Pros versatile, fits water bottle, least e-bike looking, good battery life, low center of gravity Good controls, huge distance range, confidence inspiring at speed, good component spec Very nice build, stealthy looks, hard-charging downhill performance Reasonably priced, good distance range, well rounded performance, solid component spec Smooth and consistent power output, modern geometry,
All Cannondale E-bikes have one thing in common — pure, visceral cycling performance. Our goal is to create bikes that are so rider-focused, so seamlessly integrated and so much damn fun to ride, that you forget you've got power assist, forget you're on an electric bike, forget everything except how good it feels to be on that bike, in that moment. If that sounds like your cup of tea, power up. Let's Ride.
Bottom Line The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp returns to our e-bike test with a well rounded performance that earns it our Editor's Choice Award, again. The Bulls E-Stream Evo AM 4 is a brawler on the descents with an impressive distance range thanks to its large battery storage capacity. The YT Decoy is an aggressive e-bike with an enduro attitude. The Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro is well rounded and reasonably priced earning it our Best Buy Award. The Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 is close to greatness but is held back by its controls and components.
Do the e-bikes don’t have any downside? Well, they do but it’s nothing of a deal-breaker. Well, the only real issue could be forgetting to plug in and charge the bike. The bulkiness could be another issue but the extra weight actually helps when going downhill. The maintenance is not much of a hassle too, as it does not require any extra care than a regular MTB.
Nakto City Electric Bike is designed for urban commuting, it is fast, comfortable and convenient. This is a perfect utility bike; you can use it to run errands, go to the grocery store, go to work, or just a leisure ride. It is equipped with all the features you would want for riding around town, such as LED headlight, a rear cargo rack, a cargo basket and a kickstand.
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.
A carbon frame shaves off several hundred grams of weight, of course. However, this is largely irrelevant when it comes to eMTBing. The two major advantages of carbon on eMTBs are, on the one hand, greater freedom in optimising the frame design and, on the other hand, increased stiffness. Thanks to carbon, smooth transitions can be achieved, better facilitating the integration of motor and battery. Unfortunately, the magical black material also has a few potential disadvantages. Carbon has poorer thermal conductivity, which means that heat is dissipated less efficiently with a fully integrated motor, and stiffer is not necessarily always better. Frames and wheels require a certain amount of flex to be comfortable and to generate enough traction through curves. Buying a carbon eMTB can currently only be justified by aesthetics rather than functionality.
Seven batteries keep you powered without adding much bulk to the bike. These state-of-the-art lithium batteries are built to last up to 10 years. A single charge provides a range of 20 to 25 miles. It takes just 4 hours to reach full charge. The battery pack mounts to the frame and sits directly beneath the seat making it less noticeable. 300W motor with variable speed throttle provides powerful propulsion to achieve a speed of up to 20 mph.
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.
Had my first crash on this bike. Right at the 500 mile mark mid-November. Sand had blown all over the bike path and I took it too fast. The bike did ok, but when I picked it back up the motor wouldn't work. I pedaled the rest of my commute and got a ride home. I suspected (and was correct) that the left brake lever was bent and the motor was not able to engage because it thought I was braking. I was nervous muscling it back, but it wasn't bent too bad. So that's what I did. And I also took the time to replace both wheels, inner-tubes, and give the bike a cleaning. The front wheel was still ok on tread but the back wheel tread was completely gone. Changing the front wheel was easy. The back wheel was more challenging because the motor cables and disc brakes. Ended up leaving the wheel on the bike and just moving it slightly to get the tube and wheel in place. Ended up just being more annoying than difficult. The chain cleaned up nice with some Simple Green. I haven't ridden on the commute nearly as much with me feeling a little more cautious and it getting dark so early (I don't need to wipe out in the bike lane into traffic...) All is well though. Have had zero issues with the motor since bending the brake back to its (or close to its) rightful position.
Specialized has e-bikes figured out. Its e-bikes are better looking and better sorted than almost anything else. This Turbo Levo has a clean interface: just a mode switch and a few LEDs for status. To dig deeper, you use Specialized’s Misson Control app, which lets the user customize the motor’s tune, and has a clever Smart Control mode. This mode lets the rider set and time or distance, and the amount of reserve they want to be left over. The app then automatically adjusts the motor’s output to meet those settings, reducing battery anxiety. The custom motor is extremely smooth and quiet, with awesome torque. We found the highest mode too powerful for finesse riding, but great for flying up smooth climbs and cutting time off transfers. The e-bike tuned RockShox fork is somewhat harsh, but the rest of the parts are excellent and suit the bike’s capabilities—something we can’t say that about every e-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.
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.
Nearly anyone can ride them any time, anywhere: Most states allow an electric bike of 750w’s or below to be ridden without a license, whereas most areas won’t allow riders below 18 and/or without a motorcycle license to ride dirt bikes on trails. The fewer riders in your group the more work it is for you, so the ability for any hunter of nearly any age and license to use an electric-bike comes in handy.
The motor is incased in the frame of the bike which gives you better ground clearance. A long lasting eBike, this model comes standard with a Panasonic 48V 14.5AH battery that can be quickly recharged while not in use. This gives you a total range of 20 miles without the need for pedaling. A thumb throttle allows you to easily control the bike while you are ascending difficult terrain.
Testers found the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay to perform relatively well on the climbs. The steep seat tube made for a comfortable climbing position and the powerful pedal-assist drive unit felt dialed. Its traction could be improved with beefier tires, and the weight of the bike feels centered a little higher than the competition resulting in some awkward handling at lower speeds. The Giant Trance E+ is also a competent climber, with ground-hugging Maestro suspension, comfortable geometry, and plenty of power on tap when you need it. The YT Decoy CF Pro has plenty of power, but it seems clear that this bike was designed for the descents. The Decoy still climbs relatively well, but testers found the low bottom bracket height made it more prone to pedal strikes than other competitors. Our least favorite bike on the climbs was the Ghost Hybride SL AMR. The Ghost has solid geometry numbers, but the pedal assistance felt less powerful and was definitely less consistent than the competition.
So why did we pick the Mule as our favorite electric hunting bike? As we mentioned earlier in the article, the BackCountry Mule comes in two different power options, the 750-watt and the 1000-watt. Each of these options comes standard with a Bafang mid-drive electric motor with torque sensor. The bike has a maximum range of 40 miles making it one of the best electric bikes for hunting ever produced.
I bought an electric bike mainly for hunting purposes earlier this year. Due to the motor size of 750 watts, it is not considered a motorized vehicle like a motorcycle where I live in the Rocky Mountains. No idea what the regs are in other states. It is considered a bicycle and can therefore be used just about anywhere on public land. Great way to go when you are covering tens of thousands of acres. Going from a week to a day to cover one of the ranches I hunt.
They’re much more undetectable than dirt bikes and ATV’s: Animals work off of their senses, and as a hunter, you already know that loud noises will scare off the game, and lots of movement will make game and fish that much harder to catch. Not only that, but the smell of gas and even your sweat can send prey running. An electric motor doesn’t rev as loud or make anywhere near the amount of vibration as gas engines do. You and your bike won’t produce a bunch of unwanted odor when you ride, so you’re looking at a better chance of getting your kill faster and more efficiently with an e-bike.
The Ghost SL AMR scored relatively well in this metric, with a small digital display mounted by the stem. The YT Decoy uses the same drive unit and controls as the Ghost and scored equally well for having easy to reach controls and a digital display mounted by the stem on the handlebar. The Trek Powerfly's all-in-one Bosch Purion shifter and display unit was easy to read and had a bright screen, but was in a less visible location on the left side of the handlebar. The Bulls E-Stream has a similar system to the Trek, but with better button ergonomics and more information available on the display on separate screens.
There are two working modes to choose from. You can either leave it to run completely on electric power or select a pedal assistance mode. The 21-speed transmission system is excellent for experimenting with various speed levels on different trails. However, don’t select the e-power mode or a high-speed level when bombing down descents. The high-speed won’t let the bike to stay stable.
…but currently offer only very few advantages, such as a cleaner design and the option to mount a bottle cage in a front triangle. If you want to take a spare battery in your backpack, you will have to struggle with the larger dimensions of the integrated batteries, or you won’t have the possibility to take one with you at all. Depending on the integration, handling the integrated rechargeable battery (e.g. the on-button for Shimano-Intube) can be awkward. Also, the longer battery results in a higher centre of gravity. The fact is that there are good reasons for continuing to use a standard external battery.
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.