How To Install Motor On A Mountain Bike: Experience The Thrill Of Motorized Mountain Biking

Life with mountain bikes is really good but it can always be better! Thinking of taking your mountain biking experience to the next level? Just install a motor on your mountain bike and enjoy all the thrills and chills. Let's explore how you can install a motor on your MTB!
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Mountain bikes are fascinating machines, they are praised for being rugged but also possess excellent qualities, something you can’t get from other bike types. They let you ride in the roughest terrains and under the harshest weather conditions, every experience with them is phenomenal. For some, this kind of experience is just great, but being a mountain biker, there is that itch to take things to the next level. So, if you install a motor on your favorite mountain bike, you will be experiencing something truly unique!

Trust me when I say this, that extra power from the torque will change your whole perspective of mountain biking, you might not even want to go back to regular mountain bikes anymore. Now that we have your attention, it is time to start preparing to turn your typical mountain bike into a motorized powerhouse.

In this guide, we will be sharing the step-by-step process of motorizing your mountain bike. All the essential information will be shared, along with some extra tips and tricks by our professional cyclists. Let’s start!

How To Put Motor On Your Mountain Bike: The Essential Preparation

Installing a motor on your mountain bike is great, until and unless you have to put in the work for it. There are some essential steps that need to be taken care of before you start installing the motor. You will need some necessary tools and will also have to prepare your mountain bike for the process.

The Necessary Tools and Equipment

Bike Repair Tool Kit
Bike Repair Tool Kit

For any kind of process related to bikes, whether it is maintenance/repairs or installing a motor, you will need some necessary tools. Here are the necessary tools that you should have at your disposal.

  • Hex Keys and Allen Wrenches (Make Sure That You Have Different Sizes Of These Tools)
  • Pliers (Regular and Needle-Nose Are Recommended)
  • Screwdriver (Philips and Flathead Are Recommended)
  • Bike Conversion Kit
  • An Adjustable Wrench
  • Socket Set
  • A Chain Tool
  • Tire Levers
  • Wire Cutters AKA Strippers
  • Multimeter (Optional): Use This To Test The Electrical Connection
  • A Bike Repair Stand (Optional)
  • Thread Locker
  • Thread Locker Fluid
  • Sprocket
  • Drive Chain
  • Drill
  • Torque Wrench

These are the general and optional tools that you will need to install a motor on your mountain bike. If you are a professional and have done this kind of mechanical operation before then there should be no problem. Although, if you doing this for the first time then we would suggest that you employ the services of a professional mechanic, you can still learn a lot from the whole experience.

A very important aspect that almost everyone forgets is the proper and safe clothing for this kind of operation. If you are going ahead with the process yourself then be sure to be equipped with the necessary clothing, gear, masks, gloves, etc. You need to make sure that your skin and your clothes will be safe during the entirety of the operation.

Setting Up Your Workspace

You need to perform this whole operation at a place where you won’t be disturbed. Setting up the workplace is very crucial, you can set it up in your garage, driveway, or any other spacious place that you can spare. Make sure that you can freely move around that area, you don’t want to be stuck in one place while performing this operation. We would suggest that you put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign, this will make sure that you are not disturbed during the process.

Use A Bike Repair Stand 

Should you use a bike repair stand for this whole operation? Well, it depends on you honestly!

A bike repair stand is going to make sure that your bike remains in one place all the time while you install the motor. With the stand, you don’t need to place the bike anywhere else. Plus, there will be a separate compartment for the tools on the stand that you can use freely. Sounds neat right?

Related: How To Choose The Right Bike Work Stand For Your Bike Repair Needs

Prepare Your Mountain Bike Accordingly 

Now that the necessary tools are taken care of, you need to make sure that your mountain bike is ready for the whole operation. As we mentioned above, having the bike in a vertical position is very necessary, you can use a bike repair stand for that purpose. Any other elevated platform will do the trick but having a bike stand just makes everything easier. 

Another important step here is to spare a front caliper tire, this will be necessary to stop the mountain bike when needed. During this type of operation, the chances of getting a punctured tire increase. In order to stop that from happening, you should disconnect the inner tubes from your setup and use a tubeless setup, or you can just go with puncture-resistant tires. Whatever works for you!

Repair Mountain Bike

Important Aspects To Consider BEFORE Installing A Motor

After going through all that information, you should have the necessary tools at your disposal, and your mountain bike should also be ready. You may think that you are ready for the whole process but there are some important aspects that you need to consider BEFORE you install the motor.

Motor Power and Cost 

The motor that you are going to install on your bike is going to be the most critical factor, you need to consider its power and the overall cost, although they aren’t that expensive. Since you are planning to make the transition and not just get an electric mountain bike from the get-go, our advice would be to invest in a powerful motor.

You shouldn’t go below a motor that has 750 watts of power, you can aim higher but don’t aim lower. Powerful batteries will make sure that you always have an efficient ride and they are also very durable. 

Apart from the power, you also need to consider the overall cost. You should know that installing a motor is a serious and costly undertaking, plan your finances accordingly before the operation. Since you will be going for a powerful and efficient motor, we would suggest that you have at least $1000 to spare. You need to consider the cost of the motor, the charging kit, the battery, and other components. Making the plan about the maintenance and replacement parts is also something that we would highly recommend!

Motor Compatibility 

You have found the perfect mountain bike and the perfect motor/battery, but what if they are not even compatible with each other? How will you make that work out?

Make sure that the bike and motor that you have selected are actually compatible with each other, otherwise, you will just burn away your finances. You can always consult the help of a professional before the undertaking.

Electric Bike Motor
Electric Bike Motor

A Powerful Braking System 

A motorized mountain bike will need powerful brakes to bring a balanced experience to the user. Normal brakes will not do the trick here, you need to go with electric bike-specific brakes that are powerful enough to bring your bike to a halt in a heartbeat. Another benefit of powerful brakes is that they will actually hold your bike and not make it fall apart every time you bring the bike to a halt.

Check Your Local Laws and Regulations 

Prior to installing a motor on your mountain bike, make sure to check with your local authorities to see if this is even permitted. Although it is rare that you will come across any regulations, we still advise you to check with them anyway. Class 2 Electric Bikes are always permitted, things get a bit tricky with Class 3 Electric Bikes but there are still workarounds for that.

Safety

The rider’s safety matters the most when operating an electric mountain bike, which is why you need to make sure that all parts are installed properly. Since you will be installing the motor, make sure that the motor and other components are actually installed properly, also double check if all the connections are secure enough. We would also stress the proper clothes and gear for this whole operation.

If you are in doubt or just want to double-check everything, never hesitate to call in a professional. This will make sure that you don’t run into problems in the future.

The Battery Life and Range 

The motor and battery go hand-in-hand, you won’t be able to use a motorized mountain bike without the battery. So, before you actually install the battery, make sure that you consider its life and range. The battery should give you a range of 55+ miles on a full charge, this is the bare minimum that we are talking about. Upon depletion, the battery should also have the option to be quickly charged, so do consider getting a fast charger. 

As per our experience, lithium-ion batteries are best for motor-assisted bikes, they are expensive but worth it. You might be tempted to try out a bigger battery for your mountain bike, they are very powerful but also heavy. Having them installed will only restrict you from longer travel so keep that in mind.

The Weight Distribution

We have to talk about the weight distribution although this is something that most people just ignore. Since you will be adding a motor to your bike, the weight distribution will now be changed. The bike’s weight will be changed and that will affect the handling and performance of the bike. 

The best approach over here is to make sure that the weight of the motor that you have installed is evenly distributed, if one area of the bike is stressed more than usual then that will create problems for you. Make sure to be smart about this, we don’t want your experience to be negatively impacted in any way.

Choosing A Rugged Wheelset

Another aspect that is ignored by a lot of people, you need to invest in a rugged and durable wheelset. Paying attention to your hubs, tires, and spokes will make your life much easier. A motor-assisted mountain bike puts a lot of pressure on a wheelset, which is why you need the best wheelset at your disposal!

The Need For Regular Maintenance

Just like any kind of electric bike or regular bike, you will need to maintain regularly if you want consistent optimal performance. Some people clean and maintain their bikes after every ride, some do it weekly while some prefer to do it once a month. Always make sure that your bike is maintained and working properly before every major ride, have the tools at the ready, and don’t forget to lubricate!

How To Put Motor In A Mountain Bike: Step By Step Guide

It is time for the transformation to begin, now that you have all of your tools and skills ready, let’s start!

Select The Motor First

You cannot start the process without having the right motor first, can you? In the first step, you will have to find the perfect motor for your mountain bike. Choosing the perfect motor might be hard but it isn’t impossible, and once you have selected, you should be good to go!

Some of our preferred choices would be Brose Drive S-Mag: 90Nm/567W and Shimano EP8: 85Nm. (These are our choices, chances are that your preferred choice would be different). A rider should know how much torque they will need for the best kind of performance. Knowledge of the terrain is also necessary, after all, you will be riding your electric mountain bike on that terrain. You can also choose between gas or electric power motors, each of them has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Should you go with gas or electric-powered motors? This is a tricky question but it actually depends on the preferences of the rider. A gas-powered mountain bike will be powerful but you need to be careful about the emissions it will be releasing, and gas isn’t getting cheaper anytime soon. Electric-powered mountain bikes on the other hand will be powerful and cost-effective. Apart from being effective, they also help protect the environment.

Check Motor and Battery Compatibility 

We could be under the notion that we have the perfect motor and battery for our mountain bike but there is no harm in making sure. Always crosscheck between the motor that you have selected and your bike. If you have selected the battery as per the compatibility then it should work perfectly and without any problems. Here are some things that you should consider, just in case!

Installing Battery On Electric Bike
Installing Battery On Electric Bike

Motor Fitting 

The motor that you have selected should fit on your mountain bike perfectly. You can always make adjustments to your bike’s frame but you can’t make adjustments to the motor after you have selected it. What are the signs of a perfect bike frame? Well, you don’t need to drill around that much to install the motor. Secondly, once you have installed the motor, there is no discomfort while riding the mountain bike. 

Making The Necessary Adjustments

If the engine doesn’t fit on your mountain bike, what should you do? There is no reason to fret because of this issue, you can always make the necessary adjustments to the bike frame. Modifying the frame isn’t hard, all you have to do is just install a new bracket into the top and bottom tubes. 

A strap system that holds the motor also works, it actually works really well when you are cycling downhill. No matter what kind of adjustments you make, just make sure that the motor is fitted nicely and tight.

Install The Sprockets

In order to make sure that your new engine is supported, you need to install rear sprockets on your mountain bike. You will need to install the rear sprocket to the main powerhouse of the engine, it should be fastened very carefully as it will give the necessary power to the wheel. If not done properly, you could face immense issues on rougher terrains, we don’t want that to happen. You should also take care of the front and rear sprockets when you are done.

How do the rear sprockets work? The main task of the rear sprockets is to take the power from the motor and transfer it to the rear wheel. Make sure that it is placed close to the engine of the mountain bike, you want a seamless transition after all. 

Install The Drive Chain 

In the next important part of the procedure, we will be attaching the drive chain. The drive chain plays a very important part here, it transfers the torque from the motor to the rear wheels of the bike. Since the bicycle wheel is critical, you need to make sure that everything is done exactly like it should be.

Considering the very nature of the motorized bike, in this case, a motorized mountain bike, the drive chain needs to be protected against damage. while riding. The drive chain is very fragile in nature and doesn’t require much to be damaged, we get that you would want to test the limits of motorized bicycles but not before the proper precautions.

For a good start, you can secure the drive chain by adding thread lockers on the loosened bolts. Whenever you ride your electric bike, the bolts loosen up which can actually damage your drive chain. In order to prevent this from happening, just add some thread locker fluid to the bolts, doing so will tighten them.

When installing the drive chain, be sure to install them in a straight line, this will ensure proper torque transition. A straight line will also protect the drive chain from the motor’s pressure.

After you are done with the drive chain, put your bike to the ground and see if any chains or wires drop out, if they do, just tighten them into their place. 

Install The Motor 

It is finally time to install the motor, you will need your bike conversion for this step. Start by disconnecting the original wheel, and have your motor at the ready. Attach the new motor with the wheel and attach it to the bike. This step is done best with the help of a friend, if that isn’t available or you don’t want to do it by yourself, just take your mountain bike to a bike shop. They will make sure to install the engine kit exactly like it should be!

If you want to do it yourself, just follow the instructions on your bike conversion kit. You could face some problems with the brakes, but while taking the wheel off, they could loosen up. You can use calipers to align and tighten the mechanical brakes. In the case of hydraulic brakes, you will also have to pump the brake lever. 

Are you still having problems putting the wheel back on? Follow these instructions:

  • Unhook any kind of attachments to the wheel, this also includes the chain
  • Hold the frame, this is very necessary for the back wheel. This is a two-person job, so make sure that you have help. Now, all you have to do is pull the derailleur backward, when done correctly you will hear a click that will signal the unlocking of the rear wheel.
  • Remove the brake pads carefully, you can use pliers for that.
  • Now it is time to remove the wheel, you can fit the battery on any wheel. You will also have to open the cantilever brake, sometimes the rim is also enough.
  • Operate the quick-release lever, this will open up the wheel properly.
  • When you are done, place the bike on the floor, the bike seat should touch the ground. 
 Important Note: When fitting the new tire, be sure to close any levers that you might have opened. Failure to do so could lead to a big fallout.

Install The Battery

This is actually the most fun part of the whole process. Just make sure to follow the instructions mentioned in your converter kit. You will need to plug the battery into the connectors that you have already attached to the wheels, sounds easy right?

This is how the process is broken down. The speed gauge connector will be connected to the battery for all of this to work out. When this is done properly, they will connect to the throttle, and make sure to have the pliers at the ready. This process isn’t easy when doing all of it alone, make sure that you have the necessary help.

Protecting The Battery 

Installing the battery is one thing but protecting it is also necessary. A battery box is crucial to protect the battery from rain and general wear and tear. You will need a drilling machine to attach the box. Our recommendation would be to go for a small and lightweight box that doesn’t increase the weight of the bike. The box will be placed where you put your water bottle.

Time To Re-Assemble The Bike

Now that you are done installing the motor and battery to your mountain bike, it is finally time to reassemble it. Make sure that the spark plug, bicycle engine, and bicycle chain are all in place. Reattach the wheels as we told you to do, and make sure to go with the rear wheel first, since you have attached the motor and battery to it. With your new bike, it should be really easy to shift gears. A motor kit enhances your bike in every possible way!

Chances are that your bike handlebar and stem might also need some adjustments. If you want a more aggressive riding position, adjust the handlebar and stem accordingly. Doing so will give you more control and make your mountain bike even more balanced than before.

Related: How To Install New Bike Tires? Tips And Tricks

Test Drive!

You are finally done with the reassembling, time to test drive your monster of a mountain bike. Firstly, bring it down from the elevated position and make sure that everything is in its place. Make sure to be careful the first time around, and be slow with each pedal stroke, you don’t want to rush this whole process. Check how far your bike goes the first time around and then take it from there. 

Riding your new motor-assisted mountain bike is easy, but first, you have to engage the motor, this is necessary to build up the torque. Now. you will have to press the clutch to connect with the motor. You should be good to go now!

We want you to accelerate but also make sure to stop and decrease your speed, see how it works out. If you are confident enough, there is absolutely no problem in taking your bike for a longer test drive!

Electric Mountain Bike
Electric Mountain Bike

Why You Should Put A Motor On Your Mountain Bike?

There are plenty of reasons to put a motor on your mountain bike, here is why you should go with the decision.

Riding Becomes More Convenient 

Riding a motor-assisted mountain bike is really fun, it just makes riding more convenient. One normal pedal stroke actually results in ten or more pedal strokes, this is all because of the power of the motor that you have installed. You can ride faster and climb harder. 

You can actually exercise without putting that much effort into cycling, this also increases your overall efficiency. Once you try these mountain bikes, you will start experiencing a lot of health benefits.

The Bike’s Lifespan Is Increased

Riding your mountain bike is great, but doing so also pressurizes your drive chain, cranks, and other parts of the bike. Even your bike chain gets under a lot of pressure this way and may wear out after a while. With the help of a motor-assisted mountain bike, your bike components have limited use which slows down the wear and tear process. 

Longer Adventures

Without a doubt, one of the best benefits of a motor-assisted mountain bike is the ability to ride longer without getting tired. How long can you ride your normal mountain bike? Not long definitely! When you are tired, just activate your motor and continue your adventures. With a powerful battery that offers a great range, you will be having amazing adventures from the get-go.

Why You Should Not Put A Motor On Your Mountain Bike?

Motorized mountain bikes are great, but they do come attached with some considerable strings. Here are some of the reasons why you should stay away from motor-assisted mountain bikes.

The Cost Is Too Much

The cost of installing a gas-powered or electric-powered motor might be too much for you. With the ongoing inflation, the prices of both these motors have gone up and there are a lot of factors for you to consider them. When going for these motors, you should also consider the maintenance cost along with the expenses of replacement parts.

Increased Weight 

Installing any kind of motor on your mountain bike will significantly increase its weight, if you are an aggressive rider then you might want to avoid this. Mountain biking is full of chills and thrills, you need a lightweight and responsive bike, and installing a motor will add to its weight which could slow it down in the process. You could go for powerful motors which are also lightweight but they will cost you a fortune.

Reduced Form Of Exercise 

Since you will be riding a motor-assisted mountain bike, your effort will be significantly decreased. This will result in a reduced form of exercise which you need to stay away from if you want the full health benefits of mountain biking. 

FAQs

Can I Put A Motor On My Mountain Bike?

It is possible to install any kind of motor on your mountain bike, you could go with a gas-powered or an electric-powered motor.

How Fast Is A 100cc Motor?

These motors are very fast, the average speed of 100cc motors ranges from 55 to 75 mph. There are also some exceptional motors that have broken the record at 116mph.

Which Bike Motor Is Best In The Long-Run?

You can choose between a gas-powered or an electric-powered motor. Although electric motors are mostly preferred in the long run because of their benefits and affordability.

Build A Motorized Bike At Home 

Since you can now install a motor on a mountain bike, you might be itching to try your skills on other bikes as well. Watch this fun yet insightful video on how you can build an amazing motorized bike at home.

Recap

Congratulations! You have done something truly amazing, building a motorized mountain bike at home is no easy task. In this guide, we did our best to convey information about installing a motor on your mountain bike. Any kind of motor, whether it is gas-powered or electric-powered will enhance the properties of these already amazing rigs. 

We told you about the necessary tools that you need for the process along with some important factors. You should also know about the benefits and the repercussions of going along with this decision. Hopefully, going through this guide has given you enough knowledge to go along with the process. Do you have any questions? Please let us know in the comments below!

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