Mountain biking is all about having fun, right? About getting out there, enjoying the great outdoors, exercising your body and freeing your mind. So what if we told you there was a type of bike that lets you ride further, faster, and have even more fun? One that even made you LOL on the climbs? You’d still have to work for your rewards, but by assisting your efforts, it allowed you to wring every little drop of enjoyment out of your rides.
Imagine all the fun you had on your cruiser bike as a kid, and then slap a motor on that bike: That’s what online retailer Bikes Direct has done with the Gravity X-Rod 8-Speed E, and it’s a lovely combination. We’ve been pedaling one of these bikes for nearby errands, and the wide saddle and riser handlebar make for a comfortable, upright riding position. The LED display is easy to read and the 250-watt Bafang rear hub motor is powerful enough to—on the highest e-assist setting—keep you at a steady 20mph in a headwind without much effort from your legs. The 27.5x2.4-inch WTB Riddler Comp tires smooth out bumps in the road, and the Shimano hydraulic discs are a high-value inclusion at this price. And despite the fact that it’s a beach cruiser, the 8-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain makes it capable on hilly terrain, too.
There is no suspension, so the fat bike is not ideal for downhill. Also, you will feel more shocks than usual while doing large drops or crossing big tree roots. The fat tires are helpful for keeping it accurate and quick on sand and snow but don’t run it on ice. The tires simply don’t have enough traction to stay steady on ice. Studded tires may solve the problem but the safer option to steer clear of icy tracks.
On the road, it takes only a few turns of the pedals to activate the Vado’s motor and get it up to speed. In Turbo mode — the bike’s highest level of pedal-assist — the Vado reaches speeds of up to 28 miles per hour, after which the electric drive system automatically shuts off to conserve power (and abide by local law). A built-in LED readout on the handlebars allows riders to monitor battery life, check current speed, and track calories burned while also being able to glance at distance traveled. The Turbo Vado Mission Control app (iOS/Android) also connects to the bike via Bluetooth and allows riders to further tune their ride and adjust the bike’s settings.
The gears don't seem to keep up on this bike. There are 21 gears, same as my other bike, but there is much more resistance at the highest gear on my other bike going 20mph than there is on this bike. The reason that is an issue is that during pedal assist, the bike goes pretty quick and I don't want to be pedaling air, I want some, just a little, resistance. I don't know the mechanics of it or how this would be the case, perhaps because this bike has smaller wheels than my other bike? The bike came pretty well adjusted on the derailleurs. I haven't touched the back but the front I've had to mess with a little. The chain fell off outboard once, so had to adjust. Chain guard did its job well. The chain got stuck pretty good, but once I loosed the chain guard everything was easily moved.
This powerful eBike was designed with the hunter in mind and comes in several different colors including matte black, gloss red and Special Edition Kuiu Verde 2.0 for those looking to blend in with nature. Stopping quickly on the trail won't be an issue with the Mule because it comes standard with a pair of 203MM hydraulic disc brakes. A set of aggressive skid-proof pedals help hunters power past even the toughest off-road challenges.
A durable Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame that fully encases a long-range 500Wh battery for great aesthetics and ride quality on the trail, a Bosch Performance CX motor and an ergonomic Purion controller. Plus, 130mm front and rear travel with a RockShox Revelation RL fork, grippy 27.5+ mid-fat tires, Tubeless Ready Bontrager Line Comp wheels with a 54-tooth Rapid Drive hub, a dropper post, and an 11-speed Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain.
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the U.S., there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you’re pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec,” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28 mph. Both are allowed in most states and cities without requiring a license. Class 2 models have throttles that don’t require the rider to pedal in order to get a boost. They’re allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but are less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because not only do we still love to pedal, we also prefer the greater distances that pedal-assist bikes can cover). What are the best electric mountain bikes?
There's a lot to like about the Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro starting with its reasonable price. Electric mountain bikes are expensive, and the Trance E+ 2 comes in under $5K with a nice component specification. The build is one reason why this bike performs so well on the trail, with a beefy fork, plush suspension, meaty tires, and powerful brakes that can handle the heavy weight of this rig. It's also got a nice modern geometry that helps it perform very well on the descents while still maintaining reasonable climbing abilities. It has a 504Wh battery and proved to be one of the most efficient in using that power in our distance range testing. There's no lack of power on tap when you need it, and it delivers it smoothly with little motor noise. Giant finishes it all off with nice integration of the battery and motor into the frame design for a super clean look.
UPS delivered one day later than the expected delivery date. It was a little frustrating, but one day is just one day, so can't be all too upset. Box arrived in good condition. Inside the box, the bike seemed to be packaged well but there were issues. The left gear shift handle was snapped off. Homdox was notified and they said they would send a new one (handle, gear shift, bike.... not sure, assuming a new gear shift).
With its steep seat tube angle and powerful motor, the Rotwild E+ Ultra masters even the steepest climbs. Its high centre of gravity, however, negatively effects downhill handling. The GIANT FULL E+ 0 is a very solid eMTB where what you see is what you get, although the rather slack seat tube and bulbous-belly isn’t exactly pretty. Not so with the FOCUS SAM²: With its clean silhouette it is a bike for design lovers. But only if you get by with the small integrated battery. As soon as you mount an additional battery, not only the appearance suffers, but also the handling. The BMC Trailfox AMP has minor weaknesses in the componentry, finish and downhill handling – at a price of € 12,000 we expected considerably more. The Thömus Lightrider E1 fares better, it’s no bargain either, but the handling is outstanding. It’s a pity that the bike isn’t available outside of Switzerland. Another exotic specimen is the FANTIC XF1 Integra Enduro 160. The bike from the Italian motorcycle brand can’t deny its roots, tremendously composed and capable on the descents, though it cannot keep up with the competition when going back up – the 180 mm version of the Fantic is significantly better overall.
While they are a lesser known brand, BackCountry eBikes is making a name for themselves with the products they produce. Many would agree that BackCountry eBikes are the best bikes on the market for hunters today. They put a lot of work and effort into designing eBikes that hunters can actually afford without having to sacrifice quality. Hunters will be happy to find that BackCountry eBikes has four different models to choose from and each with their own features.
Mountain biking is all about having fun, right? About getting out there, enjoying the great outdoors, exercising your body and freeing your mind. So what if we told you there was a type of bike that lets you ride further, faster, and have even more fun? One that even made you LOL on the climbs? You’d still have to work for your rewards, but by assisting your efforts, it allowed you to wring every little drop of enjoyment out of your rides. Are electric mountain bikes allowed on trails?