Let’s go back to the big bang. No, not that big bang that gave us the universe, but the world’s largest volcanic eruption that gave us the bicycle. The year is 1815, and a catastrophic volcanic eruption is about to take place in Mount Tambora, leading to a devastating impact that’ll affect the lives of more than 100,000 people directly and indirectly in the years that follow. Bear with me, it’s always darkest before dawn.
The ashes from the eruption led to significant climate change that caused extreme weather and crop failure across Europe and North America. Many animals, including horses, starved to death. As an answer to this serious problem, Karl Freiherr von Drais, a noble German forest official and inventor, started working on a human-powered, two-wheeled vehicle that’ll debut in 1817.
Somewhat reminiscent of today’s bicycles but without the pedals, this Laufmaschine (running machine), widely known as the hobby horse will set the course for the modern two-wheeler. With an intrinsic expansion of its own, just like our universe, the evolution of the good old bicycle is nothing short of amazing.
From A Hobby Horse To A Mountain Lion
Fast forward to today, there’s not one, not two, but a myriad of bicycle options available on the market. Whether you cycle for fun, health or adrenaline – there’s a specially designed bike to stand up to any challenge. From road and touring to gravel and mountain, bikes with their electric counterparts are slowly but surely gaining ground.
If you’re one for exploring exciting unpaved terrains and taking in picturesque mountain views, those high-performance electric mountain bikes may have caught your attention. After all, each day there are more and more of these bad boys on the streets and trails, making you wonder whether you should get one yourself.
What Are Electric Mountain Bikes?
Although it’s somewhat evident from the name, to avoid any confusion, electric mountain bikes are purpose-built to tackle off-road terrain. Similar to regular MTBs with one key difference – they provide pedal assist to help you tackle demanding climbs and descends.
That’s not to say that it’s a completely motorized vehicle. You still have to pedal to move forward. So, what’s the point? Think of it as earning your reward and getting more for your trade-in. An e-mountain bike will assist your pedal power, resulting in more speed and fun with less effort. But, more about that in a second.
At the heart of these modern bicycles lies an advanced drive system comprised of a motor and battery that fuel your power. With sophisticated controls allowing you to adjust the level of assistance, you can fine-tune your ride to suit any terrain or situation.
Is It Worth It To Invest In An Electric Mountain Bicycle?
Since electric mountain bicycles incorporate cutting-edge technology, designs, and materials, it’s only natural for them to come at a certain price. And from here, one can’t help but wonder if going electric is worth the hype.
Putting The Pedal To The Metal
Need for speed? An electric-assist MTB will scratch your adrenaline itch by allowing you to travel at a higher speed than a regular MTB. It’s like constantly having the wind at your back pushing you beyond your limits.
It should be noted, however, that according to the EAPC rules in the UK, the assistance must be cut off when the riding speed exceeds 15.5 m/h or 25 km/h.
Going Farther With Less Effort
Going faster doesn’t have to leave you gasping for air. With the assist supercharging your pedal power, you can enjoy a fun and exciting ride with less effort. Mind you, if you wish to go faster than the assist cut-off, you’ll still need to pedal harder.
Bringing The Experience Closer To Everyone
There’s a lot to enjoy about mountain biking, and electric models bring that experience closer to everyone regardless of skill and fitness level. Whether just dabbing your toes in the MTB waters, trying to improve your endurance, or recovering from an injury, an eMTB will give you the push you need to keep going on the trail.
Exploring All Kinds of Terrain
You can take an MTB to the streets, but you can’t take a road bike over rock gardens, roots, and whatnot. Electric mountain bicycles leave your hands untied to explore all kinds of terrain. From technical trails to smooth ones – the world is your playground, provided that you have the right two-wheeler. This leads us to the next point.
What E-Bike Should I Buy?
When shopping for electric mountain bikes online or in-store, you’ll come across a range of models packed with distinctive features at different price points. These next few bits will help you narrow down your options and make an informed choice.
The suspension system protects you and vital bike components from the roughness of the terrain. When it comes to eMTBs, you have two main options: hardtail and full suspension.
They may be pricier, but full-sus eMTBs are more forgiving on rough terrains and thus well-suited for demanding technical trails offering enhanced rider comfort. They also allow for greater control and traction, making them a logical choice for steep descends.
If going fast down smooth trails is your idea of fun, hardtail suspension may be a better option. These bikes are usually lighter and ideal for steep climbs or long-distance cycles. They’re also a more budget-friendly option and require less maintenance.
In terms of the bike frame material, the most popular options are aluminum and carbon. Truth be told, both of these options are time-tested and guaranteed to withstand some good old bashing on the trails.
Aluminium is the more affordable option, prized for its corrosion resistance, lightweight and strength-to-weight ratio. Carbon may set you back a bit, but it’ll lighten your ride even more.
One of the greatest advantages of carbon over aluminum frames is the damping effect. The dampening effect of carbon lowers the ride’s harshness, allowing for greater comfort over rough trails. Something that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially when it comes to longer rides.
With so many “Es” coming and going these days, it’s normal to ask yourself whether e-mountain bikes are here to stay or if they’re just a passing fad. Just like any other technology that makes people’s lives easier and more enjoyable, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And if the evolution of technology has taught us anything, it’s that it keeps getting better and better.
If you have a soft spot for exploring far-off mountain trails, going electric is a big yet worthy investment that’ll certainly double the fun and enjoyment to make up for the higher initial cost. With that being said, you can now hit your local bike store or explore eMTBs online.