No one does you quite like, well, you. Your electric bike might be one of many that came from the same factory, with the same design, but that doesn't mean you can't make it uniquely yours. No bike comes from the factory perfect for the new rider so we have some suggestions for making your e-MTB even better for you.
The trails and terrain you tackle are a little different for everyone. No one rides exactly the same way and everyone has their preferences. A great bike feels comfortable and familiar and the right upgrades and accessories can bring that feeling to your electric bike.
In this list of the best e-bike accessories and upgrades, we focus on the demands of the best electric mountain bikes and budget e-MTBs, however, many of the points on this list actually cross over to e-gravel and e-road bikes too, as the fundamentals still hold true no matter what sort of e-bike you ride. So keep reading to find out what the best e-bike accessories and upgrades are and how they can make your e-bike better.
An extra battery
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Is there anything more unique to an electric bike than battery management? The whole point of electric assist is to add to your rides. Longer days, bigger hills, no need to wait for a ride back up the mountain. The last thing you want to deal with is a dead battery cutting things short.
The battery life your e-bike manufacturer quotes on the spec sheet may, or may not, have any basis in the reality of what you get. Spend a bunch of time cruising along a mellow trail doing a lot of the work and you might even exceed the battery life you’re expecting.
On the other hand, if you spend your day chasing people up every hill you can find, you might come up drastically short. Instead of worrying about it just bring an extra battery with you. If you run low, you can swap it out and there’s nothing to worry about.
You will also need to choose from one of the best cycling backpacks for MTB to carry your spare battery around, as batteries are heavy and the extra weight requires a backpack that distributes and stabilizes loads well.
Tires are one of those things that are super-specific to you. Depending on when you pick up your electric bike, and how specific the design is, the tires it comes with might work for a while. There are just so many options and so many different use scenarios that no single tire will ever be right for everything.
The best e-MTB tires have a massive effect on how a bike rides, and with such a wide range of different trail conditions, it’s unsurprising that no tire is a master across the board. Most tires will be fairly specialist, whether it’s low-profile yet fast-rolling tires for hardpack dry conditions, or narrow spikes designed to cut through the slop.
The robustness of a tire should also be considered; while human-powered bikes might be able to get away with light tire casings, e-MTBs require a more robust carcass. Brands like Maxxis, Schwalbe and Pirelli all have e-MTB-specific tires and provide performance charts to help you pick the right tire for your style of riding.
Tubeless burst floor pump
Along with tires comes the pressure decision. In order for tires to do their job effectively the pressure you set them at has to be right. Before every ride, you are going to want to check your tire pressure and that means you need a floor pump for home use.
Even if you have a pump right now, is it a tubeless burst pump? Modern off-road bikes use tubeless tires. The low pressures that tubeless tires allow will absolutely transform your riding. Tubeless also means fewer punctures you have to deal with. The only downside to tubeless is that it requires new tricks and tools. One of those is a pump with an air chamber to help you get new tires seated.
As time goes on tubeless tires and tubeless wheels are getting better and better. These days you can often get tires seated without the burst feature. You never know when it will be an issue, though. If you are getting a pump anyway, make sure it has the features you need for the times you need them.
In most cases though, all you need to do is buy some tubeless sealant, valves and in under an hour you could be benefitting from more grip and control on the trail.
Fenders (aka mudguards)
When the sky turns gray and the rain starts falling there’s no reason you have to stay home. There’s a lot of fun to be had riding through the rain and mud but if you want to stay comfortable, the best MTB mudguards are a must.
Some bikes, typically drop-bar gravel bikes, will have actual fender mounts. If you have the option of mounting more substantial fenders then take advantage. The better coverage will leave you drier as well as keep your rear wheel from spraying anyone behind you. If you don’t have fender mounts then clip-on fenders are another option. They don’t do much to protect the bike, or your riding buddy, but they will keep you quite a bit cleaner.
Not all electric bikes come with fenders included. It’s an inexpensive upgrade that lets you ride farther when the weather is bad. Just make sure whatever you go with leaves room for mud build-up on the tires.
You’ve got that extra battery, put it to use. The last thing you want to do is find yourself with extra battery life, extra miles to cover and extra fun to be had when the sun starts to peak behind the ridge. The best mountain bike lights mean you can keep riding even if it gets late.
With the right lights, you can also start your ride after the sun goes down. Riding trails at night is an entirely new experience. No matter how many times you’ve covered a favorite trail, riding it at night is new. Many of the markers you’ve come to know are completely erased when the moon is high instead of the sun. The adventure is fresh again and you aren’t dependent on long summer days.
Experiment with motor settings
E-bikes are getting increasingly more sophisticated and many of the best e-MTB motors come with a supporting smartphone app to allow riders to customize the characteristics of the bike. While the factory settings of the motors are usually pretty good for general riding, these apps allow riders to control support levels and modes to tailor the bike’s performance to the type of riding you do.
These apps allow you to tune the amount of support and torque levels so that, for example, if your rides involve a lot of technical climbing, you can boost the output for ultimate rock-crawling performance, but if mileage is more important, power can be reduced for better efficiency.
The way the motor performs also depends on the rider’s preference or ability. Some riders might be looking for a little extra boost but still get a workout on the climbs, whereas others might want to go full attack mode and rally up the hills to fit as much descending as possible into their limited available riding time.
If tires are the bike’s connection to the trails, then consider shoes your connection to the bike. There are, of course, other touchpoints but shoes are a big one that often gets overlooked. The right shoes keep your feet warm, dry and connected to the pedals.
For some people shoes for bikes means cleats and pedals that let you clip in. That’s a great way to go and it brings with it a huge discussion: which is the best mountain bike shoes and best mountain bike pedal combination? It’s not the only option though. Many people prefer to ride with flat pedals.
Even if you choose to go the flat pedal route, shoes are important. The right shoes will stay connected to the pedals even if they aren’t locked together. The right shoes will also give plenty of stiffness to push against and make for comfortable all-day riding.
The biggest advantage is climbing confidence. Flat pedals allow you to charge at ultra-steep climbs with the confidence that you can quickly eject rather than tumble back down attached to a 20kg bike. While you don’t have the pull-up power of clips it doesn’t matter as much on an e-MTB as the motor, which benefits from different pedaling styles and overrun features, makes climbing techniques very different from a regular bike. On the downhills, the extra centered weight makes e-MTBs extremely planted, so you’re not going to be blowing feet off pedals as much as you would be on a regular bike. So you can enjoy the “foot out, flat out” playful descending experience. Bear in mind that the best MTB flat pedals will benefit from being used with the best MTB flat pedal shoes as the stiff and grippy soles greatly improve connection and control with the pedal platform.
We all know that it’s important to clean your bike after a ride if you want to keep it working better for longer. As e-bikes have more moving parts, it’s arguably even more important to give your ride a good wash if it’s been a wet or muddy ride.
Cleaning your e-bike is no different from how to clean a mountain bike and you don’t need an e-bike-specific cleaning kit. We recommend investing in a good kit from the likes of Muc Off or Peaty’s Products to make the job easy. That’s not to say you can’t use the old bucket of soapy water and a sponge, we just find that the bike-specific formulas work a little better.
Any bike cleaning guide will recommend taking some time to inspect the bike while you get deep and personal during the post-ride clean down. With e-bikes it’s particularly important to pay close attention to your drivetrain, since the added torque from the motor means your chain, cassette and chainring will have a hard life. Replacing parts before they become too worn will keep your bike running smoothly and be cheaper in the long run.
It not a bad idea to keep a spare chain in your riding pack either, as it isn’t uncommon for a chain to snap, so having a spare means you won’t be finishing your ride early.