It used to be you’d have to shell out a pretty penny to grab a piece of the e-bike fun. And while high-priced models still and always will exist—you can own a Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo mountain bike for a mere 12 grand—there are now some very affordable options that weren’t available a year ago. If you’re in it more for the fun than you are for high performance, you likely won’t notice where that extra money is being saved. For example, every bike on this list uses a hub-drive motor versus a mid-drive type, is designed with less integration (think battery and lights), mixes in some lower-quality parts, and has a top speed of 20 mph (save for the Aventon Pace 500 that boosts up to 28 mph). The trade-off: Every bike on this list—save the $1,699, which we included for its relatively high value—is sub-$1,500. Here’s what you’ll typically get with an e-bike in this price range.
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.
Addmotor MOTAN electric mountain bike is a big bike built for big biking appetites. It goes fast, it lasts for a long time, and it means business. The thick tires can manage rough roads and tracks, making it the ultimate off-road bike. It is fully adjustable for different heights and shapes and sizes and is made with a tough frame to support anything.
The class 3 Aventon Pace 500 urban e-bike has five levels of pedal assist and tops out at 28 mph. But the Pace has something not found on a lot of modern e-bikes. In addition to pedal power, it also has a throttle—in the case of the Pace, a small thumb paddle on the left side of the handlebar next to the control unit that holds at a steady 20 mph, no pedaling required. The bike itself has an aluminum frame, a swept-back handlebar, ergo grips, a sturdy kickstand, hydraulic disc brakes, 8-speed Shimano Altus shifting and gearing, 27.5x2.2-inch Kenda e-bike-rated tires, a saddle the size of Texas, and good ol’ classic city/commuter-bike geometry. It doesn’t come equipped with fenders or a rear rack, but you can add them. Power comes in the form of a 500-watt rear-hub motor, a semi-integrated battery on the down tube (with a range of up to 50 miles), and a backlit display unit mounted on the stem.
Just like all Rambo models, this unit comes standard with a durable aluminum alloy 6061 frame. This bike has an energy efficient 350-watt Bafang rear hub motor that is powered by a LG 36 volt 10.4AH battery. The R35OJR comes in matte black and has a KT-LCD3 digital display that will allow you to keep up with important information such as the battery level.
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.
Below we will take a deeper look at several of their most popular models. The QuietKat has 5 modes of assisted pedal power and full throttle capabilities, giving the rider a choice of power assisted pedaling or full power without having to pedal at all. The digital display lets you easily access vital information such as how much battery life is left, distance, power control and speed. Four and a half inch wide knobby tread tires are ideal for gripping difficult terrain.
Scott’s Genius eRIDE 920 is another bike with Shimano’s excellent Steps E8000 motor. The narrow width of this motor—same as a standard Shimano mountain bike crank—is a nice feature, as is the support and customization offered by Shimano’s e-Tube apps. Boost mode lets you cruise comfortably at up to 20 miles per hour on pavement, while Trail mode doles out torque more smoothly and increases range. But compared to the Bosch in e-mtb mode (comparable to Shimano's Trail mode), Shimano’s faster and harder-hitting torque is less desirable for navigating technical terrain. The 29-inch wheels and 150mm of travel provide the ability to straight-line some really gnarly stuff. This bike is meant for riding big and riding hard. The big travel, long trail, and slack head angle give you a bike that loves to go straight and gobble up rowdy trails. And despite being such a long bike, it still handles technical terrain well.
Yes, there are less expensive ebikes on the market but most come with a few serious caveats. The Espin Sport delivers on the full promise of an electric bike, but in a more affordable fashion. This bike isn’t going to tow you around for a 60-mile round-trip endeavor but those seeking their first ebike will get plenty of return on their investment with this model.
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.
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?