A Guide to Electric Mountain Bikes
Electric bicycles and downhill mountain bikes have always had one thing in common: they’re heavy. With electric bikes, this is a pretty big drawback, as, if the battery runs out of charge, you have to pedal all of that weight home without assistance.
For downhill rides and races, it’s not such a problem. Well, it’s not such a problem for the ride or race going down. It can be a pretty big problem going back up.
For this reason, a lot of downhill-friendly tracks and courses provide shuttle service from the bottom of the course back up to the top. But what if there’s no shuttle? Or if you don’t want to wait, and you’re bike’s too heavy to pedal? Two worlds collide for a better mountain biking experience.
Downhill electric mountain bikes aren’t the only electric mountain bikes, though. They started the movement, but they aren’t the only ones on board. You can now find electric mountain bikes for downhill, cross-country, and all-mountain riding.
Downhill Electric Bikes
We’ve already discussed why electric downhill bikes are an attractive option. Some brand options for this kind of electric bike include Optibike, Ohm Cycles,Bionx and Prodeco (check out our Prodeco Phantom x2 review). Cross-country and all-mountain bikes need to be a bit lighter and more nimble than downhill bikes, with cross-country bikes being the lightest of the three, as these bikes take the least beating and do the most climbing. All-mountain riding involves some elements of downhill and some cross-country elements, so their weight range settles right in the middle.
Cross-country Electric Bikes
For cross-country electric mountain bikes, check out Haibike, Wheeler, KTM, and Energie Cycles. For All-mountain style bikes, take a look at Stealth Electric Bikes or the Conway E-Rider. Keep in mind that none of these options, whether factory built or post-production kit, will be as light as a regular mountain bike. If the battery dies, or you have a circuitry malfunction, you are going to be hauling yourself and your bike out of the woods. If you rely on a pedal-assist or power-on-demand whenever you have to do any climbing, that’s going to be a lot more likely.
If you’re on a monitored downhill course with shuttle service, and your motor quits, the worst case is you’ll have to wait for the shuttle with everyone else. If you’re on an all-mountain or cross-country course, you’re going to be getting some exercise. The weight on these machines has come down a lot in the last few years, and electric mountain bikes are becoming more and more of a presence in mountain biking, but they’re still a fairly new species of mountain bike, and they still have some distance to go before they are light enough and handle well enough to really compete with regular mountain bikes.
Electric Mountain Bike Summary
That said, if you find a good, semi-lightweight electric mountain bike, you may actually be able to keep up with that one friend of yours, the one who’s always out mountain biking, the one who beats everyone to the finish on every ride you ever go on. While you can’t enter in a sanctioned race against her, you can at least keep up with her on a Sunday ride. Check out the Prodeco Outlaw for a great electric mountain bike.
You can find a wide range of electric bikes from amazon.com Here