The Sondors Fat Tire is a crowdfunded bicycle from Sondors (the company whose original electric bike was previously called the Storm). It features a 350-Watt rear-mounted geared hub motor driven by a 36-Volt 8.8-Ah battery. Top speed is 20MPH and the total weight of the aluminum-framed bike is a relatively hefty 59 pounds. Most notably, the bike offers only a single speed which, combined with its relatively underpowered motor, results in lackluster performance from the electric drive.
One thing that Sondors and its crowdfunding campaign did right was the price. The Sondors Fat Tire electric bicycle is nicely priced and among the more affordable offerings on the market. No, it’s not the cheapest we’ve seen, but there are only a few offerings on the market that challenge it in terms of price position. What do you have to give up to get such a low price? Well, a long wait time for one. Their website says “up to 90-120 days”. That’s almost 4 months! Also, you can definitely notice a much lower quality bike when it comes to the welding and lack of features like gears. It is also has a pretty short wheel base and is very tiny for anyone above an average height (5’8″ or greater).
Where the Sondors Fat Tire bike really falls flat (pun intended) is when it comes to customer service. When you buy a product that costs several hundred dollars, you expect to get some decent customer service in exchange for your money. Where the Sondors is concerned, that’s not necessarily guaranteed, although we have no direct experience to say otherwise, but there’s a lot of discussion online that indicates past problems (that hopefully, as of this writing, have been resolved).
No discussion or evaluation of a Sondors eBike can avoid the various controversies and accusations of fraud that plagued the crowdfunding campaign(s) for the company’s bicycles. The bike was once named the “Storm” but was renamed the Sondors eBike because of an intellectual property issue. Despite the wildly popular crowdfunding campaign, there are still people suing others in the complicated Sondors backstory. There were apparently some problems with delivery of the bike, and Sondors’ customer service doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation for responding to customer complaints (from what we’ve seen online). Troubling forum discussion posts abound on the issue, and while we have to classify it all as third-hand in this evaluation, we would be remiss if we did not at least mention it.
Pedal assist is always “on” in the Sondors bike. We found the bicycle relatively ergonomic overall, but the fit and finish of the bicycle could have been better overall. The battery can be upgraded, but this boosts the price, and the more upgrades you make, the more the bicycle starts to pull away from its initial very affordable price. We weren’t thrilled with the lack of suspension and gears, and the bike needs to be assembled when you receive it. The bike also tends to flounder when you take it out on the beach or other terrain that is less than supportive.
– Hit or miss fit and finish
– Very underpowered motor
– Poor quality parts/welding
– Lack of gears
– Poor customer service
– Pedal assist
– Decent ergonomics
– Low price
VERDICT: Despite the attractive price, we’d have to counsel any prospective rider to avoid this one, at least until the company works out its customer service bugs and perhaps manages to lower the price further or drastically improve the quality.