​To buy or not to buy? This is the current situation with fat bikes in the Netherlands

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​To buy or not to buy?  This is the current situation with fat bikes in the Netherlands

Fat bikes are great, but not always popular. They have become somewhat of the bad boys of bicycles and that is not just because they look a bit cooler than the rest. In many cases they are capable of driving at 45 kilometers per hour, which would mean that they would have to have a license plate and the cyclist would have to wear a helmet. However, it remains a somewhat gray area, because you can also set them to a maximum of 25 kilometers per hour, where these measures are not necessary.

What is a fat bike?

In addition, there is something else that makes the fat bike an odd one out: you don’t necessarily have to pedal to move forward. There is a ‘thumb throttle’ on many of these types of bikes, such as the Super73. For the government, that makes it a bicycle that should not fall under ebikes. There are three rules for this: there is pedal assistance up to 25 kilometers per hour, you have to pedal to move forward and the electric motor has a maximum of 250 watts. There are variants of fat bikes that do fall under this, but there are also many examples that do not meet this requirement.

The rules for fat bikes, which do not fall under ebikes, require a driver’s license, insurance, a license plate and a helmet requirement, in addition to the fact that you can only use them at a certain age. That insurance is also a matter of dispute, just like with electric scooters (which are still really banned in our country in 90 percent of cases): you have to have insurance for a fast fat bike, but some insurers don’t want it. more on.

Insure a fat bike

ANWB and Allianz no longer provide such insurance for fat bikes. That is very double: insurance is needed more than ever before, because the helmet requirement on scooters makes people want an ebike fat bike: no helmet is required. But fat bikes are also so popular that insurers constantly see them stolen. Or at least they are reported stolen. According to the ANWB, nine out of ten bicycles are stolen. It is bizarre, and therefore logical, that insurers do not want to be burned by this.

So it is a notorious bike, an ebike with fat tires. If it is not because of the speed (and the fact that they are regularly upgraded), then it is because they are so popular that they are stolen. However, there is also another problem: they are simply moving too fast for some places in our country. For example, the Amsterdam city council plans to restrict fat bikes because they ‘contribute to an increasing feeling of insecurity on the cycle path’.


Amsterdam looks, among other things, at a system that we know from cities where you can rent scooters: there the scooters move a bit slower in some places. Amsterdam also wants to arrange this in some places in the city. And since with a regular bicycle you sometimes have to watch out for your life (and that of walkers), we don’t think that’s such a bad idea. Especially if it means that fat bikes can continue to be used.

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