The Altitude Powerplay is one of three bikes on this list (Specialized Turbo Levo and Liv Intrigue E+ are the others) to use a custom motor. The Dyname 3.0 motor offers 100Nm of torque and is also compact enough that Rocky can use the same geometry and suspension-pivot placement as an unplugged Altitude, so the Powerplay feels more like an unplugged bike than most e-bikes. With the motor off it rides like a standard, albeit heavy, trail bike. The motor responds more quickly than some of the more popular systems and the increased torque offers increased acceleration, which, depending on the trail situation, can be welcome or a hindrance.
The RideControl Evo display features a button control on the grip and a readout on the stem, giving you control over ride time, distance and cadence. Best of all, it gives you as very accurate percentage readout of how much battery is remaining, so no excuses for running out of juice! The five rides mode are Eco, Basic, Active, Sport and Power and there’s also a walk assist button.
As with anything, there is still room for improvement. There is no handlebar mounted digital display, and the only way to tell your speed is to mount a phone or bike computer to the bars. Specialized has changed the location of their battery charge and output mode display, however, which is now conveniently located on the top tube where you can see it while riding. The new motor is an improvement over the previous, but it still lags a little in engagement compared to the competition and the climbing performance is hampered by the drive unit's slightly more abrupt cutoff. Overall though, the Specialized still proved to be the test team's favorite for its versatility and well-rounded performance. We loved it, and we think you will too.
eMTBs appeal to an extremely broad target group: some use their eMTB for daily commuting, others for after-work or weekend rides on maintained gravel roads, and others plan to do an electrified alpine traverse or even an action-packed visit to the bike park. The good news is that many eMTBs are jacks of all trades, covering a very wide range of uses. Others, unfortunately, may disappoint with poor spec or nervous handling.
The e-bike is driven by a large capacity lithium-ion battery. This makes it suitable for long hours of the ride. It also has two working modes. The assisted bike and e-bike mode; hence when it runs out of battery, you can pedal to complete the journey. It has been built from the best quality of aluminum alloy frames to ensure that it provides years of service. The wheels are also large and provide excellent movement on all surfaces.
“I’d like a Bosch bike!” This is what bicycle dealers hear several times a day from new customers – and it’s the biggest mistake you can make when buying an ebike. Sure, the motor is important. However, you don’t buy a car just because of its engine. If you want to be happy with your eMTB in the long term, you have to consider a bike as an overall concept. This group test will help you to find out which bike is best for which type of rider, terrain, and riding style. The motors of the big names in the industry all work extremely well, but differ in their purpose and functionality.
The least-expensive bike in this roundup and, at 48.6 pounds, our size large Haro Shift Plus i/O 5 is the second-lightest in this group as well. Only the $8,250 Specialized was lighter. The Shift Plus i/O 5 was nimble enough to traverse the most technical trails we could find, and it was much easier to manage on rocky climbs than heavier, longer-travel e-MTBs. The Shimano Steps motor has loads of torque. However, in Trail mode, the bike still lurches forward as soon as you get on the pedals, so you've got to point it where you're willing to go before clipping in. Haro has done well to keep the price down, but we'd pay a slight premium if the bike were to come with a dropper post, which makes it a little less scary to sling a nearly 50-pound bike down a mountain.
Foldable bikes are becoming ever more popular. Being foldable means that the bike is storable. This means that it does not take up unnecessary space in a house or a shed etc. It also means that it could be hung up on a wall, should this be a requirement. They certainly have advantages over bikes that cannot fold, and their overall integrity of strength and purpose is not compromised.
In order to make the final judgement of every bike as objective as possible, the test team includes ex-racers and engineers as well as amateur riders and eMTB newbies. Even if we explored the bikes’ performance on the trail to the limit, we attach as much importance to their everyday usability. A potent and balanced bike which shines on demanding singletrack and is fun to ride should ride just as well on more moderate trails. And even if you’re not taking yourself and your bike to the limit every time you ride, it’s good to know that the bike is prepared for any situation you might feel like throwing at it.
While we liked the value, component specification, and versatile all-around performance of the Trance E+ 2, it wasn't all gold stars. E-bikes are heavy, that is a given, but the Trance is a little heavier than most at 52 lbs 3 oz. This weight is one of the reasons this bike feels somewhat sluggish at times, especially in low-speed sections of trail. It also has mediocre e-bike controls. Sure, they are functional, but the all-in-one control's display in the form of small LED lights is difficult to see by the left grip and near impossible to read when riding in bright light conditions. Beyond that, we feel the Trance E+ 2 is a quality e-bike offered at a reasonable price.
With mountain bikes already sporting hefty price tags, the cost of adding an electric pedal-assist motor might be enough to send the value-conscious rider's head spinning. In many cases, you get what you pay for and the most expensive models are the highest performing. This isn't always the case, however, and bikes like our Best Buy Award winner, the Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro cost less and perform nearly as well as the more expensive competition.
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.
Electric mountain bikes have gained a lot of attention for their ability to help riders go higher, further, and faster on the trail. Several impressive new eMTB models have hit the market in recent years, making it easier than ever to head off-road. Our favorite is the Haibike SDURO HardNine, which comes equipped with a 350-watt Bosch Performance CX drive and a 500 watt-hour battery. This gives it a range of up to 70 miles, along with a top speed of 20 mph, which is plenty fast on singletrack.
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque, and others, like Bosch’s Active Line, are nearly silent. But, generally, all four make good options. Look for motor output (in torque), which will give you an idea of total power. Just like car engines, more torque equals more power off the line and more boost to your pedaling. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a more important figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a more accurate reflection of power (higher Wh equals bigger range).
I’ve been wanting to get an electric hunting bike for a while but I’m curious about charging the batteries while out hunting. How long would I need to run a generator for to top off a battery? Would a solar panel even get the job done? Seems like extra batteries might make the most sense. How long would one of these batteries take to charge from empty?
The Moterra Neo is one of the shorter travel e-bikes we've tested. It has a 140mm Rockshox Pike fork and 130mm of rear travel. That was enough travel to handle everything we encountered on the trail and the shorter travel was welcomed on less technical terrain. It uses a Bosch Performance Line CX motor with 500 Wh battery integrated into the downtube. In testing, we've found Bosch's E-MTB mode works very well, offering a quick and hearty kick when you need to accelerate quickly, but gentle assistance in tricky sections. The lower travel stopped the bike from bogging down in technical uphill rock gardens, making them easier to ride through, and the 160mm cranks also help to reduce pedal strikes so you can keep the power on. The agile handling and stable ride make it one of the easier e-bikes to adapt to, and one of the most versatile.
The Super Commuter is aptly named. The 350w Bosch motor sustains speeds up to 28mph, and the burly, 2.4-inch-wide Schwalbe Super Moto-X 650b tires keep you secure on even the roughest city streets. Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes provide ample stopping power. Fenders protect you from road spray so you arrive at your destination fresh. Integrated lights are critical for post-sunset riding, and a side-view mirror hanging on the left side of the handlebar gives a great view of traffic around you. Best of all, you can ride at the speed of urban traffic on the Super Commuter. How fast are electric mountain bikes?