If you are shopping around for a new bicycle, you may be comparing an e-bike vs a mountain bike. The best electric bikes, after all, typically come in a multitude of design options. Keep reading to learn the differences between the two so you pick the right type of bike for your fitness level.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The primary difference between an electric bike and a traditional mountain bike is the former includes a motor and a battery.
  • However, there are many electric mountain bikes on the market, which are generally more durable than regular e-bikes.
  • An e-mountain bike often boasts larger maximum weight capacities than regular e-bikes, but will be slower, more expensive, and heavier.

Differences Between Electric Bikes and Mountain Bikes

If you are comparing a garden variety mountain bike to an electric bike, the primary difference is that the former will lack a motor for thrust and an integrated battery. However, there are many electric mountain bikes out there that act as a subsection of electric bicycles. These electric mountain bikes differ from their parent category in a number of ways.

Suspension

Electric mountain bikes are built to handle off-road terrain types, so they typically feature premium suspension components, typically in the form of rear suspension. This suspension system tends to be more robust than what comes with regular e-bikes and is more in line with what would be found with conventional bikes. So if you are comparing hardtail vs full suspension options, you will find many e-mountain bikes feature the latter.

Durability

While traditional electric bikes are plenty durable, mountain biking can lead to some potentially dangerous scenarios, so e-mountain bikes tend to be even more durable. These e-mountain bikes tend to feature sturdy braking systems and a frame made from high-grade and long-lasting components that can take the extra weight of camping gear and the like. They also tend to include fat knobby tires that can easily tread over tree branches and the like.

Insider Tip

Check the maximum weight capacity before you purchase any e-bike to ensure you can ride it.

Battery Life

Battery life remains static between regular e-bikes and electric mountain bikes. The battery range will vary depending on the make and model, but should not vary too much depending on the type of bicycle. So if you are comparing electric bike 36 volt 12 ah batteries vs 48 volt 9ah batteries, you’ll have your pick to choose from.

Pedal-Assist Bikes

Both traditional e-bikes and electric mountain bikes will feature robust pedal-assist functionalities. The electric motor contained within a mountain bike may include a bit more get up and go, so as to easily ascend a treacherous bike path and to overcome related obstacles. Each model is different regarding pedal-assist, so be sure to check the specs to make sure they are up to snuff.

Maximum Speed

Traditional e-bikes may be able to reach higher speeds than electric mountain bikes, as the latter are not necessarily designed with speed in mind. In other words, not many riders are looking to hit 20 miles per hour while exploring a forested area. The same cannot be said when commuting or when running errands throughout town, which are use case scenarios regular e-bikes excel with.

Weight

Electric mountain bikes tend to weigh more than regular e-bikes, thanks to the increased durability and increased maximum weight limit. Some traditional e-bikes come in at fairly light weights, making them easy to carry to and fro when they are not being used. Electric mountain bikes, on the other hand, make it difficult to carry when not in use, so keep that in mind if you live on a multi-floor walkup or if you carry a bike to and from a car often.

Foldable Designs

The hottest trend right now in electric bikes is foldable and compact designs. These designs allow users to fold up the bike when not in use, easily squeezing them into the back seat or trunk of a car, or a closet, when not in use. Some can fold up to ultra-compact form factors, making them easy to simply carry into work after the commute instead of locking them outside. However, not many electric mountain bikes are foldable, thanks to their increased weight and durability. This feature is reserved for regular electric bicycles.

F.A.Q.S

Motor systems – more powerful and bigger?

Generally speaking, bigger and more powerful motors are better, but they carry a downside or two. They may add extra weight to the bike and they will make it more expensive.


eMTB vs MTB – How do you choose?

Regular mountain bikes are cheaper than e-mountain bikes, though they lack a motor and a battery. Choose depending on your personal preference.


So what’s the downside to an E-MTB?

Electric mountain bikes tend to be fairly heavy, expensive, and not particularly well-suited to an urban environment.



STAT: “The average heart rate during eMTB use is 94% (31/33) of the average heart rate during conventional mountain bike use.” (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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