Electric mountain bike FAQ

Electric mountain bikes are built for riding off-road on designated trails. These bikes have all the technology and parts of traditional mountain bikes, but they also have a motor and battery designed specifically to help you tackle tough, mountainous terrain.

What is an electric mountain bike?

Electric assist mountain bikes, or e-MTBs, amplify the power you put into the bike while pedaling. When you stop pedaling, the motor stops assisting. You still have to earn your fun, but you get a better return on your energy investment.

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How does an e-MTB work?

Electric mountain bikes have a small motor under the frame where the cranks are. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery powers the motor. The motor only provides power when you are pedaling. It adds power to each of your pedal strokes, so it feels like pedaling a normal bike, except with supercharged legs. You can control how much power the motor provides with a handlebar-mounted remote. Trek e-MTBs with Bosch drive systems let you choose from three different levels of assist power. Or you can use the set-and-forget e-MTB mode that automatically adjusts the assist to deliver just the right amount of power for every situation on the trail.

How far will my e-MTB go? What’s the battery range?

E-bike range depends on several factors. Battery size, motor efficiency, rider weight, terrain, and even temperature can affect how far your e-MTB will go on one battery charge. Basically, the harder the motor has to work, the more battery power it will use. The more power it uses, the faster the battery runs out. That’s why larger riders tend to get less range than smaller riders, and why a ride on hilly terrain with a lot of sustained climbing will deplete the battery faster than a flatter ride with less climbing. To estimate how far you can ride an electric mountain bike on a single charge, check out Bosch’s range calculator.

Bosch range calculator

How fast do e-mountain bikes go?

Pedal assist mountain bikes will go as fast as your legs turn the pedals. However, the motor will stop assisting once a certain cut-off speed is reached. Generally, that cut-off speed is 20 miles per hour in North America, and 25 kilometers per hour in Europe. Above these speeds, you can keep pedaling the bike, but the motor will not provide additional power.

Are e-MTBs allowed on trails?

Regulations on where e-mountain bikes can be ridden vary by region. Generally, electric mountain bikes are approved for use on trails that allow motorized or pedal-assist vehicles. Many traditional mountain bike trails do not allow e-bikes, so it’s important to check with your local land management authority or trail owner before you ride.

Is an e-MTB right for me?

While electric mountain bikes are super fun and can help you enjoy your favorite trails even more, they're not allowed everywhere. Check the rules for the trails you plan to ride. If they don’t specifically allow pedal-assist bikes or motorized vehicles, then an e-MTB may not be your best choice.

Why choose a Trek e-MTB?

There’s a lot more to an e-bike than the motor. With Trek, you’re getting a legit mountain bike that’s developed with the same frame and suspension tech that makes our regular bikes so much fun to ride. Plus, we've focused our efforts on delivering the best e-bike experience possible so you can enjoy a ride that minimizes hassle and maximizes confidence.

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