Off road ebikes are getting popular around the world. They not only let you commute from A to B, they can also help you traverse on rugged tracks and downtrodden paths. But that’s not all, they can do much more.
However, that doesn’t mean there are no downsides of buying an off road ebikes. In this blog, we will discuss both the pros and cons of buying an off road ebike, so that you can make an informed decision. We will also be discussing some key factors to consider when buying these ebikes.
So, let’s get started.
Benefits of an Off Road Ebike
Off road adventures
The first and foremost reason for buying an off road ebike is as simple as the name of these ebikes suggests – you can use these electric bikes to undertake any off road adventure. Off road ebikes usually have fat 4” tires, advanced suspension systems, sturdier frames, and quality components to handle the stress of riding on remote patches.
No matter if you want to climb hills, commute over a gravel path, or traverse jagged/ rugged terrain, off road ebikes can reliably and safely do the job for you. Their fat tires are sturdier than the ordinary on-road tires so you don’t have to worry about punctures while you’re wandering around.
Many off road ebikes – such as the Engwe M20 – have shockproof tires as well that can handle sudden impacts without bursting. And since these tires are wider in contact area, compared to normal ebike tires, they have better stability on uneven terrain.
Ride on beach and snow
Off road ebikes cannot only help you ride where there’s no road, they can also help you commute over softpacked terrains like sand, snow, and mud. If you ride a normal ebike over such surfaces, your tires would probably sink inside them, but that’s not the case with off road fat tire ebikes.
Thanks to their wider tire contact area, your load is distributed over a wider surface on ground, which decreases the pressure. As a result, your tires don’t dig in, and you’re able to ride easily. Moreover, off road ebikes are also suitable for riding in wet or snow-covered roads for the very same reason – their tires are resistant to slippage.
Even if you don’t have to travel off road, there’s still one key reason why you should opt for an off road ebike when making your purchase decision. They are very comfortable to ride, compared to a normal ebike. The reason is the same – their wide fat tires.
The fat tires of these ebikes pack more air inside them than the tires that you see on a normal ebike meant for city riding. As a result, these tires double down as natural shock absorbers and reduce the impact of any surface irregularities that you may face during your ride. It means you’ll have a much plush and smooth ride over urban potholes and speed bumps when you’re riding these ebike on roads.
Perfect for exercise
Better health is yet another reason to opt for an off road ebike. As you’d probably know, riding an ebike offers the same health benefits as you get while riding a bicycle. However, an off road ebike takes things to a new level.
Due to their fat tires and increased ground contact area, these ebikes offer more rolling resistance than other ebikes. As a result, it takes more effort on your part to propel these ebikes when you’re riding them in manual or pedal-assist modes. In case you get tired, you always have the option to let the electric motor do all the hard work for you by switching on throttle mode – or switching to a higher level of pedal-assist.
Downsides of an Off Road Ebike
Like everything else on the market, an off road ebike too comes with its own share of downsides. At Engwe, we want to make sure you make an informed decision when you opt for an off road ebike. So, let us have a look at the downsides of owning an off road ebike.
As we mentioned above, off road ebikes have sturdier frames, advanced suspension systems, quality components, and wider tires to handle the stress of riding off the road, so it makes total sense that they are pricier when compared to regular ebikes. They also have powerful motors and bigger batteries to power them… which also increases the tag. However, if you’re willing to invest in such an ebike, you’ll definitely not regret it.
Off road ebikes are also bulkier when compared to regular ebikes due to the same reason. It means they won’t be as portable as the regular ebikes and it won’t be easy for you to move them around or lift them upstairs. However, when it comes to foldability, some off road ebikes – like the Engwe Engine Pro – are available with folding frames as well, so that you can easily store them in compact places when need be.
Due to the increased weight of off road ebikes, their motors have to do a lot of work to propel the bikes forward. As a result, your battery charge gets depleted more quickly and you’re able to cover less distance on ground. It means for a similar size battery, an off road ebike will always have less range than a regular ebike meant for city use. Ebike manufacturers solve this problem by equipping off road ebikes with larger capacity batteries.
Another downside of off road ebikes is that they might require more frequent maintenance compared to regular electric bikes. But if you think critically, it’s actually not a downside of off road ebikes, but a problem associated with their use. Since these ebikes are meant to be used over hills, rugged paths, sandy beaches, muddy trails, and snow, it makes total sense that they’ll be gathering more dust and weather elements on them.
Buying an Off Road Ebike Guide
Now that you know both the pros and cons of owning an off road ebike, we hope that you’ll be in a better position to make your buying decision. In case you decide to go for them, here are some of the important things to consider when you’re choosing one.
If you want to travel on steep tracks and hills, you might want to get an off road ebike with a powerful motor. The power of a motor is measured in “Watts/W” so look for a bike that can offer you more watts.
Since off road ebikes consume more electrical energy (due to their weight), you might want to get a long range ebike – i.e. a bike with a bigger battery. The battery capacity is measured in Ampere-hours/Ah, so look out for it as well.
Having suspension is really important for a comfortable and safe ride on rugged tracks. A suspension system also increases ride efficiency by smoothing out all irregularities in your way. You should opt for a full/dual suspension ebike, but even a front suspension can work as well.
Due to the nature of your use, it’s crucial that your off road ebike is equipped with the best-in-class braking system. As of now, the most commonly used braking systems found on the market are mechanical and hydraulic brakes. Out of these two, hydraulic brakes are much better at providing all-weather and all-terrain braking capability.
Frame material is yet another important consideration. While iron frames are now outdated, the two common options today are aluminum or carbon fiber. For off roading, we will always suggest you go for an aluminum alloy frame as it’s better able to withstand sudden shocks and impacts. Carbon fiber frames can be fragile in high-impact situations. If you have to transport your bike in a car or RV, try to buy a folding electric bike.
For off road adventures, it’s really important that your ebike is equipped with the right kind of equipment. You need to have front and rear lights for visibility at night, an LCD dashboard to keep track of your battery and other ride metrics, a rear stand to haul your cargo, a phone holder to mount your phone, and anything else that you feel you might need.
We hope we were able to educate you on the pros and cons of buying an off road ebike, and some important factors that you need to consider when buying such an electric bike. In case you want to purchase one, do check out our lineup.
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