Fat tire electric bikes are often seen as a more challenging ride when compared to any other kind of electric bike. However, the reality is quite different. The riding experience is not just similar, but fat tire e-bikes offer that extra bit of control on irregular terrain that can’t be gained on any other e-bike.
With the winter season just around the corner, we’ve prepared a guide to maximize your fat e-bike riding experience. Here’s a list of things we’re going to cover:
- Tips to improve your riding experience in the winter
- Which fat tire electric bike to buy for winter riding?
- How to customize your electric bike for the winter?
Tips to Improve Your Riding Experience in the Winter
While fat electric bikes are designed to provide a comfortable experience on any kind of track, here are some of the things you need to keep in mind before riding into the cold snowy winters.
Wear Proper Clothes
Riding your electric bike in the winter sounds like a pleasing experience but if you haven’t made adequate preparations to protect yourself from the cold, you’re putting yourself at risk. Riding under cold weather conditions can lead to a number of diseases ranging from the common cold to hypothermia.
To avoid catching any of these, you can start by layering your clothing to keep your body warm at all times. Additionally, you should also wear some high-quality gloves and socks to ensure that your hands and feet don’t get cold.
Carry Basic First Aid Kit
When riding in winter, you should always prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario. A casual accident occurring in the summer can have more serious consequences when it occurs in the winter. To counter this, we recommend that you always have a first aid kit with you to cater to any injuries you may encounter.
Pack Basic Survival Equipment
In case you’re riding in the woods and lose your way, having some survival essentials like a compass can help you find your way back. For instance, if you’re hurt and can’t go back, a fire starter paired with a survival blanket should keep you warm until help arrives.
Know Your Limits
Riding in the winter isn’t as easy as it may seem. Factors like ice and snow can severely hinder your riding experience. Just because you have a fat electric bike doesn’t mean you can go on a long ride whenever you want. Start slow – with paths and routes that you’re well aware of and gradually increase your travel distance.
When riding in the winter you’re probably going to fall at some point. While the snow can aid in cushioning your fall, the same can’t be said for ice. The key is to keep your mind calm and your body relaxed so you can adjust your balance yourself when encountering slippery surfaces.
Which Fat Tire Electric Bike to Buy for Winter Riding?
In case you’re planning to buy a fat tire electric bike for winter riding, the most important consideration is the type and width of the tires.
Fat tires range from 3.7 to 5” inches in width. Wider tires distribute your weight over a large surface area, preventing you from digging into a loose surface such as fresh-packed snow. To know more about fat tires, read this detailed blog.
Another consideration is the weight of the electric bike. The lighter a bike is, the better it will perform on snow. Other important things to consider are choosing between single vs dual suspension and mechanical vs hydraulic brakes.
Choosing the Right Suspension
Knowing what type of suspension suits your needs will make your riding experience more enjoyable. You have two options to choose from.
A full-suspension e-bike has suspension on both ends, so you’re able to go all out in terms of speed. Having full suspension provides you more room for error when speeding as it’ll be able to withstand and absorb almost any interference caused by rough handling or the terrain.
However, a full-suspension e-bike costs way more than the other alternative.
Hardtail electric bikes, such as the Sivrock CJ500, have a front shock-absorbing fork and a rigid rear, hence the name. They cost way less than full-suspension electric bikes and provide almost a similar level of performance when it comes to shock absorption and smooth sailing.
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal preference and what budget you have.
Choosing the Right Brakes
When it comes to choosing the brakes for a fat tire e-bike for winter riding, you might have to choose between mechanical or hydraulic ones.
In this case, mechanical disc brakes – such as the ones in the Sivrock CJ500 – are often recommended to be the better choice. Not only do they prevent any damage from grit due to cold weather, but they also tend to be less affected by freezing weather as they don’t use oil in the braking process.
But that isn’t to say hydraulic brakes are a bad option. The probability of freezing varies based on the type and quality of the oil.
Even if you’re riding a bike with hydraulic brakes and it tends to freeze, you can melt it by repeatedly pressing your brakes on and off for about 15 seconds. This will create friction, which will induce heat.
To sum up, mechanical disc brakes perform a bit better than hydraulic due to absence of oil and don’t forget that they are inexpensive as well!
How to Customize Your Electric Bike for the Winter?
In case you don’t have a fat tire e-bike, you can customize/ modify your regular electric bike for winter riding, provided that it’s in good shape to handle the added weight and strain.
Dealing with busted tires, loose chains or handles is never a fun task, especially when you’re out in the freezing cold. So, regular maintenance paired with a bit of customization can prepare your electric bike well enough for the winter terrain.
The biggest change to make your bike suitable for riding in the snow is to change the tires. There are alot of factors to consider when it comes to changing tires – material, tire size, everything influences how your bike performs on different kinds of tracks.
Starting with tire size, you should aim to buy fat tires with widths ranging from 3.7 to 5 inches as these will ensure that your bike has maximum contact with the ground. We recommend that you don’t purchase any second-hand tires as they might already be damaged.
Another thing you can go for is to switch to tubeless orientation.
Tubeless tires have a slower deflation rate, are durable, and aid in stability. You can search for methods to change your bike tires to tubeless ones. Not only will this aid in making you feel like you have more control, but also aid you better in case they get punctured.
Another thing that you can do to customize your bike is to switch to flat pedals. If you’ve ridden in the snow before, you’ve probably faced difficulty in pedaling at some point. A way to avoid this is by taking your feet off the pedals.
While this can be done with clipless pedals, flat pedals tend to be a better option. Not only are they beginner-friendly, but you’ll have a larger range for adjusting your feet. Since you’re going to be taking your feet off the pedals more often in winter, flat pedals are a worthwhile investment.
The Final Word
Riding in the winter can be hard, but with the proper equipment and safety measures, you can rest assured that you’ll have a great time, no matter if you’re out for a casual ride or an adrenaline rush adventure!