The Best E-Bikes for Use on Snow
Winter riding can be a lot of fun on these electric bikes
Considering how fun and convenient an e-bike can be, it’s easy to understand why electric bicycles now make up the fastest growing segment of the entire cycling industry. With their increasingly powerful motors, high-capacity battery packs, and pedal-assisted drive trains, there are now e-bike models designed for any kind of rider: daily commuters, serious road cyclists, mountain bikers, and casual riders alike. And as those bikes have continued to evolve, there are now options available for riding in all kinds of conditions too—including on snow and ice.
What To Look For in An E-bike Built for Snow
When it comes to riding on snow, the most important aspect of any bike is the size of its tires. Wider tires—like the ones found on fat bikes—produce better traction due to their increased surface area. These oversized wheels have the added benefit of requiring less tire pressure, which allows them to perform better in cold conditions too. Combining those tires with an electric motor and battery pack makes an electric fat bike a great option for riding in winter conditions.
Big Battery Packs
If you’ve ever had your smartphone inexplicably lose power while outside during the winter, you already know that cold conditions can have an adverse effect on battery life. That holds true for the batteries on an e-bike too, which can have their range dramatically diminished as a result. When selecting an e-bike model for winter riding, look for one that has a large battery pack. Larger batteries aren’t more resistant to cold conditions, but they will hold more of a charge, allowing you to ride a bit farther.
Even with a larger battery pack, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the range of your e-bike while on a cold weather ride. As mentioned, the colder temperatures can deplete the battery much more quickly, shaving miles off of your range in the process. The last thing you want is to find yourself miles from home on a big, heavy bike without the aid of pedal assist.
Hub vs. Mid-Drive Motor
One other aspect of an e-bike’s design that can have an impact on performance in the snow is the placement of the electric motor. A hub motor is typically mounted at the center of the rear wheel, while a mid-drive motor is located inside the bike’s frame, usually adjacent to the pedals. The location of the motor can change the bike’s center of gravity to a degree, potentially altering how it handles on slick surfaces. Which version works best for you is generally a matter of preference and both are perfectly fine for winter riding. It should be noted however, that mid-drive motors tend to produce more torque, something that can come in handy in the snow.
Keeping all of this in mind, we’ve come up with our picks for the best e-bikes for use in winter. Built to take on the ice and snow, these models will offer top notch performance in cold conditions, allowing you to enjoy exhilarating outdoor rides that wouldn’t be possible on most other bikes.
The QuietKat Apex is one of the best off-road e-bikes on the market, which translates to excellent performance on snow as well. The bike features a 1000-watt mid-drive motor that provides a surprising amount of power both on trails and pavement. The electric drivetrain is paired with a large battery pack that offers up to 58 miles of range between charges. The bike’s throttle is managed via a removable thumb switch that provides precise control at all times. This allows for incremental adjustments and fast accelerations as needed on steep hills or slick trails.
The Apex features a 9-speed SRAM gear system and hydraulic brakes that provide controlled stops even on slick surfaces. The bike’s 26 inch x 4.5 inch fat tires roll over obstacles with ease and float nicely through sand and snow and its 150 millimeter front air suspension ensures that the rider stays comfortable even when the road gets a little bumpy.
Capable of carrying a load of up to 325 pounds, the Apex remains surefooted and relatively agile both on trail and off. This makes it a great option for use in the backcountry where conditions can be highly demanding at times. It gets high marks for reliability too, requiring little in the way of maintenance even when taking on the worst conditions imaginable. What more could you ask for in a winter e-bike?
With its unique retro styling, eye-catching colors, and 28 mph top speed, the Cyrusher XF900 is good at turning heads. The bike’s quick acceleration and 62-mile range come courtesy of its 1500-watt hub-drive motor and 48-volt waterproof battery pack. Those components, working in conjunction with the bike’s 21-speed Shimano gear system and four-inch tires, allow it to roll over any terrain and perform nicely on snow and ice.
Other nice features include a 3.7-inch LCD display that allows riders to monitor the bike’s speed and battery life at a glance. The XF900 also comes with a built-in front LED light, a durable aluminum crankset, and 180 millimeter full hydraulic disc brakes that include a motor cutoff function. Cyrusher, which has a cargo capacity of 330 pounds, even includes a set of fenders to help keep snow, slush, mud, and other slop from splashing the rider.
The XF900 further separates itself from the competition by offering a full suspension system that provides a smoother, more comfortable ride. In addition to the 110 millimeter front air shock, this e-bike also includes a cushy spring suspension in the rear that helps make riding over rough terrain more enjoyable.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus
Built more for cruising city streets and light trail duty, rather than technical single track, the Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus is nevertheless a great option for winter cycling. The well-equipped e-bike features puncture-resistant 26 inch x 4 inch tires that keep a firm grip on the ground at all times. A set of hydraulic disc brakes work in conjunction with a Shimano 7-speed gear system, and a front suspension fork that offers up to 60 millimeters of travel to ensure a comfortable ride. A cushy seat—along with front and rear fenders—round out this bike’s basic component set.
The RadRover 6 Plus’s electric drive system features a 750-wattt, hub-mounted motor that can travel up to 45 miles on a single charge. That same motor features custom gearing just for Rad Power, resulting in improved torque and performance when climbing hills. The bike features five levels of pedal assist and a twist throttle for controlling speed and offers a solid cargo capacity of up to 275 pounds.
An ample use of technology helps the RadRover 6 Plus stand out from the crowd. The bike’s backlit LCD screen is bright and easy to read, with a user interface that displays a variety of real-time stats. Built-in front and rear lights automatically turn on when the bike is activated, while a separate rear brake light illuminates when the brakes are applied. Even the battery pack features a clever design that makes it easy to take on and off the bike frame. This is especially useful when you want to take it inside to warm up after a cold weather ride. And for the ultimate in tech conveniences, Rad Power offers the option to add a USB port to keep smartphones charged while on the go.
With its large, knobby tires, rugged frame, and shock-absorbing front suspension, the QuietKat Ranger is a fun off-roader for use in any season—including winter. The 4.5-inch wide fat tires provide a firm grip on snow, ice, and pavement, while the mechanical disc brakes ensure the rider maintains control even on slick surfaces. This provides a sense of confidence while in the saddle, even when riding in tricky conditions.
The Ranger’s integrated battery and hub-mounted electric motor offer 1000-watts of power and up to 48 miles of range on a single charge. The bike’s SRAM 7-speed gear system is paired with a removable thumb throttle, giving the rider plenty of options in terms of speed and control. Add in a comfortable suspension seat, integrated rack for hauling cargo, and an easy-to-read LCD screen for tracking speed, distance, and battery life, and you get a well-rounded e-bike built for outdoor adventure.
When compared to its e-bike sibling the Apex, the Ranger isn’t quite as fast, nor does it have a as long of a range. It’s hub-drive doesn’t generate quite as much torque either. Still, it’s more than capable of tackling all but the harshest of winter conditions. The Ranger offers the same 325-pound cargo capacity tower and it comes in at a lower price point, making it an attractive alternative for the price conscious.
Originally designed with hunters in mind, the Bacou Mule has evolved into an off-road beast that can tackle any terrain or weather conditions. The bike’s mid-mounted electric motor can produce up to 1500 watts of power, which translates to speeds up to 35 mph. The 48-volt lithium-ion battery gives the bike an impressive range of as far as 82 miles, with a cargo capacity of 300 pounds.
A front-mounted air-suspension fork provides 100 mm of travel, while a second suspension system—integrated into the seat post—provides extra cushioning for those especially bumpy rides. Aggressive 4-inch tires offer excellent traction, even in wet conditions, while high-performance hydraulic front and rear brakes allow the rider to always maintain speed and control. A 9-speed Shimano gear system, complete with front and side rear derailleur guards, serves as the human-powered propulsion system for this rugged e-bike.
Powerful and highly capable, the Mule is a fantastic e-bike built for experienced riders. The bike was made specifically for backcountry excursions, and it shows in how well it handles adverse conditions. If you’re looking for the best e-bike for winter riding—and you don’t mind paying for top-notch performance—this is the model for you.
When compared to the other entries on this list, it would be easy to dismiss the Ecotric Rocket fat tire bike based on its specs alone. On paper, it’s range, power, and feature set don’t stack up to the competition, although there is one very important area where the Rocket clearly comes out on top—price.
With an MSRP of $1100, this e-bike is significantly more affordable than most other models. Despite its entry-level price tag, the Rocket still offers solid performance and design. Ecotric has outfitted the bike with a 500-watt hub-mounted motor and a 36-volt battery pack that gives it a range of around 20 miles. The bike’s electric drivetrain offers five levels of pedal assist to help conquer hills. Stats like speed, distance, and power are displayed on a basic—but highly functional—LCD screen.
The Rocket’s component set includes front and rear mechanical disc brakes, a Shimano 7-speed derailleur, and 4-inch wide fat tires that keep a firm grip on the road even in the snow. A front suspension smooths out the ride on rough surfaces and a heavy-duty kickstand comes standard. The bike is even equipped with a USB charging port for powering smartphones and other small gadgets. Fenders, front and rear lights, cargo racks, and saddle bags are all optional add-ons for those looking to upgrade their ride, but out of the box this is a fun, full-featured e-bike for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money.