Surface 604 Boar E350 Review

Surface 604 Boar E350 Electric Bike Review 1
Surface 604 Boar E350
Surface 604 Boar E350 Bafang Fat Bike Geared Hub Motor
Surface 604 Boar E350 Samsung Lithium Battery 36v 13ah
Surface 604 Boar E350 Custom Handlebars Display Control Pad
Surface 604 Boar E350 Bafang Lcd Display Panel
Surface 604 Boar E350 Fsa Comet Sealed 36t Bb
Surface 604 Boar E350 Kenda Juggernaut Tread
Surface 604 Boar E350 Quick Release 15mm Thru Axle
Surface 604 Boar E350 Seat Stay Bosses For Rack And Fenders
Surface 604 Boar E350 Side View In Whistler Bc
Surface 604 Boar E350 Sram X5 Derailleur 10sp
Surface 604 Boar E350 Tektro Auriga 160 Mm Rotorf
Surface 604 Boar E350 Top Down View Brake Levers
Surface 604 Boar E350 Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform Pedals
Surface 604 Boar E350 Accessories
Surface 604 Boar E350 Electric Bike Review 1
Surface 604 Boar E350
Surface 604 Boar E350 Bafang Fat Bike Geared Hub Motor
Surface 604 Boar E350 Samsung Lithium Battery 36v 13ah
Surface 604 Boar E350 Custom Handlebars Display Control Pad
Surface 604 Boar E350 Bafang Lcd Display Panel
Surface 604 Boar E350 Fsa Comet Sealed 36t Bb
Surface 604 Boar E350 Kenda Juggernaut Tread
Surface 604 Boar E350 Quick Release 15mm Thru Axle
Surface 604 Boar E350 Seat Stay Bosses For Rack And Fenders
Surface 604 Boar E350 Side View In Whistler Bc
Surface 604 Boar E350 Sram X5 Derailleur 10sp
Surface 604 Boar E350 Tektro Auriga 160 Mm Rotorf
Surface 604 Boar E350 Top Down View Brake Levers
Surface 604 Boar E350 Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform Pedals
Surface 604 Boar E350 Accessories

Summary

  • A purpose built fat electric bike available in two sizes and three colors, optional fenders, racks, upgraded tires and suspension fork
  • Tapered head tube, 15 mm thru-axle with quick release, hydraulic disc brakes and integrated battery are sturdy and look great
  • Durable SRAM X5 drivetrain with 10 gears! wmaller 36 tooth chainring for increased climbing power, fat-ebike specific wide motor
  • No kickstand, no throttle mode, a bit aggressive with the stock bar and saddle setup, good one year warranty and history in the space

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Surface 604

Model:

Boar E350

Price:

$2,499 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail, Sand and Snow

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive, 3 Year Frame

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

20152016

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

57 lbs (25.85 kg)

Battery Weight:

7 lbs (3.17 kg)

Motor Weight:

8 lbs (3.62 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

17.5in(44.45cm) in (44.45 cm)19 in (48.26 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Small/ Medium 17.5" (593 mm Top Tube, 444.5 mm Seat Tube, 1107 mm Wheelbase), Medium/ Large 19" (620 mm Top Tube, 482.6 Seat Tube, 1134 mm Wheelbase)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

White, Black, Fluorescent Green

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Aluminum Alloy, 15 mm Thru-Axle

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Front Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 SRAM X5, PowerGlide™ 1070 11-36T Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano Tourney TX50 Thumb Shifter Plus on Right Handle Bar

Cranks:

FSA Comet 36T, Q-factor 209 Fat Bike Crankset (S/ M 170 mm, M/ L 175 mm)

Pedals:

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform

Headset:

FSA tapered 1 1/8″- 1 1/2″

Stem:

Forged Alloy Stem

Handlebar:

Aluminum Aloy Flat, 122 mm

Brake Details:

Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc with 160 mm Rotors, Tektro Auriga Levers

Grips:

Flat Rubber

Saddle:

Performance

Seat Post:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

325 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

31.8 mm

Rims:

Single Wall Aluminum, 80 mm (Optional 100 mm)

Spokes:

36

Tire Brand:

IKenda Juggernaut, 26" x 4"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Optional RST Renegade Suspension Fork (Also Compatible with Rockshox Bluto), Optional Kenda Juggernaut Sport, 26" x 4.5", Optional Aluminum Fenders, Optional Aluminum Racks (Front and Rear)

Other:

Waterproof Grade IP65 Display Panel, Locking Removable Battery Pack, Quick Release Front Wheel

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bafang

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Motor Torque:

35 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

468 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours (2 Hours for ~80%)

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Display Type:

Bafang, Fixed Backlit Monochrome LCD

Readouts:

Battery Level, Speed, Assist Mode (0-5), Trip Distance, Total Distance, Average Speed, Max Speed, (Includes 5 Brightness Settings, Walk Mode)

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad near Left Grip

Drive Mode:

Torque Sensing Pedal Assist (TMM4 Strain Sensor)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Boar E350 (and E250 in some geographies) is a purpose built fat tire electric bike from Canada. It’s a second generation model that improves on pretty much every aspect of the original Element Electric fat bike from 2014. That model impressed me based on affordability but fell short in terms of drive train quality, weight distribution and range. Maybe it’s not fair to say it “fell short”, it was just designed with an emphasis on value vs. performance and the price reflected that. Moving forward with the 2016 Boar model you get an upgraded SRAM X5 derailleur with ten sprockets and a 34 tooth chain ring (a bit smaller for improved climbing power) along with a battery that’s 30% larger, a switch to torque sensing assist vs. cadence that’s smooth and responsive, two frame size options, three color choices and the same great one year comprehensive warranty as before (three years on the frame). Warranties are great but it sounds like the company started running low on some replacement parts for their last bike and that’s something they’re looking to avoid this time around. They’ve invested heavily in the design vs. piecemealing it together and that really shows. I met a couple of reps from the company in Whistler Canada for the demo (both avid cyclists) and got some very honest feedback about how they actually use the bike… they aren’t taking it down steep mountain passes for one thing, they ride full suspension downhill bikes for that. Notice the large upright bars and relaxed saddle in my photos here and in the video. They added those parts themselves to create a more upright and relaxed ride because they use the bike daily for cross-town commuting. This thing works in snow, packed trails, sandy beach environments and is capable of pulling trailers with paddle board gear and picnic supplies and that almost makes it like an SUV of bicycles. I was definitely impressed with all of the optional upgrades including sturdy front and rear racks, aluminum fenders and suspension forks. I really love the fat tire fenders that Surface offered for their last model and heard about people purchasing them for non-Surface 604 fat bikes with good results. There’s a true “design” element to the bike and extras here that isn’t found on lower quality products. The Boar E350 does cost $500 more than the older Element model but in my view is very worth it.

Driving the bike is a wide edition 350 watt motor from Bafang. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this thing given the “average” power rating and heavier 57 lb footprint of the bike itself but it totally blew me away. I was genuinely surprised with its climbing ability, even in the lowest level of assist. Now, part of this strength might be an illusion based on having to pedal at all times to make the bike go because it uses a strain gauge TMM4 torque sensor vs. cadence sensors. This means you have to exert some force in order to activate the motor and given the weaker low-end power of hub motors, even just a little bit of pedaling can go a long way. Whatever the reason, I tested it thoroughly and had a blast. It’s surprisingly responsive, quiet and blends in nicely behind the sprockets and disc brake rotor. The silver color on the motor casing matches the spokes and the power cable is tucked away and neatly fastened to the chain stay. Unfortunately, there’s no quick release skewer at the back which would make transporting even easier but at least the battery and front wheel are removable. One big concern I had going into this review was the lack of throttle mode… it can be fun to sit back, relax and scoot around without worrying about pedaling at all (especially if you’re balancing groceries) but I get why they dropped it. For larger riders or those carrying trailers, throttle activation can strain motor and controller parts and overheat. You definitely get decreased range in throttle mode and the cockpit area becomes crowded with wires. For the Boar, the team wanted to keep things simple, clean, efficient and reliable so they put more energy into redesigning pedal assist. For those moments when you really cannot pedal there’s a slow “walk mode” that can be activated by holding down on the button pad.

Powering the Surface 604 Boar is a Lithium-ion battery pack with 36 volts of power and 13 amp hours of capacity. This is a step above average in my view and will extend range and power throughout your ride by maintaining a higher voltage. The cells inside are from Samsung and the pack weighs about seven pounds total. It locks to the downtube and can be charged on or off the frame which is great. There’s a charging port at the bottom of the pack (near the seat tube) with a rubber flap to keep water and debris out. Also included here is a USB power port for running portable electronic devices! I like that the port is not protruding from the side (where it could get kicked) and that you could run a wire up the seat tube with zip ties or velcro and use it for your GPS or even lights. Speaking of lights… the 2014 Element Electric had an integrated rear light and that has been dropped for the new Boar model. It’s a bit of a bummer but I’d rather have the lower more balanced battery design than the rear light. The majority of cycling accidents happen at the front of the bike but you’d be wise to grab a set of lights like these to cover both bases. Surface 604 had to custom design the frame to work with this new battery pack and that’s a big reason the price of the bike went up but they didn’t limit how and where they improved things and I appreciate that. the fork is custom made to work with their oversized basket rack and uses a sturdy thru-axle which makes swapping to a suspension fork possible. Okay, other thoughts about the battery… I don’t love that you have to power the battery on before activating the display panel. It’s a two step process that takes a bit longer and can become confusing. I frequently forget to turn the battery pack off after rides because I’m so focused on the LCD when riding and this can drain a bit of capacity unnecessarily. There’s a handy LED charge level indicator built into the top of the battery that comes in handy if you’re storing it inside and wondering how full it is but the dark lens above it makes it difficult to read in even average lighting conditions. This isn’t exactly Surface 604’s fault, the battery is made by Bafang who makes these decisions, a side mounted LED readout would be preferable to me. To really care for this (and most) ebike batteries I recommend storing in a cool dry environment and maintaining a 20% to 80% charge. Check in on it every few months if you haven’t ridden but rest easy knowing that you can get replacements (or extras) for ~$500. If you do begin losing capacity ofter 1,000+ cycles the charger could become your best friend because it’s so compact and light weight ~1.3 lbs. I could see myself taking it along with a “glove box” bag or the rear rack bag thing along with a lock.

Operating this e-bike is fairly straight forward (once you’ve turned the battery and display on). There’s a small independent button pad connected to the main display and this improves the ergonomics and safety of switching assist levels (0 to 5) or checking your odometer, trip distance, average speed and max speed. On the demo bike I was riding for this review there were extra long cruiser bars installed and the button pad wouldn’t reach all the way out to the grips but on the stock bars it does. As mentioned earlier, I was impressed with the power output even in the lowest level of assist. It definitely slowed acceleration and limited my top speed in the lower levels (as intended) but the bike didn’t struggle in grass, packed sand or forested trails. The LCD console on this bike isn’t removable but it does swivel and the readouts are large. You’ve got your speed, assist level and a really nice battery level indicator with ten bars. Many other electric bikes I test have just five bars and this makes it difficult to gauge how much has really been used… With the Boar, there is some instant-drop on the indicator when climbing hills vs. flats because power is surging to the motor and voltage drops but all in all the display still works well. Outside of the electronic interfaces, the grips are sort of generic rubber and the levers are standard (but feel great because they’re pulling hydraulic vs. mechanical). I love the trigger shifters here vs. the larger thumb shifters that came on the older model. Often times with fat bike reviews I’ll try to rationalize these larger shifters because you might be riding in snow and have gloves on… the larger shifters work alright with gloves and fat fingers so it’s a wash. But on the Boar, with 10 speeds it’s nice to have the faster, better indexed trigger shifters. It’s definitely an upgrade in terms of quality and performance.

Fat bikes are fun and electric fat bikes just make sense to me. The extra weight, increased friction and drag of the tires and cargo potential just beg for assistance and the Boar satisfies this need without being obscene. It’s efficient, relatively quiet and fairly stealth. While riding around Whistler I commonly received interested looks and questions from people struggling up hills on traditional unpowered bicycles. Several times I heard enthusiastic shouts of “big tires!” from little kids and that made me smile. If you really want attention the fluorescent green color scheme would certainly do it but I like the traditional white and black; black would be the most clean because the battery would blend right into the frame along with the cables. At the end of the day I think the Surface 604 team really nailed it with the new design. I wouldn’t have minded slightly larger 180 mm disc brake rotors and a trigger throttle could be handy while keeping the grips in tact but I see why the trade offs were made. I do appreciate the lightweight punched out rims and the ability to swap forks along with the fenders and racks. With the increasing popularity of mid-drive motors it’s easy to forget just how effective a hub motor can be and it definitely delivers a different type of ride… often at a lower price. The Boar E350 optimizes this type of setup and ranks among the most fun, sturdy and beautiful fat tire electric bikes I’ve tried in a long while. It’s an above-average ebike that was thoughtfully designed by a team of passionate riders.

Pros:

  • Available in two frame sizes for improved fit, sloping top tube makes it easier to stand over the frame at rest
  • Two custom designed sturdy racks available for added utility, Rear rack has pannier blockers and standard gauge tubing, the front rack will only work with the solid fork that comes stock with the bike (not aftermarket suspension)
  • 10 speed drivetrain with durable SRAM X5 components, works well for climbing or pedaling at higher speeds
  • Optional aluminum fenders specifically designed for four inch fat tires, optional 4.5″ tire upgrade, optional suspension fork: RST Renegade (also compatible with RockShox Bluto
  • Sturdy purpose built frame with integrated wires, inset battery, tapered head tube and 15 mm thru-axle in the front I also like the larger metal platform pedals
  • Hydraulic disc brakes are easier to actuate and fairly smooth, the 160 mm rotors work alright and provide decent stopping power for the larger 57 lb ebike
  • Ebike-specific motor from Bafang is wider which might add strength to the spoke design and also seems to provide good torque when powering the wheel
  • Torque sensing pedal assist is very responsive and helps to extend range because you have to pedal along, the five power levels felt great
  • The display panel has five levels of brightness so it isn’t as distracting for night riding, the panel also swivels to reduce glare during daylight hours

Cons:

  • Pedal assist only configuration, there is a ~4 mph walk mode that be used as a slow throttle but in general you have to pedal (chosen to declutter the cockpit, improve climbing performance and extend range)
  • Costs ~$500 more than the first generation Surface 604 electric bike (the Element) and does not come stock with the rack or integrated tail light on the battery… but the balance is much better now and the components are quite a bit better
  • No bottle cage bosses here but the front and rear rack options are awesome and you could get a trunk bag with a bottle slot like this
  • In its current form there is no kickstand, the seat is fairly hard and the handlebars are far forward (having two sizes helps for fit), I prefer the more relaxed customized form you see in the video review and images
  • The battery has to be turned on independently from the display panel, the LED indicators on top of the pack are kind of dark and it’s easy to forget to turn it off after a ride

Resources:

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Comments (14) YouTube Comments

jazz99
4 years ago

Thanks for the review. Pretty sharp looking fat eBike. I didn’t think 350watt rear hub would be adequate for the weight of this Boar but as you pointed out it is more than enough. My only real hesitation would be the lack of throttle. I think it is a nice feature to have and I don’t think I would buy a bike without one. I do peddle 95% of the time but that 5% I do want to throttle only.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Honestly… I feel the same concerns, I put “no throttle” at the top of the cons list with this in mind. I see why they made this choice but I like to have the ability to ride the bike in different ways. Still a great bike but it seems like keeping the throttle on (or just a slim trigger throttle) could have been cheap and would have added versatility.

  Reply
Zak
4 years ago

I have been waiting for this bike to come out for some time now… Looks like a really nice package overall. A bit concerned the 350W hub motor might not provide quite enough power for my intended riding (singletrack with quite a few hills and snow as well). Having a real hard time deciding whether to pick up one of these or build up a Trek Farley 5 or Norco Bigfoot using the BBSHD kit (with Dolphin pack battery) from Lunacycle. Any advice would be greatly appreciated? Thanks a bunch!

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Those all sound like great options but the BBSHD is pretty sweet… way faster if you want to go off-road and unlock it and you’ve got the efficiency and climbing power of a mid-drive along with quick release options for your wheels, better weight distribution too. I just reviewed the BBSHD from e-RAD which has shift sensing and it was built into a fat bike… I haven’t reviewed Lunacycle’s stuff but it’s probably similar. Hope this helps! I really liked the Boar E350 and it climbed well enough for me, actually felt very strong for a relatively average sized motor.

  Reply
Ad-B
4 years ago

Great review. Thanks, though I wasn’t entirely convinced of the logic of reviewing with the totally different bars than it’s supplied with ;) Looks like a nice package. I have 2 questions that I couldn’t really answer from the review . 1) Wondering if it’s realistic to expect to be able to take one of these (with the front fork option) off road & on rocky trails with steepish inclines? 2) If a rider of over 6 foot could get away with the M/L size by putting a longer stem on?

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Good point, I normally strive to review ebikes as stock as possible… this was a bit of an exception based on time constraints. The guys had been experimenting with a bunch of different builds and I figured it would be fun to test their custom setup for variety. As far as off-road with steeper terrain, I’m definitely in favor of the suspension for for comfort though it does raise the price and weight. Depending on your body type and size you may have success climbing… I was very impressed with how it performed in my limited test going off-road at Whistler. For taller riders, yeah the longer and taller stem would help but also extending the seat post and maybe considering different riser bars but make sure they are tight if you’re going off-road so you don’t hit a bump and have the bars swivel forward or down with the extra weight and force :)

  Reply
Jack
4 years ago

Court, you couldn’t have picked a better setting for a review of this kind. Really puts one in the right frame of mind! But good grief, what a terrible (terrible!) place for the charging power connector. I’ve seen perhaps 5 reviews now of bikes with this battery form factor, yet not a single mention of this location at the bottom of the down tube & behind a flimsy rubber cover. Moisture penetration and corrosion of the connectors are inevitable and not just for folks riding seaside trails where salt penetrates everything. Let’s also consider the composite water/chemicals mix that stands on streets after a rainfall. Every bike brings its own set of compromises, to be sure. But let’s consider how frequently you mention the value of being able to charge a bike’s battery without removing it from the bike. To the extent that’s a ‘Pro’, then surely the potential loss of that power connector with time and usage is a ‘Con’. And when the power connector’s + and – short? Yikes! (You might ask Mark Wanger or someone of comparable technical knowledge about this location to hear what they think).

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

I see your point Jack and understand the concern. I haven’t dug into it as much because it’s not a problem I’ve experienced (due to lack of time with one particular model and exposure to the elements). The downtube should block a lot of moisture but I could see how splashing from shoes and legs could get onto the cover. Here’s a better shot of the rubberized cover, it appeared to seal well during my best but I’ll dig a bit deeper next time I come across a model with this same battery design. Have you personally had issues with battery port corrosion? Parts of my car, traditional bikes and tools have all experienced rust over months and years of use so I can see how this migh thappen with an ebike and the battery port as well. If the rubber cap is used and the pack is wiped down with a dry or slightly damp rag after rides the issue should be significantly reduced I would think? Storing inside in a cool dry location would also help to extend the life of the cells while reducing damage from salty air or humidity and extreme temperatures :)

  Reply
Jack
4 years ago

Thanks for giving this some thought, Court. As for the ‘cover’ offering protection, the rubber will harden as it ages and doesn’t appear to offer a true seal in the first place. Corrosion is an insidious thing and especially so in coastal climates (where I would think fat bikes might be quite appealing). Perhaps it’s many years of experience on boats and coastal living that color my concern. There’s no real way to ‘wipe off’ the connector’s internal surfaces…and of course, plugging in a USB cable eliminates even the partial protection offered by the cover. This battery’s form factor may be new enough that we haven’t seen corrosion issues appear yet…but I’m pretty confident it will.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Well, you’ve got a solid point there! Several actually… Thanks again Jack, I’ll be sure to mention these things in the future for this and other batteries that might have design concerns for wet/messy environments :)

  Reply
Dave Dempsey
3 years ago

I am seriously thinking about buying an electric bike and leaning towards the the Surface 604 Boar.
In that price range of around $3000 is there any other consideratoins I should check out. I do like what the Boar has to offer and I see they have carbon fibre frame ebike coming out soon too. Should I wait for the ebike carbon Surface to arrive or go with the boar for now, or is there something better I should be looking at that offers the same as the Surface ???

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hi Dave! I really enjoyed the Boar E350 and appreciated some of the upgrades made to it from the original Surface 604 fat bike… This is always a difficult question answer as we near mid-season and you start hearing about next-year models. In my experience, it’s easy to get excited and feel like waiting but then regret it later as bikes hit shipping delays and you miss out on today’s good riding. This happened big time in 2016 with some ports (in Los Angeles) being nearly frozen due to strikes and other issues. I know a lot of people who had to wait longer than they would have preferred for their dream bike. The current Boar E350 is solid and if you can get it from a shop today they I would not hesitate… unless you don’t plan on riding it right away, it that case waiting could make sense.

  Reply
Peter
1 year ago

We are very disappointed with our Rook. Our local dealer has told us that the company knows the console on last year’s model does not accurately reflect the range but has no plans to do anything about it. They have apparently fixed the problem on later models but are leaving us out in the cold. As well, our battery has no range. Typically, it will go for about 24 – 30 km and then die on the next steep hill. Our dealer has said that Surface 604 admits the true range is close to 50km and further, that it must be plugged in before every trip.

This has not been our experience. The battery dies after less than 30km on a 3% grade where the battery is either off or on level 1 pedal assist. Finally, Pro Surface has not done anything to help. Sorry for the bummer on this bike.

  Reply
Court
1 year ago

Aww, that is a bummer! I appreciate you sharing this lackluster experience, to help others, and do hope that Surface can help you in some way. I visited their HQ and saw lots of replacement parts. Have you reached out directly to them? Range is a highly variable stat, it depends on so many factors, but having the battery die is something else… maybe there’s a bigger issue here or something faulty with your specific pack?

  Reply

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