Split image of mountain bikers in steep downhill descent next to woman riding electric bike in city
Via scott-sports.com

E-Bike vs Mountain Bike: Which experience is right for you?

During this age of electric evolution, many forget that traditional models remain viable vehicles – especially amongst finely-engineered mountain bikes. You just can’t beat the satisfaction of conquering a long and challenging journey, powered solely by your own determination. For this feeling, almost nothing can match a pedal-powered mountain bike and a trail of your choice.

We all know that there is much more to riding than just enjoying the scenery. Whilst a relaxing E-bike ride is fun and entertaining, many riders prefer traditional mountain bike models. There are all sorts of personal preferences that influence these decisions. We aim to cover all of these differences and benefits between E-bike vs mountain bikes below:

The main differences between E-Bikes and Mountain Bikes

Starting off with the main differences between the two, both options offer a very contrasting experience. Riding a traditional mountain bike is much more physically demanding, relying purely on pedalling power to propel yourself. Uphill or downhill, grass or thick mud, a mountain bike rider must rely on their own wits and strength to power through their journey.

Two mountain bikers take sharp corner on off-road forest trail on sunny day
Via rei.com

On the other hand, an E-bike will almost always be doing the majority of the work, if not all of it. This gives riders the ability to sit and enjoy the scenery, as their electric motor effortlessly propels them. This option is much better suited to those who prefer biking as a means to get out and about, explore new areas, or simply get some fresh air.

Clearly, both the E-bike and mountain biking experience perfectly suit two very different breeds of biker. If you’re very physically active and enjoy off-roading or challenging yourself, we highly recommend a traditional mountain bike. However, if you want a calm and casual ride from A to B with no unexpected thrills, an E-bike is your best bet.

Read through our pros & cons section and learn all of the differences between E-bikes and mountain bikes in greater detail below:

E-Bikes vs Mountain Bikes: The Pros & Cons

Female biker wearing helmet rides E-bike through inner-city urban environment
Via businesswire.com

E-Bikes/E-MTB

Pros:

  • Typically quite powerful.
  • Puts all riders on a level field.
  • Offers a relaxing & effortless ride.
  • Remarkable on-road performance.
  • Doubles up as a viable commuting vehicle.
  • No pedalling or strenuous exercise is required when riding.
  • Many different models, including electric mountain bikes (E-MTB).
  • Removable/interchangeable batteries allow riders to maximise their mileage.

Cons:

  • Usually heavy.
  • Exposure to elements can damage electricals.
  • Special consideration is required for some terrains.
  • Lower-end models struggle to tackle hills and other inclines.
  • Most models are not designed for off-roading/mountain biking.
  • More expensive and harder to repair (learn all about DIY eBike maintenance here).

Mountain biker undertaking downhill descent on a steep rocky hill in the countryside
Via adventuretoursuk.com

Mountain Bikes

Pros:

  • Great physical exercise.
  • Top-tier off-roading ability.
  • More durable components.
  • Tackles virtually any terrain.
  • Much cheaper to buy & repair.
  • Much lighter than most E-bikes.
  • Perfect for those who enjoy a challenge.
  • No electrical components to worry about.
  • Many models on the market are of exceptional quality.
  • No legal limitations (read about USA PLEV laws and Canada’s PLEV laws).

Cons:

  • Harder to ride.
  • Much slower than E-bikes.
  • Slightly increased risk of injury.
  • Inefficient when riding on the road.
  • Not as versatile in function as an E-bike.
  • Some models prove complex to maintain or repair.
  • Purely pedal-powered – a hard day will leave you shattered.

What do we think, and which is right for you?

With the pros & cons of both bikes out of the way, it’s time to consider which is the best option for you. There are all sorts of factors and variables at play, from physical ability and terrain to height and age. For example, children simply do not possess the same level of endurance as an adult. In such cases, an E-bike can effortlessly bridge the gap when riding together with your child.

Father rides his bicycle with two children following behind on sunny day
Via nytimes.com

This is also true for the elderly and those suffering from disabilities – who will almost certainly enjoy their new lease on life as they partake in activities from a bygone age. A truly perfect way to include the whole family, from children to grandparents. E-bikes are also very versatile vehicles, often doubling up as a reliable option for commuting.

Despite this, E-bikes often prove much more expensive than traditional mountain bikes and offer reduced off-road function. Whilst this is countered with an E-MTB model, they are usually very expensive and best reserved for serious mountain bikers. In most cases, such riders usually opt for a traditional mountain bike, as an E-MTB would remove much of the challenge.

Electric mountain biker rides downhill dirt trail in dry mountainous environment
Via trekbikes.com

Additional Facts & Statistics

E-Bikes

  • A survey indicates that 28% of e-bikers claim they bought their E-bike as a substitute for their car.
  • The same survey states the average electric bicycle journey is 21% faster than traditional bicycles.
  • A government study conducted in Copenhagen found that 49% said that their motivation for cycling was because it’s faster than driving.
  • A North American study indicated that replacing their reliance on cars was a key motivation for up to 65% of respondents.
  • Studies indicate that E-bikers ride up to ~45% further than traditional cyclists, even when riding traditional bicycles themselves.

Mountain Bikes

  • 40+ million US citizens engage in mountain biking annually, which accounts for over 10% of the population.
  • Mountain bikes remain the most popular bike in the US, accounting for 25% of all bike rides.
  • The fastest ever speed achieved on a mountain bike was 141 mp/h (227 km/h), set by Eric Barone.
  • Throughout a 2-year mountain biker survey, it was revealed that 92.9% engaged in cross-country/trail riding. Only 4.5% participated in dirt jumping, slopestyle and other variants.
  • The mortality risk of mountain biking remains very low – approx. 0.02 per 1000 persons who engage in several journeys a year; matching the risk of mountain hiking. The study is available to view here (in German).

Female mountain biker on cliffs near shore with arms lifted in celebration during sunset
Via pond5.com

Choose Your Bike

It’s up to you to evaluate your own preferences or motivations for riding to reach your decision. However, if you’re serious about outdoor trails and love it when your legs feel the burn, a traditional mountain bike is certainly for you. Stuck on the best choice for you? Get in contact with one of our experts today and detail your requirements, we’re happy to help!

As always, thanks for reading our article on E-bikes vs mountain bikes. We hope we answered any questions or queries you have. Spotted something we’ve missed, or have an improvement? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

Man and woman riding bikes together