The bike was packed for shipping nicely. Assembly took about an hour. Assembly instructions were adequate, but could improve. The owners/ operation manual was omitted from my delivery, but John is taking care of that.
My first ride, today, was only 5 miles, during half-time of the Chiefs vs Texans game, but it included a 3/4 mile hill that usually kicks my ass on a conventional MTB. I peddled right up it without breaking a sweat, on level 2 assist. Otherwise, I left it on level one, and maintained a nice high heart rate the whole time.
This thing seems solid, stable on our loose gravel county roads, and is going to extend my range significantly. It will take more rides to learn its full potential, but I'm not regretting the purchase at all, right now.
I can't wait to scout and hunt with this thing!
My wife has an ebike I bought for her and its pretty cool... More of a smooth terrain bike, it doesn't have a suspension... but it hauls AZZZZ!
I rode on maintained county dirt roads, but they have a lot of loose gravel, which makes conventional MTB riding an adventure. The Mule's fat tires made them a breeze.
When I get in better shape, I'm going to tackle the 4x4 2-track that goes to the top of my property. It's not possible for me on a conventional MTB, but I think it's definitely doable on this Mule. I'll report back when that day comes.
I rode mine today too. Went to the hardware store and stopped by a buddies house. Another 7 miles
My Rambo is much better behaved and costs waaay less to feed....
Glad you're enjoying your Mule. Next you'll be cooking with Sous Vide!
You'll get to where you jump on it and pedal for errands instead of jumping in the vehicle.
Always Wear a Helmet!
I’ve never rode a fat bike. Do they really pedal as easy as a standard tire mountain bike? I guess what I can’t get my mind around is why are the e bikes tires much wider then a standard bike if the wider tires are harder to pedal.
With no power assist, a fat tire bike is a bit more difficult to pedal than a regular MTB, just like a MTB is more difficult than a skinning tire road bike. The fatter the tires, the more stable they are on loose or uneven terrain. You also ride fat tires with much less air pressure, which improves traction and absorbs bumps more.
The way the Mule works is it provides 5 levels of power assist. Level 1 is the least assist. As you pedal, the motor senses how much pressure you're putting on the pedals, then applies the power accordingly, so you can always maintain a comfortable level of pedaling effort regardless of the terrain. You can also use the motor's throttle, which provides full power, so you can ride it like a motorcycle without pedaling, but that's not recommended for long distances because it will burn up the motor.
Think of a bike that allows you to comfortably pedal with as much, or as little, effort as you desire, regardless of the terrain. That's what an e-bike does, and it's very very cool.
Yes you did, and I was being a fool.
I got my education on e-bikes when I saw two 65-plus year old gentlemen pack out full quarters of a monster bull elk 4 miles, riding e-bikes, in 1/4 of the time it took me on foot.
As we get older those lines seem to change. Something about older/wiser
eBikes are not just for old people, or out of shape people. They are an amazing tool like an atv.
Have any of you Mule owners raised your handlebars? If so, how? I'm a bit over 6'-4" tall. I have the Mule's seat adjusted to max height, which puts the handlebars lower than the seat, and causes a more hunched over riding position than I like. I want to raise the handlebars 1-2", but I'm unfamiliar with the headset on this bike. It appears to be set at the highest position already. Can I put a longer stem on?
How bout a pic or two of your new ride?!
I also found this steerer extender. Any thoughts on which would be better?
With a correctly-sized stem you'll still just have the single bolted connection from the stem to the fork steerer tube.
Really nice looking machine! You are going to love that
That said my old reliable Tacoma cost barely more than that so I'll have to pass. Would be really awesome to have though.
If you're a tall rider who prefers a more natural upright riding position, I highly recommend this modification.
Grey Ghost's Link
There are many proponents of eBikes on BS, which to me seems contrary to the view regarding other tools that make things physically easier (e.g. Xbows). In the short-term those who jump on eBikes may enjoy easier access to their hunting areas. In the long-term everyone will be doing it and those hotspots won't be hot anymore.
Like it not, e-bikes are allowed anywhere a regular bike is in National Parks, assuming they meet the definition established by the Dept of Interior. Thank you, Trump administration!! Furthermore, they are allowed in about 40% of National Forests. I suspect the Dept of Agriculture will follow the Interior's lead, and allow them to be used anywhere a regular bike is allowed in the National Forests, soon.
They are here to stay, you might as well embrace them, just like you embrace your 4x4 pickup, ATV, horses, light weight backpacking gear, range finder, GPS, etc, etc...
BTW, where are your fenders?
I made mine from some kydex material - same stuff gun holsters are made from - cheap and easy. Like a previous girlfriend I had.
My main problem with the Bakcou fenders was they attached with a single screw on the front. And they recommended drilling holes in the rear fenders, then use zip-ties to secure the fender on the rear rack. That screamed lack of engineering to me, so I left them off until I come up with a better solution.
Will this "ruin" hunting? Mayne so. Depends on your perspective. For me, it has opened up new possibilities where I don't have to compete with hordes of Sitka Warriors. Did compound bows ruin bowhunting? Perhaps, but they aren't going away either.
This e-bike has renewed my enjoyment for riding a bike. I can still get the workout I desire, with much less pain, and I travel 3-4 times farther.
What’s not to like about that?
Rut Nut's Link
So I’ve decided to take my new ice-fishing contraption out west with me next year for my elk hunt. In case you are not familiar with the Snowdog................it is not considered a motorized “vehicle” , therefore it does not have to be registered like an ATV, UTV, dirt bike(motorcycle) or snowmobile.
It has a top speed of 25 mph and has a cargo capacity of 600 lbs and range of 50 miles with it’s 1.75 gal gas tank.
Can go just about anywhere you can hike or mtn (or E-)bike.
Should come in VERY handy on the Elk Hunt next year! ;-)
Rut Nut's Link
This Xbow has renewed my enjoyment for shooting. I can still get the accuracy I desire, with much less pain, and practice time. And I'm accurate 3-4 times farther.
What’s not to like about that?
I view my e-bike as an investment in my physical fitness. No different than a membership to a gym, or a piece of workout equipment in my basement. The only difference is, I can also use it effectively while hunting. Win win.
It's not unlike my friend who took a strong moral stand against stem cell research. Then he got a aplastic anemia and adamantly supported stem cell research with no recollection of his previous stance on the matter. It's remarkable how much people's values and sense of right and wrong are influenced by their personal situation and how much they stand to gain. And.... importantly, these things mostly happen without people being the least bit aware of them.
IMO, the reality is most hunters don't even ride bikes, much less a $4K e-bike. As such, all this hand-wringing about how e-bike riders are going to swarm the woods is mostly nonsense. Yes, e-bikes will expand the range of a few hunters, but I doubt they will ever become as popular as ATVs, because they still require a certain level of physical fitness and effort to ride, especially off-road.
Apples and oranges, just like your earlier ridiculous analogy of corn piles and eBikes. Apparently everything you dislike falls into one category and you lack the ability to think about concepts like weaponry, transportation and hunting methods as separate concepts.
Can't wait to see the video of Rut Nut taking his Snowdog on a single track in the mountains. :)
Pigdoc- Of course it won’t go anywhere, but It will go many places an e-bike cannot go due to it’s much lower Center of Gravity and the increased traction due to the snowmobile type track!
Win Win of technology for every season :)
I didn't switch to Xbow, I simply replaced "eBike" with "Xbow" in Grey Ghost's post.
I don't know WHY we strive to include everybody in everything. I'm too short to dunk a basketball, so please lower the net for me. My shoulder hurts so can I use an Xbow during bow season? I can't cock my Xbow, can I use a rifle during bow season? It's too hard for me to hike into a Wilderness, can I use my MTB? It's too hard for me to MTB, can I use a little motor? All pretty consistent positions IMO.
Not against technology, never have been. Just because you assume no NEW people with an eBike will take up elk hunting, there are already too many elk hunters (i.e. not enough tags to meet demand) so changing methods of access could and probably will have huge repercussions.
Like I've said countless times, eBikes are here, they are becoming legal in many places, and I may even use one. But the very same arguments AGAINST certain things are being used FOR eBikes. Funny IMO.
Perry, where can you legally take that Snowdog (out West) that you can't take a 4-wheeler?
And exactly where are these areas? I've canoed the BWCA for many of the past 45 years. Can't take eBikes there. I've elk hunted the Pecos Wilderness many times with my own horses. Can't take eBikes there. You can't take eBikes into any designated wilderness areas and National Parks. Where are all these "areas not accessible by motor vehicles" that are going to be overtaken by eBikes? Most places accessible by eBikes, including National Forests, are already accessible by 4-wheelers and dirt bikes.
Pig Doc: Jaq and others have specifically said they already do and/or want to use eBikes in areas NOT already accessible by ATVs and dirt bikes. Nearly every NF has Motor Vehicle Use Maps, which indicate which roads & trails are accessible by particular vehicles. I am TOTALLY IN FAVOR OF eBikes being used where motorized vehicles are allowed.
But there are LOTS of areas NOT PREVIOUSLY open to motorized vehicles (i.e. every place not designated as a trail or road) that have suddenly become open to EBs. A little motor is now OK there. And we're happy about that because it makes it easier and we're getting older...
Regarding compound bows, etc. I wasn't around when decision was made. Perhaps I would have spoken out against compounds then, who knows?
If a ruling came out that stated "every trail that an ATV can physically drive on is now open to ATVs" or "off road travel by ATVs is allowed anywhere and everywhere" most would be livid. But make it open to EBs that only a few of us own...great for ME!
Please tell me where all these non-motorized areas are that are suddenly going to be invaded by older out of shape hunters on e-bikes. If you think that will be the case in Colorado, you don't know a lick about hunting or biking in the CO mountains. In 50 years of hunting in Colorado, I don't recall ever seeing a hunter on a MTB using a trail that couldn't also be ridden on a with an ATV. Now, suddenly, we're going to see a bunch of geriatric hunters pedaling up trails where ATVs can't go? Right.
I will be scouting and hunting with my e-bike on BLM land where any yahoo with 4 wheels, and a tank full of gas, can legally drive. The difference is, I won't be alerting game to my presence and spooking them out of the county like the army of ATVs and 4x4s do.
I think that's a PERFECT use for EB. Silent, deadly. Used where motorized vehicles are allowed.
But in most areas MTB can legally be ridden on elk trails, cattle trails and even cross country. Now an EB is the considered "the same" as a MTB.
I have NEVER said turn back the clock and use spears, whatever. Most are entirely missing my point (or intentionally choosing to do so) and blowing my comments way out of proportion (no surprise).
ucsdryder made my point to the extreme "pretty soon you’ll be able to access your favorite spot with a 1 man drone. Keeping the old geezers in the field since 2030! ;)" Why would easier more efficient access in the form a drone be bad? But EB be good?
Gray ghost, I think he’s referring to the comments further up from people saying it’s necessary because they’re getting old and can’t access the areas they used to access.
I’m only asking because all this talk and GGs photos has me considering getting one. The boss doesn’t know I’m thinking about it so let’s keep it between us.
Again, I've never seen a hunter on a MTB on a trail like you've described. I know some guys do it, but they are ultra fit athletes who are few and far between. Do you really think a "small motor" is going to change that in CO, or anywhere in the Rocky Mountains? If so, you haven't done much hunting or biking out here. Heck, I have maintained county roads around my place with hills that are brutal to ride on a MTB. The e-bike only makes them slightly less brutal. You still have to pedal an e-bike. They aren't motorcycles.
Assuming ebikes make the massive difference you are scared of - do you think that at the end of the day the success rate of archery elk hunters will change? Somehow suddenly, the guys that couldn't kill elk before because they can't seal the deal for whatever reason after sitting on a golden motorized seat are now suddenly going to become bonafide elk killers? Not happening. So what does that mean? It sounds like it spreads the pressure out, making the elk more accessible for the average guy without horses, llamas, goats, or ebikes, and anyone who normally kills elk will continue to do so because they adapt and overcome. Just like the elk do. You still need to find the elk, you still need to get in range of the elk, put yourself in the right wind, right location, maybe call or don't call that elk to get to that spot. Same for mulies or whatever. The same # of tags are going to be given out, and the success rate will be the same. Just the location of these kills may change.
The ability for people to escout has a FAR more reaching affect on losing your "hot spot" than ebikes ever will. The hunter is still only as dangerous as the guy sitting on the seat. And that's why it's a completely different argument than a crossbow. A crossbow changes the danger factor of the guy holding it. Even though I truly hope any hunter with legitimate shoulder issues picks one up and keeps hunting.
My point is, if you’ve never pedaled a bike up steep loose rocky terrain at 10-12K elevation, you have no idea how difficult it is. I truly admire the people who can do it, but they are a rare breed. I don’t think a 750W motor on a bike is going to transform the average hunter into a mountain conquering beast.
Did you get much snow spray from the fat tires, or did the fenders do a decent job of keeping you dry?
Nice looking ebike, BTW. ;-)
Pirogue, can't speak for Matt but I picked the 750 because Colorado law permits them wherever any other bikes can go, and after the USFS Regional Trails Supervisor told me the USFS was heading in that direction (749 watts and below).
Yes I went with the 750, in case I want to ride it where regulations only permit that size motor or smaller. The nice thing about the Mule's motor is that it's actually a 1000W motor that is dialed down to 750 via software. I have the option to switch it to 1000W if I choose to, but I think it would have to go back to the factory to do so.
They won't, because they'll never be permitted in Wilderness without modifying the Wilderness Act, which ain't gonna happen. Sitka Army and Kuiu Warriors crave the solitude wilderness provides, so assist bikes into regular old National Forest doesn't fit the program. Heck, they could ride MTBs into roadless NF now and very few do it because, you know, it isn't regulation Wilderness.
Elk backpack hunting is the new flat-brimmer endurance sport. It isn't about the hunting as much as its about getting so far back in that you're about to pop out the other side. Assist bikes are only for old men and pussies.
Thanks. I guess I'll install the fenders. Then, the first time I dump the bike and the fenders break off, I'll look for a better option.
My wife skied Mary Jane, today, and said it was beautiful up there. I chose to stay home and pedal my e-bike some more on the front range. I need to purchase a bike rack to haul my e-bike back and forth to Winter Park. The biking trails up there are second to none, but I'm not sure how I'll like riding on snowpack and ice. I'll probably wait until things dry out this spring/summer up there.
I too need a rack to put on my Jeep for the eBike. eBike Generation has one and I just saw that Thule has one as well. I'm checking both out. There are also some aftermarket metal fenders that fit the Mule that I'm checking out. As with most things we buy, you can spend as much on accessories as you do on the original purchase.
Grey Ghost's Link
I have one of those fold-down bike racks for me and my wife's regular MTBs. I think it's a Thule. I've never cared for it because it's not very stable. The bikes jostle around a bunch, especially on rough roads. Lou recommended the Capstone model for my e-bike, which looks a lot more stable (see link). I think that's the one I'm getting.
Edit: After reading some of the reviews on the Capstone rack (I always find the negative reviews more informative), it sounds like it suffers from the same problems I have with my Thule rack...to many moving parts that loosen up and cause the bikes to jostle around. Now, I'm looking into hitch-mounted racks that are designed for small motorcycles. I think that will be a better solution for these heavy e-bikes.
Grey Ghost's Link
The 70 lb maximum load limit of the Capstone is why I'm looking at other options. My e-bike alone will push that limit. A second bike would exceed it. I'm leaning towards a small motorcycle rack with a more simple design, 400-500 lb capacity, for less money. See link.
My wife and I have had MTBs for 20-plus years and I've never hauled both bikes, just mine. She doesn't like riding around our ranch, because of the rutted washboard roads, but she loves pedaling around Winter Park, so that's where her MTB resides year-round. I think a single bike rack will suit my purposes fine.
The added benefit of the dirt bike rack is I could a strap a large cooler, cargo carrier, or even a dead critter to it, if necessary. When we drive down to Florida for a full month every spring, my wife manages to pack my pickup to the gills, and we often do battle over what items get left behind. A little extra cargo space would be nice.
John, thanks for providing excellent customer service on my purchase, and for the Bowsite discount. I'm sure I'll be referring a few friends to you, when they have an opportunity to ride my Mule.
Pig Doc's Link
Many are designed to carry 2-4 bicycles, so one EB should be fine. I think you'll find a used one for a lot cheaper.
The screw-hitch pin that Lou referred to helps keep the racks from rocking and rolling. But you can always run a tie down strap to each side of your bumper.
I'd think any of the name brands will be plenty robust. The last one I bought on Craigs was a 2 bike model Thule and was $75 super stout...
Smarba, the rack I have is a 4-bike Yakima like this one, only it's 12 years old, so maybe they've improved. I've never cared for it. There's no way I'm hanging my e-bike on it. In fact, I'd give it away for shipping costs.
The dirt bike rack is the route I'm going. It should be a very stable solution.
I tow my Jeep behind my RV a few times a year. The RV's hitch receiver is getting very sloppy, and I can feel it clunk back and forth every time I pull to and away from a stop. That nifty little idea should fix it right up.
Get/make fenders. For riding for fun/fitness, that's optional. But for hunting, as someone noted, any puddles you go through, a dewy field, etc, and the bike will be covering your back with wetness... That's not going to be fun in a tree/blind/stalking.
Play with tire pressure. Less pressure creates more traction if it's snowy/muddy/slick. You do increase pinch flat risk, so how much less you use is something you have to experiment with. It can make a massive difference!
So, these fatty tires really kick a lot of rain, snow, mud, etc...eh? I've never had fenders on my MTBs, and never felt like I needed them, but perhaps this e-bike is a different animal. Of course, my MTB was just a fitness tool, so I was selective when I rode. I do plan to scout and hunt on my Mule, so I best get my fenders on.
I've always been anal about about keeping my chit clean and in top working order. My 15-year old RV looks and operates like brand new, for example, despite a lot of use. That approach has always paid off when I decided to sell my chit, and upgrade. My Mule will get the same treatment. I'm just working thru the details.
Took me about a week to figure out how bomb-proof they are, after the bike dumped onto the interstate at 70 mph and was still rideable, albeit with a slightly bent handlebar and one tweaked pedal stem. That showed me some things.
I've ridden my Mule almost every day, for 5-8 miles, since I received it, and I always look forward to the next ride. I get some inquisitive looks from passing cars, because you don't see bike riders too often on the county roads around here, but the looks usually include a friendly hand-wave.
Yesterday, my wife, who has been less than enthusiastic about the Mule, took her first ride on it. As predicted, her first question upon returning was "is there a cheaper model that would work for me?" Ha! It looks like I'll be giving e-bike John another call soon. ;-)
One question, is it normal for the batteries to regain some charge after sitting overnight? I noticed at the end of my ride yesterday the display showed the battery at 94%. This morning it's displaying 100%. Hmmm....?
When I got mine, I actually read thru the instructions and payed close attention to the battery section. They called for a 'Balancing of cells' - meaning after the first 3 times you ride, remove the battery and let it charge for 12hrs each time. Even tho the green light on the charger was on, continue charging for 12 hrs.
Now that I have completed that process, I charge until the green light comes one.
Yeah, I kinda skimmed over the battery section and didn't see the "balancing of cells" part. I let the original overnight charge get down to about 75%, then recharged it overnight again, but I didn't charge it after each of the first 3 rides. Hopefully that didn't compromise the batteries too much.
The gain in percentage of charge after sitting overnight still confuses me. I figured if I shut it off with a 93% charge, it be at 93%, or slightly lower, the next time I turned it on. Maybe that's all part of the "balancing" thing with these large battery packs. I'll keep monitoring it ...
If you are storing for a long period of time (like the several months of winter), charge it to around 50 percent and keep it in a fire-safe place.
If you have to choose between storing your batteries empty or full…choose full to keep the battery from drifting down to a level that it cannot be safely charged"
I'm in central Colorado. Not sure why that's not showing on my profile. I keep my mule in a non-heated garage. The weather has been moderate, lows in the 20s, highs in the 40-50s. I shut it off yesterday after my ride, at the daytime highs, showing 93% on the display. I left the battery on the bike overnight. This morning, at the daytime lows, it showed 100%. Kinda opposite behavior of what you explained.
One other question for Mule owners. Is there a way to adjust the seat front to back? I'd like to adjust mine rearward due to my long legs. When I looked at it yesterday, it appeared I could only adjust the horizontal angle, but not front to back.
Which brings me to one construction criticism I have for Bakcou. As I mentioned earlier, the assembly instructions were only adequate. And the PDF owner's manuals that John sent me are a bit lacking. There's nothing about adjusting the seat for proper ride height, for example. And there's very little operating and maintenance instructions. Like, do you have to be pedaling to shift gears like a regular MTB? Can you shift gears while using the throttle? What's is Eco and Sport mode, and when are either modes preferable? Can you change assist levels while using the throttle? Is there any periodic maintenance on the motor necessary? How and and when should you adjust the brakes? How do you adjust the front suspension? Is there a warranty, if so, how long? I've answered some of my questions simply by riding it, and experimenting, but I think these details should be covered in the manual.
eBike John's Link
Regarding the user manual, you're not the first to say it's a bit thin on details. sure, I've never found a user manual that is rich in info, but I'll pass that on and show them the feedback.
As for your wife, good news is, BAKCOU are launching a few new models in April, I just updated the BAKCOU collection page last night with the soon to arrive new models. namely a Step Through version of the Mule, and a rear hub version called the Flatlander, so while it has all the best components that the Mule uses, it has a rear hub motor, taking the cost down quite a bit, and it will perform better on flat to small hills. I'll drop a link to the collection page.
Just a quick update and a question....
I've put about 50 miles on my Mule since I got it, and I'm still loving it. I'm starting to the feel the fitness benefits, too. My legs and wind are getting stronger, and I've lost a notch on my belt. ;-)
A few observations. The fenders are definitely the cheapest component on the Mule. Both front and rear fenders rattled loudly when riding over rough washboard. I used zip-ties to secure the rear fender, so it's quiet now. The front fender still slaps against the frame on the roughest washboard. Not sure how to fix that. I'll probably just take it off.
The advertising that claims these e-bikes are totally silent is a little misleading. The fat tires make quite a bit of road noise on the county roads I've been riding. The motor also has an audible humming noise when it is assisting, like a golf cart, but not as loud. The humming gets higher pitched the more assist I use. If I ride with no assist, the noise goes away. And there is the usual chain noise when you shift gears like all MTBs have. Overall, it's much much more quiet than any 4-wheeled vehicle with an engine, but not as quiet as walking.
I've also noticed while pedaling uphill that downshifts sometimes take several pedal strokes before the actual shift occurs. And there's a brief moment while it's shifting that the assist cuts off. It's not a big deal on the roads I've been riding, but I can see that being problematic when trying to maintain momentum and balance on more difficult terrain. I'm not sure if that's normal, or if my Mule needs an adjustment of some kind. John?
And finally my question. I've read conflicting information on how to charge for maximize battery life. Some say you should charge to 100% after each ride, which I've been doing. Others say you should try to maintain a range of 60-80% charged to increase the lifespan, but my charger has no way of doing that. What do you guys do, or am I worrying about nothing?
I won't be hunting in snow or leaves with my e-bike. My driveway is typical of the roads and trails I will be using it on. I made 2 videos that demonstrate walking versus riding on my driveway. Have a listen and let me know which you think is more quiet.