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.
The ECOTRIC Fat Tire electric bike ticks all the boxes for potential and pro mountain bikers alike. It is designed for and therefore equipped to deal with any number of different terrains including the beach and dirt roads also. Consequently, you can take the bike with you anywhere with ease and the comfort of knowing it won’t let you down as it goes, not just on your mountain biking adventures!
Here are two more advantages I see: One is the reduction in scent impact when travelling in my hunting area. My boots are not touching the ground, and I will be moving faster, leaving less signs of my intrusion that might alarm deer. Secondly, I ride a bike quite a bit on trails through wooded areas near my home, and I see that deer react much differently to a person on a bike than they do to a person on foot. They don’t see a person sitting on a pair of wheels as nearly the threat that they perceive a person walking. I’m not sure how much that will be an advantage, but spooking deer while scouting and travelling to and from a hunting location could be reduced.
Mountain bikes have occupied a small niche in bowhunting for many years, but they have never gone mainstream. These bikes are not made for hunting and therefore must be modified, and their use is limited to certain terrains. That said, the growth in popularity of fat tire bikes has been quite remarkable, and I suppose it was only a matter of time before they made a serious move at the hunting market.
This is a question the designers and engineers of the FOCUS and BULLS bikes of this group test asked themselves. Instead of speccing them with the standard 500 Wh batteries, both have developed a sophisticated alternative. The idea: instead of riding around with unnecessarily large batteries and unnecessary weight on short tours, they integrated a smaller 375 Wh or 378 Wh battery into the bike. If you don’t have enough power for long loops, you can double the range of both bikes with an additional battery for up to a full 750 Wh. While the second battery is mounted in the front triangle of the FOCUS, it disappears sideways in the downtube of the BULLS. In practice, you’ll need the second battery relatively often with both bikes, and in either case, you should consider the additional € 499 investment in a second battery pack when you buy the bike.
The easy-to-operate throttle makes traveling at an exact speed a cinch, plus disc brakes on both the front and rear wheels offer the control you need to navigate tricky terrain. The seat is adjustable to accommodate various-sized riders. The lithium battery charger completely recharges an empty battery in 6 hours. QuietKat includes a lifetime warranty against defective workmanship for the frame. All other components have a one-year warranty.
The bike is powered by a Bafang 750-watt hub drive motor that is rather impressive for its size. A large digital display will give you all the vital readouts that you need while blazing down the trail. A 300-pound carrying capacity will let you bring home big game without slowing you down. This eBike comes in two different colors that includes charcoal or camo. This model has a rigid front fork.
Other than your battery indicator all other info is shown on your display. In terms of position of display it looks ok. You can scroll around using +/- buttons on left side of your handlebar. It isn’t super ergonomic but still better than Haibike in terms of ease of use. The display can be removed so you won’t need to worry about it when you park your e-bike outside.
To help the rider find the perfect fit, the stem is adjustable. The bike also boasts dynamo powered lights alongside hydraulic disc brakes. The bike will suit riders from 4 ft 10 to 6 ft 5, and also integrates with a child seat. The total weight is 22.5kg, making it admittedly a fairly hefty folder – but that’s fairly uniform across electric versions.
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.
"The eMTB mode is a fantastic alternative to the manually adjusted power settings found on most other e-bikes. The beauty is that eMTB mode works so well, you can forget about it entirely and focus on the ride instead. Having e-bike specific forks and four piston brakes for example is something that seems obvious, but surprisingly few companies actually make happen."
The extra grip a 50lb e-bike normally helps to prevent overshooting corners when on the brakes, and bring pure DH-bike-like fun factor on the steepest trails. This electric Orange, however, rides more like a ‘standard’ enduro bike with a motor, which could be good or bad, depending on your expectations and riding style. It’s built tough and delivers stacks of fun in less time than any regular bike can. Adding a motor hasn’t upset Orange’s superb geometry.
Fast and fun on the trail, the SDURO HardNine handles rough terrain with ease, while its large tires roll over most obstacles without missing a beat. The pedal assist makes for quick, energy-saving climbing and the bike descends surprisingly well, too. Its front suspension provides a nice level of cushion on bumpy trails and while we missed having a full-suspension on this model, that would have added additional weight and costs.
As long as you can do without some of the perks that pricier models offer—like a detailed display unit, integrated lights, and a torque-sensor motor—the August Live! LS is a solid, stable, comfortable, and really freakin’ cute (have you see those polka-dot fenders?) e-bike. Its 8-speed twist shifter, chopper-style handlebar, Touch Down Geometry (for a more laid-back ride), and three levels of assist keep this bike within the realm of “cruiser.” But with a 250-watt Bafang rear-hub motor, a top pedal-assisted speed of 20 mph, and reliable disc brakes, the August is no joke. It’ll get you to the top of relatively steep climbs without forcing you out of the saddle, and it feels super stable on the way back down. It has a battery range of 20 miles, but that’s enough to take it where it’s happiest: tootling along at the beach, around town, and through the park.
So why did we pick the Mule as our favorite electric hunting bike? As we mentioned earlier in the article, the BackCountry Mule comes in two different power options, the 750-watt and the 1000-watt. Each of these options comes standard with a Bafang mid-drive electric motor with torque sensor. The bike has a maximum range of 40 miles making it one of the best electric bikes for hunting ever produced.
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 drive units 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 pretty 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.
If you’re looking for even more performance and an even more refined bike, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Specialized. Their bike embodies the company slogan “Innovate or die” in a perfect way and is full of smart solutions. Many of them, such as the specially developed app for tuning the motor, the integration of the battery, and the small remote lever for selecting the support level, are obvious. Some, on the other hand, only become clear when you take a closer look – such as the Autosag valve on the shock for a simplified setup process, or the omission of a spoke magnet. The Levo also won us over with its outstanding riding characteristics, obviously. It rides comfortably, climbs quickly and efficiently, and has exactly the right mix of agility and stability. It’s the ultimate machine that promises to bring a huge smile to every rider’s face after just a few metres on board – no matter whether beginner or a pro. The Specialized Turbo Levo S-Works Carbon is currently the eMTB offering the best overall package, and thus the deserved Best in Test! The best eMTB of the 2018 season!
The Cero One e-cargo bike is built to carry plenty of stuff through a crowd: Its 20-inch front wheel lowers the front rack’s load and produces nimble handling. The Shimano STEPS motor tops out at 20 mph, and the battery provides 93 miles of e-assist; an 80 percent charge takes just 2.5 hours (5 hours for a full charge). The rear rack fits a basket or a Yepp child seat, and the front rack works with a basket or a platform for bigger packages. After her Subaru went to automotive heaven, our tester fit a week’s worth of groceries in both baskets.
The CIVI Bikes 500w Predator Electric Mountain bike is what your next fishing trip in the woods needs. This bike’s got 4” wide tires for tons of stability, front suspension to take those bumpier parts of the ride, and disc brakes with plenty of safety and stopping power. The 7 speed Shimano hub pairs well with the pedal-assist system to help make your ride easier and last longer.
Don’t let a lack of storage space lessen your ebike fun! The fantastic CX2 Electric Foldaway Bike Lithium-Ion Battery 36V 8.8 A model from Cyclamatic folds up in half for very easy storage and transportation no matter where you are going. With a more dependable and powerful 250w brushless motor, as well as an upgraded 36v battery, the CX2 has serious ebike credentials but in a form-factor that matches with your life.
While it was agile and quicker handling, the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp didn't run away from the competition in this rating metric due to the somewhat abrupt pedal assist cutoff that occurred the moment you stop pedaling. This 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.
On a trip to Palo Alto we had the chance to ride Specialized’s pedal-assisted Turbo Vado, and the model is still our favorite ebike on the market. With a 350-watt motor and 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, the Turbo Vado is capable of traveling a whopping 80 miles on a single charge, which should be more than enough for any daily commute with plenty of miles left over.