Surface 604 Boar E-350—Fat-Tire Filly.
Fat-tire E-bikes have been sprouting up like crazy lately, here is one that has been around for a while. My first in person sighting was a couple years ago at Interbike. They have been trying to get me a bike for review, but when one showed up at my E-bike seminar last month, I knew my time had come. San Diego Electric Bike is their newest dealer here in So Cal and it made it so easy to get my hands on the Boar E350. Yesterday I rode the Spira electric enclosed motorcycle I have been testing the 15 miles to Solana Beach, so I could give this fatty a ride.
Fat-tire bikes skim over sand and snow, are good for trailing, and can be used on any street just like a regular bike. Those big tires are a eye-catcher to be sure, so many just ride them for the wow factor. If there is one drawback, it is the extra work it takes to pedal them (mostly in the soft stuff), so an electric-assist fatty just makes sense. This Surface 604 E-bike seems to have the style, juice and feel that could satisfy any rider.
They come in 3 colors, 2 frame sizes, and with 2 motor options (this was the 350 watt, the other is 250). Although my test bike didn’t have it all installed, they also come with front and rear racks and fenders. They offer a great display unit and use a torque based control system (no hand throttle though). The aluminum frame has a great look and can be matched up to a quality front suspension fork if that is your desire. Let’s go for a ride to see how this all comes together.
Some might balk at a true pedelec (no hand throttle), yet the automatic pedelec is so responsive I never missed the need to power-up without pedaling. They really programmed it nicely so the power is smooth and ready when you are. I found the 2nd (of 5) power level to be perfect for tooling around, and when set to level 5, the excitement ramped up as you would expect. There is a button panel right at hand (left side) where the change is easily made. The power is more than sufficient for most any kind of riding you have in mind.
The large capacity lithium battery (36 volts—13 Ah) is tucked into the frame for a balanced ride and cool look. It has an USB power output and a charge jack that can be used on or off the bike. It boasts the good stuff inside, and Surface 604 backs up their bikes, so it should be a strong and long-lived battery that can take you through many miles and years as you hit the back trails. Bold graphics on the frame just below the battery let the world know just what you are riding.
Some good advancements have been made in fat-tire bike’s frame geometry, so the heavy feeling steering is all but gone nowadays. This one was light and precise, so my riding was fun and worry free. These big tires have a wide tire pressure range, allowing you to soften them up for banging through the sand and snow. I could feel these were on the higher side, so the street riding I did was just right. I didn’t get a chance to hit any loose packed surfaces, so I can’t respond to how that might be on the Boar.
Just as you would expect on a E-bike like this, the cockpit is wide open with a slightly bent over stance. The saddle is a racy one, yet I was comfortable with that and the angles my body held as I rode. The bars are not so wide as to throw you off your game, yet just right for a sporty and fun filled adventure. When it comes to electric fatty bikes, this one was a joy to ride and push the limits just a touch.
Strong brakes are part of the package, and I was glad to see they speced the 2 finger levers that make them work smart and safe. Those discs cut my speed quickly, adding to the confidence I had when pushing the Boar E350 closer to its limits. As I scanned the Surface 604 website I was impressed with all the pieces they use, not just the brake selection. I suggest you take a look to see for yourself (link below).
I had the crew over at San Diego Electric Bike clip off the price tag for the photos and the ride, but I did take a peek at it. I can say you get a lot for a little, as it seems Surface 604 got their suppliers to help make sure it is a fun bike to ride and purchase. I try not to let the bottom line on any bike influence my review on them, so it is up to you to do the investigation there (as always here on my bike blog).
I just rode and smiled, something I do on most any E-bike I test. The Boar E350 was willing to please with each turn of the pedals. I don’t think everyone who is in the E-bike market wants a fat-tire bike, yet if you do, make sure to try this one out. I would have loved to see how that rear rack looked on there, and the guys at the shop said they had a bit of trouble fitting the fenders, so I didn’t get to experience those either. I do think it is cool they are part of the package though.
I took the bike up and down some local hills, pushed it hard on the tight side streets in the neighborhood, and generally just enjoyed feeling the power rush in the max setting on the electronic control system. Like I said before, the instantaneous feel of the motor control was to my liking, just adding to the great feel I had during the riding. I also like the sleek lines and appearance. It is not the most stealthy E-bike out there, yet with the battery kind of hidden, it is close.
What wasn’t stealthy is the overall look and way you will be riding. This bike stands out, so don’t be surprised if you turn some heads. They may need to turn quickly, as you probably will be moving along at a decent pace. Whether you are hitting the rough stuff or the bike paths, the Surface 604 had what it takes for me.
Here’s sand in your eye, Turbo Bob.
“I got up to 40 minutes on the exercise bike—next time I am going to try turning the pedals.”—Random bike quote.
Look for Surface 604 on their website and Facebook pages.
You can find San Diego Electric Bike the same way.
Videos? You got them here.