Denago Fat Tire Step-Thru E-Bike Review, 2023
The EBR Team had a chance recently to ride over 100 miles on the Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike, testing its performance, handling, safety, reliability and functionality. Our time on this e-bike revealed its differences and its shared functions and capabilities with similar style e-bikes. To learn more about the Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike, check out our review below.
- Fun rides and easy ckimbs thanks to the powerful Bafang 750-watt motor.
- Torque sensor efficiently delivers power when you need it and makes for more efficient battery consumption.
- Easy-to-read matrics via the color LCD display with a host of features to manage your ride.
- Hydraulic brakes stop you safely.
- Zoom 879 forks absorbs rough and bumpy roads
- Shimano trigger/thumb shifter makes shifting a breeze.
- Hefty 26” x 4” Kenda tires provide positive traction.
- Expansive ergonomics enable riders of varying sizes to climb aboard and ride.
- The sport seat might be uncomfortable for riders who prefer to sit for long rides.
- PAS 5 has quicker acceleration than the other PAS levels. Since the bike has mass appeal, we suggest new riders work their way up to this level or change the speed settings down until they are ready for all that power.
- Motor: Bafang rear hub, 48V, 750W, 80 Nm torque rating
- Battery: 19.2 Ah, 921.6 Wh, LG 21700 battery cells
- PAS: 1 – 5, 28 MPH on pedal assist, 20 MPH on throttle
- Throttle: Thumb throttle, left side
- Sensor: Torque, Speed
- Charger: Multi-voltage 110-240V, 3A Fast Charger with USA plug
- Display: Color high-resolution LCD with multiple functions
- Lights: Headlight and taillight LED integrated
- Bike Weight (w/ battery): 79 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
- Cargo Capacity: 55 lbs
- Wheels: Aluminum Alloy, 36 holes, 26″
- Tires: Kenda 26 x 4”, K-Shield puncture protection
- Tubes: Kenda 26 x 4”, K-Shield puncture protection
- Spokes: Front – 36 13-gauge spokes; Rear – 36 12-gauge
- Brakes: Hydraulic disc brake with motor cut-off; 180mm rotors
- Shifter: Shimano Tourney, 7 speed, trigger
- Derailleur: Shimano Tourney, 7 speed
- Cassette: Shimano Tourney, 7 speed, 14-28 teeth
- Fork: Zoom hydraulic coil spring, w/ lockout
- Chain: KMC Z-Series, 3/32”
- Pedals: Platform, aluminum alloy, 9/16” with reflectors
- Crank: Aluminum alloy, 170mm, 48 tooth chainring
- Bottom Bracket: Sealed, square taper, with torque sensor, English thread
- Frame : 6061-T6 Aluminum Alloy, Step-thru style
- Handlebar: Zoom aluminum alloy, 700mm
- Headset: 1 ⅛”, sealed, threadless
- Seat post clamp: Zoom, quick release
- Saddle: Comfort foam with lift handle
- Seat Post: Zoom aluminum alloy, 31.6mm diameter, 300mm length
Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike Review: Bike Overview
Increasing the motor’s efficiency in engaging with the rider’s pedaling, the Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike’s torque sensor provides a natural feeling pedal experience that we really enjoyed.. This is Denago’s first e-bike to include a torque sensor, and we’d welcome seeing it on more of their models in the future. A detailed explanation of torque sensor advantages is also covered in the performance review below.
No difficult to read mono-color display on this e-bike, as Denago includes a color LCD display on their Fat Bike, another first for the company. Available in two frame sizes, as either step-thru or top tube frame, and 26”x 4” fat tires, this utilitarian fat bike can take you to a lot of places – which it did during my 110-mile test ride. Some places were more unusual than others – more on that later.
Now on to our first performance test, where we tested the Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike’s motor performance, including its acceleration and speed.
Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
The Bafang 750-watt motor’s balanced pedal assistance (PAS) engagement was the first thing I noticed when I started riding this e-bike. The motor performed in parity with the custom programming of the Langdesen torque sensor. Unlike a cadence sensor, which tracks the revolutions of the pedal and chainring in order to determine motor engagement, the torque sensor senses the pressure the rider is placing on the pedals when calculating the amount of motor power to disperse. This helps when it’s harder to pedal the bike, like on hills, and the torque sensor tells the motor to increase power output. Besides offering a smoother ride and using less battery, torque sensors aren’t often found on affordable e-bikes. So it’s awesome to see Denago offer this on an e-bike that’s in the $2000 price range!
Pedaling around the circuit course, I found the motor engaged when I needed it, and at constant speeds. The Denago’s predictable control enhanced my safety because I knew what the bike would do for me when I needed to pass slow cyclists and wallowing walkers.
The Denago’s 79 lbs weight was noticeable pedaling around the first lap, with no power output from the motor. But folks buying fat bikes aren’t looking to pedal with no power. Motor engagement was welcomed and noticeable when I clicked in PAS 1 on the flat parts of the road, but it wasn’t enough when I reached the incline. Therefore, PAS 2 is the level you’ll want to use for consistent motor engagement with your pedaling if you face a lot of steeps.
The engagement speeds for each PAS were about 2 mph apart, until I selected the surprisingly speedy PAS 5, when I really started feeling the wind in my face! Use caution when you’re in PAS 5 – the bike accelerated from 21 mph to 25 mph fairly quickly. I’d advise you only use this if you’re on city streets where traffic is moving faster, or when you’re on an open section of road free of impediments.
For most of my riding, PAS 4 was fast enough for me, keeping me close to the 20 mph mark. Using PAS 5 and traveling at 20+ mph speeds requires a greater level of riding ability and a good understanding of rider safety. Since I feel this bike will attract a lot of people who may be new to e-bikes, I would like to see Denago ship and sell this e-bike set as a 20 mph top speed Class 2 e-bike, with an option to change to Class 3 settings when the rider is more comfortable.
Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
The range test is used to determine the actual range where the battery provides sufficient power for pedal assistance. We stick to the same bike paths for every e-bike we test so there is consistency. The course is mostly flat, with some occasional short inclines and downhill sections.
I rode at PAS 2 because the motor was more engaged at that level. The motor was less engaged when I rode at PAS 1, meaning I was doing more of the pedaling. Our test requires near-continual engagement between the motor and pedaler.
While riding the Minimum PAS test, I began to wonder if maybe the battery gauge was faulty. It took me 11 miles before the gauge dropped to 89 percent, implying I had a range of 100 miles. The bike company range claim was 70 miles. Of course, the battery level reading dropped more quickly as my ride continued.
After riding this e-bike a total of five hours fifteen minutes (5:15), I came just shy of 65 miles before the battery ceased providing meaningful power for the motor to assist my pedaling. If I had run the test in PAS 1 – and accepted the role of doing more of the pedaling – then I could probably do closer to 70 miles in PAS 1. Something to keep in mind if you have a lot of miles to tackle, and no ability to stop and charge the battery.
Riding the maximum PAS test, I reached a range of 32.44 miles before the battery power became insignificant. I was a little surprised when this happened. The battery level reading had just dropped below 10 percent, and I thought I could ride at least one or two more miles. I managed to ride about half a mile and then the display unit turned off. So much for that. I thought I would at least see a flashing light before the bike shut down. It was just as well. Riding at PAS 5, I had to move from the bike path to the city streets, and it was rush hour by that time (and I was ready to go home).
Important note about battery level readings on this bike, and most other e-bikes. E-bikes tend to use more battery power after they reach the 50 percentile. I don’t know why and will be glad when I find some science to explain this so we can post it on the EBR site. While doing the max PAS ride, the display listed the battery life at 33% after 25 miles. That meant I should’ve had enough battery to go 12 more miles. This bike went seven more miles. This is not unusual for any e-bike, but serves as a good reminder to learn the battery limits on your commute as it may vary with your route, weight, etc..
Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike Review: Hill Climb Test
The graph above explains the hill climb test and the Denago’s results in comparison with similar fat tire e-bikes.
Posting an impressive climbing performance, the Denago proved its moxie in making it to the top with better-than-average results. This will be of great importance to riders who will be facing inclines often when they ride this e-bike. While pedaling up Hell Hole Trail, not once did I have to exert more effort to compensate for the motor. The torque sensor did a fabulous job managing how much power the motor should supply.
Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike Review: Safety, Brakes and the Brake Test
Stopping the Denago is the Zoom HB875 hydraulic braking system. Using the dual piston design and 180mm rotors, this system looks like most other braking systems we’ve tested on fat bikes like this; but the results of the brake test impressed us more than the others.
The hydraulic brakes slowed me and the bike quickly and without demanding too much effort or skill. Safety is a big priority to me (I’ve had three concussions from crashing), so I take a long look at brake performance. Given the fact that e-bikes tend to travel 10 – 12 mph faster than regular bikes, riders will want something that slows the bike down equally well..
The brakes on this bike performed remarkably well under a variety of conditions. The EBR brake test takes place on a closed course we use for testing all the e-bikes we review. We get the bike traveling at 20 mph before quickly hitting the brakes to stop the bike as quickly as possible. Most fat bikes we’ve tested stop in 22 – 24 feet. So, we were happily surprised to see the Denago stop at an average distance of 18’4”.
The Zoom braking system on this fat bike also performed well on my road tests. On each of the long downhills, I used a method of consistently tapping the front and rear brakes to gradually slow the bike. On some bikes this method does not work so well because the brakes heat up and lose their ability to slow the bike. But the Denago Fat Tire’s brakes hung in there all the way on each hill.
Turning is another riding function where consistent braking is important. The more you know your bike and how it responds, the more you know how to tailor your riding style to your bike. After riding the Denago over 100 miles, I came away feeling this bike has reliable stopping power and that I can ride this with confidence knowing how the brakes will perform.
One last note on the brakes: like cars, motorcycles and bicycles, e-bike brakes need to be regularly serviced for optimum safety. Since many of the popular e-bikes of today are shipped directly to consumers, new riders might not have a good mechanic to service their e-bike. Some e-bikers are do-it-yourselfers, but if that isn’t you then I strongly recommend you ask around and find yourself a competent bike mechanic to complete the necessary maintenance and repairs.
Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
The Denago Fat Tire Bike is designed to ride in a more aggressive posture than some of the other fat bikes. I found myself leaning forward most often when riding this bike. This was probably a good thing when you consider this bike goes fast, and maneuvering this bike requires constant attention and adjustment to control.
Normally on a fat bike like this, I would prefer a 720mm handlebar, or longer, but the 700mm worked great maneuvering the bike around the pedestrians and slow riders I encountered, and felt like the right size. The PAS buttons were simple to actuate, the throttle positioned well to comfortably make comfortable adjustments, and the brake levers were conducive to my style of two-finger braking. The stock grips fit in my hands really well and are made of a solid rubber that appears to withstand sun, wet and cold.
The saddle was not comfortable for extended rides. This bike comes with a standard sport style seat, which is okay when you’re riding a bike that requires quite a bit of standing on the pedals, like on road bikes and mountain bikes. I raise this complaint often on most of the bikes I write about.
E-bike designers need to take a longer look at how much time they believe riders will be standing on their pegs, compared to sitting on their butts, when deciding on the seat padding (I’m not the only rider who is discriminant about comfort – I hear this a lot from other riders!). On the bright side, this bike’s seat at least includes a lift handle at the rear, making it easier to lift the bike onto a bike rack, or lift upstairs.
Zoom’s 879 front suspension forks help balance out the rougher riding sections, with its 80 mm of wheel travel and hydraulic lockout for added rigidity. The front and rear lights are integrated into the bikes electrical system, so you don’t need to worry about having extra batteries. The taillights are embedded into the rear seat stay of the frame, making it look cleaner, but also eliminating the nuisance of mounting it on the seat post, where it can often get banged up, slip loose, or break off. Additionally, adding to rider safety, the tail lights also flash as brake lights, letting the riders behind you know you’re braking, and reducing the risk of accidents.
Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike Review: Summary / Where to Buy
Overall, the Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike has a lot going for it. The motor provided loads of acceleration when I needed it, as well as good top speeds when my riding conditions allowed it. The battery extended the range closer to the 70-mile mark. The torque sensor was solid in dispensing the power when I needed it. The brakes provided great safety with its stopping power, and all the other goodies I mentioned made my experience on the bike a happy one. The more the bike delivered, the more I felt confident in its abilities.
The only issues I found with this bike, as mentioned earlier, were the seat and the speed at the PAS 5 level. I hope to see Denago (and other e-bike companies) ship and sell these 750-watt bikes as Class 2 (20 mph) bikes, with an option for riders to modify it to a 28 mph Class 3. Average riders have average riding skills, so traveling at 20 mph on a bicycle with a motor is fast enough for most.
Putting that aside, I think riders who buy this bike will be happy. This bike meets a lot of needs of many riders, and I think fat bikes like these will encourage more people to get into e-biking. So, as you have fun pedaling around on your new fat bike, remember to use good judgment about your riding capabilities in all riding conditions, and make the safety of you and others a top priority. Please click the link below for prices and availability on this very rideable e-bike.
‘Happy Riding, make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the Denago Fat Tire Step-thru e-bike Tire Step-thru e-bike.
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