Velotric Nomad 1: Specs
Weight: 73 pounds
Motor: 48V, 750W (1200 w peak), max torque 75Nm hub motor
Battery: 48V, 14.4Ah, 691Wh UL 2271 recognized removable battery with Samsung cells
Max range: 55 miles
Max assist speed: 25mph
Charge time: 6 hours
Drivetrain: Shimano 8-speed
The idea of owning a motorized fat bike never really occurred to me. I’ve owned non-motorized fat bikes so I could ride in the snow, but those bikes largely sat unused during the summer. Velotric’s Nomad 1 showed up at my doorstep last fall just as the first flakes of the impending winter began to fall, which seemed opportune; fat tires allow riders to run much lower tire pressures, which in turn increases traction and comfort.
So it was with the Nomad 1. When bike paths were iced over and a couple inches of deep snow covered my street, I was happy to have this super-capable all-weather commuter bike. And even in warmer months, the Nomad 1 can certainly handle some off-road riding as the trails and dirt roads dry out. But it’s not a great choice for technical trails due to its size and weight.
The Nomad 1 is ultimately an all-weather commuter with some off-road chops to make it a fun bike to have around in the summer on easy trails and dirt roads.
Velotric Nomad 1 review: Price and availability
The Velotric Nomad 1 is available for purchase on Velotric’s website. Its retail price is $1,599 but is available on Velotric’s site now for $1,499.
The Velotric website also has a dealer locator. This helps you find a dealer near you that has the bike available in stock so you can test ride it before you buy. On top of that, Velotric offers a 14-day trial period so you can decide whether the Nomad 1 is right for you.
Velotric offers accident protection for an additional charge as well. You can get up to three years of coverage. Pricing ranges from $159 to $279.
Velotric Nomad 1 review: Design
The Nomad 1 comes in two general frame designs: High-step, and Step-thru. According to Velotric, the High-step version is appropriate for riders from 5’6” to 6’9”, while the Step-thru version accommodates riders between 5’1” and 6’4”. There are four color options available.
The Nomad 1 immediately draws attention with its big, 4-inch-wide tires. While the big rubber adds weight to the bike, the tires also add tons of all-season capability. As such, the Nomad 1 comes stock with front and rear fenders to block rain, snow, and mud.
To complement the nomad’s 4-inch tires, Velotric has added an 80mm suspension fork up front to scrub off even more bumps and vibrations. A Shimano 8-speed drivetrain offers plenty of cadence adjustability to counter hilly terrain, and the hydraulic disc brakes offer ample stopping power in all conditions.
Like the tires, the motor and battery trend big. A 48V, 750W (1200 w peak), max torque 75Nm hub motor kicks out a 20mph max speed, but you can also “unlock” the bike to put out 25mph max.
A handlebar-mounted throttle allows you to keep moving forward when you don’t want to pedal. And the 3.5-inch backlit LCD display lets you know at a glance what mode you’re in, how fast you’re going, and other relevant information.
The Nomad 1 comes stock with an integrated front Headlight. A rear light also comes stock, but it is not integrated and must be turned on manually.
Velotric advertises the Nomad 1’s weight as 73 pounds for the High-step version, and 72 pounds for the Step-thru design.
Velotric Nomad 1 review: Performance
The Nomad rips. After spending a long winter testing the Nomad 1 in cold weather and snow, I can say with some certainty that it should be at the top of the list for anyone who lives in locations with long winters.
The fat tires make for a stable ride even in a few inches of snow, and with lowered tire pressures (3-4 PSI should be enough with tires this big), you’ll get tons of traction for cornering, even in icy spots.
The motor packs a punch, too. I was able to plow through some deeper sections of snow, all the way across the big park near my house. The Nomad feels plenty powerful through most conditions, even on steeper climbs. It only gets bogged down on the steepest pitches when you’re relying solely on the assist to get you going.
During dry weather when the snow disappeared, the Nomad 1 easily handled dirt roads and some very basic singletrack. It could handle some more complicated singletrack trails in the right hands, but I wouldn’t recommend taking the Nomad on such terrain, given its size and weight.
And while the ergonomic cockpit serves commuters on pavement well, the swept-back handlebars actually make the bike more difficult to handle on rough, off-road terrain. If you intend to tackle a lot of that kind of trail with your Nomad 1, consider swapping the handlebar out for something with less sweep.
The suspension fork turned out to be the Nomad’s big weakness. With tires this big, the front suspension ends up being redundant, and swapping it for a rigid fork would likely save some weight. I ended up riding most often with the fork locked out, but that still left one other problem. My test model also developed some fore-aft flex over time, which made the steering feel a bit soggy.
I requested a rear rack for my test bike so I could get a sense of the Nomad 1’s cargo carrying capabilities. The rack can handle up to 55 pounds of cargo, but it’s limited a bit by its small size. I was able to bring a stack of boxes to the UPS store a few miles away by lashing the boxes to the rack with some bungee cords.
That was ample carrying capacity for me, but if you intend to do big grocery runs with the Nomad 1, you might find the hauling capacity lacking. You can add a front rack ($69) as well, but even then the Nomad will only be able to haul a lighter load of groceries or gear than something like a dedicated front-cargo bike.
Ultimately, the Nomad 1 proves its worth in adverse conditions. If you’re a solo commuter (not bringing the kids along, for example) and you ride year-round in all conditions, the Nomad 1 delivers a super-capable and super-fun ride.
Velotric Nomad 1 review: Battery life and performance
The battery’s spec line trends big, just like the bike’s tires: 48V, 14.4Ah, 691Wh UL 2271 recognized battery with Samsung cells. Paired with the 750-watt motor, the Nomad’s electronics pack a power punch.
Velotric advertises a 55-mile max range using the pedal-assist feature. The number drops to 52 miles if you’re using the throttle exclusively. Those numbers largely depend on how and where you ride, but they seem mostly accurate given my experience with the bike.
I’ve lost track of how many miles I’ve ridden on the Nomad 1, but I can tell you that going heavy on the throttle during my first charge produced an impressively long battery life. I don’t think I made it all the way to 52 miles, but I went a whole lot further than I thought I would before needing to plug in the bike. Keep in mind that much of my riding was during cold weather, which can have an adverse affect on battery life. So that’s double impressive.
Velotric Nomad 1 review: Accessories
I added the Velotric Rear Rack ($69) to my test bike, and I wish I had also requested the Front Rack ($69) to haul a bit more cargo. Set up with both racks, the Nomad can handle small grocery trips (or big box delivery like I mentioned above).
Velotric also offers other accessories for sale on its website, including extra batteries, lights, and even helmets.
While this isn’t exactly an accessory, I was pleased to unpack the Nomad 1 from the box and discover eco-friendly packaging. Most of the materials — up to 80% — are recyclable, including the box itself. This sets Velotric apart from the vast majority of e-bike brands, in my experience.
Velotric Nomad 1 review: The competition
The most direct comparison to the Nomad 1 is the Aventon Aventure 2. It also features big 4-inch tires, a powerful motor and battery, and a big maximum advertised range of 60 miles. It costs $1,899, and unlike the Nomad 1, it comes stock with a rear rack. But the Aventure 2 feels heavier than the Nomad by a long shot, even though the advertised weight is only 4 pounds heavier.
The Heybike Mars offers big tires for traction and comfort too. It costs $1,199, and it succeeds in one key area where both the Nomad and the Aventure fail: storage. It’s a folding bike and the wheels are much smaller, which means if you live on the second floor or higher, you can actually carry the Heybike upstairs. It’s not exactly light at 66 pounds, but it’s much easier to carry and store.
Velotric Nomad 1 review: Verdict
The Nomad 1 excels at all-weather commuting. The big 4-inch-wide tires make for a comfortable ride and offer heaps of traction. In summer, the Nomad makes short work of dirt roads and easier singletrack trails, though its size and bulk prevent it from being the ideal tool on any complex singletrack.
The build, motor, battery, and usability all earn top marks. The biggest drawback is the suspension fork, which not only seems superfluous given the size of the big tires, but also not worthy of the rest of the build. It developed fore-aft play that affected handling and braking.
If you live in a location that serves up a wide range of weather and terrain, it’s hard to beat the Nomad as your year-round commuter.