Anatomy of an electrical mountain bike

New to e-bikes? Dazzled by jargon like drive unit and show? Probably not positive what the distinction is between a full-powered and SL e-bike, or what which means for you as a rider? Don’t fret, it will get you in control

Bike anatomy might be jargon-riddled as it’s, you then add electrical energy to the combination and it will get a complete lot extra difficult. Drive models, shows, sensors, full-fat and food plan – what does all of it imply?! To demystify all of it, we’ve damaged down a number of the most typical parts of the typical e-bike, plus offered a little bit additional recommendation that will help you work out precisely what kind of eMTB is best for you.

When you’ve bought the jargon sorted, you’ll be capable of extra simply learn by means of our purchaser’s information to the finest electrical mountain bikes, the place we’ve collated solely the very highest scoring bikes from our in depth testing course of. There are bikes in there to go well with each kind of using and loads of budgets. Or if you wish to skip straight to a budget eMTBs that provide nice efficiency for a cheaper price level, our finances electrical mountain bike information is the place to go.

Anatomy of an e-bike electric mountain bike diagram

Anatomy of the primary parts of an electrical mountain bike

1. Drive unit

The motor on all good electrical mountain bikes is mid-mounted, that’s to say it drives the underside bracket axle and the chainring, moderately than being mounted within the rear hub and powering the wheel. The benefit of this can be a lighter rear wheel, which suggests higher suspension efficiency and extra dynamic dealing with as the load is extra centered on the bike.

There are numerous totally different motors in the marketplace, however nearly all of them switch energy from the motor to the chainring by means of a system of cogs. Peak energy can vary from 300-600w relying on the system, and peak torque is often between 50-90Nm. Drive models are absolutely sealed in an aluminium or magnesium case.

2. Battery

Trendy e-bikes conceal their lithium-ion batteries contained in the down tube to provide the body a modern look. Most full energy e-bikes have detachable batteries utilizing both a hatch reduce into the body, or a gap on the base of the down tube that the battery can slide out of. The latter design retains the integrity of the tube, so the body wants much less reinforcement, and might profit weight stability if performed correctly, however is barely much less handy.

Photo of battery being removed from underside of Trek Fuel EXe eMTB

Batteries can match in several methods, slotting in from beneath or typically coming with a lockable cowl.

Full energy e-bikes on common use a 700Wh battery, though it’s attainable to get e-bikes with 900Wh choices. The larger the battery the heavier the load, however the longer the vary. Weight-reduction plan e-bikes, such because the Pivot Shuttle SL, use smaller batteries to save lots of weight, bolstered by vary extenders formed like water bottles.

3. Show

Most e-bikes have some form of show, to point the ability mode chosen and the battery life remaining. Some even have screens displaying pace, cadence, energy output and a number of different options. Just lately manufacturers have been beginning to combine their shows into the highest tube, saving area, including safety and making them simple to learn. Most methods hook as much as a smartphone app supplying you with the power to vary the response of the motor and the quantity of energy in every mode.

Controls Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite

The management unit on this Liv eMTB is so discrete you may nearly miss it! It’s the half that sits between the grips and the brake and kit shift mounts.

4. Controller

To vary between energy modes, most e-bikes match a distant on the handlebars. For mountain biking, the smaller the higher, in order to not intrude with dropper put up levers. A typical management unit could have a + and – button for altering modes, an influence button for turning on and off, and a stroll button, that powers the motor slowly if it’s a must to get off and push the bike up a hill.

5. Magnet and pace sensor

E-bikes have a set of sensors, most of that are hidden inside the motor unit, however the primary exterior one is the pace sensor. This displays the wheel pace and in addition tells the motor when to chop out – 25km/h in Europe. Older e-bikes used a magnet clamped to a spoke, however newer fashions have a extra discreet magnet connected to the rear disc rotor, together with a sensor hidden within the dropout. Bosch goes one higher on its newest methods with a magnet that attaches to the presta valve on the again wheel, monitored by a sensor behind the motor. This eliminates the wiring between the motor and the dropout.

Cane Creek Electric Wings titanium electric mountain bike cranks 2023

Many manufacturers are bringing out cranks particularly designed for the rigours of e-bike use, like these from Cane Creek

6. Cranks

E-bikes separate the crank and the chainring, because the chainring can proceed to rotate even if you cease pedalling. Chainrings are usually a bit greater than on an analogue bike (usually 34t as an alternative of 30t or 32t) and cranks often shorter. You’ll usually discover 165mm cranks on an e-bike for the reason that motor means you’re much less reliant on the torque of your legs. Shorter cranks enhance floor clearance, which is helpful since you pedal extra on an e-bike.

E-bike FAQ

Specialized Turbo Levo SL II 2023

Which e-bike is best for you?

As e-bikes have grow to be extra well-liked, the breadth of e-bike choices has unfold. There are actually hardtail, XC, path, enduro and bike park-focussed e-bikes in the marketplace, with each light-weight motors and small batteries and full energy motors and enormous capability energy packs. So which is best for you?

Ought to I’m going for a full-power or low-power, low weight eMTB?

The muscle automobiles of the e-bike world are the complete fats fashions, fitted with motors that produce round 600 watts of energy at their peak, and crank out round 90Nm of torque. Examples of those motors embrace the Bosch Efficiency Line CX, Shinano EP801, and Specialised’s Brose-built 2.2 motor. Supplying energy can be a big capability battery between 600 and 900wh and the entire system weight can be round 7-8kg. This interprets into a median full bike weight between 20kg and 25kg.

Aoife Glass rides the Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite

Weight-reduction plan e-bike methods, however, are the light-weight race automobiles. They ship about half the ability (300W) and half the battery capability (360Wh), however weigh half as a lot (4kg for battery and motor). Full bikes are within the 16-19kg weight vary. The most well-liked motors are the TQ HPR 50, Fazua Trip 60, Bafang, and the Specialised/Mahle 1.1 system.

Full fats fashions make sense if you wish to let the motor take the pressure. You may comfortable pedal up a climb in the event you’re drained, or use the additional torque to problem your hillclimb abilities. They’re extra secure however require extra muscle to hustle round, and the extra highly effective motor makes mincemeat of muddy trails, so that they’re nonetheless a great deal of enjoyable within the winter.

Weight-reduction plan e-bikes supply a a lot nearer using expertise to an analogue bike, so you possibly can experience dynamically with much less effort, and the decreased motor resistance means you possibly can pedal them above the pace restrict when the motor cuts out. This makes them extra fulfilling on shallow gradients and flat singletrack, and might make them extra enjoyable for smaller riders who might not have the bodily energy to chuck a full-fat e-bike round.

Then again, it’s a must to dial down the ability to maximise the vary, so that you’ll should be match to maintain up with a mate on a full-fat e-bike.

In case you’re taken with studying extra in regards to the totally different e-bike motor methods and their professionals and cons, take a look at our information to the finest electrical mountain bike motors. We’ve put all of them by means of their paces on quite a lot of terrain to see how they carry out.

Trek Fuel EXe

Trek Gasoline EXe – a light-weight eMTB

XC, path or enduro electrical mountain bike – which is finest?

One factor that’s apparent about e-bikes from the primary experience is that journey is far much less vital in relation to supposed use in comparison with an analogue bike. Most e-bikes within the 140-160mm journey vary might be ridden as laborious as an enduro bike due to the soundness created by the battery and motor. With sturdy tyres and a sturdy fork, they absorb abuse like a punchbag. Then again, most food plan e-bikes battle to copy the pace and effectivity of an XC race bike on clean, flowing singletrack.

What we’re making an attempt to say is, until you spend 90% of your time in a motorcycle park, hitting moto-sized jumps, an e-bike with 140-160mm of journey will cowl most bases.

Canyon Torque:ON CF9

The Canyon Torque:ON CF9 – proof that something an everyday bike can do, an e-bike can do too

Hardtail or full-suspension electrical mountain bike?

In case you’re using consists solely of tow paths, fireplace roads and nation tracks, then e-hardtails could make a variety of sense, since they’re usually cheaper and there’s much less to go fallacious. However for hitting correct singletrack, bike parks and path centres, we wouldn’t suggest one.

The explanations are easy. You stay seated much more on an e-bike than an analogue bike – largely as a result of the motor prefers a excessive cadence, and the up-down piston movement of your legs when standing up doesn’t mesh nicely with the graceful, constant energy supply of the motor. So with none rear suspension you’re in for a punishing experience on something however billiard-table clean trails.

E-bikes allow you to experience up climbs you wouldn’t dream of on an everyday bike, however in the event you can’t get traction – as a result of the rear wheel is bouncing over bumps and roots – you’ll be off and pushing.

Lastly, on quick, tough or technical descents, it’s a lot tougher to get an e-bike off the bottom, so rear suspension not solely helps scale back the impacts on the rim, it additionally helps you pop the bike over square-edge hits. Which is why most e-hardtails we’ve seen on technical trails are being pushed – with a flat again tyre.

Feeling in control? Head on over to take a look at our information to the finest electrical mountain bikes and finest finances electrical mountain bikes on the market. And whereas they’re rarer than unisex e-bikes, there are additionally a collection of the finest girls’s electrical mountain bikes.