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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.
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!
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.
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 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).
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.
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!
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!