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Your new electric bike may be the first bike that you can ride off-road. But if you are new to electric bikes, they can be a bit confusing at times. There are a lot of new riders that make simple but avoidable mistakes out on the trails. This is no fault of their own, but inexperienced riders can take out some trial and error with a little bit of advice. Therefore, we are going to answer the question of What do I need to ride an electric mountain bike?

We will take a look at the common mistakes and tell you how to avoid them.

Wear The Correct Clothing

electric mountain bike - riderMany people new to riding electric mountain bikes on the trails wear the wrong clothing. 

Footwear

The first thing you need to look at is what you wear on your feet.

Lots of new riders tend to wear hiking boots, which is not a good choice. Hiking boot soles are far too thick for riding on the trails. They stop you from feeling the pedals, which means you can feel a bit isolated from the bike. Being able to feel the pedals allow you to react to the feedback they give you. Also, you can adjust your inputs to suit the terrain you are riding much easier.

When riding an electric mountain bike, you should wear shoes with thin and flat soles. A pair of mountain bike shoes is ideal, but you can also get away with wearing a good pair of skate shoes. These shoes will also give you lots of grip on the pedals, which will keep you connected to the bike.

Jersey And Shorts

Proper mountain bike clothing will keep you comfortable and allow you to use your full range of motion. Good mountain bike jerseys and shorts are made from breathable technical fabrics. These dry quickly and wick moisture away from your skin, preventing you from getting cold.

You should also invest in a pair of padded shorts. The padding will be much more forgiving on your bum, making you much more comfortable. You should wear padded shorts without underwear to be comfortable.

It is worth noting that when you ride an electric mountain bike, you may not be working as hard as you would on a regular mountain bike. Therefore, if you are riding in cold weather, you may find it more difficult to keep warm. Therefore, you may want to carry some extra layers with you.

Protection

There are a few ways you can protect yourself when riding an electric mountain bike. You may opt for elbow and knee pads that will protect you in a crash. But, nobody should ride without a helmet. 

Lots of new electric mountain bike riders buy cheap helmets. These budget options are not great, as they are not particularly good at absorbing impacts or providing enough coverage. Never scrimp on your helmet, and make sure it fits properly.

Learn Some Basic Maintenance Skills

Learning some basic bike maintenance skills is key to keeping your bike running smoothly. Also, you will often be able to get yourself going again if you have a mechanical issue during a ride. 

Being able to change an inner tube, gear cable, brake pads or adjusting your gears will keep you riding. It will also save you lots of money, as you won’t need to keep taking your bike to a shop for simple repairs.

Upgrade Your Pedals

Most electric bikes will come with cheap plastic pedals. These are ok for general riding around, but you will benefit from swapping them for a decent pair if you want to hit the trails.

Pedals are a vital contact point with your bike. You receive a lot of information through them, even if you don’t realise it. A good set of pedals will grip onto your shoes, preventing your feet from slipping off them. Also, the bearings are a lot more reliable in proper pedals than the plastic budget ones your bike came with.

Make Sure You Fuel Yourself

Electric mountain bikes increase your ability to head out on those bigger rides. But, it isn’t just your battery that needs energy; you do too.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you have enough snacks and water to last the whole ride. Ideally, it would be best if you took more than you think you will need, so you are prepared for any eventuality.

There is a good chance that you will be carrying an extra battery with you on an extended ride. So, you will need a much larger backpack with back protection and enough room for everything you need.

Set Up Your Cockpit Properly

electric mountain bike - controllerWe refer to the handlebars and everything attached to them as the “cockpit”. When your electric mountain bike arrives, there is a good chance that the brake levers will be butted up to the grips and at a flat angle.

Before you ride, adjust the brake levers and gear shifters to more comfortable positions. By customising their position, you can prevent strain on your hands and wrists. Also, make sure you can easily press the assistance level buttons without needing to stretch your thumb.

If you take a multitool with you on your rides, you can adjust these controls while you are out and about. By doing this, you will be able to get them as comfortable as possible.

Remember To Use Gears And Not Just Assistance Levels

A classic mistake new electric bike owners make, is choosing a higher assistance level rather than change gear. 

They will often select boost mode when they approach a hill but will be in a gear that is too high. The result is that they will be pedalling at a low cadence stopping the motor from spinning up correctly.

The best thing to do, is make the motor work for you better by selecting an easier gear. Leave the boost alone until you really need it. Work through the gears, spin the motor up, and you will get up the hill much easier.

Use One Finger To Brake

People who are used to older style bikes may be used to using two fingers to brake. This is because older brakes are not that powerful and need a bit more effort to get them to work.

Modern brakes are more effective and stronger, especially on electric mountain bikes. Most electric bikes come with mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. For the ultimate in stopping power, choose a bike with hydraulic brakes. These are also easier to modulate, keeping you in control when the terrain gets more technical.

The extra power and feel you get from modern brakes allow you to brake with one finger. This gives you the advantage of having more fingers on the handlebars, so you have more grip as you ride.

Tweak Your Electric Mountain Bike’s Fit

Some people just leave their bikes as they came out of the factory. But, they are missing a trick, as there are a few things that can enhance the comfort of your bike.

The first thing you can do, is to adjust the saddle. The saddle has bolts that allow you to adjust its position forwards and backwards. If you feel the bike is a little long for you, you can slide the saddle forwards to reduce the reach. You can also adjust the pitch of the saddle by loosening some other bolts. Playing around with the angles will give you the chance to find a comfortable position.

The next thing you can do on most bikes is to adjust how high the handlebars are. Most foldable electric bikes will have a catch to release so you can set the height. But, more conventional electric mountain bikes will require you to add and remove spacers to hit the sweet spot.

Go Tubeless

A tubeless tyre setup is definitely worthwhile. Most electric bikes will come with inner tubes in the tyres. When you go tubeless, you will pour tyre sealant into the tyres. As you ride and get punctures, the sealant will fill the holes and keep you riding. Most of the time, you won’t even notice that you have had a puncture. You can also ride with lower tyre pressures, which gives you more grip.

Going tubeless will save you a lot of stress and will keep you riding. A great example of tyre sealant is Tyre Yogurt. This stuff is very effective and easy to use. All you need to do is make sure your tyres are tubeless-ready, change the valves, pour some sealant into the tyre and pump it up.

Learn To Change Gear

electric mountain bike - shifterCrunching gears on any bike is bad, but it is worse on an electric mountain bike. You risk snapping the chain and causing damage to your drivetrain.

To change gears smoothly, let some pressure off the pedals before you shift. This will allow the chain to shift along the cassette a lot smoother.

Final Thoughts

These are the things you need to ride an electric mountain bike. By following these tips, you will have more fun on your rides, and they will be stress-free.

If you are looking to buy an electric mountain bike, check out our online store.

T. Fortune

Tom is now residing in France and writing full time, he enjoys the outdoor activity and is an MTB enthusiast!

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