Electric Mountain Bikes Buying Guide
Things you need to know about electric mountain bikes
What is an e-mtb?
A mountain bike with an inbuilt motor that assists the rider while pedalling is known as an eMTB. Because there is no throttle, the motor will not help you if you do not pedal. In most countries, e-bikes, also known as pedelecs or power-assisted bicycles, only provide motor assistance up to a certain speed limit in order to remain classified as a bicycle. That limit is 15.5mph in the UK and most of Europe. Before venturing into the wilderness of e-bike buying, we've covered some of the basics of buying an e-mtb.
Hardtails vs. Full Suspension
E-MTBs are available as hardtails (with front suspension only) or full suspension (front & rear).
Hardtails are best suited to light trails. They can tackle bumpy ground with ease and are available with a range of front fork travel and wheel sizes. They tend to be a more affordable option. Some commuters also elect for a hardtail e-mountain bike, particularly if their journey to work includes some bridleway or muddy paths, and if they want to use their bike to explore the local woods and trails at the weekend.
Full suspension electric MTBs offer more versatility and allow you to tackle even very rough and technical terrain with ease. Just as with regular mountain bikes, different frame geometries, fork travel and wheel sizes are available (including plus-size and fat wheels), to suit every kind of off-road riding. We reckon the addition of a motor to a full-sus mountain bike is just about the most exciting thing to happen to mountain biking and we'd love to show you just how much fun it can be!
Does weight matter?
The average weight of a traditional MTB is around 17-25Kg. With the battery weight and required structural differences (eg larger tubing to accomodate batteries, wires etc) then you're looking to add another 2-5kg. With most MTBs weighing substantially more than any other bike type, the weight difference between mechanical and e-mtb isn't going to be that noticeable. MTBs are built for rough terrain and to take a hammering over jumps, bumps and well, mountains, so manufacturers will avoid trying to make the bike lighter/weaker simply to offset electrics.
Certain eMTB versions were fitted with a back hub motor in the early stages of development. However, because these tended to overheat quickly on climbs and make the bikes "back-heavy", this option has nearly vanished from the market. Hub motors are only utilised on the most basic models of electric bikes and on electric road bikes. On all high-quality eMTBs, mid-motor designs are employed. Despite this, there are substantial differences in strength, size, and weight.
Picture your typical day - between work and home responsibilities, it can be hard to even squeeze in even an hour's ride, and accidentally taking two hours to complete the local trails definitely doesn't go down well! There is one, simple answer to get more riding into your busy life. POWER! Every trail opens up in front of you with the additional assistance of an e-bike, so you can spend less time panting up the massive climb that sneaks its way into every trail and more time on the "fun" bits. This power also has benefits if you happen to like a slice of cake and a beer mid, before, or after the ride. With the extra kick on flat-out sections and climbs, you'll keep up with your mates who prefer skimmed milk and half a cornflake for breakfast.
Sure, you might start picking up nicknames like Lance, but they just haven't seen the light yet. If having this much fun, in a wood, on a cool new toy is cheating, then we hold our hands up! As one of our regular riders on our e-bike night rides put it: let's be real, mountain bikes are just toys, and let's be honest, toys with batteries are always better!
Yep, there are. But in the grand scheme of your total ride, is it hard to remember to plug in and charge after you've washed your bike? No, not really
And that is really the only downside. Sure, the bike will be slightly heavy but when bombing descents, that extra weight can actually feel helpful, especially with dialled geometry. Maintenance is virtually the same as your current mountain bike, as e-Mountain Bikes feature the same components.
No you don't. Electric bikes are limited to 25kph and don't have a throttle. Therefore there are no additional laws - they are seen as ordinary bicycles.