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I’ve been methodically trimming down my whitetail gear for the last eight years to make long hikes into public land easier. I started with a climber, quickly moved to hang on, and settled on a tree saddle and carbon sticks. My whitetail kit is light, but I sure do miss the comfort of a hang-on tree stand. And while there’s less pressure deep in public, it’s also a long way to get a deer back out. The solution is using an e-bike to haul gear and quickly cover ground.
But you need a bike that’s legal to use on public, can pull a trailer, and offers a quiet, smooth ride. I’ve found an electric hunting bike that checks all those boxes for me, the QuietKat Apex Pro. Here’s what I think of it after using it for scouting this spring and summer.
QuietKat Apex Pro Specs and Features
- Weight: 70 pounds
- Load Capacity: 325 pounds
- Sizes: Small, medium, and large
- Motor: 1000W mid-drive
- Battery: 17.25AH/48V; 828Wh; weighs 10 pounds
- Range: 25 to 52 miles
- Modes: Three levels of power assist, throttle, walk assist mode
- Gears: SRAM 9-speed
- Brakes: TEKTRO 4-Piston Hydraulic Disc
- Suspension: KKE 140mm Inverted Suspension Fork
- Tires: 26 x 4.5-inch all-terrain
- Axle: 197mm thru axle
Before you can appreciate the benefits of QuietKat’s VPO feature, you have to understand e-bike classifications. Several states regulate e-bikes on the following classification system:
Class 1: Pedal assist only and top speed of 20 mph
Class 2: Has pedal assist and throttle, top speed 20 mph
Class 3: Top speed 28 mph (throttle up to 20 mph)
QuietKat’s VPO allows you to adjust your motor’s settings to a class 1, 2, 3, or unlimited e-bike. That way, if you are in an area with a regulation where only class 1 bikes are allowed, you can be compliant, but then turn the heat up when you’re on the back 40.
The rear cargo rack has 100 pounds of carrying capacity. The optional Game Trailer and All-Terrain Cargo Trailer can also haul up to 100 pounds. I found hopping off the bike and using the Walk Assist Mode ideal for getting heavy loads up steep hills.
The Apex Pro has fat tires that are designed for tracking in snow, soft sand, rock, and dirt trails.
Shipping and Assembly
My QuietKat was shipped to my door via freight. The assembly involved turning a few screws and following the instructions in the assembly video. QuietKat includes everything you need to put your bike together, but you will need a bike pump to get the tires inflated.
Read Next: Best Electric Bikes for Hunting
The Basics of E-Bike Laws
If you’re going to get into riding and hunting with an e-bike on public ground, you’ll have to navigate the laws. As I’ve discussed, there are different classifications of e-bikes and the Apex Pro will adjust to meet each classification. But, it’s important to know that not all states use the classification system.
Here’s an example of an e-bike regulation for my state’s wildlife management areas:
Class one and two electric power-assist bicycles as defined in § 46.2-100 can be used where traditional bicycles are allowed. These are bicycles with no more than three wheels, operable pedals, electric power-assist motors of no more than 750 watts and a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Class three electric power-assist bicycles, which are capable of speeds up to 28 miles per hour, are prohibited.
While I can use an e-bike on the WMA trails, e-bikes aren’t allowed in the national forests in my state. Carefully research the laws on the specific piece of public ground you’ll ride on before buying an e-bike, and definitely before you go hunting.
Testing the Apex Pro in the Field
I used the Apex Pro for turkey and deer scouting this spring and summer. A lot of the places I hunt are walk-in only, but bikes and horses are allowed on the trails. I don’t mind walking a mile or two to a hunting spot, but it does make after-work hunts difficult to pull off because I have to factor in 30 minutes to an hour of walking. The e-bike cuts that time drastically, and with it, I can hunt more often, scout more often, and be overall more efficient with my limited time in the field.
I also used the Apex Pro while surf fishing on a family vacation. The fat tires and powerful engine moved across the sand, especially the packed sand, with ease. And I was able to find productive water quickly. I think an Apex Pro outfitted with a trailer and rod holders would be an ideal rig for serious surf anglers.
Fellow OL editor Derek Horner used an Apex Pro while turkey hunting this spring. “I was really impressed by the handling under power. We were using it along river terraces covered with downed trees and mud, but the Apex Pro handled it easily. It’s worth noting that my arm was in a cast while I was using it, too, which made controlling it very tough, but since I was still able to do it, that speaks volumes for the bike,” he says.
I agree with Horner that the Apex Pro is incredibly smooth for a powerful and fast e-bike. And did I mention it’s got some serious torque? In first gear on unlimited mode, I did 13 mph up a steep hill and hit 25 mph on flat ground. The brakes were quiet and responsive throughout six months of use. The seat is comfortable, and the ride is luxurious as long as you aren’t doing any serious downhill riding — it’s a hardtail, after all. The battery lasted an average of 20 miles for me, which is under the stated range. That could be because I did a lot of testing on private ground in unlimited mode and with the trailer loaded down. Regardless, I’d suggest an extra battery if you plan to cover more ground than 20 miles in a day, just to be safe. A great features is that the display provides an updated estimated range depending on your settings and current charge level.
What It Does Best
ATVs need wide trails and can leave deep ruts in those trails. An e-bike can get by with a clear footpath, and if you hit an obstacle, you can move the bike over it. Good luck lifting your ATV over a log. They’re also silent, which is great for not spooking animals, and it keeps the woods peaceful. There are a lot of advantages to an e-bike, but why go with the Apex Pro over others?
The VPO is a huge advantage over the competition. The ability to enjoy all the power the Apex Pro has when you’re on private property and then being able to make your bike into a class 1, 2, or 3 is incredible. The Apex Pro also has quality components, so you don’t have to worry about a plastic throttle braking or upgrading parts down the road. It’s a one-and-done solution for hunters who want the best.
Where It Can Improve
In my opinion, the Apex Pro is the best e-bike for hunting available, and it’s priced like a premium bike. Another option that has a lot of the power and features of the Apex Pro, but is about $2,000 cheaper, is the Ranger. It has a 1,000-watt hub-drive motor with VPO technology and offers a lot of value for the dollar.
If you’re looking for the ultimate time hack for hunting, you need an e-bike. And if you want the top of the food chain, you need a QuietKat Apex Pro. Its versatility, power, and quality components are well worth the price.