Electric bikes (eBikes) are more affordable, efficient, and versatile than ever before, making them the go-to way to get around town. You can use an eBike to cut through traffic on your way to work, tour your favorite vacation destination, or run down the street to grab groceries.
There are many types of eBikes on the market but ideally, you’ll match your eBike with where and how you plan on riding. If you plan on using off-road trails, unbeaten paths, and have to face a bunch of adverse weather conditions you want a good all-terrain eBike.
Let’s learn what qualities make for a good all terrain electric bike and how to make sure your ride is comfortable no matter where you take your eBike.
7 Qualities of a Good All Terrain eBike
Frame – A good all terrain electric bike starts with a tough frame. The bike’s frame must support both the rider and the rest of the bike through a variety of terrain without kicking the rider’s butt (literally.) For a great eBike frame you want not only strength but also a little bit of “give” to absorb the impact of the trail or road.
A great all terrain electric bike needs a frame built from steel or a strong aluminum alloy. Steel is the better frame, but it comes at cost and weight. Aluminum alloys are a great frame for 90% of eBike riders. 6061 aluminum alloy frames like Volta’s G650 offer a good mix of lightweight, strength, and flexibility.
Tires – All terrain eBikes come with ‘fat’ tires to help navigate several types of terrains under several conditions. While a normal bike tire is approximately 0.5 to 2.5 inches wide, fat tires measure anywhere from 3.5 to 5.2 inches wide. All terrain fat tires are also inflated to a much lower pressure when compared to traditional bike tires.
The large treads, wide berth, and partial inflation gives you excellent traction and surface contact so you can take your eBike through rougher trails or across snowy or icy rides. The bigger the tire, the more suitable it is for all terrain use and all conditions use.
Suspension – Suspension is key for a comfortable ride. Without a great suspension system, you’ll end up chattering your teeth and bruising your butt. For a great all terrain electric bike you want a 3-point suspension aka ‘full’ suspension. The 3-points include the front tire, back tire, and the seat. Volta’s XF800 fat tire eBike is a great example of a full, 3-point suspension.
Manual springs make for efficient suspensions but if you want the best, you want a closed oil spring or hydraulic suspension system. Closed suspensions help keep dirt, dust, and other materials from clogging your system, making for a smooth ride no matter where you go.
Tough Motor – Everything we’ve talked about to this point can be found on any bike but if we’re talking about electric bikes, we need to talk about the motor and battery. Like any other part of all terrain eBike you need a tough motor that has the horsepower to help you navigate whatever conditions you encounter. Look for enough power (500W or more) to get you through steep and difficult riding.
Long Battery Life – If you’re looking for an all terrain bike, chances are good you want a long battery life too. You don’t want to run out of juice a few miles into your national park ride or on the trail on the way to the office so choose an eBike whose battery can carry you at least 40 miles on a single charge. Keep in mind the more battery and miles, the more weight, so look for a compromise between the two.
Gears and Speeds – All terrain eBike riders don’t always want or need power assist. You might need to slip into manual mode to navigate difficult or tricky terrain or for more exercise. Those who use manual mode often need the versatility of multiple gears for different slopes and terrain. For all terrain eBikes you want at least 7 speeds but upwards of 27 speeds like the Volta Cycles XF770 folding electric mountain bike if you like the most options possible. Think of how often you plan to use manual mode and how many speeds you need to make your journey.
Accessories – Lastly, consider the accessories you might need on all terrain bike like rack to carry your pack, lights for dim situations and night riding, or an efficient horn to let other riders know you’re coming. Accessories help round out a good eBike into a great all-terrain eBike.
Finding the Best All-Terrain eBike
If you’re shopping for an all-terrain bike you need to make sure it has a tough frame, fat tires, plenty of suspension, and will have the motor and battery to help you through more difficult terrain. If you can find an eBike that fits these criteria and comes in under your budget, you’ll have a great all terrain bike to take you anywhere.