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Electric Hunting Bikes for 2019
Happy Saturday Folks! After seeing another thread this week on ebikes for hunting I decided it was time to put together my Top 7 Electric Hunting Bikes for 2019. If any of you are curious there's a link to the article. Feedback is always welcome and I'm happy to answer any questions. I wrote this with you guys in mind so hope it adds some value to the forum. p.s. There's even a photo of Pat in there for good measure!
Great article, John. Mine is a 2017 Rambo and I love the performance but wish it had front shocks. I see the new models do. Great improvement.
One thing I wish all manufacturers would list is pedal clearance from the ground. My girlfriend's Rad Rover has 1.5" more ground clearance when her pedal is down. I hit rocks and logs with my pedals that she does not (granted, we ride some really rough and nasty stuff). I have to be cognizant of pedal placement whenever I encounter obstacles that could be problematic.
As far as mid vs. rear motor, we also go up some really steep hills here in CO and she zooms right up alongside me with her rear drive assist, but she is a very strong biker so that might make a difference vs. someone not as strong.
Nice write-up John. I've been researching eBikes and I zeroed in on almost the same list as your article, except for that front dual-wheel thing. (eek!) The Backcountry Mule was easily at the top of my list, followed by the Quiet Kat Predator. Now if the PA DCNR would ever give some clarification on using eBikes on State Forest Land... There's been talk about them allowing eBikes to go anywhere regular bikes are allowed...
"Eh bikes make people lazy, need some miles on those feet/knees" Let us know if you feel the same way when you are over 55 years old and riding a trail for a couple of miles, hauling a weapon and treestand.
Biggie bucks, so do compound bows but I bet you shoot one, right? Lazy bum looking for the easy way out, right?
I'm almost 65 with a metal hip and a bad knee, and ride a conventional mountain bike somewhere around 50-60 miles a week. I also ride an ebike whenever I feel like it and wherever its legal because I don't give a damn what some judgmental hypocrite from Alabama thinks.
Jaquomo, Yes I remember which model you have, it may be one of the older Rambo Bikes but it still sells well, good reliable bike. And if I remember correctly it can fall off a trailer on the highway at 50 miles an hour and live to tell the tale! The pedal clearance is overlooked, not once have I found it mentioned but I'll try to get those details going forward and include them in my write ups.
Olink, the laws governing ebikes and where they can and cannot go will shift a lot, many states have not yet quite grasped the idea of ebikes. In Michigan the DNR have had their conservation officers using 1000 watt Quietkats since 2016 so some states are seeing the potential applications and benefits. The Mule by BackCountry eBikes is an awesome bike. The Founders are 2 hunters out in Utah that actually built the bike for themselves before they decided to make it a career so rather than producing something acceptable a lot of real consideration went into making the ideal bike for the job.
Biggie_bucks, I get that a lot, people see the 'lazy' aspect in ebikes. And if a healthy 24 yr old would rather sit and go rather than pedal that certainly can and does happen. The beauty of selling ebikes is hearing the stories behind why people want one. grandparents keeping up with the grandchildren on bike rides, or hunters getting another 5 yrs going out instead of being forced to retire. Sounds clichè bu the benefits can be life changing.
Well said. 65years old, bad knee, I like the bicycle for 'therapy' but not sure I could pedal well enough off road. I do plenty of walking but sometimes you want to get further in a bit faster. Looking at converting my bike to electric drive. Keep up your research and sharing. Thanks
DanaC, If you do go the route of converting your regular bike to electrical, make sure the brakes are good enough to stop at extra speed. Ebikes have either mechanical disc brakes or hydraulic disc brakes for extra stopping power since the bikes are heavier and go faster. just something to keep in mind..
John, great write-up. Been toying with the idea of getting an Ebike for a year now but figured the technology would continue to improve and it has. My primary concern is the potential for changing legislation regarding the use of these bikes on public land. Do you have a sense for what is happening regarding the laws governing the use of these bikes?
Dave, a USFS Regional Trails Supervisor told me last spring that he believes USFS will follow some states' lead and make them legal wherever conventional bikes are allowed. He believes its a good thing because it gets older folks and people with physical issues out riding. He mentioned the overall aging of the population. He said "the wheels turn slowly in DC" and they lumped all classes of eBikes together when they made the ruling. He also said there has never been a citation issued on NF to his knowledge.
I tried to get a ticket on closed logging roads early last summer and the 9 different USFS people we encountered didn't care. One supervisor suggested some other closed roads we should ride. USFS has some pilot programs going on to evaluate the use.
In CO, Class 1 and 2 assist bikes are legally "not motorized" and can go wherever conventional bikes are allowed unless a local jurisdiction declares otherwise. State Forest, State Parks, State Wildlife areas where bikes are allowed are all ok. My county has 50,000 acres of foothills Open Space that we ride all the time.
Some cities/counties have restricted them to certain trails, or restrict them to only Class 1. My bike can be quickly converted to Class 1 by disabling the throttle (which I never use anyway).
Dave, I've been watching legislation closely here in PA, and to some extent on the national level too. I only see legislation becoming more liberal with regards to eBikes, not more restrictive. The reason being is that right now eBike use on public ground is already very restricted in a lot of states. If a trail is posted no motors or motorized vehicles, eBikes usually are not allowed, even if they are pedal assist and 750 watts. So the restrictions can only get more liberal, especially since more and more people are requesting that they be allowed anywhere that bicycles are allowed. Unless you are in the Rocky Mountain states, most restrictions are with regards to state lands. Some states have already gone a long way to allowing eBike use. If your state is not one of them, you need to be corresponding with your DCNR or whatever organization controls the public land.
Dave, thanks for taking the time read it. In some states the DNR are using ebikes to patrol lands so in some areas the technology is being embraced. I can only imagine that more and more states will come round. Ebikes have the same footprint as a regular bicycle so no more damaging to land. Technology has improved a lot, take the Ultra mid drive motor for example, it's now the best there is. Most ebikes don't carry it yet because it's a lot more expensive than rear hub and more expensive than the regular mid drive. I would expect to see ebikes a year from now start using more the Ultra which will increase the sale price. Luckily the technology today is at a stage where even if you opt for a rear hub or mid drive it's still a great bike and motor. The laws should allow ebikes but they also should set limits. Otherwise people will start exploiting the new laws and show up on 80mph electric motorcycles and tear up the land and ruin it for everyone. I hope the laws change soon, but these things don't happen overnight.
I am on the fence yet. I can think of some places where it would be awesome to use for hunting. Team it up with a single tire trailer and you have a workhorse. (But I am still hung up on doing stuff the "hard way"!) I have been thinking about buying my 79 year old dad one so he can drive around his 80 acres checking gopher traps. And if/when he tires of it, I am sure I can find room!
Hi Z Barebow, That sounds like a plan. A 79 yr old will get a whole new lease of freedom on his land with the help of an ebike. just as long as there balance is still good. All hunting brands have a single wheel trailer too so if you ever decide to pull the trigger I've got you covered.
I wonder what the cheapest one costs?
Hey John thanks for the write up. My worry is that the Ultra hasn't been out too long do you think all the issues have been worked out, like the teflon gears? Not that I'm brand loyal but why no Biktrix Juggernaut on the list? Price point comes in and quite a bit better value? Just curious! Thanks again!
Hey Twinetickler, The only week link with the ultra was that single teflon gear and those brands that make sure they get it with the steel gears have had only great things to say. the Ultra has been around a year, just not on all the bikes because of the extra cost. I don't have anything against the Biktrix, I just wanted to comment on what I know first hand. I could have also given a mention to Rad and M2S but I don't sell those and don't have the insight of customer feedback. I used to however sell Biktrix bikes and the components used are very good. I just had a few issues with working with Biktrix. Sometimes they would say the bikes are in stock, and only after an order is placed they'd advise there's a month or 2 wait. So it would look as though I was not being upfront about stock levels. So I dropped them.
Thanks for the reply. I'm leaning hard towards Biktrix and that 10% off you offer would be nice haha. Roshan has been great dealing with all my questions and seems to be a straight shooter in my experience thus far. Thanks again for the info!
Let me know how you get on, if Roshan has got his act together I may give him a second chance :-)
Just be cautious if you go with an Ultra, because virtually all public land where they are permitted now restricts assist bikes to 750 watts. As rules continue to evolve you might find yourself on the outside looking in unless your use is strictly private land.
Jaquomo, luckily the Mule comes in both 750 and 1000
Biktrix just released their 750 yesterday. Not sure if it's the Ultra motor or not, but the presale is a nice price point with some goodies. That one is also on my shortlist!
As to their acceptance...Ride the Rockies is allowing them this year.
Thanks for the info and generous offer John. Been looking at ebikes for a year now and getting ready to buy one. Any experience with the Voltbike line? At 60 years old it is time for me to make a move. Thanks in advance
Been thinking about them for awhile also. Specially liked Pats review as well as Lou's input and first hand knowledge. Lou/ebike john, is it that the frame of the bike is too low to the ground with the peddles or is it the crank throw length? Could the crank be changed out? Also are the front forks interchangeable so you can have front end shocks? Maybe they would be a touch taller allowing more peddle clearance? Im really diggin the Mule!
John, Can you give a brief breakdown on what these bikes weigh, lightest to heaviest? That's an important factor to me as lifting one into the back of my pick-up with a bad back is a potential issue.
Dave all the bikes I have researched have all been around 50-70 lbs depending on what tires, racks etc you add they can get heavier.
Dave ....If you have a bad back , consider a ramp for your bike to load onto your pickup.They can be awkward.
Also, what is the MSRP on the seven?
My Rambo is about 50 lbs with a rear rack and tire liners. Rather than lifting one in the back of the pickup, consider a hitch-mount bike carrier like a Capstone. It's heavy duty, locks to the hitch receiver and will also lock down on the bike frame to prevent theft..
I'm going to check to see if the new Rambo front fork with shocks can be retrofitted to my bike. Honestly, it's not that big of a deal because I run my tires around 8 lbs of pressure on the trail and it sort of "swims" over rocks and stuff.
I just measured the crank on mine - it's 10.5" from crank center to ground, where my conventional MTB is 12". Again, it's not that big of a deal because there's a learning curve to riding these things and you figure out when to have your pedals parallel to the ground over certain obstacles. Just a little annoying sometimes, but has never resulted in any sort of mishap.
Great job John!!!
I’m only 68 yo and bow hunt several states. When it comes time that I need an electric bike to hunt, I’ll be giving up hunting.
I don't think anyone said they needed an ebike to hunt, it just makes it easier which therefore makes it more enjoyable. You can always go on to kill mountain lions with rocks if you don't want easy. It's been done.
I was feeling the same way Dale06, but then I got curious enough to go and ride one. When you get past the idea that an e-bike is for someone who is to lazy to walk in and realize how much fun they are to ride, and how you will get a great low impact workout then you might be more accepting of the idea. But hey they are not for everyone and personally I hope they don't catch on.... as of now they are not really treated different than any other bike by the government and that is a good thing. The less regulation the better.
Rambo says I can retrofit mine with a new front fork with shocks.
Dale, question for you - how do you get to where you take off on foot to hunt? 4WD truck? You really dont need one of those to hunt either, and would do just fine with a Prius. Better yet, on foot only, from home to your hunting spot. Thats the right way to do it, isn't it. And of course you don't shoot a compound bow because thats the easy way out. Please keep us posted on when you stop hunting. That's one of the dumbest comments yet.. Why do some self-righteous hypocrites feel compelled to come on an honest thread like this and diss people?
As far as a workout, its what you make it. I often ride mine with no assist, just like a regular fat bike, and use minimal assist to help on steep hills. I come back from Rambo rides bruised, scraped, sometimes bloody, and totally sapped. Just like on my old fashioned MTB.
I am 69 years old and hunt over 7 states in one season, depending on tags etc,,,,, I talked to Jaquomo on PM, here,,,,, I would really love to have one,,,,, and I hope to hunt into my 90's
Question for John. Rambo is sending out a new front fork with shocks. How difficult is it to swap that out? Seems like there would be a bearing race inside the front stem of the frame. As a bike mechanic, I'm a better bowhunter. But I have basic skills. Theres a good bike shop I work with here that would do it if it's complicated or takes special tools
Jaquano, Chill! If you want to ride an electric bike, have at it I simply said I’m not going to do so. Never said a peep about those that choose to ride them, why would I care about others transportation to a stand. I’m not going to dis you or call you names because we choose to use different methods/equipment to bow hunt
Well Dale, negative nuance doesn't play well on the net. When you drop in on an otherwise very positive thread and post something like, (cue snarky voice) "I'd rather quit hunting than do what you guys do", it might be taken the wrong way. Or not.