Chris McNamara spends a whole lot of time in the saddle. This rock climber turned mountain cyclist loves huge rides covering obscene distances. He is working on a few gigantic rides including a singletrack route around Lake Tahoe and a ride from South Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Lakes. Paul Tindal is a versatile rider who spent years in the elite ranks in the road, downhill and enduro disciplines. Paul is now the lead mechanic and shop manager at a busy bike shop in South Lake Tahoe. Joshua Hutchens has spent decades in the bike industry. He has been a racer, bike shop owner, mechanic, and a guide. Joshua has a great eye for the subtleties of a bicycle.
eMTBs appeal to a very broad audience, so in practice, the same model is used in very different ways. A final rating according to school grades does not do justice to the individual character of the bikes and doesn’t provide a sufficient system of orientation for new buyers (which is exactly what we aim to do). For this reason, there is a separate article for each bike in the group test; in each article we detail the most important points, informing you comprehensively about the bike’s strengths and weaknesses and the ideal type of riding it is suited for. We also have five-star ratings, which provide condensed snippets of information about the character of the bike for a quick and easy overview.
The Riese & Müller bills its Load Touring HS as “the ultimate minivan of e-bikes” and the claim holds up. With a low center of gravity (aided by the 20-inch front and 26-inch rear wheels), the Load is easy to handle. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes add control, and front and rear suspension provide comfort. The Bosch motor offers an assist up to 275 percent of your effort until you hit 28 mph, when it cuts out. Two 500Wh batteries give you 12 hours or more of range at full power. It’s capable of toting up to 220 pounds of pets, people, and less-animate cargo. R&M also sells a double child seat for kids up to age 6 and a child-seat fastener for your youngest passengers.
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.
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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.