Hardtail and full suspension electric mountain bikes
What is mountain biking? it’s the sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes”. These days the sport has been further broken down into various categories such as cross country, trail and enduro, but essentially the gist of it remains the same; riding your bike over something that isn’t a road but with unimagined fun and rushes of adrenaline. Guaranteed.
What are mountain bikes? Mountain bikes are incredibly versatile all-terrain bikes. They feature higher volume tyres and suspension - this allows them to gain traction, and provide comfort, even on rough off-road trails.
Within the electric mountain bike category there are numerous further variations; these include the level of suspension on the frame, the frame geometry itself, different motors, as well as the wheel size.
Choosing the right mountain bike for your kind of riding, will make a great difference to your comfort and performance.
What kind of riding can I do on a mountain bike?
Before we go any further, you should ask yourself what sort of riding are your going to be doing on your bike. We separate it out into the following.
This is our most popular discipline. Cross country riding is usually made up of not too challenging terrain, where you’re going up the hills just as much as you’re coming down them. To perform best on cross country terrain, these bikes are lighter weight and often just have front suspension (hardtail). The 29er (29 inch wheel) bikes dominate this category, though 27.5 inch mountain bikes are gaining popularity.
These bikes are designed to be ridden all day, so there some element of comfort with them. You can either choose a hardtail if or go for a full suspension with up to 120mm of travel.
A very similar discipline to cross country, but a lot more aggressive. These routes are usually found at trail centres around the country since trail centres favour descending a bit more than climbing and are a bit more technical. It’s a case of climbing to the top at your own pace; then you race your friends on the downhill!
A good trail bike will have enough suspension to deal with fast technical descents, without compromising on climbing ability and a geometry that inspires confidence on the descents, and enables you to get the adrenalin rush on your down hill legs.
When it comes to wheel size, think 27.5 inches and 29 inches as being both ideally suited for trail riding.
Either a full suspension or a hardtail with around 120 – 130 mm of travel would be ideal. A full suspension bike is more comfort and gives your more confidence on technically demanding trails however a full suspension bike will not be as efficient at climbing as a hardtail.
This is what it says on the tin. Riding in the mountains… These bikes are designed to take whatever you throw at it. Having at least 140 mm of travel is recommended. Your bike has to be light to allow you to ride whatever trail or weather conditions you encounter. Strong wheels and puncture-proof tyres are recommended, to withstand big rock gardens, natural jumps, drops and any other unexpected terrain riding in the mountains might throw at you.
Enduro is widely considered the most fun way to ride and fast becoming the most popular format of mountain biking today. The route is fast and demanding. These bikes are basically downhill bikes with the right geometry to ride back up the hills, very easy with the help of your motor! Enduro bikes usually have between 150 and 170 mm of travel and are full suspension, and expect slacker head angles and longer wheelbases, to maintain stability when riding aggressively on the most of demanding trails. It’s getting more popular each year, it’s no surprise since enduro is based on what the majority of mountain bikers already do, riding uphill and then racing against friends back downhill.
What are mountain bikes made from?
Aluminium: The most common material for modern bike frame manufacture; aluminium is light and durable, and has good ride qualities; providing reliable all-round performance.
Carbon fibre: This composite material is superlight, super strong, and has vibration absorbing properties. Carbon fibre bike frames are a relatively new introduction to electric mountain bikes, but they offer the highest level of performance of all frame materials.
Which drive to choose to power me up the hills?
The majority of E-MTB’s come with the Bosch Performance CX, Yamaha PW or PW-X motors. We go into more in-depth regarding the motors for MTB’s in a separate blog post, here.
Haibike MTB’s come with the Yamaha PW & PW-X motors, whilst the Cube and Scott bikes come with the Bosch Performance CX.
We are expecting the Scott E-Spark range to land in May 2017, which comes with the brand new Shimano e8000.
Everyone you’ll speak to will recommend a different size, and the majority of riders have their personal preference. But for a rider coming into the e-bike scene with no real preference, we have simplified it below.
27″ are better for shorter riders, and people doing technical riding. The smaller wheel allows them to “throw” the bike around easier.
27″ Plus is a wider tyre so it gives you more surface contact than a standard 27″(20%) and only 1-2% more rolling resistance. In short, more grip – smoother ride
29″ Wheels are better for the slightly taller rider, or for someone who is wanting to do long distances on their bike. The bigger wheel “rolls” easier over slightly uneven terrain, but it takes a bit more effort to do anything technical.
How do I know what size wheel the bike has?
On the Scott range, the first number of the 3 numbers of the model name relates to whether it’s 920 is 29″or 720 is 27″.
On the Haibike range, the number after either “Full” or “Hard” relates to whether it’s HardNine is 29″or FullSeven is 27″.
Where can I ride a mountain bike? England you are restricted to bridleways, but they are many, so with OS map in hand, and taking off into the countryside to explore. There are some great natural trails around and they vary in technicality and complexity (bridleways in the Peak District for example are very different to ones in the South Downs!). There are also man-made trails, designed purely for fun on a bike. They are graded like ski runs, in the following way;
• Green = easy. Suitable for novice cyclists and families on easy to ride surfaces.
• Blue = moderate. Suitable for cyclists with some experience on mostly stoned surfaces.
• Red = difficult. Suitable for regular cyclists with off-road experience.
• Black = severe. Suitable for expert mountain bikers who want technical challenges.
Here at 50cycles we are delighted to stock an extensive range of electric bikes mountain to suit every each discipline, fitness level and budget. If you need any help choosing the right bike for you, please do get in touch and one of our friendly team members will be more than happy to talk to you and make recommendations based on your needs and riding style preferences.