So you want an electric mountain bike and you also want to find the best electric mountain bike kit? I can’t blame you. I recently converted my old mountain bike to an electric mountain bike!
Zooming around at 20mph (32kmh) in first gear, all the way up to 40mph (65kmh) in eighth gear. The wind flowing through your hair.
Nothing can compare!
Where an electric mountain bike actually shines is, well… on mountain bike trails. Or actually anything off road!
Don’t want to bike up to the start of the trail, no problem! Jump on your ebike and speed to the top without breaking a sweat!
Want to go so fast that you hit jumps and get 10 feet of air? Crank up the power setting on your ebike!
Let’s explore our best options for creating our very own electric mountain bike.
Which Kind Of Kit Is Best For Off Road?
There’s so many options out there with every marketer screaming at you saying “Our ebike kit is THE BEST for eMTBs”.
Uh, firstly, what on Earth is an eMTB???
eMTB stands for e-mountain bike, or electric mountain bike. You’ll see lots of people refer to electric mountain bikes this way.
You’re going to want to know exactly what is the best electric mountain bike kit for you, right?
I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only way to go for the hard hitting off road trails, is a mid drive electric motor.
Mid drive motors work by utilising your existing drivetrain. They pump electricity straight through your chain, laying it down as raw tire shredding, gravel spitting power!
Mid drives are installed usually through your existing bottom bracket of the bike, and right by your cranks and pedals.
There is also hub drives. These usually come pre-installed on a wheel that you buy. Located right in the centre of the wheel it adds a significant amount of weight. Either to the front or the rear wheel. Depending on where you choose to install the wheel.
This isn’t so good for mountain biking. This is because you’re going to have weird weight offsets. This results in your electric mountain bike feeling not as natural as it should.
When you use a mid drive, you also have access to your full range of gears. Meaning that you’re responsible for selecting the best gear for the situation you’re in. If you’re climbing a hill, you still want to use the lowest gear possible to. If you want a high top speed, you want to use as high of a gear as possible.
Another great benefit of a mid drive is that you don’t ever have to interfere with your front or rear wheel. Repairing a tube, or replacing your tire is as easy and simple as it was before you installed your motor.
Mid drives also tend to be more efficient than hub motors, allowing you more time pounding the trails.
Torque is another important factor for off road mountain biking. Mid drives have plenty of torque. Torque remains consistent throughout your gear ranges too! (When used in conjunction with the correct gear for the terrain and speed you’re travelling at.)
From experience, the best and only way to go for off roading, is a mid drive motor kit.
So then, what kind of mid drive do I pick for my bike?
Enter Bafang Mid Drive Motors
Remember the gang of baddies on TV you always saw? The big mafia boss, his smart sidekick and the stupid one?
Well that’s my awesome analogy for the best mid drive motor kits that are out at the moment – Bafang’s mid drive motors.
The BBSHD is 1000w of pure power. This monster really can take everything you throw at it. It’s the one that I bought for my bike and I’m super glad I did.
Do you like going fast? Sweet, no worries the BBSHD has got you covered.
Do you like pulling wheelies as you take off, or starting from 0 on a steep hill? No worries, the BBSHD can do that too.
The engineers at Bafang really over engineered this beast. So it can handle everything you throw at it, and more!
Punch the throttle, all day long and this thing will cruise through it like nothing.
It’s got massive cooling fins to stay chilly when it’s warm out. I’ve never had a problem with it going up steep 20% gradients, full throttle at 12mph (20kmh).
If 1000w is too hot for your taste buds to handle, you can cool down by drinking a glass of milk turning the dial back 250w!
Enter the BBS02.
This was the original awesome mid drive motor.
Unfortunately, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns on this front. The BBS02 can’t handle extensive beatings and punishment all that much.
It has a weaker build than the BBSHD, and can’t handle as much of a beating for as long.
Full throttle with no pedalling for extended periods of time can overheat the motor. This can result in completely destroying the nylon gear inside the motor housing.
Although this is fixable by your average joe with a few hours and a new $20 nylon gear, it’s still a bit of a pain.
The good news is that the motor won’t die if you don’t beat it up for too long. Things like making sure you pedal with it to help it along and keep it in it’s ideal rpm range, around 120rpm. Not punching the throttle on hills and in a high gear (that’s a good way to blow up your controller!) Also making sure you’re not in too high of a gear starting out.
Keep the throttle use sensible and use the gearing as though you were riding normally. You shouldn’t have any problems with the BBS02 as your electric mountain bike kit. Considering that for off road trail use you’ll mostly need the motor in short bursts to get you over hills and quick steep inclines. Not for extended periods of time like commuting. So you’re going to be fine with a BBS02.
The best thing about the Bafang BBSHD and BBS02 is that they’re made to fit 68-73mm, 100mm and 120mm bottom brackets. This means if you have a fat bike with a thick frame and fat tires, you’ll have no problems ordering a large enough motor kit to fit your bike!
How To Really Set Your Kit Up For Success
So you want to get a BBSHD or BBS02 for your electric mountain bike. Great!
These kits come with almost everything you’re going to need to get setup.
They come with the motor, ebrakes that stop the motor engaging while you brake, a throttle, a screen, push buttons to interact with the screen, a speed sensor, cranks and a chainring.
What you have to do now to have the absolute best time mountain biking, is to get a much smaller chainring.
The motors only come with a single chainring, that directly connects to the motor. So sorry, you can’t have your three chainrings at the front anymore.
You probably want to get as small of a front chainring as you can get. I’d recommend around a 36T chainring. These Bling Ring HD’s from Lekkie are the ideal chainring to spruce up your mountain bike kit.
Of course, the smaller the chainring on the front, the greater the torque your bike will have! Too large and you might have problems getting started on hills (and risk blowing up your motor!)
Final Thoughts: The best electric mountain bike kit?
The absolute best electric mountain bike kit you can get is a BBSHD or BBS02 from Bafang. These come with everything you need apart from a small chainring and battery.
Batteries are another awesome topic that you’ll need to decide for your bike too. Find out more about ebike batteries here!
If you want to have an awesome ride, check out some of the best accessories that you should get!
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message or a comment below and I’ll be happy to help out!
Now go forth and conquer the trails with your new electric mountain bike!