Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2022
The fast growth of fat tire ebikes in Colorado is a result of new technology in electric bikes and the awareness that fat tire electric bikes provide a more comfortable and safer riding experience for Colorado's roads and trails.
In this article, we'll look at why fat tire electric bikes are perfect for Colorado, plus what specifications to look for when you are buying an ebike in Colorado.
Why do some ebikes have fat tires?
Fat tires add traction and 'float' to your electric bike. Traction helps you stick to the road and trail while going at higher average speeds common with electric bikes.
Traction also helps with stopping. The more traction you have, the safer the ride, whether on turns or emergency stops. Fat tires and mechanical disc brakes are a great combination for fast stops!
Fat tires are more comfortable. Fat tire electric bikes benefit from the lower tire pressure used on fat tires. You will generally run your fat e bike tires at anywhere from 10-20 pounds per square inch, as opposed to often over 100 psi on regular ebikes. This allows the wide tires to give you more cushioning and a smooth ride, especially on rough and uneven surfaces common to Colorado trails and roads.
The extra traction also really helps fat tire bikes climb steep hills of Colorado, whether you are on a trail or on the road.
Watch this video of why fat tires are great for ebikes in Colorado.
Are fat tire ebikes good for the road?
If you ride in Colorado electric fat bikes are great for the road as well. Dirt, gravel and cracks and bumps in the road are all mitigated by fat tires. If you ride on the road a lot, you will probably pump up your fat tires a little higher, up to 30 psi, even, which reduces the friction some, but you will still have the ability to cross uneven surfaces confidently and with more comfort.
Fat tires, even pumped up, will still give you more friction for better stopping as well, which gives you a better of margin of safety when riding on the road in traffic.
How fast are fat tire ebikes?
Most fat tire electric bikes have powerful motors to help you cruise and climb hills. A pedal-assisted rear hub drive motor engages when you are pedaling to help you maintain an average higher speed.
Depending on the class of bike you get, your fat e bike will give you assisted power up to 20 miles per hour (if Class 1 or 2), or up to 28 miles per hour if Class 3.
Generally, the top speed on a fat tire electric bike is not as important as the higher average speed the pedal assist gives you. The difference between pumping hard to get up to 15 mph, and using electric pedal assist to help you stay at that speed even while going up hills and into the wind is big. This makes riding an electric bike in Colorado great for commuting, doing errands around town, or simply going further and a little faster. And, a whole lot funner!
A display and controller will help you set among five assist levels. Class 2 and 3 ebikes also have throttles. Be sure to consider built in the USA ebikes with a twist throttle, as these are more comfortable and safer to use than thumb throttles. Your throttle should also have a safety switch that turns it off when you are not using it.
Most fat tire electric bikes come with either a 500 watt or 750 watt motor. The motor size doesn't impact your top speed so much as the torque to help you get up to your desired speed more easily.
Most trails in Colorado have a speed limit of 15 miles per hour, so be mindful of speed limits, especially on trails.
Ebike Laws of Colorado
Fat tire electric bikes in Colorado do not need motor vehicle registration or licenses to operate. This makes your fat ebike a great alternative to driving a car, as you can save money on all those registration and licensing fees!
Ebike laws of Colorado primarily address the classification of ebikes and allows riding electric bikes on the same paths and trails as regular bicycles, unless specifically prohibited by the local jurisdiction.
When you ride your electric bike on a Colorado street, follow the rules of the road that motor vehicles are required to follow. Read more about rules and etiquette for ebikes in Denver.
Which is the best fat tire electric bike?
Whether you are looking for an electric mountain bike, folding e bike, an electric cargo bike or a commuter electric bike, you have options. There are a lot of fat tire electric bike reviews out there, particularly for the big corporate brands like rad power bikes. These reviews can be helpful, but most seem to be trying to get affiliate marketing dollars off their links. This biases the best fat tire electric bike reviews, and you may miss out on finding the right fat tire electric bike for you.
Do your research, and look for a company that builds fat tire electric bikes in the USA, so you get the best hand-crafted quality and performance, personalization and customer service.
How to choose the best fat tire electric bike for Colorado
Most fat tire electric bikes come with similar frame styles and components. Typical specifications will look like this:
- 500W or 750W Brushless Geared Hub Motor
- 48V Battery
- Aluminum Frame
- 7 Speed
- 26” X 4.0” fat tires
- Mechanical Disc Brakes
From there it's about the details, here are some important things to look at when buying your fat tire electric bike in Colorado:
As we noted, a rear hub motor is most common, and most suitable for most ebikes in Colorado. If you are a smaller to mid-size person and riding a smaller bike like a folding ebike, a 500 watt motor is perfect.
Full-suspension mountain bike frames do exist for ebikes, and these will have a mid drive motor. This adds to the weight and cost, so unless you are committed to serious mountain bike riding, a hard tail with a rear hub motor is most suitable.
Ebike Battery and Range
48 volts is most common on ebike batteries, the amp hours varies. Amp hours (AH) essentially translates to the range of the battery. The higher the amp hours, the further you can go, on average, on a single charge.
You will see 48V batteries listed with anywhere from 10 to 20 AH. We recommend getting at least a 14 AH battery with your ebike, which will give you a range of 30-50 miles, depending on your terrain and how much you rely on the battery for power.
Paint and Finishes
Most electric bike reviews don't talk about the paint on the frame. Why? Well, most electric bikes are made overseas in factories and have limited color options, if any. Plus, the paint is their big weakness. Urethane finishes are prone to peeling and easier to chip. The process is toxic. They'd rather not discuss it.
The best bike frame finishes are made with a process called powder-coating. Powder-coating involves spraying a dry powder paint onto the frame, rear racks and/or metal fenders, and then baking them at a high temperature.
A powder-coat painted frame is much more durable than urethane finishes. The paint is thicker, deeper, more attractive and more resistant to chipping. Powder-coating is also solvent-free, so it's kind for Colorado's air quality.
Gearing and Speed
The gears, or 'cassette', and the chain ring up by your pedal cranks are what make your fat ebike work like a bike when you are pedaling. The more teeth on your chain ring, the more speed you can have, though you'll have less torque when pedaling at lower speeds. Since most fat tire electric bikes only have one chain ring, it's a balance, usually around 46 teeth.
Unless you are doing extreme climbing or looking to do super high speed road riding, the best fat tire electric bikes for Colorado have a 7-speed cassette with a range of 11-34 teeth. This range will give you good torque on your lowest gears for climbing and enough speed on your highest gears for that cross town Denver commute or joy ride out to Red Rocks.
By definition, fat tire ebikes have tires wider or fatter than most regular bikes. That puts fat tires as at least 3" wide, sometimes up to 5" wide. Most fat tire electric bikes have tires that are 4" wide, which really is the sweet spot for performance.
Fat tires are perfect for Colorado ebikes. That extra friction and comfort give you more control on the varied surfaces of Colorado paths, roads and trails. The comfort keeps you riding further. Yes, there's a little extra weight with fat tires, but the electric pedal assist of your electric bike more than makes up for the difference.
Colorado trails and paths have a lot of pointy, prickly plants called goat heads, also known as puncture plants. Yes, puncture plants. Get tire liners put into your fat tires, along with a healthy dose of tire sealant. You'll avoid most flats and continue riding further!
With the extra speed and weight of a fat tire electric bike, you need a good braking system. Pairing fat tires with disc brakes gives you the best control for stopping on the trail or in Colorado's traffic.
Disc brakes are essential. Pads on each side of the disc (front and rear) grab and squeeze the disc. The combination of the pads and disc creates an incredible amount of friction, making stopping more reliable and faster.
Mechanical disc brakes have a lever and caliper that is pulled by the brake cable operated by your brake grips. Most fat ebikes have mechanical disc brakes, and for good reason - they are trustworthy, easy to maintain and the best value for most ebike users.
Hydraulic disc brakes use a fluid to create pressure on the the brake lever. Hydraulic brakes can produce a smoother braking feel, though if you don't use hydraulic brakes on your other bikes, this is not as noticeable. Hydraulic brakes are harder to maintain and don't always operate as well in colder temperatures. Thus, don't worry about getting hydraulic brakes unless you are really used to that type of braking system.
Fat Tire Ebikes Built in Colorado
Fat tire ebikes are perfect for Colorado for another reason: they are built right here in Denver! We build ebikes in the USA, in Denver, so you can get personalized styling and hand-built craftsmanship of Master Bike Mechanics.