EV Bikes

Why ride a fat tire e-bike?

Unrivaled comfort

Among hardtail e-bikes, i.e. e-bikes without rear wheel suspension, there is no e-bike that rides more comfortably than a fat-tire model. We don’t discuss this often, but the optimal pressure for a 4-inch wide tire is under 10 psi and can reach up to 5 psi when the tires are run tubeless rather than with tubes.

At such low pressures, the tires contribute more to the rider’s comfort than a suspension fork. This is because a suspension fork does very little to provide the rider with comfort in the saddle, and how comfortable we sit has a greater impact on our overall sense of comfort than how comfortable our hands are.

Unbeatable traction

Himiway Cobra Pro tire treadHimiway Cobra Pro tire tread

The combination of coarse tires and a “footprint” larger than that of a toddler’s shoe ensures that an e-bike with fat tires has traction in the dirt that no other type of tire can match. Traction is one of those dimensions of the driver’s experience that also influences how confident they feel while driving. And traction, unlike calcium, is something you can never get enough of.

It is also helpful that as tire pressure decreases and driver comfort increases, traction also increases, combining two advantages into one variable.

Floats on both sand and snow

The softer the surface a rider chooses, the larger the tire contact area of ​​the fat tire e-bike will be. This means that an e-bike with thick tires “floats” on surfaces such as sand or snow, rather than sinking into the sand or snow like our feet do. This is also true in forests where soft pine can make up a large portion of the riding area. The only place it doesn’t provide an advantage is in mud, because to gain traction in mud you have to cut through the mud to the solid ground below to find traction.

If you live in a place with a lot of sand (e.g. near a beach or desert) or in a place with snowy winters, e-bikes with fat tires are the only option for riding.

Powerful engines

Juicy Ripcurrent S actionJuicy Ripcurrent S action

The large wheels and tires of a fat tire e-bike require a strong, rigid frame to ensure solid control (again, a rider’s sense of control depends on their confidence). That’s why an e-bike with fat tires is a heavy beast, even before you add a motor and battery. To overcome their weight and give the rider a feeling of lightweight performance, they require powerful engines. Most of the fat tire e-bikes we tested are equipped with 750W hub motors that can reach a peak power of 1000 or more watts. There are some fat tire e-bikes that are equipped with even larger motors.

With so much muscle power at your disposal, riders enjoy all the benefits of frame rigidity without being hindered by the weight of the e-bike. This is definitely a win-win situation. Thanks to the powerful motor, they are also excellent on the mountain and accelerate at traffic lights like no other e-bike. And when you combine a fat tire e-bike with a big motor and a torque sensor, you get a remarkably responsive ride.

Fewer flat tires

It is a fact that the more a balloon is inflated and the tighter the rubber is pulled over a larger volume of air, the easier it is to burst. The thin tires on racing bikes are just looking for excuses for a flat tire. In contrast, it is difficult to damage a larger tire with very low air pressure. Whether it’s a rock, a nail, or a piece of glass, a thick tire is more likely to deform around the object than to be pierced by it.

Some fat tire e-bikes are equipped with tires and rims that are tubeless compatible. This means that the tire and tube can be removed, the rim can be wrapped with a special airtight tubeless tape, and the tire can then be remounted and sealed with sealant. This further reduces the risk of a puncture, and even if the tire does suffer a puncture, the sealant will fill the hole and prevent the tire from going completely flat. Tubeless setups also allow a rider to run at even lower pressures than with tubes, further improving cut resistance.

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