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Electric Mountain Bike Safety Tips

riding an eMTB at sunset

Electric Mountain Bikes (eMTBs) make riding on the trails even more exhilarating and fun. They let you ride longer, go faster, and likely tackle singletrack previously out of reach. This blog will share tips to help you enjoy all your newfound pedal power — safely.

Use these electric mountain bike safety tips in addition to basic bike riding safety guidelines like wearing a helmet, using front and rear lights so you can see and be seen, using hand signals, and obeying traffic lights and laws for maximum safety on your bike! If you want to learn more about how electric mountain bikes work check out our Electric Mountain Bike Buying Guide

1. Know where you can ride.

Rules about electric bikes may differ from state to state and from trail to trail. It is important that you review and follow guidelines for the specific trail you are riding. Also, check out the People For Bikes electric bike up-to-date information on state laws and rules and new legislature passing. Additionally, they provide a great resource to find rides and routes.

2. Master your eMTB controls before hitting the trails. 

Before you venture out to ride at your local mountain biking park, learn how to work the controls and get a feel for how your eMTB handles at different speeds (many eMTBs can go 20mph). 

A big empty field or even your backyard can be the perfect practice ground. Hop on your eMTB and begin to cycle through the different turbo assist options and let yourself experience the speed! Most electric bikes have three options to choose from —  Eco (20% boost), Sport (50% boost) and Turbo (100% boost). Start out using a low assist and make your way up. Take as much time as you need to get familiar with each level of assist so you’re not taken by surprise in more congested settings. 

Once you can confidently manage the controls and feel comfortable accelerating and cruising at increased speeds, it’s time to test those brakes!

Specialized Turbo Levo eMTB

3. Practice braking at different speeds.

As you get comfortable riding your eMTB at different speeds, practice braking intentionally. Electric mountain bikes are faster AND heavier thus require more time and distance to stop than what you may be used to. 

Once you can use your controls with ease and brake with control you are ready to hit the dirt!

4. Ride at an appropriate speed.

Yes, an eMTB will let you ride faster than you may on an acoustic bike. But, that isn’t always the best way to ride! Be sure to keep yourself within your riding limits and the limits that the trail may place on you. Skinny singletrack trails have reduced visibility around corners to see other trail users and trail obstacles. So, always ride within your limits!

5. Equip your electric mountain bike with a bell or horn (and use it).

Bells are a great way to alert other mountain bikers that you are approaching. Horns give an even louder notice to those in cars if you find yourself riding on urban streets. Remember eBikes in general are faster than acoustic bikes. Expect most people to underestimate your speed and act accordingly to keep everyone safe.

Levo electric mountain bikers in woods

6. Keep your eMTB tuned up. 

Keeping your electric mountain bike tuned up will lessen the risk of something going wrong when you’re out shredding up the singletrack. Before you head out for a ride, check that the tires are inflated properly, your chain is lubed, the brakes work well, your battery is charged, and the controls and app are working right. ERIK’S offer service and repair for electric mountain bikes too. We recommend investing in your bike every season by giving it a professional tune-up. This will ensure all the components are in good shape and working appropriately.

Additionally, many eBikes feature firmware that needs to be updated periodically. Your companion app may give you a notification but you you can also stop into your favorite ERIK’S Service Department to have your firmware checked to be sure that you are up to date.

7. Get your hands dirty!

Lastly, we recommend doing some volunteer trail work at your favorite mountain biking spots. Most trails are managed by small non-profit organizations that can always use an extra hand. Trail work keeps trails safe! Volunteers remove small roots, clear brush, move fallen logs, pick up debris, and build out new singletrack loops for you to enjoy and expand your skill-set upon! Check out your favorite mountain biking park website for a schedule of their trail work days. Sign up for a session — we guarantee you won’t regret it!

Now go hit the dirt with your turbo smile ON!

Swing into your local ERIK’S to check out our current electric mountain bike inventory and to test-ride a few models today. Or, view our selection online here. Our expert staff can help you find the right eMTB for you as well as pick out all the essential accessories you’ll need to stay safe and enjoy your ride!