website

Get OLD BULL STRONG with an extra 5% DISCOUNT when you purchase more than 1 product. Save 7.5% when you Subscribe.

Is an ebike MTB worth it?

Is an ebike MTB worth it?

A couple of months back I would have said NO to an ebike! Its cheating, you are lazy, crazy, maybe when you're older, never....

But all that has changed with the Old Bull Health Commencal SX Race dual suspension mountain bike, with a battery and electric motor.  

I had always mountain biked reasonably regularly. I have ridden in Thredbo, and Derby in Tasmania, but most of my riding is around Manly Dam in Sydney. Great tracks and you can choose your own adventure when it comes to technical difficulty, but there are hills involved.

In Derby we rented e MTBs for one day, and that was the beginning of the end.

Post Derby my mate Andy purchased a Commencal on a recommendation and I thought being fit I would be able to keep up with him. It took one ride to realise how wrong I was, what I was missing out on, and that I needed one if I ever wanted to ride with him again.

You get to do more of the stuff you enjoy. Uphill is just as much fun.

Here are 5 reasons I came up with justify buying an ebike MTB

  1. What do you enjoy?
    Riding up hills? Riding narrow trails, or downhills? The ebike just flattens out those steep hills and brings that much less friction into the ride. I now ride 3 x more since I bought the Old Bull e mountain bike than I was before. I just get out more. 

  2. Protective Gear
    On my mountain bike I got hot wearing knee pads, arm guards, minimalist body armour etc. On the ebike because the engine is assisting you on the uphill you don't overheat and thus it is easier and comfortable wearing more protective gear, so better protection whenever I ride.

  3. Cover more ground
    Per Strava, my ride distances now average 24.6km on the ebike versus 16.9km on standard mountain bike. Ride time is up 14 minutes, and speed is 3-4kmph on average higher for the ride. So, I am riding further, faster and more. More riding bang for buck, less time slogging up uphill.

  4. Similar workout
    Ebike MTBs are heavy. My standard mountain bike, an aluminium Giant Trance dual suspension and is weighs around 13.8kgs while my e-mountain bike is a whopping 24.8kgs. So, while it is easier to ride uphill, it takes more energy to manhandle on technical trails and thus similar calories are burnt. To be exact, on the same distance 450 kj on my standard bike and 468 on the ebike, and I accept these are rubbery numbers due to stops, routes etc.

    On the longer rides we now do I burn around 640 kj, and if I adjust this back to equivalent ride time on my normal MTB it is still higher at around 540 kj. So, while these are not side by side exact tests, I am burning more kj on the ebike and I suspect that is due to weight and the technicality of the trails and doing some trails I would not have attempted on my normal MTB with more uphill.

  5. It's just pleasant
    Usually, I would ride with mixed feelings knowing some of the hills I gave to climb to get there before I start, now I leave looking forward to it. Hills are not at issue, I don't enjoy riding up them, they still require some work, but it is a lot easier. 
Commencal and Giant Mountain bikesMountain bike and ebike MTB compared

Other factors to consider, of course there are ...

  1. The ebike mountain bikes are expensive, not only that, throwing an expensive piece of kit around on a narrow rocky trail means scratches and light damage is inevitable, so be prepared for some mostly cosmetic damage. There are steps you can take to protect your front shock and frame. Check out Edgetech in Sydney but that adds a decent chunk of cost as well.

  2. You need to remember to charge it. Riding a 25kg of bike with no assistance uphill is not fun. Speaking from experience. Battery is 630 kwh and lasts around 4-5 hours depending on the mode you ride in. Engines seem pretty standard, are best front mounted, and are 250 W, 85 NM of torque. I am 92 odd kgs and it moves me along just fine.

  3. They are heavy, as mentioned and you feel it on the downhills. Weight affects handling and speed. Just something to get used to, just make sure you buy a bike with shocks and brakes to be able to do the kind of riding you want to do.

  4. You get a lot of shit from anyone who ever mountain biked once in their life for riding an e-bile MTB. Just smile and wave as you go past, because you will.

  5. More technology to manage and set-up/ maintain. Well, for an electric engine anyway.

  6. Not everyone and everywhere welcomes e-MTBS might just want to check that out.

  7. No need for a shuttle at some of the venues to get up the hill. Save some cash to make up for the fortune you spent on the bike.

Are they worth it?

If your budget allows hell yes.

I'm not sure how much more fun you can have on 2 wheels.

But make sure you get a bike that can handle the hard trails and is not built for suburban riding. It is a different sport; a different kind of riding. 

Also, if you ride in a group, once one person gets one, the rest of you are stuffed so if you don't want one, remember this and get the group to avoid them as long as possible :)

Give careful consideration to:

  • Gearset, to manage the additional power
  • Engine, and engine mount should be pedal hub not rear hub
  • Front shocks, big enough to handle you and the bikes weight
  • Dual suspension, goes without saying
  • Dropper post, they land hard
  • Tyre size. Many of the new models are now mullets. 29 inches on the front and 27inches on the back. I am not a fan but that is just me, this could limit the models available to you. For the record I prefer 27.5 due to the manoeuvrability in tight trails.

 

Good luck

Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Close (esc)

Orders - 1st week of Jan 2023

Please note: Distribution is closed until the 9th Jan after a busy December. You can still order our great propducts but they will only be shipped the week of the 9th Jan. Appologies for any inconvenience. Happy New Year!

Please join our useful updates area below by adding your email and clikcin Subscribe or clicking Read for the article "I lost 51kg in 10 weeks".

Read

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.

Search

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now