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What is a VTC
VTC stands for Vélo Tout Chemin. This two-wheeler is the perfect blend of city bike and mountain bike. In most cases, electric VTCs are equipped with tires wheels that are thinner than those of a MTB but wider than those of a city bike, making them ideal for both urban and rural use. VTCs also often feature practical accessories, such as rear luggage racks and mudguards.
There are electric VTC for women and for men. These trekking bikes are versatile and can generally be accessorized as you wish: addition of a luggage rack, of panniers, of a GPS... The geometry of the frame of a VTC is sportier than that of a city bike requiring a slight arch of the back and its handlebars are straight.
In short, these ebikes offer comfort and convenience. They are perfect for leisure activities, as well as for your daily commute.
The electric mountain bike: for what types of journeys?
The electric VTC is also called "touring bike" or "trekking bike". It is designed to facilitate your travels in the city, or in the countryside. It's a multipurpose EAB, perfect for velotafing, as well as for your weekend outings and walks. It is also a good option if you plan to attach a child seat, in order to move with your family in all simplicity. On most models, the child seat can be installed on the rear rack.
Why choose an electric VTC?
We recommend that you opt for an electric mountain bike refurbished if you intend to use your e-bike for a variety of purposes, but don't want to ride over rough terrain. Whether you live in the country or the city, the VTC will suit your needs. It's both maneuverable for urban commuting, and comfortable for trail riding.
On the other hand, it is heavier and more cumbersome than an electric city bike. If you buy a VTC, be sure to provide sufficient storage space, but also secure.
What is the difference between an electric VTC and an electric MTB ?
In contrast to the electric VTC, the MTB electric bike is designed to face rough roads, steep hills and important descents. It is therefore more solid and agile than a VTC. Its wide wheels allow it to ride with great ease on steep paths and offer a great grip.
Another difference between VTC and MTB is the frame geometry. It will be heavier and more robust in the case of the MTB, because the latter is required to withstand repeated shocks. It is also more compact and offers greater maneuverability, to be effective in the most sinuous paths. VTCs are generally made of aluminum, while MTB can be made of steel, aluminum, carbon or titanium.
More nervous than the electric VTC, the MTB will be perfect for complicated, stony, muddy routes... They also have a large number of gears, a telescopic fork to dampen vibrations and a very efficient braking system.
What is the difference between an electric VTC and an electric city bike?
Unlike the electric VTC, the city bike is designed for city use only. Its tires is not adapted to trails and its suspensions are not designed to support bumps. Its motor delivers less torque than a VTC. It is an ideal bike for the pure city dwellers, whose displacements are limited to the urban universe. It will be possible, for example, to go to the market with your EAB and to bring back your groceries in a basket to be added to the front and/or the back.
The electric city bike offers a very good comfort, in particular thanks to its padded saddle, to the geometry of its frame, which allows an upright posture, but also by its rounded frame.
The different types of electric mountain bikes
In the category of electric VTC, there are different models, whose characteristics may be more or less suitable for the use you want to make. Don't hesitate to dig into the subject, and thus buy the right VTC for your use.
Electric VTC for women
Normally, bikes are mixed and both sexes can use the same bike without any problem. However, some manufacturers have created VTCs for women, with the aim of providing specific comfort for women's morphology. They differ mainly by the riding position offered, a smaller frame and narrower handlebars. They also have a lighter weight, as well as an open frame, easy to step over, even if you wear a skirt. Women's VTC saddles may also be more suitable for women, who tend to suffer from perineal pain on conventional saddles. In this case, it is advisable to choose a wider and shorter openwork saddle.
Electric VTC for men
Men can use any VTC, whether it is a men's VTC or a women's VTC. However, they are more comfortable with a wide, shoulder-width handlebar and generally have no problem stepping over a conventional frame, unless they are wearing suit pants.
The most important thing when choosing your electric VTC is not to know for which gender it is intended, but if its size is adapted to your morphology and if you feel comfortable on it. As for the seat, men appreciate a longer and narrower seat than the one recommended for women.
Urban electric VTC
The urban electric VTC is the right choice if most of your travel is in the city, but you also enjoy occasional rides on trails, using paths that are not too rough. Less expensive than the sporty electric VTC, this type of model has thinner and less grippy tires . The front fork generally has a short travel.
The urban VTC are most of the time equipped with several elements of comfort like mudguards, luggage racks and/or baskets, an adjustable stem...
Sporty electric VTC
The sporty electric VTC is intended for those who venture more into the countryside than the city, but who do not need a VTTAE. Less comfortable than the urban VTC, its frame geometry is sportier. Its tires are also wider and generally have crampons. To ride on trails without problems, the sporty VTC is equipped with a derailleur of higher range and allows a faster and simpler gear change. Its brakes are also more powerful than those of an urban electric VTC. On the other hand, its equipment is more limited (but can generally be added as an option): it is for example often sold without a luggage rack.
What to choose as a versatile electric bike?
Electric mountain bikes, although less well known than MTB electric bikes, are plentiful on the market. Thanks to their comfortable riding position, large 28-inch wheels and high number of gears, they're equally at home in town, country or forest.
To choose your second-hand electric VTC, the first thing you should consider is its battery. For sufficient autonomy, opt for a capacity of 500 Wh minimum. If you have a small budget, a 400 Wh battery could be sufficient. As for the motor, the most famous manufacturers are Bosch, Yamaha, Bafang or Brose. The difference between the motors is mainly on the torque: the higher it is, the more the motor guarantees lively accelerations and nervous relaunchings.
The most famous electric VTC brands
Haibike is a German brand that designs solid, light and innovative electric bikes. The manufacturer uses quality equipment, for example by teaming up with Yamaha or Bosch. Its electric VTC are mainly intended for people with a sporty riding style.
Still on the German side, Winora is a century-old brand that designs bikes and electric bikes for the whole family. Its EABs combine a classic design with high-performance technology. Its trekking bikes are known for their dynamic motors, anti-puncture tires , hydraulic disc brakes and high-performance suspensions.
Cannondale is an American EAB manufacturer that incorporates Bosch motors into its designs. The brand is known worldwide for its reliability and durability. It offers a very wide range of models, including many VTCmodels, perfectly illustrating the American know-how.
Peugeot is not only a French car brand: it is also a manufacturer of electric bikes! Accessible to different budgets, they can be adapted to all types of use and are equipped with the latest generation of motors and batteries.
How does an electric trekking bike work?
Zoom in on some of the different components of an electric mountain bike: what they're used for, and what to look out for when choosing a mountain bike that's right for you.
Like all electric bikes, the motor of a VTC has a maximum power of 250 W, in order to comply with European legislation and standards. The motor of your trekking bike can be placed on the rear wheel, on the front wheel or in the center of the crankset. EABs with a motor located in the front wheel hub are the least expensive. They are ideal if you are mainly doing short urban trips, where you are often forced to stop (stop signs, traffic lights, traffic circles...). They will help you to restart quickly and without effort.
Electric VTCs with motors located on the rear hub are more responsive and will suit those who like to ride dynamically. However, they are more expensive. Finally, motors located in the middle offer the most sophisticated pedaling assistance. It's smooth, progressive and jolt-free. It's best for medium to long trips, but not very useful if you're doing a lot of city riding.
Another parameter to take into account when choosing your motor is its torque. Expressed in Nm (Newton/meter), it represents the force of the motor in its movement. It is generally between 15 and 90 Nm. The higher the torque, the easier it will be to climb hills. If you are driving in a relatively flat landscape, a high torque will not be very useful, 20 Nm should be enough. For more hilly cities, 40 to 60 Nm could be appreciated if you don't want to put too much effort in climbing.
The greater the capacity of the battery of your electric VTC, the longer its autonomy . Measured in Wh, it allows you to ride more or less kilometers with electric assistance. Ideally, choose a trekking bike with a battery of 400 Wh minimum. If you make long trips, travel in a hilly area or live in a windy area, choose a battery of 500 Wh or more.
On a VTC, the battery can generally be placed in several places: on the luggage rack or on the diagonal tube of the frame. It is more rarely placed at the back of the seat tube, a configuration that is more common on compact or folding electric bikes, and does not allow to fix a baby seat.
The derailleur is a key part of the electric VTC. It has a double role: to allow you to change gears and to keep the chain under tension. The most famous brands are Shimano and Nexus.
Many VTC models on the market have a suspension fork. It brings indeed a real comfort and allows you to borrow paths a little uneven with holes or still stones. A travel of at least 60 mm is recommended.
The use of a telescopic fork is not mandatory, especially if you want to buy a light multipurpose electric bike. However, if you ride regularly on dirt roads, it is a great asset for your comfort. Some electric bikes have lockable forks, which is ideal if you ride on both pavement and trails.
The number of gears needed on your electric VTC should be determined according to the distances you ride and the more or less hilly roads you take. If you ride in a very hilly environment, 18 or 21 gears will be appreciated. Otherwise, 6 or 7 gears should be enough.
How do I maintain an electric mountain bike?
To maintain your electric bicycle and prolong its life, check the condition of the cables regularly. If they show signs of wear, take your ebike to a repair shop.
You should also check the wear of the brakes: if the grooves on the brake pads are faded or damaged, they need to be changed. Before you ride, check the pressure and condition of your tires. Finally, if your bike is parked outside or not in use for a long period of time, remove the battery and control screen.
What is the price of an electric VTC?
The price of an electric VTC is of course variable depending on its equipment, its materials, its manufacturing place, etc. You can find electric trekking bikes from 900€ for the entry-level models to more than 10 000€ for the most advanced and sophisticated ones.
Where to buy a cheap electric VTC ?
Discover our buying guide for used electric VTC.
Upway reconditions a wide range of used electric VTCs. You'll benefit from an EAB in near new condition, sold for 20 to 60% less. Each model is inspected by a professional mechanic: this expert checks 20 control points and replaces everything that needs replacing. Your used electric mountain bike comes with a 1-year warranty and is delivered to your door. You have 14 days to try it out. Not satisfied? You can return it!
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