A $1,500, fully loaded e-cargo bike seemed too good to be true, so we borrowed the RadWagon from Rad Power Bikes to see if it could stand up to competitors that cost thousands more. In short: it does. A 750-watt Shengyi direct-drive hub motor provides powerful pedal assist at a much quieter hum than the mid-drive motors used on most e-cargo bikes; its only disadvantage is there’s not quite as much torque, but you’ll only notice on steep hills. A throttle lets you ride the bike like a scooter, and we had no problems with the 7-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain or the Tektro mechanical disc brakes. Lights, fenders, and a kickstand are standard. Despite its length, the RadWagon isn’t difficult to maneuver: We thrashed it around an abandoned golf car path and didn’t scrape the rear foot platforms against the ground, a good sign for low-speed handling. It’s a lot easier to charge $5,000 or more for an e-cargo bike when you market it as a car replacement, but the RadWagon proves you can render your car mostly obsolete for the price of an e-bike, not another car.
Electric mountain bikes have gained a lot of attention for their ability to help riders go higher, further, and faster on the trail. Several impressive new eMTB models have hit the market in recent years, making it easier than ever to head off-road. Our favorite is the Haibike SDURO HardNine, which comes equipped with a 350-watt Bosch Performance CX drive and a 500 watt-hour battery. This gives it a range of up to 70 miles, along with a top speed of 20 mph, which is plenty fast on singletrack.
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Over several months, our team of four professional mountain bike testers rode each of the electric mountain bikes in our test selection on a variety of trails and terrain in a range of weather conditions. We had each tester ride each of the bikes numerous times, often riding the different models back to back for the sake of comparison. We didn't go easy on them. Instead, we treated them all as if they were our own, putting them all through the wringer to identify their strengths and weaknesses. We scrutinized every aspect of each e-bike's performance and scored them all on several rating metrics, e-bike controls, downhill performance, uphill performance, power output, and distance range. Each of these metrics is described in greater detail below. It is important to note that during our testing, our impressions of these e-bikes changed dramatically. Our first impressions didn't exactly stick. It was essential for us to test the different models head-to-head and make direct comparisons to flush out the differences.
With so many new electric bicycles on the market, choosing the best while staying on budget can be difficult. Designed for commuting and off-road biking, the ANCHEER Power Plus Electric Mountain Bike is easily one of the most affordable electric bikes out there. In this review, let’s go through its important features and the reasons you might want or might not want to use it.
It is not a off-road motorbike with an electric engine and a throttle. Electric mountain bikes have motors that only work when you’re pedalling. The motor tops-up your pedalling input. It’s called ‘pedal assist’. There are differing levels of assistance (called things like ‘eco’ and ‘turbo’) that you select via a handlebar-mounted control unit. The motor also cuts out once you reach 25km/ph (or faster). There are strict limits on the power of electric mountain bikes; 250w is the maximum nominal power. More powerful than that and the bike requires tax and insurance (like a car/motorbike) and is also not allowed on bridleways at all.
The RadCity is a bike that’s been optimized to help you conquer the urban landscape. A big 48V battery gives you an estimated range of between 25 and 45 miles of e-assist from the 750-watt motor, which packs enough acceleration to get you out of dicey situations in traffic. There’s also a wattmeter to help you manage your power consumption on the LCD display. A welded-on rear rack holds up to 60 pounds of cargo, and puncture-resistant Kenda K-Rad tires keep you rolling over precarious debris. Commuting essentials include lights (the tail light also functions as a brake light), fenders, and a rear-mount kickstand.
Keeping track of speed and battery life will be easy because this bike comes with a Bafang LCD color display. This eBike can stop on a dime by utilizing a set of powerful hydraulic disc brakes. Built to last, this model comes with a strong aluminum alloy frame. Driving the Storm down hard to reach trails and other backwoods locations will be a smooth ride thanks to the Shimano Altus 8-speed gearing system.
Both the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay and the Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro fell short of the bar set by the competition with their all-in-one shifter/display units. The Giant outperforms the Rocky Mountain here, but both attempts at LED displays integrated into the control unit are more challenging to read than digital displays. Our Editor's Choice Award winner, the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp scored the lowest in this rating due to the lack of a handlebar-mounted display and a less user-friendly charging connection.
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.
In our head to head range test, the Rocky Mountain took the win by traveling 20 miles and 4,297 vertical feet. It is worth mentioning that our tester felt that he worked a little harder while range testing the Rocky Mountain than the other bikes we tested. The Giant wasn't far behind at 19.02 miles and 4,000 vertical feet, and the YT Decoy almost tied that with 19.01 miles and 4,039 vertical feet. The Specialized was nipping at their heels with 18.71 miles and 3,949 feet. The Ghost Hybride SL AMR was the least impressive with a range of just 16.75 miles and 3,559 vertical feet. The outlier in this comparison is the Bulls E-Stream with a 650Wh battery. We were not able to test the Bulls directly against these other competitors, but we did notice that you can ride it significantly farther than any of these other contenders. During one of our test rides, we rode the Bulls 24 miles and 4,500 vertical feet, and the battery still wasn't depleted. More battery storage equals longer rides; it's just that simple.
This powerful eBike was designed with the hunter in mind and comes in several different colors including matte black, gloss red and Special Edition Kuiu Verde 2.0 for those looking to blend in with nature. Stopping quickly on the trail won't be an issue with the Mule because it comes standard with a pair of 203MM hydraulic disc brakes. A set of aggressive skid-proof pedals help hunters power past even the toughest off-road challenges.
Urban riding will never be the same, and cars will be in your way when you climb aboard the Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0. The zippy 28mph pedal-assist motor leaves you feeling invincible as you’re ripping along in turbo mode (which adds up to 320 percent of your power output). Although designed with female riders in mind—it comes with a women-specific saddle and grips, and a lower standover—the step-through frame is extremely convenient for anyone who doesn’t want to swing their leg over the back of a saddle while wearing street clothes. Slick, integrated lights, as well as fenders and a rear rack, add to the already-awesome features of this bike to make it the ideal combination of value, performance, and pep.
Both options are great, while the derailleur will give you more options to choose from when climbing hills the rear cog is an internal component with less moving parts so it's a fraction quieter and requires no oiling or regular maintenance, some prefer the rear cog as it's one less component to get snagged in the thick brush but that is almost never an issue. whichever system you choose you will have fun!
Powered by a 250-watt Brose Centerdrive system, the Redux is capable of reaching speeds of up to 28 mph, which comes in handy when dodging traffic. The lithium-ion battery provides enough juice to give the bike a range of up to 80 miles between recharges, making it a great option for daily commuters. Raleigh even outfitted the bike with wide tires which provide stability and traction, even when the road gets wet. Other key features include a 10-speed Shimano crankset and shifters and a built-in LCD screen that displays all the usual information.
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque, and others, like Bosch’s Active Line, are nearly silent. But, generally, all four make good options. Look for motor output (in torque), which will give you an idea of total power. Just like car engines, more torque equals more power off the line and more boost to your pedaling. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a more important figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a more accurate reflection of power (higher Wh equals bigger range).
While my first reaction to the surge in fat tire bikes made for hunting was one of curiosity, that has turned to excitement for trying out this new mode of transportation. Will this be another of those trends that ends up as a bit of hunting history, or will they find a niche that offers long-lasting usefulness? Speaking as a DIY bowhunter, let’s hope it’s the latter.
Our testers were a little underwhelmed by the downhill prowess of 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.