As an avid hunter, I've always sought innovative ways to enhance my hunting experience and success. Discovering the electric bikes has impacted how I scout upcoming hunts as it has impacted how I travel in the backcountry.
When I first hopped on an off-road hunting e-bike equipped with a powerful electric motor, it was like unlocking a new realm of possibilities. The ability to quickly and quietly get to new glassing areas or the ability to get in and out of my tree stand location without leaving my scent has been a game changer.
Having the strongest hunting bike allows me to navigate challenging trails and cover greater distances, my hunting expeditions have become more adventurous, efficient, and ultimately more rewarding. You too can change your hunting opportunities using an electric bike. But, not all electric bikes are built the same!
When you're searching and looking at the different e-bikes, you need to know there are two types of motors. Both may be able to accomplish the task of getting you to your hunting destination. But, depending on the terrain, the difficulty of your expedition, and how much money you are budgeting for an electric bike these will all factor into which bike you choose and which type of motor you get with that bike.
Two Types of E-Bike Motors:
There are a plethora of different manufacturers supporting the e-Bike brands. Bosch and Bafang are two companies that provide top-of-the-line motors for e-Bikes. Bike brands may produce their own motor and still each bike has the same result of a bike with either a mid-drive or a hub-drive motor.
As a hunter on the prowl looking to join the ranks of other hunters using electric bikes, you need to understand the primary components that make a bike the best for hunting. The motor and the battery make up the two most important and costly components of an electric bike. Knowing each will help you understand what capabilities each bike being offered has, and why one bike may be priced differently than another.
The battery is the main component within an e-Bike as it provides the amp hours (time the bike will assist - also known as the range) it also provides the volts which is the power through electricity leaving the battery pushing the motor and rider forward.
While the battery provides you assistance and ultimately the more volts allow you to traverse the hills and mountains, the motor ultimately drives the assistance through watts and assists with the max torque for pulling trailers or traversing the hills and mountains.
As a backcountry hunter or angler, you need the best bike that will hold up to the hard terrain for your adventures, and the motor component of the bike is important to know and understand. But don't forget the battery. As explained in our blog "Hunters and Anglers Guide to Understanding e-Bike Batteries" you want to have a 48V battery with a minimum of 17 amp hours of run time for optimal performance and range.
There are two types of e-Bike motors. The mid-drive and the hub drive. Knowing each type and how they influence your ride, you will know why a mid-drive motor may be a better choice for offroad FAT Tire travel, while e-bikes with hub drive motors have lower price points.
Let's get into the weeds and get clarity on the two types of bike motors and which one might be best for your circumstances.
What Size Motor is Best for My Hunting E-Bike?
That question depends on the rider, location, weight, and gear being hauled. The motor size provides the power assist for the bike. The watt is the rated power and the torque produced is the ability to rotate the rear wheel.
What you need to know when looking at bikes is how many watts the motor can produce. The best offroad bikes will have a higher 750-1500 max power output.
To understand how many watts your bike's motor can produce you need to also understand what battery you have on your bike. The max watts for an e-bike is based on this calculation:
Volts x Amps = Watts
As an example, the Bafang M620 motor has a maximum torque of 160Nm (Nm is Newton meters of power). It is rated as a 1000-watt motor and is sold as an eCargo and eFat motor for the heaviest loads. This motor allows the rider to dial down the overall watt output to 750w to be in compliance with Class 1 e-Bike regulations or dial it up to 1000 watts to get the most power and speed out of the bike.
Choose a 750w or Higher Mid-Drive Motor For Optimal Power and Performance for an Offroad Hunting Bike
When selecting a hunting bike consider all the different choices and bike amenities. You cannot just look at the style, you need to look at the brand, component brands, and the reviews.
The best hunting bikes on the market today have a minimum of 750-watt motor. You can get a 750w motor in both the hub-drive and mid-drive motors. An optimal motor is one that has the ability to be changed based on where the bike is being ridden. With the regulations of bike Classes, the rider must know what is allowed in where they are riding.
As we explain the differences between mid-drive and hub-drive motors you will learn that the best option for FAT Tire Hunting e-Bikes is the mid-drive. The mid-drive motors provide power directly at the crankset in the middle of the frame. Therefore, you get more torque and power immediately to the bike.
Mid-Drive Motors for Hunting FAT Tire E-Bikes
Okay, the first thing to know about the mid-drive motor is its location. This motor is located between the pedals and this is why the bike produces more power than that of the hub-drive motor. The pedal is integrated into the motor and therefore you get the best power output and torque for the bike's efficiency.
The mid-drive motor location helps balance the bike. Given its center is in the middle of the bike the overall controllability of this offroad bike is more similar to that of a bike without a motor.
The mid-drive motor is a newcomer to the e-bike community. While quickly becoming a go-to choice for avid offroad mountain bike users, this motor style has found its way into each bike manufacturer's lineup of heavy-duty terrain bikes.
Pros and Cons of a Mid-Drive Motor
Hub-Drive Motors for Hunting and Offroad E-Bikes
Hub drive motors can come in two types. A single hub motor or a dual hub motor. No matter which style you purchase the hub drive motor is located in the center of the wheel.
A rider will get a very different feeling when operating a hub-drive bike. If the motor is in the front wheel you may feel a pull sensation or if the motor is in the rear you may feel like the bike is being pushed.
The experience is different depending on the motor location but it doesn't actually mean a front motor is better than a rear motor or vice versa.
The two-motor location is also known as an all-wheel-drive option. The AWD gives the bike more control in fair conditions and propels the bike using both the front and rear motors. The dual motors will likely have two different wattages and you would combine the two to get the bike's overall watt. For example, the Eunora Defender-S, shown above, has two 750-watt motors giving it a combined watt of 1500.
But what about the regulations and restrictions of power for my e-bike according to the Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 regulations? The controls on the bike allow you to dial down the max watt and put you into the Class 1 or up to the Class 3 pedal assist bike.
Pros and Cons of a Hub-Drive Motor:
What Makes For the Best Quality Mid-Drive Motor
The components within the motor will make for the best quality overall motor. Having all metal gearing will keep the motor from wearing out the teeth and other components inside.
A mid-drive motor having load control and sensor design gives the rider control and better response. Having a powerful motor with up to 160Nm of max assistance will allow a rider to go anywhere.
How to Understand the Power Output for a Hunting e-Bike Motor
The power output refers to the Volts a battery can produce. Depending on the terrain a 36V volt motor may be efficient to get you around town.
For a hunter looking to climb hills and travel backcountry, your minimum volts should be 48. This will get you the torque to climb hills with no problem.
How Important Is Battery Capacity for Motor Output and Power
Choosing a battery that has 48V and 17Ah of the range will typically be enough for the average hunter who can recharge the battery back at camp or home.
The battery capacity or range is indicated by the Ah or "amp-hour". This is a manufactures max for the battery. If a battery says 17Ah then the indication is the battery can last for 17 hours of range or sometimes it will be recorded in the distance of 30-50 miles.
The range of a battery will be influenced by several factors. These factors include the overall weight on the bike, the terrain and amount of pedal assist, and the terrain you are traveling.
Since batteries are tested in controlled environments, I suggest you take your bike on a few rides to gauge the actual battery life before you head out and get caught in the backcountry without a charged battery.
Charging your battery requires a 2A or 3A charger that is provided by the manufacturer specifically for the battery you have on your bike. You pick up a Bakcou 200-watt solar panel for an electric hunting bike charging system. This system will allow you to recharge your bike when camping or backcountry hunting.
Final Thoughts on e-Bike Motors and Which is Best for Hunters and Anglers
Okay outdoorsmen and women it's time to make a decision.
Which motor will you choose a Mid-Drive or Hub-Drive?
Guy's when you choose a bike or brand that bike has a motor installed and you don't get to choose which motor types you want.
You need to decide on the motor and battery that is best for your application and work back from those components to the best bike. for your price range. Or You choose your price range and work around that and analyze the components, battery, and motor options.
What you learned today is there are two types of e-bike motors. The hub-drive motor can come as one hub motor or two and the mid-drive motor gives you more torque and power. You learned that the mid-drive motor is newer technology and is most popular because you can get more torque and power out of the bike.
You also learned that a mid-drive motor is easily removed and repaired or replaced while the hub-drive motor has more working parts and ultimately can impact the repairs and cost to repair the motor.
The best choice for backcountry hunters and anglers is a mid-drive motor and battery combination of 48v and 17Ah minimum. But if the price is too much look for hub-drive options with dual hubs having, at minimum 750w.
Okay, now head on out and check out a few different hunting e-bikes and go knowing the difference in motor and why one might be a better choice over another.