The Ultra Mid Drive Bafang motor is the best motor there is and due to it’s high cost most other brands have not adopted it yet. The ‘Ultra’ has torque sensors built in so it knows how much power to give you based on how much pressure you are applying to the pedals, so it intelligently gives you the right amount of power when you need it most and not a predetermined power regardless of what terrain you’re tackling, so you have more control.
The 250W motor and the 36V battery is built into a frame that also includes 26 inches wheels, anti-slip power-off brake, and Shimano 21-speed shifters. An integrated LCD screen shows power, speed, battery charge, and a few other statistics. It is suitable for adults as it can carry up to 360 lbs weight. However, the bike itself is almost 51 pounds, so keep that in mind.
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.
Due to high total weights of over 20 kg, it doesn’t matter whether the scale stops at 21.44 kg or 22.2 kg for a modern eMTB. In our test, the difference between the lightest and the heaviest bike was just under 4 kg. This is not to be ignored… but a little extra weight in the form of functional, reliable componentry is better than an ebike designed and constructed to be as light as possible, at all costs, but which ends up in the workshop more often than on the trail.
With most ebikes the choice of motor defines aspects of the frame geometry and to a lesser degree the suspension characteristics of the bike. Not with new Rock Mountain Altitude Powerplay. With its bespoke motor Rocky has been able to design an ebike that reflects the ride quality of a highly evolved 150mm trail bike. With instant power pickup, extended battery life and streamline proportions it’s not just the handling of the Rocky that will get you charged up for riding. It’s the best bike in this test by some margin, but we had an issue with the motor momentarily cutting and raising questions over it’s reliability.