I had a great time reviewing the RadRover 5 fat-tire ebike last year, and I try to review bikes based on what they offer, and not what I’d like them offer (although I might make mention of it). The RadRover 5 is indeed a fun and capable bike, but the mountain biker in me was kind of wishing for just one more feature: rear suspension. So when QuietKat came calling with an offer to review their even fatter Jeep-branded e-machine with full suspension, I didn’t hesitate, grabbed my helmet and gloves, and headed for the hills with the burly bike.
And while the RadRover 5 is a fairly agreeable $1,700, the QuietKat Jeep ensemble tipped the bank scales at close to $6,500 – with optional bits that could tack on another $1,000 beyond that figure. Worth it? Here’s the breakdown on the QuietKat Jeep’s tech and performance.
The Two-Wheeled, One-Wheel Drive Jeep
The QuietKat Jeep ebike takes the almost silly dimensions and demeanor of the already burly RadRover fat bike and turns the volume up well past 11. Instead of a hub motor, the Jeep is propelled by a 750-watt mid-drive power plant from Bafang. QuietKat offers a power bump to 1,000 watts (1,500 peak) for another $150 and if you’re going to go this big on an ebike, just pull the trigger for the extra power. Along with the big wattage numbers, the motor also makes a stout 160Nm of torque.
Unlike many mid-drive bikes, the Jeep does included a thumb throttle for pedal-free riding, although as you can imagine, you plus the 79-pound Jeep will tax the bike’s beefy 14.5Amp-hour 48-Volt Panasonic battery more quickly than if you were pitching in on the pedals, which transmit power through a 9-speed Shimano rear derailleur. Interesting mechanical note: When under throttle, the front chainring spins under power while the pedals remain still, which is a bit weird at first but you get used to it. Still, it’s a bit fun to watch it work. Gotta love innovative engineering.
Depending on the level of abuse you’re hurling at the bike, expect 20-30 miles of throttle riding while range beyond that – more like 50 miles – will depend on how much horsepower you supply to the pedals. Conveniently, the big battery sits inside the frame from the bottom, streamlining the look of the bike. It can be charged in or out of the frame from dead in about 5 hours by my stopwatch.
A full color LCD display transmits speed, charge and other vitals, including the ride modes and your choice of six power levels (including zero). Eco mode saves the most juice of course, while Sport ups the power output to the maximum. While the Jeep might seem to better fit with “open class” ebikes like the Juiced Hyper Scorpion or the Delfast Top 2.o, the Jeep actually remains confined to Class II status with assist leveling off at 20 miles an hour. But that’s just fine because 20mph on this behemoth feels pretty damn fast and there’s plenty of power when you really need it most: Going uphill. Opting for the 1,000 watt power upgrade ($150) pops it up into Class III, sort of.
One you arrive at the top of yonder volcano, downhill momentum is slowed by TEKTRO 4-piston hydraulic disc brake calipers gripping 203mm rotors front and rear. I thought the RadRover 5 tires were cartoonishly large but they look positively svelte next to the 26-inch CST RolyPoly balloons that span nearly 5 inches across. The CST tread pattern is also more aggressive and had better purchase in the dirt but were also noisier on the street, as if that’s actually a concern.
But as I mentioned, the real treat on the Jeep is the full suspension system, with a QK Custom inverted air fork up front with 150mm of travel and a RockShox Monarch RL shock damping the four-pivot point suspension out back. The forks feature compression damping adjustment along with air preload of course, and both ends have lockout for a more undamped experience, but really, that misses the point of the bike… most of the time.
QuietKat delivered the bike as fall set in, which brought cool and wet weather to Oregon this year (and most years). I and my teenage son, who seems to be growing at a rate of about an inch per week, logged many miles on the Jeep all around the area on numerous types of surfaces, from clean and clear pavement in town to gravel hiking trails to singletrack to soupy, muddy trails near the Columbia River. Initial impressions: This thing is nigh unstoppable. And, it’s damn comfortable – “like riding on a cloud,” my manchild said a few times. But really, the power, in tandem with the plush and adjustable suspension, really sets the Jeep apart, especially if you take some time to dial it in for your weight and the riding environment. And those tires. They make everyone smile.
We jumped it, mud bogged it, purposely aimed it at obstacles and even rode it in some snow. Oh, and just tooled around the neighborhood on it. I even rode it to the dreaded day job on numerous occasions, once I had recovered from a nasty wipeout on board an unnamed device (don’t ask). Despite the somewhat comical dimensions, this is really an enjoyable bike to casually ride around, and it’s bonkers fun out in the rough stuff.
The big power, either in throttle mode or when kicking in as pedal assist, makes it easy to ride at any pace. And surprisingly, the Jeep is easy to pedal unassisted (I do suggest locking out the suspension for maximum pedaling efficiency), but you’ll get a workout and don’t expect Ludicrous Speed under your own power, unless you’re Lou Ferrigno or someone similarly swole. But at least the pedals aren’t just decorations as they can be on other ebikes in this class. This thing really works best when operating under two power plants – one electric and the other biological (you) – but as I’ve said in other ebike reviews, because it has a throttle and motor, you can also think of the QuietKat Jeep as a low-powered off-road motorcycle, so gear up accordingly with a helmet, gloves and clothes that cover the skin.
It’s big, it’s a bit over the top and it’s expensive but I have to say: It works, and much better than I thought it would. Price in mind, I was honestly expecting to not like the QuietKat Jeep ebike, but as the miles piled up, I found myself riding it more often than not as we weathered the pandemic and the fall weather turned to winter. It really is great fun too ride for the fun of it, of course, but like any good ebike, it also had a large amount of utility. I ran a lot of errands to the store and to get local takeout on the Jeep, and really never worried about the bike as I launched it off curbs, bounded over bike lane debris, or covered it in mud and muck. It was up for pretty much anything, as any vehicle that says “Jeep” on the sides should be.
Nitpicks? At this price point, it should include some kick-ass lighting as stock, especially up front, but there’s none. And while I get that it’s not really a commuter, some fenders front and rear would have kept my clothes a bit cleaner – maybe. QuietKat offers all those things for the Jeep and its sibling ebikes, but it would have been nice to seem some of those bits included, especially lighting since I can see that being needed far beyond just commuting duty. Of note, if you really do want to commute on this beast, QuietKat does offer racks, bags, cases and even cool single-wheel trailers for their lineup. So commute away, not much is going to slow this thing down.
At over $6,000 (or even $7,000), the QuietKat Jeep is clearly for hardcore ebikers or those with large amounts of disposable income who want the best of the niche the Jeep is in, which is to say the “all-conquering fat tire bulldozer ebikes.” It performed well and best of all was a hoot to ride, while being highly adjustable and reliable despite being repeatedly tested in tough terrain. Worth it? I’d love to see the price a bit lower and more bits included, but if you gotta have a for-real, full-bounce fattie you can hammer on, here’s your ride.