Electric bikes with fat tires are increasingly becoming the preferred combination of balance and versatility.
With the Thunder T1 model, TurboAnt has become yet another e-bike manufacturer to get in on this trend.
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Technical Specifications: components and metrics
Before I dive into the review, let’s see its technical specifications
|MOTOR & TOP SPEED
|BATTERY & RANGE
|CONTROLLER & RIDING MODES
|OVERALL WEIGHT & CARRYING CAPACITY
|TIRES AND SUSPENSION
In this review, I go over everything that didn’t come on the specs sheet to see how the T1 fares in real-world usage. Above all, you get to know if it is worth buying or taking your money elsewhere.
Main Components Analysis
Samsung 670Wh battery and range
TurboAnt toed the same line as other fat-tire electric bikes around this price range by going with a 670Wh Samsung battery rated at 48V and 12Ah.
The battery powers the 750W rear hub motor, which runs the e-bike when you need that extra boost from the pedal-assist system or throttle mode.
With this battery capacity, this class 3 e-bike is rated at a range of 60 miles from the company.
Putting the battery to the test, the e-bike seems to manage:
– up to 58 miles (90 km) using PAS 1 at an average speed of 12mph (19 km/h).
– Around 28 miles (45 km) on PAS 5, with a speed of 32 km/h.
Both tests show good battery performance in this case.
I noticed that the battery indicator can be a bit unpredictable with the power readings, meaning forcing riders to stop for a charge when, in fact, they still had a lot of power in the unit.
In other words, the indicator bars tend to drop to the lower level quickly, but ironically, the battery keeps on providing power for many miles.
The brand is aware of this and most likely will develop a solution.
PAS and throttle feature speed test
Depending on the assistance you decide to use (PAS or throttle), the maximum speed will vary.
For instance, using the throttle mode only, the tested speed was around 20 mph (32 km/h). On the other hand, the motor provided approximately 25 mph (45 km/h) by using PAS only.
There is an important reason to have this difference, and it is because e-bikes with throttle controls are required to have a limited speed in countries like the EU and Australia.
Read More: Electric Bike Laws: Know Them Before Riding
You can always go faster with that mode, but you will be required to have a license of course.
A bit more about the throttle feature performance
The Bafang 750W gearless rear hub motor kicks in reasonably quickly and fast enough. I was able to see that it is very responsive on flat terrains.
Even though I felt a decent acceleration when riding uphill, I noticed that the motor suffered under strain, and the speed dropped considerably.
This makes sense as this e-bike:
1. It is heavy, with an overall weight of 33 kg.
2. The hub motor is doing the whole job of propelling the bike and you.
Lastly, I won’t rely on using this feature all the riding time as the battery will drain quicker than expected.
What can you obtain from using PAS?
On average, this is what to expect from the motor at its different pedal-assist system levels:
– PAS 1: up to 12mph
– PAS 2: 14-16mph
– PAS 3: 17-18mph
– PAS 4: steady 18mph ride
– PAS 5: 20-28mph
Using PAS 5, I experienced the ride being smoother and gained speed faster, more importantly when riding uphill. It makes all sense, right, as you are helping the motor move the entire system.
One thing that I liked was how smoothly the gears shifted between each assistance level. I guess the Shimano technology also influences the ride experience you have.
Controlling the T1
An LCD screen makes things easier on the Thunder T1. Here, they built a lot of intuitive features into and around the screen for improved functionality.
On the screen itself, you have information on:
– The speed;
– The battery power;
– Current assist level if using PAS mode; and
– E-bike mileage, among others.
The brand placed buttons for upshifting/downshifting the assistance and having the On/ Off button in the middle.
You will need to use the same buttons to change the bike’s other settings. This design is simple, natural, and intuitive for you to follow.
Looking at the brake levers, the brand improved the grip with the knobby design employed here. They also provided enough space so that you could easily fit three of your fingers into that knobby space.
On the right side of the handlebar is a 7-speed gear system with a feedback screen of its own to show you what gears you are currently using.
A simple thumb shifter design is added on for effortless gear shifting. You don’t have to strain to reach the thumb shifters from the handlebar, which is yet another big plus on this e-bike design.
Ease of use and handling
Versatile bikes usually tend to do one thing better than the other. With the Thunder T1 version, there is a delicate balance between city commutes and off-road riding.
Both aspects of the e-bike’s functionality are helped by a fully adjustable suspension fork built on the front of the unit.
Depending on the terrain, load, wind, and driving style, you can adjust the suspension to be stiffer or looser. That helps to distribute vibrations better and provides for even easier handling.
In the handling side of things itself, they made things easier for riders with an adjustable handlebar too. The handlebar stem allows for multiple performance-based setting positions.
Your setting preferences will depend on how you ride, your ideal hand placement, and other personal preferences.
The throttle switch
The design element on the throttle is relatively consistent with everything else on the market.
Taking up a small part of the right handlebar, the throttle is also easier to twist and turn when compared to similar models.
As a bonus, they threw in a kill switch for the throttle here (I discuss that more in the safety section).
Grips and saddle
Looking at the grips on this unit, I would have preferred they were a little softer. You’ll find that this is not a dealbreaker after some rides but a nice-to-have.
The same goes for the seats, which I would rank as decent. While there are undoubtedly better seats and more comfortable materials to use, I don’t think it is necessary to go shopping for some after-market seats anytime soon either.
What did the brand consider in safety?
Compared to some Ecotric models, such as the FAT26s900 one, TurboAnt did good work in the safety department here.
It starts with the basics:
– Front lamps for better visibility, especially at night;
– Rear lamps to alert other road users to your presence in low light conditions;
– A bell on the left handlebar, and
– Easy-access throttle and controls.
Adding to the above points, they move into some nifty stuff like:
– Reflective strips on the Kendra tires, which also helps to alert other commuters to a bike in low visibility conditions.
– An adjustable suspension and handlebars allow you to customize the ride height and conditions to your preferences.
– The inclusion of a button (under the throttle grip) that works as the kill switch. Since the throttle can still work at zero assist level, the company thought to put it there to disable the feature easily.
The kill switch also works when you are in higher assist levels and don’t want to trigger the throttle accidentally. This is a significant consideration for city commuting where you don’t want to make any mistakes.
While riding in the city, you can rest assured that the mechanical disc brakes on this unit are well above average too.
Their stopping performance is acceptable; however, I noticed the tires could lock up easily. This means that you may need to adjust their sensitivity.
The brakes are another section of the bike that you can customize to taste. I suggest spending some time with your bike to have a feel of its braking performance.
After All, What is Riding the TurboAnt Thunder T1 e-Bike?
The all-terrain, fat-tire TurboAnt Thunder T1 e-bike is fun to ride and provides a level of comfort justified by its price range.
It manages excellent range with a decent pedal-assist combined with average riding speed.
The fat tires are genuinely designed for all terrains, measuring 26 inches by 4 inches.
I am incredibly amazed that these tires don’t make the e-bike harder to pedal, which is a big plus for the brand here.
Ease of use is not an issue you’d face. The handling is exemplary on tarred roads and when going off-road.
One thing that attracted my attention was how big the bike looked. This could be essential to consider if storage space is a problem for you.
Coupled with a pleasing design to match, I believe this is one of those beach or snow e-bikes you should spend your money on.
Boasting the social proof of one of the serious e-bike manufacturers should be enough.
Putting the TurboAnt Thunder T1 fat-tire to the test, though, showed that it can handle its own quite okay – and you’ll get good value for your money.
NEED A MOBILE PHONE MOUNT AND A BATTERY CARRY BAG FOR YOUR BIKE?
Images courtesy of TurboAnt.
TurboAnt Thunder T1
Frame & Components Quality4.3/5
Speed & Torque4.5/5
Controller & Assistance4.5/5
Portability & Maneuverability4.0/5
What we like
- ✅ Shifting system is smooth when using the pedal-assisted feature.
- ✅ Front suspension system is good for added comfort.
- ✅ Mechanical components seems to be good quality.
What we do not like
- Too heavy to be carried.
- Battery level indicator present inaccurate readings.
- It may be too big if you have not much room for storage.