When it comes to electric bikes for hunting, fishing, and offroad use, you probably want one that has fat tires, can carry a load, and has a heavy-duty feel to it. And hopefully, you can get all of that without breaking the bank!
I had the chance to test the QuietKat Ranger over a period of a couple months and I rode it a ton.
The QuietKat Ranger is a well-built utility ebike with a mid-range price and feature set. While it lacks some of the high-end components of more expensive models, it functions just as well.
In this article, I’ll walk you through what I liked and disliked about the Ranger based on my own experience.
- Reasonable price for a heavy-duty offroad electric bike
- Comfortable upright riding position
- Built-in pannier rack can hold a ton of gear
- Lots of accessory and upgrade options
- Some plastic components may be prone to breaking
- Too heavy to carry on most bike racks
Watch our QuietKat Ranger video review on YouTube!
Hands-on Review of the QuietKat Ranger Hunting eBike
This review is not based on a single test drive or other online reviews of this bike. I had the good fortune to be able to get a QuietKat Ranger on loan for two full months which was plenty of time to do some thorough testing and fun having.
The Ranger and I went on dirt trails and pavement doing everything from daily in-town commutes to bowfishing adventures.
There is no doubt that the QuietKat Ranger is a heavy-duty, all-terrain electric bike. It was built more like a Ford F-150, not a Honda Civic.
This utilitarian design if great for hunting, camping, fishing trips and more. And you certainly can use it around town. I did.
But that beefy design comes at the cost of energy efficiency, endurance, and a sleek finish. It takes a lot of juice to even cruise around town on this beast. And some details like the rat’s nest of cables velcroed together in front of the handlebar exist because it came down to function over fashion.
I received the Ranger in a big box delivered by FedEx. It was mostly preassembled, but the front wheel, handlebar, pedals, and accessories needed to be attached. You only need a few basic tools to put it together and they were included in the kit.
It was fairly straightforward to assemble and within less than an hour I was able to take it for a test drive. QuietKat had an excellent assembly video on YouTube.
The overall unboxing and assembly experience was positive.
Look and Feel
QuietKat bikes look beefy. They feel beefy too. And that is certainly one of the most appealing draws of this bike for hunters. The hefty built-in rack, the camouflage paint job, and the fat tires make it clear that it is built for offroad use and that it is not designed to be a commuter.
But most importantly, the bike feels good when you sit on it and ride. It has a comfortable upright riding position, which is ideal for hunting. When you are cruising on logging roads at a relaxed pace while you constantly scan draws and hillsides for game, you want to be facing forward.
If you were hunched down in a typical road bike, or even mountain bike riding position all the time, you’d surely miss spotting some animals, or you’d strain your neck trying to do so. There is still enough adjustment range in the seat height, however, to ride more aggressively if you want to.
The QuietKat frame stands out from most other electric bikes. It’s not a simple spinoff of a classic hardtail or downhill mountain bike. It really is purpose-built. Here are some reasons why:
- Upright riding position
- Comfortable reach
- Rear utility rack
- Angle of the top tube
- Range of seat height adjustment
- Battery-integration in lower tube
These elements combined with the geometry and materials of the frame make for a very comfortable riding experience, even on rough terrain or with a heavy load. It doesn’t require a lot of upper arm strength when going downhill and it’s easy to balance the bike even when hauling a load of gear or game.
The downside here is that the bike is anything but lightweight. The electric motor distracts you from that fact. But you’ll be painfully reminded of the weight when you run out of battery while climbing a hill.
While all the components on the QuietKat Ranger are entirely functional, none of them are particularly high-end. I never had any problems other than a minor issue with the rear derailleur. It wouldn’t adjust to perfectly align with the cog in low gear, but this didn’t diminish the riding experience at all.
Here’s a breakdown of the components based on the Ranger I rode:
The Ranger uses a single hub-drive electric motor in the rear wheel. It’s made by Bafang, a reputable electric bicycle motor manufacturer.
I found the 1000-watt hub motor on the Ranger to be more than sufficient for riding on dirt, pavement, gravel, and some single-track trails. It engaged quickly and had plenty of power without putting extra strain on the chain.
One downside of a hub motor is that if it fails, you have to replace the entire wheel assembly. But even when I compared it to the QuietKat Apex with a mid-drive motor, I didn’t feel like the mid-drive offered a tremendous advantage over the hub-drive, except for climbing steep hills. I was happy with the Ranger.
If I were going to buy a new Ranger, I’d probably go with the 750-watt motor. I’d lose a little power, but I’d be more likely to be able to use it in more places since it’s a classified electric bike. It appears many land management agencies will require that for use on public lands.
The Ranger is a hardtail bike with a Mozo coil suspension fork. The front suspension is adjustable. Combined with the fat tires, the suspension was more than adequate. You can cruise right over big stones and potholes on a logging road and hardly feel them.
While occasionally it would have been nice to have rear suspension as well for a more aggressive ride down, that’s not how I found myself using this bike 99% of the time. So I think the hardtail design is a good call.
There are seven mechanical gears on the Ranger. The shifter is a SRAM X3 and the derailleur is a SRAM X4. These are SRAM’s entry-level mountain bike components, so they are far from their best. I suspect the plastic X3 shifter will not last forever, but this would also be an easy upgrade to make yourself.
The Ranger comes equipped with Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes. These are also mid-grade brakes from Tektro, but they actually come out of their mountain bike line as opposed to their electric bike product line.
I’m sure this helps keep the cost down and it is certainly quite cheap to replace the brake pads on these, which you’ll likely have to do, given that they were designed for a lighter bike in mind. That said, despite the occasional and completely normal squeaking of dusty brakes, I always felt like I could slow down and stop fast enough.
Wheels and Tires
Depending on the size of frame you get, the Ranger is supposed to come with either 24” x 4” tires (small frame) or 26” x 4.5” (medium or large frame) tubeless fat tires.
The Ranger I had was a size medium frame but had Kenda 24” diameter by 4.0 inch wide tires. I suppose since mine was a demo bike it may have been an anomaly. Either way, I thought this tire was fun, smooth, and trouble-free.
The Ranger’s computer display is pretty basic which makes it easy to use and interpret. It has an LCD screen, so it only displays in black. It is easy to read during the day, but difficult, if not impossible, to see at night.
The readout displays:
- A battery level meter
- An odometer
- A speedometer
- The mode (directly associated with the electric “gear” you’re in)
- Watt output
There are three buttons and the throttle lever that tie into both the computer and the electric motor. You have an up arrow and a down arrow that increase or decrease the motor speed or output. Then there is an “M” button which essentially works as a power on/off switch.
The nice thing about this is that it is super easy to figure out and pretty dummy-proof. I hopped right on and figured it out without reading the manual or watching videos. It’s just simple and straightforward.
Battery and Charger
The 12.8 AH 48V battery is removable, but integrates seamlessly into the frame which protects it from the elements and provides a clean look. It even locks into the frame by key so it cannot be easily stolen. At 10 pounds, you might want to remove it during transport depending on the rating of your bike rack.
The charger is basic and plugs directly into the frame of the bike so you can charge the battery in place. While I never timed it from dead to full, if I plugged it in the night before, it was always ready to go the next day.
QuietKat offers a wide range of accessories which, for the most part, are compatible with any of their ebikes. This is great for the Ranger because it means you can get a cheaper bike, but still have the option to add on high-quality bags, racks, trailers, and more.
The setup I had included some QuietKat saddle bags, a bike light, mudguards, and a gun rack. I’d call these essential as I used them all, especially while hunting.
The biggest advantage of using an electric bike while hunting is that you can cover more ground in less time. If you’re not looking at the Ranger for hunting, but plan to use it on other outdoor adventures, the following will still apply.
Battery Endurance and Range
QuietKat advertises that the Ranger gets 19-38 miles of range on one battery. In my experience, the lower end is realistic, but the upper end is not. The typical range I got on a full charge was about 20 miles.
To be fair, this will vary based on the riding conditions, terrain, outside temperature, the weight of the rider and gear, and the age of the battery.
When I was testing the Ranger I weighed about 220 pounds and probably had about 10-20 pounds of extra gear on the bike at any given time. I rode on cool spring and hot summer days, dirt trails and paved roads, hills and flat terrain, pedal-assisted and full throttle. I would often just charge the bike up at night, even if I didn’t drain it all the way down. But even when I was cruising around town on flat pavement in electric assist level 3 (out of 5) while pedaling constantly, there was no way I would have gotten 38 miles on one charge. Maybe 25, tops.
In the woods on a hunt with hills, cold weather, extra gear, and no place to charge up at night, be conservative in how you ride these bikes and don’t plan on riding too far in one day.
Speed, Takeoff, and Power
The Ranger doesn’t take off like a 2-stroke dirt bike or anything, but it is nice to use the electric throttle to get moving without having to pedal right away. Around town, I found it worked best to start off in electric level two or three then quickly cycle up to the max level five whether I was pedaling or not. I could hit speeds of 30 mph with a little downhill, but on flat ground, I’d hit 25 mph.
The more common scenario, however, was cruising on a dirt path with the motor set to level three, while I leisurely pedaled in middle mechanical gear. This seemed the optimum output for speed and efficiency, stretching the battery out long enough to get through the whole day’s adventure with some stops along the way.
Uphill, plan on pedaling at least some. Even with the 1000W motor, there were some hills steep enough where I was doing most of the work, and I would have stopped dead in my tracks if I hadn’t pedaled at all.
Ride and Comfort
I could ride the Ranger until the battery was dead without getting uncomfortable. These are very smooth-riding, shock-absorbing bikes. It was easily the most comfortable bicycle of any sort that I have ever ridden on every trail I tried it on.
Braking and Control
The brakes would squeal a bit when I went hard on them and they occasionally locked up into a skid, but I always felt very in control on the Ranger. While it is a heavy bike, the riding position and wheel size make it easy to maneuver and stop when you want.
For the same reason, hunters want a dependable truck while out in the woods, you want any accessory vehicle like an electric bike to be tough as well. The Ranger is mostly rugged to where you can rely on it even when well off the grid, but there are a few weak points that could be improved.
Some of the previously mentioned plastic components seem fragile compared to the rest of the bike, such as the gear shifters and the throttle. The paint on the frame mostly held its own but was chipping and scraping off on the pannier rack and a few other spots.
The QuietKat saddlebag was super convenient, but the plastic guards on the inside broke off under normal use, as did the front mudguard.
Basically, if it’s plastic, you’ll probably be replacing it at some point. Not a big deal, and probably worth the cost savings, but you should be aware of it.
A good price for one may be outrageous for another, so the best we can do when evaluating the value of this electric bike is to compare it to others that are similar. And when we do that, the QuietKat Ranger seems to offer good value for the price.
Compared to Alternatives
Looking at QuiteKat’s own product lineup, the Ranger is in the middle of the price range. The Pioneer is as much as $1500 less with a smaller motor, no suspension, no built-in rack, and few frills. The Apex, on the other hand, costs a couple thousand more and you get a mid-drive motor with upgraded components all around.
Read more: QuietKat Apex vs Ranger Comparison
Looking at other brands, comparable Rambo electric bikes are all more expensive. They usually have higher-end components such as mid-drive motors, but they don’t feature a unique frame like QuietKat’s. The Ranger seems to offer more bang for your buck.
The Bakcou Flatlander is probably the most comparable electric bike to the QuiteKat Ranger. They both have aluminum frames, Bafang hub-drive motors, similar suspension and wheels, and a pannier rack for gear. The Flatlander is priced slightly higher than the Ranger, but it comes with slightly upgraded components like hydraulic brakes and gearing as well as a higher-capacity battery.
There are always cheaper brands with options that aren’t purpose-built like Rad Power Bikes’ RadRover 6 for around half the price of the QuiteKat Ranger. Just don’t expect to get quite as much utility out of a bike like this for hunting and off-road adventuring as you would from the QuietKat.
This is one area QuietKat offers something more than the competition that is certainly worth some dollars. The Ranger comes with a lifetime guarantee on the frame and one year on other components.
You also get 30 days from the time you purchase to try the bike out for up to 10 miles and make sure you like it and want to keep it. As long as it is in like-new condition, they’ll even cover the return shipping if you decide to send it back.
Final Thoughts on the QuiteKat Ranger
If you typically choose the middle option when your options are good, better, or best, The QuietKat Ranger will likely be a great ebike that you’ll feel good about buying. It doesn’t have a bunch of high-end components or a revolutionary design, but it does the job it’s built for at a reasonable price. And it’s a lot of fun!
I do recommend the QuietKat Ranger as a hunting eBike or for people who just want to cruise around the woods, the ranch, or even in town.
However, if you are looking for a light and portable electric bike for your RV or a quick and agile in-town commuter ebike, keep looking. The Ranger is an all-terrain ebike that can take a beating, but it comes with tradeoffs like weight and bulk.
Likewise, if you want more durable high-end components or you’re set on a mid-drive motor, you should consider something like the QuietKat Apex instead of the Ranger.
Be sure to check out our other articles about electric bikes for hunting: