- 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
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.
- 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
- 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
- Official Site: http://gosondors.com/
- Kickstarter Page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gosondors/sondors-electric-bike-most-affordable-ebike-ever/description
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/AAc2i2bi6NKyyJij7