Fat-tire bikes with powerful electric assist are a match made in heaven. Juiced Bikes says it's pulled out all the stops to make its upcoming RipCurrent S "the ultimate fat tire commuter e-bike," and for the price, it looks like the team has pulled off something pretty special.
Why go with fat tires? Don't they add a bunch of rolling resistance? Sure. But they add a go-anywhere, all-weather element to your riding, and those big hoops soak up bumps like extra suspension. These are the bikes to take if you want to take your commute across the sand dunes, down a trail or two, or even through snow in the winter months. And with electric pedal assist, extra resistance ceases to be an issue. Mind you, prepare to burn those quads if the battery runs out.
The new RipCurrent S
The RipCurrent S is a solid-looking hardtail-framed bike with a 750-watt Bafang hub motor, 4-inch Kenda tires, a 9-speed Shimano Altus cassette drivetrain and a range of impressive battery options, the lowest of which offers a pretty solid 13 Ah at 48V.
It ships as a fully loaded, 66-lb (30-kg) commuter machine with mudguards, kickstand, a heavy-duty tail rack, cheapie Mozo Fatman air suspension forks, hydraulic brakes, a Lookin gel seat, a 1,050-lumen front light, rear lights and a set of spunky Velo ergonomic handgrips.
It runs using a thumb throttle, in conjunction with a latest-generation torque-based pedal sensor that checks both if you're pedaling and how hard, 1,000 times per second, to adjust power output to the hub motor.
Through a tidy LCD display, you can check all your numbers, and also access features like cruise control, which keeps you rolling at any speed below 20 mph (32 km/h) whether you pedal or not. There's also a speed limiter, which you can set at whatever the legal limit is in your jurisdiction, or de-restrict completely to give you a top speed over 30 mph (48 km/h) limited only by the grunt of the motor.
If you want a brief burst of extra power and 750 watts isn't doing it for you, you can hit the throttle while you're pedaling to engage a 1,000-watt boost mode. And there's a low voltage limiter that lets you set your own level for how deep you're willing to discharge your battery, letting you give it an easy (and hopefully longer) life in the process.
Options and batteries
The RipCurrent S comes in three colors (black, brushed aluminum and red) with three frame sizes and three battery options on offer, making it a pretty simple shopping experience. All batteries are by LG, so decent gear.
The smallest battery is the 48V/13-Ah unit, giving you a 25 to 42 mile (40 to 68 km) range, for a super impressive US$1,699 price tag. The middle battery is 48V/19Ah, offering a range between 37 and 61 miles (60 and 98 km), and that bumps the price up to $1,999.
The big daddy steps things up to 52V and 21 Ah to bring capacity up over a kWh. The extra voltage pulls extra speed and torque out of the motor, and the range is basically about twice what you get from most ebikes on the market. The "hyper extended range" bike will cost you $2,999, but to soften the blow it also includes a real-time GPS tracker in case the bike gets pinched, as well as a high-speed 8-amp fast charger that lets you program a gentler charge if you want, to keep your battery fresh for more than 1,500 charge cycles.
How does it stack up?
To put the prices in context, let's look at some similarly specified fatty ebikes we've written about recently.
Fantic's Euro-friendly Seven Days commuter tops out at 250 mid-driven watts of pedal assist, and a 36V/11.6-Ah battery, with prices starting at $3,330.
It seems fair to say Juiced Bikes has come up with a terrific deal on the RipCurrent S in all its configurations. You're getting a ton for your money, from a trusted company that's making a real product rather than crowdfunding a prototype.
You need good power and plenty of battery to pull a decent range out of a fat bike, and these specs look like they're on the money. If you live in the heavily restricted locales of Europe or Australia, you can get a neutered 250-watt version to meet the head-scratching regulations your masters impose. And if you like the look of this thing but you're more of a road rider, there's a slightly lower-spec, but very similar looking, thin-tire street version called the CrossCurrent S for around the same dollars.
Pre-orders on the RipCurrent S are open now. The team has already built a whole bunch and deliveries are already underway.
Source: Juiced Bikes
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