Conquering New Heights: Electric vs. Analogue Mountain Bikes

15 October 2023


Whether you're a seasoned rider or a newcomer to the sport, the choice between buying an electric mountain bike (eMTB) and a non-electric mountain bike (traditional or analogue MTB) can seem daunting at first, worry not - we can help.

We're here to dive deep and explore the pros and cons of both options to help you make an informed decision that will help you reach new peaks in mountain biking... literally!

What is an electric mountain bike?

Unlike a traditional mountain bike that's solely powered by the effort and energy your body puts in, an electric mountain bike, or eMTB, is a bicycle equipped with an electric motor and rechargeable battery. The motor provides adjustable pedal assistance, making it easier to conquer rugged terrains and steep inclines. eMTBs offer versatility, allowing riders of varying fitness levels and abilities to explore challenging trails and cover longer distances with less effort. They blend traditional mountain biking with motorised convenience, making outdoor adventures more accessible and thrilling.

What are the pros and cons of eMTBs?

While having pedal assistance may be the perfect set-up for some intrepid riders, it may not be ideal for others. So, when it comes to buying a new mountain bike and deciding to go electric or analogue, it's helpful to be aware of the pros and cons so you can find your perfect new trail companion.

The Pros of eMTBs

Assisted Climbing: eMTBs provide motorised assistance, making uphill climbs and rough terrain more manageable, even for less experienced riders and for those with lower fitness levels.

Extended Range: The battery-powered motor extends ride times, allowing you to explore longer trails and cover greater distances without excessive fatigue.

Inclusivity: eMTBs are inclusive, catering to a wider range of fitness levels and physical abilities, making mountain biking more accessible to a broader audience. It's not just about making mountain biking more accessible but more inclusive, too. eMTBs help make group rides more equal. Riders with lesser fitness levels can keep up with the pack without slowing down the pace.

Boosted Confidence: The pedal assistance can boost your confidence, encouraging you to tackle more challenging trails and explore new horizons.

Time Efficiency: Electric bikes are incredibly time efficient if you only have a little time to ride or want to make the most of the exhilarating descents. Power up the climbs quickly so you can run more downhill laps in the same time than if you were riding a traditional mountain bike.

The Cons of eMTBs

Heavier Weight: The pedal assistance comes at a price: a weight penalty. eMTBs are generally heavier due to the added motor and battery, which can affect handling and agility, particularly on technical terrain. Electric mountain bikes can also be cumbersome when loading and unloading into the car.

Maintenance: The electric components require occasional maintenance and battery replacement, adding to the overall cost of ownership. In the event of a motor or battery malfunction, your components may have to go back to the manufacturer for repair, leaving you without a bike until it's fixed.

Charge time: Your bike’s battery needs time to recharge, which, depending on the battery type, can take several hours. This means that going on a bike ride requires a little extra planning to ensure your bike is ready to roll when you are.

Environmental Impact: While not as ecologically harmful as other modes of transportation, eMTBs do have a carbon footprint due to battery manufacturing and electricity consumption.

What are the pros and cons of analogue MTBs?

Considering the pros and cons of both types of mountain bikes is essential for a tailored biking experience. We've taken a look at both sides of the coin when buying an eMTB, but what about an analogue bike?

The Pros of an Analogue MTB

Pure Physical Challenge: Riding traditional mountain bikes relies solely on human power, offering an excellent cardiovascular and muscular workout that can enhance overall fitness.

Skill Development: Traditional MTBs require finesse and technical skill, providing a rewarding learning curve as you master different terrains and riding techniques.

Lightweight and Agile: These bikes are generally lighter and more agile than electric mountain bikes because they don't house batteries or motors. This lighter weight suits traditional mountain bikes for precise handling and manoeuvring on technical trails.

Eco-Friendly: Traditional MTBs have a minimal environmental impact since they do not rely on batteries or motors.

The Cons of an Analogue MTB

Strenuous Climbing: Uphill climbs can be physically demanding, and some riders may find steep or technical inclines challenging, potentially limiting the trails they can explore.

Shorter Ride Times: Without motorised assistance, you may experience fatigue more quickly on longer rides, which could limit the distance covered in a single outing.

Accessibility: Traditional MTBs may not be suitable for riders with physical limitations or those who are just starting their mountain biking journey, potentially excluding some individuals from the sport and group rides.

In the end, the choice between an eMTB and a traditional MTB depends on your personal preferences, fitness goals, and the type of riding experience you seek. Each has its own set of advantages and drawbacks, so consider what aligns best with your needs and enjoy the exhilarating world of mountain biking!

So, gear up and hit the trails! Your mountain biking adventure is just around the corner, and it's bound to be an unforgettable journey, no matter which bike you choose.