There’s nothing comparable to the adrenaline rush that comes with off-road exploration. With the scenery and the excitement that comes with navigating rough terrain, nothing can go wrong with off-road riding.
With the growing number of electric bikes, manufacturers are producing a variety of bikes for all uses. If you’re thinking about getting one, you might be wondering, “Can e-bikes be used off road?”
In this article, we will highlight how an electric bike makes the perfect case for riding on rough terrain. We will also lay out the must-have features of an off-road e-bike and the best way to prepare for an outdoor ride.
Can E-Bikes Be Used Off Road?
Yes, certain types of electric bikes are best for off road.
The perfect electric bike for off road use comes with bike parts capable of navigating rocky paths and other challenging routes. So, what are the choices on the plate? An electric mountain bike and a fat tire e-bike.
The electric mountain bike has many features that make challenging paths easier to navigate. But fat tire electric bikes also offer something for those looking for an adventure. So, which is the best choice for these riders?
Which is The Best Bike For Off-Road Use?
Fat Tire E-bikes
Rocky, sandy, and snowy roads present a big challenge to any electric bike, and even conventional bicycles. Given this challenge, it is best to have an e-bike that helps prevent you from falling or slipping while navigating these types of surfaces.
Electric bikes are already stable, but equipping them with fat tires gives them additional stability. A fat tire electric bike comes with thick walls and very wide 4-inch tires to provide great traction, aside from stability.
Besides its 4-inch tires, fat tire electric bikes are also on the heavier side but come with lots of cushioning, traction, and comfort.
Mountain Electric Bikes
Mountain electric bikes come with a design specifically made for mountain trails and other rough road conditions. It is the best bike for off road riding, as it comes with suspension and relatively wider tires compared to other e-bikes.
It comes with features like a powerful motor, a bigger battery capacity, and a lightweight frame.
If you are wondering what makes it different from a fat tire electric bike, mountain electric bikes can be lightweight. However, it is not ideal if you are looking for a comfortable ride but it can allow you to navigate all terrain. It is also not recommended to use on rocky, sandy, and snowy roads.
Essential Features of an Off-Road E-bike
Off road riding with an electric bike is only possible if it comes with a certain set of features. Here are some of the non-negotiable features of an off road electric bike:
A powerful motor is a must-have if you plan to ride off road. Most e-bikes come with a hub motor, which is inexpensive and easy to install and repair. This motor is also best for throttle mode, which is a feature that allows your electric bike to function like a motorcycle. The Engwe EP-2 Pro e-bike sports a brushless gear hub motor with 750W of power, which allows for a top speed of 28 miles per hour.
However, riders looking for the perfect off road electric bike should choose an e-bike with a mid-drive motor. This motor is capable of producing a significant amount of torque, which helps with uphill climbs. Aside from this benefit, the motor’s location also has a low center of gravity and balanced weight distribution.
Off road electric bikes should have a bigger battery capacity to match the pressure presented by challenging terrain. Given the less-than-ideal road conditions and uphill climbs, the capacity plays a vital role in keeping your e-bike moving despite the challenges.
Measured in amp-hours, experienced riders recommend getting a battery with more amp-hours to get the most riding range, while those looking for better acceleration and torque are best with a battery with a higher battery voltage.
If a large capacity battery is not available, it is recommended that you purchase a bike with a removable battery pack, preferably with an extra battery.
Fat/ Mountain Tires
Thin tires are definitely out of the equation if you plan to ride off road. Fat tires offer the best stability and traction in this kind of environment.
Fat tires come with a wide and thicker profile with an anti-skid knobby tread, which makes it possible to have greater traction, especially when navigating through challenging trails. These tires also allow for better grip due to their skid-resistant tread.
If you are looking for the best fat tire electric bike for off road use, the Engwe Engine Pro e-bike has all the features you need for the outdoors. It does not only have 20 x 4-inch tires, but it also comes with a powerful 750W motor, a mechanical lock front suspension fork, and an 8-speed gear system.
Front or Dual Suspension
Falling or slipping are not the only concerns you need to address when picking up an off road e-bike. You should also factor in comfort when buying one. On an electric bike, you can get a comfortable ride with great suspension.
Suspensions absorb shocks caused by bumps in the road and keep the tire in direct contact with the road, which makes rides more comfortable and improves traction and handling. But which kind of suspension is best for rough terrain?
There are three options for shock absorbers: front or single suspension, full or dual suspension, and no suspension. Outdoor riders are best off with full suspension shock absorbers, like those found in the Engwe Engine Pro e-bike.
At times, riding outdoors requires you to quickly brake. Given that it is a crucial moment, reliable brakes are a must. Electric bikes usually come with mechanical or hydraulic brakes. While both types of brakes offer great protection, hydraulic brakes are more reliable.
Additionally, brakes are best when they have all-weather stopping ability and should have a brake lever to stop the motor for efficient and safer braking.
Electric bikes have two types of gearing systems: derailleurs and internal hub gears.
The first type of gear is the most common on e-bikes. This gear comes with a chain, cables, and multiple sprockets. It also comes with a “trigger” mechanism, allowing for manual shifting from gear to gear.
For off road riders, a derailleur gear system offers the biggest advantages. The most significant of which is that it allows the motor to operate at its full capacity, which is why electric mountain bikes have higher torque performance.
However, the downside to this gear system is that it requires particular pedaling skills to change gears and regular maintenance.
Apart from having the best gear system, electric bikes also allow you greater control over your speed. E-bikes usually come with 7-speed gear systems. If you want a faster electric bike, the Engine Pro e-bike from Engwe offers an 8-speed system.
Bike frames are also made of various materials, which is a great thing given that off road electric bikes will be subjected to harsh conditions.
For the adventurous rider, a titanium-frame electric bike is the best pick. This frame offers great corrosion resistance and is the sturdiest among all the materials for e-bikes. However, titanium-frame e-bikes cost more compared to steel or aluminum-framed electric bikes.
Given its price, an aluminum frame is the next best thing. It weighs less compared to steel but is sturdier compared to carbon-fiber frames.
How to Prepare to Ride Off-Road?
Preparation is the best way to make the most of an off-road electric bike. For new and experienced off road riders, the following suggestions offer great help when riding challenging trails:
Planning an off road trip is the first thing anyone should do before embarking on one. This plan should include the location, the trail, and a backup plan if things do not go as planned. It should also have a backup battery and an air pump in case of a flat tire.
Choose the Right Terrain
Picking the right terrain is an important part of any off road ride. It is best to choose a trail that fits the capabilities of your electric bike. For example, rocky or steep terrain is the most recommended route for those with an electric mountain bike. You must also factor in the weather when taking a trip outdoors.
While many riders want an adrenaline rush, it is recommended to ride slowly, especially for new riders. Why is it necessary to take things slowly? This experience will allow you to get accustomed to the electric bike and its ability to handle all types of terrain.
Additionally, it helps conserve battery life.
Observe Rules Even When Riding Outdoors
Riding off roads requires you to observe a certain set of rules, which include riding on open trails, leaving no trace, and being observant of other riders. By following these rules, off road riding will be safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
If you are among those who are doubtful about an electric bike’s capability to navigate challenging terrains, we hope you have found your answer.
Yes, e-bikes can be used off-road, as long as you have one that’s made to outlast the extreme pressure and challenge of the outdoors. If you are an Australian and looking for the most capable off road e-bike, we at Engwe have tons of choices.
Get an electric bike now and have fun on the trails!