So here we are going to find out what is an electric mountain bike (eMTB), why this market is seeing the biggest growth in the ebike sector at the moment and why you may be missing out on a LOT of fun.
Now just to be clear, we are talking about electric mountain bikes here also known as eMTB’s which some people often can get confused with ‘All Terrain’ or ‘Trekking’,Hybrid/Adventure ebikes -They are not the same thing
So mountain bikes, electric or otherwise are designed to be light, nimble and able to cope with more severe off-road terrain at high speeds downhill. Frames are usually made from titanium alloys or Carbon to keep weight to a minimum and the motors are some of the most powerful on the market. Weight Distribution and balance are king here.
Trekking, All terrain, fat-tyre, whatever you want to call them are usually heavier bikes which still perform well off road, but are classed like a 4 x 4 would be, Jeep being a good example who have also recently launched their version (powered by QuietKat), a ‘Fat Tyre’ beast of a ebike weighing 35KG/79lb! These are popular among the hunting community and mountain ‘trekkers’ who want to go for miles over a variety of terrains – I have seen these bikes with trailers you can hitch to the back.
Hybrid ebikes are the ‘All Rounder’, good on paved roads or light trails and woodland paths. These are versatile bikes and popular among commuters.
Types of Electric Mountain Bike
If you are in the market for an electric mountain bike, then you will first need to decide what type of riding you will be doing to narrow down options that will best suit your needs. Most eMTB’s will have a mid drive motor located by the crank due to better weight distribution and they output much more power for the steep climbs.
Hub Motors are usually found on the budget end of the market ( under £1000) as they lack the torque on the steep hill climbs, but are ok for a bit of light off road fun.
‘Hard Tail’ electric Mountain bikes only have suspension at the front which will be perfectly adequate for the average rider who enjoys light off-road and mellow trails. The front forks usually have a ‘travel’ of between 80 – 130mm on these bikes. you can pick up a decent hard tail starting around £2K upwards depending on make, model and spec.
‘Full Suspension’ Electric Mountain bikes are geared more toward the experienced and pro- riders. As the name suggests, suspension at both the rear and front of the bike with greater fork ‘travel’ at both ends depending on model and spec ranging between 150mm upwards to 200mm+. These eMTB’s are much more at home on the climbs and steep descents. The extra fork travel means riders can take on more challenging jumps and technical terrain. Frames are usually made from Alluminum Alloy or carbon to keep the weight down and improve agility feeling much more like a regular mountain bike.
See below table for a further breakdown of this:
The ‘Groupset’ – What is it?
Probably the most important factor that seperates a ‘good’ electric mountain bike from a ‘great’ one is the groupset. The Groupset is basically the main set of key components/ parts that enable the bike to operate effectively which include the crankset, chain, Derailleur, shifters and brakes. eMTBs require quality components due to some of these motors being capable of amplifying the riders input up to 410%! With this much power you can only imagine the stress this puts onto the moving parts, so this is why its not worth going cheap on Electric Mountain bikes as sub- prime parts just wont last.
On the high end eMTBs I am amazed at how the manufacturers have incorperated batteries into into the frames, especially on the newer models. The Specalized Turbo levo for example has its battery located inside the frame tube which can be taken out by an alan key at the base so it can be easily removed/ charged on or off the bike. Battery sizes are usually 400 – 500Wh which are required to feed the more powerful motors. Batterry extenders have now been introduced which can be slotted into the water bottle holder and increase range by a further 50%.
I hope this post has provided a bit more explaination of what is an electric mountain bike. Either way regardless of whether you are a novice or expert, Electric mountain bikes are simply awsome fun and there is a style and budget to suit any pocket so here are some good options:
(As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases)
Budget Option – : ANCHEER 27.5″ Electric Mountain Bike for Adults, 250W E-bike
Rider Level: Beginner
Where to buy: Amazon
If you already own an eMTB I would love to hear what you ended up buying and what your thoughts/ experiences are, or alternatively if you just want some advice please let me know below in the comments below as I will be happy to help.