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.
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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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Assembly was pretty simple and straightforward, there are some videos online explaining it. Definitely important to know how to switch it on, though -- pressing the "M" button for two seconds with the key in the "on" position. Despite being a heavy bike, it's very quick and nimble. I ride about 15 miles per day and was able to get two trips out of it before charging, riding fast. My only complaints are the squeaky brakes, and the front fender. Said fender is a bit too close to the tire on the front wheel and doesn't mount very securely, so it kept making very loud noises as it would catch the tire whenever I went over a bump or had to brake hard. I just took it off for the time being.
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Recovery from injury will be faster – Injury and biking go hand in hand. When you are hurt, you cannot ride a regular MTB although biking can actually help your body to gain the fitness. An e-bike can be your best companion to your fitness-regain journey. As you can choose the assistance level, it will be easy to keep up with your trail mates without pushing yourself too hard.
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Testers found the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay to perform relatively well on the climbs. The steep seat tube made for a comfortable climbing position and the powerful pedal assist drive unit felt dialed. Its traction could be improved with beefier tires, and the weight of the bike feels a little higher than the competition resulting in some awkward handling at lower speeds. The Giant Trance E+ is also a competent climber, with ground-hugging Maestro suspension, comfortable geometry, and plenty of power on tap when you need it. Our least favorite bike on the climbs was the Ghost Hybride SL AMR. The Ghost has solid geometry numbers, but the pedal assistance felt less powerful and was definitely less consistent than the competition.
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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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The downhill performance is our most highly weighted rating metric because we feel that the most important element of an e-bike is how well it performs out on the trail, especially when bombing down the hill. Each tester rode every bike numerous times and formulated their own opinions of each model, considering how factors like the component spec, geometry, and frame design play a role in its downhill performance. All of the e-bikes we tested were fun to ride, way more fun than any of our non-e-bike riding test team ever expected, but they all had a different demeanor and trail manners. To test this, we rode the bikes downhill, a lot, and took them down a variety of terrain, from fast and flowing open trails to tight low-speed technical, and everything in between.
Electric bicycles offer the same great benefits as traditional bicycles and remove many of the roadblocks and challenges that people face with traditional pedal-powered bikes. With help of an electric motor you can get where you need to be faster, climb hills effortlessly and significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Also e-bikes don’t require registration, license plates, or insurance. So how come the electric bikes are have not taken over the world by now? The real problem—even now that e-bikes have been available for years—is cost.