Amid the crowd of affordable electric fat bikes, the new Snapcycle R1 stands out from the pack. The bike’s sleek look and above-average tech are innovative twists in a category where many of the models share a similar design. Snapcycle has thought of everything—the logo lettering on the frame even glistens and changes color depending on how light hits it. While not a premium spec ebike, its competitive price point and quality parts make it a smart choice for enjoying off-road adventures and city riding.
Snapcycle markets the R1 as an all-rounder fat bike that’s just as comfortable on off-road paths as it is on paved surfaces. Traditionally, fat bikes and their ultra-wide tires were designed to handle low-grip terrain such as snow, mud, or sand. But bike brands soon realized that the beefy set-up, when combined with an electric motor, makes for a bike that can go just about anywhere. Snapcycle’s multi-surface approach makes the R1 ideal for riders that frequently switch between terrains or live in areas that have severe weather that can change riding conditions. The CST BFT 4” fat tires offer plenty of grip without being tread-overkill so they’re perfect for moderate expeditions including city errands, recreational rides, icy routes, and muddy trails.
750 Watt Rear Hub Motor
Like many other bikes in its category, the R1 is powered by a 750 watt rear hub motor. Hub motors aren’t as high-tech as mid-drive motors, but it’s an intelligent choice to keep costs down and still deliver the same amount of power. Riders will notice that the 72 lbs. bike is quite rear-heavy. That said, the rear-drive set-up performs well in tough terrain and can make the motor feel more zippy. Snapcycle rates the motor as having 1200W of peak power and 85Nm of torque to handle situations that put strain on the system like steep hills, sand, or mud. The amount of torque is a nudge above the rest of its rivals that often max out at 80Nm.
Riders of the R1 can toggle between throttle mode and pedal assist levels, as well as customize power settings to get the most out of the motor while out on the trails. The R1 comes shipped as a Class 2 ebike but can be configured as a Class 3, meaning it can reach 28 mph without pedaling. The half twist throttle design gives the bike a bit of a fun, motorcycle-like sensation. The pedal assist system has five levels to choose from, but riders can further divide them into nine levels if they want.
The Snapcycle R1 stores its electrical energy in a 48V 14Ah Samsung lithium ion battery that’s fully integrated into the frame. The brand name battery is a welcomed surprise for such an affordable ebike. The advanced battery management system (BMS) extends its lifespan and enhances the bike’s otherwise average battery specs. With each charge, riders can reach 30 miles using the throttle and up to 45 miles on pedal assist mode. The battery locks to the frame and is easy to take on and off— a complete charge takes between 4 and 5 hours. While the hidden battery makes the downtube quite wide, I like the look better than rival bikes that mount external batteries.
Amazon.com Price: $1,399.99 (as of 12/01/2023 11:37 MST) Details
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Shimano 7 Speed
The electrical hardware on the bike is paired with quality mechanical components built to last. The R1 changes gears with a reliable 7-speed Shimano Tourney groupset. That’s one gear more than some similar ebikes, but still not a huge range. That said, riders won’t be changing gears too often since they have the mighty 750W motor at their disposal. The Shimano SIS index thumb shifter works fine but it’s an outdated piece of tech that doesn’t match the solid specs on the bike. The 80mm Mozo front suspension absorbs moderate terrain and has a lockout knob for road riding. The fork makes the R1 a super comfortable ride on almost any surface— just stay clear of big jumps and bumps.
Logan Hydraulic Brakes
Thanks to Logan’s Hydraulic Brakes the R1 provides some serious stopping power when compared to traditional disk brakes. With a heavier bike like an e-bike, the upgraded brakes are nice touch on the Snapcycle R1. It proves they were looking for quality in their components.
Hopping on the bike, the ride feel is comfortable and performs well on hills. The extra torque helps deliver power when the going gets steep and the cushy geometry works. One qualm is the slow response when riders start or stop the motor. There’s no advanced torque sensor that helps smooth out acceleration or help the motor respond immediately. That sensor would significantly bump up the price, though. Expect a bit of delay when you twist the throttle or cut off the power.
During our tests, we were impressed by the brightness of the front and rear lights. The white LED headlight is piercingly strong and the red tail light is plenty visible. I appreciate that I can turn the lights on or off rather than them always running and drawing energy from the battery.
The R1 comes with one of the most advanced and feature-loaded accessory packages among the models we have tested. Most affordable electric fat bikes share similar frames and core parts, so the devil is in the details, or rather… the accessories. A seat isn’t technically an accessory, but the Justek soft foam saddle is so comfortable that it feels like a luxurious addition. The ergonomic wide saddle is similar to those of beach cruisers and it’s comfy right away— no break-in period required. The bike also comes with a large 3.2” display mounted on the handlebars to show stats like speed, mileage, battery health, and power level. It’s easy to read and bigger than most other included ebike computers.
One of my favorite add-ons is the ultra-loud push button horn. Other ebikes we have tested come with weak bells who’s sound can get lost amid city traffic or busy environments. The horn is much safer and easy to activate from the control pad on the left side of the handlebar. An appropriate choice for such a brawny bike, the R1 has a durable rear rack that can handle up to 110 lbs. Carry cargo, pets, or install a kid seat to bring your little one along on errands or bike adventures.
The Snapcycle R1 is triple-threat ebike that excels in comfort, safety, and all-rounder performance. Whether you’re riding through the city or navigating snowy paths, the R1 is ready for the challenge and will look good too— photos barely do its attractive design justice. Purchase with confidence with the 1 year warranty as well as free shipping from southern California.
The Snapcycle R1 ($1,699) is a success story in the tough competition among ebike manufacturers and customers can look forward to enjoying its great design at a fabulous price.