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Riding the Engwe Engine Pro fat tire ebike on the Beach

Nothing like an effortless surf check on an ebike. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia


The Inertia

In the U.S., transportation accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Of that, personal vehicles account for roughly 87 percent of all transportation. Electric cars are becoming more prevalent, but for most of us that price tag makes them still out of reach.

Thankfully, though, there’s another electric transport option that in many ways is more versatile than a car. Electric bikes or “ebikes” have been around for years but recently there have been great additions to the market that result in lower cost to consumers, better range, and better features. Add in a fat tire and suddenly you can go places that were otherwise out of reach, including the beach.

We have been testing a wide range of fat-tire electric bikes over the past few years to share our favorite models. From low-cost cruisers to more premium options, there will be something below that suits whoever is in the market for a beach and adventure-ready fat-tire ebike. For more information, check out our Buyer’s Guide and Comparison Table.

The Best Fat-Tire Electric Bikes of 2024

Best All-Around Utility: Rad Power Bikes Rad Runner 2
Best Classic Fat-Tire Electric Bike: Aventon Aventure.2
Best Budget Fat-Tire Electric Bike: Oraimo Scrambler 100
Best Cargo Fat-Tire Electric Bike: Flyer L885
Best Foldable Fat-Tire Electric Bike: Heybike Tyson
Best Moped-Style Electric Bike: Ride1Up Revv1


Best All-Around Utility Electric Bike

Rad Power Bikes Rad Runner 2 ($1,399)

rad runner 1 best e bikes for surfing

Payload: 300 lb
Range: 25-45 miles
Class: 2

Pros: Fairly low price point, endless customization options for add-ons
Cons: Lower top speed than other models tested

Take a seat by the water, and take note of the electric bikes that roll up for a surf check – chances are, you’ll see one of these bad boys. Rad Power Bikes have proven themselves to be at the forefront of reliable, affordable, ebike transportation. With options starting at just $999, there’s sure to be an option to fit everyone’s budget.

The Rad Runner 2 gives you a bike that can work in a whole host of circumstances thanks to the multitude of customization options to fit board racks, outdoors gear, an extra passenger, and more. Rad Power Bikes just released an updated version of this bike, the Rad Runner 3 Plus, and we’ll update this article as soon as we’re able to get our hands on one for review.

CHECK PRICE ON Rad Power Bikes

Best Classic Fat-Tire Electric Bike

Aventon Aventure.2 ($1,799)

aventon aventure

Payload: 400 lbs
Range: 60 miles
Class: 3

Pros: Defining bike in the fat-tire electric bike category
Cons:
Heavy

When Aventon first came out with the Aventure a couple years ago, it set a new bar in terms of what one might be able to expect from an electric bike that clocks in at under 2k, with solidly built components such as disc brakes, a great battery, powerful motor and fat tires. The Aventure.2 for the most part sticks to the tried and true model, while upleveling the ebike experience significantly.

The biggest upgrade is the torque sensor. Torque sensors are often found on higher-end electric bikes, making for a more natural pedaling experience as opposed to the sudden motor-kick a half second after you start pedaling that is par for the course with most electric bikes. Aventon’s torque sensor not only provides a smoother ride, but helps make the bike more efficient, resulting in longer rides before recharging.

The only real ding we had against this bike was the weight, which is more of a complaint about fat-tire electric bikes in general – this sort of all-terrain adventure mobile prioritizes stability and power, which come at the cost of weight. If you’re looking for a light “fat-tire” electric bike, take a peek at the Canondale Treadwell Neo 2, below.

CHECK PRICE ON Aventon

Best Budget Fat-Tire Electric Bike

Oraimo Scrambler 100 ($799)

the oriamo folding ebike was one of our picks for the best budget fat-tire electric bike.

Payload: 440 lbs
Range: 25-35 miles
Class: 2

Pros: Folds up easily, great value for the price
Cons: No rack or headlight

Now that electric bikes are starting to become commonplace, we are seeing a host of companies come out of the woodwork all claiming to be the next best thing. So when Oraimo sent us a bike to test, we thought, “great, we’ll give it a spin, but what makes it stand out?” And while performance-wise it isn’t anything groundbreaking, what truly stands out is the price.

Coming in at just over half the price of many of the models listed here, the Scrambler 100 is a fat-tire electric bike that matches up in the stats department to many other bikes we tested. It folds up nice and easy to fit in a car’s trunk without too much issue. The 750w motor provides more than enough juice to get up the long hills that are a determining factor on whether or not to get an electric bike. The display is easy and intuitive, and the battery is easily removable to charge within a few hours.

If price is your main concern and you’re looking for a point A to point B bike with little fuss and the ability to pack it up into tight spaces, this is a great choice. Their customer service is also helpful and friendly should go anything wrong, but as of writing this we are yet to notice any problems that stand out and would make us shy away from recommending this well-priced, well-built electric bike. Read our full review of the Scrambler 100 here.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Best Foldable Fat-Tire Electric Bike

Heybike Tyson

the heybike tyson is a solid choice for a fat tire class 3 ebike

Payload: 400 lbs
Range: 55 miles
Class: 3

Pros: Super-powerful folding electric bike, one of the first Class 3 foldable on the market
Cons: The bike is awkward to carry/move when folded up

The Heybike Tyson is a foldable, magnesium-alloy ebike that won Best of CES for 2023. Considering the stiff competition for this trade show of the latest and greatest tech, this is no small feat. With a sleek design and multiple color options, it’s an eye-catching yet practical ride that gets you where you need to go.  The Tyson is perfect for tackling rough terrain with its rugged tires, hydraulic suspension, and 400-pound load limit, making it ideal for short trips, such as grocery runs or picking up kids from school.

Equipped with a 48V 15Ah battery, the Tyson boasts a 55-mile range with pedal assist, a top speed of 28 mph, and useful features like turn signals, a bright headlight, and a smartphone-compatible display.  Some minor drawbacks include a slight lag in acceleration and slightly rickety plastic fenders. But compared to other bikes with similar specs, it’s a solid, dependable ride that is well worth the price of admission. Read the full review here.

CHECK PRICE ON Heybike

Best Fat-Tire Electric Bike for Kids/Cargo

Flyer L885 ($1,785)

aventon aventurePayload: 400 lbs
Range: 60 miles
Class: 2

Pros: Can carry a ton of stuff or extra people without performance issues, option to add a second battery
Cons:
Super long frame, so storage/transport is more difficult

Our antennas perked up when classic American brand Radio Flyer came out with their Flyer line of bikes. A company who sparks many used-to-be-kids’ nostalgia enters this generation in a much more speedy and slick version of their little red wagon. Now, it’s a big black bicycle called the L885 with 400lbs of payload capacity and some impressive customization options. Being a dad and also an uncle, our tester found the kid and cargo add-on to be particularly useful, with side rails that allow you to pack a tote or cooler, or have some sweet handrails for your kids in back. Add something like the Thule Yepp Maxi seat for smaller children to enjoy the ride as well.

With a 26″ front wheel and a 20″ back wheel, this rode nice and easy on both pavement and trail. The wheels aren’t as fat as others in this category but their thick puncture-proof tires handled rough terrain fairly easily. We did start to notice the lack of shocks over roots and such, but gravel was no issue. It’s definitely not an off-road bike but dirt roads felt ok, so long as they were graded. The customization options and large payload offer some cool possibilities for artistic types, as well. But the prime focus is hauling kids and groceries, which it accomplishes really well by having a removable side door system and cushions for the passengers on back.

The main drawbacks come with its size. Flyer ain’t hiding that fact: the L in the model name stands for long, problematic for those already maxing out their car or apartment stairs with a heavy ebike. The bike could also have another gear for when going fast – but this bike is meant for cruising anyway, and that’s what it’s best for. So for those knowing what they are getting into, the length of the frame and quality of the tires make for a very smooth ride. Read our full review of the Flyer L885 here.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Best Moped-Style Electric Bike

Ride1Up Revv1 ($2,295)

Revv1 fat-tire electric bike

Payload: 350 lbs
Range: 30-60 miles
Class: 3+

Pros: Fast and powerful cafe racer/moped-style electric bike
Cons: Might get some dirty looks on bike paths, difficult to mount a rack on, but we’ve been promised compatible accessories are coming soon.

To be honest, we’re wary to even call this thing an electric bike. Big and powerful, the only thing that makes the Ride1Up Revv1 an electric bike are the relatively useless pedals. However, if you came here looking for a fat-tire electric bike, perhaps a bike with relatively useless pedals is what you are looking for. If you prefer to use the throttle over pedaling, this is the bike for you.

The Revv1 is as close to a moped as you can get while still being an electric bike, with turning signals, a powerful headlight, full suspension, cafe-racer styling, and a twist throttle. Of note is the off-road mode, which can hit speeds of up to 35 mph, though is illegal for use on all but private property, and requires contacting Ride1Up customer support for the unlocking password. The bike was produced by Revv1 in a direct response to the popularity of moped-style electric bikes like the Super73 bikes, featured below, and dare we say they’ve set a new bar with their powerful and stylish Revv1.

CHECK PRICE ON Ride1Up

Best of the Rest

Runner-Up Best Classic Fat-Tire Ebike

Ride1Up Rift ($1,895)

Ride1UP Rift

Payload: 350 lbs
Range: 40-60 miles
Class: 3

Pros: Zippy acceleration, plenty of power for heavier loads
Cons: Not the most efficient

Ride1UP has been a recent disruptor in the affordable ebike category, churning out stylish, well-appointed and well-priced bikes in various ebike categories. The Rift is no exception, with a competitive price point, a full set of features including fenders, lights, and a rear rack that’s built into the frame and can accommodate the weight of a full-sized human (150 lbs stated capacity). The rack even comes with an optimized bungee-cord, that can be used to attach a basket (there’s also plenty of spots to zip-tie, even screw down a basket for a more secure connection) strap down a 12-pack of modelos for the ride back from the grocery store, or a cushion, turning the rack into a seat so friends can double up with you. Ride1Up also makes a seat conversion that comes with foot pegs, which we’d highly recommend if you’re considering doubling up.

However, the Rift lost a few points for us on a couple of aspects — first off, the battery charger has a noisy fan that kicks in whenever power is being transferred, something we’ve rarely, maybe even never seen on other ebike battery chargers. Secondly, in comparison with the Aventon Aventure.2, our top pick for classic fat-tire ebikes, the Rift has a bit of a jumpier response and worse efficiency/range with the lack of a torque sensor, especially at full throttle. Without a doubt, no ebike will achieve their claimed mileage if you’re only using the throttle or (in the case of the Rift) cruising at 28mph with full pedal-assist on, but the Rift really churned through its battery life at level five assist, powerfully kicking in as you begin pedaling. That makes for a super fun ride for the adrenaline junkies among us, but like we said, not the smoothest or most efficient.

Overall, though, the Rift is an incredible option in the classic fat-tire ebike category. In comparison to our top choice, the Aventon Aventure.2, It’s a real toss up. If you want a smoother ride and a bit better efficiency, choose the Aventure, if you like the idea of doubling up with friends, choose the Rift. 

CHECK PRICE ON RIDE1UP

Great Value

Heybike Mars 2.0 ($1,499)

Heybike Mars 2.0

Payload: 330 lbs
Range: 45 miles
Class: 3

Pros: Easy to assemble, fast and powerful, great price
Cons: Less-than-premium feel, battery takes a while to charge

The category of folding fat-tire ebikes is awash with options. They’re convenient to store and transport, can be fairly powerful with some achieving the Class 3 top speed of 28 mph, and overall are an attractive transport option for city dwellers, suburbanites, and even those living “out in the boonies.” That said, with so many options, finding the “best” or even a good, reliable option, can be a tough task. Thankfully, Heybike seems to have the category well-dialed, with options like the Heybike Tyson, above, and the Heybike Mars 2.0, here.

The Mars 2.0 provides an insane bang-for-buck value. With its foldable design, fat tires, front suspension, and an upgraded rear rack and now class 3 capabilities as opposed to the previous version, the Mars 2.0 delivers. Tack on Heybike’s informative and easy-to-use app, cell-phone charging from the battery, disc brakes and integrated head and tail lights, and you’ve got a whole lot of features that some bikes almost twice the price don’t deliver.

Of course, features aren’t everything, and the Mars 2.0 does take a couple of dings, namely on range (those “45 miles” are spent a lot faster if you’re running this guy at class 2 or 3 speeds) and some components like the brake levers don’t have a “premium” feel to them. Everything works as it should, but in comparison to some higher-end bikes on this list, you can feel the difference. That said, you get what you pay for, and if bang-for-buck is what you’re looking for, the Heybike Mars is a solid choice. At the time of publishing in January 2024, it can be found on sale for just $999.

The Heybike Mars 1.0 is also still available, a steal at just $849. Read the full review here.

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Blix Dubbel ($2,099)

a studio shot of the Blix Dubbel fat tire electric bike

Payload: 200 lbs
Range: 80 miles (with 2 batteries)
Class: 2, 3

Pros: Two batteries provide tons of range, cargo-style ebike without too much added length
Cons: Not much of a display to speak of, requires app for most info/switching modes

Swedish-based Blix bikes comes to the American market with something different than your average features-heavy and somewhat over-engineered ebike. Blix bikes aim for a more trimmed-down and aesthetically pleasing look, with matte finishes and a clean and minimal design. That holds true with the Dubbel, the brand’s offering in the fat-tire/utility ebike category. The Dubbel is aptly named due to the dual battery capacity, giving it a massive range of 80 miles per charge. And while no ebike holds up to their stated range in the real world, relative to other ebikes we’ve tested, the Dubbel’s range is very impressive.

An integrated rear rack allows for up to 200 lbs of cargo, or a passenger, with a plethora of add-ons like foot pegs, a passenger seat, front rack, and more. A dual-footed kickstand extends from the bottom of the bike, allowing it to be stood up in a completely upright position for easier loading of cargo or humans. Integrated lights, a throttle and a bell round out the package. Super versatile and capable of a wide variety of applications from cargo to kid-hauling to heading into town with a friend in tow, there’s a lot to love about the Dubbel.

What kept this bike out of our top picks were a few points. First of all, the bike’s minimal design includes the display, which is about an inch or two in diameter, and is only capable of showing one set of stats at a time. Sure, the busier displays of other ebikes can be confusing at times, but it’s nice to not have to hit a few buttons to swap between checking your power levels and being able to keep an eye on your speed. Blix remedies this with a fairly easy-to-use and informative app, however, having to rely on your smartphone to change between class 2 and 3 feels fairly limiting. Another, relatively small ding was the kickstand, which rides fairly low to the ground when tucked away, giving the bike a very low clearance. That, combined with the lack of suspension, gave us the feeling that this bike is better suited to city dwellers, rather than those hoping to take their bike off-road. That said, for the city dweller who values aesthetics, long range, and is looking for a cargo-esque ebike capable of cargo or passengers in a more compact package, the Blix is a great choice. At the time of publishing in January 2024, it can be found on sale for $1,799.

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Engwe X24 ($1,399)

the engwe x24 fat tire folding electric bike

Payload: 330 lbs
Range: 95 miles
Class: 3

Pros: Super fast and a comfortable ride with a long range
Cons: Assembly instructions are vague, at best.

It was hard to put the X24 into a category as it seems to be in its own category. But it could easily fall under “most fun” for an ebike under $2,000. The speed of this ebike was hard to match. On paper they say the top speed is 31mph, but we managed to clock in around 37 on a straightaway when really engaging the pedals. Add the cushy rear seat to the mix and you have a fun date out on the coastline.

With two batteries, the manufacturer boasts a range of 95 miles on the lowest pedal assist setting. However, we’ve taken it out for full-day missions with plenty of battery to spare.  You do need an adapter to charge both batteries at once, though—something that isn’t easily highlighted in the instructions that were very difficult to comprehend.

If you want a bike that is fast, fun, and with a good range, the Engwe X24 checked those boxes and also is a well-built frame, once assembled. It also rides nice and smooth with triple suspension that, once you dial it in, provides for a great ride in a multitude of terrain conditions. Read the full review here.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Murf Electric Bikes Alpha Murf ($2,895)

murf alpha is on our list of the best fat tire electric bikes.

Payload: 250 lbs
Range: 30-50 miles
Class: 2 or 3 – user selects

Pros: Beach-cruiser style, with powerful electric bike components built for the beach
Cons: Pricey

Murf electric bikes have been making a name for themselves in the surf world. Specifically geared towards life by the ocean, the brand’s beach cruiser-inspired designs have become a common sighting on the trail down to Lower Trestles as well as other breaks up and down the California coast. While a bit pricier than other options on this list, with premium components and two years of full servicing and warranty, you can’t go wrong with a Murf.

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Super73-S2 ($3,295)

The Super73 S2 is on our list of the best fat-tire electric bikes.

Payload: 325 lbs
Range: 40+ miles
Class: 1, 2, or 3

Pros: Rugged e-moped looks, powerful motor
Cons: If you were hoping to pedal, this isn’t the bike for you

Super73 was one of the first to do the “electric moped” style of electric bike, and the Super73-S2 takes the “electric bike” concept and stretches it as far along the spectrum towards “electric motorcycle” as possible. With a headlight, big tires and moto-style looks, this electric bike was made for stylin’ not pedalin’. One cool feature is the ability to toggle between Class 1, 2, and 3, so you can take it on restricted trails as a Class 1 or really let ‘er rip on the road at Class 3 (which, by the way, reaches up to 28mph).

Why did we choose the Ride1Up Revv1 over such a classic? For starters, the Revv1 is about $1,000 bucks cheaper, and you end up with a lot more bang for your buck as well, with turning signals, a horn, and full suspension. That said, there’s plenty of other options as well from Super73 that make great fat-tire electric bikes for just about anything, both bikes that take the moto concept even further, and those that tone it down a bit. Check them out here.

CHECK PRICE ON Super73

Aventon Sinch ST ($1,499)

aventon sinch st step through bike for our best fat tire ebikes

Payload (rear): 55 lbs
Range: 40 miles
Class: 2

Pros: Sleek design and premium feel for a great price
Cons: Folding frame translates to less stability at speed

The Aventon Sinch ST is the electric bike for the city folk. With extreme foldability for ease of storage and a respectable price point, this bike will get you to the break and back, without breaking a sweat. A throttle gives on-demand power with plenty of oomph up to 20 mph, while rugged tires let you take on pavement, gravel, and sand with ease.

The foldable frame brings with it a certain amount of wiggle at high speeds that isn’t our favorite, but as long as you’re not looking for an e-mountain bike for bombing downhill runs, the Aventon Sinch ST should suit you just fine.

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Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2  ($1,925)

Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2 in our list of the best electric bikes

Payload: Unlisted
Range: 47 miles
Class: 1

Pros: Looks like a real bike, assists like an electric bike
Cons: Tires aren’t truly “fat”

Remember when I mentioned that some electric bikes are pretty darn good at pretending to be regular, non-electric bikes? The Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2   is one of those. At 1.85 inches it’s not exactly a “fat” tire, but it’s still got a bit more heft than your average commuter. With a battery that’s integrated into the bike frame and clocking in at only 38 lbs, the only thing that will out you as an electric biker will be your speed and lack of effort as you glide along to your next destination.

CHECK PRICE ON REI

Engwe Engine Pro ($1,399)

the engwe engine pro is on our list of the best fat-tire electric bikes.

Payload: Unlisted
Range: 40-60 miles
Class: 3

Pros: Battery recharges above 15mph, super zippy acceleration
Cons: Limited customer service

Engwe is a relative newcomer to the scene, but in the electric bike world, it’s still such a new industry to call anyone new or old, just yet. But in their time on the market, they have built a reputation on offering affordable electric bikes at a quality that should carry a higher price tag. That is likely because at the moment they offer online-only distribution and support.

While that may help keep costs down, it might be frustrating when waiting to get parts sent in for repair or replacement. But that said, the Engine Pro battery packs a punch and had no trouble going uphill. Add in their power-generating e-pas system that will leave you with more charge at the bottom of a big hill than you started with, and you’ve got a bike that will last, get you to where you want to go, and fold up easily for storage when not in use. Read the full review here.

CHECK PRICE ON Engwe
riding the heybike mars 2.0 electric bike in San Francisco

The Ride1Up Rift aced the hilly streets of San Francisco. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia.

Fat-Tire Electric Bike Comparison Table

Model Price Class Range Top Speed Power Weight Rack? Throttle?
Rad Power Bikes Rad Runner 2 $1349 2 45 mi 20 mph 750w 65 lbs Yes, and then some Yes
Aventon Aventure.2 $1799 3 60 mi 28 mph 750w 77 lbs Yes Yes
Oraimo Scrambler 100 $799 1,2 25-35 mi 20 mph 750w 54.5 lbs No Yes
Heybike Tyson $1499 3 55 mi 28 mph 750w 77 lbs Yes Yes
Flyer L885 $1785 2 50 mi 20 mph 500w 73 lbs Yes, Multiple options Yes
Ride1Up Revv1 $2295 1,2,3 30-60 mi 28 mph+ 750w 93 lbs Add-on Yes
Ride1up Rift $1695 3 40-60 mi 28 mph 750w 84.5 lbs Multiple Add-on options Yes
Heybike Mars 2.0 $1499 2 45 mi 28 mph 750w. (1200 peak) 75 lbs Yes Yes
Blix Dubbel $2099 2,3 80 mi (2 batts) 27 mph 750w 78 lbs (2 batts) Yes Yes
Engwe X24 $1399 3 95 mi 31 mph 1000w 112 lbs No Yes
Murf Alpha Murf $2799 2,3 30-50 mi 28 mph 750w 70 lbs Yes Yes
Super73 S2 $3295 1,2,3 40+ mi 28 mph+ 750-1200w 73 lbs Add-on Yes
Aventon Sinch ST $1399 2 40 mi 20 mph 500w 68 lbs Add-on Yes
Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ $2175 1 47 mi 20 mph 250w 38 lbs No No
Engwe Engine Pro $1399 3 40-60 mi 24 mph 1000w 83 lbs Base Yes

the engwe x24 fat tire electric bike resting on the beach

The Engwe X24 felt right at home on the sandy coastline, providing miles upon miles of fun cruising. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

How We Tested The Best Fat-Tire Electric Bikes

With the exception of the always-important style points, we did our best to provide an objective analysis of these electric bikes. The reviews we share are based on our love for a trusty steed that can take us cool places. We are surfers and adventurers who chose where we live primarily for easy access to rad spots. As such, there are often no roads where we choose to go. So a beefier tire set will help us get more places with less crowds, in a quicker time span. And, fat tires can take on a bike’s worst enemy with ease: sand.

We’ve found that a fat-tire electric bike is the best option for the adventurous type who still needs to navigate city streets, get up and down hills, and more. Our testers live in a variety of locations, mostly on or near the West Coast, where the topography lends itself to needing some assistance to get up a hill – especially when loaded down with gear. So in addition to having a need, we also have the ideal testing grounds to see what these fat-tire electric bikes are really made of.

Over the past three years, we have kept a close watch on the rapidly expanding ebike market, getting our hands on the latest and greatest fat-tire ebikes to hit the market. In this most recent update, we added four new bikes after extensive testing this summer. We tested all the ebikes here based on a set of criteria that will hopefully help you dial down your decision a bit better to find the perfect fat-tire electric bike for you.

Speed: Not just top speed, but acceleration, especially up a hill, is important here. Not only can it reach a good speed, but can it maintain it?

Style: Yes, style points do matter in life. These electric bikes are no exception. Sure it’s based on opinion, but most of us know a good looking bike from one that looks better under a paper bag.

Components: We’re talking shifters, brakes, drivetrain, etc. If these aren’t held to a standard of high quality, the bike won’t work properly in the long term. Especially since electric bikes are generally much heavier than a standard pedal bike, having good components to withstand the extra wear is important.

Battery: Does the battery hold a charge for long enough to be useful? Does it charge in a reasonable amount of time? These are important questions when thinking of the long-term regular use of an electric bike.

Racks and Add-Ons: To be a proper adventure-mobile, you need to be able to bring extra gear along for the ride. Beyond racks, some companies offer additional features that you can add to the kit like integrated lights, passenger seats, baskets, and more, making it much more than just a bike to get from point A to point B.

Off-road: Since these are fat-tire electric bikes, chances are you’ll want to take it off the pavement. So we took into account how well the electric bikes actually perform when the asphalt turns to gravel, dirt, or sand. If your main goal is to have a bike that will deal with sand, you’ll want to choose the fattest tires possible, and a strong motor, like the Aventon Aventure.2 or the Ride1Up Rift.


aventon sinch st surf rig

The Aventon Sinch ST makes a great surf rig. Fully loaded with a board rack from Ho Stevie!, the Aventon Rear Rack, and a basket from the local ACE Hardware. Photo: Will Sileo/The Inertia

Fat-Tire Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide

With so many options to choose from, finding the best fat-tire electric bike for your needs may seem daunting. Fear not, as we have distilled the most important factors to consider when buying the ideal ebike for your needs.

Battery Life and Quality
This is the heart and soul of your electric bike. A quality battery not only assures longevity but also reliable power when you need it. Check the battery’s voltage and amp-hour – higher values will give you more power and range.

Motor Placement
Motor placement affects the bike’s balance and ride feel. Hub motors are common and provide good power, but mid-drive motors offer better balance and efficiency, especially in hilly terrain.

A static shot of the Blix Dubbel electric bike

The Blix Dubbel is a solid choice for both long range and cargo space. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

Range
Consider how far you plan to travel on a single charge. Ebike ranges can vary greatly, so choose a bike that exceeds your typical ride distance, keeping in mind that factors like terrain and rider weight can impact the actual range.

Ease of Use
Ensure the bike’s controls are user-friendly, and it’s easy to monitor battery life, switch power modes, and manage other functionalities.

Weight
Fat-tire electric bikes are usually heavier. Make sure you can handle the weight, especially if you’ll be carrying it up stairs or storing it in elevated places.

Riding Comfort
When first riding the ebike, check the comfort level. Pay attention to the seat, handlebar height, and the overall riding experience.

Warranty and Support
A solid warranty and accessible customer support signify the manufacturer’s confidence in their ebike and their commitment to your satisfaction.

Accessories
Don’t overlook the availability and compatibility of accessories like fenders, racks, and lights, which add functionality and safety to your rides.

Style
Do you want to hide the fact that you’re riding an electric bike or shout it from the rooftops? Some traditional-styled electric bikes hardly look like an electric bike at all, until you start gliding uphill that is. Scrambler style electric bikes harken back to the 1960s era of motorcycles, and despite the electric motor (and pedals) they’re often more motorcycle than they are bike. Heavy, but with a powerful motor, these are sure to turn heads.

Throttle vs Pedal Assist
Some electric bikes come with a throttle, some are pedal assist only. Pedal assist is great for those looking to go longer distances as it uses far less electric power, and those looking for more of a traditional bike experience. Throttle capabilities are super fun, and great for those who would have gone with a Vespa over an electric bike if it weren’t for the special license required to drive motor scooters here in the States.

a father and his baby daughter biking by the ocean in the Flyer L885 electric bike

The massive cargo capacity of the Flyer L885 makes for a great daddy-daughter day by the water, with room for another as well. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

Classification
There are three classifications for electric bikes. As with any fun new invention, regulation varies state by state, so be sure to check local laws to make sure your electric bike is compliant where you live.

Class 1 electric bikes go up to 20 mph on pedal assist only, meaning they don’t have a throttle, and can be taken anywhere you can ride a regular, non-electric bicycle.

Class 2 also tops out at 20 mph, but with a throttle. You can take a Class 2 electric bike almost anywhere you can take a Class 1, but are often restricted from single-track mountain bike trails due to the damage the instant torque of a throttle can produce.

Class 3 is a bit confusing, considered to top out at 28 mph, but on pedal assist only. These are often only allowed on roads and are restricted from bike trails and multi-use pathways.

Some electric bikes can reach speeds even higher than 28 mph, often accessed by a specific mode on the bike, which is only supposed to be used on private land, as a sort of honor-system, although we’re sure the temptation to whiz around town at high speed is hard to ignore for most.

the Oriamo Scrambler 100 folded up in the back of an SUV

The Scrambler 100 by Oraimo could fold up and fit in the back of a Toyota 4Runner with plenty of room to spare. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

Caring For Your Electric Bike

For most of us, shelling out hard earned money for an electric bike isn’t taken lightly. So the best way to ensure that the purchase is a smart one is to make sure you’re taking care of your investment. Nothing is too difficult but there are a few pointers we’d like to share to help ensure your electric bike has a long and healthy life, and that your relationship to your bike is one of mutual respect.

Comfortable Storage: Treat your electric bike to a safe haven away from the elements, ideally indoors or under a protective cover. This will keep it snug and protected from rain, snow, and harsh sunlight, preserving its good looks and performance.

Battery Care: Ensure your battery leads a long and happy life by charging it regularly and avoiding extreme temperatures. Remember to unplug it once it’s fully charged and store it separately if you won’t be using your electric bike for an extended period.

Keep it Clean: Give your electric bike a gentle wipe down with a soft cloth, removing dirt and grime without scratching its surface. Pay special attention to the electrical components, keeping them clean and dry for optimal functionality.

Chain TLC: Show your electric bike’s chain some love by lubricating it regularly and ensuring it’s properly tensioned. This will keep it running smoothly and prevent any unexpected hiccups during your ride.

Brake Check: Since electric bikes usually weigh significantly more than standard bikes, their brakes have to work much harder to stop quickly. As such, they tend to wear out faster. Make sure your brakes are always in tip-top shape, adjusting them as needed and replacing worn pads or cables. This way, you can trust your ebike to stop on a dime when things get hectic out there.

Good Tires: Keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressure and check them for wear and tear. This will not only provide you with a smoother ride but also reduce the risk of punctures or other issues that could leave you stranded.

Regular Checkups: Just like any dependable sidekick, your electric bike deserves regular check-ins. Perform routine inspections and maintenance to keep it running at its best, addressing any issues before they become major problems.

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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