Usually, the cheaper the bike the cheaper the parts. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be riding around on a rattling tin can. It just means that the bike’s designers took into consideration where they could include lower-level parts without sacrificing safety while putting the money where it counts most—hydraulic disc brakes, decent tires, a reliable e-system. And although the electrical components on some of these bikes might not be plastered with a familiar name, like Bosch or Shimano, that doesn’t mean they’re not capable. Aventon, for example, uses a custom e-system (rather than a complete one) that was pieced together specifically for the Pace 500 because the designers didn’t want to limit the bike’s design specifications.
Ghost’s Hybride SL AMR X S 7.7+ LC boasts almost as many unique characteristics as its name suggests, offering riders a middle- to high-end platform that’s also the recipient of a Design & Innovation Award for 2019. For those who spend their lives on the rugged trails, the SLAMR is outfitted with a gratuitous 140mm rear suspension, a 160mm RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Dual-Piston Air fork, a modest mixture of dependable SRAM and Shimano peripherals. Like most of the bikes on this list, you’ll find an industry-standard Shimano Steps 8000 motor as the centerpiece, providing lightweight, but capable assistance that helps to shed new light on your favorite trails. When it comes to wheels, you’ll find a set of DT Swiss’ attractive H-series adorning the front and rear, offering strength and resilience to riders who want the best of both worlds, without adding unwarranted weight.
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.
E-enduro bikes aren’t as different to regular bikes as one might imagine. All of the fundamentals are the same and by nailing the geometry and sizing Vitus has produced an amazing e-bike with the E-Sommet VR.Sure there are a couple of little things we’d probably change, like the STEPS Di2 mode shifter and rear tyre, but that’s about it. And given how much cheaper the Vitus is compared to the competition, you can easily afford to make these changes and even buy a spare battery. The E-Sommet VR is no golf buggy, but Vitus has it’s certainly hit a hole in one with this bike.
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.