E-mountain bikes are the trend. Even if they do not reinvent cycling, you should know about some peculiarities of the motor-assisted bikes. This increases fun and promotes safety. We have compiled the most important tips and tricks for you in terms of purchase, riding technique and maintenance.
1. Know the different bike classes
The three main classes in E-MTB are: Trail bikes, All Mountains and Enduros.
- A trail bike has 120-130 mm of travel and is good for easy trails and longer tours. It is comfortable, making it a popular entry-level model.
- All Mountains are so to speak the Swiss knives under the bikes. They are efficient uphill, but also manage many more difficult trails downhill very well.
- The Enduro can do everything the All Mountain can do, but it comes with ca. 160 mm suspension travel also suitable for very difficult trails.
2. Note the latency
When you start pedaling, it takes up to a second for the engine to become supportive. This can mean an end to the ride – including an ungentlemanly drop – when starting off or after a short pedaling stop on a steep trail.
3. Drive downhill the right way
The motor pushes at the pedal stop for a short time with the set power – so you should approach curves slowly, otherwise you may not make the curve radius by the push and end up in the bushes.
In general: switch to the weakest support (economy mode) when driving downhill! An E-MTB with a tare weight of around 20 kg is unfamiliar to ride downhill at first – this also means a longer braking distance on gravel roads.
4. Use the push-up function
E-MTBs make an old dream come true – the bike that “pushes” itself up the trail beside you. For the push assistance you have to keep a small, but unfortunately by all manufacturers inconveniently placed button permanently pressed on the handlebars.
Tip: Shift to one of the middle gears at the rear ring, then the bike “rolls” nicely at walking speed up the trail.
5. Evaluate your B+ tires properly
The light and at the same time thick tires in the B+ format offer all those who have previously struggled on gravel road descents and trails, additional safety through comfort and traction. But you can't expect miracles from the lightweight tires.
6. Do not forget the second battery
When touring with more than 1.For trips of up to 200 meters in altitude, you should always carry a second battery in your backpack. If you want to ride an alpine cross, you must also pack the charger in your backpack. Heavily frequented huts in the Eastern Alps often already offer charging stations.
7. Don't burn down your house when charging batteries
The batteries of high-quality E-MTBs are in most cases extremely powerful lithium-ion batteries with high energy density. However, they should never be charged without supervision, preferably in the bike basement. In the worst case, a Li-Ion battery can catch fire and can only be extinguished with a special device. For this purpose, you should carefully study the operating instructions of the bike.
Tip: If you suspect damage to the battery (z. B. by a fall) you should immediately stop the ride and visit the specialist dealer. E-MTB batteries usually last 500 charging cycles, after that they lose capacity.
8. Know the pitfalls of battery keys
The batteries of the motors from Yamaha and Bosch can be changed on almost all models only with a special key. Key management can drive you nearly insane at times. Even if you only ride one bike: note the numbers of the battery keys immediately upon purchase and have copies of the keys made. Distribute these in all backpacks and cars. Otherwise, you'll be halfway to the summit on a long tour and won't be able to swap the empty battery for a fully charged secondary battery.
9. Be aware of hidden wear costs
With E-MTBs one must count on an increased wear with tires, chain, brakes and drive unit after our test experience. E-MTB-specific tires and chains are recommended.
10. Do not tinker with your bike. And if they do, know the consequences
Simply change suspension fork or disc brakes is no longer possible. The manufacturers specify exactly which tires, stems, suspension forks and handlebars may be subsequently replaced or converted on an E-MTB. You should only have these jobs done by a specialist dealer.
Tip: If parts have been replaced on an E-MTB that are not intended by the manufacturer, or if chip tuning has been carried out, the manufacturer's warranty and insurance cover will expire.
11. Never try to transport a bike with battery in the airplane
E-bikes with battery are not transported by any airline. Who tries it, endangers himself and others, risks high penalties and the confiscation of the expensive device. Reason: the high energy density of the batteries. E-MTB batteries may currently only be transported by sea or by specialized cargo companies (z. B. for island trips, for example to Tenerife).