Sondors Fat Bike Review

Sondors Fat Bike Electric Bike Review
Sondors Fat Bike
Sondors Fat Bike 350 Watt Bafang Geared Hub Motor
Sondors Fat Bike Battery Box Open Inside
Sondors Fat Bike Riser Handle Bar 5 Star Brake Levers
Sondors Fat Bike Led Console Trigger Throttle
Sondors Fat Bike 8 Magnet Cadence Sensor
Sondors Fat Bike Single Speed Drivetrain 40 16t
Sondors Fat Bike Basic Kickstand Left Chain Stay
Sondors Fat Bike Optional Color Matched Suspension Fork
Sondors Fat Bike Prowheel Cranks Platform Pedals
Sondors Fat Bike Locking Ergonomic Grips
Sondors Fat Bike Electric Bike Review
Sondors Fat Bike
Sondors Fat Bike 350 Watt Bafang Geared Hub Motor
Sondors Fat Bike Battery Box Open Inside
Sondors Fat Bike Riser Handle Bar 5 Star Brake Levers
Sondors Fat Bike Led Console Trigger Throttle
Sondors Fat Bike 8 Magnet Cadence Sensor
Sondors Fat Bike Single Speed Drivetrain 40 16t
Sondors Fat Bike Basic Kickstand Left Chain Stay
Sondors Fat Bike Optional Color Matched Suspension Fork
Sondors Fat Bike Prowheel Cranks Platform Pedals
Sondors Fat Bike Locking Ergonomic Grips

Summary

  • The second fat bike from Sondors crowd funded through Kickstarter, offers slightly narrower rims and tires at 4" vs. 4.9"
  • New upgrades including three color choices, an optional larger capacity battery pack for greater range and optional suspension fork
  • One level of always-on pedal assist, throttle mode works well and the variable speed trigger stays clear of the ergonomic grips creating a clean and intuitive cockpit
  • I ended up receiving a different color than what was specified in the reward survey on Kickstarter which kind of bummed me out

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Sondors

Model:

Ebike

Price:

$693 ($499 + $194 for Shipping in the US)

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

None

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2016

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

59 lbs (26.76 kg) (62 with Suspension Fork)

Battery Weight:

5.4 lbs (2.44 kg) (5.6 lbs for Larger Battery)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Sizes:

18 in (45.72 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

18" Seat Tube, 22" Reach, 75" Length, 30" Stand Over Height

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Colors:

Obsidian Black with Hot Pink Accents, Titanium Grey with White Accents, Bright Caribbean Blue with Orange Accents

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Steel, Optional Basic Suspension

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

1 Single Speed 40-16T (No Room for Cassette, No Derailleur Hanger)

Cranks:

Prowheel Aluminum Alloy Cranks, 40 Tooth Chainring with Plastic Guide

Pedals:

Aluminum Alloy Platform

Headset:

1 1/8" with Three 10 mm Stacks

Stem:

85 mm Length

Handlebar:

Low Rise, Aluminum Alloy, 25.5" Length

Brake Details:

Tektro Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotors, 5 Star Levers with Motor Inhibitor

Grips:

Ergonomic Rubber with Lockers

Saddle:

Generic Comfort with Rubber Bumpers

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

265 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

28.6 mm

Rims:

Punched Aluminum Alloy, 59 mm Width

Spokes:

14 Gauge, Black

Tire Brand:

Chaoyang 26" x 4"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

Nylon

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Single Side Kickstand on Left Chain Stay, Plastic Chain Guide, Optional Battery Upgrade $85, Optional Suspension Fork $70

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, Plastic Battery Box with Rubber Plugs for Onboard Charging, KMC Chain, Axle Tensioner, Max Tire PSI 20 (Recommend 10 to 15 for Soft Terrain)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

8Fun

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

8.8 ah (Optional 12.8 ah)

Battery Watt Hours:

316.8 wh (Optional 460.8 wh)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4 hours

Estimated Min Range:

10 miles (16 km)

Estimated Max Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Display Type:

LED Display

Readouts:

Charge Level (Green, Yellow, Red)

Display Accessories:

On/Off Button on Display

Drive Mode:

Trigger Throttle, Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist (8 Magnet Disc)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

This second version of thee Sondors fat bike (funded on Kickstarter vs. Indiegogo) was priced well, improved upon the original and was delivered on time. My one gripe is that the color I specified in the perks form is not what arrived… but I’m not sure exactly why, it’s possible that the color I chose was not popular enough to get made? In any case, one of the downsides to this (and other Sondors electric bikes) is that it doesn’t include a warranty and support is very minimal. Even if I could send it back to… wherever, I’m not sure I’d want to because it’s very large and heavy. Not more so than the majority of other fat ebikes but without a local dealer to get help from, the burden feels larger.

I worked with a prominent electric bike store near Los Angeles called Myron’s Electric Bicycle Center to have it assembled and tuned up for this review and it cost $80. One of the main appeals for me with the Sondors bikes is that they are super affordable… even with the upgraded suspension, larger battery and assembly fee I still spent under $1,000. But note, I believe that as a backer I am responsible for paying taxes on the bike which is a bit confusing… I got this bit of information from the latest Sondors Thin campaign which states “Who is responsible for any additional taxes, duties or VAT? The backer is responsible.” in the Q&A section at the bottom.

I sold the original Sondors ebike to the store owner Sam after reviewing it last year and he still had it on the showroom floor so I was able to compare it closely with this new V2 model and this is what I found: they weigh about the same (without the suspension fork and upgraded battery) at ~60 lbs even though the new version has a stiffer Aluminum frame, they both have an always-on pedal assist that feels about the same, the tires are slightly smaller with 4″ diameter on the new one vs. 4.9″ on the original, the battery now contains premium Panasonic cells vs. generic and there are new color options to choose from. Mostly… it’s the same bike, and that’s okay. For riders who are tall enough to straddle the high-step frame with a 30″ stand over and those who appreciate the “go anywhere” beefy tires it’s pretty cool. I felt a bit limited when pedaling from rest because there’s only one gear the sprocket is smaller with 40 teeth vs. 44 so it’s easier than the original. Having only one speed means there is reduced need for maintenance and tuneups and since pedal assist kicks in quickly (if the bike is turned on) it’s not so bad. Unlike most other bikes I test, you can’t adjust assist or discern how fast you’re traveling because there’s no fancy LCD display included, what you get is a basic LED console with three LED’s roughly communicating your battery voltage (remaining energy). The trigger throttle works great and can be used from standstill which I appreciate. The throttle delivers much more power than pedal assist and allows you to hit ~20 mph top speed.

The Sondors fat bike is beautiful product to me because it balances design with price and makes a lot of good decisions around which compromises to make. It’s not a bike for everyone but it has sure generated a lot of attention for electric bicycles in general and I love that. This campaign was run very well in my mind and I felt like it was a lot less confusing and controversial than the first. Now that Sondors also has a Thin model in the works there’s even more reason to be excited as a lighter weight city-oriented rider like myself (I’m just not as interested in the large tires and heavier frame found on the fat models). My friend Sam from the shop test rode the Sondors V2 fat bike and said he felt really comfortable on it because he’s a larger guy. The suspension fork seemed wasted on me because it really didn’t activate as smoothly or frequently as hoped but then again I only weigh ~135 pounds so for Sam and people like him I bet it would offer a much better experience. The tires can be inflated to 20 PSI for the best efficiency or lowered to 10 to 15 PSI for improved comfort and traction on soft terrain. The biggest win with this ebike in my mind is the upgraded battery pack option which should offer at least 15 miles with throttle-only and upwards of 25 to 30 with assist depending on terrain, tire pressure and load.

Pros:

  • The bike was successfully delivered in late January as outlined in the crowd funding campaign, very impressive given the volume of bikes being processed by Sondors
  • Very affordable compared with other fat tire style electric bikes, I got the upgraded battery and a suspension fork for well under $1,000
  • The unique plastic frame box protects and conceals the battery, controller and wires… it looks pretty good, is color matched with the frame and has removable rubber nipples so you can charge the pack on or off the bike
  • The rims are punched out which reduces weight and might improve softness and comfort when riding over bumpy terrain, I like that they matched the color of the liner to the accents
  • The frame is made with Aluminum Alloy vs. Steel on the original Sondors and this reduces the overall weight while adding some stiffness
  • It’s great that you have the option to upgrad the battery for increased range (and that it only costs $85 extra), same thing on the suspension fork… it improves comfort and only costs $70
  • Pedal assist will help extend your range and offers a good workout, the eight magnet sensor is better than average and responded fairly quickly to my starts and stops pedaling
  • The ergonomic grips are nice and include lockers so they don’t twist, the spokes are painted black to match the hub motor and tires, the battery box matches the frame and accent paint colors
  • Because this is a single speed ebike, the chain shouldn’t fall off easily and you won’t need to get tuneups as frequently, it’s just tougher
  • The battery can be charged on or off the bike, there are rubber nipples on both sides of the battery box to switch it on or plug it in, taking the battery out can be a little tight and mine got scraped up doing so, the charger is relatively compact and light weight so you could bring it along to top-off on longer rides
  • You can get fenders aftermarket to help keep you dry and an LCD display unit to adjust assist level, show your speed and battery as well as odometer

Cons:

  • The suspension fork is pretty basic, there don’t seem to be any rebound, stiffness or lockout adjustments so the performance may vary depending on rider weight and cargo
  • There’s no way to adjust pedal assist level and it defaults to “always on” unless you purchase a compatible LCD display unit separately, I believe Lunacycle sells them here
  • There’s no bottle cage mounting point on the frame but the seat stays have threaded bosses where you could add a rack, neither wheel is quick release so you need tools for transporting and doing service
  • The disc brakes are sort of average, they require more time and effort to fully stop the bike vs. larger 180 mm rotors or hydraulic but should be easier and cheaper to repair
  • They got my color choice wrong and I really don’t think they offer a warranty or convenient way to exchange the bike, I’m not sure who to even contact for support
  • Assembly is required, it’s not terribly difficult but does take time and might not be as thorough as if you pay a shop to do it (which cost me $80) and that will help it ride smoother (request for the wheels to be trued, have the necessary parts greased, make sure they don’t over tighten screws and that they line up the bars correctly etc.)
  • This electric bike only comes in a high-step design and one frame size ~18″ which was just about right for me but might be uncomfortable to stand over for shorter riders (I’m about 5’9″)
  • Limited use on soft terrain like sand and snow because the motor isn’t especially powerful and there’s only one gear to pedal with… consider adding a schlumpf or efneo bottom bracket to add gears
  • This is a fairly large bike and there are no quick release options on the wheels which would make it easier to fit into cars or storage areas like garages etc. even though the wheel size is officially 26″ with the giant tires it’s actually ~29″ wide when inflated

Resources:

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More Sondors Reviews

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Jack Tyler
1 year ago

I gather there has been a certain amount of controversy and alleged 'hype' about the Sonders ebikes. Sonders himself seems to have become a bit of a media personality and some folks therefore worry his ebikes might be as much about 'sizzle as steak'. So I appreciated this review and Court's obvious efforts when discussing the bike to provide some balance and perspective - on the bike's components, design decisions and riding experience. Not for the first time, this EBR review is the most informative and least 'sensationalized' discussion on this model that I've come across so far. Thanks, Court.

Court Rye
1 year ago

You just made my day... thanks for the kind words and thoughtful feedback Jack. I do my absolute best to respect consumers first, then bicycle companies and also myself when creating these reviews. The goal is to set everything else aside and look at the product but sometimes the surrounding marketing, warranties and availability come into play as with the Sondors and I try to share those points in an objective way. Thanks again :)

John S
11 months ago

I'm looking into purchasing this bike for getting around town and getting to the beach. You've got a great knack for objectively reviewing these bikes. Just wanted to send out a thank you and let you know your detailed reviews are certainly appreciated. Best, John

Court Rye
11 months ago

Thanks so much John! That means a lot... I work pretty hard traveling to see the bikes and I truly want to be objective and help people find what's right for them. Enjoy the ride :)

Mike H
8 months ago

I was looking very carefully at their website about to order when I had to go back to your review because I saw absolutely nothing about a warranty of any kind - sadly I found it here ---- "WARRANTY: None". How can this be for a US company like this to offer zero warranty????

Court Rye
8 months ago

Yeah... I struggled to get any warranty information from the company when I met the founder and have since heard from customers who were not able to reach anyone for help. You could buy replacement parts but for the time being it seems like you're really on your own with the bike. Thankfully the latest bike (the Sondors Thin) was shipped really well with very few scratches or bends etc. compared to other models I'ver bought and reviewed found on Amazon.

Taipan
4 months ago

Hej Court ! On the Sondors Thin review, you mention that the EU version has a 250w and 15.5mph spec. Is it the same for the Original ? Cheers,

Court Rye
4 months ago

Hi Taipan, I was under the impression that the EU version has the 250 watt motor and lower top speed to meet European regulation but have never actually seen one in person... so it's difficult to say. What I can say is that the US version has a 350 watt hub motor and is capable of 20 mph top speed :)

Post a Comment

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Bicyclista
1 week ago

If you want "super safe and reliable" I would stay away from a crowd-funded projects which are, by definition, untested products by the market, with no consumers having used the product in the real world. I myself had a poor experience with a Kickstarter ebike conversion kit. And remember, you don't get your money back if you are dissatisfied with a crowd-funded product. I didn't.

Perhaps you are aware that Court did review the MOAR bike. While the bike has many positives, the negatives would make me stay away: very heavy (74.5 lbs), frame flexes (there goes your "super safe" requirement!), a lot of weight up high and to the rear (bad for handling and for safety).

For your budget of $1200 I can only think of Juiced Bikes CrossCurrent Air ($1,095), but I doubt you can fit a child's seat big enough for a toddler on that bike. Personally, were I looking for a bike that can easily accommodate a child seat for a 4-year old I would look at cargo bikes, such as the RadWagon, the Juiced Bikes U500 Utility Bike, or some of the other cargo ebikes that Court has reviewed. But all those cargo bikes exceed your budget, which is perhaps a bit unrealistic.

Good luck on your search!

bob armani
1 week ago

Title should say DOESN'T LOOK LIKE AN E-BILE. I just saw an article about the Volta e-bike (Kickstarter). It apparently puts the batter in the top tube and has what appears to be a very small rear hub drive. From the video it does not look like an ebike and claims a 40 mile range. My question is, How in the world would you replace a batter that is in the top tube? Am I missing something that is obvious?

Alan- I agree with all of your questions concerning this bike. Seems like a lot of e bike company specs are over exaggerated for marketing purposes. You can pretty much assume if you tackle a few steep hills and are around a 200lb rider, you can bet you will probably shoot for 10-12 miles max IMHO.

Cameron Newland
2 weeks ago

Title should say DOESN'T LOOK LIKE AN E-BILE. I just saw an article about the Volta e-bike (Kickstarter). It apparently puts the batter in the top tube and has what appears to be a very small rear hub drive. From the video it does not look like an ebike and claims a 40 mile range. My question is, How in the world would you replace a batter that is in the top tube? Am I missing something that is obvious?
I assume you'd have to remove a cover on the seat tube to get access to the top tube battery, which would be disconnected and would slide out. That's how it works on the Faradays, I believe.

Another good question about this bike: how does it have a range of 40 miles with such a small battery? I assume that its true range is <15 miles, but I haven't tested it, so I don't know.

Alan Acock
2 weeks ago

Title should say DOESN'T LOOK LIKE AN E-BILE. I just saw an article about the Volta e-bike (Kickstarter). It apparently puts the batter in the top tube and has what appears to be a very small rear hub drive. From the video it does not look like an ebike and claims a 40 mile range. My question is, How in the world would you replace a batter that is in the top tube? Am I missing something that is obvious?

Sridevi Kukkadapu
4 weeks ago

He got it for $ 598

Ray Talamantes
1 month ago

I have been thinking about getting this bike for a short commute (8 miles one way). I have a couple of questions if you would. How long did it take to get this bike from the time your ordered it? Seems like it can take some time to get it. Out of ebikes under a thousand dollars, how would you rank this Sondors?

Ronald Glab
2 months ago

Thanks for all of your detailed reviews. Still haven't decided which one to get. When your using the throttle at approx 20 mph, does the pedaling still assist since there are no gears?

Thomas Murphy
3 months ago

where does it ship from?

ben hoysradt
4 months ago

Where can you buy the V2?!? I started researching ebikes a couple days ago. Sondors seams like a viable option compared to competitors ebikes at dramatically higher price ranges. I've spent a significant amount of time researching the Storm Fat Bike V2. I've been on the Sondors website which offers the slim design, original and custom but not the V2. Do I need to visit the Kickstarter page to buy this unicorn or should I go through a dealer in California? I live in New York State and I've noticed that most electric bike reviews are coming from the western part of the country. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

Jerome Johnson
1 month ago

I'm in the same boat, contact me  niceoption2000@yahoo.om

Rubino Pride
4 months ago

I'm sold..although could make me lazy

Rubino Pride
4 months ago

you could stash weed in the box

inverted triangle
4 months ago

is it lithinium ion battery v2?

Dustin LeValley
5 months ago

I bought a mongoose Vinson fat bike a few months ago. I wish I would have saw this before that. This looks like a great bike for the price.

AckEr
5 months ago

what do you do to them? do you sell them?

Aria Mcmann
5 months ago

He was so detailed I stopped listening and fast forwarded to when he started riding the bike. That wasn't until 13:15 on a sixteen minute video. Sighs. Well, I didn't grow as many grey hairs thanks to fast forwarding.

André Gomma de Azevedo
5 months ago

I've ordered mine in August 2016 and they said they would send me on late September. I've just received an e-mail from Sondors saying that they will only deliver it in November... So, buyers beware, they may take much longer to deliver than they actually indicate...

Brian Sauer
5 months ago

Would this bike be OK out on mountain biking trails with only one gear? Or is it for street use only?

T- SLOVA
5 months ago

you have no idea how much 14:45 was satisfying to me

that awkward meme
6 months ago

Does it only ride with peddal assist

ElectricBikeReview.com
6 months ago

No, it comes with a variable speed trigger throttle stock but if you get the display panel you can change assist from the very faint basic level (default) up through several other levels. I think the display is $100+ and also gives you better feedback about battery level, odometer, speed etc.

ImSquig
6 months ago

Do you think that this bike would work for someone that is 5'2"? I want to order a couple but am worried it might be too big for my wife.

Greg Blackman
7 months ago

Dude! You paid to get it assembled hence, you should stay away from critiquing mechanical upgrades and bike maintenance Just ride and let us know how you like the ride or not.

FRESHMC2882
7 months ago

do I have to wear a helmet when I ride?

FRESHMC2882
7 months ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com nj

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

Depends on the laws where you live? I almost always wear one because I've been knocked out twice WITH a helmet and would probably be dead if I hadn't been wearing ;)

Kel Fabs
7 months ago

You should be an affiliate! Where's the link????

Matiss Toffolo
7 months ago

Can you change the tyres to thinner ones?

Schnappi
6 months ago

They sell one with thinner wheels