Are you looking for an easier way to get to your blind or tree stand? Or perhaps check all your trail cams in a fraction of the time it takes today? Is that sweet spot you know getting harder to reach?
When you have to carry 50lbs of gear on your back for 5 or even 10 miles and if you’re lucky you have something to haul back out, using an electric bike built specifically for offroad and woodlands that is also capable of carrying your gear, wouldn’t that make the experience a whole lot more enjoyable?
Electric hunting bikes have been around for a few years and technology has come a long way. Today an ebike built specifically for the purpose of hunting can make a big difference to the success of your trip and every trip after that.
I recently sold an ebike to a hunter out in the mid west and as we got chatting about what type of components he would need it came up that getting the ebike was actually his wife’s idea.
She told him that since he was getting on in years and his knees were not as reliable as they once were, his wife would feel a lot better knowing he had the bike to help him get in and out.
If was the first time I really considered the emotional aspect of not only the hunter and the benefits the ebike brings to the hunt, but also to the piece of mind the family have.
Knowing the rider can still travel on the ebike without pedaling (in case of injury for example) by just engaging the throttle. Or just getting out of a precarious situation in a matter of second. The benefits stretch further than riding uphill with ease.
Anyway, I wanted to present to you what I feel are the best 7 ebikes for hunting on the market today. The list truth be told could have been 17 but who has time to read through all those?!
Before getting into the list of bikes I selected I thought it would be helpful to explain a few fundamentals and what actually makes a good ebike and more importantly what makes a good ebike for hunting, including the motor types, and how to calculate the range of the battery, as it’s the battery that determines range.
So what is an electric hunting bike?
Is it just an ebike with a slick camo paint job? Luckily not! Otherwise you wouldn’t get very far on one.
What makes an ebike adapt for hunting? Well, a regular ebike is basically a bicycle with a motor attached and a battery to power the motor. An electric hunting bike is so much more.
The really good electric hunting bikes that we’ll look at later in the write up start with the motor, a motor that is powerful enough to carry a 300lb rider and still tow a trailer with lots of gear. The bike is then designed and built around that motor.
The bike frame needs to be built to withstand the rough terrain yet be light enough to lift out of your pick up or trailer.
Front suspension is a very important aspect for a smooth ride. Nobody wants to clamp their finely tuned bow to their handle bars only to ride 10 miles rocking and vibrating all the way in.
Ebikes built for hunting also have fat tires ranging between 4” and 4.8” so most terrain is a breeze.
One ebike on the list (The Mule) actually has a walk-assist mode too. Imagine you are pulling a load on the bike trailer and you come to a terrain or hill that you’re not confident navigating on the saddle. You can walk beside the bike with the walk-assist engaged at 2.5 mph and the ebike does the heavy lifting.
As I explain which 7 ebikes make the list and why, take note of the different types of motors. The motor is the most important aspect of the ebike and depending on what you use it for and where you plan to use it, should be the biggest factor when choosing your next electric hunting bike.
Which ebike motor is best?
Well really it depends on what you’re planning on using it for. If you’re using it on moderate to rough terrain with some hill climbing a regular mid drive would be best suited.
If you know you will have some challenging hills and/or rough terrain that you need to be in complete control of the power output then the Ultra mid drive is the one that will get the job done best.
If you have moderate terrain with some hills but nothing too steep (not over 20°) a rear hub motor will do a good job and you won’t even need the higher priced mid drive or Ultra mid drive.
Rear Hub Motor
The rear hub sits inside the back wheel. The hub motor is simple and quite inexpensive to manufacture and so usually used on ebikes that don’t need the hill capabilities of the mid drive which means a less expensive ebike. Hub motors tend to be more about raw power and brute force, it pushes from the back and can feel similar to the force of a motorcycle.
Mid Drive Motor
Mid drive motors sit encased in the frame between the pedals and offer a more balanced, even force which feels more natural. Mid drive motors are known for higher performance and torque when compared to a traditional hub motor allowing it to perform better on hills.
One key reason is the mid drive motor drives the crank, instead of the wheel itself, multiplying its power and allowing it to better take advantage of the bike’s existing gears. Mid drive motors are more expensive than hub motors so the ebikes with this motor are a higher price point.
Ultra Mid Drive Motor
Ultra mid drive motors are the best motors on the market today. The Ultra mid drive motor is made by Bafang (G510) and has all the performance capabilities of the regular mid drive and more. A regular mid drive has both cadence and speed sensors, while the Ultra has a torque sensor too.
A torque sensor is the best control you can have over an ebike. The harder you push the more assistance you get proportionally. There are also sensors that will reduce power when the system senses that the rider is going to shift gears to make the shift smoother.
What about ebike range?
Well the range is determined by the battery. As long as you get a battery by a well known manufacturer like Samsung, LG or Panasonic the general rules apply. Get a lesser known lower quality battery and the lifespan and individual charges are not so great.
But how is ebike range calculated?
The way to calculate the range of an ebike is by checking the 2 key values, volts and Amp Hours (Ah).
When you multiply the number of volts by the number of Ah you get a new value, this value is known as Watt Hours. On average in real world terms an ebike will use around 20 watt hours per mile, so that is how we can figure it out.
Here’s an example: 48 Volts x 10 Ah = 480 Wh. 480 divided by 20 = 24 miles.
And that’s 24 miles with only throttle, no pedaling. If you use the pedal assist function the range can double.
There are factors that will vary this somewhat. Rider weight, wind conditions, terrain, uphill. Even really cold weather could cause you to lose 15% more battery juice compared to a nice Summers day.
But with the calculation I just showed you at least you can read an ebike listing and know the true range you get.
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