The bikes we tested all use a different e-bike motor system, and the controls, the primary user interface, are an important element we rated but didn't weight as heavily as some of the others. Each motor system and its associated controls are slightly different. Our primary interest is in how user-friendly is it to interact with the system, how intuitive and ergonomic are the shifters, how good and easy to read is the display, and how easy is it to charge the battery? Each drive system also has a smartphone app that is intended to allow the user to fine-tune the motor's support settings, create custom settings, monitor battery charge and health, and a whole lot more. We don't feel the apps are necessary for the use of any of these e-MTB's, but those with an affinity for technology or personalizing your ride may be inclined to use them.
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Finally, if you’ve been waiting for the electric mountain bike to come of age, we’re happy to report that just happened. The combination of the 27.5+ platform with long-lasting batteries, and the remarkably smooth and elegant motor, all integrated into one sharp-looking design, and augmented by user-friendly software has finally delivered a slick, no-compromises product that you’ll want to own. I know we do, the entire IndefinitelyWild team is fighting over who gets to borrow it next.
We’ve got to give you a Haibike downhill option considering their excellent history with downhill and enduro models. Downhill models are traditionally incredibly expensive, but the DwnHll 9.0 offers a slightly lower price point for a top mountain bike. The build is incredibly slack so you can rip downhill in ideal positioning. The PW-X motor makes climbing much more enjoyable as well.
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If you have your eye on an affordable electric bike, you’ll want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck. Unless you plan on doing more manual pedaling than cruising, you’ll want a bike with a sufficient amount of power. Some bikes have lower watt motors, such as 250 to 300, while others offer more of a boost with 500 watts or more. Another factor for many consumers is whether the bike comes with certain features, such as lights, a water bottle cage, and a rear rack.
All the electric bikes need to have the best braking system to keep them safe for all users. With this quality E-bike, you are assured of a safe ride thanks to the front and rear disk brakes. This makes it easier to stop the bike even when at a higher speed. Besides this, the bike also lasts for years due to the high-strength carbon steel used in the construction. This makes it a great investment for anyone looking for the best electric bike.
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While it was agile and quicker handling, the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp lost ground in this rating metric due to the somewhat abrupt pedal assist cutoff that occurred the moment you stop pedaling. This abrupt power cutoff caused awkward moves in slower technical uphill sections when jockeying pedals to avoid rock strikes. The Bulls E-Stream had power for days and could mash its way up just about anything, but its overall weight and size made it a little more awkward in slower or more technical sections of climbing. The Trek Powerfly had a long wheelbase, reach, and chainstay length, giving the bike a long rear end that kept impressive traction while climbing as long as you kept your momentum, the overall length of the bike, however, made it a little tougher to negotiate in the tighter stuff.
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Jeremy Benson eats, sleeps, and breathes mountain bikes. This native New Englander started mountain biking in 1992. He got more serious in college and started racing bikes in 1999. After moving to Tahoe, Jeremy continued his obsession with riding. He continues to race mountain bikes and has racked up some impressive results in the expert class at the Downieville Classic and the Lost and Found Gravel Grinder. Jeremy authored Mountain Bike Tahoe which was published in 2017. Jeremy's riding statistics are eye-popping, to say the least. He rode over 5,000 miles in 2018 climbing nearly 600,000 feet. Oh yeah, he was also a sponsored skier for well over a decade. Jeremy has a very critical eye and is also good at breaking things. These are wonderful traits for bike testers.
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If you want an e-bike that positively sprays tech out you, try the Volt Axis on for size. It takes the GoCycle GS's combo of folding, lightweight frame and disk brakes and adds automatic gears, if you please. These react to your speed and pedalling effort. So you automatically gear down when you stop at traffic lights – although what self-respecting cyclist does that? – and then back up as you accelerate.
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In addition to this, it is easier to transport and store. It has a foldable design and with the lightweight design, you will find it more reliable. Other than this, the bike also features the Shimano 7-speed transmission system, which makes it elementary to shift the speed. The two-mode bike can function as an assisted bike and electric bike at the same time. It provides a longer runtime due to the 36V 8Ah lithium-ion battery.
None of this would matter if the VanMoof Electrified S2 (and its close relative the X2) wasn't fun to ride, but it is a blast. Like the Brompton, it pulls off the neat trick of powering you along but giving the illusion that you're doing the work, reacting quickly and cleverly to the speed of your pedalling and the difficulty of any incline you're on.
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Time to give some love to my dudes and dudettes over at Bulls bikes. The Bulls E-Stream Evo AM 4 27.5+ (phew, out of breath after saying that one) is an incredible electric bike for the price point. I was going to put the step down from this bike on the list, (2018 Bulls E-Stream Evo AM 3 27.5+) but I realized that this bike is only $400 dollars more. The upgrades you get for that 400 bucks are pretty remarkable.
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The distance range of an electric mountain bike refers to the distance you can travel on a single battery charge given a specific set of circumstances. All of the e-bikes we tested have roughly the same battery storage capacity, except for the Bulls E-Stream, but external variables like rider weight, pedaling input, terrain, trail conditions, and weather conditions may all affect the length of time or distance that a battery charge will last. To compare the distance range of the models in our test we had the same tester take each of the bikes out in their highest support setting and do laps on a very steep paved hill until the batteries ran down from fully charged to completely dead. When we finished, we recorded the distance and vertical gain that each model was able to complete and easily, and objectively determined our winner.
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You turn it on by pressing the green button on the battery once for low power and twice for high, although to be honest, there is not a lot of difference between them. After that, you just pedal. There are no gears, no chain to muck up your trousers (a motorbike-style carbon fibre belt is used instead) and not that much difference in feeling compared to riding a normal bike.
Firstly there's a magnetically-fired locking pin in the rear wheel, triggered by kicking a button on the hub. This is fairly secure in itself and almost impossible to remove without destroying the bike. In London, we'd pair it with a more traditional bike lock so there's a more obvious visual deterrent, though a LED matrix screen on the frame does issue a warning to would-be tea-leafs.
The Trek Powerfly's Bosch Purion shifter and display unit was easy to read and had a bright screen, but was in a less visible location on the left side of the handlebar. The Bulls E-Stream has a similar system to the Trek, but with better button ergonomics and more information available on the display on separate screens. Our Editor's Choice Award winner, the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp scored the lowest in this rating due to the lack of a handlebar mounted display and a less user-friendly charging connection.
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A sleek affordable commuter from Yamaha, a household brand name going for a balance of price, performance, efficiency, and a purist feel, for years they did their homework studying their applications on Haibike, Giant, etc, using data and analysis to make offerings of their own. The PW SE motor is smooth and very efficient, coupled with the protected PW-X display,…...
It’s important to note that because this is an electric bike, not all trails are legally accessible. You’ll need to check with the federal, state, or local land management agency in charge of the trails you want to ride to see if it’s possible. You may also face some resistance from holier-than-though cyclist types. Those guys are best avoided anyway, and the glowing LEDs on the down tube should at least help you identify them quicker.
Last year, the Trek Powerfly 9 LT was one of the only ebikes with geometry and handling that came close to a modern enduro bike. For 2018, Trek has built on that winning formula with new frame. It’s lowered the battery in the downtube, while adding a stiffer Fox 36 fork, more powerful SRAM RE brakes and a stronger Bontrager wheelset. All welcome improvements to a really capable bike. The price has also crept up to reflect the changes. The biggest transformation however, is that Rocky Mountain has raised the ebike bar to a new high with the Altitude Powerplay.
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Bottom Line The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp returns to our e-bike test with a well rounded performance that earns it our Editor's Choice Award, again. The Bulls E-Stream Evo AM 4 is a brawler on the descents with an impressive distance range thanks to its large battery storage capacity. The Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro is well rounded and reasonably priced earning it our Best Buy Award. The Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 is close to greatness but is held back by its controls and components. The Ghost Hybride SL AMR S1.7+ looks interesting on paper but doesn't come together well on the trail.
The Bulls motor is claimed to have 90Nm of torque, but it was so smooth and quiet that it didn't feel outrageously powerful. The assistance came on smooth and strong thanks to the belt driven system. The Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 uses a drive system that claims to have up to 108Nm of torque. While their system felt quite powerful, it didn't feel stronger than the Bulls, and we noticed that it seemed to modulate its output in a way that the others didn't. The Rocky Mountain makes you work for it a little more than the rest. The Trek, Giant, and the Specialized motor systems felt slightly less powerful, still offering plenty of pedal-assist support mind you, but that also resulted in efficient motors and longer distance ranges than the models with more brute power.
One of the primary purposes of an e-bike is transferring power from the motor to the drivetrain to "support" your regular pedal stroke. All of the different motors do this in relatively the same way, although subtle differences in their power output make them all feel slightly different. It is important to note that all of these systems work impressively well; the differences between them are relatively subtle but noticeable. We tested this metric primarily based on feel, as opposed to any sort of scientific measurement, and our testers could all notice the differences between the various models. All of the e-bikes we tested have several support modes offering varying levels of pedal assist support.
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The LT or long travel line that Haibike is one of the most interesting developments in electric mountain biking in quite some time. I’ve chosen the FullSeven LT 4.0 because I wanted to show you another quality, low-cost option. The FullSeven line is built a little less aggressively than the AllMtn series, but still functions as a great all-around mountain bike for those riders who want to hit fire roads, and maybe the occasional single-track trail. The coolest thing about the LT line is that it costs exactly the same as the standard FullSeven line that comes with 120mm of travel. You can upgrade to 150mm on any FullSeven bike for no extra cost.
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The durable bike has been designed from the best quality of material for longevity. It is constructed from the high-strength carbon steel frames, which keeps it stable. Besides this, it also an adjustable saddle that can be moved up or down depending on the users’ height. With the wider tires, the bike moves smoothly for a great ride. Lastly, it is also very safe and available in different colors.