Fat Power: Surly Fatbikes With BionX Kits

by Miles S. on July 8, 2013

By now you may have heard of the meteoric rise in popularity of the so-called “fatbike”. Fatbikes are a new breed of sort-of-mountain bikes that feature enormously wide tires utilizing low air pressure but high air volume. This results in a bike that “floats” on its gigantic tires, which are capable of absorbing a great deal of shock. Because the tires on a fatbike can be between 3 and 5 inches wide, these behemoths are capable of tackling truly any terrain, from sand dunes to snow drifts.

We have recently been cooking up some pretty outlandish experiments in our top-secret NYCeWheels electric bike laboratory. By outfitting Surly Bicycles’ two industry-leading fatbikes, the Pugsley and the Moonlander, with powerful BionX motor kits, we have created a pair of tank-like Prometheans that feel absolutely unstoppable to ride. Some have asked–why?! To which we can only reply that putting electric motors on bicycles is never a bad idea.

Fatbike owners already put their valiant steeds through absurd crucibles. On the more reasonable side of things, fatbikes are often used in much the same manner as standard mountain bikes–biking up steep dirt paths to mountain tops and then bombing down the other side. The  allure of a BionX-enabled fatbike in this situation is fairly plain to see: those rare individuals who really love grinding up steep and seemingly endless ascents are few and far between. For the rest of us, there is no better notion than that of a 350-watt motor to carry us straight up the hill so we can have our fun on the descent that follows.

One novel use that fatbikes are specificially designed for is beach riding. While other bikes lack the grip and surface area on their tires to gain traction on loose, soft sand, fatbikes like the Surly Moonlander simply float right over dunes and sandbars. Climbing those dunes can be hard work though, and in our opinion, no day at the beach needs to be overly strenuous. With a high-capacity BionX battery, however, you and your fatbike could roll through the coastal dunes effortlessly, day in and day out.

Other fatbikers prefer to take their rides on more harrowing adventures. This class of bike has been catching on particularly well in the Midwest and Northern regions of the United States in part because of their ability to take on snow and ice. Whereas riding any normal mountain bike through a snow drift is a laughable proposition, the Pugsley and Moonlander are able to handle snowy terrain with aplomb. Even so, experienced fatbike riders will tell you that there is a limit to what these bikes can handle in severely icy or snowy conditions. However, add a little power in the form of the BionX’s excellently-callibrated pedal assist mode, and suddenly the winter is wide open for riding.

For truly fearless fatbike owners, seeking out the most impassible possible terrain becomes something of a hobby. Such is the case with the author of the fabulous Jill Outside blog, who took her Pugsley down a rained out river embankment just for kicks. Anyone who has tried to bike through several inches of clay and mud knows exactly how hard it is–becoming so mired in the grime that your bike can’t move is almost guaranteed. Unless, of course, you have a 48v BionX motor installed on your Surly that allows you to simply lean on the throttle and instantly surge forward out of the muck.

The possibilities for fun and fearsome expeditions are endless when you combine two brilliant inventions like a Surly fatbike and a BionX electric motor kit. As more and more NYCeWheels customers become enamored of these bikes, I am looking forward to hearing more stories about how people use their colossal rides. If your interest is piqued, go check out the electric fatbikes section at the NYCeWheels website now!

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