Your starting point should be to consider what style of fat tire ebike is right for you, and what type of riding do you primarily plan to use your ebike for.
Fat tire electric bikes generally fall into the same main categories that other electric bikes, and in fact, conventional bicycles do.
These are: fat tire electric mountain bikes (aka e-MTBs), fat tire folding electric bikes, special-purpose fat tire ebikes such as those used for hunting, and general purpose, all-round fat tire electric bikes.
The specs, features and use cases for each of these styles of fat tire ebikes can vary, so it’s a good idea to know what you plan to use it for. Here are our suggestions;
Fat Tire Electric Mountain Bikes. If you plan to do a lot of trails and off road riding then a mountain bike style will be right for you. Full-sized frames and many of these goodies that you would find on a regular mountain bikes will also be found in the electric versions.
Folding Fat Tire Ebikes. The smaller frame size and foldability on these fat tire bikes make them perfect for people who primarily want to use them for commuting around town but want the stability of wider tires. They are also great for people who just need to save space such as those with a boat, holiday homes and RVs.
Hunting Fat Tire Electric Bikes. These may appear to be very similar to e-Mountain bikes and they are! Important differences here are that they are sold with a range of complementary accessories to make them ideal for the hunter or outdoorsman. You will often find a higher spec of components on these ebikes to help them cope with tougher backcountry trails.
All Rounders. If you like a full sized frame and don’t need to fold your ebikes these will be the fat tire ebikes for you. Perfect for riding about town and with accessories to help carry your important items but without super high spec components to keep the affordability good.
The frames on electric bikes are generally the same as those on conventional bikes. The main difference in the frames on fat tire ebikes is that the front forks and rear seat stay portions of the frame are often widened to take into account the 4 inch plus tires.
It’s good to be aware of frame size as this has a major influence on whether a bike of any style is comfortable for you to ride.
You're making an investment here and we want you to be able to enjoy it.
So how do you work out what frame size will be best for you on a fat tire electric bike?
The first question is, do you know what size frame you find comfortable on a conventional bike? Do you have a conventional bike that you can measure to check the size?
If you do, this can be the quickest way to working out your sizing. Just transfer the frame size measured in inches from your conventional bike to the measurements listed on an ebike that you are interested in.
The measurement you are primarily interested in is the height of the frame. If you are a tall person you will want a taller frame and vice versa for a short person.
If you don’t have a conventional bike handy to take measurements off then the next option available to you is to read follow this guide:
Before you shop for a bike, you'll need to take several measurements of your own body. Bike sizes are based on a person's height and body frame dimensions — not on their weight. You'll want to know your height, inseam, torso length and arm length. Be sure to remove your shoes prior to taking these measurements. Also, measuring can be easier with a helper.
Measure Your Height
If you don't already know your height, measure yourself while standing on a flat surface with your back against a wall. Feet should be spaced slightly less than shoulder width apart.
Measure Your Inseam
The most important measurement when sizing a bike is your inseam length. Don't base your inseam simply on your jeans size. The more precise, the better.
Stand with your back against a wall and spread your feet 6-8" apart.
Place a book between your legs and up against the wall, spine up; raise it until snug against your crotch (this mimics your bike seat).
Have another person measure from the top of the book (spine) down to the floor.
Measure Your Torso and Arms
You may need your torso length and arm length when shopping for a road bike. To determine your torso length, simply measure from your groin to the small "V" in your throat, just above your sternum. To determine your arm length, measure from your collarbone to roughly the center of your palm.
All of the fat tire ebikes in our Ultimate Guide are listed with their frame sizes.
Electric Motor Drive Type
The heart of any electric bike and what makes and ebike…well…an ebike - is its motor. The electric motor on your ebike can play a large role in how it performs for your intended use.
We’ll look at power in the next section but the main thing that you need to consider about your electric motor is what type of motor you want on your ebike.
There are 3 main categories to choose from for a fat tire ebike, front hub, rear hub and mid-drive motors.
Front hub and rear hub motors reside in the hub (center) of either the front or rear tire.
Mid-drive motors are housed around the bottom bracket of the ebike where you will also find the crank and pedals. The bottom bracket looks like a thick cylinder which you would also find on a conventional bike.
The primary differences between each of these motor types are power, cost and riding experience.
Mid-drive motors tend to be the most expensive but deliver more power and better balance than either of the hub style variations. Their low central location doesn’t provide any bias to either end of the ebike and the keep the centre a gravity low which is a good thing.
Generally, mid-drive motors are found on e-mountain bikes and hunting fat tire ebikes.
Front and Rear hub motors are usually less expensive and much more common on the folding style fat tire ebikes which rear hub motors can be found across all types of fat tire ebikes.
The main difference between these two styles are rideability. Front hub motors pull the ebike forward while rear drive motors push the ebike forward. This can lead to subtle differences in how the ebike performs while turning and traveling up hills.
If you are looking to spend a lot of time off-road on trails we recommend that you look into mid drive fat tire ebikes.
Electric Motor Power
There is a reasonable variation in the power output available from fat tire ebike motors. The models covered in our Ultimate Guide range from 500W to 1000W.
Electric bike motor power is generally expressed in wattage with a Watt (W) as the standard unit of measurement.
The 3 outputs you will find on our fat tire ebikes are 500W, 750W and 1000W.
So which is right for you?
Once again, that will depend largely on what you want to use the bike for but also how much weight you will be relying on the ebike to move.
Most people who require the ebike for commuting or just kicking around town will be happy enough with a 500W motor.
If you are planning to get off-road a lot or be pulling equipment behind the fat tire ebike then you would be better off with a 750W or 1000W option. These are generally what are provided with our e-mountain bike style fat bikes.
The last consideration is your own weight, if you are a larger person then you should consider a motor with a higher power output.
Ebike Battery Range
Got a good distance to travel?
Ebike range should be a factor that you consider in your buying process.
While there are a lot of factors that decide how much range an electric bike will cover in a single charge (like terrain, weather, rider weight etc), most manufacturers will provide an average range that their models are good for.
Generally, you can expect to see stated ranges anywhere from 20 miles right up to 60 miles.
Have a think about what distance you will generally be traveling and factor this into your decision.
A good quality battery is a crucial part of a quality fat tire electric bike.
Poor quality batteries will result in short lifespans, poor weather protection and shorter charge life.
Look for a good quality name like LG, Samsung or Panasonic.
When you are comparing fat tire ebike batteries you will notice some features that are commonly listed. The main ones being voltage (V) and Amp Hours (Ah). Do these matter? Yes, they do.
Voltage is a measurement of the potential power of the battery or how much power the battery can potentially send to the motor.
You will notice our top fat tire ebikes either have a 36V or 48V battery. This has an impact on overall cost of the ebike. If power is a concern for you then aim for an ebike with a 48V battery.
Amp hours (Ah), on the other hand, are a measurement of the capacity of the battery, think of it like how much fuel a car can hold in its fuel tank. Higher Ah batteries hold more charge but also cost more.
Electric bike braking has come a long way in recent years. Most fat tire electric bikes are now supplied standard with disc brakes on the front and rear wheel.
There are three main factors for you to consider in the braking department. Rotor size, Pistons and whether the brakes are mechanical or hydraulic.
Rotor size affects the stopping ability of the brakes. Larger rotors equal more potential stopping power.
Each brake caliper (the part the squeezes the brake rotor) uses a piston to push the pads together onto the brake rotor. More piston equals quicker stopping force and often more braking power. You will find that brakes are either 2 or 4 pistons on fat tire ebikes.
The last consideration is whether the brakes are mechanical or hydraulic.
The main difference between the two is that mechanical brakes use a cable that is pulled by the brake lever to close the brake caliper while hydraulic brakes use fluid pressure to force the caliper closed.
Hydraulic brakes are similar to those you will find on your car or motorcycle.
While there are pros and cons to both type of brakes, generally speaking, hydraulic brakes will provide more reliable and stronger braking.
This does come with an initial higher cost though. So consider whether you will require a lot of hard braking.
For the general commuter or about town rider mechanical breaks will generally do the trick. If you like to push a bit harder or ride fast off road, then look at getting yourself set up with a hydraulic braked fat tire ebike.
Like traditional mountain bikes, it is quite common these days for electric fat tire bikes to be supplied with front suspension. There are even a few models now that feature full suspension (front & rear)
But do you need it?
For getting around town it isn’t really necessary, and given that suspension will add cost to your purchase if you are just looking for a cruiser, the answer is probably no.
If you are using your ebike for trail riding, hunting or other backcountry riding then you will benefit from the additional comfort, stability and safety that front fork suspension can provide.