The Best Fat Tire Electric Bike
These days, you likely see more and more people whizzing down the roads around you on electric bikes as they happily commute to work, grab their groceries and head out for coffee with friends. Maybe you’re even one of them. What many don’t see, however, is what these bikes can do off the roads.
That's where the real fun begins. Think beyond the pavement to beach cruising, mountain biking, hunting and other adventures on two wheels. Our bikes are just as fun and easy to ride off the beaten path as they are on any city or suburban street—maybe even more so. The key is knowing which e-bikes are up for the challenges you want to issue.
Do These Tires Make my E-Bike Look Fat?
There’s a lot of buzz about “fat tire” electric bikes for these types of off-road adventures and for some riders they’re a great choice. However, there are tradeoffs that come with that extra girth that are important to understand before you buy a bike.
Tire widths of 4 inches and wider were first developed for riding in snow and later sand and mud. The larger surface area of the tires provides increased traction for these very loose surfaces, which is great… to an extent.
The trade off is that wider tires weigh more, and you often have to sacrifice some other key functionality. The increased weight and rolling resistance of wider tires can ultimately hurt your range. It can also make the bike more difficult to lift or transport, and maneuvering the bike may be more difficult, making it feel sluggish.
Think of it this way: The difference in the weight between a 26” x 4” wide fat bike wheelset and a 27.5 x 2” wheelset, like that of the Charge Comfort e-bike, is about 6.6 pounds. That’s the equivalent of strapping three, one-quart containers of milk to your bike every time you go for a ride or lift the bike onto a rack.
The bottom line: If you don’t plan to do a lot of riding off road in snow or sand, then you may experience more of the negatives than positives of fat tires.
The “Chunky” Choice: XC Electric Bike
At Charge, our goal is to use a tire size on our bikes that gives the right amount of traction, cushion and stability with minimal weight and rolling resistance for the terrain you will be riding. For example, if you want a bike that can handle pavement, gravel, dirt, sand and more, there’s our Charge XC electric bike.
When the rubber meets the road—or the off-road as the case may be—the Charge XC, from the makers of Cannondale and Schwinn, has you covered. It features big, grippy Goodyear Peak 29 x 2.25 tires that are puncture-resistant and ready to help you explore. But they’re more “chunky” than fat.
They have more contact with the surfaces over which you ride than traditional tires, offering more traction, more stability, better control and a smoother ride. However, because the tires aren’t too fat , the bike is still lightweight and nimble.
Going the Distance on a Fat Tire Electric Bike
How far will our chunky tires take you? Up to 50 miles on a single charge of the removable (yet lockable), waterproof, rechargeable battery. There are a number of factors that affect the exact number of miles you can cover, such as the weather, how much you pedal and where you ride, but in general, you can clock in close to 50 miles on one.
To put that in perspective, it’s 44.7 miles from San Francisco to Sonoma, Calif., 38.6 miles from Washington, DC, to Baltimore, Md., and 49 miles from New York City to New Canaan, Conn. While these direct routes likely don’t make sense on your electric bikes (and remember you have to get home too), they do give you an idea of just how big your adventures can be given the right routes.
You can ride your bike to a trailhead, then take on the trails mountain-bike style. Bike to the beach, then hit sand with the surf spraying at your feet as your e-bike functions as a beach cruiser. Head out to hunt, track down your prey and bring it home for dinner. A standard rear rack allows you to strap on food, drinks, equipment and other items you need to fuel your fun.
All the while you’ll be out in the great outdoors, reaping the benefits of fresh air and exercise rather than being trapped in a gas-guzzling car. Studies have shown that while the level of exertion required while riding an electric bike may not be the same as that of pedal-only bikes, riding e-bikes can have significant health benefits.
Other studies have shown that riding e-bikes requires almost as much physical exertion as traditional bikes. While the data isn’t currently conclusive, what is conclusive is that it’s just more fun to ride an electric bike on all your adventures.
Along for the Ride
Feel the need for speed? The Charge XC electric bike features a mid-drive motor that provides electric assist up to 20 mph, which is a pretty nice clip. It has three pedal-assist modes, so you can choose just how much of a boost you want at any time.
There’s no need to worry about it running out on you mid-adventure either, as each bike is equipped with an indicator to let you know just how many miles you have left with electric assist, before it’s all up to you to pedal back.
Our bikes also come with a host of other features to ensure a smooth ride. From protective fenders and bright front and rear lights to automatic tire pressure sensors, they are designed with your safety, comfort and enjoyment in mind.
“These bikes are the bomb!!!” another happy customer wrote in a review. “We’re absolutely loving our two new Charge XC bikes. They’re lighter than I expected, smooth and comfortable to ride, and we still get a great workout without having to walk up steep hills. I have a feeling my regular mountain bikes will be obsolete from here on in!”
Many Americans seem to feel the same way. According to NPD, while sales of mountain bikes increased 70% in a 12-month period ending July 2021 compared with 2019, the sale of e-bikes grew by an astounding 240 percent during that same period!
Dirk Sorenson, executive director, industry analyst, sports for NPD says e-bikes appeal to consumers now because of their limitlessness.
“The new and returning rider may be concerned with a range of objections to ride again – the big hill, the long ride, and keeping pace with faster riders are all relieved by pedal assist,” Sorenson writes. “And, once riders try an e-bike, most seem compelled by the fun of it.”
Ease on Down the Road
Not feeling the big hills? No sweat… literally, as you can choose to use more of a boost any time. Want to exert a bit more effort? Getting your sweat on is an option too. Your rides can be as easy as you want them to be.
Also easy—storing and taking the bike on all your adventures. With both handlebars and pedals that fold, you can take yours on a road trip in your RV, board it on a boat or keep it in a corner of your office while working or at home if storage space is tight. It doesn’t take up much room, but it’s always ready to go when you are.
Speaking of which, getting going in the first place is also incredibly easy. All our bikes are shipped directly to you in 100-percent recyclable packaging. They can be unboxed and ready to roll in a matter of minutes—just 10 minutes on average as they come nearly completely pre-assembled.
The Cost of Adventure
While the XC is our most expensive e-bike at $2,499, it’s a strong value compared to other similar bikes in the same class that start around $3,000 and go upward from there.
Experts agree. In a review, T3 called the Charge XC electric bike, “...a versatile e-bike option for commuting during the week and getting dirty on the weekend. Great balance of value and quality.”
A reviewer for TNW wrote, “The Charge XC is a thoughtfully designed, good-looking, and reasonably-priced e-bike. For riders looking for a comfortable, practical ride at a price that is easier to swallow than other e-bikes with comparable mid-drive setups, there is nothing else quite like it. And did I mention it folds flat?”
The value of an electric bike is difficult to determine by specific numbers, but it’s safe to say they’re money well spent. From the convenience to the reduction in stress and added exercise benefits, most of our customers will tell you these bikes pay for themselves in a plethora of intangible ways. And that's beyond the concrete savings of gas, fares and other commuting costs.
On the Road Again
When your adventures need to be put on pause for the realities of daily life, the Charge XC e-bike is ready for your daily routine. It’s built for trail toughness, but it’s got street smarts. All the off-road functionality doesn’t come at the cost of your comfort, flexibility or ease of use, no matter where you choose to ride.
One minute you can be tackling a rocky trail and the next riding down a city sidewalk on your way to work where potholes and speed bumps are the most challenging part of your commute. That’s the beauty of our bikes—they take you where you want to go, when you want to go, how you want to go. Let’s go.
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