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Do You Need Fat Tires on an EBike? The Truth About Fat Tire Electric Bikes

Do you need fat tires on an e-bike?

Hey everyone, I'm Dustin. I have nearly 20 years of experience in the bike and e-bike industry and today we're going to answer the question, do you need fat tires on your e-bike? All right, I've got three e-bikes here. This is the Ride in the Park e-bike with the thinnest tires of the three. These are 38c by 700. Then we have the Simple Step Through here with a 26-inch by 2.125. Then right here we've got the Zip and Fold with a 20-inch by 3-inch. Now I'm seeing a lot of e-bikes on the road period and a good percentage of them are fat tire e-bikes. The Zip and Fold would be considered a fat tire. I would say anything above three inches wide up to four inches wide is a typical fat tire e-bike. Now you're seeing a lot of 20-inch with that tire size. You also see 26-inch and 24-inch with the bigger tires. And I think a lot of that has been inspired by motorcycle design because an electric bike is sort of an in-between a motorcycle, scooter, and bicycle. It's a bicycle with an assist on it. So a lot of companies have started to widen the tires on their e-bikes, basically marketing it or making it look sort of like a motorcycle. There are several brands out there doing it. But the question is, do you need fat tires? What's the benefit? Why would you or wouldn't you have a fat tire on your electric bike? Now let me start with the pros of fat tires on e-bikes. Number one, it's going to be a soft, cushy ride. When you look at something with a three-inch wide or four-inch wide tire, it's going to absorb the vibration, and the bumps, making it a softer ride for the rider. And there is some element of balancing to have a wider tire.

You're going to have better traction. You're also going to have better balance. So as opposed to a thinner tire, you know, only having maybe less than an inch width of a tire contacting the ground, you're going to have, you know, maybe two and a half inches because the full tire isn't necessarily going to roll on the ground, right? You're going to have the middle. So the edges aren't going to be contacting the ground as the tire rolls. So something like this, maybe two, two and a half inches on the ground, four inches, you're going to get three and a half inches of that tire contacting the pavement. So from a balance-ish standpoint, having more rubber on the road is a great thing. Now, my counterargument to that would be if you've learned to ride a bike and you know, you can still balance, you'll be able to balance on this size tire and this size tire. I don't think it's going to fix your balance issue. If you can't balance, putting a fatter tire on there isn't going to enable you to balance. You know, a tricycle would be the product that would, you know, cure your balance issues. But you may be able to balance or you will be able to balance somewhat easier, but again, it's not going to miraculously make you be able to balance if you can't balance. So there are some benefits. I think the other major reason people choose the fat tire generally is they like the aesthetic. A lot of times people like having big, beefy, wide tires. Now, on the flip side of that, there are quite a few drawbacks to a fat tire.

Number one, it's going to drain your battery much, much quicker. You can look at the width of this tire and the width of this tire and you can just tell by staring at it, that this tire is going to be much heavier and have much more drag on pavement than a thinner tire like this, which is inevitably just going to mean that your motor is going to have to work harder to propel this tire versus this tire. And this is just a 20-inch. Think about if this was a 26-inch, how much harder that motor would have to work to propel the tire. So it's going to drain your battery quicker because the motor is going to work harder, especially if you're taking on hills. If you're taking on hills with a big, fat, wide tire, much more drag on the battery, meaning a quicker draining battery without a doubt. Now, in addition to that, if you have or want to ride your e-bike without the assist at all, an e-bike with a thinner tire is going to be much, much easier to pedal. A 20-inch like this pedaling without assistance is going to be very challenging. And actually, I just made a showing you riding each of these three up a hill, and I demonstrated what it was like to do that. And on flat ground for either three of these, it's going to be fairly easy to pedal at a slow pace, right? So under five miles an hour, you won't notice the difference. But as you start to pick up the pace or want to take on hills, it's going to be very challenging on a fat tire e-bike, which means you're going to want to run the assist throughout your ride, almost of the entirety when you have a fat tire e-bike. And that just means draining the battery more quickly.

Now, you may want to run the assist on these all the time as well. That's fine. But just keep in mind, running the assist on a thinner tire versus a thicker tire means you'll get more length of the battery. Let me rephrase that. If you're running the pedal assist on all three of these on the same terrain, the battery will die quicker on this bike than on this bike. Lastly, this bike. And it's just because of the drag of the tires. So something to think about is that most likely you're going to want to have this e-bike always in some level of pedal assist. These two will be more conducive to riding without the pedal assist. So you have to think about the cost, how you're going to ride your e-bike, how much you value the aesthetic of a fat tire or that shock absorption. Something like an in-between tire, like here on the simple step through a 2.125, I think is a good medium between the two. You still get the vibration absorption, and the shock absorption, but you're not causing as much drag as with a fatter tire like this. And if you still plan to ride and pedal and you want something that's going to feel like you're pedaling a bicycle but still have an assist, something like this is going to feel more natural. Something like this is more geared to be an e-bike with assistance. So it's not set up for you to be pedaling like a standard bicycle.

So that's my opinion on fat tires and if you need them on your e-bike. If you have any other thoughts at all, please reach out to us at or call us at 310-982-2877. Or if you're in the market for an electric bike and you don't know what you're looking for, on our website we have a proprietary quiz called the BodyFit Quiz. Answer a few questions about your body and your life and we'll recommend the perfect e-bike for you. In addition to that, we have a 30-day test ride with your e-bike policy. If you don't love it in 30 days, send it back. No questions asked, no money out of your pocket. And in addition, we're going to warranty everything for the first year. If anything goes wrong in the first year, we'll take care of parts and labor to ensure you can keep riding. Lastly, we have a Facebook group called 630 Pedalers. There are thousands of members there. Jump in there, and ask questions before you buy so you can be comfortable purchasing. Then once you have your e-bike, post in the group, and make friends. It's a lot of fun. Then you can also download our app, track your rides, and compete on the leaderboard. That is a lot of fun also. So thanks for sticking around and don't forget, it's your journey, your experience. Enjoy the ride.


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