In today’s world – where electric bikes dominate the overall bicycle it is important to understand what is a motorized bicycle (or a Motorized Mountain Bike)?
In simple definition – a motorized bicycle is the one which has been modified to power the vehicle. The power can come from an electric motor, or from gasoline products. Ideally an ebike – is a motorized bike.
Today most of the bikes – be it road or MTB’ s – all generally come with a motor. On a motorized bike you will be able to go far, and fast. They provide more comfort options than the regular traditional bikes.
But if you are purchasing a Mountain Bike – then a motor-less bike can be a foolish decision. On hilly and rocky surfaces you come across a lot of friction and traction. The drag increases many folds. You need a Motorized Mountain Bike.
Motors become essential if you want to ride on mountains or hilly terrains. Biking with just muscle power on terrains like these – is not everyone’s work.
With a good motor your bike will be able to climb the steepest of fire trail hills with more than enough power to flip the bike if leaning back – on the first gear!
A large number of manufacturers produce Motorized MTB’s (Mountain Bike) – ranging from some hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. If the motor is gasoline powered than the bike will one of the cheap motorized bikes – where as if it is electrically powered than it will cost you some more money.
If you want an adventure ride and want to completely rely on your muscles – and no external power – than also you can go for a pedal assist bike. Bikes like these work on pedaling and the motor is provided for emergency situations.
Suppose you are stuck on a very steep slope, where your muscles are not able to provide the inclination force against the gravity, or you are very tired from a long rough ride and now riding back is not an option for your leg muscles – in situations like these a motor can be the only solution. So buying a motorized mountain bike is the only smart decision!
Remember if you are going for biking on mountains – then you are moving away from your local comfort areas. You are possibly going to encounter many things while riding on mountain surfaces which are not developed to suit human commute. So you need to be prepared as much as you can to avoid a recreational trip getting converted into a foolish accident!
What does suspension do?
Other than a motor – the next most important feature that you need in your Motorized Mountain Bike – are suspensions.
Suspensions are essentially designed to balance you – while riding on muddy, rocky and uneven surfaces. The proper definition of a suspension is “the system of springs and shock absorbers by which a vehicle is cushioned from road conditions”.
Suspensions keep the road wheel in contact with the road surface as much as possible by reducing the relative motion between the wheels and the vehicle. On steep rocky trails and potholed roads the riding surface is uneven – which means the relative motion between the wheels and the vehicle increases drastically. And for this reason suspensions have become essential in mountain bikes and even in Motorized Mountain Bikes!
Today however all motorized bikes come with suspensions – be it a road bike or a mountain bike – and one of the reason for including suspensions – is high speeds. However the smooth surface may be – when riding speedily even a small bump may lead to major imbalance.
Second reason to include suspensions is – maximum comfort to the rider. It is one of many factors that contribute to your riding enjoyment. As the exercise of riding has dramatically increased over past few decades – a lot of illness related to riding have become common.
One of them is back pains or discomfort. Suspensions are the main element to reduce such discomforts. A proper suspension system may prevent you from severe neck injuries, back-aches, joints and muscle pains, and lower abdominal harms or damages.
Full Suspension or Hardtail?
Now to the next important question – whether your mountain bike should have a full suspension system or hardtail?
A “hardtail”suspension system features suspension forks in the front end of the bike only. And the science behind it is – once your front wheel has crossed the bump and your bikes front suspension has balanced it for you, you are not going to ride the rear wheel over that bump again.
So why to put extra machine at the rear – when you yourself can balance the rear portion.
A “full suspension” system features suspensions at both ends of the bike – front and rear. This system becomes a necessity on rocky and rooty surfaces where the whole terrain is comprised of bumps.
If you are riding on such terrains – then avoiding bumps and potholes become almost impossible. Even if you change the direction to avoid one pothole – the rear wheel is likely going to get stuck in other one. For these terrains a full suspension system is the only advisable option.
A single shock absorber can never be able to soften the impact of rough terrain and can never compensate for two shock absorbers.
There are other pros and cons of both the suspension systems:
Cost – A full suspension system costs more than the Hardtail suspension system. Even the maintenance cost for a full suspension system is more than the other.
Weight – Full suspension system weighs more than the hardtail ones. This is logical as two shocks are installed in a full suspension system. Sometimes extra weight is a factor which makes full suspension system less popular in road bikes.
Best Suited for – A full suspension system is best for MTB’s and Motorized Mountain Bikes. Rough and elevated trails need good shock absorbers. But if you are buying a road bike – which generally runs on smoother tracks then spending more money and buying heavier system is not worth.
Another important factor to consider is your health – if you are fit and fine then hardtail can be good for you – but if you have back issues or joint problems then go for a full suspension system – even on a road bike.
Rear Suspension – Rear Shocks
Front suspensions are common and the extra feature in a full suspension system is rear suspensions. Rear shocks and sometimes shortened as “shocks” are rear suspensions for vehicles.
These are found only in full suspension mountain bikes. The work of a rear shock is very similar to the front suspensions – which is helping to keep the wheel in contact with the ground as much as possible by reducing the relative motion between the wheels and the vehicle.
A rear suspension along with the front ones – results in better control and a more firm and stable ride. A full suspension system eliminates the risk of slips and misalignment of the wheels.
Rear suspensions are located inside the main rear frame triangle – which holds the rear wheel. One end of the suspension is attached to the main triangle and the other end is attached to the pivoting rear triangle.
The rear frame triangle has multiple pivot points. The wheel can travel through a range of motion between these pivots.
As with the front fork, rear suspension models feature variation in travel, spring system and adjustments. Even the pivot points and their designs can be configured more but we are not going deep into it.
Generally all work very well and there is no significant difference in suspensions performance.
MTB Suspension – Mountain Bike Suspension Types
Mountain bikes and Motorized Mountain Bikes generally come with full suspension system. But this is not where the story ends. Mountain bike suspension kinematics is a whole new branch of study which analyzes all the features of a MTB Suspension scientifically.
To keep things simple – we are just going to talk about short or long travel sometimes referred as (120mm vs 140mm travel) and adjustable travel.
120mm vs 140mm travel or adjustable travel
These are the ones which are less than 120mm long. These are good for going uphill or in other words are good when you are ascending.
These are the ones which are greater than 120mm. These are best when descending rough terrain. The longer the front travel – the greater the control over the bike. Remember while descending – speed is also an important factor. You descend faster and ascend slower.
A long travel suspension takes speed into care too. You will find 130mm travel mountain bikes in the market – but if you are a hard core mountain biker than even these cannot be the best for you. Go for more than 150mm travel mountain bikes.
Modern front forks come with adjustable travel feature. You have the option to shorten or lengthen it depending upon the slope you are riding. If you are ascending – you can shorten the travel and do the opposite if riding downhills.
These are best if you want suspensions for a mountain bike especially for a motorized mountain bike – because they not only smoothens your ride, but also affect your control and steering capacity on the bike.
A long travel suspension makes the bike steer slow – so if you are descending you will have a better control over the ride. Now if you are going downhill with a short travel suspension – it will not at all suit your down slope speed – because a short travel suspension is more responsive to steering inputs.
Suspension Tuning MTB
Mountain Bikes suspensions – can be fine tuned for an enjoyable and comfortable ride. You can adjust the type, robustness, amount of travel, method of bump to name a few. Suspension on hybrid and kids’ bikes offers basic functionality with minimal or no adjustment.
Tuning suspensions in a motorized mountain bike is not a very difficult job. But we observe a lot of mountain bike riders with poorly installed full suspensions.
We convenientcommuting.com being in maintenance of bikes too – have performed millions of suspension tuning for these folks. Here we will list just some of the important elements that you need to look for – while fine tuning your MTB and motorized mountain bike suspensions.
- Adjust the firmness of the spring
- Adjust the movement of the spring
- Set the sag – Suspensions are designed to work best with between 25%-33% sag
- Set the rebound damping and after that the compression damping
- Do not forget to preset compression damping nodes
- Adjust the spring progression
- Lastly take care of your suspensions by proper maintenance
Cost of A Motorized Full Suspension Mountain Bike
US markets are flooded with used full suspension mountain bikes for sale but a new suspension system is always advisable – and remember suspension costs!
If you want to buy a suspension system for your already purchased motorized mountain bike then seek out a responsive full suspension system. High-end suspensions have superior technical design and construction and offer a longer life and a smooth ride.
If you already have a full suspension bike and it is lacking a motor – then you can easily convert your bike into an ebike or a motor powered bike. Read our post on how to you can convert your ordinary bike into an ebike.
If you get a full suspension mountain bike under 2000 then go for it. 2000 dollars is a decent amount for motor and suspensions. And suspensions are costly – in fact generally bike manufacturers turn to major suspension brands to procure suspensions.
Suspension quality is a must especially in motorized mountain bikes. You will not want to spend on suspensions every six months. So whichever option you are choosing from the above ones – either externally fitting suspensions or buying a motorized full suspension bike – buy quality suspension system.
You can also get full suspension mountain bikes under 1000 – but we are not sure how much value you can derive from a bike which is giving you motor power and full suspension system – all in 1000 dollars.