A fat tire electric bike occupies a grey area between the standard mountain bike and the MX motorbike. They are trail ready, tough as nails, yet also perfect for riding to work on gnarly city streets. They’ll take you deep into the backcountry in pursuit of game or let you ride the ridge and take in the sunset.
There are a dizzying array of fat tire electric bikes on the market today. And it can be difficult to know which is worthy of the sometimes significant investment. So we’ve done the legwork for you and determined that the following represent the best fat tire electric bikes available today.
1. W Wallke 750 Watt Fat Tire E-Bike
Our favorite fat tire electric bike, the W Wallke 750 Watt Fat Tire E-Bike is a beast on the road. But more to the point it’s a great electric hunting bike. It has the insanely high clearance you typically see in BMX bikes with front and rear shocks, 4 inch tires and even a mobile phone holder on the handlebars.
The dual hydraulic disc brakes can stop you on a dime. And that’s a good thing. Because with the 750 watt motor you’ll be able to work up quite a head of steam. The 7 speed Shimano dial transmission ensures rapid fire shifting while the light weight of the bike enables you to make the most of every gear.
2. Swagtron EB-6 Bandit E-Bike
The Swagtron EB-6 Bandit just about has it all: looks, durability, enough power to satisfy most and an affordable price. It’s going to awaken the off-road fanatic in you with its 7 speeds, aircraft grade aluminum frame, dual disc brakes and 350 watt motor.
The huge 4 inch tires make short work of potholes, tree roots and rocks. And the dual lever actuated disc brakes will bring you from a gallop to a full stop in seconds. You’ll get 20 miles from a full charge and double that if you alternate between motor and pedals. It’s a great introduction to fat tire electric biking.
3. Cyrusher XF660 1000W Electric Mountain Bike
The Cyrusher XF660 glides effortless down city streets and doesn’t blink an eye when you veer away from the pavement and head off road. With a 1,000 watt electric power plant, a full instrument console that lets you monitor speed, battery power and more and 26 inch ultra-fat tires you’ll skip over hill and dale without breaking a sweat.
We love how responsive this bike is. How easily it slips between peddle mode, power assist mode and full power mode. And how quickly the front disc and rear drum bring you to a complete stop. In pedal assist mode you’ll get up to 50 miles from the lithium-ion battery.
4. Addmotor Motan
The Addmotor Motan isn’t messing around. It sports a 750 watt rear mounted electric motor, a 7 speed Shimano gearbox and Mozo 100mm travel suspension on the front forks. The frame is crafted from aircraft grade 6061 aluminum alloy and things are brought to a stop courtesy of the HD-E500 hydraulic disc brakes. It has outstanding ground clearance like the best MX or enduro bikes and you’ll get up to 55 miles in pedal-assist mode.
It’s very responsive, faster than you expect it to be and the Samsung lithium-ion battery is sealed away behind a keyed lock for its protection. It’s going to cost more than some others but you’ll feel every buck they invested in R&D when you’re bounding along the trail.
5. Ecotric Fat Tire Electric Bike
The Ecotric Fat Tire Electric Bike has a 500 watt motor that will take you 25 miles on full electric power and double that in pedal assist mode. It has a 7 speed Shimano gearbox, tough 4 inch tires, plenty of ground clearance and a rugged aluminum alloy frame.
There’s a built in instrument panel that shows speed, battery status and more and Tektro disc brakes front and rear. It’s missing a few of the bells and whistles of the higher end bikes but it’s not going to shy away from the toughest terrain and it’s a joy to ride under electric or peddle power.
6. Eahora 500W 4.0 Fat Tire Electric Bike
Eahora provides you with an embarrassment of riches in the form of their 500 watt flat tire backcountry e-bike. That includes the smart LCD screen to the Shimano M370 Thumb Shifter to the 500 watt brushless electric motor that will top out at 30 mph under its own power.
The 48V 10.4Ah Samsung lithium-ion battery provides reliable power and recharges from empty in less than 6 hours. And speaking of recharging: the bike also features the company’s E-PAS system that partially recharges the battery as you go, greatly extending mileage in both battery only or peddle assist conditions. A must for hunters in pursuit.
7. Swagtron EB-8 Outlaw Fat Tire Electric Bike
The Swagtron EB-8 Outlaw features the insane clearance and control of the BMX bike. It features a 350 watt brushless electric motor that’s whisper quiet so you won’t scare game or wake up sleeping campers. For that reason it’s one of the best electric hunting bikes around.
There’s front and rear suspension that laughs at obstacles and invites air time, 3 riding modes, 20 inch wheels that promote maneuverability and disc brakes front and rear. As a significant layer of icing on the feature cake this puppy folds down easily to fit in the trunk. The perfect fat tire bike to take on vaca.
8. Aostirmotor Electric Mountain Bike
When you’re skipping along a backcountry trail on the Aostirmotor Electric Mountain Bike you’re going to wonder if you grabbed your MX bike by mistake. If you’re a fan of design you’re going to love the look of this bad boy.
But more than that you’re going to appreciate how the design elements enable performance. With a robust 750 watt power plant, rear suspension fork, front and rear disc brakes and lightweight 6061 aluminum alloy frame it’s built to punish the trail, instead of letting the trail punish you.
9. Shengmilo S2600 Electric Bicycle 1000W
Think about everything you want in a fat tire backcountry e-bike and you’re likely to find it all in the Shengmilo S2600. Start with the hungry 1000 watt electric motor. Move on to the dual disc brakes. Continue on to the 21 speed transmission, the 60 mile range in pedal assist mode and the lightweight aluminum alloy frame.
And just for good measure there’s the outrageous clearance that’s made for trail riding and the fact that the whole thing folds up nice and tidy and slips into your trunk. You’re going to pay more, but you’re going to get more.
10. Addmotor Hithot Electric Bike
The MX aesthetic finds its ultimate expression in the Addmotor Hithot Electric Bike. This is an outstanding backcountry bike that will skip along trails and slip through streams with the greatest of ease.
It’s light enough and quiet enough that you can take it hunting and the combined weight of gear and bike won’t drag you down. There’s front and rear shocks, front and rear disc brakes and a 500 watt motor that accommodates 300 lbs.
What is a Fat Tire Electric Bike?
A fat tire electric bike is one that has the oversized tires of a regular fat tire bike (typically 4 inches wide), but also has a modest electric motor that aids in propulsion. The fat tires enable you to navigate poorly maintained roads and to take your bicycle off road whenever you wish. While the electric motor helps you conquer hills and takes over whenever you just want to concentrate on what’s in front of you.
The fat tire electric bike is a kind of hybrid that combines the fun and outstanding exercise potential of the bicycle with the exhilarating possibilities of the MX or enduro motorcycle (1). You have the option to pedal to your heart’s content or to switch over to the motor to enjoy some cruising or help you get up a particularly nasty hill. The motor also allows you to take a break from pedalling so that you don’t wear yourself out pursing your quarry.
What are the Benefits of Owning a Fat Tire Electric Bike?
They’re versatile – The vast majority of electric bikes are built to travel nice smooth paved surfaces like roads and sidewalks. This is great except that sometimes when you get to the park on your electric bike you want to go off road. Can’t do that with a standard electric bike. For that you need the durability and shock-absorption of a fat tire electric bike. In addition, if you wake up one morning to the first snow of the year you can pretty much forget about riding a standard electric bike. But with a fat tire electric bike you’re good to go in any and all conditions.
They enable your adventurous spirit – Wherever 2 wheels can go your electric fat tire bike will take you. That kind of versatility is nothing to sneeze at. It’s the kind of thing that enables you to indulge your inner adventurer. Use it to pursue game, to enable your backcountry camping trip or just for a life-affirming trail ride. You’ll find yourself in locations that take your breath away. And you’ll see the world in an entirely different light. Which is the ultimate goal of adventure to begin with.
They’re fun – At the heart of the bike riding experience is the simple truth that riding a bike is a lot of fun. You figured that out when you were a kid and first learned how to stay upright on your bike. And it’s a fact that doesn’t wane with the passage of time. Your electric fat tire bike takes this fun principle and ratchets it up several notches. It removes the discomfort associated with navigating rough pavement and adds the ability to go off road without taking your life in your hands.
They require very little maintenance – The fat tire electric bike occupies a middle ground between the mountain bike and the MX or enduro motorbike. Although they have a modest electric motor and drive mechanism they’re nowhere near as complex or maintenance intensive as their gas powered cousins. They also won’t leave you stranded in the desert the way your enduro bike will if you run out of gas (2) or experience a mechanical failure. If you exhaust the charge on the fat tire electric bike you just disengage the motor and pedal your way home. Try doing that with an MX motorbike.
They’re safer than motorcycles – With enduro or MX motorcycles the speed involved means that you often don’t see the hazard until it’s too late. The result is thousands of serious injuries every year with the most common being broken collarbones (3), dislocated shoulders (4), broken wrists and broken ankles. With a fat tire electric bike you’ll go wherever the enduro bike will go. You’ll just go a bit slower and have a better chance of avoiding injury.
Enhanced overall health – A bike that enables you to ride year round on any terrain is going to enable better overall health. A lot of people put their exercise routines on hold during the winter (5). They’re disinclined to run when there’s 6 inches of snow on the ground. And forget about trying to ride your expensive racing bike in the snow. The fat tire electric bike, however, does not look at less than ideal conditions and see obstacles. It sees opportunities. And as a result you’re able to maintain optimal health all year round.
What Should You Look for in a Fat Tire Electric Bike?
There are a number of things to keep in mind when shopping for a fat tire backcountry e-bike. These include:
Your weight – The heavier the rider the harder the electric motor is going to have to work. So if you’re a big person a 250 watt motor probably isn’t going to be sufficient to pull you up that steep mountain path in pursuit of game. You’ll want to consider a 750 watt motor. Maybe larger. On the other hand, if you’re slender or of smaller stature that 250 watt motor will probably serve you just fine. Especially if you plan to use the bike mostly in the city.
Battery life – This is another fundamental consideration. Because a 1,000 watt motor won’t do you much good once the battery dies. While there are some sleek, state of the art e-bikes that will get a couple of hundred miles from a single charge, it’s unrealistic to expect your fat tire electric bike to get more than 30 or 40 (6). And if you stick to the mountain paths you can expect about half that. Also, you’ll want a battery that’s not going to fail after a dozen charges (7). A good lithium-ion battery should last for at least 1,000 charge cycles.
Multiple modes – Most every decent fat tire electric bike will offer multiple performance modes. That is, they’ll allow manual drive, pedal assisted drive (8) and full electric drive. Manual means you can disengage the motor and ride it like a regular bike. Pedal assist means the motor is pitching in and ensuring the peddling stays at an even pace. And full electric drive means you are no longer peddling and the motor has taken over completely.
Other considerations – In addition to the fundamental considerations listed above you’ll want to consider other things. Like whether the battery comes with a key lock in order to prevent theft. Whether the bike has front and/or rear suspension. Whether you have to remove the battery to charge it or if it has a built in USB port for charging. The weight of the bike. The material used to make the frame (it should be both light and tough). And, of course, both the price and the look of the bike.
Does Pedalling Charge the Electric Motor?
The only bike on our list that will accomplish this feat to any extent is the Eahora E 1.0. That bike uses a proprietary system that will recharge up to 45% of the battery capacity over the life of your ride. This extends the range in pedal assist to as much as 80 miles. It’s a pretty safe bet that this is a feature that’s coming to most or all e-bikes in the pretty near future. But until then, if you have reason to believe that you’ll run the bike hard enough to deplete the battery when you go out then pick up an Eahora or make sure you have a spare, fully charged battery with you at all times.
Are Fat Tire Electric Bikes Waterproof?
The short answer is that they are water resistant but not waterproof. Some are highly water resistant. They’ll stand up to a steady shower, won’t shy away from a good slog through the mud and won’t shut down if you plow through a fairly deep puddle or two. But that’s not the same as being truly waterproof. For instance, don’t think you can navigate rivers with them. Or that you can put your feet up and ride through 3 feet of water for a hundred yards or so with the motor submerged. Not gonna work.
Also, you need to be sure how you store your bike and the condition it’s in when you put it away. If you’ve been out riding in the rain and you just plop it in the garage all wet when you’re done you’re going to have problems stemming from corrosion (9). Not good. So before you rack the bike make sure you dry it off as best you can. And never leave it sitting around outside for days at a time. That’s just asking for trouble.
Are Electric Bikes Legal?
A lot of people conclude that, because a fat tire electric bike has a motor, that means you need a motor vehicle license to operate one. It’s a logical conclusion. And understandable, given most government’s propensity to require a license or permit for everything but breathing. Happily, however, no such special license is necessary to operate an electric bicycle (10). At least, not yet.
Why? It has to do with the nature of the propulsion. With a standard motorcycle there is only one means of propulsion. You turn the throttle and the engine moves the bike. Not so with a fat tire electric bike where the electric motor can be disengaged at any time. And just in case you’re wondering, you also don’t need insurance like you do with a car or motorcycle. And, because it’s not a licensed vehicle, you can take it on any path where normal bicycles are allowed.
The Bottom Line
The fat tire electric bike is opening up new landscapes for whole generations of backcountry enthusiasts, hunters and fitness freaks. Neither snow, nor rain, nor mud, nor mountain pass can stand in your way when you head out on your new fat tire backcountry e-bike.
If you’ve always wanted to do some powered trail riding, but were never particularly drawn to noisy, gas guzzling MX or enduro motorbikes the fat tire electric bike is for you. They’re easy to use, easy to maintain and very easy to enjoy.
All the fat tire electric bikes on our list are dependable, tough and fun to ride. So if you’re interested in taking your cycling exploits to the next level pick one up and get out there.