While the pandemic spelled death to most industries, the niche but incredibly passionate electric bike community grew. There are many reasons for this, as some cities during the pandemic reported a spike in electric vehicle sales (i.e., e-Bikes and electric scooters) to replace the shutdown public transportation services. The question is, which one is a better fit for you?
At its core, e-mountain bikes vs. regular mountain bikes have a different demographic. Most people who purchase mountain bikes use them purely for leisure and exercise. Meanwhile, electric mountain bikes function as an alternatives to a motorcycles or to make cycling more accessible.
Are you team electric mountain bike, or are you team regular cycle? Let’s find out as we go through the considerations, shall we?
Before purchasing which bike is perfect for you, there are standard protocols to know before purchasing. After all, they are a hefty investment not only financially, but their maintenance can be pretty draining. As such, a few variables can make you decide whether an electric mountain bike is better for you or not. Below, we list these said variables:
E Mountain Bike Vs. Regular Main Differences
- Terrain and environment
- Ease of maintenance
An electric mountain bike is impressive for two different environments and trails: major, traffic-infested cities and incredibly inclined paths. According to electric bike manufacturer Keego Mobility, e-bikes, since they have pedal assist, can help accelerate you comfortably through traffic.
Aside from useability and comfort, the pedal-assist features help maneuver through demanding terrains such as thick traffic and angled terrain. Bikes are notorious for being particularly challenging to drive around in traffic. It is tough to control when to speed up and slow down on demand, especially if you are navigating through cities without dedicated bike lanes.
Imagine this: the traffic light’s red, so you slow down. Now that it’s green, you try to speed up as quickly as possible. Because the acceleration in regular bikes is powered by you only, it can take a while to be in form and start cycling away. This phenomenon can cause the cars in the back to slow down.
On the other hand, Electric Mountain bikes have pedal assistance to help you accelerate. Moreover, class e-bikes have a throttle that can help you speed up quickly. Some e-bikes can speed up from zero to 20 to 30 miles per hour in a few jiffies. (source)
On Hilly Paths and Trails
In inclined paths, the challenge is different, but the goal is similar: to push through faster. Have you tried cycling uphill? If you are not too experienced with cycling, this situation will be quite the challenge. The first time I cycled uphill, I could not help but stop now and then– as not only are you lifting your weight, you are also countering gravity, and unfortunately, wheels tend to favor gravity.
If you want to make hill climb cycling much more accessible without compromising the act of cycling itself, electric mountain bikes can help. It can help you add more cycling power while helping to motivate you to cycle through rough terrains.
Theoretically, physical activity should be lower when using e mountain bikes vs. regular cycles, and for that, you would be right– theoretically. However, theory can only hold out so far. Traditional bikes should be a better option if you use your bicycle solely for exercise.
However, electric mountain bikes should be better when considering your bicycle as an alternative to public transportation or as a traveling medium. According to a study, electric cycles promote consistent cycling over conventional bicycles. Those with e-Bikes have a MET (metabolic equivalent task) of 4463 vs. 4085 per week compared to regular cyclers. (source)
The rationale is that electric cycling is incredibly convenient to its users and would substitute car transportation time with e-Bike cycling time. As e-bikes make you less tired and produce less sweat while maintaining a considerable amount of physical activity, they can be optimal and attractive for office to house travels and travel to supermarkets and schools.
A few thousand dollars can go a long way with regular mountain vikes compared to an electric MTB when it comes to money. It is pretty rare to find an electric mountain bike near or similar in price to regular mountain bikes, as there are a lot of components that can add a hefty price to electric MTBs.
Chart low, medium and high quality
For example, good-quality motors and batteries that maintain a lightweight form factor can be incredibly challenging, causing sky-high R&D costs. Moreover, miniaturization (or making electrical components smaller) of said items costs a lot, primarily since most electric mountain bikes utilize semiconductors. As such, the components involved in electric mountain bikes can be sky-high. (source)
A high-quality mountain bike can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, even while scrolling through budget options. However, a decent build of an electric mountain bike, on the other hand, can cost upwards of $4000.
Ride eMTB Tip: One of the most expensive items on an ebike is the battery. Don’t run it down to Zero! But if you do I’ve got a guide 👉 EBike Battery Dead? Here’s What to Do
In the mountain bike vs. regular MTB debate, one of the things to consider is the ease of repair. Electric bikes are complex due to their added parts, such as batteries and motors. If you are familiar with electric components as much as I assume that you are, more parts mean more points of error. Electric bikes theoretically break down more than standard bicycles due to their complex systems.
As such, their repairs are also much more expensive. For example, most electric bicycles use lithium-ion batteries, the same battery used for your phone. These batteries may be efficient and store a lot of energy, but they are far from degradation-proof. These batteries generally last 2000 charging cycles until they completely deteriorate and slowly become unusable. (source)
One of the primary reasons to go with e mountain bike vs. regular MTB is that electric bikes are significantly more accessible than traditional bikes. Biking is an intensive exercise; it takes a lot of investment before, during, and after the said act. Mountain biking is generally appealing to only physically active groups or those healthy and young enough to aspire to be one.
However, electric MTB allows those not incredibly physically robust to take on challenges that would otherwise be not viable. Moreover, as said earlier, this accessibility can help promote cycling since the said act is incredibly convenient to a point wherein it’s not a hassle anymore.
Many people opt out of cycling because it’s too intensive an everyday commute option. However, because the pedal-assist feature of mountain bikes helps people breeze through rigid streets without exerting excessive amounts of energy, they can opt for cycling as a viable option for everyday transportation.
Ride eMTB Tip: Wondering if you’re ready to go electric? Check out this article 👉 Upgrading to a New Electric Mountain Bike
As commonly reported, most people who enjoy cycling enjoy cycling under its premise as physical activity. However, those who buy electric bikes purchase to replace cars, motorcycles, etc.
A great article published by The American College of Sports Medicine details the metabolic and cardiovascular responses of commuting on an e-bike. Read the full article -> HERE
Aside from the ease and comfort of use, using electric mountain bikes can help people with poor physical conditions enjoy cycling. If you are physically able and want to use bikes as a medium of exercise, electric mountain bikes may not be for you. However, if you’re planning to replace your car, motorcycle, or any means of public transportation using a bike, or if you are physically disadvantaged, an electric bike is ideal.
Have you decided to get an e-bike? If so, do you know that there are classes? Which class should you get? Below we provide a quick rundown: (source)
Electric Bike Classes:
- Class 1: top speed is 20 miles per hour. This bike is a pedal-assist bike, and as such, the electric motor only works during pedaling. Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on bike paths and lanes, sharing them with traditional, nonassisted bikes.
- Class 2: top speed is also 20 miles per hour. However, it has a motor that works like a throttle, working even while not pedaling. One can use class 2 e-bikes in bike lanes.
- Class 3: top speed is 28 miles per hour. It May or may not have a throttle. These bikes cannot go on bike paths.
E mountain bike vs. regular: which one should you get? Now that we have covered the significant differences between electric MTB and traditional mountain bikes, let us know which one is for you. Below we have a list to make your process of making the decision easier.
You Should Get an eMTB If…
- You live or use your bike in urban areas, especially those without bike lanes or in cities with heavy traffic.
- You use your bike as a means of transportation, as electric bikes are easier and more comfortable to use daily.
- You are physically challenged, in old age, or are not physically active.
- You carry a lot of load and groceries with you. Electric bikes manage and travel smoothly under heavy loads.
You Should Get a Traditional Bike If…
- You use your bike purely as means of exercise. While electric bikes promote regular exercise, they limit the amount of physical activity you can get.
- You cannot afford to dish out money for an expensive bicycle. Mountain bikes are already expensive as is. Electric mountain bikes can be more than four times as expensive.
- You want an easy-going experience. Traditional bikes have simple mechanisms, are lighter, and do not have a lot of electrical components that may break down mid-ride.
- “How Fast Can an E-bike Go?”, Keego, last accessed May 24, 2022. https://keegomobility.com/blog/how-fast-can-an-ebike-go
- Alberto Castro, Mailin Gaupp-Berghausen, Evi Dons, Arnout Standaert, Michelle Laeremans, Anna Clark, Esther Anaya-Boig, Tom Cole-Hunter, Ione Avila-Palencia, David Rojas-Rueda, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Regine Gerike, Luc Int Panis, Audrey de Nazelle, Christian Brand, Elisabeth Raser, Sonja Kahlmeier, Thomas Götschi, Physical activity of electric bicycle users compared to conventional bicycle users and non-cyclists: Insights based on health and transport data from an online survey in seven European cities, Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Volume 1, 2019, 100017, ISSN 2590-1982, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2019.100017.
- “A Trend Towards Miniaturized Electronics”, ROHM Semiconductor, May 10, 2021, last accessed May 25, 2022. https://www.rohm.com/blog/miniaturized-electronics
- Lerma, Andrew, “Lithium-Ion vs Lead Acid Battery Life”, Flux Power, March 14, 2019, last accessed May 25, 2022. https://www.fluxpower.com/blog/lithium-ion-vs.-lead-acid-battery-life
- Jancer, Matt, “What Are Ebike ‘Classes’ and What Do They Mean?”, Wired, October 4, 2020, last accessed May 25, 2022. https://www.wired.com/story/guide-to-ebike-classes/