The extra grip a 50lb e-bike normally helps to prevent overshooting corners when on the brakes, and bring pure DH-bike-like fun factor on the steepest trails. This electric Orange, however, rides more like a ‘standard’ enduro bike with a motor, which could be good or bad, depending on your expectations and riding style. It’s built tough and delivers stacks of fun in less time than any regular bike can. Adding a motor hasn’t upset Orange’s superb geometry.
Our testers were a little underwhelmed by a couple of our competitors. The Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 has loads of potential with excellent geometry and trail smoothing rear suspension, but the spec of a wimpy fork and non-aggressive tires detract from its downhill confidence when the going gets steep or rough. The Trek Powerfly 7 FS was our least favorite e-bike to ride downhill, with an even less impressive component specification that held it back and didn't inspire confidence on descents.
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Mountain biking is all about having fun, right? About getting out there, enjoying the great outdoors, exercising your body and freeing your mind. So what if we told you there was a type of bike that lets you ride further, faster, and have even more fun? One that even made you LOL on the climbs? You’d still have to work for your rewards, but by assisting your efforts, it allowed you to wring every little drop of enjoyment out of your rides.
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What use is a ‘lightest’ bike if you don’t get any performance advantage out of it? No long range? No top speed? No rid comfort and other ‘niceties’. Basically nothing and an added price tag to boot so what’s the f*ckin point then? At least with all other transportation vehicles be it cars, motorcycles, regular bikes, electric cars, being lightweight has a point usually it’s speed and/or range. This however is just idiocy.
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Speaking of which, if you're used to non-electric cycles, be aware that e-bikes are heavy and capped at 25kph or 15.5mph. In many cases, that means the bike starts to feel like its actively fighting against you, if you try to push the speed higher than that by pedalling. That's especially true with heavier bikes, for obvious reasons, and can take a while to get used to.
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There are various kinds and classifications of electric bikes on the market, but the most common type is the Class 1, or pedal assist, bikes which have motor units that are activated by pedaling and are limited to lower speeds. In the US, Class 1 electric bikes, the type tested and reviewed here, are limited to a top speed of 20 mph, and their motors are designed with a speed governor to regulate this. These types of e-bikes resemble modern mountain bikes, but they have significant battery packs, and small motor units integrated onto and into the frame design. The e-MTB pedal-assist motor is typically built around the bottom bracket and provides varying levels of pedaling "support" directly into the drivetrain while the cranks are turning. Most drive unit systems offer several support settings that provide pedal assistance between 25% and 100% of the user's pedaling input.