The vast majority of ebikes in the US have the battery mounted on the frame of the bike. With the exception of my commuter ebikes everything I ride in the woods ends up with the battery in a backpack. There are advantages and disadvantages to either setup, being educated about your choices will help you make a decision about what will be best for you.
Frame Mounted Battery
- Not connected to the bike when you take a fall (if you’re not falling you’re just not riding hard enough) or if you have to ditch the bike because someone is trying to run you over
- The battery cools better on the bike than inside a backpack
- Your ebike looks more a lot more like an ebike, less stealthy
- Battery takes more vibration from riding and connections could fail
- Bike is much heavier, trailriding feeling more like impossibly light motocross and less like mountain biking
- Easier to have different sized batteries for the same bike that you can switch between based on how long you want to ride
- Because you never leave the battery plugged in when you’re done you don’t ever have to worry about killing your battery if it has no BMS from leech loads
- Battery doesn’t get cold because it is never left outside on the bike, it is brought inside to charge
- Preserves the integrity of the single-track trailriding experience
- Battery is protected from vibration due to the suspension in your legs
- Battery is vulnerable to damage if you fall on it
- Connected to the bike when you fall, it can easily damage connectors or wires
- For long rides with a heavy battery on your back it can be fatiguing
For lighter weight batteries that are less than 10 lbs most people will probably not mind having the convenience of having the battery mounted directly on the bike. For heavier batteries I personally find that I have a lot more fun in the woods when the battery is on my back. The ebike is far more nimble and easier to throw around, the weight of the battery does not make it feel like I’m riding a dirtbike and instead just makes me feel like I am overweight and need to lay off the cheese. There is a huge difference between riding a 40lb ebike with a 15 lb battery on your back vs riding a 55lb ebike with the battery mounted on the frame. The weight of the whole package is the same, but the experience is completely different.
For Hobby King lipos and other smallish odd-shaped batteries a tupperware container ziptied to the frame of the bike in the triangle with a little bit of padding inside works quite well. You can spraypaint the tupperware to match the bike color if you want. For backpack cells I wrap them in a thermarest pad and cut large holes for cooling in the sides.
It’s quite easy to try most batteries in a backpack by making a long custom cable for it. Even framepacks or water-bottle batteries can be thrown in a backpack even if they are expressly designed to be mounted on a bike. Just cut the power connecting cord (with the battery disconnected of course) and then build an extra long 4-5′ cable with Anderson power pole connectors and throw that battery in your pack. You can also mount most batteries on a bike even if they aren’t designed to be by using a padded triangle bag or mounting a rack on the bike and bungie-ing the battery down. Bungied batteries on a rear rack will not survive any real trail riding, but batteries in a padded triangle bag should be fine if you take it easy on the jumps.
A very excellent article about the different mounting locations for battery packs was written by our friend Ron (spinningmagnets) over on electric-bike.com and can be found here. The best place to mount a battery on a frame is always inside the triangle.
If you don’t experiment and take risks you’ll never find out what is right for you. The Internet is full of people who claim to know what is best for you, but everyone is different. Something that works well for one person’s riding style might not be for everyone.