Frankly, we’ve been wondering when Felt would have a go at a fat-bike. And, while we’ve heard rumors and seen outright introductions from several of the players that could significantly influence the fat-bike market, this particular Felt Fat-bike Concept caught us a bit by surprise. OK, it totally caught ME by surprise anyway.
Felt are heavily influenced by the needs of the Euro Market Euro where In some markets in Europe e-bikes are 30% or more of bicycle sales and, because of EU regulations, pedal-assist e-bikes are the way to go there. We agree! Simply mashing a throttle is more like a motorcycle while pedal-assist is more like you’ve got a Cat 1 racer pushing you along while you are still exerting yourself like any other ride.
While we have seen e-fat-bikes and pedal assist fat-bikes before, the Bosch pedal assist unit is really well integrated into the bike design with the main power and battery units slung low, near the bottom bracket. The assist comes in 4 modes with increasing amounts of assist up to 250 watts called Eco, Touring, Spot and Turbo. Top speed of this bike under pedal assist, at least in Europe where e-bike regulations are further along than in the US, is 20MPH. When a company with the resources of Bosch puts their engineering, money and resources behind a product you can expect a very well thought out result. In fact, this is already the second generation pedal-assist unit from the venerable German company.
Felt are one of 4 companies to be licensed by Bosch to offer the pedal-assist unit. Of course, most of those units are slated for commuter-style e-bikes but we think this fat-bike concept is worth further exploration. A Felt rep told us that this was really just a design exercise in the beginning but feedback at Eurobike was very positive and, in just the first few hours here at the Interbike Outdoor Demo, feedback greatly exceeded their expectations. Will this Felt fat-bike make it to market? Quite probably as a 2015 model.
Price?? Well, that is an unknown right now but don’t expect it to be cheap. Then again this kind of technology never comes cheaply in the beginning. We hope Felt pushes this forward.
I know what many of you are thinking, WTF? WHY? Heiko, a Felt rep from Germany explained that part of the reason is that people are so busy. Many people want to ride more but lack the time and while a pedal-assist e-bike is not a Time Machine, it does expand the amount of ground you can explore over a given time period. Besides some of the more commuter-oriented benefits like being able to bike in to work from twice as far away or hitting a restaurant for lunch that is outside your range in a given amount of time when simply pedaling, imagine being able to do 2 climbs on your favorite trail instead of one, along with the downhills that follow during a lunch time ride while still exerting the same amount of energy that you would have for a ride that covered half the distance. Bring it on!
E-assisted bikes are going to ruin trail access in the States.
You better stop riding bikes then
if you really want to see something that was the potential to ruin trail access check this out. http://uk.caterhamcars.com/sites/default/files/content/caterham-carbon-e-bike-01.jpg
Not a fan at all, im with AC. I personally would be all for preempting this and banning e bikes from my local trails and bike paths. I live in a tourist destination where it would be very dangerous for people who dont belong on the trails to use these to get somewhere that they really dont belong. Bad news and a step backward for all cyclists. Just my opinion.
@ chris daisy, why not? I think that is answered with the first comment, possibly jeopardizing trail access. The whole “if they don’t have the legs for it” isn’t an argument for these things. I think, if you didn’t earn it, you don’t deserve it. I would guess that anyone on this website would do fine with one, in capable hands they are probably a lot of fun but taking someone lacking the skills, they could be dangerous to anyone on the trail. Wait till bike shops start renting these and the trouble will begin, guaranteed.
All of the electric crap we have sold over the years in a bike shop makes us have to be electricians, which is a Huge waste of time and money. Even the high end stuff is going to fail. We sold a pugs to a guy who put a $3500 electric kit on it and it has problems. We do not endorse this, especially on a fat bike!
So because of past failures with certain systems it is now a bad idea for Felt to try and push the envelope? You sound like the naysayers that thought suspension forks were just a fad. How will a silent pedal assist system ruin trail access? Riders will still travel at a speed they are comfortable with and if not they crash. That happens now without electricity.
The bummer will be when you run out of juice and actually have to pedal the pig home.
E-bikes should be banned from trails. Unfortunately, people will ride them everywhere, laws be damned. The problem with e-bikes is there will be some bad users that will ruin trail access for everyone on non-ebikes. Equestrians and hikers already try to ban normal bikes, this will be the ammo they need to be really sucessful. Already many federal parks don’t allow bikes. Let’s not make it worse.
E-bikes have lots of torque, which will be over applied liberally up the hills and out of turns, leading to ruts and trail damage. A normal biker doesn’t have as much low speed torque and wouldn’t want to waste so much energy skidding their wheel or else would quickly get tirred and be forced to stop. An e-biker can shred (literally) the trail all day.
E-bikes are OK for on-road or paved trail. Just keep them out of nature trails or we will all suffer from the backlash towards the bad users.
Making a fat bike or other MTB with an e-motor just encourages (begs) these to be used off road. Let’s keep the motors on city bikes only please.
. E-bikes are opening up the door for the enjoyment of thousands of disabled and health challenged individuals throughout the United States . These individuals are very appreciative , polite and respectful of the environment and other cyclists . They bring a huge influx of money that will help develop and sell new product . There are Federal Standards now for what constitutes a bicycle versus a motorcycle . All motor assist cuts off at 20 mph for a bike . There is no reason the bikes must damage trails and most have settings that protect turf by lowering amps drawn . You simply make a selection on the handlebar for a detuned power setting . From people with heart conditions to knee transplants and disabilities ebikes are tools of health and function as assistive adaptive devices . There is no reason to unjustly fear change and deny individuals the enjoyment ebikes now bring by enabling many more individuals to participate in bike riding . Some of whom may progress to conventional equipment as they build up strength and experience as well as introduce cycling to their friends , relatives and children .
Bad trail users who ride muddy trails do more damage than this thing would, and are far more common. Remember these are not throttled, and a fat-bike tire has a ton of traction, so I can’t imagine it creates rooster tails everywhere when you pedal it. Calling for an all out ban on a new idea without proof of a problem seems a little extreme. Besides, it looks like it would be a blast to ride!
Interesting that many of these comments sound like the Nordic ski people talking about fat bikes. In the US, e bikes are such a small market and an e fat bike market would be tiny. As far as trail access goes as long as you actually have to pedal it and it’s not spewing exhaust and making a bunch of noise, what’s the problem? Any rental bike; fat, gravity, or xc; will get the wrong person in way over their head. Why would pedal assist make any difference? I live in back-water North Idaho and everyone wants a motor on a bike but no one is willing to pay for it. If you love to ride, you most likely wouldn’t shell out the cash for something like this and if you have the cash for it, you likely don’t ride. It might mean the richest people get to ride 10 miles instead of 5. More people on the trails means more and better trails. If it doesn’t in your area then it’s up to each of you to change that. The guy out there on his $10,000 e fat bike might also become the guy who donates a bunch of tools for trail building.
As a person with a muscle disease, this might keep me riding a bike longer. That’s a damned good thing.
In your discussion, which we are glad to facilitate, please remember there is a difference between pedal assisted e-bikes that have no throttle and rely on enhancing the riders own pedaling power while a throttle adds power without the rider having to do anything. I think it is an important distinction and, if any of you making any arguments here haven’t ridden both types, go out and do it so you know how different they are.
I have an e-bike. Trek Scratch with assist. People say if you don’t earn it you don’t deserve it. What about all the shuttles and lift access trails, very common out west, abd Copper Harbor MI. My shuttle is just built in. I also have a fat bike. Sand on the beach and some snow conditions are pretty tough to pedal through and I am in pretty good shape. I bike every day and win my class cross country racing on my XC bike (no motor). I think the fat bike is the best application for e-assist because of the sand and snow they get ridden in. I want one!! What I really want is a Christini AWD fat bike with e-assist. Not to go fast and freak out other trail users, to go anywhere anytime.
Anyone spinning there tires on any e-bike won’t be going very far. Even the best Euro e-bikes won’t put up with burnouts for long. And keep in mind that Felt is combineing two very expensive bikes, which should limit there numbers. This thing will cost more than many dirt bikes that the fat and lazy crowd would prefer.
My hiking/biking club here in central BC banned electric bikes on their planned/scheduled rides. In my opinion it is a very short sited decision. I have an electric assist road bike(Giant Lite) and went on a few rides with them before they were banned. In my case I have a bad knee and need help on the hills. I don’t see how it affected anyone else(as long as you don’t abuse it and ride way out front on the hills!) But they are purists and still young enough to not have physical problems…I think things will change as they get older….
There is no right or wrong global answer to e-fatbikes. Like all new technologies, the market will decide. I sense there will always be two camps sighting the pros and cons. Personally, I love to ride anything with two wheels and have been riding for decades. Once I get the chance to demo one see the price, I’ll decide if there is a place in my bike herd for one. Until then, let’s keep encouraging innovation in our beloved sport.
I am researching electric assist bikes because I am trying to get back in shape and dealing with knee problems as well as now being overweight because of difficulty in exercise. I know that young and in-shape people won’t relate or even understand this but as our population continues to age there are more and more people who are desperate to maintain exercise options and connections to the outdoors while facing more and more mobility challenges. Society’s options for responding to this need are 1) too bad so sad – life is for the young and fit only or 2) adjust and adapt our technology and environment to meet this need so people stay healthier as they age.
At the same time I am very sensitive to concerns about how we respond to that need without destroying the environment or ruining the experience for others. I don’t want to see this turn trails and bike paths into motocross either – so we need to be pushing for policy to evolve smartly to stay ahead of it rather than trying to catch up after people are exploiting it. This area of fat bikes and more rugged trails will be ground zero for some of this conflict but I see it coming in city trails and bike lanes as well. For me, the difference is in whether electric power is used to assist manual operation (and how) versus being used as an alternative or to boost performance/speed beyond that of average manual operation.
I agree with Sandy because I too have some serious knee problems. Without my electric bike, I would be stuck on the couch. My electric bike has really helped me return to biking.
When you are young and healthy, it is easy to think that life will never change. It will. I would encourage the superman types to be patient with us older people who suffer from chronic aches and pains.
That thing looks awesome! Might re-think a Haibike now.
First paragraph says it all for me. I own a business, wife + 2 kids, etc. I ride single track with some good hill climbs(for Ohio). I have a Stealth Fighter, and can have a nice lunch time ride and be fresh. Or I can double my distance and not me spent for the day.
The weenie/purist/haters are just that. Their “trail impact” argument is complete BS. Not even my 3kwatt Fighter does burnouts, and the only place I can go faster on the trail is up steep hills(5-10mph)
All of their ebike knowledge came from the youtube video showing the guy get thrown off the back of a crazy power ebike. Just listen to them> probably all on PED’s
Dangerous- ruin access- ban them- run for your lives!
Ban idiots on your trail-not ebikes
What about the children??? Have you thought about the children?!?!?!
Ebikes have no business being on non-motorized trails. You want or need to ride one, take it to the ORV trail where it belongs or feel free to spend decades building /funding trails for them. These e rototillers will destroy our trails and sport if they are allowed free reign.