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What is an Offroad E-Bike like to ride compared to a Gas Bike?

Updated: Mar 7

This is such a common question that both dirt bikers and cyclists always want to know before they try.


E-bike vs gas.

The short answer? Come to our track and give it a try!

The longer answer? Well...

First off, there are a ton of different e-bike designs and sizes that vary the experience dramatically. Dirt bikes, whether it's my Husqvarna TX300 (high performance) or a CRF 230 (calm trail bike), all have a similar experience/demand. Just with a big performance difference.


So where do the main differences lie? I'm going to use the "mid-weight" bikes which would include Sur-Ron Light Bee, Talaria, Qulbix Core, CZEM, etc. Compared to a starter trail bike like a Honda CRF, a Yamaha TT, or a Kawasaki KLX.


Controls

The first thing you'll notice is that most e-mx bikes DO NOT HAVE a clutch or gears. Ain't that handy.

See electric motors have a massive amount of torque which means they can put them in a higher gear and they still pull hard when you start. And I mean HARD. A small electric bike can have 3-10x the torque of a gas dirt bike. Although the horsepower is less it still makes for a very interesting ride.

Most electrics also have a rear hand brake instead of a foot brake. This is because there isn't much else for your left hand to do since there is no clutch.


What does this mean?

Basically, the bikes are WAY easier to learn on for beginners since there are fewer controls. It also changes the way you might corner and how often you put your right foot forward since there is no brake to worry about. Also makes no-footer jumping a little easier. :)


Power

An E-bike delivers power SO differently than a gas bike.

  • It has WAY more torque. This is the "pull" you feel when you take off (oversimplification)

  • It usually has less horsepower. This means the power tapers kind of quickly and they often don't have the same top speeds. It also means it won't try to kill you when you're doing 70km/h.

  • The power is Programmable. Yes, you can tailor the bike to your riding ability from day 1. I put our 3 year old on one and just limited the power and speed so it went 4 km/hr with training wheels.


What Does This Mean?

Long story short they are thrilling to ride without being too intimidating. Being able to tailor the bike to your riding conditions is a HUGE bonus too. When we race them we will go to 60%-70% power in the woods then open it up to 100% when we hit an open section. All with the push of a button while riding!

IWhen people want to come try our facility I always say "If you can ride a bicycle, you can ride these". And it's true.

THEY'RE QUIET!

Probably the biggest thing to an old-school dirt biker when they first try an e-bike is that "it doesn't make any noise!" "How do you know how fast you're going?" Valid question. My answer is that you get used to it.

There are some serious advantages to being quiet BTW.

  • You don't piss off the neighbours- You can talk to each other while you're riding. Like, talk normally, without screaming your head off then using hand signals.

  • You see a LOT more wildlife which is super cool. On the flip side, be careful not to smoke Bambi.


What Does This Mean?

It means the cranky dude who lives next to your favourite riding spot isn't going to try and get you shut down with noise complaints (depending on how loud you giggle).

It also means you can share pointers, discuss directions and plan after ride refreshments while you cruise. Can't do THAT on a 4 stroke.


They're Easier to Maintain

Electric vehicles have fewer parts. Less stuff that can break = less stuff to fix.

No more oil changes.

No more air filters.

No more top ends.

No more pistons, exhaust pipes, carbs, injectors, bent rads, clutch plates and baskets..... I could go on and on.

I could also swap a complete motor in my E-MX in about 40 minutes for a cost of about $800.


So there ya go. I didn't even get into not having to buy fuel or the fact that you can store them in your house because they don't smell.

Yeah, they have their perks.


Cheers. D

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