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Electric Fat Bike – Build your own!

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The Fat bike has been around for a few years now and they have been steadily growing in popularity. These bikes can be great fun in the sand and snow, but the high rolling resistance caused by their extra large 26″ x 4.o” tyres and heavy, beefed-up frames, can make pedalling somewhat harder than on a traditional bike. This is why they make an excellent choice for an electric conversion.

voodoo wazoo electric fat bike fitted with a bafang bbshd

There are plenty of electric fat bikes currently on the market, but if you already own a fat bike, you can save a lot of money doing the electric conversion yourself.

Do I need a Fat Bike?

This really depends on your preferences and the kind of terrain you expect to be riding on. The traditional fat bike does not have suspension as the extra wide tyres which are run at a relatively low pressure (usually around 15 psi) enable cycling over terrain and in weather conditions that would be difficult even for a traditional mountain bike. Fat bikes really come into their own when ridden through sand, snow and thick mud.

The other attractive feature of fat bikes is they look rather cool, and they certainly turn heads. When ridden on tarmac the tyres can make a fair bit of road noise, akin to a Land Rover!

a fat bike fitted with a bafang bbshd electric motor and 52v battery

Buying a fat bike is a matter of personal choice. But you don’t need to live near a beach or in a cold climate to justify getting one. Fat bikes make great, comfortable back-road commuter bikes, especially if your local roads are full of pot-holes!

Most fat bikes also come equipped with mounting points for pannier racks, and can make good cargo bikes.

So what is the best fat bike electric conversion kit?

This really comes down to budget and the amount of power you need.  There are two main options for electric conversion are mid-drive motors like the Bafang BBSHD or a direct drive or geared hub motor.

bafang bbshd 48v 1000w electric bike kit

If you are fitting a mid-drive motor, the best option would be a Bafang.  The only motor previously available in 100mm or 120mm version was their flagship BBSHD model, but recently some suppliers have started selling the BBS01B 250w and BBS02B 500w and 750w models with an extended motor shaft allowing for fitment to most fat bikes. These motor shaft extending kits can also be purchased and fitted to a Bafang motor you already own – useful if you want to transfer your existing BBS01 / BBS02 from a regular bike to a fat bike.

Bafang Mid-Drive motor kits for Fat Bikes GLOBAL SHIPPING
bafang bbs01 bbs02 for 100mm and 120mm bottom bracket
Bafang BBS01B 36v 250w 100mm - 120mm BB
Bafang BBS02B 36v / 48v 500w 100mm - 120mm BB
Bafang BBS02B 48v 750w 100mm - 120mm BB
Bafang BBSHD 48v 1000w 100mm - 120mm BB

The popular Tongsheng TSDZ2 torque sensing mid-drive motor kit is now available from one of my suppliers in 100mm – 120mm bottom bracket sizes.

Tongsheng TSDZ2 - now available for Fat Bikes 100mm - 120mm BB
Tongsheng TSDZ2 36v / 48v / 52v 100mm-120mm for Fat Bike bottom brackets (GLOBAL SHIPPING)

If you want to fit a hub motor, the main thing you will need to consider is the wider drop-outs at the rear. Thankfully there is a wide choice of fat bike hub motor kits available in various power outputs from around 350w all the way up to 2000w plus (some of which I have listed below).

bafang 48v 750w hub motor kit for fat bike

There are two types of hub motor – direct drive or geared. More detailed information can be found on these motors here. Generally geared hub motors are more efficient, produce more torque and are easier to pedal when the power is switched off. Direct drive motors are heavy, inefficient but can handle masses of power and are generally more reliable in the long-term.

Hub motor electric bike conversion kits for Fat Bikes GLOBAL SHIPPING
bafang 48v 750w hub motor kit for fat bike
Pasion ebike Bafang 48v 750w hub motor for fat bikes
48v 1000w gear hub motor kit with 48v20ah battery for fat bike
Pasion ebike 1500w 48v direct drive rear hub motor with colour display for fat bike
Ncycle 2000w direct drive fat bike kit with 52v13ah battery
Ncycle 1000w direct drive fat bike kit with 48v12.8ah battery
36v 350w fat bike electric conversion kit with 36v battery

Conclusion

Fat bikes are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but they can be great fun – I have ridden an electric fat bike powered by a Bafang BBSHD and 52v battery up a steep muddy field and the thing just kept on pulling!

I wouldn’t personally buy one unless I lived near a beach or in a climate that gets lots of snow in the winter months.  If you were a farmer one of these would make a great alternative to a quad bike -you could even hook up a trailer!

Salsa mukluk fat bike fitted with a bafang bbshd mid drive electric conversion kit and 52 volt battery

Fat bikes are here to stay – they are robust and versatile, plus they will tackle the most difficult terrain with ease, they will roll over just about anything you can put in front of them!

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4 thoughts on “Electric Fat Bike – Build your own!

  • September 2, 2020 at 9:21 am
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    Hi Pete
    I would choose 120 mm because there would be better distance between crank and frame on the left side. When I bought my tongsheng there was only 500 w option … would not switch to anything else😀 I have a 36T chainring and 11-36 cassette. Pulls like a train😎
    I have a 17.5 amp battery, and I really have no idea how far I can go. Did a test yesterday when I was out cycling. The battery was almost fully charged, when I measure voltage after the trip (10km offroading, hilly terrain.) It is 39.6 volts, I do not know if the curve is linear in volts drop … if it is I have an estimated range of approx. 50 km. sorry for very late reply ….
    Kind regards
    Jocke

    Reply
  • July 1, 2020 at 9:05 am
    Permalink

    Hi there!
    At last I have converted my mongoose fat bike with a tongsheng 36v (500w), and what a fun bike it is now!😀
    I have a 100mm bottom bracket and it was a tight fit😅 just a few milimeters space at the left
    Crank… I’ll guess the 120mm will fit better and some spacers at the bb.
    Kind regards
    Jocke

    Reply
    • July 1, 2020 at 1:16 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Jocke,

      Thanks for the update, glad things went well. Feel free to email me a couple of photo’s and I will post them on the article – cycletek@outlook.com.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
    • August 5, 2020 at 7:36 am
      Permalink

      Hi Jocke,
      I am very close to buying a Tongsheng kit for my 9zero7 fatbike, and am interested to read your comments.
      Would you receommend getting the 120mm kit? My bike BB is 100mm, but you say there is not much clearance.
      I was looking at the 250w TSDZ2, but do you think the 350w motor is better? And what size battery did you use? I was thinking about 36v 17.5ah, but I would be really interested to hear your thoughts…..thanks
      Pete

      Reply

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