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In recent years, electric mountain bikes have become an increasingly popular option for cyclists who want to enjoy the thrill of mountain biking, in all of its modalities, with an added boost.
Whether you are a beginner, an amateur or an advanced rider looking for new experiences, you really should be aware of the differential components of electric mountain bikes when making your purchase and, later, when you are out there enjoying your new bike, so that you can get the most out of it.
In this post we will look at the different factors to take into account when opting for one model or another, as well as the main benefits of this type of mountain bike.
What should you look for when buying an electric mountain bike?
Type of electric mountain bike
According to practice: the purchase decision should take into account what mode of riding the cyclist will practice the most. Based on this, you can choose between:
- Electric mountain bikes for trails: these lighter, semi-rigid bicycles usually include 27 or 29-inch wheels and even allow you to mount the 27.5+ format, which adapts very well to electric mountain bikes and offers greater stability, traction and comfort. For even more comfort, the double suspension frame option is recommended. Focusing now on the differentiated elements of the electric mountain bike, we recommend the 400-watt battery as a suitable option and a motor with a torque between 40 and 50 Nm.
- All Mountain electric mountain bikes: the most highly recommended MTBs are double suspension MTBs with 29-inch wheels, providing greater stability and comfort. As for the battery, we recommend a 750-watt battery that guarantees durability and makes it unnecessary to lug around a spare in your backpack. When confronting more complicated terrain, you need a battery that provides a high torque.
- Enduro electric mountain bikes: to practice enduro, it is highly recommended that you choose an electric mountain bike with double suspension and 29-inch or mixed 29/27 wheels, in order to guarantee speed and precision.
Keep in mind that riders have to face difficult and winding terrain, so the motor must provide high torque, with a battery of at least 500 watts. We should also consider the new generations of “light” electric bikes, equipped with a less powerful 450-watt motor and 430-watt battery, which weigh much less and leave riders with the impression of being on a motor-less bike.
According to size
It is important to know how to select the proper size, as this will influence the comfort of pedaling, the absence of pain and safety on downhills. To get it right, the advice of a specialized professional is usually essential.
While there are many charts and tables out there that can guide us, at a specialized store they can explain reach (distance between the center of the bottom bracket with respect to the upper end of the steering axis) and the stack (the vertical distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the center point at the top of the head tube).
In any case, you can always opt for the classic technique of calculating the size based on height and length of the cyclist's leg.
Electric mountain bike motor types
Traditionally, electric bike motors are built into either the bottom bracket or the front or rear wheel. In the case of electric mountain bikes, the most common point of installation is the bottom bracket, since placing them on the wheels can negatively affect riding.
A motor placed on the bottom bracket brings the experience of riding an electric mountain bike closer to that of riding a traditional bike, optimizing weight distribution and achieving a low center of gravity.
The maximum authorized power is 250 watts. Torque is the key differential among motors, ranging from 40 to 90 Nm. Greater torque means greater acceleration capacity, smoother changes of pace, and better traction on technical climbs.
No electric mountain bike rider ever wants to end up with a spent battery in the middle of a trek through the mountains. So, to ensure that the battery adapts perfectly to the needs of the cyclist, you must keep the following in mind.
- The maximum energy storage capacity of the battery. This is indicated in watt hours. The more watts, the greater the autonomy. Remember, that autonomy will depend on the type of consumption: uneven terrain, the condition and pressure of the tires, the weight of the cyclist, and the type of riding are all factors that influence autonomy. To give you a better idea, electric mountain bike batteries usually provide between 250 and 630 watts.
- The weight of the battery: while it is true that today's batteries are progressively shedding weight, this is still one of the main drawbacks of electric mountain bikes. The motor-battery combo usually adds an extra 5 to 8 kilos to the bike, meaning electric mountain bikes can weigh up to 25 kg.
- Battery location: the battery can be totally or partially integrated into the frame.
- It is possible to incorporate an additional battery in order to guarantee autonomy on longer routes.
- Technology used by each battery model.
Interface display type
The interface display is the tool that allows the rider to manage all the parameters of the electric mountain bike motor. The technology and features of this small on-board computer can range from the simple (speed control, battery level, distance travelled, degree of assistance required) to the most complete, which can include GPS, Bluetooth connection, etc.
Advantages of electric mountain bikes
The main characteristic that sets electric mountain bikes apart is the assistance the motor provides riders, which allows them to complete their mountain route with a bit less effort. The mountain bike motor is capable of generating up to 90% of the power needed to propel the bike forward.
Mountain bikes provide greater versatility over distinct terrains
The decision to purchase an electric mountain bike for treks in the mountains means you can enjoy the many advantages provided by motor-driven assistance:
- In the first place, the electric mountain bike motor can adapt that boost according to the physical or mental state of the rider, providing greater enjoyment and helping them achieve better results and performance.
- At the same time, because it requires less effort to make those climbs, routes can be extended and riders can enjoy more downhills every time they go out.
- The greater weight and positioning of the battery provide greater stability on downhills, increasing safety.
- On the other hand, and from a more social point of view, motorized assistance means these mountain bikes can be adapted to all ages, levels of experience, physical conditions, and to those recovering from injury. This versatility allows any rider to ride with groups of more experienced cyclists, and with more groups in general. You can also update your usual choice of routes by bringing in routes that you once decided against because they were too long or too difficult on a traditional mountain bike.
Now, less physical effort is required, thanks to the various assistance settings you can configure
The various settings available to riders allow them to adapt the effort according to their physical or mental condition.
Because electric mountain bikes allow them to complete longer routes, riders can improve their general physical condition, increasing muscle mass and relaxing their joints.
Which electric mountain bike does Carbosports recommend?
Our experts recommend the Yeti SB 160E electric mountain bike. This model is perfect for the experienced cyclist looking for a bike with a suspension system with anti-squat technology, a 630W Shimano electric motor and a 100% carbon fiber frame: light and resistant.