Cake
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    • I’ve been shopping for a 4” fat tire e-bike for what feels like an eternity. After considering so many models over the last three years, topping my list today is Juiced's HyperFat 1100 Fat Tire, which sells for $4000. As one reviewer put it, “This bike hauls @ss,... it's just that simple!”

      One drawback is my budget: I only want to spend around $2500. But I can’t seem to find the power and other features I want for that price point. I read through last year’s Cake thread started by @NikkyJ and as @mbravo noted, I figured I’d wait a couple of years for the prices to come down. But I don’t want to wait too much longer!

      The first e-bike I rode was in 2016 on a 40-acre property outside of Santa Fe where I was working. We had two Fat Cat XL 500w e-bikes from Big Cat. The dirt roads and hills were an ideal location for riding mountain bikes and I needed power assist to make it up some very steep inclines. Back then, the bike was around $1500 (assembled and delivered). They were a total blast to ride and we definitely put them to the test out there. Unfortunately, they came apart after several months. The crank-set basically fell off one of them. The handlebar riser and stem wouldn’t stay in a fixed/locked position (I guess the joint was stripped out?) and they dangerously dropped in the middle of a ride. Plus, there was constant tweaking of the rear derailleur cable.

      But what I loved were the fat 4” tires because they took the dirt like a champ. The ride was comfortable and the extra width gave me a sense of security and stability. I also got addicted to the on-demand twist throttle, which gave me the sensation that I was riding an old Yamaha 125 dirt bike. I know for sure I don’t want a thumb/lever throttle, I only want the twist. So, the fat tires (not the racing slicks, though) and twist throttle are two of my must-haves.

    • As far as I know, Juiced’s HF1100 with the Mac motor is the fastest and most powerful e-bike available in a production model. With 1,813w peak power — wow — it can hit 40+ mph, depending on conditions, rider weight, and so on (I’m about 120 lbs. soaking wet). It’s a rear-hub motor… I’m not exactly clear on how much that matters? Apparently, some folks like a mid-drive motor for hill climbing and better balance. Anyway, for me, this motor is going crush Big Cat’s 500w, and I could get that up to about 28 mph on a straightaway. Torque ratings do matter, and I watched videos about this until my head starting hurting. I’ll keep searching (and no doubt continue spinning out in the mud)!

      Aesthetically-speaking, I like how the Big Cat’s battery was mounted behind the seat tube on the fame and sort of “hidden” but not many manufacturers do that. Juiced’s battery is mounted on the down tube, which is more common, but kind of wonky. I like the look of Ariel Rider’s N-Class cruiser which has the battery pack encased and hanging off the top tube. (Their fat tire model is not in production at this time.) What I’m getting at is that I want an e-bike that has a stealthy design!

    • But there is lot more to consider when it comes to batteries and this is what drives the price up. I want to know how fast and far I can go on a single charge, and how long it takes to recharge between rides.

      By comparison, the Big Cat 48 volt, 13 amp-hour capacity batteries are totally underwhelming. The HF1100 comes with a 52 V, 19.2 Ah hyper extended-range battery for a 70+ mile ride. And for throttle-only riding (no pedaling) at 20 mph, one charge will give you 54 miles. Amazing!

      The standard charger takes 7-9 hours to recharge but they sell a fast charger for $319 that drops the time down to 2.4 hours. Although I couldn’t find a brand name in Juiced’s documentation, the leading battery manufacturers are Samsung and Panasonic. I should call and ask who their supplier is.

      On the pedal assist feature, there are torque and cadence sensors that measure how hard you are pedaling and if you are pedaling. This is a bit too technical for me so I am assuming I’ll be able to get the best possible sensors on most e-bikes. I’m not a rider who is competing or taking on advanced-level trails. Fun is my main objective, plus the ability to take long and challenging rides on all terrains (dirt, sand, snow, gravel) that I can’t manage with my regular mountain bike.

      The overall weight of the e-bike is important so I can lift it into the truck (if my dear husband isn’t around!). The Big Cat bike weighed 58 pounds. The HF1100’s monster battery brings the total to 69 pounds. Yikes. I guess I’m going to want a custom ramp system, too. Sigh.
      Naturally, I’m looking for great bike components by Shimano, Kenda tires, a Mac or Bafang motor, and hydraulic disc breaks. Coil vs. air on the fork doesn’t make much difference to me. A medium 16.5 frame is ideal.

      In my price range, Juiced offers the RipCurrent S with a 750w Bafang. I’d miss out on the power of the HF1100, but I’d get a rack and fenders! I also have a color choice of red (but I like the brushed aluminum, which is sold out right now). The RipCurrent S comes with upright / high rise handle bars, instead of the sport / low riser handle bars. I would need to feel the difference and try the adjustments on each but I think I prefer the uprights.

      If I settled on the RipCurrent S, how hard/expensive would it be to swap out the thumb throttle for a twist throttle? And can I live without that extra speed! Does the e-bike I really want exist anywhere for $2500 or less?

    • FWIW, I have read somewhere that some states and local jurisdictions actually prohibit anything over 750w. It makes sense because that last you need is unskilled cyclist doing 30mph on a walking path.

      Also, I am now learning the downsides of a battery sort of embedded in the downtube. Having the quick ability to detach the battery and charge at your desk or kitchen is a big plus.

    • I can see the draw to these Hyper-cycles when coming from a motorcycling background but, from a dedicated pedal-cyclist's perspective. These are the antithesis to what we value from cycling.

      The E-bikes, in general, are accepted as an excellent application for commuting, errand-running, runabouts on a farm, in a community, etc. Where they are anathema is on any shared multi-use path, ESPECIALLY on singletrack MTB trails, and generally anywhere that the "Hyper" qualities of these platforms inject a higher risk of collision with any other pedestrian or bicycle rider, and where the misuse of the throttle can cause damage to trail surfaces, add kindling to already tenuous relationships with landowners who have allowed access to pedal bikes but not specifically E-bikes and especially not to the hyper class of e-bikes.

      I can totally see the fun and how these would inspire the inner hooligan to come out and play, but that little imp needs to be contained and regulated, lest it draw unnecessary attention from advocacy groups, legislators, and an irate public that considers them unsafe for use in populated areas.

      Just my .02

    • One drawback is my budget: I only want to spend around $2500. But I can’t seem to find the power and other features I want for that price point.

      I'm a novice but quite interested in these, and after consulting a friend with extensive experience, my takeaway from his advice is that saving money initially will result in wasting them later and frustrations due to reliability, unable to use the bike while parts aren't available or no one shop wants to deal with something of more obscure provenience.

      Function wise, the quality, refinements, subtleties of traction integration, frame geometry - handling, brakes, etc.. and such technical detail , over brute motor power numbers, are major key differences in experiencing the pleasures of riding one, vs. feeling sorry for the purchase. So I think I'll try some mainstream brand and model - like Giant - that a lot less can go wrong with.

    • I've got no political beef in this, just trying to get my feet wet in the hobby, so to speak and was shocked to learn of all the concerns. For what is worth my friend who lives in Oz agrees and thinks it's the US market that messed up the e-bike idea with this 'bigger motor is better' ideology. Paradoxically, I think it's same 'I've got mine' attitude from all, even opposing viewpoints, regardless which side of the isle, that is the root cause of imbalance and prevents finding mutually agreeable solutions. To my mind, there Is a clear difference between those riding for pure pleasure and health, and those truly seeking competition performance edge and adrenaline thrills at the expense of carelessness. But it's kind of hard to tell them apart until too late, so I think a good measure would be limiting the power to the point where it remains a bicycle, and does not become nearly a motorized vehicle. But it's the dollar that speaks around here, ain't it? just that it does so in funny ways.. hahahaha..

    • I get it Victor and you are totally right in that the U.S. retail markets are so often wrapped up in an idea of if they could make "x" product faster, more powerful, bigger, etc... they often don't stop to think if they should make it and/or the repercussions from the collateral damage. Just look at all the Lime Bikes and Bird Scooters literally unleashed into urban areas across the U.S. with little or no advance notice to the cities in an attempt to disrupt their transportation industry and pedestrian infrastructure. (another U.S. characteristic... beg forgiveness and plead innocent intent rather than ask permission and be told no)

      The e-bike category will always be a point of contention within the dichotomy of balancing the line between bicycle and motorcycle and it seems clear that these Hyper machines clearly tip those scales to the motorcycle side of the equation.

      A pedal-assisted e-bike clearly offers some real and tangible benefits to an aging population that wishes to either stay fit, or capitalize on the assist part to gain fitness/lose weight but therein lies the slippery slope. Once the Jin is out of the lamp, how does one contain it and keep it in check? Once weight is lost and fitness gained, how many of those that shelled out a large sum of money are going to be willing to give up that electric motor assist and invest in a purely mechanical pedal bike? I'd posit not that many...

      I'm not purely and wholly anti-e-bike. If I lived in a more urban area with good bike infrastructure; I would totally own something like the Surly Big Easy to run errands, haul groceries, etc.. and I have zero issues with e-bikes on pavement.

    • Yes, I think some cities regulate the mph (not necessarily the wattage) with limits to 20mph. I don't think these types of e-bikes are for public roads or bike paths!

    • @Ridge I agree. There are always people who either don't know or don't care how their actions might impact others. So many times an otherwise great golf outing has been ruined by people who rip up the fairways without replacing their divots or their super slow play holds up groups behind them, etc. I've found this is the same with just about every sport or outside activity I can think of. Hikers who litter or disturb nature, snorkelers who damage coral, skateboarders who barrel down busy public sidewalks. I'm sure we can think of many more! I try to educate people who don't know and see if I can persuade those who don't care that they should.

    • @Dracula you are right about trying to save money only to have it be wasted later. This is why I have taken so long to make up my mind! The lower cost e-bikes just aren't there yet. I have looked at the Giant and Trek e-bikes in retail stores and they are beautiful!!

    • Yes, unfortunately there are and will always be bad apples in every demographic. It is also unfortunate that, the U.S. inparticular, does not take a more proactive and cautionary approach to the safety of the populus when a product is released. Instead, there seems to be an entire industry devoted to the litigation of consumer safety, protection, and the ultimate hammer; legislation.

    • I'm not purely and wholly anti-e-bike. If I lived in a more urban area with good bike infrastructure; I would totally own something like the Surly Big Easy to run errands, haul groceries, etc.. and I have zero issues with e-bikes on pavement.

      James, funny you mention it, those are the exact reasons I am looking at e-bikes. Yet, when I am going on my daily walks on the greenway around the neighborhood always get startled by some biciclist coming quite fast from behind. Even when they yell something to supposedly warn pedestrians, I feel that actually slowing down until passing is a much more sensible thing to do on a shared path like that, rather than expect everyone get out of their way. I personally would have no pleasure riding my bicycle there, or on sidewalks as many do, but they do because they can. Now, in different areas, urban vs. country side, where one would perhaps only encounter a pedestrian in an hour into their ride, it's not so much of a problem...

      My point is, as @Jain said it above, put another way, regulations only can go so far, but will never replace decency in behaviour. So I guess the conundrum remains whether to ban or not to ban certain type of activity or kind of vehicle, and we won't change that easily. So I'll still try and get mine while I still can ..😜

    • The unfortunate reality of the Greenway interactions is that both parties share the blame of the decency equation. The cyclists should not be hammering that fast on a Greenway when anyone else is around... they are not thoroughfares for bicycles but the speed disparity is significant between a bicycle and any pedestrian; even a runner at full speed.

      The flip side to that coin is that the cyclists (me included) have been conditioned by so many walkers and runners wearing earbuds that literally block any attempt by the bike riders to call out a pass, then those same pedestrians get incensed and angry when passed... That, my friend, is a no-win situation from either side.

      I've tried loud and sharp bells, yelling, nothing breaks through those earbud wearers except maybe (emphasis on that word); a police/ambulance/fire siren.

    • True, but it also depends on the industry. Some products and designs are very difficult to get through US regulators. I've had to work on products that require UL and it's not a pretty process. Many businesses buy components that are regulated to pass muster but then their overall product can be faulty or misused. It takes something to seriously go wrong (i.e., enough people die) before anyone sits up to take notice (or sue/legislate as you point out).

      When I saw the Gemini capsule at the Smithsonian, I was so shocked. I still can't believe how that technology was ever cleared to fly people out of orbit! And that anyone was willing to brave it is even more shocking. But it worked and led to so many other wonderful discoveries. I guess that's our wild west mentality over here! There are pros and cons to most endeavors. Human curiosity has proven time and again to be dangerous, yet we keep reaching.

    • Agreed. My company makes UL listed products as well, for the Utility and Telecom industries and that entire approval process is... extensive. We also use ETL for some products but UL is more recognized as the safety regulation gorilla.

    • One hint I've been given - someone said these are becoming fashion items ;-) - hence, taking advantage, shopping around, and buying last year's left over models may be the best deal to be had on a very decent unit.

    • Here is a video with some impressions and presentation of a Giant quick e model. If someone needed to commute somewhere urban, this seems the perfect vehicle to do it. The problem, again is road manners of both rider and others toward each other. I frankly would not feel safe on a bicycle around here where I live, on the regular roadways. On my motorcycle it's a different story all together.