bionx road bike vs mid drive fat bike


Active Member
I own 2 e bikes, one is an EVO road bike equipped with a Bion X HD500 hub motor running 700c tires and no suspension other than a Cane Creek short travel Thudbuster. The 2nd is a KHS 500 fat tire bike equipped with a Bafang 1000 watt mid drive motor running 26 by 4" tires and no suspension other than a Crane Creek long travel Thudbuster. Yesterday I asked a friend to join me for a ride through our city where we swapped bikes halfway through the ride for a comparison between the 2. Not too long of a ride, about 35 km,s and a mix of paved and unpaved. First the road bike. The Bion X system is very well integrated, other than providing a boost you hardly notice it, you step on the pedals, you go. Want to go faster, just bump up the power level. The short travel Thudbuster works, it takes the sharp jolts out but with the skinny tires running 90 psi you do feel every bit of the riding surface. It is quite silent you don't hear the tires or the motor. Now the fat bike. Running the max tire pressure of 20 psi it provided a much smoother ride. Between the tires and the long travel Thudbuster you barely notice the road surface. Road noise from the tires was very noticeable, especially on pavement, you don't need a bell to alert walkers of your approach. Power delivery is much cruder than the BionX system. I have equipped it with brake sensors and a gear sensor which generally give nice smooth shifts. But between level one and two power there is a noticeable power increase and it's not as smooth as the Bion X but it feels and is more powerful. As for comfort factor the fat bike wins hands down, seat of the pants impression was well almost no impression on the fat bike where the road bike not so much. And the end of the half where I was on the road bike I was glad to step off. Power level is where the BionX does better, giving longer range but that's to be expected with the 700C tires. But the fat bike did well, it started at 52 volts and was down to about 47 at the end after 35 km,s. I honestly have no idea of it's real range although somewhere between 50 to 80 km's is expected depending as always on the level of assist and terrain. My conclusion is I like the fat bike more. Aside from all the other factors mentioned above, it males me smile when i get on it. Finally in this somewhat longwinded tale I have decided to take the motor and controls and the disc brakes off the EVO road bike and use them on a tadpole trike recumbent that I am in the process of building. More on that later.
I took the fat bike for a quick 30 plus km ride the other night. Pumped the tires to the max pressure of 20psi and headed off to the local bike shop. I had ordered a couple 20" wheels and some 20mm 36 spoke hubs for the trike project and got a call some of the parts had arrived. It was such a nice evening i decided to extend the ride using several river bank trails. Unfortunately there is one part of the return trip to my neighborhood where you are forced to either ride on the sidewalk in a mall area with lots of exits/entrances or mix it up with 3 lanes of impatient car drivers. So, I live in Winnipeg, by law E bikes are capped at 20 mph or 32 kph. I installed a Bafang mid drive on my Fat bike and it came governed to the 32 kph which is fine. The thing is, it is programmable to set up by tire size and I have not even looked at that yet. When using the pedal assist it is very close to being right, mostly I think influenced by my pedaling input. Now the other day I decided to stay on the road. First an idiot in a pickup truck almost squeezed me into the curb so I thought, try the throttle. Next thing the display shows my speed is 48 kph. The display reads under the actual speed and I was almost hitting 55 kph which is just a touch over 30 mph and pretty much keeping up with the cars. There was a van driver beside me keeping pace and he was staring in amazement. I,m ghost pedaling as fast as I can so my legs are pedaling faster than ever before. He's looking at a white haired older man- wearing a helmet of course- pretty much flying down the road on a fat bike. As soon as the next turn approached and a smaller saner feeder road was available I turned off and quit using the throttle. It was exhilarating to say the least but won,t be repeated. And it really sucked up the battery power. It did make me laugh to myself for the rest of the ride home though.