Go back a couple of years. The last thing on your mind would be trying to balance out what type of eBike you should take hunting.
In fact, someone talking about an electrically powered bicycle actually serving a purpose in the great outdoors probably sounded like the ramblings of a mad man.
Technology is an amazing thing that's propelled hunters to new and exciting heights in recent times.
The introduction of electric bicycles in this realm has helped hunters go further into the woods and stay in the woods well after their wonder years because transportation is easier than ever.
The introduction of electric motors doesn't change the basic design elements much, though. Hunting eBike owners, like any other electric bicycle owner, need to decide between step-through or step-over frame.
Here’s what to know about the differences between step-through and step-over eBike frames and which is better for your hunting situation.
A step-through bicycle is a more exotic option, so we'll start by discussing it.
The term "step-through" refers to how you mount the bicycle. The lower frame of the eBike is still present, but there's no top crossover to lift your leg over.
Because you're still moving your leg over the lower part of the frame, it's as though you're stepping through the bicycle.
The obvious benefit is that you don't have to lift your leg as high to get on the seat.
This is ideal for hunters, especially older hunters or those with leg or knee problems. That's a fair conclusion to make, but it's not all you should consider.
Parcel delivery services popularized step-through frames. Delivery people found it much easier to mount the bike when loaded with parcels.
Hunters also mount their eBikes with plenty of gear. While it may not sound like a big deal initially, that lower frame can make a significant difference when you're cold, wet, and tired.
Before you decide step-through eBikes are universally superior for all hunters, we should discuss the benefits of a traditional step-over frame.
Bicycles have been around since 1817. Since then, they have evolved into the basic layout we know today. In other words, many intelligent people have put in the time and effort to design an optimal frame.
The step-over frame has the benefit of being exceptionally strong while using as few materials as possible. Despite the additional metal, step-over bikes are generally lighter than step-through bicycles. That is because the step-through design needs to use thicker components to be as strong as its counterpart.
If you're traversing over particularly rough terrain or subjecting the bike to a demanding environment, a step-over eBike is traditionally the superior choice.
Not only because it's easier to maneuver and will take more of a beating, but because it can be less of a hassle to push the bike when things get exceptionally rough.
With what we've discussed so far, making a choice seems pretty clear-cut. Go with a step-through bike if you want something more comfort-oriented and aren't concerned much about weight or strength. On the other hand, are you traversing rough terrain? Then go with a traditional step-over eBike.
While that is true for the most part, there's a lot more to consider due to today’s technology.
The step-through platform may need more assistance to maintain rigidity, but slight tweaks of the shapes and materials can get them very close to the step-over platform in terms of strength and weight.
That same school of thought applies to step-over eBikes. While the crossover is present, slight adjustments can make them easier to mount. We also haven't discussed what walk-assist modes and proper size selection bring to the table - something we’ll discuss in an upcoming article.
Making the optimal choice between a step-through or step-over electric hunting bike comes down to understanding the fundamental differences, potential pitfalls, and how manufacturers mitigate them.
eBikes are extremely popular right now. Manufacturers competing for your business need to put their best foot forward and produce better platforms than the next.
They understand the differences between these two popular frame styles and work to ensure hunters make as little compromise as possible when selecting one over another.
Our advice is to take your time during selection. Read what elements a manufacturer puts in place to reduce any potential pitfalls and how they relate to your hunting style and the locations you ride in.With all of that said, these aren't the only two frame types to consider. Folding eBikes are equally as popular for hunters, and you certainly want to familiarize yourself with this option to ensure you make the best-informed decision possible.
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