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The BikeRide Guide to Choosing the Best Electric Hunting Bike
A good huntbike is quiet. A quiet e-bike is stealthy, allowing you to approach game swiftly yet discretely. One hunter says his bike emits a mere “…soft hum at full power”. The only evidence of movement is the occasional snapping of twigs or crunching over gravel.
Hunters say they can ride an e-bike at night within 20 feet of a deer that’s entranced by a red-filtered headlight. Riders are adopting e-bikes and rejecting motorcycles and ATVs, which are conspicuous by their loud and stinky action.
E-bikes are largely scent-free. There’s no smell of gas or motor oil to give you away. Huntbikers say this is a major factor contributing to their choice to hunt with an e-bike. With a sensitive and superior sense of smell, other animals recognize the odor of fuel as hostile.
Distance, Speed and Remote Access
Huntbikers are able to cover more ground in a quicker time than if they were on foot. Some say they are able to reach remote areas that are out-of-bounds to users of gas-powered, motorized vehicles.
Hunters also report that an e-bike allows them to visit trail cameras quickly, before returning to a hide.
Stay Out Longer
With the ability to carry more gear, food and water, hunters have the potential to stay out for longer. But what if your battery goes flat or you experience another unexpected motor malfunction? As long as your huntbike has pedals, you can always make your way out of an area at a reduced speed.
Carry More Gear
On average, a hunting e-bike can carry a total payload of 317 lb. Most huntbikes are specced with a maximum carrying capacity of 300 to 330 lb. One manufacturer claims a 440 lb payload for its only hunting model, while some bikes used by hunters (but which are not built specifically for this purpose), will top-out at 264 lb.
Any way you look at it, that’s a lot more than can be carried on foot, in a backpack. More carrying capacity means you can bring more kit, water and food, allowing you to stay out longer.
A bigger payload means you can carry more and bigger kills on your way out. Custom game and cargo trailers allow hunters to haul out carcasses and equipment, while loading up racks and panniers with gear and supplies.
Easier on Older or Less-Able Hunters
E-bikes make things easier for hunters who may be incapacitated due to injury, aging or a compromised ability to walk. They allow older and less-able hunters to travel further and hunt for longer.
Hunters say that their e-bikes have a lot less impact on their hunting habitat than ATVs and motorcycles. An e-bike doesn’t release emissions, aside from the source of power generation used to charge batteries. As far as sound pollution goes, they’re a no-brainer.
The vast majority of electric huntbikes are built with 26” wheels and 4.0” wide, go-anywhere tires.
26” wheels used to be the standard on ordinary mountain bikes. It is now an obsolete MTB size, having been superseded by 27.5” or 29” wheels, which can reach higher top speeds.
When 26” wheels are wrapped with huge tires, their diameter equals that of many larger wheels. For this reason, they have become the most common size on all fatbikes, including huntbikes.
Take note: Almost all huntbikes are electric fatbikes but not all electric fatbikes make good huntbikes.
Some huntbike-oriented manufacturers offer full-suspension bikes with 27.5” wheels and ‘plus-size’ 2.8” wide tires. This combination can supply a comfort level comparable to that found on 26” bikes with 4.0” wide tires.
Full-suspension bikes with the 27.5”×2.8” tire combo can be found for less than $1500 up to around $7000:
- Eunorau UHVO: An entry-level option running on a 36-volt system.
- Eunorau Specter-ST: Mid-priced, 1000W mid-drive, step-through.
- Eunorau URUS: 500W mid-drive, e-MTB-oriented.
- Rambo Rampage: 1000W mid-drive option at a premium price.
For less than $6000, true all-wheel-drive bikes with 27.5” tires become available:
- Christini AWD Fat E-4: An intrepid adventure/huntbike with 4.0” wide fat tires.
- Christini AWD 27.5+: A hardtail E-MTB with 2.8” plus-size tires.
True-fat 27.5” tires are an uncommon and specialist option that will add significant cost to the price of your new huntbike, but they roll faster than 26” options.
Some hunting-focused e-bike brands have one or two models available with 24” wheels. This allows the manufacturer to build a smaller-framed bike that’s suited to shorter, smaller and/or younger riders.
On at least one model, the ‘Small’ size uses 24” wheels while larger sizes have 26” wheels.
24” huntbikes are available at various levels of quality, from around $3000 up to almost $6000. Some examples:
- Rambo Ryder: 750W mid-drive – 24”×4.0” tires.
- Quietkat Ranger: 750W or 100W hub motor – 24”×4.0” tires on size ‘Small’ only.
- Bakcou Flatlander ST 24: 750W hub motor Step-Through – 24”×4.0” tires.
- Bakcou Mule ST 24: 1000W mid-drive Step-Through – 24”×4.0” tires.
One huntbike-specific manufacturer makes a little camo huntbike for kids. Just like other kids’ bikes, it has 20” wheels, the same size as a BMX… but with 4.0” wide balloon tires:
- Rambo Ripper: 500W hub motor – 20”×4.0” tires.
Some hunters use low-cost e-bikes for hunting, even if they are not designed for this purpose. The cheapest of these has 20” wheels with 3.0” tires. Another hunter’s budget solution consists of re-purposing an e-moped that’s fitted with 20”×4.0” tires.
With these small wheels, you’ll want the widest tires possible, to increase comfort:
- Lectric XP 3.0 Long-Range: Folding Bike – 500W hub motor – 20”×3.0” tires.
- Zugo Rhino: Moped – 750W hub motor – 20”×4.0” tires.
17” to 19” Wheels
These wheels are specced on vehicles that could be more accurately described as off-road ‘electric motorcycles’ or at least as ‘electric mopeds’. They are well-suited to hunting.
Like non-electric motorcycles and mopeds, they use smaller-diameter wheels to increase maneuverability and decrease wind-resistance at higher speeds.
The tires on these ‘e-bikes’ are not as fat as those found on regular electric huntbikes. With more power and battery available, they can be equipped with heavier-duty suspension to compensate for fat-tire comfort. Traction is boosted by a more-powerful motor.
On the options that are practical for use as an electric huntbike, tires are 2.75” wide:
- 17″ – UBCO 2×2 Work: Motorcycle – Dual 1000W×2 hub motors – No pedals.
- 19″ – Delfast Top 3.0/3.0i: Moped – 1000W hub motor – 72V – With pedals.
One manufacturer specializes in electric hunting bikes that have three wheels. These bikes are not ‘tricycles’, as the two front wheels are only 9” apart. The manufacturer’s aim is to increase stability and traction in rugged environments.
All bikes run on 52V systems, use 1000W mid-drive motors and are fitted with 26”×4.8” tires:
- Rungu Dualie Standard: 52V 15Ah battery.
- Rungu Dualie Steep: 52V 15Ah battery.
- Rungu Dualie Rugged: 52V 17.5Ah battery.
- Rungu Dualie XR Steep: 52 V 35Ah (17.5 Ah×2) dual batteries.
- Rungu Dualie XR Rubicon: 52 V 35Ah (17.5 Ah×2) dual batteries.
Most huntbikes are fatbikes (or ‘fat-tire bikes’). ‘Fat’ tires are loosely defined as being 3.8” or wider. The huntbike standard is 4.0” wide tires on a 26” wheel. This accounts for most new electric huntbikes right now.
When it comes to fatness, 4.0” is plenty wide. This huge footprint allows you to ride over loose sand, mud, snow or dirt, in addition to rocks, sticks and debris.
Fat tires are run at much lower pressures than on-road tires, which gives them the ability to act as suspension while absorbing bumps and rolling over uneven surfaces.
Some bikes that may be suited to hunting (but aren’t specifically designed for this purpose), are fitted with ‘plus-size’ tires which, while still quite wide, are not quite ‘fat’. These bikes are often full-suspension rigs. The suspension replaces the extra comfort provided by truly fat tires.
‘Plus-size’ has no strict definition, but generally fills the gap between 2.8” and 3.7” (inclusive).
Some folk describe anything over 3.0” as ‘fat’.
On huntbikes, both tires should always be knobby, with protruding bumps to help with grip and cornering in loose, soft, crumbly and rocky terrain.
Running Tubeless & Puncture Protection
You would be well-advised to invest in puncture-protection for your huntbike. If your new bike comes equipped with tubeless-compatible rims, you’re all set to have them filled with sealant (DIY or at your LBS), so you don’t have to concern yourself with fixing punctures in the backwoods.
Alternatively, you can rely on so-called ‘puncture-proof’ and ‘puncture-resistant’ tires and tubes. But these are always heavy and never foolproof.
26” Inch Tires
Because 4.0” tires are the standard, they won’t add significantly to the price of your new huntbike. However, tires wider than 4.0” will add more to the cost of your new bike because they are a niche product.
If you are regularly hunting in snowy, muddy or sandy environments, you might seek out a bike with these wider tires. Huntbikes are also available with these tire widths on 26” wheels:
- 4.25” Inch
- 4.5” Inch
- 4.8” Inch
- 5.05” Inch
27.5” Inch Tires
Hunting-suitable e-bikes with 27.5” wheels can be divided into two basic categories:
Hardtail Bikes with ‘True-Fat’ Tires
Compared to 26” fatbikes, 27.5” fatbikes are rare. These bikes may or may not have a front suspension fork but are rarely full-suspension.
Truly fat tires are a niche item for 27.5” wheels. This makes them scarcer and more expensive to source. If they’re on a new huntbike you fancy, they’re probably bumping up the price.
Nevertheless, they roll faster than 26” options due to their increased diameter.
You can find new hunting fatbikes with 27.5” wheels and tires in these sizes:
- Rambo Prowler
- Christini AWD Fat E-4
Full-Suspension Bikes With ‘Plus-Size’ Tires
As previously mentioned, these bikes may tackle similar terrain to fat-tire bikes, in similar comfort, thanks to increased suspension. New full-suspension bikes are available with 27.5” tires in these widths:
- Rambo Rampage
- Eunorau URUS
- Eunorau Specter-ST
- Eunorau UHVO
There is one outlier here. An all-wheel drive specialist manufacturer makes a 27.5” hardtail e-bike with 2.8” tires. With increased traction and grip, this bike suffices with plus-size tires and a suspension fork:
- Christini AWD 27.5+
24” Inch Tires
Some huntbike brands build e-bikes for smaller, shorter and younger riders. These bikes are built around 24” wheels. For at least one model, ‘Medium’ and ‘Large’ sizes use 26” wheels while 24” wheels are specced on the ‘Small’ frame.
All use truly fat 4.0” Inch wide tires:
- Rambo Ryder
- Quietkat Ranger (size ‘Small’ only)
- Bakcou Flatlander ST 24
- Bakcou Mule ST 24
20” Inch Tires
On a 20” bike, 3.0” tires will feel fat. But to alleviate the decreased bump-resistance of smaller-diameter wheels, some of these bikes will sport wider tires.
These are examples of tire widths on 20” wheel huntbikes:
- Kids’ Huntbike: Quietkat Ripper – 4.0” wide tires.
- Folding Bike: Lectric XP 3.0 Long-Range – 3.0” tires.
- Lower-Power Moped: Zugo Rhino – 4.0” wide tires.
19” and 17” Inch Tires
As discussed above, electric motorcycles and mopeds use smaller wheels and narrower tires than electric fatbikes. With their extra power, they should have no trouble traversing the same rugged terrain that can be ridden on a fatbike with 26”×4.0” tires.
There are a couple of options that fit the purposes and price range of a prospective electric huntbike buyer. They all use 2.75” wide tires:
19” Wheels – Electric ‘Mopeds’
These beasts have pedals, but it can’t be guaranteed that they are there for more than decoration:
- Delfast 3.0
- Delfast 3.0i
17” Wheels – Electric Motorcycle
Despite being less powerful than some ‘mopeds’ (Delfast), these machines have no pedals:
- UBCO 2×2
One of the first things to give away a huntbike is its unique paint-job. Purpose-built huntbikes are wrapped in camouflage print. Some manufacturers will even offer buyers the choice between forest or desert camo colorways.
Right now, you would have trouble finding a brand new off-road bike that isn’t equipped with disc brakes. E-bikes move fast. Huntbikes are usually loaded down with gear and cargo. So disc brakes are essential.
Hydraulic or Mechanical?
In terms of braking, the main choice you’ll make is between a bike with mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are reliable and easily adjusted. Hydraulic brakes are more powerful but may require professional adjustment and repair.
If you can afford a bike with hydraulic brakes, go for it. In the backwoods and boonies, there are too many variables that are handled easier with powerful hydraulic brakes:
- Braking at speed.
- Stopping on loose surfaces.
- Braking when descending steep terrain.
- Stopping under the weight of heavy cargo, carcasses, gear or a rider.
Above $1500, most huntbikes feature hydraulic disc brakes. Above $2000, every huntbike option should be equipped with them – and you should expect them. You could make do with mechanical brakes, but they may well seem under-powered when you’re loaded down with kit and carcasses.
There are two other factors that affect your braking ability:
- The number of pistons within your brake’s caliper.
- The size of your brake rotors.
Number of Pistons
Hydraulic brakes may use two or four pistons per caliper. If ‘number of pistons’ is unlisted, you can assume the number is ‘two’.
A four-piston model applies two pistons to each side of your brake rotor. The extra surface area creates more friction and greater stopping power. For many hunters, two pistons may well be enough. If you, your cargo or your bike are ultra-husky, you’ll seek four-piston hydraulic disc brakes.
Regardless of whether you really need them, it’s important that you don’t rip yourself off. If you’re shopping in a price range where four-piston brakes are the norm, make sure you get them.
Most entry-level mechanical disc brakes are single-piston affairs. If a bike doesn’t specify the number of pistons in their mechanical disc brakes, you can assume they’re single-piston. Dual-piston brakes are superior but rare on low-priced huntbikes.
Below $3000, huntbikes are equipped with two-piston hydraulic disc brakes. From $3000 to $5000, about half of all new huntbikes are offered with four-piston options. From $5000 to $7000, you should expect them. Above $7000, all huntbikes use them.
There are three sizes of disc brake rotor specced on off-road bikes:
- 160 mm
- 180 mm
- 203 mm
Larger rotors provide greater stopping power. Smaller 160 mm rotors need to work harder.
The lowest-priced huntbike options may use 160 mm brakes, which are present on two e-bikes with small 20” wheels. Both bikes are under $2000 and have been used for hunting but are not intended solely for this purpose.
At least one e-bike with full-size wheels is equipped with these small 160 mm rotors. An off-road bike with 26” wheels and 160 mm rotors is under-specced and should be avoided.
Dual 180 mm rotors are standard on huntbikes under $3000 and are capable of doing a sound job. Above this price, you’ll find huntbikes with rotors that are either:
- 180 mm front and rear.
- 203 mm front and rear.
- 203 mm front / 180 mm rear combination
(because most braking power is required at the front brake).
Obviously, you’re getting more bang-for-your-buck with two 203 mm rotors or a 203/180 mm setup. All huntbikes above $7000 should be fitted with at least one front 203 mm disc rotor.
Average Hunting Bike Weights:
The average weight of all huntbikes across all price points is 73.4 lb.
Dividing huntbikes into Light, Middle and Heavy weight classes, we get:
- Average Lightweight: 61.36 lb
- Average Middleweight: 73.0 lb
- Average Heavyweight: 85.10 lb
These huntbike sub-types weigh in like so:
- Average AWD – Mid-Drive Motor: 64.5 lb
- Average AWD – All: 70.26 lb
- Average AWD – 2x Hub Motors: 74.86 lb
- Average Dual Battery: 83.4 lb
- Average 3-Wheel: 101.54 lb
- Average Motorbike: 150.95 lb
Electric bikes are heavier than their pedal-powered counterparts. That’s just a fact. Maybe one day this won’t be true. But for now, it’s unavoidable. A motor, battery and cabling all add up to decent heft.
Within the e-bike world, huntbikes are especially heavy. This is due to having:
- Strong, heavy wheels with fat tires, wide rims and wide hubs.
- Hefty, overbuilt frames.
- Large motors.
- Dual motors.
- All-Wheel drive (AWD) systems.
- Bulky long-range batteries.
- Dual batteries.
- Suspension (front fork).
- Suspension (full).
- Three wheels.
Eventually, most e-bikers run into the unexpected situation where they run out of battery. It’s important to consider how heavy a huntbike is, to pedal without power. Some huntbikes could prove to be a real slog.
While most huntbikes are bulky and weighty, there is a big range in overall poundage. As it is with most other types of bike, you can find lighter options at higher price-points.
Alternatively, some riders choose to adapt an e-bike with 20” wheels, to hunting purposes. But this comes with a few significant compromises regarding speed and comfort.
These are some of the features used by huntbike and fatbike manufacturers to reduce a bike’s overall weight:
- Rims with cutouts.
- Carbon fiber forks.
- Less or no suspension (higher-end manufacturers opt for big tires and a compliant frame over low-end suspension).
Electric motorcycles and mopeds are in another weight range to most huntbikes. They are fitted with robust steel frames, huge batteries and big (or dual) motors. This helps them to ride faster, further and with a bigger payload.
Additionally, on an e-motorcycle, a rider can not contribute pedal-power. Here are some examples:
- UBCO 2×2: 140 lb to 156 lb (electric motorcycle)
- Delfast 3.0i: 154 lb (electric moped)
In many countries, pedal assist e-bikes are the only e-bikes that can be ridden without a license or registration.
In the United States, these are categorized as ‘Class 1’ and ‘Class 3’ e-bikes. The motor kicks in when you begin pedaling.
On the best electric hunting bikes, this feeling is intuitive. It should allow you to maintain a desired level of input and fitness, according to the level of assistance that you choose.
Most e-bikes have three to five levels of pedal assist available. They’ll also give you the option of disabling the motor. With no pedal assist, your e-bike acts like a regular (but heavy) push-bike.
Mid-drive motor e-bikes are superior to hub-motor bikes, when it comes to climbing steep hills. While riders will need to contribute some pedal power, this will go a long way. Mid-drive bikes can mash their way up longer, steeper hills than a hub-motor huntbike using only throttle.
Most mid-drive motor e-bikes require a more active ride-style than hub-motor e-bikes. That being said, most mid-drive huntbikes are now also equipped with a throttle, allowing riders to initiate pedal-free acceleration at the flick of a switch.
Most huntbikes are large and heavy. As a hunter, you’re probably hauling a lot of kit and cargo, so you will want access to a throttle. This will give you the ability to accelerate from a dead stop, when initiating pedaling is too much of a strain.
Most huntbikes feature a throttle that is activated by a thumb-switch, button or grip-shift. This allows you to accelerate without pedaling.
Many of these bikes also feature multi-level pedal assist options. Keep in mind that working the throttle unassisted will drain the battery fairly quickly.
Before you can make sense of the e-bike options available to you, it’s helpful to get a basic understanding of e-bike terminology.
For detailed and straight-forward explanations of general e-bike terminology, please refer to our main guide to selecting and buying an electric bike.
Many first-timers aim for a huge battery, in an effort to cover the longest possible ride. The problem here is that large batteries add considerable weight. This extra weight slows you down and requires more power to overcome, creating a Catch 22 situation.
In any event, ‘slightly more battery capacity than what is needed’ is a good yardstick.
48 Volt Batteries and Systems
Most huntbikes are specced with a 48V battery and electrical system. This means they use a 48V battery (or two in dual battery setups), 48V controller and 48V motor. From around $3200, 48V dual battery bikes become available.
In the following price ranges, 48V huntbikes are available with batteries of varying capacities.
Manufacturers claim maximum ranges spanning these distances:
$1000 to $1300:
- Battery Capacity (single battery): 48V 14Ah (672Wh)
- Maximum Range (single battery): 65 miles
$1300 to $1500:
- Battery Capacity (single battery): 48V 15Ah (720Wh)
- Maximum Range (single battery): 40 miles
$1500 to $2000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 48V 9.6Ah (461Wh) to 48V 21Ah (1.01kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 35 to 80 miles
$3000 to $5000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 48V 11.6Ah (557Wh) to 48V 25Ah (1.2kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 25 to 80 miles
- Battery Capacities (dual batteries): 48V 15Ah[x2] (1.44kWh) to 48V 17Ah[x2] (1.63kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (dual batteries): 80 to 100 miles
$5000 to $7000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 48V 14.5Ah (696Wh) to 48V 25Ah (1.2kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 48 to 60 miles
- Battery Capacities (dual batteries): 48V 17Ah[×2] (1.63kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (dual batteries): 80 miles
$7000 to $9000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 48V 17Ah (816Wh) to 48V 25Ah (1.2kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 35 to 50 miles
- Battery Capacities (dual batteries): 48V 15Ah[×2] (1.44kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (dual batteries): 100 miles
In the recreational and commuting e-bike world, a 48V system and battery is ample. But under the heavy demands of hunting (steep terrain, difficult ground surfaces, heavy cargo), something bigger may be demanded.
52 Volt Batteries and Systems
Huntbikes with 52V systems and batteries are now available from around $1600. A higher-voltage 52V system is more efficient than a 48V system when achieving the same level of performance. Basically, a lower-voltage 48V system must work harder to put out as much power as the higher-voltage 52V alternative.
In the following price ranges, 52V huntbikes are available with batteries of these varying capacities. Manufacturers claim maximum ranges spanning the following distances:
$1600 to $2000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 52V 15Ah (780Wh) to 52V 20Ah (1.04kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 55 to 80 miles
$2000 to $3000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 52V 19.2Ah (998Wh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 70 miles
$3000 to $5000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 52V 15Ah (780Wh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 78 to 83 miles
$5000 to $7000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 52V 12Ah (624Wh) to 52V 15Ah (780Wh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): Up to 50 miles
[no range stated for bike w/ 12Ah battery]
$7000 to $9000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 52V 17.5Ah (910Wh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery):
- 22 miles – “off-road with pedal assist”
- 161 miles – “on pavement with pedal assist”
- Battery Capacities (dual batteries): 52V 17.5Ah[×2] (1.82kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (dual batteries):
- 41 to 42 miles – “off-road with pedal assist”
- 296 to 309 miles – “on pavement with pedal assist”
Other Size Batteries and Systems
Electric motorcycles and mopeds may use different voltage systems to the standard 48V and 52V options used on regular e-bikes. For example, the UBCO 2×2 (which has no pedals) runs on a 50.4V system, while the beastly Delfast (which does have pedals) is 72V throughout.
Here is a summary of alternative-voltage batteries featured on huntbike-suitable e-mopeds and motorcycles that sit within the standard electric huntbike price range:
50.4V – $5000 to $7000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 50.4V 42Ah (2.1kWh) to 50.4V 62Ah (3.1kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 43 to 75 miles
72V – $5000 to $7000:
- Battery Capacities (single battery): 72V 48Ah (3.46kWh)
- Maximum Ranges (single battery): 200 miles
For most e-bikes, the 36V system is becoming less common and appears to be becoming obsolete. One huntbike manufacturer still offers a full-suspension 36V e-bike at a low price (though not the lowest price for a huntbike). For some, this bike’s power and range would be egregiously under par. For others, it’s a bargain!
36V – $1300 to $1500:
- Battery Capacity (single battery): 36V 13Ah (468Wh)
- Maximum Range (single battery): 30 miles
Some bikes come preconfigured to accept a dual-battery setup. A second battery means double the range, but double the battery weight.
On some huntbikes, you can keep weight down by using a single battery on less-demanding trips, while having the option to slot in a second battery on epic hunts.
Dual-battery huntbikes are significantly heavier and more expensive than single-battery options. They generally become available above $3000. Here are some examples:
- 48 V 30Ah (15 Ah[×2]) – 1.44kWh – Mid-Drive (750W) (Bikonit Warthog MD 750)
- 48 V 30Ah (15 Ah[×2]) – 1.44kWh – Mid-Drive (1000W) (Bikonit Warthog MD 1000)
- 52 V 35Ah (17.5 Ah[×2]) – 1.82kWh – Mid-Drive (1000W) – 3-Wheel (Rungu Dualie XR Rubicon)
- 52 V 35Ah (17.5 Ah[×2]) – 1.82kWh – Mid-Drive (1000W) – 3-Wheel (Rungu Dualie XR Steep)
- 48 V 34Ah (17 Ah[×2]) – 1.63kWh – Dual Hub Motors (Rambo Megatron)
- 48 V 30Ah (15 Ah[×2]) – 1.44kWh – Rear Hub Motor (Bikonit Warthog HD 750)
Almost all modern battery packs are removable. This allows you to charge the battery wherever a convenient outlet is located.
For detailed information on general e-bike battery tech, please refer to our main guide to choosing and buying an electric bike.
You or an expert should assess your range requirements based on:
- The amount of pedaling you’ll contribute vs. the amount of pedal-assist that you’ll require.
- How much you like to ‘mash’ that throttle.
- Weight carried: You + Your gear + Your kill.
For hauling large or multiple kills, you may need more power and a bigger battery.
Your range is also influenced by how you use the motor. A lot of stop-starting and throttling will tear through juice in a rapid fashion.
The resistance produced by muddy, slippery, sandy and snowy surfaces will require more effort from your battery to overcome.
One of the factors that is mostly outside of the rider’s control, is external temperature. Both extremes of weather can lead to deficits in battery capacity. First in the short-term, then eventually degrading battery capacity on a long-term basis.
If you hunt in desert or snowfall, be wary. Exposure to extreme temperatures can prematurely reduce the capacity and long-term life of your battery.
There are two main types of e-bike motor, each being positioned and operating differently. Both have benefits and drawbacks.
Hub motors are situated within the hub of an e-bike’s rear wheel.
On new huntbikes, rear hub-driven motors are the most common and affordable option. Front-wheel-only hub motor bikes present safety concerns and are now mostly obsolete.
Dual hub-motor, all-wheel-drive huntbikes are available from multiple manufacturers. These feature a hub motor in both the front and rear wheels.
- Hub motors are usually the cheaper option.
- As a reliable, self-contained system, they require minimal maintenance.
- If your chain breaks, you can ride home solely on the power of the electric hub.
- If your hub motor fails, you can pedal home using your bike’s drivetrain.
- Hub motors put less stress on your bike’s other gearing components.
Things to Consider
- Hub-driven systems can overheat on long, steep climbs.
- They’re heavier than mid-drive options.
- Tire changes can be complicated, involving disconnecting motor wires.
- Direct-drive motors don’t have any internal gears.
- Geared hub motors have a single gear ratio.
- Having a heavy hub motor on the rear wheel can imbalance an e-bike.
- Spokes are more likely to break, due to the weight of the hub in the wheel.
- The width of a hub motor may limit cassette gears to seven speeds.
- Tire widths are limited by the rim that’s attached to the hub motor.
- Hub motor cadence sensors may result in lurchy or awkward motor timing.
Hub-Driven motors offer maximum assistance for less pedal effort. This suits senior riders or those with a disability, as well as anyone seeking physical rehabilitation for an injury. But they’re also great for anyone who’s a less-experienced or less-frequent cyclist. If you’re a new rider or returning to cycling, a hub-driven e-bike may be for you.
Mid-drive motors are situated between the cranks of your e-bike. These motors require a specific kind of frame, that accommodates a motor in place of a regular bike’s bottom bracket. What’s the skinny?
- A central location leads to even weight distribution on your e-bike.
- They tackle steeper hills for longer than a hub motor of similar power.
- Riders generally report a smoother ride quality.
- They are typically lighter and smaller than a hub motor of comparable power.
- Direct pedaling input leads to more range, especially across climbs.
- Tire changes are unaffected by mid-drive motors.
- A torque sensor accurately meters out assistance according to pedal power.
- More open to different set-ups that use standardized bike components.
Things to Consider
- They are usually the more expensive option.
- These motors depend on more rider input, through pedal-power.
- Mid-drives wear harder on chains and cassettes.
- They are more complex and require more maintenance than hub motors.
- Some brands don’t offer repair options outside of warranties.
Mid-Drive motors suit riders who want an engaged ride with full access to their bike’s range of gears. They are the preferred option for experienced cyclists. Riders who know how to change gears will be able to attain an efficient ride and extend the life of a mid-drive e-bike.
You will find that a majority of higher-end and higher-priced huntbikes use mid-drive motors.
All-Wheel Drive E-Bikes
A number of all-wheel-drive (AWD) bikes are available for the prospective e-bike hunter. These can be divided into two main types:
1. Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive
These bikes have a hub motor in both the front and rear wheels. Usually, both motors are of the same wattage. In some cases, the front hub motor may be less powerful than the rear-wheel hub motor.
As you can imagine, two motors use more battery. It’s important that the manufacturer tunes the bike so that output is well-balanced and/or synchronized between the two motors.
There are a number of dual-motor e-bikes available from specialist hunting e-bike brands, starting at around $1700. Generally, as price increases, so too does power:
- 250W (Front) + 350W (Rear): Eunorau FAT-AWD
- 500W (Front) + 500W (Rear): Bakcou Kodiak AWD
- 500W (Front) + 500W (Rear): Rambo Krusader
- 750W (Front) + 750W (Rear): Eunorau Defender-S
- 1000W (Front) + 1000W (Rear): Rambo Megatron
- 1000W (Front) + 1000W (Rear): UBCO 2×2
The average weight of a dual-motor huntbike is 74.86 lb.
2. All-Wheel Drive – Mid-Drive Motor
These bikes are made by a specialist manufacturer that targets hardcore adventure and exploration enthusiasts. In short time, hunters and huntbike retailers became drawn to these bikes after realizing the obvious benefits they present on hunting expeditions.
These bikes use a mid-drive motor that sends pedal-power to the rear wheel. A patented system of bevel gears and drive shafts transfers power from the e-bike’s rear wheel to the front wheel, ensuring that all-wheel drive traction kicks in during slippery conditions. This allows these bikes to ride up and across especially steep inclines, as well as over slippery rocks and roots.
Due to the specialist components used, these bikes become available in the high $5000s.
They are all equipped with a 1000-watt mid-drive motor:
- 26” × 5.05” Tires: Christini Abominable
- 26” × 4.8” Tires: Christini AWD Fat E-5
- 27.5” × 4.0” Tires: Christini AWD Fat E-4
- 27.5” × 2.8” Tires and 150 mm Suspension Fork: Christini AWD 27.5+
On average, an AWD mid-drive motor e-bike weighs 64.5 lb. This is a full 10 lb less than the average dual hub motor alternative.
Above $2000, almost all huntbikes use a 750 or 1000-watt motor, whether it’s a mid-drive or hub option. Lower-priced huntbikes (or repurposed commuter e-bikes) may use a 500-watt motor.
Huntbike experts say they have successfully used 750-watt e-bikes for hunting and hauling prey in a variety of conditions and terrains. For consistent use in mountainous areas, these experts do recommend a 1000-watt option.
Torque is a crucial consideration for the e-bike-mounted hunter. To simplify, torque describes the amount of power available to you at lower revolutions (RPMs). In straightforward on-trail terms, the applications are two-fold. A motor with higher torque will give you more power from a dead stop. It will also help you climb hills at a faster speed, for a longer period of time.
For electric huntbikes, torque relates to ‘pulling power’. This has two benefits:
- More torque means more grunt available for hauling a bike, its rider, gear and cargo (including carcasses).
- With more torque available, your bike will pull itself up, through and over steep, rugged and loose terrain with less strain.
Torque is measured in ‘Newton Meters’ and you’ll see it listed in e-bike specs using the abbreviation ‘Nm’. Lighter commuter bikes can make do with 40 to 50 Nm, while huntbikes need more torque to haul heavy loads and to climb and navigate rugged terrain.
In low gear, a mid-drive motor huntbike can climb steeper hills for longer than a similarly powered hub-motor bike.
As the figures below show, the average electric huntbike puts out 138 Nm of torque. However, average torque levels vary a lot, depending on how much you are able to spend.
Average Hunting Bike Torque
The average torque of all huntbikes across all price points is 138 Nm.
From the following figures, it’s clear that average torque output increases alongside the price that you are able or willing to pay for your huntbike:
- $1000 to $1500: 63 Nm
- $1500 to $2000: 90 Nm
- $2000 to $3000: 113 Nm
- $3000 to $5000 (2-Wheel Bikes Only): 137 Nm
- $3000 to $5000 (All Bikes): 151 Nm
- $5000 to $7000: 157 Nm
- $7000 to $9000 (2-Wheel Bikes Only): 160 Nm
- $7000 to $9000 (All Bikes): 232 Nm
But cost is not the only determiner of power…
There are all-wheel drive huntbikes available from $1700 to $7000. These bikes can either have:
- A hub motor in each wheel – or –
- A mid-drive motor and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system connecting the rear and front hubs.
While single-motor huntbikes in this price range express an average of 135 Nm of torque, all-wheel drive bikes average out with more torque, at 150 Nm. In the current market, dual-motor bikes supply slightly less torque than the mid-drive-motored, all-wheel drive bikes made by marques such as Christini:
- Average AWD (Dual Motors): 143 Nm
- Average AWD (Mid-Drive): 160 Nm
- Average All AWD: 150 Nm
The UBCO 2×2 and Delfast 3.0/3.0i are the most high-powered, hunt-ready ‘e-bikes’ within our purview. The UBCO has no pedals or pedal assist and can therefore be accurately described as a ‘low-powered electric motorcycle’. While the Delfast does have pedals, these are really only present for legal reasons. Electric motorcycles and mopeds output considerably higher torque than other huntbike options:
- Average E-Motorbike/Moped: 274 Nm
Torque levels claimed by manufacturers of three-wheel bikes are a lot higher than those specced on most huntbikes.
This includes the electric motorcycles mentioned above. This is due to the increased grip, traction and weight on these bikes’ front two wheels:
- Average Three-Wheel: 308 Nm
Purpose-built huntbike accessories are made and sold by specialist manufacturers of hunting e-bikes. If you buy your hunting e-bike from a specialist manufacturer, it’s likely that you can easily find and attach aftermarket hunting accessories.
If you are adapting a commuter, recreational or folding bike to hunting purposes, some improvisation may be required to attach hunting-specific racks and trailers.
Equipment Racks, Grips and Holders
As a hunter, you can buy gear that is custom-made to attach to your e-bike and carry your equipment securely.
This includes racks or claws designed to mount your bow or gun conveniently on your huntbike’s handlebars, frame or rear rack. Fishing rod holders are also available.
Hunting Trailers and Game Bags
Bike trailers have been around for a long time. Recently though, e-hunters have become spoiled for choice with custom-built game trailers, designed to carry deer or other game.
Insulated game bags are also available. These fit within a game trailer and help to keep your kill cool, fresh and hygienic.
Some huntbikers choose to carry gear on their back. For others, this is uncomfortable, sweaty or just inadequate for the amount of gear they require. For those hunters that prefer to haul cargo in their trailer, there are a number of options available, some with their own suspension setups.
A ‘fully-featured’ e-bike comes with all the basic accessories that make it fit-for-purpose and ready-to-ride, from new. For e-hunters, these requirements are the same as those sought by urban commuters.
Front and Rear Lights
Ideally, your new bike comes with integrated front and rear lights. They’re wired into your e-bike’s electrical system, so they can be turned on and off via your display unit and never need to be recharged.
More than half of all new huntbikes are supplied with an integrated headlight. Integrated taillights are less common, only being fitted to around one quarter of all new huntbikes. Instead, about 10% of new, mid-priced huntbikes come with a free non-integrated taillight. These can run on batteries or be USB rechargeable. Most often, they are of average brightness. Many riders replace them quickly.
Front and Rear Fenders
If you’re heading out in the dirt, slop, muck, snow, sand and/or filth, fenders are incredibly useful. To have them included with your bike is a boon. Some brands sell them as add-ons. The extra cost is an annoyance, but it’s nice to know that the fenders are made to fit. Finding aftermarket fenders that don’t rub or rattle can be a challenge.
About 35% of huntbikes come with front and rear fenders. The best of these provide ‘full-coverage’ and will protect riders from all angles of splashing.
Some bikes come with only a front fender, with a provided rear rack acting as a rear fender. One rear fender is sometimes fitted to huntbikes with front suspension.
This is possibly the most useful accessory to be included with your hunting e-bike. Custom-made racks fit better than aftermarket options. Integrated racks are especially strong. Although many hunters will choose to attach a trailer to carry carcasses, they are also certain to make full use of a rear rack.
Almost half of all new huntbikes come with an included rear rack. A couple of especially high-end huntbikes also come with panniers. At the time of writing, only three high-end models also came with a front rack.
A ‘fully-featured’ huntbike would be one that comes with all of these included accessories:
- Front and rear fenders (or a front fender and rear rack, at very least).
- A rear rack.
- Front and rear lights (either integrated or not).
In reality, only about 14% of new huntbikes arrive ‘fully-featured’. Unlike commuter e-bikes, a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean you get more included accessories.
Most ‘fully-featured’ huntbikes are actually in the $1500 to $3000 price range. At this price, it pays to consider the inclusion of extras and integrated accessories as part of the cost of your new e-bike.
Many higher-end manufacturers invest more of your purchase power into component and build quality. Certain brands just never seem to include any accessories in any price bracket.
In the United States, electric bike laws vary massively from state to state. It’s best to check your local laws before purchasing an electric bike. Please refer to our main guide to electric bikes for details on legal classifications and classes appointed to e-bikes in the United States.
In the United States, e-bikes fit into three categories of roadworthiness. There are limits on motor size and top speeds. In many states, any e-bike with a motor larger than 750 watts is forbidden on roads and bike paths.
A moderately-powered e-bike can easily suffice for commuter needs. But out there in the wilderness; dirt, mud and roots are hard to navigate without extra torque. Not to mention the need to haul out carcasses. As a result, most new huntbikes are now saddled with motors of 750 to 1000 watts.
While many huntbikes are limited to a top speed of 20 mph (Class 1 and 2) or 28 mph (Class 3), some can hit 35 mph. One option reaches 50 mph!
Some of these manufacturers claim that their 1000-watt-plus bikes can be ‘limited’ to a maximum 750-watt output, rendering them legal on all roads. This system is not foolproof and you should be aware that it may not pass muster with law enforcement in certain areas.
If your hunting takes place only on private property, you should be free to ride your 1500-watt huntbike at 50 mph. But if you commute to and from your patch on public roads, it’s in your interest to look into your local e-bike laws before choosing a powerful electric huntbike. These same laws apply if you access hides via public dirt roads.
Rules vary widely from region to region, in regard to the use of e-bikes in National Forest. As do age restrictions and helmet laws.
In For the Kill!
Huntbiking is a new and constantly-evolving past-time. As e-bike technology progresses, hunters can ride ever further, faster, smoother and quieter, while carrying more. We can expect to see frames, components and accessories becoming lighter, stronger and more refined for purpose.
In the meanwhile, there’s plenty of powerful and robust options on the menu. Just be sure to get clued-up before you go shopping, then choose wisely… and roll on. We know you’re going to end up killing it!
- See our reviews and guide to Electric Bikes.
- See all our reviews of Electric Fat Tire Bikes.
- Have questions about which bike to choose? Ask in our Forum.
- Want to win a bike instead of buying one? See our bike Giveaway.
- Find out more about BikeRide.
- Patrick Meitin, E-Bikes for Deer Hunting
- UBCO, Creating a Greater Wellington. Case Study: Pest Control
- James Wicks, Electric Hunting Bike Guide
- UBCO, Hunter, Gatherer, Guardian
- Saddle Hunter, Anyone Else Hunting With an E-bike This Year?
- UBCO, Out for the Hunt
- Steve Hickoff, Mountain Bike Turkey Hunting