities. The only wrong answer is the one that prevents you from riding when and where you want to go.
 

TForan

Well-Known Member
I would never ride a regular fat tired bike but with the power of the Bafang Ultra, you can enjoy all the benefits of them without any drawbacks because of the torque. I find them far more stable and forgiving in a rough urban setting.
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
You, OP, are wrong. Tire width does not determine efficiency. Rolling resistance is far more important. Road tires are generally narrower with lower resistance, but because they are designed for that. There are wide, low resistance tires (G-One Speed for example).

Consult bicyclerollingresistance.com for more detailed info on each tire model's rolling resistance.
 

McCorby

Well-Known Member
Why do you need lighter components on an ebike? You need more durability since you ride more and longer. I've been ebiking for a two years now four seasons. I'm sick of chain and cassette replacements. My next ebike will be belt driven. I commute so I don't care about weight, I care more about durability and ability to work in the elements.
More battery range and easier lifting/carrying are a couple reasons I can think of.....
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I have traveled thousands of miles on conventional human powered road bikes and fatter tires take a lot more energy to move down the road and I would have thought that a eBike that is going to be used on the pavement would have a narrower tire to get more speed and more miles per charge. What am I missing?

Weight is also a concern as the eBikes seem to weigh 55 to 65 lbs with the battery and 50 to 60 lbs without the battery. A normal folding bike weighs in at 25 lbs and so I am wondering where the extra 25 to 30 lbs goes. Does the motor weigh 30 lbs as that is hard to fathom.
I think the biggest thing was the looks?

I don't know how many Rad Rover owners (or any fat bike) are actually taking them to sand or snow often enough to justify fat tire.
 

cstu

New Member
Fat Bikes have their place..

they have a certain style
the tyres can add some pliancy to the ride (esp on solid fork framed bikes built at a lower price point)
they can be ridden with less drama on soft surfaces like sand

they didnt really make it in analog form, they were OK for short trips but tiring for longer use.


The electric addition makes them more appealing, easier to ride and can go longer distances if needed. They will never appeal to those wanting to cover 25+ miles per day, so the inefficiency of the tyres really isn;t that big an issue

The biggest negative with fat bikes is their rolling resistance and electric solves that problem. I wouldn't consider a fat bike as my only bike, but would an electric fat bike because it can be used on the road as well as trails.
 
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dmark

Member
First off, ebikes are sold in multiple shapes and sizes and not "only with heavy inefficient fat tires". So the question should really be: Why would anyone want to ride a fat tire ebike? Here are some related questions:
Why does the heavier Camry outsell the lighter Corolla automobile in the USA?
Why do people buy motorcycles that weigh 300 to 500+ lbs?
Why don't we see more bicycles with motorcycle engines?

Have you ever gone down a steep hill on a road bike and found yourself keeping pace with the car traffic? I have. It's terrifying. Hitting a rut at that speed could spell death. A fatter tire equals the ability to roll over more obstacles, not just sand and snow. Motorcycle tires make fatbike tires look thin by comparison.

A heavier bike equals more momentum, which equals less chance of losing control (but also more difficulty regaining control that is loss). This is also a consideration when choosing a Camry over a Corolla.

But I don't want to just go fast downhill, I also want to go fast uphill. A powerful motor is just the thing that analog fat bikes needed. But the more powerful the motor, the heavier/sturdier the bike that is needed to support the added motor weight plus motor power. This is why motorcycles are so heavy, and by comparison, a 50 to 150 lb ebike is not heavy at all.
 
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BTfl

Active Member
I think the biggest thing was the looks?

I don't know how many Rad Rover owners (or any fat bike) are actually taking them to sand or snow often enough to justify fat tire.
Here in Florida, on the roads, everything from sand to gravel and pot holes,I find the fat tires more stable across a wide variety of road hazards,Plus being able to jump off the pavement at any given time.
 

Luto

Active Member
+1, it matters which tires you choose and if they are tubeless also. The bicyclerollingresistance.com is really useful with selecting tires and trying to get more distance from your battery. IMO it is easy to "waste" energy when it is not coming from your legs!
 

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
Consult bicyclerollingresistance.com for more detailed info on each tire model's rolling resistance.
Thank you for the link, I hadn't come across it before. Interesting to see my 37mm Marathon tyres are more efficient than the 32mm Marathons I had on my previous Ebike..

Much as I chafe against the SUV-like appearance of fat bikes, when I step back and consider them rationally I only see a downside if you're a high milage rider on a budget looking to maximise your battery life, where every watt counts. Which realistically is the 0.1% of us. For the other 99.9%, enjoy that cushy ride and stability!

(They're very rare here in Australia, we just don't have the snow or ice here.)
 
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harryS

Well-Known Member
It's basically the SUV mentality in America and other countries. Riding my 20" fat tire bike is like clomping around in ski boots in the load after a day on the hills. I'm a slow pedal assist guy, but I get too much opportunity to do that with fat tires. I can get around pretty easily on 100W of pedal assist on a 35 pound bike. Its not quite enough on the 60 pound fat tire, Sure, I can go higher, to PAS2, get 140W and it's fine.

I guess it;s perspective, My old converted Trek 850 is 50 pounds with 26x1.75 tires. I think it's a light ride. I let a kid who rides a 20 pound bike try it, he loved the power but hated the tank like ride.

I like riding the fat tire in December to go look at neigborhood Xmas lites (and now snow on ground). Then it seems in the right context,
 

Ready

Member
Why do you need lighter components on an ebike? You need more durability since you ride more and longer. I've been ebiking for a two years now four seasons. I'm sick of chain and cassette replacements. My next ebike will be belt driven. I commute so I don't care about weight, I care more about durability and ability to work in the elements.
Just out of curiosity, what motor is on your bike?
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
Much as I chafe against the SUV-like appearance of fat bikes, when I step back and consider them rationally I only see a downside if you're a high milage rider on a budget looking to maximise your battery life, where every watt counts. Which realistically is the 0.1% of us. For the other 99.9%, enjoy that cushy ride and stability!

Huhhhh. I can't tell you a percent, but certainly lots of people care about ebike range, and fatbikes have worse range.

Even fuel efficiency aside, some people like to ride hummers and others Mazda Miatas, or Honda Civics. I imagine the industry likes selling Hummers because they take more abuse without failing, and attract more (recreational) interest.

I love the feeling of being oblivious to bumps in the road, and I think a plus tire, 2.4-2.8" suffices, without much weight added over skinnier tires, while still being much more efficient than fat tires. And commuter e-bikes have gradually been consolidating around plus tire sizing. With the possible exception of riding on snow or sand, fatbiking just seems like a recreational toy without a lot of upside.
 

TForan

Well-Known Member
In assist mode, yes. Even PAS level 1 completely eliminates the resistance of the fat tires, and make the bike feel just as light and responsive as the others. My mothers ebike by comparison has nice 2" hybrid tires, and with light assist it doesn't feel any smoother or lighter/quicker than my 4" tires. I think that really is the appeal of them on ebikes.
Exactly. Once you apply some power, the resistance is nullified and you get all the benefits of the fat tire. That said, I sure wouldn't ride one without electric assist. As far as range goes, I have no problem with a 48V/21ah battery.
 

kmccune

Active Member
Nothing more wrong. You must have looked at budget e-bikes popular among a certain category of mostly North American e-bike riders. While, there are all imaginable classes of e-bikes out in the market:
  • Super-lightweight e-bikes (road, MTB, commuter). For instance, a high end model of Specialized Creo SL road e-bike might even weigh as little as 26.9 lb
  • Road e-bikes on narrow, slick tyres
  • Gravel e-bikes with somewhat thicker (but still narrow) tyres
  • Hybrid e-bikes (all-rounders) with, say, 1.5" tyres
  • Commuter e-bikes with 1.75-2.4" tyres
  • e-MTB on tyres ranging from 2.2-3". By no means it is called "fat tyre". These are "off-road tyre" e-bikes, often with full suspension.
I'm sure I managed to miss some more categories. If we put the super-lightweight e-bikes aside, a typical e-bike of the categories I listed above would be 46 through 53 (most typical figure for a mid-drive motor e-bike) to 59 lbs. Don't, however, expect paying $2000 for any of them.

So, it is your choice to select e-bike of a category that fits your needs, with the appropriate tyre size for the purpose. Regarding the weight, the motor easily offsets the bike weight, even at low pedalling assistance. Only in case you need to carry your e-bike, you might want the super-lightweight variety.

You asked why e-bikes are so heavy. If we take a typical budget Chinese made, stamped, fat tyre e-bike with a hub motor, the hub motor is very heavy. Additionally, owners of such e-bikes love having extremely powerful motor & the throttle (because it is hard for them to start the ride without massive motor assistance). That calls for a very heavy battery. For typical higher quality mid-drive motor e-bike, I might quote the figures for my Specialized Vado 5.0 e-bike (the Euro Speed version):
  • Battery weight: 6.6 lbs
  • Motor weight: 8.6 lbs
  • Total e-bike weight: 53 lbs
  • Net bike weight: 37.8 lbs.
Don't tell me a regular traditional commuter bike weighs less than 37 lbs :) (Additionally, e-bike must be sturdier than the trad bike because it needs to be strongly built to be able to carry not only the rider but also the motor and the battery).
Tried a "Vado" out at "Cardinal" bikes, it peddled easy with no assist and the plump" tires( looked kinda like"Hookworms") Handled grass and pavement easily. I had my eye on the "semi-cruiser" bikes by "Specialized" Man those bikes looked sweet. The "specialized" EMTBs looked mean and ready for business
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Exactly. Once you apply some power, the resistance is nullified and you get all the benefits of the fat tire. That said, I sure wouldn't ride one without electric assist. As far as range goes, I have no problem with a 48V/21ah battery.
Not saying right or wrong, only that my take on the Bafang Ultra powered fatty vs. a hub drive with similar power running 2" tires that I ride, would be way different. Though the bikes weigh about the same, and will climb any paved hill effortlessly with my 300lb butt aboard, the bike with 2" tires feels WAY smaller and more nimble. Which would I rather have on a tight twisty single track? Either one, they're both great. -Al
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
To answer the original question, a lot of inexpensive fat tire bikes do come with cheap tires. Cheap heavy tires, and equally cheap thick wall tubes. Adds up to 2 pounds per wheel. Light weight folding bead tires can cost $60-80 per wheel retail. You're not getting expensive tires on cheap imports.

Did my annual fat tire ride a few weeks ago. Bike is put away til next Xmas. Just kidding. It was a nice night around 40F.
P1190736.JPG P1190744.JPG
 

TForan

Well-Known Member
Not saying right or wrong, only that my take on the Bafang Ultra powered fatty vs. a hub drive with similar power running 2" tires that I ride, would be way different. Though the bikes weigh about the same, and will climb any paved hill effortlessly with my 300lb butt aboard, the bike with 2" tires feels WAY smaller and more nimble. Which would I rather have on a tight twisty single track? Either one, they're both great. -Al
That's funny, what I like about my bike is it's long and stable. Not that nimble and that's OK with me. I want the stability of a big bike. I rode a Trek the other day and it seemed like a children's bike in comparison. Just a personal preference.
 

Gordon71

Active Member
I have traveled thousands of miles on conventional human powered road bikes and fatter tires take a lot more energy to move down the road and I would have thought that a eBike that is going to be used on the pavement would have a narrower tire to get more speed and more miles per charge. What am I missing?

Weight is also a concern as the eBikes seem to weigh 55 to 65 lbs with the battery and 50 to 60 lbs without the battery. A normal folding bike weighs in at 25 lbs and so I am wondering where the extra 25 to 30 lbs goes. Does the motor weigh 30 lbs as that is hard to fathom.
For me they make for a comfortable and much more enjoyable ride. As my rides are 25 miles or less efficiency is not a concern and neither is speed.