Today fat-tire electric bikes are a dime a dozen, but which are the best?
Currently, e-bikes with fat tires are having a moment, from stable and user-friendly bike path cruisers to high-powered monsters built for heavy off-road use and hunting. Whatever your reason for wanting a fat tire e-bike, the Electric Bike Report has tested some of the best money can buy.
Ancestors of fat bikes emerged from Alaskan snow and New Mexican sand in the 90's as a means of exploring (and racing) in terrain unfriendly to your typical bicycle tires. Mud, deep sand, and soft snow come to mind. Fat tires have had high-points of popularity in recent years, but it wasn't until the rise of the electric bike that we saw the masses riding them. Motors made the heavy, relatively inefficient bikes more manageable to ride, and people also apparently enjoy the big tires because they give you a feeling of confidence and stability - not to mention that many find them just cool-looking. Fat tires have been incorporated into almost every category of e-bike, and their popularity has exploded.
Now, how do you choose an e-bike with fat tires that is right for you? The answer to that question varies from person to person. We've compiled this list of the best fat tire electric bikes to help you decide which is the best bike for you.
This list is comprised of e-bikes that have at least three inch wide tires, but if you want a little more variety in tire size, check out our picks for the Best Overall Electric Bikes of 2022.
How we chose the best fat tire electric bikes
The best fat tire e-bikes on this list are mainly those we've tested on the roads and paths of southwest Utah, but there are also some e-bikes that we've included on their own merits or because so many of our readers have raved about them.
Our bikes have been put through a gauntlet of testing to give us a clear picture of how they accelerate, brake, handle, and climb hills in real-world situations. To answer the all-important question of how far you can ride them on a single charge, we put them through a series of tests.
In our definition, any tire that is 3" or wider qualifies as a fat tire, so you'll find that on the list below.
We evaluated fat-tire e-bikes based on a few key factors. These include:
Tires this big require a lot of power, so does the bike have a battery to power its tread? After e-bikes became popular, fat bikes saw a boom in popularity. Simply put, they are inefficient and not very pleasant to pedal without some assistance. This list should include bikes with long-lasting batteries.
Quality and affordability
A large number of affordable electric bikes in this category are designed to maximize performance without draining your wallet. It's also a category where we see a lot of first-time buyers. What are you getting for your money and is it built to last?
Speed and power
The brutes of the e-bike world are fat bikes. Their motors are typically the largest among their peers, so all that power raises a few questions: how fast can the bike go and how does that power feel when you ride? Do you receive it in a safe and measured manner or does the bike spring out from under you?
Comfort and efficiency
Due to their sheer size and the weight of their tires, fat e-bikes can be challenging to ride. Pedal-friendly geometry, a balanced handling, and a powerful motor are essential for these bikes.
Do the fat tires add anything to the bike other than looks? A bike with fat tires can do both good and bad things. A well-executed fat-tire e-bike should be more stable, more capable, and more comfortable.
Electric bikes make bikes easier to use and appeal to people who would not have previously considered riding a human-powered machine. They have a lot of issues and may even have reservations about traction and ability, and whether they have enough contact with the ground to keep the tires down in corners or hard braking. Fat tires help here.
There are plenty of outdoor enthusiasts out there who are very concerned about flotation and traction, and many companies have produced bikes that can frolic in the backcountry with impunity. However, the average fat ebike rider just wants to feel safe on their bike. Honestly, they just think big tires look cool.
There is something for everyone on the best fat tire e-bikes, whether you're a backcountry enthusiast, someone seeking stability, or someone who simply likes the look of big tires.