7/13/23 Canyon.com
7/13/23 Canyon.com

E-MTB Buying Guide

Learn how to decide between our range of e-MTBs and give yourself a boost on the trails.

E-MTB Buying Guide E-MTB Buyer's Guide

What is an E-MTB?

An electric mountain bike (often abbreviated as “e-MTB”) is a mountain bike with an integrated electric motor that gives you an extra boost of power when you are pedaling. The motor only engages when you turn those pedals, so you still get a work out. The great thing about e-MTBs is that the extra power they deliver let’s you choose just how much (or little) of a work out is required from every ride. With an e-MTB, you won’t pay any vehicle duties or taxes nor do they require a licence, but e-MTBs do have a maximum-assisted speed of 20 mph in the United States and Canada.

As soon as you reach that 20 mile-per-hour max-assisted speed, the motor’s pedal assist function shuts off, and your e-MTB will perform like a regular (albeit slightly heavier) non-motorized mountain bike. Most e-bike drive systems have a number of different modes, which let you control the level of assistance you get from the motor. The mode you select will also determine how much range you get out of one full charge - more on this later.

E-MTB Buyer's Guide Which e-MTB is best for you?

Do I need an E-MTB?

If you want to ride longer, faster and further on mountain bikes, e-MTBs are an awesome choice for both seasoned and new riders alike.

There are many benefits to owning an E-MTB, but one of the biggest advantages is how much they can increase your actual ride time and fun. Climbs that would have simply been painful, become as easy to manage as you want them to be. Not only are e-MTBs useful on the ascent—they also give you an extra boost on descents, adding to the thrill of the ride.

If you’ve been riding for years and you simply want to add more miles, speed, and excitement to every ride, e-MTBs are brilliant. Newcomers to the sport who want to ride with fitter and faster riders also benefit from e-MTBs since the extra pedaling power enables riders of all abilities keep up with one another on even the longest rides. In short, e-MTBs let riders of all abilities get more from every ride.


Tahnee Seagrave – CLLCTV

What types of E-MTBs are there?

As with “regular” bikes, e-MTBs come in a wide range of styles. At Canyon, we have electric MTBs that cover the entire mountain biking spectrum. There’s something for everyone.

Hardtail E-MTB or full-suspension E-MTB?

We dived into this topic in our article about the the differences between hardtails and full-suspension mountain bikes. Hardtails are mountain bikes with a suspension fork, but no rear suspension. Full-suspension mountain bikes, on the other hand, feature both a suspension fork and a rear shock—for even more control over rocky terrain. An electric hardtail is a great option for riders starting out in their mountain bike journey. They’re easy to maintain and provide a great confidence boost when on unfamiliar trails or honing your skills.

Full-suspension e-MTBs are a real revelation for all riders. Offering comfort, stability and versatility, a full-sus e-MTB let’s riders of all levels increase their speed and control. They can handle more technical terrain and take the sting out of long days in the saddle, but they are also more expensive than a hardtail, simply because there’s more to them.

Should I get an aluminium or carbon E-MTB?

An important distinction between most bikes on the market is the frame material. Both aluminum and carbon are excellent frame materials. All things being equal, carbon frames tend to be lighter than their alloy counterparts. Frame weight, however, can be less of a consideration when buying an e-bike since some of the benefits of a lightweight frame are obscured by the additional weight of the e-bike motor and battery. Carbon e-MTBs are a little stiffer and easier on the eye than aluminum ones, but carbon models are also more expensive to produce and therefore sport higher price tags.

How much travel does my E-MTB need?

As a general rule of thumb, the more travel an e-MTB has, the gnarlier the terrain you’ll be able to comfortably ride. Suspension smooths out the shock you feel when riding over rocks and roots, so the bigger the rocks you anticipate riding, the more travel you’ll need.

E-MTBs with 130 mm to 170 mm of suspension travel represent the sweet spot in mountain biking because they let you tackle an enormous range of trails. They are perfect “all rounders”. If you are, on the other hand, looking to primarily ride the most technically demanding downhill runs, a gravity-oriented e-MTB with more suspension travel will fit the bill nicely.

E-MTB Buyer's Guide Power:ON, Spectral:ON

Can I buy a second-hand E-MTB?

Used bikes are great for people who are new to the sport. A previously-owned bike can be a cost-effective way to start riding and to discover what kind of bike suits you best. On the other hand, coughing up the cash for a used rig is a bit riskier than buying new unless, of course, you know what you’re looking for or you buy from a verified reseller. Most of the horror stories from second-hand bikes stem from the unknown history of the bike itself and high costs of sorting out mechanical issues once you’ve brought the bike home.

If you don’t know anyone who can vouch for the quality of your new e-bike, its components and battery, we’d advise sticking to a new bike. The Canyon Outlet s also a great place to start and we constantly update the stock as new bikes are launched or as we retire our demo fleet. There are bargains and plenty of them, so check out the Outlet while your’re shopping.

Don’t forget, you can also use one of our many financing options to fund your dream electric mountain bike.

How much does a good electric mountain bike cost?

We’ve done a deep dive into how much electric bikes cost. Battery technology, weight improvements and innovation are constantly raising the bar on e-mountain bike performance, especially since e-MTBs are still relatively new to the market. As market leaders, we’re passionate about designing ad building the best bikes possible and we back all of our bikes with a satisfaction guarantee.

E-MTB Buyer's Guide Keep your E-MTB in full working order

What about e-bike maintenance costs?

As with traditional bikes, most of the moving parts on an e-MTB will need replacing at some point. Long term wear and tear is to be expected. Worn chains, brake pads, cassettes and chainrings are the items most frequently replaced components, but fitting these new parts yourself can be quite easy. Our guide to e-MTB maintenance gives an overview of the servicing you can expect on a regular basis.

One of the biggest maintenance tasks on your bike will be taking care of your e-MTB battery. If you store the battery correctly and ride it carefully, your battery will last years.

E-MTB Buyer's Guide Where will your E-MTB take you?

How far can I ride an E-MTB on one charge?

We get asked this question a lot and there’s no single answer. Obvious factors like battery capacity, motor and rider weight will determine how far you can ride on a single battery charge, but there’s a number of other little hacks you can use to extend your e-bike’s range. Make sure your bike is clean and lubricated, keep your tires pumped up, and use eco mode as much as you can.

Canyon E-Bikes | More Than A Motor

What else do I need to get to ride my E-MTB?

All our e-MTBs come without pedals, so that you can choose the system that works best for you. There are pros and cons to flat pedals and clipless pedals. . Flat pedals let you easily put a foot down if you need to stop and stablize yourself. “Clipless” pedals provide the most secure and “connected” feeling between your foot and the pedal, and are ideal if pedaling efficiency is your top priority.

If you don’t already have cycling kit, our MTB Starter Kit has everything you need to get out the door and onto the trail. If you have a wardrobe full of your favorite kit, you can definitely continue to use it out on the trails - you don’t need any special e-bike cycling kit.

Choosing the right e-mountain bike

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and you’re going to get an e-MTB? Great news! First of all you need to decide what style of mountain biking you intend to do:

Trail e-MTBs

The Jack of all trades where mountain biking is concerned. It’s a great all round mountain bike capable of climbing and descending with around 130 mm - 150 mm of travel front and rear.

Enduro e-MTBs

A relatively new form of racing, e-enduro is all about pedaling to the top of the mountian in order to race down some of the most technical descents possible. If you want to dive into e-enduro racing, the Strive:ON will power you to the finish line.

Gravity e-MTBs

Usually associated with chairlifts and the steepest, fastest, most technical descents, a downhill or “gravity” e-MTB helps you cruise to the top of the trail and then tackle whatever you throw at it on the way back down.

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When you’ve chosen your new bike, make sure you order the right size using our Perfect Positioning System (PPS).

What do I need to do when my electric mountain bike arrives?

We deliver all our e-bikes with world-class shipping services like DHL and UPS. They ensure your bike is delivered safely and quickly. When you take it out of the box, it will be 90% assembled. Download the Canyon App to watch the relevant unboxing video and you’ll be rolling in no time.

We also supply the tools needed to do build your bike. The e-bike battery will be charged to 30% therefore you’ll need to charge it up fully before you leave the house.

How to unbox and assemble your new Spectral:ON

Can I transport my E-MTB using a bike rack?

If you’re going on holiday somewhere or want to try out your local trail centre, it’s easy to take your electric mountain bike with you wherever you go. Before you leave, take the battery out of the frame and store it inside your vehicle for the duration of the journey. E-bike batteries are best stored at room temperature, so it’s safer this way especially on longer journeys.

We recommend using a hitch-mount bike rack, thanks to their ability to support heavier bikes. Always make sure you double-check with your vehicle manufacturer regarding the maximum tow load. Ensure your vehicle’s number plate is clearly visible along with functioning indicators and brake lights. Double check the bike is secure before you set off and enjoy the ride!

E-MTB Buyer's Guide Get ready to experience the fun of an E-MTB!

Here to help

The best E-MTB is one that makes you happy and we’re confident you’ll find the perfect Canyon E-MTB right here. Our friendly customer service team is happy to help with any further questions you may have or you can check out our E-Bike Finder.

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