The 2019 Specialized Turbo Levo Comp returns to our electric mountain bike test and claims our Editor's Choice Award for the second year in a row. The new model has several notable changes over the previous version we tested including a new frame design, 29-inch wheels, 150mm of front and rear wheel travel, a new motor, and an updated battery charge and power output display. All these new changes have only helped to solidify the Turbo Levo Comp's position at the top of the podium. It still has the same well-rounded performance on the trail that makes it "feel the most like a mountain bike." It is more playful and agile than the competition, yet it still manages to charge the fall-line just as hard. Like previous Turbo Levo models, Specialized has very stealthily integrated the battery and motor into the frame giving it a low center of gravity and a very non-e-bike look. The new Specialized 2.1 motor is very quiet, plus it weighs less and has reduced the overall weight of the bike by more than 2 lbs.
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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With 170mm travel, aggressive angles and Shimano’s superbly calibrated STEPS motor, the Focus Sam2 is an enduro bike with a built-in shuttle. With the bolt on TEC pack you really can climb to new heights, but without it the smaller capacity internal battery means you need to be ultra economical with your energy use. It’s also frustrating that the internal battery can’t be removed easily for charging. By far the biggest frustration with the Jam2 though is that the sizing isn’t very generous and standover clearance is limited. It’s still a great e-bike, but when you’re spending this much money, you can afford to be fussy.
As with anything, there is still room for improvement. There is no handlebar mounted digital display, and the only way to tell your speed is to mount a phone or bike computer to the bars. Specialized has changed the location of their battery charge and output mode display, however, which is now conveniently located on the top tube where you can see it while riding. The new motor is an improvement over the previous, but it still lags a little in engagement compared to the competition and the climbing performance is hampered by the drive unit's slightly more abrupt cutoff. Overall though, the Specialized still proved to be the test team's favorite for its versatility and well-rounded performance. We loved it, and we think you will too.
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The electric motor is located just above the bottom-bracket, and it assists him with a range of power from 250-watts up to 400-watts, applied directly to the outer chainring. The power is not activated by pedaling through a pedelec sensor like many commercial E-bikes available in Europe. Instead, he chose to use a thumb throttle, which he has hidden under a classic bicycle bell.
Specifically, battery packs are made up from many cells: the lead acid ones are similar to those we use on our cars, while the lithium ones use the same technology as mobile phones. Apart from the chemical component inside their cells, the main feature that differentiates lead acid and lithium batteries is their size: the lead ones are heavy and have a short life (200 to 300 charge cycles), while the lithium ones are smaller and can last longer (from 500 to 1,000 charge cycles).
This is a list of the best performing, best value electric bikes for 2018 / 2019. For each category I list two models, the first recommendation is based on performance and the second is based on affordability. As you explore the list and get to know EBR, check out the ebike community forum for more personalized feedback. Share your height, weight, budget and intended use (along with bikes you like) to get advice from actual owners and moderators.
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Do the e-bikes don’t have any downside? Well, they do but it’s nothing of a deal-breaker. Well, the only real issue could be forgetting to plug in and charge the bike. The bulkiness could be another issue but the extra weight actually helps when going downhill. The maintenance is not much of a hassle too, as it does not require any extra care than a regular MTB.
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The new and improved version of the very popular Cyclamatic Power Plus series, the CX1, stands out with its elegant design. Glossy silver finish and sleek lines of the frame make this e-bike look much more expensive than it actually costs. But besides its look, the designers of this electric bike have also focused on the convenience. Everything, from ergonomic design to easily removable battery, is created to give the rider an awesome experience. Improvements are made in motor and the battery as well, and the bike is now equipped with the 21-speed gear system.
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Your friends: We all have friends we wish wanted to pedal up hills with us. Many of who might be capable of leaving us in their dust on descents. These are young and old riders; riders lacking the fitness, time, motivation, or who just aren’t interested in climbing alone, at the back of the pack. You’ve done everything to get them back out riding with your regular crew, but pride and reluctance to hold the group back is keeping them away.
Electric bikes in the UK tend to come with either Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) or Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. In China, on the other hand, lead acid batteries are still the most common ones used. In 2014 – according to the China Bicycle Association / IdTechEx – 35 million eBikes were sold on the Chinese market, and just 2.8 million of them had lithium battery.
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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Key to Ebike success is that it rides like a bike first and foremost. You ride it like it was meant to be ridden, impressive. I started riding an ebike (Levo) about 6 months ago (although nowhere near your skill level) and have never ridden so much during the week, enjoyed every ride so much and looked so forward to rides as I currently do. Great Vids mate, keep it up!
Besides the fact that Ghost is indeed a very good bike, there is one huge reason that we decided to add it to this list and that is customer support. Guys at Ride1Up are awesome and really passionate about their brand and what they are doing, so you can be sure that they will be there for you to provide all the assistance you need with your Ride1Up bike, and answer all the questions you have. And the orders ship almost overnight, which means there is no months of waiting for your bike to arrive, as it’s often the case with some other manufacturers. If you are not looking just for the cheapest option, but you want real value for your money this is THE bike to buy for less than $1000. And we also recommend that you take a look at other bikes from Ride1Up lineup as well.
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Sharonerd- it depends really on what electric kit you are looking at. At my shop, we encourage customers to invest in the more expensive and higher quality products that will and do last longer than lower quality lower priced products because they are simply made with better materials. The comments above that talk about 3 years on kit do tend to be the lower quality kit's life spans and even if you maintain them, the sad truth is that after 3 years, the company's reselling the lower quality product tend to not be around any more to enable you to invest in a new battery. Or the product itself has been sunseted and no spare parts are around. This can be true of the higher priced products too, but more so on the lower end.