Stout Fat-tire E-bike from Motiv Electric Bikes—Carving with Confidence.
All the rage, fat-tire bikes seemed to have grabbed the attention of even the street riders. Here is one that is equally at home on pavement as it is on the back trials. Add in the electric-assist and you have a bike that can really power-up a hill that is rough or smooth. Then on the way down you will feel just as comfortable with its manners. I knew right away this was the best riding fat-tire E-bike I have saddled up.
Motiv Electric Bikes doubled its selection of E-bikes as this year began. In addition to the new Sherpa E-cargo bike, is this Stout fat-tire excitement machine. They employ a modular attitude, using many of the same components on all their bikes. This not only keeps things simpler for you and them, it helps to keep the price point in check. Yet to be sure, you won’t see these massive 26 X 4.0 tires on any other of their offerings.
In this case the bike’s specs don’t tell the story, but lets crunch some numbers anyway. 500 watts of geared brushless rear hub motor is connected to the 48 volt 10 Ah lithium battery though a simple throttle only control system. 180 mm brake rotors at each end work with cable pull Tektro calipers for smooth and strong braking. The hydro formed 6061aluminum frame is complimented with many other aluminum pieces.
Not counting the basic coolness of this E-bike and the ultra clean design, there are two things about it that really impressed me. One is the agile and controllable handling (noticed on the many surfaces I rode it over). Fat-tire bikes often feel heavy, in the steering and the ability to make them go exactly where you want. The Stout gave me confidence to take on the tight trails, and on the street it felt very secure too. It plays the game of a light-weight mountain bike without looking the part.
The other stand-out item that made me smile are the big meats, and not just because they are big, but in how they responded during the rides. This was my first time on the Kenda Juggernaut tires. They might be responsible for the ease of riding, but I suspect it they just mate well with the Stout’s frame geometry. My previous experiences with fat-tire bikes found me altering tire pressures to match the surface. Down to 10 or 12 for the soft stuff, and up to close to 20 for the road. When I got this bike, it had just come from a snow trip and the tires were set real soft.
Anytime I do a test review, I give the bike a one-over on the fastener security, misc adjustments and of course the tire pressure. I opted for 16 lbs. thinking a mid setting would be a good start. Man I nailed it and didn’t make any changes after that. It was perfect on the soft sand, gravel, pounding over rocks and exceptional on the pavement. I was so stoked not to have to make changes for the whole test. And if you’ve ever pumped tires on these kind of bikes, you know how much work I saved there.
The conditions I didn’t ride it on were snow and super soft beach sand. I also avoided the few mud puddles in the canyon, not as much to keep from seeing how it would do, but more to keep the bike and myself from needed a good clean-up after the ride. To sum up the handling package, it is as close to an all purpose bike as it gets. No, it is not a road bike, but when on pavement the smile stays strong.
The ruggedness of the Motiv Electric Bikes Stout was very evident. I pushed it fairly hard, and it soaked it up with no complaints. The front fork, bars, and stem act as strong as they look. It has a suspension seat post, yet when you are moving out you don’t spend much time in the saddle. On the street it did help plenty. You do have the option of lowering the tire pressure to smooth out the ride more, but like I said earlier, I didn’t feel the need. Plus as you lower it, the street handling is what suffers the most.
You will notice the battery slides in behind the seat post. I have heard many say this type of battery mounting is old-school. When they are in a rack above the rear tire it makes the bike tail and top heavy. Having them on or in the frame is getting more common, but can lead to other issues. Sometimes what works gets can get talked down, but believe me, this center mounted set-up helps to balance the weight and lower the center of gravity. It is out of the way and solid to the bike. Don’t discount something just because it isn’t the modern fad.
On the whole, I thought the gearing it comes with is good. The range matches the bike and the motor power well. There were a few times on the single track I thought a slightly lower gear would have been helpful. Right away I decided to keep my momentum up allowing the bike to climb a little better. The motor has a decent amount of power, but like any E-bike you can’t count on it to do all the work. I would still vote for a lower first gear, but not at the expense of loosing the top gear’s match to the top speed of the motor.
The shifting was ok, even though it has a pretty basic group on-board. I am no big fan of the lever shifter, but the grip-shift that matches this set-up has been proved to be very un-reliable, so the lever is the best way to go. I also like a slightly wider saddle, yet on this bike like this a sport model is the better choice. If you get a Stout for street cruising definitely go for more comfort. But if you plan on riding it for the conditions it is designed for, save your money.
Speaking of customizing the Stout, all I can say is why? Other than some lights and maybe a rack, it seems to come just right from the factory. You do have the option of this matte black or a matte gray. There are some nice fenders for fat-tire bikes now, so that is another idea worth considering. I am sure many will get this E-bike and go hog wild with special goodies, and I would love to see it. Why not, part of having the bike of your dreams is to make it yours with every piece that fits the bill.
Have sand? Snow? Have a Stout. Turbo Bob.
“Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades.”—Eddy Merckx.
You can find Motiv Electric Bikes on the web and Facebook
Here are three videos I shot of the Stout. The first is a walk around. The Second is single-track ride. The third is climbing the road back to town.