To prevent you from rashly spending a hefty sum before making an electric mountain bike purchase, we have covered 5 tips for choosing an electric mountain bike.
Electric mountain bikes are high-technology machines. They can help you save fuel costs and stay physically fit if you invest in them smartly.
Today, cheap and low-quality electric mountain bikes are flooding the electric bike market in the US, making purchasing decisions all the more complicated for customers.
A high-quality, durable electric mountain bike does not belong in the lower-tier prices. However, it is a one-time investment that saves you a lot of money on gas. There are also numerous health benefits of riding an E-bike.
Moreover, research conducted by Khashayar Kazemzadeh & Enrico Ronchi (2022) From bike to electric bike level-of-service, Transport Reviews, 42:1, 6-31, states: “Electric bike (e-bike) is considered a more environmentally friendly mode of transport compared to the vehicles that consume fossil fuels.”
Electric mountain bikes (e-MTBs) have also made cycling possible for people who would otherwise be unable to cycle due to physical restrictions. For example, older people and seniors with health challenges would cycle more effortlessly with an electric mountain bike than with a conventional bicycle.
Further, e-MTBs are incredibly fun to ride as they give you a feeling of freedom while you explore the mountainside.
Following are 5 tips for choosing an electric mountain bike.
Get an e-MTB With a Motor Sufficient for Your Needs
Before you get an electric mountain bike, you must understand the technology behind it and evaluate your reasons for buying one.
Will your daily commute take you off-road and over the top of a mountain? If yes, you will need a powerful motor powered by a 48 V lithium-ion battery.
Do not look for anything smaller than a 250 W motor when riding on hills. And if you weigh more than 200 pounds, go for at least a 350 W motor.
A 350 W motor is sufficient for taking a heavy cyclist up the hills with minimal sweat, but not without pedalling. The best e-MTB motors will balance the scales between power and weight.
The 500 W motor is significantly more powerful. It needs a bigger battery, and the price tag also rises in tandem. However, none of these sizes gives you a fully motor-powered bike. You still have to do some pedalling even up to 750 W.
But remember that the bigger the motor, the bigger the battery you need. So, a powerful 750 W engine will need a big battery, making for a heavier combination.
Furthermore, e-MTBs are motorized modes of transportation and adhere to your local authority's speed and power limits. Keep in mind the laws about the motor-size electric mountain bikes have in the US, where the maximum power limit is 750 watts. Whereas in the EU, Japan, China, and other countries, the power limit is 250 watts.
Get Value for Your Price
Price is one of the first things most buyers consider. The cost of the same electric mountain bike can vary depending on the electric bike company. Make sure you get the best mountain electric bike for the money spent.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How much money do you plan to save by riding your electric mountain bike instead of your regular mode of transport?
Are you getting an electric mountain bike to save money on your commute, or are you purchasing one for fun?
e-MTBs cost as low as $600 or as high as 2000$. A good quality electric mountain bike costs between $1,000 and $2,000.
Make sure you know why you want an e-MTB before you get one to figure out how much you can afford to pay for it.
After evaluating your personal needs and finances, keep in mind that when electric mountain bikes are very cheap, it is because they are of poor quality. Do not be blinded by a low price because you take your life in your hands whenever you ride an e-MTB on a public road.
Further, check with the e-MTB brand to see if there are additional shipping charges before purchasing to avoid unexpected costs.
Travel distance means how far the electric mountain bike can travel on one charge. The problem lies in measuring this range. Most dealers advertise e-MTBs with a particular travel range. However, these ranges are usually not accurate.
The reason why these ranges are not entirely accurate is that they change depending on variable factors. For example, when a lighter person rides an electric mountain bike, it will travel a greater distance than when a bulky person rides it.
A typical rider on a standard electric mountain bike might expect 60 miles/100km of range.
This range varies with battery, wind conditions, terrain the rider is cycling over, and how hard the rider pedals. If you constantly engage the highest level of pedal assistance and are riding on hilly terrain, your battery will drain quickly.
If you are purchasing an e-MTB from a knowledgeable electric mountain bike dealer, ask them how the range was calculated and under what conditions, such as what speed was used and how much the rider was pedalling.
Throttle or Pedal Assist?
An electric mountain bike assists you in two ways: some have a throttle, which allows you to activate the power assist with a thumb flick. These e-MTBs have hub motors.
The throttle allows you to accelerate without pedalling at all. However, this mode rapidly depletes most batteries, so it is not advisable except in an emergency.
The other option is the pedal assist, in which the idea is to make your pedalling easier. Electric mountain bikes have different levels of pedal assist. The highest level of assist makes your pedalling effortless but drains the battery quickly.
An electric mountain bike with a pedal-assist is the better option when you want to avoid soaring gas prices and stay physically fit.
There are also electric mountain bikes that have both these features, but they are hard to find. They can come in handy when a hill is pretty steep.
What Is the Best Battery for Your e-MTB?
Try to look for a combination in which the battery capacity in watt hrs equals the motor capacity. This setup will have the best range because the motor will not over-tax the battery. You should be able to get one hour at maximum assistance with this setup.
Get an e-MTB that has a long-lasting battery. Read google reviews of the battery to find out what other users have experienced. Your dealer should also be able to give you an idea of how long your battery will last. Further, the more you pedal on each trip, the longer your battery will last.
A battery with a USB port that you can use to charge or run your other devices, such as lights, is the best option as it will help you keep yourself safe with bright lights. Most batteries come with a lock operated by a key, making it harder for thieves to steal your battery.
Remember that buying a new battery will be expensive when purchasing a quality setup. Once you have bought a high-quality battery, do not let it die before its time. Lithium batteries are prone to die if left uncharged for too long.
If you are not going to ride your e-MTB for more than a month, spend some money on a 7-day timer plug so the battery can be automatically topped up, this keeps the battery exercised and should prevent it from dying on you.
The bottom line is that there is no such thing as the best mountain electric bike. You could buy the most expensive e-MTB in the world, but if it does not suit your needs, it would not be the right one for you.
Once you are ready to make a purchase, pause for a moment to review your priorities. The bike that meets your individual needs is the best electric mountain bike for you.
After buying your electric mountain bike, do not rush home. Instead, carefully inspect the bike at the dealer’s shop. Ride it at least around the block first, and make sure you buy from a brand that offers reliable after-sales service.