- An entry-level full suspension fat tire electric bike with unique battery rack design, adjustable integrated headlights, two backlights, turn signals and electronic horn, you also get a USB port on the display for your own accessories
- Between the lower PSI rating on the tires and basic suspension systems, the bike is comfortable to ride over bumps, one trade-off is increased frame flex and wobble at higher speeds
- Available in two colors, sold worldwide through Indiegogo with $195+ for shipping, one-year parts warranty (where they send you fixes), multi-speed drivetrain and nicer brake levers
- I feel like the brakes would work better if they were larger and hydraulic, especially given the ~75 lb weight, plastic chainring guide is vulnerable when folded, twist throttle is always live (good for advanced users but a hazard when folding if bike is left on)
If you’re interested in fat tire electric bikes and follow crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you might have seen the new MOAR eBikes campaign. Their product line is decidedly affordable, awesome looking and offers full suspension making it unique. If successfully funded, the bikes should arrive in June or July of 2017 and while I normally don’t cover pre-production stuff, I have worked with their marketing agency before and seen other projects, like the Sondors, become very successful… so I wanted to help inform those who might be new to all of this. The thing about crowd funding and online-only products is that they can change, the campaign can fail or be delayed, shipping can cost extra ($195+ in this case), there’s assembly required and you can’t usually test ride it yourself before committing to buy or “support” the project. Thankfully, at least with the Sondors ebike, the product was a big success and I think most people were happy with the delivery timeline and end product.
So I was contacted to review the mid-level MOAR 24/7 model which has a slightly upgraded battery capacity, directable headlights, a brake light, LED turn signals and an electronic horn. In many ways, this thing is approaching moped performance and utility… even moped speed, because you can unlock it to surpass the legal 20 mph limit for off-road or licensed operation. If you’re mostly riding on paved surfaces and packed dirt paths it could be a fun, but heavy, transporter. This is where some of the big questions come up for me, the axles aren’t especially strong and the frame flexes quite a bit due to the pivot points and single-tube design… perhaps the folding bit contributes to this as well? While riding without hands, I noticed significant speed wobble resonating at the front of the bike. Of course, you’ll probably ride with both hands on the bar but this simulates what could happen at higher speeds (I have experienced it and crashed before on other bikes). While most electric bicycles I review weigh ~50 lbs, the MOAR 24/7 was ~75 due to its heavy-duty frame, larger tires, higher rated motor and battery (plus the battery rack arm). This really isn’t a trail or mountain ready ebike though it might look that way. In my opinion, it’s a sporty looking neighborhood electric bike with some cool technology upgrades. Some of the most meaningful upgrades I saw on this model compared with other affordable bikes were the eight-speed drivetrain, alloy folding pedals and included LCD display. Note that the Sondors only came with one gear and you had to pay extra for the display which allowed for pedal assist. This thing gives you five levels of assist and a throttle override (with full power) from the get-go.
Driving the bike is a 500 watt internally geared hub motor from the well-known Bafang company in China. To me, it’s a solid piece of hardware that should last, I appreciate that the motor casing is fat bike specific for better spoke placement and alignment. It offers the kind of power necessary for moving a heavier more friction-full fat bike like the MOAR. And it’s fairly quiet, during my ride tests I noticed that the tires actually produce more noise than the motor. Internally geared motors are more compact and lightweight than gearless or mid-drives but they position the weight that they do add towards the rear. This is clearly a negative with the two lower level MOAR ebikes (the Sun&Fun and 24/7) because the battery is also mounted towards the back. Another area to be aware of is the electronic cable routing which strings along the right chainstay then enters the axle at the right. It didn’t protrude much but could be bent or even cut if the bike tipped over or got pushed up against a wall or thick brush while riding. The derailleur is also mounted on the right side of the bike so just be extra careful with it all, these are the sensitive bits.
Powering the motor and all of those fancy lights is a beautifully packaged 48 volt 13 amp hour battery pack. It slides easily into a custom, sturdy feeling tray and can be charged either on or off the bike. The rubber cover for the charge port can be tricky to press back in but that’s not unique to this specific ebike (come on China! please fix those…) What I really love is how slim the casing is and that it has a name-brand Spanninga light integrated along the back edge along with a large reflector! The pack didn’t rattle like some of the other rear-battery setups I’ve seen and perhaps that’s due in part to the larger tire and rear suspension. The pack locks solidly to the frame but you don’t have to leave the keys in to jingle around as you ride and apparently the final version will have bosses along the left and right as well as the bottom (where the fender is) for adding a cargo rack. Please, do be careful about how much weight and cargo you add, this is already a heavy platform and pack (the battery weighs ~8.5 lbs on its own) and adding too much more could compromise the frame and further impact handling. It might also limit how far your saddle can go down and the angle isn’t great. I’d steer clear of side-hanging panniers too because they could easily rub on the fat tire when turning, or perhaps even get caught and stop the bike. Note, there are not bottle cage bosses on this electric bike. My best suggestion for bringing stuff along isn’t a rack at all, I’d simply wear a hydration pack or normal backpack.
Operating the MOAR electric bikes is a multi-step process and a bit untraditional. Once the battery is charged and slid-on and locked you can toggle an on/off switch on the pack itself then jump to the handle bars and press the Mode button for a few seconds. From here, the display comes on but you’ll have to move back to the battery again in order to activate the Spanninga light mentioned earlier, press the rubberized power button on top of the pack. As soon as the bike is on and the display is working the throttle is live. This isn’t ideal in my opinion because the bike is heavy and you might not be finished positioning it or perhaps parking and folding it. Please be careful with the twist throttle because an accidental twist could lead to the bike taking off and tipping ton one side… and it’s heavy and sort of vulnerable (as mentioned earlier). My own approach would be to have a Zero level that is the default when powered on. In this mode the throttle would not work and you’d be able to handle the bike with lower risk of tipping or taking off. Once arrowing up through the five levels of assist, the throttle could be active and used instantly. I do like that the throttle is currently designed to override assist because it gets you going from stanstill and can be used to pass other riders or ascend a steep hill without messing with the control pad (arrowing up for higher assist). I also like how large and easy to use the display is, and that it has a USB charging port. The obvious downside to all of the display options, nice upgraded brakes and fancy aimable lights is that they crowd the handlebar. Check out the overhead picture I took of the handles and see how nearly all of the space is already taken. I do like the custom lights for safety, and they do light your way a bit! but would be careful with my knees if I were taller. The MOAR e-bike frames only come in one size and the bars are not adjustable, just the saddle height.
I personally feel that the MOAR 24/7 does a lot right but would probably opt for the higher level mid-drive Rapt model if I were going to get one of these. I like to ride more aggressively and feel that the mid-drive would offer the climbing power and reduced frame flex needed for basic trail riding. None of these bikes are going to accel on real mountain bike paths but I bet they’d do alright in some soft dirt and a bit of snow. They look very cool but aren’t as sporty and capable in real life. The suspension is very low end, especially for the rear, and the drivetrain is one of the lowest Shimano offers. I noticed a bit of chain slip while riding and would be extra careful with the mid-drive version due to added forces on the chain… not to mention the impact of the up and down motions from the swing arm. The Bafang mid-drive units I have tried don’t usually offer shift sensing so you’re combining high power with low durability parts and no buffer besides your own riding skills and experience with electric bikes. I’m not sure how many times you’d be able to successfully pull an SUV before needing to replace the chain but that was a fun marketing video on their site. Could you climb stairs? Maybe an advanced rider with some time to practice. I felt unstable at times and really had to slow down when turning due to the weight distribution and flex. But I don’t want this to all sound like a warning, I think their marketing is just that… marketing, but at least the specs, weight and story are authentic. I’m excited to see how this thing does and as mentioned earlier, I feel that they are using better parts and accessories than many other crowd funded electric bikes. You’re getting something unique and fun for your dollar here but it is heavy and there are limitations to what it can do. Note that the headlights can flash (one side or the other at a time) by turning them on and then off again to cycle through. I also want to communicate that the turn signal feature is cool but with the fender I’m not sure how visible it would be. Big thanks to the MOAR and Agency 2.0 teams for partnering with me to make this review possible, especially in advance of their crowd funding campaign launch.
- Given the low crowdfunding price, I love the fun extras and mid-level components used here compared with some other projects like the Sondors… namely, the eight-speed drivetrain, metal folding pedals and quality brake levers
- I’m glad they went with disc brakes but 160 mm rotors just barely cut it for a bike this large and heavy, it would be better to have 180 mm rotors (at least up front) and hydraulic lines vs. mechanical for easier actuation
- Unique lighting options, depending on the model you choose the bike will come with up to four wired-in LED lights! The two headlights can be aimed, the rear brake light goes bright when pulling the brake lever, there are turn signals and a more traditional red backlight
- Punched-out rims reduce weight, look neat (with the tire liner showing through) and allow for more give and cushion while riding, the PSI range was stated as 5 to 30 which allows for traction in sand or snow at the low end and efficient coasting at the higher end (the tires seemed too full during my ride tests)
- I love that the chainring has a plastic guide because I almost dropped the chain while riding hard in my review, I do wish the guide was metal instead of plastic however because there didn’t appear to be a stand to protect it while folded (you may end up damaging it if you rest this section of the bike on the ground) and if you try to navigate over logs or big rocks it could make contact
- The 12-magnet cadence sensor is responsive and you can override instantly with throttle power at all times, I like this kind of control but be careful because the throttle is always live… turn the bike off before trying to fold or lift it!
- Nice kickstand at the rear, it’s mounted properly which means your left crank arm won’t collide and you can do some chain maintenance without a full stand
- The display is large, easy to use and backlit… I love that it features a USB charging port on the left (under a protective rubber flap) so you can charge your phone, MP3 player or other portable electronic device from the main battery
- Unlike many other crowd-funded electric bicycles, this one purports to have a basic one year warranty where they will send parts if there’s a defect, I also found that their crowd-funding documentation was more accurate and less exaggerated and hyped than some past projects
- I really like the rear fender add-on but am not sure it will come with all versions of the MOAR, the battery box itself acts as a fender and works well enough as-is
- Many of the cables are internally routed through the frame, this surprised me given how large and heavy it all is, I wasn’t sure if that would compromise strength but they say the bike can still hold up to 220 lbs
- The charger is compact and lightweight, it’s not super fast at just 2 Amps but it would be easy to carry along for a refill at a friend’s house
- To activate backlighting on the display hold up and Mode, I like that when you pull the brake levers they cut power to the motor and activate a bright mode for the rear light
- The bike is heavy, at 74.5 lbs I highly recommend removing the battery and front wheel before lifting (and possibly still getting a friend to help)
- I experienced a lot of frame flex while riding, this usually happens with heavier electric bikes that have a rear mounted battery and basic suspension designs
- The folding joint mid-frame protrudes a bit on either side and I bumped my knee while pedaling hard and turning, it’s something to be careful with to avoid bruises
- While you can get three flavors of the MOAR (including at least two colors and multiple options) the frame sizes are all the same, it’s a taller bike that might not work for people with short legs and less upper body strength (just given the weight and balance of it)
- Basic suspension means added weight up front and very little adjustability in the rear (with short travel), I’m not sure the added weight and compromise on frame stiffness is worth it for the rear design… you already get a lot of cushion from the large tires, I do like that the front fork can be locked out
- Multi-step power on process requires a toggle-switch at the battery then a rubber power button at the control panel, same situation with the lights (power on the switch to activate) but I love that the key can be removed while riding
- Consider bringing along a bungee cord to keep this thing folded during transport and storage, it doesn’t come with magnets or a rubber strap like some higher-end folding ebikes
- Some assembly required! As with many ebikes using Kickstarter or Indiegogo the MOAR requires a bit of effort to unpack and setup… consider using a local bike shop to dial things in and prepare for a bit of hostility and resentment that you didn’t buy from them (it’s unfortunately but true), note also that shipping is $195+ depending on your location
- The cockpit is a little crowded with the turn signals and stuff, the display isn’t removable so it could take more damage over time, while some cables are routed through the frame there’s still a big jumble of wires at the front before they enter the tubing
- This bike positions a lot of weight high up and towards the rear, this is not ideal for handling… and while it looks like a tuff off-road machine it’s probably better suited to neighborhood riding and some light trails (note the flexy frame, thinner 9 mm skewers and low-end derailleur)
- The grips aren’t locking which means they can twist easier if you’re really holding on tight, for a bike this large and heavy that might be more of an issue as you steer with more force
- The bike didn’t shift especially well during my ride tests, the derailleur said 6-7 but the grip twist and rings numbered 8 so perhaps this is not final
- I’ve noticed that some rear heavy bikes and certain frame designs can lend themselves to speed wobble (where the front wheel and bars shake as you go faster), this happened with the MOAR so be careful when you ride to use two hands