Once thought to only be useful for morning commutes to work, the e-bike has moved to the mountains.
And this is a fad that might be here to stay.
So, we know what you’re thinking,
Should I get an e-mountain bike?
We’re here to break down the advantages and disadvantages of this relatively new segment of bikes in an effort to help you with your purchasing decision.
Advantages of E-MTB
From discovering new routes to tackling steep hills with a vengeance, there are several advantages to owning an E-MTB.
You Can Go Longer and Further
E-mountain bikes typically last between 20 and 40 miles, which is significantly longer than most of your typical mountain bike rides. This allows you to take on your favorite trails for longer, or add on distance and explore parts of a trail you’ve never explored before.
While e-mountain bikes let you ride longer and farther, they’re not necessarily eliminating the physical fitness component of your ride. It’s just giving you an added boost on parts where you hit resistance, like hills. You also have complete control of how much juice the battery and motor can give you.
So, if you’re a traditionalist nervous about jumping onto an e-bike, know that the big advantage of an e-mountain bike is that it allows you to ride longer and explore new places.
You Can Go on New Routes
Mountain bikers have a lot of guts and love tackling intense trails, but everyone has their limits. If you’re a mountain biker, chances are good that there are some terrains you’re not ready to tackle, especially if they’re really steep.
Owning an e-mountain bike, though, changes all of that. The boost from the battery-powered motor is likely all you need to work your way up a mountain you’ve never attempted to climb.
It’s not just steep climbs you can tackle with an e-mountain bike, though. The added power from the motor can also help you clear more technical trails with major rocks and ruts.
Again, don’t expect to coast up these technical mountains. E-mountain bikes still require you to put in your fair share of the work. But that boost might be all you need to make your way up to the top of that gnarly mountain you never thought was possible to climb.
Saves You A Lot of Energy
While you’ll be using plenty of energy in your bike’s battery, you are going to save plenty of physical energy, which comes with plenty of great benefits :
- Scenery. You can actually look around and enjoy the scenery on your ride. Traditional mountain bikers might be huffing and puffing as they maneuver a trail, but e-mountain bike riders can comfortably look around and take in the beautiful scenery.
- Social. If you ride with a friend or group of friends, chances are good there’s always that one guy who takes off and leaves everyone in the dust. An e-mountain bike levels the playing field, allowing you to be a bit more social. Since you won’t be as tired, you and carry on conversations while you explore new parts of a trail.
- Skills. Since you’ll have plenty of energy, you can work on some bike handling skills, which will allow you to tackle even more technical trails in the future.
It’s Much, Much More Fun
Who doesn’t love climbing mountains faster on a bike?
Watch any first-time e-mountain biker and we guarantee you’re going to see a big smile as they experience that boost from the motor.
Mountain biking is already a fun sport, but adding in the electric component turns it into a completely new hobby. The ability to take on trails you never thought were possible is extremely fun. Simply put, an e-mountain bike is going to open new doors for you.
Disadvantages of E-MTB
Now, e-mountain bikes are still relatively new to the marketplace, which means they’re not perfect.
Here are some of the biggest disadvantages to purchasing an e-mountain bike.
They Cost More Than a Mountain Bike
Mountain bikes are already pretty expensive. Add in a battery and motor and get ready to open up your wallet.
On average, an e-mountain bike is going to cost you about $4,000. You can find some that are cheaper, but the range may not be as strong. The most expensive ones, which can eclipse $9,000, have all the bells and whistles, and can last upwards to 40 miles on a single charge.
Yes, the biggest downside to an e-mountain bike is the cost. At those prices, it’s currently only a bike for wealthier cyclists.
But that’s eventually going to change as the cost of batteries and the general technology around the segment becomes more affordable. Remember, e-mountain bikes have only really been around for a few years, so it’s no surprise that they’re more expensive right now.
Like any bike, there are also some maintenance costs you need to take into account. Additionally, you’ll have to factor in a slight increase in your electric bill to charge your battery. This, however, is a pretty minimal cost.
They Weigh Much More
Because e-mountain bikes come with a battery and motor, they are significantly heavier than traditional mountain bikes. This makes traveling with these bikes more difficult.
This will get extremely annoying if you need to carry the bike a distance before you’re able to ride.
Additionally, some treks simply won’t be possible if you need to carry the e-mountain bike along a very technical trail for a longer distance.
Some of these bikes weigh more than 20 kg (44 lbs), which is certainly doable to pick up, but it’s going to feel extremely heavy after a while.
If you plan on mounting the bike on top of your car, make sure you have a friend to help you get it up there.
You can reduce the weight by removing the battery, which is suggested if you plan to transport the bike via car.
They Need Extra Care and Maintenance
Bike maintenance costs can certainly add up for anyone, but if you have an e-mountain bike, you have extra components to worry about. And when electronics are involved, things can get expensive.
Many of these new bikes are actually made with traditional components that aren’t necessarily designed for the boosts from an e-mountain bike, meaning they can wear out quicker.
Brakes are a great example of this. Because these bikes are so much heavier, expect the brake pads and disc rotors to wear out quicker.
This is a Catch-22, but because e-mountain bikes are incredibly fun, owners tend to ride them more, which leads to sooner wear and tear.
So, what’s the potential maintenance costs in your first year? Some estimate at least $500, if not more.
You can save some money if you start learning some of the bike maintenance basics.
Be Prepared for Rejection
Mountain bikes has been around for what seems like forever, so there are a fair amount of traditionalists who just aren’t sure what to think of e-bikes.
If you’re going out with some cycling friends and you rock up with an e-mountain bike, get ready for some potential rejection.
Some cyclists are intimidated by those group rides if they’re not riding a mountain bike with a battery and motor. That could be because they feel like they need to keep up, or they just don’t consider it real biking.
There’s also some bad blood between e-mountain bikers and traditional mountain bikers. As more e-mountain bikes appear on trails, traditional mountain bikers need to move out of the way in passing situations, which can get annoying if you’re trying to focus on your workout.
If you plan on buying an e-mountain bike, hopefully your friends will understand the reasons you have behind your purchase.