Elevate Your Hunt With An Electric Hunting Bike
By John Murphy
Are you looking to cover more ground in a fast, efficient, quiet way? Or are you simply trying to cover the same area that you did in your 20s and 30s? Electric hunting bikes are still a fairly new concept but more and more hunters are getting on board and it’s a game changer for many of them.
Electric hunting bikes can carry you and your gear to remote spots that you could no longer reach on foot. They have powerful quiet electric motors that can propel you along at speeds of up to 28 mph without the need to pedal.
The technology is evolving fast. Faster than the laws that govern their use and there are still a few states that consider ebikes motorized vehicles but as ebikes become more and more popular and hunters see the advantages, the state laws and federal laws will start to adapt.
"I sell 100's of electric hunting bikes every year and more often than not the guy on the other end of the phone tells me a familiar story." - - - John Murphy
He’s an avid hunter, always has been. But as the years pass his knees or back are not what they used to be but he’s not ready to hang up his bow or rifle. With an electric hunting bike he/she can see another 10 seasons.
It’s not about getting a cool toy and going fast. It’s about extending the lifespan of the activity that they are not ready to give up. One guy a few months ago bought an ebike because he wife said it was the only way she would allow he to go out again. She knew that with an ebike he would be able to move around a lot easier and not have to carry heavy gear on his back for miles. Sound familiar?
What is an Electric Hunting Bike
You probably already know this. It’s simply a bicycle with a motor and a battery to run the motor.
But an electric hunting bike is not a plain old ebike. A standard ebike wouldn’t last an hour offroad on rough terrain. An electric hunting bike is built to be a hunter’s tool. An ebike built will a strong motor to tackle rough terrain and a battery that will last anywhere 20 miles to 60 miles on a single charge.
They are also built with heavy duty frames, a comfortable saddle, fat tires and a front suspension that can flatten any bump. All of these specialized components come at a price but if it will extend and elevate your hunt for another decade is it worth it?
Typically most electric hunting bikes have a thumb throttle so you can engage the motor and you don’t need to pedal. Then they have pedal assist with varying levels of assist so you can decide how much power you get with each rotation of the pedals. Then lastly you can simply pedal it as a regular bicycle.
How do you know which electric hunting bike is best for your needs?
Electric hunting bikes come in different shapes and sizes but there are a few key components that you should be looking for. The main questions you need to ask yourself are these: Where will I use it? And what will I use it for?
We’ll answer those questions in a minute. First it’s important to know what the components are capable of, then we can answer which one is best for you.
Which motor is the best?
E-bikes have a couple of different types of motors. Rear hub and mid drive.
Rear hub is the motor that sits in the center of the back wheel and when engaged in rotates the backwheel and propels the bikes forward. It uses brute force to move.
The mid drive motor sits in the center of the frame between the pedals and when engaged it works directly with the gears that operate the drivetrain.
What’s the difference?
Well, the rear hub uses force to move the bike while the mid drive uses power and torque.
I once heard a quote that describes better than I can: “Power is how hard you hit the wall, Torque is how far you take the wall with you”
Meaning the rear hub motor is a real good workhorse and excels on flat to moderate hills while the mid drive generates the same power but when you have to climb a steep hill the torque of the mid drive motor will get you up the hill.
So once you know the difference between the motors you should look at the battery, and specifically the size of the battery. As the battery is what determines the range, how far you can go on a full charge.
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 range even calculated?
The way to calculate the range of an e-bike 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.
Now back to those 2 questions.
Where will I use it and what will I use it for?
Now you know, if you will be hunting in an area with a lot of hills the mid drive motor will serve you best while if the terrain is mostly flat or smaller hills up to 20 degree inclines a rear hub will do just as good a job.
And then, if you know how much range you need to cover you can check the range of the battery to see which battery will give you the distance you need.
An important factor when choosing an ebike for hunting is to research your local legislation first. Not all areas allow ebikes on trails so do some homework upfront so you don’t make the investment and then realize your local area still has not passed an ebike law.
In some states the Dept. of Natural Resources have their patrol officers using electric hunting bikes to catch and ticket illegal poachers. They see the benefits of a quiet, powerful bike that is no more impactful on the environment than a regular bicycle. The sentiment is fast shifting to one of acceptance of ebikes on trails but be sure to check your area first.
If you are curious to see what the best electric hunting bikes look like you could take a look at another post I wrote on my website called The Top 7 Electric Hunting Bikes for 2019 . Or you can contact me any time, I’m always happy to help out.
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