Fat-tire electric bikes are a dime a dozen nowadays, but which are the best?
From stable and user-friendly bike path cruisers to high powered bruisers built for hunting and heavy off-road use, e-bikes with fat tires are having a bit of a moment right now.
Whatever your reason for wanting a fat e-bike, the Electric Bike Report staff of experts and bike geeks have tested some of the best money can buy.
Birthed from Alaskan snow and New Mexican sand, the ancestors of modern fat bikes first came about in the 90’s as a means to explore (and race) in terrain unkind to your typical bicycle tire.
Think mud, deep sand and soft snow. They’ve had high-points of popularity in recent years, but it wasn’t until the rise of the electric bike that we saw the masses rolling around on fat tires.
Motors made the heavy, relatively inefficient bikes more friendly to ride and people seem to like the big tires because they give you a feeling of confidence and stability — not to mention many think they just look cool. Their popularity has exploded, and fat tires have been adopted into nearly every category of e-bike.
So which is the best fat-tire electric bike for you? That’s a tough question with an answer that differs from person to person. We’ve compiled this list of fat-ebikes to help you suss out the best fat-tire bike based on your specific needs. You’ll likely notice this list is almost entirely made of full-sized fat e-bikes, so if you’re looking for a more miniature or folding variation, check out our folding e-bike best list.
Our Best Fat-tire Electric Bikes for 2022
– bike 1
pros and cons
– bike 2
pros and cons
– bike 3
pros and cons
– bike 4
pros and cons
– bike 5
pros and cons
How we picked these bikes
This list is a mix of bikes we’ve tested on our home roads and paths of southwest Utah and other e-bikes we’re including on merit alone or because so many of our readers have raved about them. The bikes we’ve reviewed have been put through a rigorous gauntlet of testing meant to paint a picture of how they accelerate, brake, handle and climb hills in the real world. We also put them through a series of range tests to answer the all-important question of how far you can ride them on a single charge.
To make this list, we evaluated the best fat-tire e-bikes based on a few key criteria. Mainly:
- Range:It takes a lot of power to spin tires this big, so does the bike have a battery to back up its tread? There’s a reason fat bikes saw a boom in popularity after e-bikes came around. Simply put, they’re inefficient and not super pleasant to pedal without at least a little assistance. Bikes that make this list need to have batteries that will last.
- Quality and affordability:This category of e-bike in particular is flush with affordable e-bikes designed to maximize performance without draining your wallet. It’s also a category where we see lots of first-time buyers. So what are you getting for your money and is it built to last?
- Speed and power:Fat bikes are the brutes of the e-bike world. They typically have some of the larger motors among their peers, and all that power raises some important questions: Exactly how fast can the bike go and what does that power feel like when you’re riding? Is it delivered in a safe and measured way or does the bike leap from underneath you?
- Comfort and efficiency:Because of their sheer size and the weight of their tires, fat e-bikes run the risk of being uncomfortable or downright difficult to ride. These bikes need to have balanced handling, geometry that’s comfortable but pedaling-friendly and a motor strong enough to keep everything rolling.
- Usefulness:Do the fat tires add something to the bike other than looks? Fat tires can do lots of things to a bike, both good and bad. In our opinion, the best fat-tire e-bike needs to be more stable, more capable or more comfortable.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the best fat-tire e-bikes. Considering how many of them there are out there, a comprehensive list of that sort would be very, very long.
What this list is, is a compilation of the best bikes we’ve tested and bikes we’ve heard about non-stop from our readers, but haven’t gotten to swing a leg over yet. Know of a bike you think should be on this list? Shout it out to us.
Bottom line: Fat tires have made e-bikes more approachable
Few of the bikes on this list will likely ever tread into the truly difficult terrain fat bikes were originally designed for, and that’s OK.
The hunting e-bikes are an exception to that statement, but by and large, your average fat-tire e-bike rider probably isn’t picturing slop, sand and snow as their ideal day out on the bike. Most of these bikes will live their lives putting in miles on paved paths, gravel roads and maybe some very light-duty trails. So why choose fat tires over a traditional bicycle tire? The answer is simple: Because they feel more stable and are more confidence inspiring, especially to newer riders or those venturing off-road for the first time.
E-bikes have made bicycles far more accessible and appealing to people who before never thought of swinging a leg over a human-powered machine, and that’s a wonderful thing. But these new bike riders have lots of questions and maybe even reservations about traction, capability and whether or not they’ve got enough contact with the ground to keep themselves tire-side-down in corners or under hard braking. Fat tires help with that.
Sure, there’s a whole contingent of outdoorspeople who have very real concerns about floatation and traction, and companies like Bakcou and QuietKat have delivered bikes that’ll romp through the backcountry with abandon. But by and large, your average fat e-bike rider just wants to feel secure on their bike. Or, if we’re being totally honest, they just think the big tires look really cool (we do too).
Whether you’re a backcountry enthusiast, a rider looking for the feeling of stability or a person who just thinks the big tires look cool, you’ve come to the right place.