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 Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

18 in (45.72 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

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

Frame Types:

High-Step

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:

More Sondors Reviews

Sondors Thin Review

  • MSRP: $693
  • MODEL YEAR: 2016

An affordable, light weight, single speed electric bike launched on Indiegogo offering a geared hub motor with 350 watt power in the US and 250 watts in the EU. Available in two colors: black or white, one medium size (19 inches) and a traditional…...

Sondors Ebike Review

  • MSRP: $842
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A crowdfunded electric fat bike designed to be affordable and simple, available in four colors, single speed drivetrain with throttle only. Limited power for climbing, sand and snow applications because the motor is mid-sized at 350…...

Jack Tyler
2 years 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.

Reply
court
2 years 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 :)

Reply
John S
2 years 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

Reply
court
2 years 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 :)

Reply
Mike H
2 years 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????

Reply
court
2 years 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.

Reply
Taipan
2 years 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,

Reply
court
2 years 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 :)

Reply

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Jerome Brotton
1 month ago

My newly purchased Sondors Original with less than twenty miles on it has a severe problem. I just discovered that the rear wheel has broken where it is welded together to form a circle. It's like metal fatigue. Does anybody else have this problem?

Kaeden Johnson
1 month ago

You talk too damn muchhhhhhhh

Ruckus Piper
1 month ago

Sonders is a fraction of the price of everyone else. People need to calm down.

J Clouse
2 months ago

I love your videos man, thank you! I ended up buying a 2018 X-treme Rubicon. It's currently at the shop getting assembled. I wasn't able to find any X-treme related stuff on your channel..do you have any experience with their bikes at all? The reviews that I could find (mostly on earlier models) were positive, so for the price (1,350 - 500w Bafang, 48v) I figured I'd give them a shot. Fingers crossed :)

tom e gun
3 months ago

I would like to know the bottom bracket type and size of the sonders/ sonders x bikes

Gamer12666
3 months ago

I'm having issues attempting to look at this bike on your website. An error message pops up any time I try to look at any of the Sonders bikes.

Spectre
4 months ago

the shipping is a rip off

Gary Bryan
3 months ago

Spectre I

Donna Samson
6 months ago

Maybe they can start one more car

Dylan Aust
6 months ago

would you recommend this bike overall?

TALLDARKPRODUCTIONS
7 months ago

That has really good power esp when your pedaling_ more then enough to do a few miles on the fat tires lol

Shawn Clark
9 months ago

How is it in the snow?

Anthony Steele
10 months ago

135llbs?

bdub2868
10 months ago

I paid $650, plus $100 for lcd and controller upgrade.

Danniel Brown
11 months ago

looking to buy a bike soon, sub $1,600. This , Radrover or another suggestion?

J B
8 months ago

Danniel Brown I'm in the same boat. Radrover is my top choice right now, followed by Voltbike Yukon and Sondors.

scstudios8
12 months ago

Does the fat tire need a suspension?  I haven't riden a fat tire, I would just need a little suspension for bumps, not sure how much the tires really help.

Mainer Man
12 months ago

Why did you skip right over that it is only a 350 watt motor power?

Marco Oscarson
12 months ago

How easy is it to ride/peddle when the battery dies?

Pibbles 'n Bits
1 year ago

Get Avid bb7 disc brakes....even with 160mm rotors they are more than just "okay". I feel that the BB7's are better than most 160 mm hydraulic brakes.

Ed E.J.Shonka@cox.net
1 year ago

what is your honest opinion about the sondors bike they look nice how do you feel about them

Sridevi Kukkadapu
1 year ago

He got it for $ 598