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-   -   Why do e-bikes have fat tires? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1224739)

reefmespla 02-28-21 04:28 PM

Why do e-bikes have fat tires?
 
So I am seeing more and more e-bikes on the Pinellas trail and so many have huge fat tires, like 4”+. What’s the purpose of such wide tires, they have to be a drain on the battery and how many people are really riding in deep sand or am I missing something?

AnthonyG 02-28-21 05:34 PM

What your missing is that fat tires is a fashion trend with regular bikes. E-bikes with fat tires is just playing catchup with the fashion trend.
Maybe it has benefits, maybe it doesn't, maybe it has drawbacks.
Don't over think it.

KPREN 02-28-21 09:47 PM

Fat bikes have many advantages but they have one very big disadvantage. That big disadvantage is rolling resistance and wind resistance. They will roll over substantially more than regular bike tires making them pretty much all terrain bikes, IF you have the power to pedal them through it. If you don't have the power to pedal them, you will be slow and often walking. Electric assist opens that door and provides the extra power to make them practical for all around biking enjoyment.

Doc_Wui 02-28-21 10:12 PM

Interesting. Didn't see many ebikes down in Florida in winter of 2018 and 2019. Now you got fat tire ebikes clogging the Pinellas Trail? Fashion statement yes. Sort of like 4WD SUV's in the suburbs. They do make sense if you're heavy.

I bought a cheap fat tire bike in 2015 and put a motor on it the next year. It's like a heavy cargo bike. It's not much fun. Neihgbors never comment on my various ebikes unless they see me on the fat tire bike. Then they give me compliments."Beautiful bike!" "Cool bike!" It's so strange. I only ride it a few times a year to make sure it still works and .I get cheers. Meanwhile, on the bike path, that's the only time I hear other bikers call me a cheater. My other ebikes are stealthy and light. They see this one and start sneering. I can't say I disagree. When I see other fat tire ebikes, I say to myself, there's another goofball.

There is a place for them on snow and sand. I've ridden on snow. Too cold. Too wet.

veganbikes 02-28-21 11:33 PM

Fat tires just look cool and a lot of the cheap online brands are cashing in on that and many are making throttled motorcycles with pedals. Fat tires are generally impractical for anything but sand and snow but on sand and snow fat tire bikes are awesome and quite useful however I would probably say at least half if not more rarely will see actual conditions warranted for a fat tire bike.

As Doc_Wui said they are kind of like SUVs in the suburbs. I too would love to have a fat bike but honestly I don't see enough snow and have zero beaches near me so it wouldn't get much use.

karunnt 03-01-21 04:21 AM

It's a trend. Most ebikes around me have narrow tires.

KPREN 03-01-21 06:23 AM

I do not believe that you are looking at a trend and I do not believe you are looking at a fad. I do not believe that e fat bikes are the norm and I do not believe that electric fat bikes are impractical. I am going to tour long distance with one. Why would I do that. Because I am a gerry and don't give a rats ass what is the norm. The damned thing is stable and comfortable to ride. At a certain age stability becomes more prized than flickability and playfulness and you have enough money to do it.

Here is your prime Florida example. My neighbor saw mine and went out and bought a RAD Wagon fat bike, cheap $1,700. He mostly just uses the throttle and loves to ride it. He is in Florida with it right now. Does he give a damn about trends and coolness. You be the judge. Here is John with his RAD and girlfriends bike on the back of his Corvette last summer heading on a western credit card tour.
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...34b1998d8a.jpg

reefmespla 03-01-21 08:24 AM

Love the bike rack on the Corvette, that looks like a fun trip.

reefmespla 03-01-21 08:26 AM

As someone who grew up with mountain bikes I keep going more narrow on my tires. It's really disheartening to have people with 4" wide tires buzz by you using pedal assist :lol:

KPREN 03-01-21 08:39 AM


Originally Posted by reefmespla (Post 21946410)
As someone who grew up with mountain bikes I keep going more narrow on my tires. It's really disheartening to have people with 4" wide tires buzz by you using pedal assist :lol:

I use to let other people dictate my moods until one day I realized that the problem was not them but how I choose to view it. I now know the choice is entirely mine to make. I am no longer a victim of my feelings.

My mind would now go to "Wow now that is a blow by, he looks happy, I want to know how happy he is with his decisions, I should just ask him. Even if its not for me I can live vicariously thorough his conversation and I would enjoy the company"

shelbyfv 03-01-21 09:02 AM

Fatter tires are safer and more comfortable. Since efficiency and weight aren't issues for ebikes, it makes sense to use fat tires.

KPREN 03-01-21 09:22 AM


Originally Posted by shelbyfv (Post 21946465)
Fatter tires are safer and more comfortable. Since efficiency and weight aren't issues for ebikes, it makes sense to use fat tires.

I got to thinking that this may or may not be true in fact. I don't know for sure and I am not sure I would trust any studies out there with motives.
Perception trumps facts for purchasing decisions every single time. Most people perceive fat tires to have better traction and therefore be safer. Most people perceive fat tires to offer a more comfortable ride. Most people will base a purchase based on that perception and the perception of vastly higher rolling resistance with fatter tires.
I can think of instances where fat tires may not offer as good of traction but I have no facts to back that up and overall, fat tires may be better. I ride them all the time but I have found some limitations. Good information on tires is hard to come by.

Doc_Wui 03-01-21 02:06 PM

This is my 26 incher. Bought it off Walmart for $79 shipped on clearance. It had rim brakes. The only thing original here is the steel frame and the seat post. I should have bought a better bike, but the $79 sucked me down the rabbit hole.

https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...9f4567ad61.jpg

cat0020 03-01-21 02:21 PM

AFAIK fat tires require less tire pressure, for more contact patch to surface, better traction, more comfort, less puncture or pinch flat.
Also if you have a more powerful hub motor, the acceleration is not as abrupt when you have more rotational mass..

Riveting 03-01-21 02:27 PM

I'm not sure about 4" becoming the norm, but the ebike front wheel kit I got (350 watt Hilltopper) came with wide'ish rim, that required a wide'ish (40mm?) tire. My guess is that a wider tire was required so that it had a bigger contact patch for traction, especially with a throttle-only option. And I'm guessing that an ebike with more torque (than my 350w), say 500w, 750w, or 1000w will require an even WIDER tire.

sojournervt 03-01-21 05:34 PM

perception will fool you every time. a hard pumped tire will feel fast. it may not be. fat tires hold much more air and can run substantially lower pressures. less road bounce, a more flexible tire causes less road fatigue.

gsa103 03-01-21 05:56 PM

Fat tires can run lower pressure and the air cushion provides suspension. The main disadvantage of fatter tires is rolling resistance, which doesn't matter with an eBike.
The extra suspension is especially important on an eBike where the rider won't be pedaling as hard so will have more weight on the seat. There are basically three methods to address comfort on an eBike. Fat tires, suspension seat posts or a proper full suspension. Fatter tires are basically the cheapest solution. It's especially true of the eMopeds which are not designed to be pedaled (hint: If the seat height is fixed, it's not supposed to be pedaled). Those need suspension to preserve the rider's spine, and fat tires are a good way to accomplish that. Besides

reefmespla 03-01-21 07:22 PM

Never though about the softer ride, that makes a lot of sense.

northernjeep 03-01-21 08:04 PM

I do ride mine on snow trails and on single track dirt in summer as well. The reason I first bought it was I liked the look, reminded me of my dirt bike days. The small 4" tires were replaced with 4.8" tires that work way better on winter trails but in summer they are removed and stored till the next winter

KPREN 03-01-21 09:08 PM

If you never go very far, rolling resistance and windage doesn't really matter on an e bike but most people will run into range difficulties sooner or later. Even though I have a fat e bike, rolling resistance and wind resistance still mean a great deal to me and I pay attention to them. Now that may sound silly but on an e fat bike it can make a great deal of difference in range, ability to carry a load and ease of riding without power. If you are down in the 12-15 mph speed range, paying attention to rolling resistance can double your range. Likewise rolling resistance matters when you want to carry more load at longer ranges. Also, batteries weight a lot and are more expensive than paying attention to tires.
If you are riding in the 17-20 mph range on a fat bike, paying attention to windage and minimizing it as much as possible can greatly extend range. Range can be very critical with a head wind on a high windage fat bike. You may not have enough range for your ride or your ride can be very slow.
No, I have the right bike. It pedals like a dream compared to other cheap fat e bikes I have ridden. No need for a throttle and I don't want a skinny tire bike.

Doc_Wui 03-02-21 12:42 PM

I have Veeco Speedsters smooth threads on my fat tire bike. Dang, they were $70 each. They do roll well, and I can pedal my fat tire bike w/o power, one of the reasons I wanted a front derailleur. When the bike was unpowered, with steel rims and heavy rubber tires, I couldn't pedal it 2 miles. I saved about 3 pounds per wheel just by going to lighter tires/tubes and alloy rims. Rolling resistance and angular momentum affect pedalling.

However, I prefer to ride skinny tires om a bike that weighs half the weight.

cat0020 03-02-21 01:48 PM

May not apply 100% with fat tire, but sure applies for going fast on pavement with road tires.


fooferdoggie 03-02-21 03:35 PM

my bosch mid drive bike has enough resistance with 1.5" tires. it feels like a slug with no power but that could just be me. I think the fat tires are just cheaper and easier to do and you can get away with less bike sizes and and the tires take care of some of the harshness on a cheap bike. I get a kick out of this guy who looks about 6' perched on top of one of the 20" folders got to make bike handling worse. but he also goes through red lights so there is that.

Leisesturm 03-05-21 10:58 PM

When does efficiency ever 'not matter'? WTF? Just because the rider isn't the one expending a noticeable amount of horsepower turning 4" tires with only 10psi doesn't mean it isn't happening. How could it possibly escape anyone's notice that there are only so many watt-hours in the cheap @$$ battery they bought because ... because it was cheap? With there being so much 'range anxiety' going around, I am shocked at the number of people who don't realize that they would get nearly TWICE the range back with more reasonable sized tires, and higher tire pressure, on their ebikes. Car makers can't sell all those multi-ton large pick-ups and SUV's outside of the U.S. America's fascination with hyper large automobiles naturally spilled over into the bicycles they ride. Just like there are people commuting in vehicles made for off-road, there will be cyclists commuting on bicycles made for off-road. We can't stop them but don't allow them to defend the practice. Don't believe them when they say there isn't a cost to being that wasteful of materials, energy, performance, time or anything else.

sojournervt 03-06-21 07:10 AM

Fat tires
 
Obviously; going to the extreme...4" tires at #10 pressure at a high speed, there will be a noticeable drag. Possibly ebikes with a faster average speed create materially greater wind resistance However there are other factors at play. If we are truly interested in this subject, google Rene Herse Cycles. They are proponents of lower pressure wider and more supple tires. They have done real world tests on this subject, including, I believe, wind tunnel analysis. They also sell lots of tires. [

QUOTE=Leisesturm;21954446]When does efficiency ever 'not matter'? WTF? Just because the rider isn't the one expending a noticeable amount of horsepower turning 4" tires with only 10psi doesn't mean it isn't happening. How could it possibly escape anyone's notice that there are only so many watt-hours in the cheap @$$ battery they bought because ... because it was cheap? With there being so much 'range anxiety' going around, I am shocked at the number of people who don't realize that they would get nearly TWICE the range back with more reasonable sized tires, and higher tire pressure, on their ebikes. Car makers can't sell all those multi-ton large pick-ups and SUV's outside of the U.S. America's fascination with hyper large automobiles naturally spilled over into the bicycles they ride. Just like there are people commuting in vehicles made for off-road, there will be cyclists commuting on bicycles made for off-road. We can't stop them but don't allow them to defend the practice. Don't believe them when they say there isn't a cost to being that wasteful of materials, energy, performance, time or anything else.[/QUOTE]


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