E-Bikes on public lands. Electric bicycle mountain bike

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E-Bikes on public lands

BLM-managed public lands offer many opportunities for riding e-bikes, including any Open OHV area or motorized trail.

Non-motorized trails

E-bikes are allowed on trails limited to bicycles and non-motorized travel ONLY IF a BLM Manager has issued a written decision authorizing e-bike use in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.


In December 2020, the BLM amended it’s OHV regulations at 43 CFR 8340.0-5 to define e-bikes, which are limited to Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes.

The rule provides that authorized officers may authorize, through subsequent land-use planning or implementation-level decisions, the use of Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes on non-motorized roads and trails.

The rule provides managers the ability to exclude e-bikes that meet certain criteria from the definition of off-road vehicle (otherwise known as an off-highway vehicle (OHV)) at 43 CFR 8340.0-5(a).

The rule, however, does not result in any immediate on-the-ground changes or site-specific allowances for e-bike usage on BLM-administered public lands. In other words, the rule does not, by itself, open any non-motorized trails to e-bike use. Before any on-the-ground changes can occur, an authorized officer must issue a land use planning or implementation.level decision that complies with NEPA and other applicable legal requirements.

E-Bikes on BLM-Managed Public Lands

The public lands should be accessible to as many Americans as possible, including people who use e-bikes. E-bikes help make public lands more accessible to more people. An e-bike is a bicycle with a small electric motor of not more than 750 watts (one horsepower) which assists in the operation of the bicycle and reduces the physical exertion demands on the rider. E-bikes may have two or three wheels and must have fully operable pedals.

BLM-managed public lands offer many opportunities for riding e-bikes, including any area or trail where OHVs are currently allowed. BLM offices also have the authority to identify which non-motorized trails could be used for e-bike use on BLM-managed lands. BLM District and Field Managers are encouraged to consider authorizing e-bike use in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, including the e-bike rule.

To stay up-to-date with the latest e-bike information as it becomes available on BLM-managed public lands, contact your local BLM office, or search blm.gov/visit.

Trail Etiquette

Trail etiquette is the same for e-bikes as it is for traditional bikes. Trail etiquette practices are based on a general concept of consideration of other trail users, and protection of the trail and surrounding natural resources. Key concepts include:

  • following any posted trail rules such as speed limits, directional travel, or yielding suggestions
  • protecting the trail by staying off of the trail during wet or muddy conditions
  • openly communicating with other trail users with typical communication devices such as calm voice and non-obtrusive bells
  • use of helmets and personal audio devices that allow you to hear other trail users and wildlife
  • using passing techniques that are considerate of other trail users and that do not result in trail widening
  • ride in group numbers that do not negatively impact other trail users experience


Full-suspension e-mountain bikes offer a lot: a suspension fork and a rear shock, a stable frame, grippy tyres and a strong e-drive, an e-bike that takes you safely through every kind of terrain. But how do you find the right full-suspension e-mountain bike? After reading our guide, you will know if it is the right type of bike for you and which parts you should think about.

Who needs a full-suspension e-mountain bike?

Do you prefer trails that can get rough or maybe have some technical sections? Roots, stones, challenging passages are your thing? Do you plan to go on alpine tours as well? Then you should go for a full-suspension e-MTB. But even if you are a mountain biker, who wishes for more comfort, your choice can be a full-suspension e-bike.

Furthermore, if you ride a full-suspension E-MTB you will get more traction, and with their low centre, they are well-balanced. That’s how full-suspension e-mountain bikes will provide safety and allow the rider to go fast. The more travel your e-bike offers, the greater the reserves will be. With an enduro e-mountain bike, you can explore your limits and go for the biggest jumps in the Alps or in a bike park. If you choose a full-suspension e-mountain bike out of comfort reasons you will relive your body of shocks. And thanks to a powerful e-drive, you can climb even the steepest ascents.

Full suspension bikes are a bit heavier than hardtails – but this disadvantage plays a minor role for an electric bike. The support out of the powerful engine will make you forget the weight immediately. If you are looking at a full-suspension e-mountain bike, you will see that there is a lot of technology included – that’s why full-suspension e-bikes are usually more expensive and require a little more maintenance.

  • more reserves for tough terrain
  • more safety and speed
  • more comfort
  • more traction

What are the categories of e-mountain bikes?

It doesn’t matter if you are a rider that enjoys a relaxed tour after work or if you like to go for endless bike park rounds at the weekend – we for sure have the right full-suspension e-mountain bike for you. The following categories of full-suspension e-bikes allow you to find the right kind of bike that will fit your plans. Afterwards, you can check, which e-drive, battery and parts your category offers.

Touring e-mountain bike

It is perfect for your evening ride after work on your home trail, long weekend tours as well as bike packing adventures or a sporty commute. They offer about 130 mm travel at the rear and front and are even made for demanding trails. If you compare touring e-mountain bikes with all-mountain or enduro bikes, they are less aggressive and more focused on comfort.

Touring e-MTB: 130 mm travel, tour and trail rider

All-mountain full-suspension

If you want to challenge yourself with a versatile e-mountain bike, you are going to find the fitting full-suspension e-bike in the category of all-mountain bikes. Around 150 mm of travel are working for you and are providing reserves to the bike and the rider. You will have lots of fun touring in flat terrain but you also can handle trail challenges in the Alps.

All-mountain E-MTB: 140-160 mm travel, trail and alpine rider


Demanding ground, steep climbs and rough downhills are the natural habitats of e-enduro bikes. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro biker or an ambitious e-mountain bike rider with an e-enduro things will heat up. Full-suspension e-bikes like the FOCUS SAM² are perfect for fast descents, exposed trails, and rugged terrain.

E-Enduro: 160-180 mm travel, focused on the downhill


The e9 series offers two new ways to experience our uniquely #ninerd brand of freedom, fun, and adventure.

With in-house Niner engineering, best in class Bosch Performance Line drive systems, extended range batteries, and durable, creative designs, these bikes dial up the fun factor to 11.

There’s always been an “e” in Niner

At Niner, our mission is to make riding on dirt better, period.

From “day one” in 2005, we started making 29ers because they genuinely improved our ride, allowing riders to pedal faster, smoother, farther, stronger, and feel more confident.

Today in 2020, our mission hasn’t changed. Not a bit. With the e9 series, we’re upping the fun factor, offering new ways to pedal, damn it! and maintaining our signature ride quality and Niner style.

RIP e9

The freedom to ride more dirt, more often = more fun

Our new 150mm-travel RIP e9 29er checks all the boxes. Stay out longer, ride farther. It’s a quick, mid-travel trail bike for picking off mid-week missions and day-long excursions alike.

Welded 6061 aluminum frame and one-piece motor mount: unifies the upper and lower pivot locations with the shock mount for exceptional stiffness. Forged seat- and chainstay yokes, rocker arm, hollowed dropouts, plus our signature Enduro Max Black Oxide pivot bearings, make this all-new Niner chassis rock solid.

Bosch Performance Line CX motor: delivers smooth pedal assist with no surprises. Torque sensitive, zero-lag power delivery is predictable in all conditions. And the 625wh battery means you can ride farther without fear of losing the juice.

Niner ride quality: remarkably supple, balanced suspension curve that’s equally at home going uphill or down, and ready to take on any trail.

150mm suspension travel: air shock with lockout. With pedal assist easily overcoming any pedal input, our CVA system wasn’t an ideal choice on this bike. Turning over every rock in pursuit of performance, we adjusted the leverage ratio, shock length, stroke, orientation and mounting location to elicit Niner’s signature kinematics. The net result is a remarkably supple, balanced suspension curve that’s equally at home going uphill or down, and ready to take on any trail.

WFO e9

Park the shuttle truck, skip the lift: pedal up and charge down the biggest lines.

You’re free. Free to pedal instead of shuttle. Free to roam, explore, and ride whatever you want, whenever you want, with nothing holding you back other than your imagination.

Your access to the rowdiest terrain, steep backcountry lines, and local chunder just got a lot better. With aggressive geometry, 180mm suspension travel, a coil spring, 29” front wheel / 27.5” rear wheel, and Bosch Performance Line CX drive system, the WFO e9 is ready to punch your ticket to the top of any trail and capably carve its way down.

180mm suspension travel: a remarkably supple, balanced suspension curve riding on a coil spring, ready to tackle the toughest terrain.

Welded 6061 aluminum frame and one-piece motor mount: unifies the upper and lower pivot locations with the shock mount for exceptional stiffness. Forged seat- and chainstay yokes, rocker arm, hollowed dropouts, plus our signature Enduro Max Black Oxide pivot bearings, make this all-new Niner chassis rock solid.

Bosch Performance Line CX motor: delivers smooth pedal assist with no surprises. Torque sensitive, zero-lag power delivery is predictable in all conditions. And the 625wh battery means you can ride farther without fear of losing the juice.

29er front/27.5 rear wheel setup: The smaller rear wheel keeps the chainstays short for snappy trail manners and offers up massive traction.


Gravel road chameleon

Bosch Performance for Speed: The e-version of our vaunted RLT gravel bike goes far and it goes fast. The Bosch Performance Line Speed drive system propels a rider to 28 miles per hour (Performance Line CX and 25kph in the EU) with a 500wh battery for longer distances.

Designed for Durability and Versatility: Using FEA modeling and extensive testing, lead engineer George Parry built a robust carbon backbone structure to withstand the roughest roads imaginable. In fact, the RLT e9 RDO passes ISO mountain bike test standards.

e-bikes, public, lands, electric, bicycle

Ride Locally or Around the Globe: For a dose of rugged utility, Niner’s custom, integrated racks are available to carry supplies for a trip to the office or a ride around the world. Clearance for comfortable 50c tires and fitment for fenders round out this chameleon-like gravel bike.

What Type of E-Mountain Bike Should You Buy in 2023?

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside app available now on iOS devices for members! ,name:in-content-cta,type:link’Download the app.

E-bikes have evolved rapidly over the last few years, morphing from ungainly (and in many cases unsightly) contraptions into much more refined electric machines. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but it does seem like many of the initial issues, like limited battery capacity, awkward controls, and odd geometry, were figured out.

E-bikes remain a contentious topic, especially in North America, but I’m not going to delve too deeply into that here – just keep in mind that e-bikes aren’t allowed everywhere, and no matter where you’re riding it’s important to be a courteous trail user.

The purpose of this guide is to explain the difference between the various options on the market, and hopefully make it easier to decide which one makes the most sense for your riding style. Jumping into this world requires a substantial investment, even for the most budget-oriented models, which makes gathering as much information and trying as many options as you can before making a purchase even more important.

Of course, there’s also always the option of buying a regular, non-motorized mountain bike—going that route is much less expensive, and you won’t ever need to worry about your battery dying in the middle of a ride. For riders interested in going down that path, we’ve put together a helpful guide to help explain the various options.

Let’s start with the absolute basics—what exactly is an e-mountain bike? At its core, it’s a mountain bike with an electric motor that provides pedaling assistance, and a battery to run the motor.

There are three different classes of e-bike, but we’re only focusing on Class 1 bikes, ones without a throttle and which only output power if the rider is pedaling. These bikes are also limited to 20 miles per hour; you can certainly go faster than that, but the motor won’t be providing any help above that speed.

Battery Capacity: Battery capacity is measured in watt hours (Wh), and varies depending on the type of bike, ranging from around 320 Wh all the way up to 1,000 Wh. The greater the capacity, the longer the range, although those bigger batteries do come with a weight penalty.

Torque: Torque refers to how much assistance the bike will provide when you’re pushing on the pedals. (There’s more to it than that, but that’s the extra-simplified version). A bike with a motor that provides more torque will require the rider to exert less force on the pedals when climbing a steep hill compared to one with lower torque. Mid-power e-mountain bikes typically have motors with 35-60 Nm of torque, while the motors on full-power e-mountain bike’s put out 85.100 Nm of torque.

Types of Electric Mountain Bikes

Full Power E-Mountain Bike

Full power e-mountain bikes have the most powerful motors and largest batteries. As a result, they also have the highest overall weights, typically in the neighborhood of 50 pounds.

All of that power makes it possible to climb up features that would be impossible on a regular bike, which can lead to an entirely different riding experience. This style of bike is great for spinning up fireroads to get to a rowdy descent, but they’re also a blast when it comes to getting up technical climbs.

The overall ride experience is different than regular mountain biking—bunnyhopping and making quick maneuvers is more difficult due to the higher weight (lifting the bike up onto a bike rack can be challenging too), but the flipside is that this style of e-mountain bike feels the most stable, especially while cornering.

The bigger batteries also allow for a longer run time at full power, increasing the distance that you can travel at the highest level of assistance.

Price range: 5,000 – 12,000 USD. Just like with non-motorized bikes, there’s a wide range of price points that are determined by the frame material (aluminum is slightly heavier than carbon fiber, but it’s also much less expensive), and by the component kit.

Mid-Power E-Mountain Bike

The mid-power category has grown rapidly over the last couple of years, thanks to improved battery technology and new motors that make it possible to create bikes that weigh around 40 pounds. The ten-pound weight difference between these bikes and their full-powered counterparts is very noticeable, and riding one feels much more like a regular bike when descending.

The typical power output ranges from 35 Nm to 60 Nm, depending on the motor, which means this style of bike doesn’t surge up the hill the same way the full-power options can. Their assistance is still noticeable, it’s just more subtle, closer to a gentle yet steady push rather than a hard shove.

In order to keep the total weight down, the standard battery capacity of a mid-power e-mountain bike is typically somewhere around 350 Wh, which does limit the maximum range compared to the bigger bikes. Several of the available models do offer the option of a range extender, an external battery that can be slid into the water bottle cage to eke out even more run time.

Price range: 5,000 – 12,000 USD. There isn’t really a huge price difference between going the full-power or mid-power e-mountain-bike route. The motor outputs are different, but the frame materials and component costs are similar.

Questions to Ask When Shopping for an E-Mountain Bike

What Are Your Friends Riding?

Unless all of your rides are going to be solitary affairs, it’s a good idea to consider what your style of e-mountain bike your closest riding buddies are on. It turns out full-power and mid-power bikes don’t mix that well in a group setting—the riders with more power will constantly need to wait for the mid-power riders, or at the very least drop down into a mode that offers less assistance.

It’s obviously not the end of the world, but if you end up with the same style of e-mountain bike as your closest partners, it’ll make ride logistics a whole lot easier.

What Type of Ride Experience Are You Looking for?

Do you want a bike that can act as a replacement for a shuttle vehicle, one that makes it possible to knock out the most vertical in the shortest amount of time? The full power route is the way to go.

If you’re looking for something that’s easier to handle, the mid-powered e-mountain bike is a more mild-mannered option that can still knock out a solid amount of climbing in a short amount of time.

Features to Keep in Mind

Battery Size

Bigger is better, up to a point. These days, batteries in the 700-750 Wh range seem to sit in the sweet spot for full-power e-mountain bikes, giving riders the ability to get out on long, multi-hour rides without incurring as much of a weight penalty as the 900 Wh options.

Cockpit Controls

There are a wide variety of cockpit displays—some that look like they’d be better suited to the inside of a spaceship, and others that are much more minimalist. Personally, I like the smaller, less obtrusive options—Specialized does a good job integrating their display into the top tube, as does Crestline using Bosch’s Kiox display.

e-bikes, public, lands, electric, bicycle

Key Components

On an e-mountain bike, powerful brakes and tough tires should take top priority. Splurging for an extra fancy shock isn’t typically worth it, at least in my experience— the extra weight of an e-bike can make middle-of-the-road suspension feel excellent. Going with an aluminum frame will save money at the cost of additional weight, although there’s a motor to take off some of the sting.


Unfortunately, e-bike motors aren’t that easy to service at home. When something goes wrong, it’s typically time for a visit to a bike shop, so it’s not a bad idea to consider what type of dealer network is available for the motor in the bike you’re looking at.

Every spring there is an influx of riders keen to get into mountain biking, and at Pinkbike and Outside , we know that these newcomers are often overwhelmed with information and opinions. So we’re launching a seven-part series called MTB Explained, where we help new riders navigate some of the basics of our sport. If you’re new, welcome to the best damn sport in the world, and if you’re a long-time rider let’s welcome these folks to the club.

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