Last year, in 2018, I got my first electric bicycle and since then I’ve been a big proponent of e-bikes to friends, family, and you guys. E-bikes help you go faster, farther, and they’re more fun in the process. There are many to choose from these days. My current e-bike is the Ness Icon which is still doing fine but I wanted to try a fat tire e-bike to compare the difference in ride and handling.
I regularly watch the Nomadic Fanatic on YouTube. I’m not sure how I found his channel. I think it was when I was preparing for a trip to Oregon and northern California a couple years ago and wanted a preview of the redwoods but at any rate, he along with other reviewers on YouTube were recently chosen as testers for the then prototype Lectric XP.
It wasn’t until I saw the white version of the Lectric XP, the production version, that I became really interested. I loved the lines of the bike. The downward sloping rear frame is accentuated in white over black since the frame doesn’t blend in so much with the black tires but the black looks really good too.
Why Another E-Bike?
While I can confidently recommend the Ness Icon if you’re considering it, I do have a couple complaints and one is the basic bike LCD display with a 4-bar battery indicator. I prefer the computer on the Lectric XP since it has a 10-bar indicator. Why does that matter? Well, I’ll know more precisely just how much battery I have left.
With a 4-bar indicator, that last bar might mean 25% or 5% or possibly less. A big difference. With a 10-bar indicator, the last bar may mean 10% or less. If I truly know I have at least 30% or so charge remaining, I’ll go for a short ride. Anything less than that and I’ll be charging it.
Believe me, you don’t want the battery conking out on you and have to manually pedal a heavy e-bike without pedal assist, especially if there’s hills to climb. It’s like dragging a couple 20 pound sandbags behind you against the wind. Not fun!
Skinnier Tires vs Fat Tires
The other complaint I have of the Ness Icon is that its thinner tires don’t do well on gravel or loose soil. It’s great for a city bike if you’re going to be riding on pavement but it’s more unstable off-roading.
If you’re an RV-er and wanting a folding e-bike to explore beyond your campsite you’ll want to consider what type of ground conditions you’ll be riding on. If it’s mostly paved, then the Ness Icon or its brother the Ness Rua are good choices. If you’ve going to be encountering sandier, looser soils then a fat tire would be a better choice.
Must Have Accessories
Like my Ness Icon, the Lectric XP comes with the accessories I would want on any e-bike. Those are front and rear fenders, a sturdy carrying rack, and lights.
I have also been looking at the RadMini Step-Thru but it doesn’t come with fenders or a rack and I really don’t want to have to spend more to get them and have to install them myself. The RadMini is still very enticing however.
I did also add a side mirror which I think are indispensable for safety, especially if you’re going to be riding on roads. I didn’t feel safe not knowing what was coming up behind me, even on the bike trail.
The rear rack is important because you’ll need a pannier bag to carry all those indispensable items you’ll also need when out on the trails such as a hand pump, tire patch kits, tire slime, a first-aid kit, a place to store your wallet, keys, etc., bike lock, rain jacket, sunglasses, medications you might need, camera, phone, water and snacks. I also carry a pepper spray gun in the bag, a quick release pepper spray keychain attached to the handle bar for quick access, and a loud alarm keychain.
If you’re going to be riding in a part of the country with bears or other wildlife you need to be concerned of then bear spray would be a good idea. Living in Illinois, I’m more concerned with the 2-legged predators. Not too many bears in these here parts!
Comparing the Ness Icon and Lectric XP
What is amazing about the Lectric XP is the price. It features a 500 watt motor, integrated front and rear lights, and that upgraded computer/display.
In contrast, the Ness Icon has a 350 watt motor, an integrated front light (the back uses batteries), and a standard computer/display.
But the Ness Icon does have front suspension forks which help absorb some of the bumps, mag wheels which are stronger than spoked wheels and are really hard to bend out of shape (but the trade off can be a more jarring ride), and a step-through frame for very easy mounting and unmounting.
The Ness Icon is a very approachable e-bike and it’s downright cute! I get compliments all the time and people often stop and ask me about the bike. There’s very few e-bike riders in my city so I’m one of the few but I love introducing people to the joys of riding an electric bicycle.
One of the reasons why I chose the Ness Icon was because of its less intimidating look since technically motorized bikes aren’t allowed on the park district bike trails but nobody seems to mind. Nobody feels in danger of being mowed down by my cute, little folding e-bike.
It’ll be interesting to see if I’ll be as welcome on the trails with the fat tire, meaner looking Lectric XP. I’ll let you know!
The top speed of the Ness Icon is 20 mph with the throttle. I can go faster than that but once I start going above 20 mph I feel like I’m flying and would have a hard time handling the bike if I happened to run over a rock or hit a bump the wrong way. It feels very stable at higher speeds. There’s no wobble in the frame but boy does it feel like a rocket!
The top speed of the Lectric XP is 28 mph but it’ll likely come programmed with a top speed of 20 mph. You’ll want to check your state’s laws but typically any motorized bike that exceeds 20 mph will require liability insurance and a motorcycle driver’s license. That’s why most electric bikes are governed to 20 mph but you can usually change that in the bike’s computer.
The Spec Comparison
350 watt rear-mounted geared hub motor
32 volt, 13ah lithium ion Samsung battery
Estimated min range 25 miles
7-speed Shimano Derailleur
51.5 pounds total weight with battery
7.2 pound removable battery (outside frame)
5 pedal assist levels and twist throttle
aluminum alloy 17″ frame
aluminum front and rear fenders
aluminum alloy rack; 55 lbs max weight
250 lb max rider weight
For full specs click here.
Price: $1395 plus tax and shipping
Comes mostly assembled
500 watt (800 watt peak) brushless geared hub
48 volt, 10ah lithium ion LG battery
Estimated min range 25 miles
7-speed Shimano derailleur
59 pounds total weight
7 pound removable battery (inside frame)
5 pedal assist levels and a throttle (not sure if twist or thumb yet)
frame material isn’t listed but I’m assuming it’s also aluminum alloy
front and rear fenders
rack supports up to 55 pounds
275 pound max rider weight
For more specs click here
Price: $899 preorder special pricing, free shipping to lower 48, and no tax!
Comes completely assembled
I will have a full comparison between the two. Mine is scheduled to be delivers in early September so check back. I’m also going to contact Lectric for more detailed specs.
UPDATE: I decided to go with a different bike than the Lectric XP, although I still think it’s a good affordable option for a lot of people. You can take a look at what I decided to go with instead.