Bakcou Mule Review 2022: An Elite eBike for Elk Hunting?

Camo Bakcou Mule eBike for hunting in front of aspen trees with yellow leaves

Reviewing the Bakcou Mule Review After a Month of Elk Hunting in the Colorado Backcountry

 

After a month of rugged big game hunting in Colorado’s unforgiving and unpredictable Rocky Mountains, we’re excited to give you a top-to-bottom review of the Bakcou Mule Elite eBike for hunting.

Walking just a short distance up steep mountainsides above 10,000 feet with a heavy pack is no easy task, and can bring the toughest mountaineers and hunters to their wit’s end.

More challenging, hunting pressure is at an all-time high thanks to skyrocketing popularity and record tag sales. Hunters are constantly looking for ways to get an advantage over the crowd by reaching deeper into the backcountry faster than the competition.

That’s why we, and other savvy hunters, have started using electric bikes to make our hunts more efficient and effective.

eBikes have taken the hunting industry by storm, and, looking for a better way to access trailheads in our hunting area, we jumped on the bandwagon and decided to try one out this fall during our month-long archery hunt.

After much deliberation, we chose the Mule because it was the most no-nonsense option for our hunting style. Its sporty, fat-tire design was exactly what we were looking for to help us get into our spot faster, quieter, and more accessible than ever before.

We grabbed our Bakcou Mule Elite Hunter Package from eBike Generation, and we can’t recommend this store enough. If, after reading this review, you decide to buy a Mule, you can’t beat their prices and customer service.

So how’d our experience with the Bakcou Mule turn out? Would it stand up to the rigors of hunting in Colorado? What do we think of its components? Is it worth its lofty price tag?

Stick around, and we’ll spill the beans on the Bakcou Mule Elite Hunter Package and give you an honest and thorough review of this uber-popular electric bike for hunters.

Oh, and don’t forget to stick around because we have a little surprise waiting for you at the end of this post!

SEE BAKCOU MULE ON EBIKEGENERATION

Table of Contents: Bakcou Mule Review [Show/Hide]

Bakcou Mule: Features & Specs

  • Motor: Bafang Ultra M620 750w/1000w mid-drive Motor w/integrated Torque Sensor
  • Battery: Extended Distance 48v 17.4Ah, 19.2Ah, 21Ah, or 25Ah lithium-ion
  • Range: 40+ Miles
  • Digital Display: Bafang DP C18.UART Full Color LCD
  • Brakes: Tektro Quad Piston Hydraulic, 203mm Front & 180mm Rear rotor
  • Suspension: BCEB GT MRK 100mm AIR Fork
  • Frame: High-Grade Aluminum Alloy 6061
  • Size: 18″ Frame for 5’9″ to 6’4″ – Shorter riders should go for the Mule Step Through
  • Wheels: Quick Release Front Hub
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion 26” X 4.0
  • Gearing: Shimano Alivio Hill-Climbing 9 speed, 40t Front 11x36t cassette
  • Steering: Wide 740mm Handlebars for Greater Stability
  • Load Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Saddle: SR Sport Saddle
  • Weight: 68 lbs
  • Locking Ergonomic Handlebar Grips
  • Shock Absorbing Suspension Seat Post
  • Front & Side Rear Derailleur Guards
  • Aggressive Skid-Proof Wide Stance Pedals

How We Tested the Bakcou Mule

Bearded hunter dressed in camo mountain an electric bike for hunting

We put this bad boy through its paces in the Colorado backcountry

 

We put the Mule through the wringer in various conditions, from asphalt and country roads to 4WD and hiking trails. We climbed mountains and bombed it down hills and traversed over washboard roads, deep ruts, and rocky creeks.

We flat out put the Bakcou Mule Elite to the test during our month-long elk, deer, and bear hunt in Southern Colorado and came away with real-world experience that we’re excited to share with you.

On the Hunt

The fall weather in Colorado can be completely unpredictable. The high country saw monsoon rains nearly the entire summer, and our hunting area was soaked and muddy. Well, that’s until season started on Sept 2nd.

We arrived at the hunting camp and were greeted with 80-degree temperatures at 9,500 ft elevation. The heat persisted most of the month, and our hunt would turn out to be a hot and brutal ordeal that pushed us to our physical limits.

Our vehicles could not make it the two miles to the top of the 4WD road where the trailhead into our hunting area began because of deep muddy ruts. (In the past, we’d simply walked this road in the morning. But with the hot weather, that option seemed pretty miserable.)

The value of having an eBike for hunting quickly became apparent to us. We could jump on the bike and be at the top of the mountain in less than 20 minutes, a welcomed relief in the unrelenting heat.

As far as hunting goes, we had a pretty non-eventful season harvest-wise. I shot a small deer and carried it out in one go with my buddy and our Mystery Ranch Metcalf packs. We never needed to use the game cart that came with our Elite Hunter Package from eBikeGeneration.com.

My favorite time to ride the Mule was going up and down the forest service roads in the middle of the night. I could let out a bugle in hopes of getting a response from a competitive bull. The ability to do this silently and without creating exhaust was a game changer.

Elk and deer can hear you coming from miles away when you come roaring into their home with noisy gas-powered ATVs. You give yourself a massive advantage by sneaking into elk habitat without making any racket or raising a stink.

Around Town

Back at home, I’ve given the bike a proper spin around town so I could get a good feel for how valuable an eBike the Mule is in a city environment. Overall it performed better than my expectations, and I’m beyond impressed at how it fares on solid ground.

The Bafang variable power motor gives you serious juice when you need it most, like going up hills or accelerating after a stop sign. The brakes are reliable, and the bike’s handling is sporty and responsive in traffic for how heavy the bike is (68 pounds).

I’ve replaced my GrubHub and UberEats addiction with hopping on the Bakcou and riding to grab take-out all around my town. This bike is so fun to ride, I’m always looking for an excuse to take it out, whether for a quick adventure down the river or to stop by Safeway for some groceries.

SEE BAKCOU MULE ON EBIKEGENERATION

How the Mule Moves: Throttle vs. Pedal Assist

Close up of handlebar, throttle, and pedal assist buttons

The thumb throttle and pedal assist buttons are easy to navigate

 

Before we jump into the nitty gritty of our review, let’s explore the three ways to get the Mule moving: via throttle, pedal assist, or pedaling without assistance from the motor. Here are our two cents about each method:

Throttle

The Mule sports a super responsive and easy-to-use left thumb throttle that’ll get the bike moving at a moment’s notice. Controlling the throttle power is simple and straightforward. Though powering your Mule on throttle alone is fun and effortless, it’ll burn through your battery much quicker than with pedal assist.

For the most part, I use the thumb throttle when starting the bike from a stationary position and switch to pedal assist once I get moving.

Pedal Assist

Pedal assist does exactly what you’d think: it uses the bike’s mid-drive motor to add some extra oomph to your pedaling, assisting you along in the process. This makes going up steep hills much easier than using pure throttle or pedaling without assistance from the motor like you would with a traditional bike.

The Mule’s five built-in levels of pedal assist are controlled easily with the ‘+’ and ‘-’ buttons right next to the Mule’s display. Switching between these levels, ‘1’ being minimum assistance from the motor and ‘5’ being maximum assistance, is incredibly easy.

It’s also possible to turn pedal assist off completely by bumping the setting down to ‘0,’ but we only do so when the battery is running very low.

Here’s a quick rundown of how I use pedal the assist levels:

1: When cruising on mostly flat rides around town, if I feel like getting a little extra exercise, or if the battery is running low
2: When riding on terrain with occasional gradual inclines or if the battery is running low
3: When riding on terrain with consistent, gradual inclines (this is a well-balanced pedal assist and my most commonly used setting)
4: When riding on terrain with consistent, steep inclines, when I want a little extra punch of power, or when I’m starting to get tired
5: When riding on terrain with consistent, dramatic inclines, when I want to get moving as fast as possible, or if I’m feeling tired and want the bike to do most of the work

Pedaling Without Assistance from the Motor

Boooooooring.

But, seriously. I rarely ever ride this bike without using some mixture of its throttle and pedal assist, and I don’t plan on doing so in the future. This bad boy was built to harness electricity and dominate hunting trails, and I use it to do exactly that.

But at least if the battery were to die, I know I could pedal operate the Mule without motor assistance to get it back where I need to be. Situations like this are undesirable, but it’s at least comforting knowing I don’t need the battery to be charged for the bike to function.

SEE BAKCOU MULE ON EBIKEGENERATION

Now that we’ve explained how we tested the bike and throttle versus pedal assist, let’s dive into how it performed during our month-long backcountry.

Power & Speed

Close up of LCD display

We’ve gotten the Mule going so fast that we thought we’d break the dial

 

Whoo boy, does this thing scoot! It’s almost too fast. You’ll want to hold on to your hat when coming down any incline. We clocked this bike at nearly 30 MPH on level city streets and on the steep downhill dirt roads near our hunting area.

Take it slow when you first give this bike a spin, as it’s a mighty beast and can be tough to control when going downhill at breakneck speeds. My hunting buddies and I regularly had the back tire slide out while braking downhill because we were going too fast.

Its power is more than adequate to get you up steep and rocky Jeep trails, and in conjunction with its max pedal assist, you can climb these roads much faster than in a noisy Wrangler or ATV.

Handling

The beefy Mule is surprisingly responsive when climbing mountain trails, but there’s a bit of a learning curve when getting the hang of it.

We recommend getting used to how it maneuvers before you take it into the field. We didn’t get much experience with the Mule before taking it on our hunt, which contributed to us damaging the bike after just a day or two.

Because we used pedal assist incorrectly and rode the bike too hard, we damaged the teeth on the bike’s gear cassette, which affected our ability to shift smoothly. This damage was caused 100% by rider error and would never have happened if we’d just watched this simple video in the first place.

Similar damage will likely occur on eBikes with comparable components if misused. More on this later.

Once we got the bike fixed up and started riding it correctly, our overall impression was that it handled itself very well in rugged conditions and was quite easy to steer, balance, and keep upright.

Range in the Backcountry

Being able to get uphill in a hurry comes at a cost. When Bakcou tells you that this bike gets over a 40-mile range, understand that this rating isn’t for tearing up steep mountain trails and is more accurate under flat conditions with minimal pedal assist, like on city streets.

The Mule had no issue getting up the steep inclines of our rugged hunting trails, but it ate through quite a lot of battery in the process. Depending on pedal assist settings, throttle usage, and the terrain we took it out on, we were consistently getting 10 to 20 miles out of each charge in the backcountry, which was plenty for our needs.

Range Around Town

I took the bike on a 23-mile trip around the suburbs on flat bike paths and paved roads, and it drained the battery down to about 35%. Not bad, considering I was on a level 4 out of 5 pedal assist, and I barely broke a sweat the entire time.

The Mule has plenty of range for multiple trips close to my home. To get around my hometown of Longmont, Colorado, the standard 17.5 Ah battery’s range is more than sufficient.

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Durability

This Mule has a very sturdy and heavy-duty feel to it. For the most part, we felt like The Mule stood up to quite a beating we put on during our review.

Again, we misused the bike and quickly broke a couple teeth off of its Shimano gear cassette (with help from the bike’s ultra-powerful motor). We damaged the cassette almost instantly with our reckless riding and had to run to town to get it fixed at the local bike shop during our hunt.

Even though you can avoid damaging your gears by not starting in high pedal assist, we wouldn’t complain if Bakcou put a beefier, upgraded gear cassette on this bike. After all, this is a pricey toy, and most hunters will take it to hell and back.

Diving into the Mule’s Main Components

An electric bike is only as good as its components. And, because of how new the eBike trend is, many brands have many of the same components. The Bakcou Mule is no different. While doing a side/side review with the QuietKat Apex, we learned that they’re made with many of the same parts, with only some slight differences.

Here are some of the components that make up the Bakcou Mule:

1,000-Watt Bafang Mid-Drive Motor

1,000-Watt Bafang Mid-Drive Motor caked in mud

1,000-Watt Bafang Mid-Drive Motor

 

The powerhouse behind this bike comes from its unrestricted 1,000-watt Bafang mid-drive motor, which provides its drivetrain with ample juice to get you through challenging situations when you need some serious torque (like when you’re hunting in the Rocky Mountains).

The Mule’s unrestricted motor features a Smart Torque Sensor that allows you to toggle between 750 and 1,000 watts and has a max power output of 1,500 watts. This additional power boost is readily apparent when riding the Mule. I weigh over 210 pounds, and it had plenty of torque to get me up steep dirt mountain roads and hunting trails with ease.

Having the option to level-down your power output to 750 watts is a very useful feature. In many states, 1,000-watt eBikes are illegal, so the ability to reduce your power to 750 watts at a moment’s notice is a game-changer.

The workhorse motor blurs the lines of being street-legal but can fly under the radar at the push of a button. That’s a feature we really appreciate.

17.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery

17.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery with "BAKCOU" text

17.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery

 

If you invest in an upgrade for this bike, I’d be inclined to go with a bigger battery. We learned that the standard battery’s range advertised as up to 40 miles is undoubtedly a best-case scenario figure. When traversing steep mountain trails, we consistently fell significantly below the 17.5 Ah battery’s range, but that’s exactly what we expected with the type of riding we were doing.

The Mule comes standard with a powerful 48V battery in four capacity levels: 17.5 Ah, 19.2 Ah, 21 Ah, and a massive 25 Ah. If you’re pushing this bike to its limits and want to get as deep as possible into the backcountry, investing in a bigger battery will be worth every penny.

SEE BAKCOU MULE ON EBIKEGENERATION

Dual Tektro Quad Piston Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Dual Tektro Quad Piston Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Dual Tektro Quad Piston Hydraulic Disc Brakes

 

This bike’s brake system is top-notch. Four-piston mineral oil hydraulics combined with wide brake pads make for smooth braking and a short stopping distance.

The Tektro brakes take a bit to get used to, however. They are powerful, and if applied with too much force, they could quickly buck you off when you are bombing it downhill. Ask us how we know.

The Bakou Mule does have a sensor that detects brake usage, which in turn cuts power to the motor. This insurance feature keeps you from chewing up your drivetrain when your bike is trying to slow down all that momentum.

Maxxis Minion 26” x 4” Fat Tires

Close up of a fat bike tire that reads "MAXXIS"

Maxxis Minion 26” x 4” Fat Tires

 

We pushed this bike through some pretty tricky terrain. From sharp rocks to mud and shale, the tires kicked butt, gripped the earth, and gave us no hassles.

The fat-treaded tires were the perfect solution for such an uncertain setting. They love kicking up mud, but the fenders did their job well and left us relatively un-caked with mud.

Shimano Alivio 9-Speed Gearing System

Muddy gearing system on a hunting bike

Shimano Alivio 9-Speed Gearing System

 

In my opinion, the weakest component of this bike is the Shimano 9-speed front cassette. The problem is that the motor is really powerful, and the gears on this bike are more of an entry-level solution for mountain bikes.

Bakcou knows this and has suggested ways for you to spare yourself from busting your cassette and chain. They advise not starting on the highest pedal assist level because it will put too much torque on the cogs and can break them or your chain.

Check out this video from the owner of Bakcou explaining how to avoid this problem and how to shift gears properly.

Accessories & Upgrades

Muddy pannier bag hanging of the side of an electric bike

One of the pannier bags that we struggled with – User error?

 

If you need the whole kit and kaboodle for your upcoming hunting trip, give our friends at eBikeGeneration.com a visit. They provided us with the Bakcou Mule Elite Hunter Package, which included the following upgrades and accessories at a discount:

Game Cart/Trailer

Having a game cart trailer on hand is part wishful thinking and part dutiful planning. It’s nice to have one to haul out a harvest, but you must kill an animal first. That’s no small task.

If you’re fortunate enough to harvest, having a cargo trailer or game cart on hand makes the job of towing your harvest much easier. We were on the losing side of that battle this year, but we’re excited to update this review after our next hunt.

Next year we’ll do our best to fill that trailer with fresh wild game meat and report back to you with photos of our cart in action.

Pannier Bags

One component of the Bakcou has us stumped: the pannier bags. They got caught up in the spokes on multiple occasions and consistently rubbed on the tire.

We aren’t entirely sure if this was user error or not, but after double and triple checking that they were correctly installed, we continued to experience the same problems.

We reached out to eBikeGeneration.com, and they assured us that this is not a common problem and was either caused by user error or a defective set of bags. Maybe we had them installed incorrectly after all.

Either way, it’s hard to recommend these bags until we see them in action, functioning correctly and consistently without issue. We’re considering getting our hands on a new set, so we’ll update this section moving forward if and when we give them another go.

Reviewing the Bakcou Mule eBike: An Elite Vehicle for Your Next Hunting Trip

Bakcou Mule caked in mud for a 2022 review

The Bakcou Mule is an absolute keeper (we’re locking it up every time)

 

So, was it all worth it? Did having an eBike while hunting live up to the hype? Did the Bakcou Mule stand up to the rigors of rugged backcountry hunting during our month-long review?

We say “yes” on all accounts.

After using this eBike for an entire archery season at nearly 10,000 feet of elevation in the Colorado wilderness, we’re happy to report that this bike struts its stuff. It’s fast, sporty, stable, and quietly gets you there faster and quieter than the competition. No question.

Even though it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows – we had problems with defective pannier bags and a broken gear cassette – we feel that overall the Mule is a top-notch electric bike built to withstand the rigors of hunting when used correctly.

We want to thank the nice folks over at eBikeGeneration.com for tirelessly answering our questions and steering us to the Elite Hunter Package. The Bakcou Mule is fantastic, and we feel like they matched us up with the perfect eBike for our rough-and-tumble hunting style.

If you’re looking to get farther from the crowds faster and quieter, take a good, long look at the Bakcou Mule electric bike for hunting.

And, for those of you who made it this far, here’s your surprise:

Click this link or the button below and use the coupon code ‘EatElkMeat’ at checkout for 5% off your entire order!

SEE BAKCOU MULE ON EBIKEGENERATION

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