While not everyone is wild about adding motors to all-terrain bikes, if there’s one sub-type of ATB that could sometimes benefit from an electric boost, it’s the snow- and sand-slogging fatbike. We’ve certainly seen some electric fatties before, but the Xterrain500 adds what is quite a unique feature – the ability to run a custom 10-inch-wide front tire.
The idea behind the setup is that the ultra-wide tire will provide the front end of the bike with a huge amount of float, keeping it from getting bogged down in soft surfaces. For comparison, regular mountain bike tires top out at about 3 inches in width, while conventional fatbike tires go up to 5 inches.
At 20 inches in diameter, though, it’s not nearly as tall as a regular tire. If the rear tire were similarly short, generating sufficient torque could be challenging. Instead, the designers have gone with a standard 26-inch-diameter fatbike wheel in the back, clad in a 4.6-inch-wide Kenda tire.
Another problem with a small-diameter front wheel, however, is the fact that it can’t roll over protruding obstacles as easily as a 26er – things like roots or rocks could stop it in its tracks, whereas a regular fatbike wheel would just roll right over them. For that reason, the Xterrain500 comes with a second front wheel that runs a more traditional 26 x 4-inch tire. When riding irregular terrain (or smooth asphalt, for that matter) it can be swapped for the 20 x 10-incher by moving the RockShox suspension forks closer together, via an adaptable crown plate.
As far as the electric side of the bike goes, a 48-volt 9-Ah Samsung battery powers a 500-watt/48-volt electric rear hub motor, providing pedalling assistance up to a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h). It has a battery range of approximately 25 miles (40 km) per charge.
The Xterrain500 isn’t available for purchase just yet, although the company hopes that an Indiegogo campaign beginning next week will change that. If all goes according to plans, the bike will ultimately sell for US$1,600. In the meantime, you can watch it in action, in the video below.
And should you be getting a sense of deja vu looking at the Xterrain500, it could be because it reminds you of Hanebrink’s electric fatbikes. They use 20-inch-diameter fat tires in both the front and rear, although they’re "only" 8 inches wide.