how to build an electric fat bike

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In this article, we’re going to be looking at options to build a DIY electric fat bike conversion. The Fat bike has been around since the 90s and its popularity is at an all-time high. These bikes can be great fun in the sand and snow, but the high rolling resistance caused by their extra large 26″ x 4.0″ tyres and heavy, beefed-up frames, can make pedalling somewhat harder than on a traditional bike. This is why they make an excellent choice for an electric conversion.

voodoo wazoo electric fat bike fitted with a bafang bbshd
A Voodoo Wazoo Fat Bike fitted with a Bafang BBSHD 1000w

There are plenty of electric fat bikes currently on the market, but if you already own a fat bike, you can save a lot of money doing the electric conversion yourself. The best e-bike conversion kits for fat bikes will be specially made for the wider 175mm rear dropouts or extra wide 100/120mm bottom brackets.

Do I need a Fat Bike?

This really depends on your preferences and the kind of terrain you expect to be riding on. The traditional fat bike does not have suspension as the extra wide tyres which are run at a relatively low pressure (usually around 15 psi) enable cycling over terrain and in weather conditions that would be difficult even for a traditional mountain bike. Fat bikes really come into their own when ridden through sand, snow and thick mud.

The other attractive feature of fat bikes is they look rather cool, and they certainly turn heads. When ridden on tarmac the tyres can make a fair bit of road noise, akin to a Land Rover!

a fat bike fitted with a bafang bbshd electric motor and 52v battery
A Caliber Dune Fat Bike fitted with a Bafang BBSHD and 52v Battery

Buying a fat bike is a matter of personal choice. But you don’t need to live near a beach or in a cold climate to justify getting one. Fat bikes make great, comfortable back-road commuter bikes, especially if your local roads are full of pot-holes!

Most fat bikes also come equipped with mounting points for pannier racks and can make good cargo bikes.

What is the Best Electric Conversion Kit for a Fat Bike

This really comes down to budget and the amount of power you need.  There are two main options for electric conversion mid-drive motors like the Bafang BBSHD or rear wheel motors, like the Bafang hub motor. Both of the aforementioned motors can be quite pricey. But, thankfully, there are plenty of cheap e-bike kits available.

bafang bbshd 48v 1000w electric bike kit
Bafang BBSHD 1000w Kit for 100mm Fat Bike Bottom Bracket

Mid-Drive Electric Conversion Kits for Fat Bikes

If you are fitting a mid-drive motor, the best option would be a Bafang.  The only motor previously available in 100mm or 120mm version was their flagship BBSHD model, but recently some suppliers have started selling the BBS01B 250w and BBS02B 500w and 750w models with an extended motor shaft allowing for fitment to most fat bikes. These motor shaft extending kits can also be purchased and fitted to a Bafang motor you already own – useful if you want to transfer your existing BBS01 / BBS02 from a regular bike to a fat bike.

Hub Motor Conversion Kits for Fat Bikes

If you want to fit a hub motor, the main thing you will need to consider is the wider drop-outs at the rear. Thankfully there is a wide choice of fat bike hub motor kits available in various power outputs from around 350w all the way up to 2000w plus (some of which I have listed below).

bafang 48v 750w hub motor kit for fat bike
A Bafang Rear Hub Motor Kit for 175mm Fat Bike Dropouts

There are two types of hub motors – direct drive or geared. Generally geared hub motors are more efficient, produce more torque and are easier to pedal when the power is switched off. Direct drive motors are heavy, and inefficient but can handle masses of power and are generally more reliable in the long term.


Fat bikes are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but they can be great fun – I have ridden an electric fat bike powered by a Bafang BBSHD and 52v battery up a steep muddy field and the thing just kept on pulling!

I wouldn’t personally buy one unless I lived near a beach or in a climate that gets lots of snow in the winter months.  If you were a farmer one of these would make a great alternative to a quad bike -you could even hook up a trailer!

Salsa mukluk fat bike fitted with a bafang bbshd mid drive electric conversion kit and 52 volt battery
A Salsa Mukluk Fitted with a Bafang BBSHD 1000w and 52v Battery

Fat bikes are here to stay – they are robust and versatile. Plus, they can tackle the most difficult terrain with ease, they will roll over just about anything you can put in front of them!

Check the Latest Prices on
Links to the Bafang BBSHD

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    1. Hi,

      If you Google California-ebike and search ‘Bafang axle extension 120mm’ you should get to the product page.

      All the best,

  1. Hi Pete
    I would choose 120 mm because there would be better distance between crank and frame on the left side. When I bought my tongsheng there was only 500 w option … would not switch to anything else? I have a 36T chainring and 11-36 cassette. Pulls like a train?
    I have a 17.5 amp battery, and I really have no idea how far I can go. Did a test yesterday when I was out cycling. The battery was almost fully charged, when I measure voltage after the trip (10km offroading, hilly terrain.) It is 39.6 volts, I do not know if the curve is linear in volts drop … if it is I have an estimated range of approx. 50 km. sorry for very late reply ….
    Kind regards

  2. Hi there!
    At last I have converted my mongoose fat bike with a tongsheng 36v (500w), and what a fun bike it is now!?
    I have a 100mm bottom bracket and it was a tight fit? just a few milimeters space at the left
    Crank… I’ll guess the 120mm will fit better and some spacers at the bb.
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Jocke,
      I am very close to buying a Tongsheng kit for my 9zero7 fatbike, and am interested to read your comments.
      Would you receommend getting the 120mm kit? My bike BB is 100mm, but you say there is not much clearance.
      I was looking at the 250w TSDZ2, but do you think the 350w motor is better? And what size battery did you use? I was thinking about 36v 17.5ah, but I would be really interested to hear your thoughts…..thanks

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