Alright guys and gals, it’s 2018 and there are more choices for electric mountain bikes than ever before. Nearly every major brand has significantly expanded their lineups. This means that you’ll get better bikes at better price points. Still not sure if you should upgrade to an electric mountain bike? It’s the 21st century people! As the crew at Bulls says, “it’s not cheating, it’s just more fun.” The point of these bikes is not ruin other people’s fun by going at unsafe speeds, it’s to make your ride easier and your day last longer! Check out our top 10 electric mountain bikes for 2018 to see which bikes will get you out on the trails for thousands of miles.
The ECOTRIC Fat Tire Folding Electric Bike gets up to 20 miles per hour, so you can show off on your favorite trails. Highlights include seven-speed Shimano gearing and all-terrain fat tires. Simply twist the throttles to take advantage of the variable speed control. This electric bike features front and rear disc brakes for increased stopping power. You can choose between three available colors.
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As with all these bikes, the assisted speed is capped at 15mph, but unlike some of them, the Gtech eBike City or its identical (spec-wise) sibling the eBike Sport (this just has a standard frame rather than a step-through one) is light and agile enough for you to be able pedal harder without feeling like the weight is fighting you back down to 15mph. You can even, at a push, use it without the motor on flatter roads.
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In our view, e-bikes are approaching a crossroads in concept and design. Heading off in one direction are longer travel, enduro-style e-bikes, which are largely designed for cruising up and then blasting back down. Plotting a slightly different course is the idea of a lightweight model that rides much more like a normal mountain bike, but requires more work from the rider. Of the two approaches, both have their benefits, but it’s the latter that gets us the most excited. Once the overall weight falls into the 16-17kg range (the lightest bikes are currently19-20kg) it’s going to be really hard to tell the difference between an e-bike and a regular trail bike on the descents and the flat, but you get the benefit of a gentle push up the climbs.
Since the pedal assist doesn’t engage while coasting, climbing is where this bike really shines. We tested the bike on southern California’s fire roads, undulating traverses, and on some very steep, rocky, loose, and technical trails—the kind of stuff even the most skilled and fit riders would normally find themselves hiking up—and on the Turbo Levo we were able to ride all of it, and have a blast doing so.
But if you’re coming back from injury, looking to ride more miles in a shorter period of time, or just ride further without getting exhausted, then the Turbo Levo is just amazing. This bike is the great equalizer. Some may see that as a negative, lowering the sport’s barrier to entry, but we think more people on bikes can only be a good thing. It will make returning to mountain biking after the birth of a child, an injury, or a stressful period at work much easier. Life happens, the electric assist bikes like this Turbo Levo will help more people ride more often.
The wheels are outfitted with sturdy stainless steel spokes that offer equal parts strength and durability. You can expect to ride up to 27 miles in favorable conditions, including no wind and flat terrain, before needing a recharge. Comes with seven-speed Shimano gears along with front and rear mud guards, a water bottle holder, and a bell and reflectors.
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Before this test we thought more travel on an e-bike would obviously be better. After all, with the motor flattening out the climbs, why not have the extra suspension firepower to smooth out the descents? Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But in the case of the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert, the extra travel and weight make the bike less effective and less engaging on all but full-on downhill tracks. And if that’s your bread and butter, the Kenevo could well be the perfect topping. Here in the UK though, the Vitus proved more versatile, just as capable and way better value.
Last year, the Trek Powerfly 9 LT was one of the only ebikes with geometry and handling that came close to a modern enduro bike. For 2018, Trek has built on that winning formula with new frame. It’s lowered the battery in the downtube, while adding a stiffer Fox 36 fork, more powerful SRAM RE brakes and a stronger Bontrager wheelset. All welcome improvements to a really capable bike. The price has also crept up to reflect the changes. The biggest transformation however, is that Rocky Mountain has raised the ebike bar to a new high with the Altitude Powerplay.
Firstly there's a magnetically-fired locking pin in the rear wheel, triggered by kicking a button on the hub. This is fairly secure in itself and almost impossible to remove without destroying the bike. In London, we'd pair it with a more traditional bike lock so there's a more obvious visual deterrent, though a LED matrix screen on the frame does issue a warning to would-be tea-leafs.
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The SwagCycle EB-5 Pro comes in at just under $500, making it an affordable choice for an e-bike. This bike comes pre-assembled, which means you can get on your way faster. It’s height adjustable and generally fits most adults as well as teens. Both the seat and handlebars can be adjusted to find the optimal riding position. Air-filled rubber tires help cushion the ride while providing. The range is up to 15.5 miles per charge, alternating between pedaling and power assist.
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With three gears, variable assistance – you can change when and to what extent it kicks in via Gocycle's handy app, which also lets your phone serve as a basic bike computer – and small-ish but chunky, sporty wheels, the GX is just a blast to ride. Gocycle's power delivery algorithms and torque sensors have been tweaked by former F1 engineers, so the ride is one of the smoothest around. It's nippy, manouevrable and fun, and it also feels more like a 'proper bike' than the Brompton.
Yukon Trails Outback Electric Mountain Bike is an affordable urban bike with a 24 volt motor of 250 watts. The lead-acid battery of 10 AH offers 28 miles in a charge. This mountain bike is manufactured in China. The bike has the solid tires of 1.75 Watt and 24 inches. It reaches up to the speed of 15 MPH due to the rim of 24 inches. You can smoothly ride the bike while enjoying the fresh air. The seat is comfortable to sit for a long time.
I rubbed my eyes in astonishment as an elderly man shot up a steep path at high speed in the forests of Kusnachtertobels, just east of Lake Zurichsee. A faint high-frequency hum revealed that he was accelerating with more than just his own muscles. Once he came to a stop, he smiled mischievously at the faces of stunned bystanders. The man on this carbon-fiber E-bike is Jean-Pierre Schiltknecht, a 74 year-old avid mountain cyclist. The wily senior assured me he has been active with mountain cycling “Since the inception of the sport!”
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Loosing comfortable ride, range and power not to mention higher costs are big questions with few good answers for this ebike fan. Ultralight (non electric) performance bikes abound. Want that then go for it. As already noted forcing motored and battery laden electric bikes to be light necessarily reduces comfort, range, and power. Too much compromise for small “stealth” benefits. “You can’t always get what you want”
Jan, I disagree with your carry as a prime reason/not be looking at e bikes. My primary reason for an e assist is age and medical problems. Carting a heavy bike around, trying to lift it onto a vehicle would not work, and riding from home is not a possibility. I know there are light-weight e bikes out there. Price, within reason, is not a big concern. Need a 2018 update. E bikes are common in Europe, will eventually be more mainstream in the US.
Another really cool feature on this bike is the Haibike eConnect system. I’m not sure why, but they only seem to be offering it on the 10.0. It has been available in Europe for awhile, so I imagine we’ll see an upgrade for the other Haibikes sometime this year. eConnect offers riders a way to prevent theft on their bikes, track rides, and alert an emergency contact if it detects a crash.
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Assembly was pretty simple and straightforward, there are some videos online explaining it. Definitely important to know how to switch it on, though -- pressing the "M" button for two seconds with the key in the "on" position. Despite being a heavy bike, it's very quick and nimble. I ride about 15 miles per day and was able to get two trips out of it before charging, riding fast. My only complaints are the squeaky brakes, and the front fender. Said fender is a bit too close to the tire on the front wheel and doesn't mount very securely, so it kept making very loud noises as it would catch the tire whenever I went over a bump or had to brake hard. I just took it off for the time being.
It is important to note that the less power you use while riding your e-bike, the longer the battery will last, makes sense right? All of the pedal-assist drive units we tested also have smartphone apps that can be used to customize your support settings and such changes may allow for more or less range on your electric mountain bike. Specialized's Mission Control app has a feature that lets you set a predetermined route, and the app then regulates the motor's support to ensure power lasts to finish your ride.
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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.
240-WH of LiPo. This bike was home-built by Jean-Pierre Schiltknecht with the purpose of building the lightest mountain bike ever, and setting a Guinness Book of World Record. No expense was spared, this very special bike cost over $15,000 to make. It is a mid-drive running through the gears using a tiny RC motor, and despite its lightweight and seemingly delicate construction, this ebike is a mountain climber. Read our article on this ebike
As a serious,but aging cyclist, have been considering the purchase of an electric assist bike for some years. My primary concern was that the bike needed to provide enough power to assist me to tackle some very steep hills and my weight is near 220 lbs. Having no experience with electric assist, I anticipated the 500 watt motor rating of this ... full review
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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 Specialized was nipping at its 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.
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Sharonerd- it depends really on what electric kit you are looking at. At my shop, we encourage customers to invest in the more expensive and higher quality products that will and do last longer than lower quality lower priced products because they are simply made with better materials. The comments above that talk about 3 years on kit do tend to be the lower quality kit's life spans and even if you maintain them, the sad truth is that after 3 years, the company's reselling the lower quality product tend to not be around any more to enable you to invest in a new battery. Or the product itself has been sunseted and no spare parts are around. This can be true of the higher priced products too, but more so on the lower end.