This utilitarian Class 3 (28 mph) road e-bike is smooth and torquey thanks to its Bosch Performance Speed motor. With a drop bar and traditional road-bike position and handling, the CrossRip+ is more suited to long rides on mixed terrain than navigating congested city streets. It comes with a rear rack—for mounting bags, not for attaching cargo directly—full fenders, a kickstand, and integrated front and rear lights (which are powered by the Bosch 500Wh battery). It features a SRAM Force 1x11 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and wide 700x38mm tires.
There are various kinds and classifications of electric bikes on the market, but the most common type is the Class 1, or pedal assist, bikes which have motor units that are activated by pedaling and are limited to lower speeds. In the US, Class 1 electric bikes, the type tested and reviewed here, are limited to a top speed of 20 mph, and their motors are designed with a speed governor to regulate this. These types of e-bikes resemble modern mountain bikes, but they have significant battery packs, and small motor units integrated onto and into the frame design. The e-MTB pedal-assist motor is typically built around the bottom bracket and provides varying levels of pedaling "support" directly into the drivetrain while the cranks are turning. Most drive unit systems offer several support settings that provide pedal assistance between 25% and 100% of the user's pedaling input.
All the models we tested are full suspension all mountain/trail bike models with relatively similar amounts of suspension travel, geometry, and wheel/tire size. The addition of a large battery and a small motor adds significant weight to an e-bike, and they generally weigh in the neighborhood of 50 lbs, approximately 20 pounds heavier than non-e-bikes, and the heavy weight of these bikes makes them more difficult to ride without the support of the pedal-assist motor.
The unit system is likely to have several options to choose various levels of pedal assistance, which is between 25% and 100% of the pedaling input of the rider. The drive system is most likely to have a smartphone app with features to control various settings including setting up the engine’s support settings, modifying the controls according to the rider’s preference, monitoring the health and charge status of the battery, and more functions.
As with most bikes on this list, the Norco Sight takes it's design cues from a non-motorized sibling. The regular Sight is an aggressive, all-mountain ride with a 160mm fork and 150mm of rear travel. The VLT electric version adds a Shimano STEPS E8000 motor and downtube integrated 630 Wh battery. The geometry is not the same as the unplugged Sight—due to the motor and battery—but still goes low and slack with a longer wheelbase for added stability. The 66 degree head tube angle, 440mm reach (size medium), and and 75 degree seat tube angle are what you would expect from such an aggressive bike. The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain gives a wide gear range so you can shift down into a comfortable low gear before needing to move up to the next assistance level. The Code R brakes are powerful enough to handle the speeds that come from the forces of braking a 50 pound bike at high speed and they can be used lightly to maximize your control over the bike through turns. The Sight VLT is for hard-charging, technical riders who are looking for the fastest route down the mountain and want to turn around and ride back up to do it again.
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. What's the best electric mountain bike?
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