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5 Ways a Fat Tire E-Bike Ruins Your Ride

And What We Did Instead to Optimize All-Season E-Biking for Canadian Commuters

When we set out to make the perfect e-bike for Calgary/Canada we initially thought the obvious choice was an e-bike with fat tires. We were wrong. Our first prototype was a juggernaut of a bike. It had 4.8-inch wide tires, double batteries, and a huge motor. I thought it was perfect. One 45-minute ride, a flat tire, and an attempt to lift it onto a bike rack is all it took for me to change my mind.


The bike felt like a motorcycle.


I had to let the motor do so much of the work because of how heavy it was. The handling was sluggish. The tires were loud and I felt like a trespasser riding on bicycle paths shared with pedestrians.


The bike was tough to handle and while I enjoyed going fast on the road, it didn’t have the quiet grace and freedom of a bicycle. During my first ride, one of the tires lost air so I had to service it. It was a nightmare. The bike was heavy and clumsy to maneuver and it was difficult to get on the bike stand. I managed to replace the tire, but after the laborious process I thought, “I never want to service this bike again!” Now I understand why so many bike mechanics try to avoid working on fat-tire e-bikes.


I want to provide great service to our customers. I can't do that if I don't want to work on the bike. A difficult to service bike will create a higher lifetime cost.


The cons of the bike weren't worth the price especially because the performance and feel of the bike didn’t blow me away.


So, if you're considering buying a fat tire e-bike, consider these 5 things before you decide:


1. Fat tire bikes are heavy. Add the electrical components and they get even heavier. The most common complaint with e-bikes is their weight. If most of your riding will be on city paths and gravel roads, fat tires aren't necessary and will only slow you down. 2. Fat tires kill the e-bike battery much faster because of the tires' rolling resistance, making them much less efficient.


3. Fat tires are not compatible with a belt drive system. Trading a belt drive for a traditional bike chain was a non-negotiable for us. We highly recommend a belt drive for all-weather e-biking!


4. Fewer bike mechanics are willing to work on fat tire e-bikes because of their size and wear on their bike tools, which limits servicing options.


5. Fat tires are really loud on the road and pathways, which takes away from the peaceful riding experience we love.


Our goal in designing our own e-bike was to produce an effective tool for transportation that’s comfortable, practical, and enjoyable to ride.


Instead of fat tires, the TuffHill e-bike has 27.5 x 2.2 inch high volume tires (pictured above). This simplified design ensures you will enjoy a comfortable and efficient ride on paved or gravel roads.


For winter riding, you can easily swap these tires out for quality studded tires (pictured to the left), perfect for any weather Calgary throws at you!




Are you looking for the ideal all-season e-bike for Calgary’s weather?


Come for a test ride with us and experience the smooth, quiet and comfortable design of a TuffHill e-bike.


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