eBikes, What's The Deal?
Ever wondered what eBikes are and what they do? Here's the Marin Bikes guide to everything you need to know about electric bikes!
Everything You Need to Know About eBikes
Did you know that eBikes are the fastest-growing category of bike out there right now and are quickly becoming a common sight on our streets and trails?
Here at Marin we think eBikes and eMountain Bikes are great and we have a range of models that can take you anywhere from the mountains to the coffee shop.
If you’re wondering what you could get out of going electric, read on!
What Makes An eBike An eBike?
An eBike is essentially a regular, human-powered bicycle with an integrated electric motor. You ride one just like a normal bike, and the motor activates when you pedal. The eBike motor helps you out but it doesn’t replace your leg power completely. If you’ve ever ridden in a strong tailwind or had a stronger rider push you whilst you’ve been riding you’ll have had a little taste of what an eBike feels like.
A lot of people ask “does an eBike have a throttle?” and the answer is, no! There’s no throttle, and when you stop pedalling, the motor stops. The assist also cuts out above a certain speed which is 25 km/h in the EU, 20 MPH in the US.
Are eBikes Legal?
eBikes create a bit of confusion and one of the main mix-ups is whether or not eBikes are legal to ride on the roads or on the trails.
In Europe and the UK, eBikes are known as “Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles” (catchy, eh?) and legally they’re considered to be the same as regular bicycles. Anyone over the age of 14 is allowed to ride an eBike with no special training or insurance.
Things are slightly more complicated In the US, but in most states, they’re categorized as “Class 1 eBikes”, and they’re treated more or less the same as bikes. If you’re a US reader, we’d recommend double-checking what laws apply in your local area, as there are some differences from state to state.
eMTB or electric mountain bike access to trails is a little more complicated. Most countries don't restrict access but certain landowners may so always check before you ride. In the US, many landowners such as the National Park Service or Bureau of Land Management class eMTB's as motorized vehicles and only allow their use where motorized vehicles are permitted.
We'd recommend asking your local Marin dealer for help with what the law says about eBikes in your home country.
Why Are eBikes So Expensive?
It’s true, eBikes do cost a little more than ‘normal’ bikes due to the added technology.
eBikes vary a lot in price, depending on their level of componentry and what they’re designed to do, but they’re typically $2-3000 USD and are usually more expensive than the equivalent non-eBike
There’s a good reason for this: modern eBikes pack in a huge amount of technology, with systems that are designed to perform faultlessly in all conditions for mile after mile, high capacity lightweight batteries, and smart features like Bluetooth connectivity and customisable power levels.
Are eBikes worth the extra cost? For a lot of riders, the benefits of an eBike more than make up for that higher up-front investment.
Who Are eBikes For?
eBikes are often viewed as being mainly for older riders, people with conditions affecting their health, or anyone who needs a bit of help to keep up with stronger friends. But that’s not all they’re good at and is becoming a bit of an old fashioned view.
In fact, there are eBikes for almost any type of rider nowadays from eCommute to eMtb to eGravel to eCargo Bikes and everything in between.
Because they make short work of steep climbs, eMTBs are a great training tool for racers looking to hone their descending skills, time-crunched riders looking to get the most of their power hour or simply anyone that wants to ride further and faster than they could on a purely human-powered bike.
Many riders find that an eMTB can cover their rides in half the time they would on a ‘normal’ bike whilst also feeling very fast, fun and capable on the descents. Modern electric mountain or eGravel bikes certainly make a convincing argument to make the jump!
eBikes are also good for work as well as play. On an urban eCommute or eCargo bike you can commute long distances with less effort, ride in normal office clothes, carry the kids in a child seat, haul heavier gear or tick off the weekly grocery shop much more easily than on a regular bike.
Perhaps you’re asking yourself “can you get fit on an electric bike?” or “do you get tired on an electric bike?”. There’s a myth that you don’t use any energy riding an eBike. Researchers have found that eBike riders tend to ride longer distances more often, and you’re still supplying a decent chunk of the power in order to push yourself along. If you ride an eBike regularly, you’ll almost certainly get fitter.
More than anything though, eBikes are super fun to ride. They make that extra climb and descent or that cruise to the shops and the café, a pleasure instead of a chore.
How Far Can You Ride On An eBike?
The range of an eBike is a tricky question to answer.
How far you can ride on an eBike depends on the individual bike’s motor, the bike’s battery capacity, the terrain you’re riding on and how hard you’re riding.
You can change the level of ‘assist’ the motor provides on all Marin’s eBikes at the touch of a button, from completely off, to “Boost” for the most brutal climbs. Using this wisely and you’ll get many more miles (or KM's!) out of a battery charge. We recommend using the lowest level of assist you can on your rides, and switching up and down as the terrain changes.
Hilly routes will deplete your battery and reduce your range, although again by using less assist from the motor and taking the climbs more steadily, you’ll eke more life out of the battery. Charging your eBike after every ride will also minimize your chances of unexpectedly running out of juice, and is a good way of looking after your battery too.
On a punchy, hilly off-road route, using all the assist levels, you might get 30 miles out of an eBike's charge. Cruising on roads with shallower gradients and 50-60 miles should be achievable.
It all depends on your route, your speed, and how much of the work you’re happy to take on yourself. Either way, you’ll find all of Marin's eBikes have plenty of capacity for big days in the saddle and plenty of motorized assistance!
Some Other Things To Know About eBikes
eBikes have become a lot more refined in the past few years, but they’re still several kilos heavier than an equivalent non eBike.
It’s worth remembering that added weight if you live in a first floor flat, you need to lift one onto the roof of your car, get it up the stairs to the office or over a gate on the trails. This is especially true if you're considering an eBike to help overcome an issue that stops you from riding a lighter, human-powered bike.
All of Marin's eBikes are super reliable but, maintenance is worth some consideration.
The technology packed into eBikes means that even if you’re fairly confident working on your own bikes, you’ll probably want to budget extra for servicing at a dealership.
Batteries and motors need specialist diagnostic equipment and training to check they’re working OK, and the extra power and weight of the assist system mean that eBike tend to wear out tyres and other components slightly quicker.
The great news is that the Marin dealer network is super experienced with eBike tech and can help with any questions you may have.
Marin eBikes - The Urban Explorer and Cafe Cruiser
Marin’s Sausalito range of urban eBikes feature Shimano STEPS assist systems, comfortable “road plus” WTB Horizon tyres, powerful disc brakes and flat bars for relaxed city and cycle path cruising. With understated styling and clean lines, they’re an e-bike that wears it well.
The Sausalito E1 has a light alloy frame with a practical steel fork and rack, mudguard and kickstand mounts. An easy to live with 1x10 drivetrain and Tektro brakes complete the bike.
The Sausalito E2 has some choice upgrades over the E1, including a Shimano STEPS E6100 assist, wide-range gearing and a Suntour suspension fork that takes the sting out of unsurfaced trails.
Many of our markets also include the Marin Stinson Electric and Stinson Electric ST, a thoroughbred family of urban eBikes that are perfect for shopping or commuting to work. They are equipped with an easy-to-ride frame, comfortable and fast-rolling tires and a reliable 250W hub motor with a 309Wh battery.
Marin eMTBs: Trail Fun Machines
The Alpine Trail E family is Marin’s first eMTB, taking the winning formula of the Alpine Trail enduro bikes and adding some serious self-uplift potential. All the models have bombproof alloy frames with 160mm front, 150mm rear suspension, Marin’s Multitrac suspension design, and coil shocks for smoothing out the roughest trails. The 29” wheel up front rolls right over the ugly stuff, while the 27.5” rear wheel gives huge amounts of traction. The geometry will let you tackle the steepest descents, then climb back up for more.
The Alpine Trail E1 has a Shimano E7000 motor, Shimano drivetrain and a Rockshox Vivid rear shock. From the RockShox Gold 35 fork to the Maxxis tyres, every part of the bike is ready to hit the hill.
The Alpine Trail E2 is a dream build for a real-world budget, with Fox suspension, a 12-speed Shimano drivetrain and Raceface finishing kit. Shimano’s next-generation EP8 motor is lighter, quieter and more powerful, and a 630Wh battery means it’s no problem to head up the hill for one more run.
You Might Also Be Interested In
CycleVolta.com's excellent First Ride Review of the Sausalito E1Learn More
Vital MTB's Perfect Five Star Review of the Alpine Trail E2Learn More
The crew at The Loam Wolf took one of our Alpine Trail E2s to Utah for their 2021 eMTB test sessions.Learn More