SSR Motorsports 500W Sand Viper Review

Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Electric Bike Review 1
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Internally Geared 8fun Hub Motor
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper 48 Volt Removable Downtube Battery
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Display Panel Twist Throttle Ergonomic Grips
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Monochrome Lcd Display
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper 7 Speed Shimano Acera
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper 26 4 Fat Tires
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper 48 Volt Battery Pack
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Battery Tag 48v 10 4ah
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Geared Hub Motor 8fun
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Integrated Led Headlight
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Matching Rear Carry Rack
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Padded Comfort Saddle
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Plastic Chain Guide 12 Magnet Cadence Sensor
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Promax Seat Post Dimensions 28 6mm
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Electric Bike Review 1
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Internally Geared 8fun Hub Motor
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper 48 Volt Removable Downtube Battery
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Display Panel Twist Throttle Ergonomic Grips
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Monochrome Lcd Display
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper 7 Speed Shimano Acera
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper 26 4 Fat Tires
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper 48 Volt Battery Pack
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Battery Tag 48v 10 4ah
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Geared Hub Motor 8fun
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Integrated Led Headlight
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Matching Rear Carry Rack
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Padded Comfort Saddle
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Plastic Chain Guide 12 Magnet Cadence Sensor
Ssr Motorsports 500w Sand Viper Promax Seat Post Dimensions 28 6mm

Summary

  • Powerful, well balanced, affordable electric fat bike with pedal assist and throttle mode (including throttle override)
  • Great extras including front and rear LED lights, matching rear rack, seat post suspension, ergonomic grips and padded saddle
  • Only available in one frame size and style, several color options, solid one year comprehensive warranty

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

SSR Motorsports

Model:

500W Sand Viper

Price:

$1,799 USD

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Trail, Sand and Snow

Electric Bike Class:

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

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

62 lbs (28.12 kg)

Battery Weight:

8 lbs (3.62 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

18 in (45.72 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Matte Black, Matte Red, Gloss White

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

7 Speed 1x7 Shimano Acera

Shifter Details:

SIS Index Shifter on Right Bar

Pedals:

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform

Headset:

Neco

Stem:

Adjustable Angle

Handlebar:

Low Rise

Brake Details:

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

Grips:

Rubber, Ergonomic

Saddle:

Padded Comfort

Seat Post:

Promax Suspension Shock

Seat Post Diameter:

28.6 mm

Tire Brand:

Chaoyang, 26" x 4"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Single Side Kickstand, Integrated 7 LED Headlight, Basic Independent LED Backlight (Uses Two AAA Batteries), Plastic Bash Guard Pant Protector

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, Quick Disconnect Motor Cable, Quick Release Front Wheel

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

8Fun

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

499.2 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Display Type:

Fixed Monochrome Backlit LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Battery Level, Assist Level (1-5), Odometer, Trip Distance, Current

Drive Mode:

Twist Throttle, Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist (12 Magnet Pedelec)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Sand Viper is an electric fat bike from SSR Motorsports (known for designing gas powered scooters and motorcycles) that’s feature rich and value priced. The first iteration of this model offered a modest 350 watt motor that was decent for paved rides and hard packed trails but somewhat limited on actual sand… It just wasn’t powerful enough and steering suffered with the added weight up front. The price was excellent at $1,399 and sales picked up. Based on customer feedback and dealer interest, SSR dove back into the design process improving pretty much everything about the original bike while also introducing a larger motor option for $1,799 which this review centers on. Here’s a list of what they improved in five short months between my last review and this one. They moved the motor to the rear wheel for improved handling and drive traction, put a quick release skewer on the front wheel to ease storage and transport, swapped out the grips for softer more comfortable version, added an adjustable angle stem to improve ergonomics and fit, added a rear LED light to balance out the integrated LED headlight, added a bolt-on rear rack for transporting cargo, relocated and reinforced the kickstand and changed to a sealed cartridge bottom bracket for improved durability in dust, sand and snow. Pretty awesome right? I was impressed with these upgrades and thoroughly enjoyed the 500 watt version because it accelerated and climbed better. While this isn’t nearly as capable as something like the Felt Outfitter or Haibike Fatsix (because it uses a hub motor vs. mid-drive), it’s still a great option for moderate paths and packed sand or snow.

Powering the 500W Sand Viper is an internally geared 500 watt hub motor from 8Fun. As mentioned earlier, it’s mounted in the rear wheel which is ideal for frame strength, steering and traction. The black casing matches the tires, kickstand, cassette and other highlights and looks especially good on the matte black model I tested. SSR also makes a matte red or gloss white if you’re interested in something brighter. On the left side of the motor you’ve got a 160 mm mechanical disc brake with Tektro Novella calipers and on the right you’ve got a seven speed cog set with mid-range Shimano Acera derailleur. In my opinion, the bike could benefit from larger 180 mm rotors because it’s fairly heavy at ~62 lbs and the mechanical design just isn’t as powerful or fast as hydraulic. There’s always some trade offs made to keep prices low and the brakes fall into this category but aren’t a deal killer. The brake levers themselves are nice with rubber veneers on the front edge that improve grip and dampen vibration. They include integrated motor cutoff switches which are useful in pedal assist mode (especially because these bikes use a very responsive 12 magnet pedelec design). I noticed that the chainring was a bit smaller than standard and this made starting and climbing easier when paired with the lowest gears, good choice for a larger fat bike. Seven speeds is decent for urban riding and mid-level trails and I was delighted to see Acera vs. Tourney because it’s a step up and should perform at a higher level and require less maintenance. Drivetrain aside, it’s nice to have throttle on demand so you don’t have to pedal at all to get the Sand Viper moving, just twist and go.

Powering the bike is a well placed Lithium-ion battery pack offering 48 volts of power and 10.4 amp hours of capacity. The shell is commonly called a “dolphin” in the industry and is one of my favorite designs because it has a locking core for security, LED power level indicator built in (useful for checking charge status when the pack is stored away from the bike) and a female USB port for use with portable electronics! The cells inside the pack are 18650 style Lithium-ion that should age well if stored in cool dry environments and kept between 20% and 80% ongoing (extreme heat and cold can damage batteries so I usually keep mine inside). Just behind the battery, mounted on the seat tube, is a controller box that manages power transmission throughout the electric bike. With both of these black boxes taking up most of the inner triangle on the frame, there’s no room for a bottle cage to mount but the addition of a rear rack somewhat addresses this. You can always get a cheap bag with integrated bottle holster to stay hydrated or wear a CamelBak. In general, the battery keeps weight low and centered on the frame and I like that most of the power cables are internally routed through the frame. This isn’t as fancy as some high-end electric bikes that offer custom frame-mounted batteries like the Polaris Sabre but the cost savings is a draw for sure and the power of a 48 volt system is very noticeable.

Activating the Sand Viper is a two step process, once the battery is charged and mounted you press the silver circle on the left side of the pack and then the top gray rubber button on the LCD display console. Once these steps are complete, the monochrome display comes to life and shows your speed, current (how fast you’re depleting the battery), assist level, battery level and an odometer or trip meter. To switch between odometer and trip meter just press the down arrow twice quickly. I really like how simple this display is, if you press power quickly one time while the bike is on the headlight will activate and a backlight will illuminate the LCD itself for easier use at night. The rear light is independent which means you’ll need to bend down and press a rubber button to get it switched on… and this is an area of limitation because the light might be left on accidentally after a ride and eventually you’ll have to replace the two AAA batteries inside to keep it going vs. the headlight which will always run off of the main battery pack. I also noticed that the backlight can end up being blocked by the carry rack (or a bag you fasten there). This situation is exacerbated by the seat post suspension element located towards the top of the post (where the light would be most visible). Not the end of the world though, the light is easy to unclip and re-fasten to a bag or your backpack or helmet (if you get a sticker adapter plate). Back to the LCD… there is a “throttle mode” you can reach by arrowing all the way down (the first little block will blink) and five levels of assist to arrow up from there. Assist is super responsive in the highest level, almost too responsive because the motor is so quick. I found the third and fourth levels to be just about perfect and it was great seamlessly switch into throttle mode without messing with the display because the throttle overrides. If you don’t want the throttle getting in the way, you can press the little red button just below the half-grip twist and it will de-activate. This could be useful if you’re riding on bumpy terrain in a lower assist level and don’t want your tight grip on the handle to accidentally activate the motor and create instability.

I’ve tested a lot of fat tire electric bikes in the past year and the Sand Viper is one of my favorites. Even the original version without the design improvements felt solid and offered a lot of value. You can still get a 350 watt version (with improvements: rack, adjustable stem, light etc.) if you’d like to save money and don’t need the extra power found on the 500W version here. As an anecdotal aside, thousands of people have been thrilled with the recent Sondors ebike that’s also a 350 watt fat bike priced under $1,000 but in my opinion the additional gears, lights, rack, local availability, year long comprehensive warranty, larger battery and fancy LCD computer found here are well worth the upgrade. The 500 watt model just takes the original one step further and is ideal for larger riders or those interested in taking the roads and paths less traveled. It’s not a perfect ebike but for the price it’s very good :)

Pros:

  • Quick release on front wheel and removable battery pack make this fat bike lighter and smaller for easy transport or storage
  • Offers both pedal assist (five levels) as well as throttle on demand and even includes a throttle off switch… Basically you get every type of drive mode
  • Backlit LED screen is easy to see and navigate while riding without taking your hand off the grip, controls the headlight which runs off the main battery
  • good weight distribution with a mid-mounted battery pack on the downtube, battery is locking and removable for convenient charging and lighter transport of the frame, it also includes a USB charging port for portable electronics!
  • The large 26″ x 4″ tires add some cushion and the padded saddle and Promax seat post shock add some more, nice extras that make distance riding more comfortable
  • Low-rise handlebar, ergonomic grips and adjustable angle stem reduce hand, arm and back fatigue when adjusted properly
  • Oversized SIS Index shifter may be entry-level but works well on fat bikes like this which may be used in the snow… easier to shift gears when wearing gloves thanks to the big levers
  • Oversized Wellgo platform pedals feel stiff and offer great traction (important for snow-riding when it’s wet and you’re wearing boots)
  • Available in matte black, gloss white and matte red frame colors (the paint looked very nice to me considering the price point)
  • Solid Tektro mechanical disc brakes with average-sized 160 mm rotors, these are controlled by Tektro e-bike brake levers that cut power to the motor when pulled, the levers are upgraded and include rubber for improved grip and vibration dampening
  • Upgraded sealed cartridge bottom bracket should be more durable when exposed to dust, sand, snow and water
  • Sturdy side-mounted kickstand keeps the Sandviper from tipping over at bike racks, it’s mounted towards the back to avoid contact with feet while pedaling
  • One year comprehensive warranty serviced through dealers, pretty solid for a 500 watt ebike under $2,000

Cons:

  • Downtube and seat tube are both taken up by the battery and controller box respectively, this means there is no room for a bottle cage mount
  • You have to turn the battery pack on before you can turn the LCD display panel on and begin operating the bike, this could cause some confusion
  • Rear light sits a little low due to the suspension seat post and runs on independent AAA batteries so it’s easier to forget to turn off than if it were integrated
  • Only one frame size available at ~18″ in the high-step style, might not work for everyone but the adjustable stem helps

Resources:

More SSR Motorsports Reviews

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SSR Motorsports Sand Viper Review

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Comments (11) YouTube Comments

VB Ebikes
4 years ago

I like the value in this bike. You get a lot of e-bike for the money here. How did the cockpit feel ergonomically during riding Court?

  Reply
Court Rye
4 years ago

Yeah, it’s a solid deal for the money… one of the more complete fat e-bikes I’ve tried at that price (given the gears, assist and throttle and rack). If you go fast and the tires are really full it can be uncomfortable off road (much like a city bike) but with a bit of reduction in air pressure and possibly a seat post suspension it can feel great! I’m just really sensitive with my back and neck :)

  Reply
Rachael
4 years ago

Hi, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time researching electric fat bikes and watching your reviews. I live in Anchorage, AK and want a bike that can handle the snow as well as haul my two young kids. I’m tired of towing chariots. My hope is to use the handlebar mount iBert I already have a mount another seat to the rear rack. I’d like the assist to enable us to go further & not have the ride be a slog for me on our uphill treck home. This bike has almost everything I wanted in a fat bike (rear rack, upright position, smaller frame size, lights) except I wanted front suspension and fenders. Do you know if front suspension can be added? Any recommendations for the best electric assist fat bike for hauling two kids? Thanks!

  Reply
Court Rye
4 years ago

Hi Rachel! For the price I really like the RadRover because you get a suspension fork and the motor and battery are fairly large and powerful (similar to the Sand Viper). Neither have fenders, you might be able to get some from Surface 604 as they offer them through their website but I can’t say for sure whether they’d fit perfectly or not. The Boar from Surface 604 is another quality fat ebike with optional fenders and suspension straight from the company but their motor is a touch smaller and the price is quite a bit higher. For the best power, range, comfort and balance I’d recommend the Haibike XDURO Fatsix if money isn’t an issue but fenders will still be something extra you’d have to figure out ;)

  Reply
Rachael
4 years ago

Wow, fast reply, thank you so much. My only problem with the rad rover is the front handlebars are little more of an aggressive forward lean than I wanted but if I can alter those handlebars a bit and have it be more upright I will get one of those. They now sell the bike with a rear rack which I will need for the back kid seat and they there are a lot closer to Alaska. They quoted me about $200 to ship to Anchorage so that’s doable. Thank you!

  Reply
Rachael Gaedeke
3 years ago

Do you know if anyone makes an electric bike or assist kit that charges from the act of peddling? And if not, why not? Thanks

  Reply
Court Rye
3 years ago

Hey Rachael! There are several electric bikes that charge when you activate the brakes and some that can be set to regeneration mode to capture electricity as you pedal but it’s rare because it’s not very efficient and adds complexity to the design. Those ebikes usually have a gearless motor which uses larger magnets that tend to be heavier (vs. geared which still uses magnets but converts faster spin into torque through the gearing system). So you get a bike that’s heavier and always drags a little bit due to “cogging” which is gentle regeneration that’s always happening because there’s no freewheel action. Ultimately, you might get 10% energy recapture but that’s almost offset by the added weight. Most of the energy is converted to heat in the transfer process and when you really dig into it… most humans eat food that is grown far from their home and shipped with big trucks then stocked at a store then carried to the home and cooked then eaten and digested and converted from chemical back to mechanical energy by pedaling. It’s hugely inefficient compared with burning some coal and transferring electricity (or better yet wind or solar panel). Hope this makes sense!

Scott
3 years ago

Hi, I purchased a step through raleigh electric venture for my self last year. But always loved the sand viper and Rad rover. My wife and I have been riding together with a regular bike and she can’t keep up. Thinking about the sand viper or rad rover. I would give her the venture. They don’t make the electric venture anymore but I need a bike that rides good due to bad back. I have a local dealer that has been selling the 500 watt sand viper like hot cakes. But I like the rover for its larger motor and front fork suspension. I weigh about 235 lbs. I like the set up buttons and handle bar better on the viper. Is there a way to add a front suspension fork for the viper? Which one would you recommend? Should I sell the venture and get two of the same bike ? I think local service is important (viper). Let know your thoughts, Thanks

  Reply
Court Rye
3 years ago

Hmm… I like the Sand Viper and am a big fan of buying local if you can, I believe it comes in different motor sizes so the 500 watt would be very similar to RadRover’s 750 (at least in my opinion, haven’t tried their latest build). Maybe talk to the shop about a custom suspension fork? One alternative would be to ride with lower pressure in the tires and use a suspension seat post like Thudbuster or Body Float and some larger bars :)

  Reply
Randy
3 years ago

We bought the 500 watt Sand Viper for my 13 year old son and I love it. Immediately ordered 2 more for me and the wife. Other fat tire e-bikes in this price range typically had a lower end bicyle and/or electronic components (ie battery, motor, computer). This is a good all around package at a good price. The battery life is still unknown, since we’ve rode the first one for 15 miles and the battery is nearly fully charged (LED meter on the battery and on the computer). I typically ride it in the pedal assist mode at level 3 (1 thru 5 available). I find a good mix between getting a little excercise and extending the battery life. Fenders would be nice if you ride in the rain or mud. I haven’t yet looked to see if you can buy them, but I will get them if available. I can’t wait for my bike to be delivered. I highly recommend this bike.

  Reply
court
3 years ago

Awesome! Thanks for the feedback Randy, it’s great to hear that your entire family is getting out to ride together. When I was younger my Dad (who is also named Randy) bought the entire family rollerblades and we learned how to stop together on the slanted front driveway. I ended up getting very good at it, rollerblading to school, delivering newspapers and even learning how to do spins and flips in the half pipe! Anyway, your comment reminded me of these great times together :)

  Reply

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