Sand

This is one of those I’ve been staring at in my inbox for a bit. I’ve been questioning on how to best approach it, but without a doubt, it had to be seen. I keep an open mind so those that would be attracted to a product, can gain a useful perspective without too much bias. So I’m going to do my best here to do just that.

If you had the chance, how would you use this beast and what modifications you would make? Float past the break for the good, the bad and …. well, you know the rest…

Uber at beach

No other sport or activity has as many variables and options as cycling. From families riding around the neighborhood to the gravity driven Rampage legends, to the local legend on the green-way down the street from me setting land-speed records on his road bike with various homemade, fully enclosed fiberglass shells, (the American Burt Munro?), there is just about something for everybody. Fat tire bikes, now well past being a trend, have been one of the most controversial topics the last few years. That is until E-bikes bolted onto the scene. So when a fat bike with an electric motor and a 10 inch wide ATV tire up front shows up on Indiegogo’s crowdfunding page, you can’t just turn away.

 

Uber Fat

We can laugh all we want, (just like we once did at front suspension, wide bars, tubeless tires, and dropper posts), but when you consider the population of people that live close to or are visiting the beach, something like the XTerraine 500 could open up some possibilities. There is no really good way to get around in the soft, power robbing sand unless you are privy to the Hoff’s truck or ATV. Even fat bikes can be hard to pedal in anything worse than hard packed sand…. especially when you try to turn. The 10 inch wide tire has such a flat wide surface, that it “sits” on top of the sand rather than burrowing itself deeper like a rounded profile tire would.

Bike

XTerraine’s uber-fat tire bike is not a unique concept as Hanebrink has been around since the early 90’s with their “do anything” line of X Bikes that are now offered in various versions of both standard and electric assist models (if you have ever been fortunate enough to ride one, you know well and good that the experience made you grin). So while I don’t think for one second the XTerraine would compete directly with Hanebrink’s much higher quality “go anywhere” bikes, (that retail for between $3,500 and $9,250), it does come in at a reasonable price while offering the ability to easily float on sand.

The bike comes stock with a 26 x 4.5 inch tire on the rear and a 20 x 10 inch tire up front. It is available in both electric and non-electric versions, and you have the option to buy it with or without a 26 x 4.5 front wheel that can be installed for more conventional use. It comes with a 2 position triple crown fork, (available separately for $149), that sets the stanchions wide enough to accommodate the 20 x 10 inch wide ATV tire and wheel, with an additional inside position to accommodate a more standard 26 x 4.5 inch tire. The electric version has a 500 watt motor that is both pedal assist as well as 100 percent throttle activated so one can ride the bicycle without pedaling. (all together now….. *gasp*).

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The Good:

While I don’t see these being a big hit on the trail or a part of most enthusiasts’ collections, I can see beach goers making good use of this. By just adding a bar mounted koozie cup holder, bicycle rental companies along beaches might make a killing with them, (tourists love getting around and exploring, and the novelty of that front tire alone will attract many). Considering the features, IF this is their intent, then it looks to have strong potential.

Front Wheel

The Questionable:

So, putting my judgey bike nerd cap back on, I am seeing a situation where they’ve tried to pack as many ideas as possible into a product for at a low budget price. To do that, corners are going to be cut, which is fine so as long as the product is marketed within its limitations. When the bike is set up with a standard 26″ fat bike tire, it looks within spec, BUT, when the 20 x 10 inch wheel is installed, (or standard in most cases since the 26×4.5 wheel is a secondary option), the bike’s front end is lowered considerably putting the head angle in dangerous territory. The fork dropouts appear to be very fragile and the width of that axle being put under torsional loads when going through sand with an electric motor pushing it, (A lot of “hold my beer” moments come to mind) I question its dependability and safety.

Fork Crown

The bike does NOT come with a front brake rotor when it is in ATV tire mode, but they mention on their site to ” just move fork tubes closer together, install provided Kenda Sport 26×4.5″ fat tire, and you are ready to go on any trails”. Considering the non-enthusiasts that might give this bike a shot, not having the necessary front brake along with the now protruding fork crowns spells disaster. Bike paths, the beach, and the like would be fine, but the over-enthusiastic marketing to ride “any trails” is a little too optimistic in my opinion.

With the standard, non-electric model starting at $699, the price is just right for lite recreational use. The electric model starts at $1,250, and for $1,499 you get the secondary front 26 x 4.5 inch wheel with the bike.

So what are your thoughts? Could this be a beach combers dream? Or a big fat disaster?

SandSnowBikes.com

XTerrain 500 Indiegogo page

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18 Comments
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PTymn Wolfe
PTymn Wolfe
6 years ago

Would this work for Gravel Grinding?

AbelF
AbelF
6 years ago

Looks beautiful, enjoyable, fun, edible, yummy, the bike looks like crap though.

Dave
Dave
6 years ago

Good call adding a suspension post

Sevo
Sevo
6 years ago

Just save your money for a Fortune-Hannebrink, the original fat bike. 🙂

Doug B
Doug B
6 years ago

Like how he stayed on the hard packed, wet sand.

pdxfixed
pdxfixed
6 years ago

The head and seat tube angle make my entire body hurt.

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago

The head and seat tube “rotation” due to small wheel should be sold as “biodynamic optimized aerodynamics”

Jimmy
Jimmy
6 years ago

I wonder if you could jump a shark on that thing.

Kark
Kark
6 years ago

@ Jimmy, hopefully it gets tried and whole mess, rider and bike, lands in the gaping maw of the shark.
never to be heard from again.

scotty
6 years ago

“Even fat bikes can be hard to pedal in anything worse than hard packed sand…. especially when you try to turn. ” Erm? NOT true. Fatbikes are great on sand, even loose sand. And they’re not difficult to turn either. This would only make a fatbike worse. Heavier, less maeuverable, etc.

Total waste of electrons even posting this on BR. The blog post reads like BR reprinted a media ready “article” distributed by the manufacturer

Frippolini
Frippolini
6 years ago

I just have to get it now. The photo with the babe totally destroyed / crushed all objections and questions I had; that photo totally managed to sell the bike to me. Where can I type in my credit card details, here? 😉

Seriously, I wish I had the same problems to spin in my head: how to make my bike riding easier at warm sandy beaches… instead of being stuck in Eastern Europe with “Winter is coming!” panic and anxiety attacks that all dry and warm rides are at least 6 months away…

Remi
Remi
6 years ago

Guys, please don’t waste your money on that sweet whip. What we really need to do is focus on the beast of winter that is quickly approaching. Please help break our friend Frippolini out of eastern europe and guide him to Florida. He’ll love it there.

http://www.gofundme.com/Frippolinis_traveling_budget_to_avoid_winter_doom

Thanks for donating!

also, to whoever stocked a suspension seat post on a fat bike… you could have used that extra money to get a matching black saddle instead of a brown on black. yeesh. what sort of hoodrat fat bike is this?!?!

Eliot
6 years ago

Hey guys, thank you all for critic. But, you all wrong. This bike rides great everywhere. I ridden that on a regular pavement, bike trails, beach and high grass, and it is a lot of fun to ride!!! I made this bike because I wanted to ride on a beach, and electric fat bike that I rented was not just good for that.

Having smaller but wider wheel in front didn’t compromised bike functionality or performance at all. Aren’t famous Hanebrink has same 20″ tires in both front and rear? And it works for them, right. In fact, bike shown in videos is only 250watts prototype. Actual 500w bike that is coming would be twice as powerful. L

I am sure it is easy to criticize, make fun and bully, but did anyone of “experts” in these comments had actually tried to make any new product? Anything?

bergsteiger
bergsteiger
6 years ago

Burt Munro is from New Zealand, by the way.

David
David
6 years ago

This company has been spamming forums mercilessly with this junk and obviously you guys fell for it. They musy have used their indigogo money to pay Chinese spammers to flood the internets because obviously they didn’t pay anyone to actually think about this idea.

Mike D
6 years ago

(deleted)

Natalia
Natalia
6 years ago

So many engineering problems here. It doesn’t look like the two fork stanchion positions have any variation in angle, even though the difference in axle height of the two different wheels are almost 5 inches apart. That’s a huge change in head angle, and bottom bracket height. This thing has to be super flexy too, there’s no fork brace, and the stanchions look to be pretty thin.

I really doubt that person who designed this bike has ever ridden a proper mountain bike trail, with or without this bike. Looks more like someone trying to cash in on a fad with a novel idea, without properly working out all the mechanical details.

Justin
Justin
6 years ago

I think you are mistaken in your engineering assumptions. First of all this bike with wide wheel was not advertised as a mountain bike, it is sold as beach bike. And these guys do provide 2nd free fat wheel to convert this bike into mountain version. And, as I can see on numerous youtube videos, this bike rides pretty well over different terrain. I wonder if you saw any of their videos?