QuietKat Rubicon Review, 2023
High Quality Heavy Duty Hauler for Heavy Terrain
At first glance at QuietKat’s Jeep Rubicon and you see a monster of a fat tire bike that can go where no other e-bikes have gone before. Decorated in an emblematic army green color, this bike makes no bones about how it’s built: 1000-watt motor that can haul 300 lbs and tow another 135 lbs, monster-size 26” x 4.8” tires, and a quality full suspension set up that will tackle the terrain you take it on. This fat tire full suspension e-bike can quietly stroll across some of the toughest terrain you will ever encounter on an e-bike, and take on journeys you never thought possible.
This e-bike is QuietKat’s response to the consumer demand for an ATV that’s quiet enough for hunters to use, and powerful enough to carry their game. Have no doubt, the QuietKat Jeep Rubicon is made for doing the dirty work you’d never see most other e-bike doing. Once you climb aboard and control this beast out on the dirt trails you will quickly discover a bike like no other. Keep reading and you will discover what makes this e-bike tick and why the EBR team thought it was a blast to ride.
- 1000-watt Bafang motor has unleashed power to move fast over rough terrain.
- Torque sensor delivers power at optimum levels for whatever conditions you face.
- Multiple motor modes to manage speed and battery use more efficiently.
- Quality 150mm inverted front suspension fork can absorb some of the toughest terrain you’ll encounter.
- 300 lbs capacity can carry you and your goods.
- 160Nm torque gives you the power you need hauling equipment and goods.
- Longtime use with lifetime warranty on the army-tough frame.
- 1000-watt motor is too powerful for many bike trails, requiring this bike to be ridden where ATVs roam.
- The $7000+ price makes this less affordable for some riders (but QuietKat has great lower cose models, too.)
- Motor: Bafang Ultra-Drive 1000 Watt mid-drive, unrestricted motor, 160 nm of torque
- Battery: 48V, 21AH/1008Wh
- Display: Customizable LED
- Headlight & Taillight: Not included
- Pedal Assist: PAS 1 – 5 in Eco mode and Sport mode, 10 levels total
- Range: 32-63 Miles
- Throttle: Removable thumb throttle
- Claimed weight: 75 lbs
- Max weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Towing capacity (including trailer): 135 lbs.
- Brakes: Tektro 4-Piston Hydraulic Disc, 180mm rotors
- Front suspension: QK Inverted fork, 140mm travel
- Rear suspension: RockShox Monarch RL 150mm travel
- Frame: S, M, L size, lifetime warranty
- Drivetrain: SRAM 9-Speed
- Tires: 29” 4.6” CST All-Terrain
QuietKat Rubicon Review: E- Bike Overview
The mid-drive motor works with your pedaling, rather than independently, like hub motors. The advantage for the mid-drive is it generates more torque, which is what you need in rough terrain and when towing. Intelligently delivering the 160 Newton-meter torque to the wheels, the torque sensor works in conjunction with the 20-amp controller to assure energy conservation, while avoiding over-taxing the motor.
Your gear shifting skill with the SRAM X5 9-speed gearing will also greatly affect the quality of your ride. You will want to approach this the way you would approach driving a car with a stick shift, rather than an automatic. If you don’t shift into the right gear before climbing a hill, your motor will bog. This is more of an issue with mid-drives than with hub motors.
Following its brothers and sisters in the Jeep family, the QuietKat Rubicon will get you over the toughest terrain as well as, or better than any other electric bikes like it. With its innovative design with the motor, is the 10-level dual PAS mode system that helps you dial in the right speed for your journey, as well as top-notch suspension and braking and a lifetime warranty on the frame.
In the following sections I’ll go over the Rubicon’s performance results in the barrage of tests we put this e-bike through. Not only do these tests reveal the Rubicon’s abilities, but also its value to you, the rider. Afterall, if you’re considering spending more than $7000 on an e-bike, you will want to really know what you’re getting. One thing’s for certain, you’re getting a lot of e-bike for your money with the QuietKat Rubicon.
QuietKat Rubicon Review: Circuit Speed Test
The primary item we look at when doing the circuit test is how well the motor engages with the pedaling when changing PAS levels. Some e-bikes accelerate abruptly, almost rocketing out from underneath you, while others transition at levels that are practically unnoticed.
On the first lap, I really noticed the 75 lbs weight of the Rubicon and the fat 26” x 4.8” tires – pedaling was difficult without the PAS assistance. I quickly discovered that this is not an e-bike that I would want to be stuck pedaling with a dead battery. But that is the price you pay when getting a monster bike like this, that can roll over tricky terrain like it’s a lightweight motorcycle.
Unique to the QuietKat Rubicon are the two modes for the PAS system: the Eco mode for when your riding focus is maintaining your battery supply for a long range ride, and the Sport mode for when you want greater globs of power spinning your rear wheel.
As you can see on the chart above, there is about a 2 – 3 mph difference at each PAS level between the two modes. That may not seem like much but it really adds up with the available juice that’s left in your battery. When it comes to energy conservation on your e-bike, it’s like the old saying goes, “a little can go a long way.”
When riding on smooth, flat dirt trails I maxed the throttle and braced for a sudden burst of acceleration. Instead the motor dished out the speed at a more steady pace. It appears this e-bike was designed to provide power for hill climbing and hauling, not for racing.
Another off-road perk are the tubeless CST tires. The benefit with tubeless includes airing down for better traction on soft sand or snow, or increasing air pressure for hard pack dirt. Important note, remember to carry an air pump in case you adjust your tire pressure during your ride. And if you prefer bigger wheels, you can upgrade to the 29” rims and tires at QuietKat (current price $449).
QuietKat Rubicon Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
A common question most people ask when looking at an e-bike is, “How many miles will this bike take me on one battery charge?” So, we do a range test to answer that. Normally we do two parts, a test for the highest level PAS – for maximum reliance on the motor; and we do a test on the lowest PAS level – for longest distance with minimum continual reliance on the motor. We did four tests instead for the Rubicon because PAS 1 – is in two separate operation modes – Eco and Sport. The Eco mode is meant to minimize battery consumption. This is helpful if you’re planning to ride a long distance. It is also the mode you’ll want to use when your battery level is dropping and you need to make sure you have enough power to reach your destination. The Sport mode is for when you want full power, in any of the PAS levels, and you are not as concerned about using up battery power.
First we’ll review the Eco mode results. Our test rider for the Eco PAS 1, Brenden, rode 46.1 miles, in a time of 2:52, average speed of 16.09 mph, before the battery quit. This fell far short of the 62-mile range the manufacturer claims. Why the big difference? Frankly, we don’t know. Brenden rides a lot of our tests and he is very consistent. So we know our rider is not the reason.
Our test results for the high PAS test in Eco mode came close to QuietKat’s claim. TJ rode in Eco PAS 5 for 31.14 miles, time of 1:37, average speed of 19.3 mph. This was very close to QuietKat’s 32 mile range claim.
Next up are the Sport mode results. In Sport, PAS 1, rider TJ went 44.8 miles, total time of 2:28, average speed 18.10 mph before the battery died on him. I had the opportunity to do the test ride for the Sport PAS 5 test. Unlike most other test rides, which are performed on bike paths, I did this test on actual desert terrain, identical to actual usage. The trails I rode on are considered intermediate in difficulty and featured a mix of hard pack, rocks, soft sand, and hills. Total distance in Sport PAS-5 mode was 13.36 miles, in 1:21 and average speed of 9.96 mph.
QuietKat didn’t give us a range claim for Sport mode. I was a little disappointed with the distance – I was expecting to go at least 20 miles. But the ride was really fun! The suspension was great at absorbing the bumps and rocks I rode over. The 26” x 4.8” monster tires provided great handling all throughout. I felt like I had more control riding the Rubicon on these trails than I have when I ride my 250cc dirt bike on these same trails. Ofcourse, I’m not riding as fast on the e-bike (average speed 10 mph vs 30 mph on the motorcycle), and the Rubicon weighs less than one-third the weight of an average dirt motorcycle – another e-bike advantage over motorcycles.
If you are planning to ride more than 45 miles, you should consider purchasing a backup battery from QuietKat (currently priced at $999 plus tax). For long rides where you’ll have access to car or truck, a 12-volt DC charger is a good idea (currently $122 plus tax). If you’re camping and have no access to electricity for charging, you can purchase a portable e-bike solar charging station from QuietKat (current price $769 plus tax). Either way, the folks at QuietKat understand what your likely e-bike outdoor adventure might entail, so it’s worth looking at their accessories page before you make the final purchase.
Our overall takeaway from the QuietKat Rubicon’s range test is Eco mode is the way to go if you want to ride 40 miles before recharging. You’ll get enough “oomph” from the motor to get where you need to, just not a lot of power. But if you’re out for fun, and not worried about draining the battery, then the Sport mode will give you an awesome ride!
QuietKat Rubicon Review: Hill Test
The hill climb test was where we expected to see the Rubicon shine – and shine it did. On the throttle test, where our test rider, Justin, only uses the throttle without pedaling, the Rubicon made it to the top in 92 seconds, at an average speed of 14.3 mph. That’s a pretty good result considering it has a mid-drive motor, and mid-drives rely heavily on pedaling. Some mid-drives don’t even make it to the top.
In the PAS 5 test, which includes basic pedaling by the rider, this bike did better, as expected. Justin reached the top in 63 seconds. Now here’s the interesting part, the average speed was also 14.3 mph. It’s unheard of for a bike to have the same average speed in both parts of the hill climb test. But take into account that the mid-drive motor is designed to generate lots of torque, not top speed, and it’s designed to use battery conservatively. So this would indicate that they controller identified 14.3 mph as an optimum speed going up this hill, in terms of rider pedaling and battery consumption. This also shows the intelligent power management between the torque converter and controller. So, it seems sharing the same average speed in both tests is a fair trade off in order to have this e-bike use its battery power judiciously.
Earlier I mentioned the importance of proper shifting. Well, I didn’t heed my own advice. A few times I started climbing hills in too high of a gear. In Eco mode,that meant stopping, riding back down, and trying again in the right gear. But in Sport mode, the motor is much more forgiving. It got me up the hill, albeit slower, whereupon I said “thank you” to the Rubicon after I reached the top.
Regardless of the mode you’re in, when tackling up a hill on the QuietKat Rubicon (as well as any e-bike with a mid-drive motor), you better be pedaling! Like I’ve said before, mid-drive motors are designed to work in conjunction with your pedaling, unlike hub motors which work independently. Look at it this way, you are a partner to your mid-drive motor – the more you help it, the more it will help you.
QuietKat Rubicon Review: Safety and Brake Test
We performed the brake test on the same asphalt course that we test the other e-bikes on. Stopping power is provided by the Tektron Dorado hydraulic system, with four piston calipers and 180mm rotors. The average stopping distance for the Rubicon was 27’10” (334”). The average distance is below average compared to other fat tire e-bikes, but the Rubicon is 5 – 10 lbs heavier than the other fat tire e-bike we tested. You want to keep in mind that those other e-bikes are not made to handle the kind of terrain this bike is made to ride over.
This e-bike was more of a “fish out of water” with the test surface because the CST All-terrain tires are meant more for dirt, not asphalt. The Rubicon’s big knobby tires ride better and stop better off-road than most of the other fat tire e-bikes, so that’s a difference worth noting.
One of the comments all of the test riders noted was how well the Tektro Dorado brakes performed. I noticed that, too, during my test rides. The solid and consistent stopping power was better than I expected, giving me added confidence during my rides.
The important takeaway from the brake test was that average braking distance is not always the main determinant of an e-bike’s braking performance. Testing the brakes in the bike’s natural environment still gives us a better understanding of how well the brakes perform when needed. And these brakes proved they could do the job safely and consistently.
QuietKat Rubicon Review: Ride Comfort & Handling, Cockpit, and More
Applying suspension previously seen on motorcycles, QuietKat’s Fire-Link suspension features inverted “upside down” forks, with a wheel travel of 140mm. The rear suspension is supported by the RockShox Monarch RL mono shock, with 150mm travel. The two units worked outstanding together, and is a testament to the quality you can expect from the Fire-Link system.
When test riding the Rubicon, I found an area in the nearby desert that featured an assortment of loose rock, hard pack, whoop-de-doo ruts, soft sand, moguls, and deep mud from the recent rains. The terrain became very unpredictable at points, and the suspension absorbed the bumpiest parts real well, keeping me in solid control at all times.
It was easy for me to adjust the fork dampening. The rear shock was already dialed in for a 200 lb rider, so I didn’t need to adjust that. The suspension didn’t bottom out after flying off drop offs that were two or three feet deep. That really says a lot about how the suspension worked for this 75 lb bike!
The type of riding I did mostly involved standing on the pedals, but when I sat the Comfort Plus saddle felt comfortable. The 700mm wide handlebars, Zoom Neco 50mm stem, along with the stock rubber grips, Tektro brake levers and SRAM X5 shifter all created a ergonomics that fit my posture and reach, making the cockpit conducive to my body and riding style.
To enhance your ride further, QuietKat offers optional accessories, including three different kits depending on your ride. The Overlander Kit, for long distance travelers, includes portable solar panels to recharge the e-bike’s batteries, and a flat tire kit. Hunters and fishermen also have custom trailers. All the kits include racks with travel bags, and Tannus Armour tire liners to prevent flat tires. QuietKat also provides 24/7 customer support for assistance on bike issues.
QuietKat Rubicon Review: Summary / Where to Buy
The consensus among all the test riders here at EBR was that the QuietKat Rubicon is a great off-road e-bike. The mid-drive motor is a great fit for active riders who want to pedal, and who understand how to shift for a good ride, and avoid thrashing the chain and cassette. It’s definitely set up to take you on the ride of your life.
One key setback with this e-bike is the fact that it has a 1000-watt motor, which means it can’t even be a Class 3 e-bike. That means you can only ride this legally in areas where ATVs and dirt motorcycles are permitted (check your state law to see if they require an OHV on this kind of e-bike). Fortunately, QuietKat has other models similar to the Rubicon that have 750-watt motors and can be legally ridden on Class 3 trails (like the QuietKat Apex).
But really this bike is designed for the riders who want to use it for hunting, fishing or carrying bulky items into the wilderness, with the help of one of the accessory trailers. After riding the Rubicon close to 200 miles, and spending close to 30 hours working on it and with it, we have the opinion that QuietKat has found their niche in the e-bike world – producing strong, reliable and excellent off-road e-bikes.
To learn more about the current price and availability of this and other QuietKat e-bikes, please click the link below. Thanks for taking the time to read this report. If you have questions then please let us know.
‘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 QuietKat Rubicon.
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