Off-road: How to choose an Electric Mountain Bike
How to choose an Electric Mountain Bike
The days are getting longer, Spring is in the air, and never has there been a better time to get out into nature on an electric mountain bike.
Electric mountain bikes, also known as e-mountain bikes or eMTBs, have become have been soaring in popularity - and for good reason.
Supported by powerful yet lightweight motors, riders can tackle steep climbs and difficult terrain with ease. Routes that may once have seemed daunting - or simply impassable - suddenly become accessible… Just one of the many benefits of electric bikes.
As a leading UK retailer of electric bikes, Eco Bike Co. offers a wide variety of e-bike models, and our eMTB range is no different. With more than 30 different models available, if you’re looking to buy an electric mountain bike, you may be wondering where to start.
To help narrow down your choice, we asked the Eco Bike Co. team what factors they would consider when looking to buy an electric bike.
How do you plan to use your eMTB?
Not all e-bikes are built equally.
Even within particular brackets, such as off-road, you’ll find certain bikes better adapted to certain purposes and riding styles.
Indeed, the first thing to consider when choosing an electric mountain bike - or any e-bike for that matter - is what you will be using it for.
Do you plan to use it for long rides on technical trails, or for more leisurely rides on smooth paths?
Are you looking for something hybrid that is suited to commuting as well as an off-road adventure? The answers to these questions will help you determine the type of bike you need, as the technical specifications will vary. We’ll run through a number of these variants below.
How much power do you need?
You’ll see a range of wattage among our eMTB range, with 1000W power-houses to more typical 250W motors.
Note: Do remember, in the UK, electric bikes with motors that exceed 250W can only be used on private land. More info on UK electric bike laws can be found here.
Motor wattage is one thing, but the quality of its manufacture is also vital. Being one of the most important components of an electric mountain bike we ensure all the bikes we sell feature best-in-class e-bike motor technology.
In terms of choosing the right sized motor for you, keep in mind that a more powerful motor will be able to tackle steeper terrain and provide more assistance to the rider, but will also drain the battery faster.
On the other hand, a less powerful motor may struggle on the very steepest climbs but will better conserve battery life.
Ensuring you have enough battery life
The battery life of an electric mountain bike is another important factor to think about.
It’s important to choose a battery with a range that meets your needs. Also, keep in mind that a larger battery will add weight to the bike, which can impact its handling - so while it may be tempting to go for the biggest available. If you’re not going to be covering serious mileage, it may not be the best choice.
Remember, the range of the bike will depend on a number of factors, and not simply mileage alone. The terrain (especially important when we talk about eMTBs), the rider’s weight, and the level of assistance provided by the motor can all impact its life.
Consider the type of wheels and suspension
The wheel size of an electric mountain bike can impact its performance on different types of terrain. Larger wheels roll more easily over obstacles and provide better traction on loose terrain.
However, they can also be heavier and less maneuverable in tight spaces. Smaller wheels are more nimble and better suited for technical terrain, but may not roll as easily over tricky bumps.
Quality suspension is a must when it comes to difficult terrain. The suspension system, along with the wheels and tyres, plays a key role in shock absorption, providing a smooth ride.
You’ll come across full-suspension electric mountain bikes and front-suspension bikes. Full suspension bikes feature front and rear suspension systems, while front suspension bikes only have a suspension fork in the front.
While full-suspension bikes are generally more comfortable and provide better traction on rough terrain, they’re also heavier. Once again, personal preference and riding style need to be factored in.
Choosing the right type of brakes
Whatever type of bike you buy, it’s vital you pay sufficient attention to the brakes - both at purchase and later on when carrying out maintenance.
You’ll see two types of brakes on our electric mountain bikes: hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical disc brakes.
Hydraulic disc brakes are considered to offer greater consistency in all weather conditions but do generally require more frequent maintenance. On the other hand, mechanical disc brakes are easier to maintain and less expensive - but if you’re an all-weather cyclist you may want to consider the hydraulic option.
Bike weights can significantly vary
Electric mountain bikes are generally heavier than regular electric bikes. This is due to the extra weight the battery and motor add to the bike.
Rather than this being a downside, the extra weight adds stability when hurtling downhill.
Some bikes will still come in heavier than others, though. A heavier bike may be more stable on rough terrain but may be more difficult to control and manoeuvre in tight spaces. On the other hand, a lighter bike may be more nimble and easier to handle, but may not be as stable when the going gets bumpy.
It’s worth also thinking about practicality. If your storage solution involves taking your bike up a flight of stairs or two, you might want to opt for something on the lighter side.
When choosing an e-mountain bike, consider your own strength and fitness level, as well as the type of riding you plan to do, to determine the ideal weight for your bike.
Choosing an electric mountain bike
When choosing an electric mountain bike there is a range of considerations. Perhaps most fundamental is your intended use - all of the technical elements we have discussed are closely linked to this.
If you’re looking to purchase an electric mountain bike, we’d be delighted to talk through our range. Why not get in touch?
Looking for more electric bike choosing tips? Head to our blog