Like most hunters, I’m constantly looking for better solutions to challenges we all face. Traveling around your hunting land, checking cameras, and scouting for signs of game on an ATV or golf cart is noisy. Even if the golf cart is battery operated, you’re always scraping against brush on the side of the trail and something always seems to be rattling. I was a little intimidated when I first tried the QuietKat electric hunting bike. It had been a couple of decades since I rode mountain bikes on a regular basis, and this bike is ten steps above a regular mountain bike.
Scouting and checking cameras must be done to be successful and I’ve owned and used almost every kind of off-road vehicle known to man. Being primarily focused on turkey hunting, I need something quiet and quick because scouting for turkeys can involve thousands of acres and turkeys are easily spooked.
The rugged framework and 4.5 inch wide tires, high-powered electric motor, and long-range battery mean the bike weighs about 70 lbs; the Lithium-ion battery alone weighs 8 pounds. It is purpose built for off-road travel and is much more rugged than a standard bike.
I mounted the electric hunting bike, and as soon as I moved the pedal down I could feel the power-assist motor kick in. After the first ride, I was sold.
The QuietKat gives you several power assist options while riding. The power settings range from 1 to 5, so you can choose more power if you need to climb a steep hill, or less power to save battery. You can also shift between gears (just like a regular multi-speed bicycle) to change the torque output, if you are climbing up a hill, or going full speed on the flats. In addition, you can get a little extra assistance from the thumb-operated throttle.
A digital screen on the handlebars gives you several important bits of information while you ride. Battery power gauge, distance traveled, total miles on your bike and several other stats. You can reset the “trip” mileage meter to measure the distance of your ride in order to plan ahead for future trips, and you can also turn the power on or off here. Even the backlight can be adjusted for riding in bright, dim or night conditions.
I opted to add a headlight to my electric hunting bike that features a red light, two power levels of white light and a strobe option. The light comes in handy and I recommend any hunter install one.
The front fork of this bike boasts a nice hydraulic shock damper and either air or coil spring options for added comfort and control, and when paired with the low-pressure, high-volume fat tires, the bike is very comfortable and easy to navigate rough terrain.
My bike has an optional Pannier rack on the back and I’ve fashioned some waterproof saddlebags on each side to hold extra gear like a Thermocell Mosquito Repeller, toilet paper, and extra flashlight and a butane lighter. I also carry a standard bicycle multi-tool in case I need to do some on-the-trail maintenance or repairs.
All bicycles need maintenance, and the great thing about the QuietKat is any bike shop will have the tools and knowledge to keep up with the maintenance of the bike. Bike chains can stretch and get noisy, cables and shifters need slight adjustments over time, and any bike shop can help with this. In addition, there is always a live person who will answer your call and answer any questions you have. QuietKat also stands behind their products with a 1-year warranty on the components and a lifetime warranty on the frame.
Distance on a Charge
This electric hunting bike is rated to travel about 20 miles on flat, hard ground with the power setting at its lowest, energy-saving position, with a 200lb rider. While I was in the steep hills of the blackbelt, I traveled 8.5 miles on mud and dirt roads before my battery indicator showed 2 bars left out of 6. That was most of one day spent scouting for wild turkey and pushing it hard.
If you are using the bike in a place where more miles are required in a day, you can purchase an extra battery and carry it with you. But remember, the bike can be ridden with no power at all and it’s still better than hiking. Especially downhill. Most rides can be extended well over the 20-mile range based on how often you spend going up hills vs coasting down hills. If the battery runs out, you still have gears and pedals!
The first few days of my test was done in dry, sandy loam in Baldwin County, Alabama. Deep sand beds in the roads presented no problem for this bike because of the wide, low-pressure tires. I also encountered some steep, rocky hills and it handled these very well. I purposely rode the bike along the sides of some of the rocky slopes to see if it would slip sideways, it did not; however if the grade of the slope is extremely sharp I wouldn’t recommend pushing your luck, on any bike.
The next three days were spent in muddy logging roads and very big hills in Autauga County, Alabama. Mud-holes were easy to navigate, and most of the time I could find a path around the water-filled holes where some careful steering kept my tires completely dry. When the road gets rutted and hard, and I came across the dried mud, I just took it slow and easy and the bike rolled along great. The steep hills in this area required me to hold the brake while descending and the disc brakes performed flawlessly with no squeaking, giving me great confidence while descending with all my hunting gear. Coasting down these big hills is a pleasurable experience on this study bike.
I also took the electric hunting bike to Wayne County, Tennessee where the hills are a little more like mountains to a flatlander like me. There were very few places where a log in the road or something required me to stop on an uphill ride. It was easy to lift the bike up and over the logs that were too big to ride over, and you could never do that with a motorcycle or ATV. I found that beginning from a dead stop, trying to go uphill on a very steep grade can be challenging for a 62-year-old; so I used the “walk” mode, which sends a small amount of power to the motor, and you can walk alongside the bike with little effort. After I walked the bike to a flatter area, I could use the throttle, to get up and going easily again.
Once I returned home, I placed my electric golf cart style hunting buggy in the yard for sale; I was happy that I didn’t need the utility trailer anymore either, but if I did need the extra space, QuietKat has a trailer that easily attaches to the bike, and can haul up to an additional 80lbs.
Transporting the Electric Hunting Bike
There are several options to transport this bike. All of them are easier than hooking up a trailer, loading up an ATV and dragging it down the highway. You can place the bike in the back of a pickup truck, or go with a standard, hitch-mounted bike rack. I opted for purchasing a special e-bike carrier that locks into my 2-inch receiver hitch and is rated for the extra weight of the electric motor. This makes loading and unloading the bike so much easier, quicker, and quieter. The carrier holds the bike in place securely while only contacting the tires, ensuring the frame won’t get scratched during transport. A good, heavy-duty cable lock is all you need for security.
Hunting on a Bike
Carrying a shotgun on an electric hunting bike can be done either by strapping it over your shoulder or purchasing an after-market gun rack. Before I built a gun rack, I carried my shotgun over my shoulder with very few problems, however, the aftermarket gun rack I got holds my weapon out of the way in a safe orientation on the bike. (Always check local laws regarding transport of a firearm on a moving vehicle).
The biggest advantage of an electric hunting bike is its how quietly you can travel. Even while moving along a dirt road, I can still hear a turkey gobble from 100 yards out. Also, it allows you to slip through overgrown logging trails where the width of the trail is almost impossible for an ATV. When you consider being able to move quickly and quietly without leaving scent from your boots, this bike is a game-changer. Also, the ease of transporting the electric hunting bike makes a big difference to me. The last thing about the QuietKat, it is downright fun! When the turkeys won’t gobble and nothing is working out right, I can still enjoy a nice quiet, leisurely, ride with the cool wind in my face while enjoying the sights and sounds of God’s great outdoors. All in all, the QuietKat is an incredible experience!
You can learn more about this and more e-bikes for hunting at quietkat.com. And, as an exclusive offer to our readers, buy a QuietKat bike* and use the coupon code “GreatDay” at checkout to receive a Special Hunting Package including a QuietKat Pannier Rack, QuietKat Hunter 800 Light, Hunter Safety System safety harness, and a WildGame Trail Camera, a $575 value FREE!
*Not Available with purchase of Ranger or Rover Models
By Alan White