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If you’re thinking about adding an all-terrain electric bike to your arsenal, that means you’re in the market for a fat tire e-bike. While various bikes can traverse grounds more challenging than the sidewalk or city streets, only fat tire bikes can function admirably on snow, in the rain, off-road on dirt or sand, and, of course, on city streets and sidewalks.
While these e-bikes can be a bit more pricey because of their versatility, they’re also a great entry point for beginning riders, thanks to the added stability the larger tires provide. Depending on your height and intended uses, you’ll need to consider whether you want a step-through or step-over bike and which size is most compatible. Additionally, be mindful of local regulations on different e-bike classes, and find a model that gives you the power and control you want while being compliant. Keep reading our best electric bike buying guide to learn more.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It takes only 3 to 4 hours to charge and features a front suspension for more comfortable riding. It can also climb hills with an 18° gradient and has its battery pack conveniently placed at the rear.
The GoPower Bike Folding Electric is an easy-to-ride electric bike fitted with a 48 Volt 10ah Li-Ion Lithium battery, which, on a full charge, allows users to ride for up to 36 miles. It can accelerate to a top speed of 20 miles per hour, and since it only takes about 3 to 4 hours to charge to full capacity, owners won’t have to wait overnight for their next trip. The electric bike also comes with both front and rear brakes that allow for a braking distance of 9 feet. It also has a decent carrying capacity of 260 pounds, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come with rear lights for enhanced nighttime visibility.
This Electric folding bike can handle hills with a gradient of up to 18°, and since its battery is placed on the back, it is well protected from direct impact and damage in the event of a fall. Its Battery Management System also prevents it from overcharging or overloading and keeps it in good condition for continuous use. The bike also features front suspension for reduced interference when riding on bumpy terrain and a dual-layered seat saddle for added comfort.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It can reach speeds of 23mph and has a battery that allows for great range. It also has wide tires that make it suitable for all-terrain and front suspension for increased ride comfort.
The Rattan Folding Electric Bike for Adults is an excellent selection for users who prioritize riding across different terrain. It is powered by a capable 750Watt brushless motor, which has enough power to catapult it to a max speed of up to 23mph. The electric bike has a 48 Volt removable battery that will keep it going for 25 to 45 miles per charge. Its 4-inch wide tires provide a generous contact area to the ground and have good enough tread to give a good grip on the road. Unfortunately, some might feel its seat, pedal and grips have poor build quality.
This Rattan bike comes with three working modes for riders to choose from. These are throttle, pedal-assist, and riding. When its battery is fully charged, the electric bike can get to a maximum range of 80 miles, and on its dashboard, it has an LCD screen where details such as bike speed and remaining battery level will be easily visible. The bike also has a front suspension for easy maneuvering and both front and rear lights for good visibility at night.
Award: BEST FOR ALL-TERRAIN RIDING
WHY WE LIKE IT: It comes with a carry seat for an extra passenger and has three riding modes to choose from. It has an impressive top speed and is also great for users who want to ride in different terrain.
The Gesheng 750W folding electric bike for adults is a speed monster that thrill-seekers will enjoy thanks to a top speed of up to 31 mph when in sport mode. The electric bike also has an impressive 40-50 mile range while in pure electric way and averages a higher 60-70 mile range in its I-Pass assist mode. This is a mode where the battery uses the kinetic energy that is produced, and in the process, it makes the battery 83% more efficient while saving 50% more battery power. However, riding it in the rain is not advised.
The e-bike will take only four to six hours to get to full charge, and since it also has a carry seat, owners will be able to carry around their luggage or a passenger, depending on their preferences. On its steering rod, the e-bike has a Smart LCD display where all the details to do with current speed and remaining battery power are displayed. Since it also has 4-inch thick tires, the bike is suitable for riding on a rocky, snowy, or even sandy terrain.
Award: BEST FOR URBAN RIDING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Great for users who want to ride around in an urban setting, it has decent range and features three riding modes.
This foldable electric bike from Kebiko comes with a 400-watt brushless motor that is perfect for users who want to ride around town. It has a top speed of 20mph, and courtesy of its 48 Volt battery, it can keep going for up to 6 hours at average speeds before it needs a charge. The e-bike also has an LCD display that shows all the ride-related information, and since it weighs only 51 pounds, it shouldn’t be that difficult to move around for short distances. The e-bike also has mechanical front and rear disk brakes for good braking power and features alloy front suspension for good shock absorption. Its only drawback is the lack of rear suspension.
The aluminum frame of the Kebiko e-bike is quite strong and sturdy, allowing it to handle a load capacity of up to 300 pounds. The bike also has a maximum range of 28 miles when switched to pure electric mode, but with pedal assist turned on, this improves to a decent 43 miles. With both front and rear lights, riders will be easily visible when riding at night, and since it is relatively easy to fold, storage shouldn’t be an issue.
Award: BEST FOR RIDE COMFORT
WHY WE LIKE IT: It comes with both front and rear suspensions to deliver a more comfortable ride, and its 350-watt motor is tranquil. It also has three riding and speed modes.
The EB15 Viper electric bike is a solid choice for users who enjoy a silent ride across the city thanks to its super quiet 350W motor. The e-bike offers three riding modes and comes with three-speed modes for users to choose from, and since it also has a removable battery pack, users will have the option to purchase a new battery if they wish to or remove it for separate charging. Owners will also be able to adjust both seats and handlebars to their comfort, and it also features an LCD display that is used to track speed, travel time, and battery life. However, it does not come with a carry seat.
The tires on this e-bike are also anti-slip and designed to prevent skidding, and since it has a dual front and rear suspension system, the bike offers a very comfortable ride. Users will also be able to switch it to cruise control whenever they don’t want to change up speeds constantly, and with a travel range of up to 16.8 miles, the bike is suitable enough for quick short trips.
Award: BEST FOR DAILY COMMUTES
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a powerful 500 Watt motor and is covered in scratch-resistant paint. It has a four to six-hour charging time and comes with both front and rear lights for good visibility when riding at night.
This 27.5-inch Speedrid electric bike packs quite a punch thanks to its 500 Watt brushless rear hub motor, allowing it to reach a top speed of up to 20Mph. Like most in its category, the bike offers up to three cycling modes and also comes with an LCD display that shows its five speeds and battery level. The e-bike can go up to 40 miles while on pedal-assist mode and 30 miles on all-electric mode under a single charge. Its 36-volt battery can get to a full charge in only four to six hours, and since it also features front suspension, users will also be able to ride through different terrain without much difficulty. However, users must contend with the fact that it is not foldable.
The bike’s premium alloy frame is covered with scratch-resistant auto paint that is guaranteed to keep it in good condition for an extended period. With both front and rear lights, users can ride at night and maintain good visibility. With a weight of only 51 pounds, this bike is also very easy to carry.
An all-terrain electric bike is just exactly that — a bike powered by a motor that can be ridden on any terrain, including snow, rain, sand, dirt, or grass, and of course, sidewalks and asphalt. One popular all-terrain ebikes is the front drive motor electric bike.
However, when shopping for an all-terrain e-bike, you will most likely find yourself looking at the fat tire models over other versions. You can also find electric mountain bikes in this category, but they’re just not as popular as fat tires. Fat tire bikes have oversized tires, which can provide enhanced stability over rough or uneven terrain thanks to their increased air volume. For a look at some great all-terrain bikes, read our AddMotor Motan electric bik review and our Ancheer electric mountain bike review.
Typically, the tires are 3.5 inches or wider, with an inner rim ranging from 60 to 100 millimeters in width. As compared to other tire styles, fat tires perform optimally in a wide range of conditions. So, while they may not be the lightest electric bikes, they still provide owners with an enjoyable, smoother ride.
As with other e-bike styles, fat tire e-bikes can come with a variety of motor configurations, and the version you select will depend on your riding style and behavior. The most common options, however, are hub-drive and mid-drive motors.
Fat tire bikes with hub-drive motors are some of the cheapest e-bikes on the market. However, they aren’t as powerful when you’re riding up steep inclines. In contrast, mid-drive motors offer pedal assist support which translates to more power and improved performance on all terrains.
There are key differences between all-terrain e-bikes and other electric bikes. One of the most apparent variations is that all-terrain or fat tire e-bikes can ride easily on various ground conditions, including shifting mediums like rain, sand, and snow. Not all e-bikes can say the same.
The second biggest differentiator is tire design. By definition, fat tire bikes have oversized, heftier tires, whereas other e-bike categories will feature slimmer tires. While this is good for terrain coverage and a generally smoother ride, it also means that fat tires or all-terrain e-bikes tend to be slightly heavier.
But remember that you’ll have an electric motor to help you power through more challenging paths. And unlike traditional bicycles, a heavier e-bike can help you reach faster speeds and make maneuvering difficult terrain easier. In many cases, unlike with a regular bike, heavier e-bikes have more powerful batteries, translating to more time spent riding on a single charge.
But similar to other e-bikes, you can find all-terrain bikes with step-over and step-through frames as well as a choice between hub-drive and mid-drive motors. However, if you plan on going off-road more frequently and for extended periods, most experts will recommend a step-over frame as this will accommodate bringing accessories like water bottle holders.
All terrain electric bikes work similarly to other e-bikes depending on the motor and power method. The bike is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack which must be recharged periodically to activate the motor.
With e-bike motors, you’ll need to choose between pedal-assist or throttle support to activate the motor. And depending on where you live and any state or municipal regulations, some power options may or may not be available to you. While both methods can help to provide additional assistance while you’re riding, they operate in different ways.
Pedal-assist motors are more common as there are fewer restrictions on this motorized method across the United States. With pedal assist, the rider must be actively moving the pedals to trigger the motor. Based on the rider’s current speed, the motor provides measured support to gradually boost speed.
The benefit of this is that you can safely increase your speed while still maintaining control. Pedal-assist motors rely on either torque sensors or cadence sensors to activate the motor. For more experienced riders who want a more responsive riding experience when the motor is activated, torque sensors are a better choice.
Torque sensors work by intuitively adjusting the motor’s output to match the power of your pedal strokes. In contrast, cadence sensors don’t make motor output adjustments. Whether you pedal furiously or calmly, the motor will continue to release the same amount of power.
The other activation method for triggering the motor is through throttles. Unlike pedal assist, throttle motors are activated by touching the throttle that’s typically located on the handlebars. Compared to pedal-assist motors, throttle motors completely control an e-bike’s power once activated. This means you can stop pedaling and let the motor propel you forward.
The downside of throttle e-bike motors is that they can easily emit too much power, causing people to lose control of the bike. For this reason, many states and municipalities have enacted legislation that restricts the maximum speed throttle motor e-bikes can reach. Usually, this speed cap is around 28 to 30 miles per hour.
An all terrain electric bike can be a smart investment if you’re someone who likes the idea of an environmentally-friendly alternative to ICE (internal combustion engine) based modes of transportation. And, as many e-bikes have a fairly long lifespan, they can be a smart alternative for people who live in metropolitan areas where driving a car can be more hassle than it’s worth.
Electric bikes are one of those tech gear categories where the sum can last longer than the parts. This means that the actual bicycle can last for years, assuming that you take care of your bike. Engaging in routine maintenance and avoiding intentional damage to the frame or wheels can mean that your bike will stand the test of time.
But what you need to ask yourself is how long will the lithium-ion battery pack and motor last? It’s important to remember that e-bike batteries come in a variety of ranges. This means that if you’re a long-distance rider you can opt for a bike with more mileage between recharges or upgrade an existing unpowered bike by installing an e-bike conversion kit.
Assuming you buy an e-bike, e-bike battery pack, or e-bike conversion kit from a reputable dealer, you should be able to get three to five years of consistent use out of the battery pack before it needs to be replaced.
And considering that lithium-ion is inherently volatile, this is one area where it doesn’t pay to be cheap. Low-quality lithium-ion batteries are notoriously unstable and were the culprits behind a rash of fires and explosions, injury, and deaths in early-model versions of personal mobility devices — which includes e-bikes.
E-bike motors also tend to be incredibly durable, so they should last beyond the lifespan of the battery pack. To keep them in optimal condition, avoid getting the motor wet as electronics and water don’t play well together. Also, engage in routine maintenance.
Picking the right e-bike is a personal choice that will primarily depend on your riding habits and comfort level with using a powered device. While most criteria are similar across e-bike styles, there are a few specific questions you need to consider when shopping for an all terrain e-bike.
Before you settle on an e-bike model, always first check to determine what is considered street legal in your region. Keep in mind that municipal regulations supersede state legislation. In some cases, this can dictate whether you can have pedal assist versus throttle motors, the maximum speed your e-bike can reach, where you can ride your bike, and even if you or passengers must wear protective gear.
Some states may even require a special license to ride an e-bike. Ignoring local regulations by picking a bike that’s not legally approved for where you live can result in fines, leading to points on your driver’s license if you have one.
Consider how and where you plan to ride your e-bike and pick a frame that’s conducive to that style. Step-through frames sit lower, making them ideal for people that are heavier or even seniors and those who struggle to lift their legs high into the air. But they’re not the best at traversing hilly terrain and riders may experience more wobbling.
In contrast, step-over frames are designed to look like standard bike frames. These models, while a bit heavier, are also sturdier and can also support accessory attachments. Step-over e-bikes are a better choice if you’re going to ride over challenging terrain.
Again, part of this choice is going to be predetermined based on the jurisdiction in which you live. There are three e-bike classes: one, two, and three. And depending on where you live, some classes are not only banned but also not legally available for purchase. Class 1 covers pedal-assist e-bikes that can reach top speeds of 20 miles per hour. They’re usually approved for use on bike trails and paths.
Class 2 includes throttle e-bikes that reach top speeds of 20 miles per hour. These bikes can also normally ride on bike trails and paths. And finally, Class 3 bikes are pedal-assist models that reach maximum speeds of 28 miles per hour. These bikes usually aren’t allowed on bike paths.
Picking the right motor is again going to depend on your riding habits. For people that ride up serious inclines, mid-drive motors are a better choice as they’re more efficient while also being lighter and smaller than hub-drive motors. However, if you’re trying to save money and rarely ride up steep inclines, hub-drive motors can be an economical way to embrace the e-bike life.
Once again, local laws may dictate whether or not you can choose between pedal-assist versus throttle motors. But experts usually agree that pedal-assist is best for beginners since the motor releases power to match and propel your pedal strokes. More experienced riders may prefer throttle motors where the motor completely takes over and you don’t have to pedal.
Casual riders who only make short trips might be fine with the standard factory-issue lithium-ion battery pack. But if you want to ride over longer distances between charges, swapping out the base pack for an extended range battery might be a good call.
Also note that for people who want to incorporate other accessories like phone chargers or speakers for longer rides, an extended range battery pack can provide that additional power when you need it.