Electric mountain bikes are here, growing in popularity, and despite some access concerns—and perhaps because of them—continue to get better, more enjoyable to ride. Their small motors help you ride faster, farther, and can making challenging climbs less daunting. We tested 10 of the most exciting new models to help you find the right one for you. Read quick reviews of top five options below, or scroll deeper for helpful buying advice and longer reviews of every option.
Having been around the business of bowhunting for more than 40 years, I have seen some products, ideas and concepts come and go. A lot of them. Some of these things become important parts of bowhunting success for many archers, some find a small niche and move along with the growth of the industry, and, of course, some are relegated to the ash-heap of history. The ones that survive seem to be products that fill a need.
Every e-bike here uses a hub motor rather than a mid-drive motor. Hub motors (the original industry standard and the lower-cost of the two) can be located on either the front or, more commonly, the rear wheel. Hub motors typically don’t offer the same natural maneuverability as today’s increasingly more common mid-drive motors because their weight is concentrated in the front or rear of the bike. In contrast, a mid-drive motor’s weight is low and centered over the bottom bracket, resulting in better control and a more balanced ride feel, much like a traditional bike. A hub motor’s top speed typically maxes out at 20 mph.
The Blix Vika+ is a folding e-bike with a utilitarian execution: At nearly 50 pounds, it’s heavy for its size, and the folding mechanism isn’t as slick as other folding bikes we’ve tested. That said, it does fold into a small package and feels sturdy enough for riding between errands. The geared hub motor is adequately powerful and an included throttle makes it easier to get off the line. A rear rack, front and rear lights, and a kickstand come with the bike—it’s everything you need for zippy urban commuting.
I continued to have issues with the rear brakes. The rear disc brake was bending when I braked and I could not figure out how to get it from rubbing on the pads. I eventually took the bike over to REI and paid for a tune-up. Fantastic work by them, the bike has a better top speed by a couple mph now and shifting/braking are much smoother. I was also having issues with the chain jumping off the front derailleur on high torque (high gear from standstill). Looks like I just needed the experts to give it the tune.
Before this test we thought more travel on an e-bike would obviously be better. After all, with the motor flattening out the climbs, why not have the extra suspension firepower to smooth out the descents? Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But in the case of the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert, the extra travel and weight make the bike less effective and less engaging on all but full-on downhill tracks. And if that’s your bread and butter, the Kenevo could well be the perfect topping. Here in the UK though, the Vitus proved more versatile, just as capable and way better value.
Electric bikes are generally heavier than normal bikes. This is due to the battery packs and additional motors which usually makes them about 20 pounds heavier. The weight of the bike can mean better traction in downhill and better stability to the ground, while on the other end, they can make them hard to maneuver with on flat grounds. Therefore, the weight of the bike you get should be based on how and where you intend to use it. The best one to get should be one that is heavy yet have a motor that is powerful enough to support the weight.
In the end, the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp proved to be the tester favorite, offering the most versatile downhill performance that felt the "most like a mountain bike" that the other models couldn't match. The Specialized proved to be the most nimble and agile by far, yet still managed to be confident and stable at speed. We were also thoroughly impressed by the versatility and confidence-inspiring manners of our Best Buy winner, the Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro. The Trance's modern geometry and quality component spec are the primary factors that help it outperform some of the competition. The Bulls E-Stream has a more one dimensional downhill performance, a stable and planted feel that absolutely charges downhill and excels as the speeds increase. The enduro-oriented YT Decoy CF Pro is also very impressive on the descents. The modern geometry, low bottom bracket, generous travel, and quality component spec all combine to make this a hard-charging beast on the descents. The Decoy can't match the versatility or well-rounded nature of the Levo, but it crushes downhill with authority.
As you can see, both of these eBike brands are great for hunting. Each of their models offers something different but they all are made from durable materials. Each bike on this list was designed to travel long distances under rough conditions without making noise. If you are thinking of getting a new eBike for the purpose of hunting, you really can’t go wrong with either of these brands! So check them out for yourself to see which might be right for you. How much do electric mountain bikes cost?