Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (2024)

Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (1)

I’ve always found the sub-$1k e-bike segment fascinating. The bikes aren’t always the best, but the good ones are usually good enough for most casual and/or recreational riders. And this is the group of e-bikes with the biggest potential for winning over new riders who haven’t fully committed to the idea of a pricier e-bike replacing a good chunk of car miles. The $899 Starrun R20 is the latest folding fat tire e-bike that seems ready to compete in this quickly crowding market. So does it have what it takes?

Starrun R20 video review

To see this e-bike in action, check out my review video below. Then keep scrolling for even more details!

Starrun R20 tech specs

  • Motor:750W geared hub motor in the rear wheel
  • Top speed:45 km/h (28 mph)
  • Range:Up to 88 km (55 mi) depending on user input
  • Battery:48V 20Ah (960 Wh)
  • Weight: 36.7 kg (81 lb)
  • Max load:181 kg (400 lb)
  • Brakes:Mechanical disc brakes
  • Extras:Sturdy rear rack with seat pad, color LED display, integrated head/tail/brake LED lights, fender set, left-side thumb throttle, folding design
Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (2)

What does the bike have going for it?

On paper, there’s a lot to like here. For just $899 (or apparently $799 from Walmart), you’re getting a full-suspension fat tire e-bike with a pretty darn big battery and some good performance.

The biggest claims to fame are the 28 mph top speed, the big ol’ 960Wh battery (48V 20 Ah), and the full suspension. Those are all great features for a super low-cost bike! I love being able to go fast on an e-bike, and of course any fast e-bike is going to need a bigger battery to avoid burning through all of your range with the higher power needed for high speed.

But the third part of that trifecta, the full suspension, unfortunately isn’t all that much to write home about. The front suspension fork is decent but nothing special. It absorbs bumps but it’s not a high-quality piece of kit, that’s for sure. And the rear suspension, well it’s not much either. Again, it does the job, but it’s not quality suspension. In fact, I’m pretty sure those orange piggyback reservoirs are just for show. I’m not convinced that they aren’t just plastic Yahtzee shakers bolted onto the top of the shock. These are basically just springs, not true hydraulic damping as it would appear.

But hey, it’s a low-cost bike and so I get it.

Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (3)

For the price, you’re getting fast speeds, pretty good range (though probably not the true 55 miles they advertise), and some decent suspension to smooth out rougher roads and trails. The fat tires of course help add to that suspended feeling.

But then there are some downsides here too.

For one, the mechanical disc brakes aren’t terribly punchy and will of course need more tuning than nicer hydraulic disc brakes. The rear bench is a nice idea, but is largely unusable for a rear passenger unless they are also wearing roller skates. Add some foot pegs and then we can call it a true passenger bench.

And lastly, though perhaps most importantly for anyone who actually wants to pedal this bike, I find that the rear frame flares out so wide for the shock mounts that it actually gives me a weird heel strike situation when I pedal. I’ve learned to move my feet further up the pedals to account for it, but that’s not great pedaling form. You can see what I mean in the video above, where the frame just doesn’t seem to account for your foot arc, and instead cuts into your personal space on each pedal stroke.

Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (4)
Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (5)
Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (6)
Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (7)

But as I said, a lot of these shortcomings are hard to fault too hard when considering the ultra-affordable price. I’m far from a bike snob, and I know some people just want a full-suspension e-bike for a low price.

I can’t guarantee you the R20 is going to last for years. But I can tell you it works pretty darn well out of the box, is fairly comfortable to ride (if not to pedal), and has the big battery most folks are going to want when riding faster.

There are other nicer folding e-bikes at the price, but they don’t have the suspension offerings or the massive battery of the Starrun R20, which definitely gives it an edge. Nice additions like the fender set and color display are also nice to see, as are the three different colorway options.

But ultimately, I’d have to call this just a decent e-bike. If you really want full-suspension, it’s worth considering. But if you’re looking for higher quality, I’d probably pass over the R20. It’s definitely a budget bike for budget shoppers, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Like most e-bikes, it has a place in the market.

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Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? (2024)


Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it? ›

If you really want full-suspension, it's worth considering. But if you're looking for higher quality, I'd probably pass over the R20. It's definitely a budget bike for budget shoppers, and there's nothing wrong with that. Like most e-bikes, it has a place in the market.

Are full suspension e-bikes worth it? ›

Full-suspension electric bikes provide enhanced comfort and control. The dual suspension system absorbs shocks from both wheels, ensuring a smooth ride on rough terrains. Riders benefit from better traction and stability, making these bikes ideal for challenging trails and technical rides.

Should I get fat tires on my electric bike? ›

If you're taking on hills with a big, fat, wide tire, much more drag on the battery, meaning a quicker draining battery without a doubt. Now, in addition to that, if you have or want to ride your e-bike without the assist at all, an e-bike with a thinner tire is going to be much, much easier to pedal.

How long do eBike fat tires last? ›

How long your eBike tires last is dependent on a few factors—rider weight, terrain, vehicle weight, and riding habits all impact the life of your tires. Still, the average lifespan of e-bike tires is about 1,000 to 3,000 miles.

Are fat tire Ebikes good on pavement? ›

A fat tire electric bike eats backcountry trails for breakfast, makes short work of hills, and is a downhill thrill. But what happens when you take a pedal assist mountain bike and test it out on a road ride? Simply: your e-bike is great for pavement.

How long will a full-suspension bike last? ›

How long do full-suspension bikes last? With proper maintenance a mountain bike can last over 20 years. The lifespan of your bike is highly dependent on where you ride and how much you ride. Some items will wear out, tires, chains, brake pads and drivetrains will not last forever.

What are the disadvantages of fat tire e-bikes? ›

Electric bikes with fat tires weigh more, take up more space, and are tougher to load into vehicles or car racks. Compared to “regular” hybrid tires (ranging from 1.25”-2.5”) or road bike tires (0.9”-1.25”), fat tires are harder to steer.

Are fat tire Ebikes harder to pedal? ›

Fat tire e-bikes may need a bit more effort to pedal than conventional e-bikes on account of their increased weight and wider tires. However, the electric motor still offers a significant assist, making pedaling easier than traditional bikes without electric motors.

Why would I want a fat tire bike? ›

Fat tires can be used in various conditions and activities thanks to their improved traction, stability, and comfort. They can handle a wide range of terrains, such as loose gravel, mud, snow, and sand, making them an excellent option for off-road cycling and motorcycling.

Are fat tire Ebikes good for seniors? ›

Designed for riders looking for adventure, exercise, and longer riding, it's ideal for seniors who love biking on and off the road. The Aventure is a fat-tire ebike with 4-inch puncture-resistant tires and a 750-watt rear hub motor that makes hill climbing easy and fun.

Is it hard to ride a fat tire bike? ›

Fat bikes are indeed generally heavier than non-fat bikes. This can make them harder to pedal, especially uphill. The extra rotating mass and increased rolling resistance also makes them harder to get up to speed and limits their acceleration.

Do fat tire bikes ride smoother? ›

Most fat bikes run at low tire pressure than traditional mountain bikes, which gives them a smoother ride. You can also adjust the pressure to suit your riding style.

Are electric fat bikes worth it? ›

Electric fat bikes can be an excellent choice for those who want extra support when cycling over challenging terrain or for longer distances. They offer the benefits of a traditional fat bike, but with the added power of an electric motor, which can be especially useful when climbing or carrying heavy loads.

Do I want fat tires on my ebike? ›

Improved Shock Absorbency & Ride Comfort

Fat tires meet both of these conditions. With more air between you and the road, you are guaranteed a softer, smoother ride. The fat tire will absorb slight bumps and vibrations better than a thin tire. This makes every commute much more comfortable and enjoyable.

Can you ride a fat tire ebike on the beach? ›

The ideal conditions for a bike riding experience along the seashores is an electric bicycle with fat tires on hard-packed sand. You'll have a more comfortable ride on hard sand and won't have as much sand or debris cause issues with the components of your ebike.

Do you need full-suspension on an eBike? ›

Front suspension is usually plenty for everyday riding — for example, if you're commuting to work or riding for exercise. However, if you plan to ride off-road, you may want a bike with additional rear suspension (also known as a full-suspension bike).

Is it better to have a full-suspension bike? ›

With the rear wheel firmly on the ground, full suspension bikes also give you better traction than a hardtail. That's not to say hardtails don't give you good grip – on smoother terrain, you'll hardly notice the difference between the two. But when the terrain gets tough, that's when full suspension comes into its own.

Is suspension important on an eBike? ›

Suspension can be a great feature to have on an eBike, as it helps to absorb some of the bumps and shocks you may experience while riding. Suspension can make your ride more comfortable, help to reduce fatigue, and provide a smoother ride overall.

Are full-suspension bikes high maintenance? ›

Full-suspension bikes require more maintenance, ranging from regular (ideally once a year) rear shock services to occasional pivot bearing replacements. If you ride in extremely muddy, wet, or dusty conditions, you might have to perform these services more often. This adds cost and potential headaches.

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