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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It wasn't all gold stars for the Bulls, however, as the larger battery storage of this bike makes it the heaviest in our test. This heavyweight rig is far from nimble or agile, giving it a more one-dimensional performance on the descents, and hampering its climbing abilities in technical sections or tight corners. Its charging port is also recessed into the frame making it one of the least user-friendly, and while we did like their e-bike controls, they couldn't quite match the ergonomics or display of some of the competition. Overall, we had a blast riding the E-Stream EVO AM 4, read on to find out how it compares.
His early hobby was designing and building model aircraft, while paying careful attention to every gram of weight. His own custom design of electrically-powered motor-glider won four electric flight world championships in Europe (1986-1992), and six titles in the United States. In 1991, he designed and built an 800-gram solar-powered model aircraft with a wingspan of almost 2-meters…and it set a world record flight of 10 hours, 43 minutes, and 51 seconds, which was officially recorded in the Guinness Book of World records.
But are e-bikes really that expensive? Well, even though the initial cost of an e-bike can seem high, it pays off in the long run. Purchase cost is a little more than a conventional bike, but mechanical wear and tear is about the same so the price of maintenance is low, and electricity is so cheap as to be largely irrelevant. If you use e-bike to commute instead of a car, the bike will practically pay itself with the savings on fuel. Besides, electric bikes have a high conversion value; they are technology that people want and can’t always afford new, so people are always on the lookout for a second hand electric bike. And if you want to buy a new one, here are our picks of best electric bikes under $1000:
324-WH Panasonic LiPo. The bargain ebike of this bunch. This lightweight electric bike will cost you $1,650, including shipping from Australia. This ebike builder bought 50 of these fixie bikes from China, and does the motor conversions himself. Why is it so light? For one it is a fixie bike which means no gears and limited braking in order to make it simpler and lighter. Visit the Solar Bike Website
While we liked the value, component specification, and versatile all-around performance of the Trance E+ 2, it wasn't all gold stars. E-bikes are heavy, that is a given, but the Trance is a little heavier than most at 52 lbs 3 oz. This weight is one of the reasons this bike feels somewhat sluggish at times, especially in low-speed sections of trail. It also has mediocre e-bike controls. Sure, they are functional, but the all-in-one control's display in the form of small LED lights is difficult to see by the left grip and near impossible to read when riding in bright light conditions. Beyond that, we feel the Trance E+ 2 is a quality e-bike offered at a reasonable price.
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The new and improved version of the very popular Cyclamatic Power Plus series, the CX1, stands out with its elegant design. Glossy silver finish and sleek lines of the frame make this e-bike look much more expensive than it actually costs. But besides its look, the designers of this electric bike have also focused on the convenience. Everything, from ergonomic design to easily removable battery, is created to give the rider an awesome experience. Improvements are made in motor and the battery as well, and the bike is now equipped with the 21-speed gear system.
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Finally, if you’ve been waiting for the electric mountain bike to come of age, we’re happy to report that just happened. The combination of the 27.5+ platform with long-lasting batteries, and the remarkably smooth and elegant motor, all integrated into one sharp-looking design, and augmented by user-friendly software has finally delivered a slick, no-compromises product that you’ll want to own. I know we do, the entire IndefinitelyWild team is fighting over who gets to borrow it next.
The LT or long travel line that Haibike is one of the most interesting developments in electric mountain biking in quite some time. I’ve chosen the FullSeven LT 4.0 because I wanted to show you another quality, low-cost option. The FullSeven line is built a little less aggressively than the AllMtn series, but still functions as a great all-around mountain bike for those riders who want to hit fire roads, and maybe the occasional single-track trail. The coolest thing about the LT line is that it costs exactly the same as the standard FullSeven line that comes with 120mm of travel. You can upgrade to 150mm on any FullSeven bike for no extra cost.
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If you have your eye on an affordable electric bike, you’ll want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck. Unless you plan on doing more manual pedaling than cruising, you’ll want a bike with a sufficient amount of power. Some bikes have lower watt motors, such as 250 to 300, while others offer more of a boost with 500 watts or more. Another factor for many consumers is whether the bike comes with certain features, such as lights, a water bottle cage, and a rear rack.
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The XF800 comes with a high-powered motor (1000W and 48V) that works on three levels – Twisting Throttle to get the electric power at the full force, Pedal Assist, and completely Turn Off the power. The 7-speed Shimano shifter is great for experimenting at various speeds while the dual-suspension, wider tires, and hydraulic disc brakes ensure a bump-free smooth ride.
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Prodeco V5 Phantom X Lite 9 Speed Folding Electric Bicycle is a lightweight and well-balanced bike that is suitable for all adventurers, campers, and sports enthusiasts. It gives an outstanding and smooth performance with a 300-watt motor. It is an eye-catching bike that looks fabulous in black color. Plus, you can carry it with you by simply folding it.
On the 8.0 specifically, Haibike sets you up with the brand new Yamaha PW-X motor. This motor comes standard with a 500 watt hour battery, Bluetooth connectivity, and 80 nm of torque out the gate. The PW-X also boasts the benefit of a dual chainring up front. This means you’ll save some battery if you’re willing to work a little harder and use those gears! Speaking of gears, you’ll get a Shimano Deore XT drivetrain. Pair that with Fox 34 Float Performance front suspension and a Fox Float DPS rear shock (150mm travel) and you’ve got a fully-capable, all-around ride.
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.
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All the electric bikes need to have the best braking system to keep them safe for all users. With this quality E-bike, you are assured of a safe ride thanks to the front and rear disk brakes. This makes it easier to stop the bike even when at a higher speed. Besides this, the bike also lasts for years due to the high-strength carbon steel used in the construction. This makes it a great investment for anyone looking for the best electric bike.
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The 2019 Specialized Turbo Levo Comp returns to our electric mountain bike test and claims our Editor's Choice Award for the second year in a row. The new model has several notable changes over the previous version we tested including a new frame design, 29-inch wheels, 150mm of front and rear wheel travel, a new motor, and an updated battery charge and power output display. All these new changes have only helped to solidify the Turbo Levo Comp's position at the top of the podium. It still has the same well-rounded performance on the trail that makes it "feel the most like a mountain bike." It is more playful and agile than the competition, yet it still manages to charge the fall-line just as hard. Like previous Turbo Levo models, Specialized has very stealthily integrated the battery and motor into the frame giving it a low center of gravity and a very non-e-bike look. The new Specialized 2.1 motor is very quiet, plus it weighs less and has reduced the overall weight of the bike by more than 2 lbs.
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When riding a normal bike through creek crossings and rock gardens, I typically stop pedaling often to avoid pedal strikes and to maneuver the bike. This approach is not compatible with the Turbo Levo’s weight. On it, continual pedaling was necessary, but the big tires and well-damped suspension enabled me to roll over obstacles I’d typically try to avoid, with the motor helping me power over them smoothly. To make this constant pedaling possible without pedal strikes, the bottom bracket is moved higher and Specialized has spec’d 170mm cranks that are a tad shorter than normal.
Even with cheaper or heavier bikes, once you accept that you are really meant to pedal gently and let the motor do the work, non-speed freaks will get into it. E-bikes are great for commuting and for places that aren't pancake flat. They'll pull you away from the lights quickly, iron out hills and stop you getting sweaty, so you can bin the Lycra and ride in jeans, a suit, or a winter coat.
With 170mm travel, aggressive angles and Shimano’s superbly calibrated STEPS motor, the Focus Sam2 is an enduro bike with a built-in shuttle. With the bolt on TEC pack you really can climb to new heights, but without it the smaller capacity internal battery means you need to be ultra economical with your energy use. It’s also frustrating that the internal battery can’t be removed easily for charging. By far the biggest frustration with the Jam2 though is that the sizing isn’t very generous and standover clearance is limited. It’s still a great e-bike, but when you’re spending this much money, you can afford to be fussy.
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The Bulls motor is claimed to have 90Nm of torque, but it was so smooth and quiet that it didn't feel outrageously powerful. The assistance came on smooth and strong thanks to the belt driven system. The Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 uses a drive system that claims to have up to 108Nm of torque. While their system felt quite powerful, it didn't feel stronger than the Bulls, and we noticed that it seemed to modulate its output in a way that the others didn't. The Rocky Mountain makes you work for it a little more than the rest. The Trek, Giant, and the Specialized motor systems felt slightly less powerful, still offering plenty of pedal-assist support mind you, but that also resulted in efficient motors and longer distance ranges than the models with more brute power.
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This lithium-ion battery bike has a range of nearly 30 miles per charge. As an added bonus, it also operates on three distinct models. You can take it off-road without worrying about damaging the frame on rougher surfaces thanks to its durable mountain bike frame. Features include a 17-inch mountain bike frame that fits most riders between 5’2 and 6’2, and a height-adjustable seat.
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The Goplus electric mountain bike is a perfect bike for all kind of outdoors. It has an eye-catching 26” x 4.0” fat tires, which helps you to ride on every surface, even snow or sand easily. The Goplus electric mountain bike has a 36V 10AH lithium battery. After recharging the battery for 4-5 hours, you can comfortably ride a bike for 20 miles at 12.5 km/h speed. This stylish bike provides powerful riding. Also, The Goplus electric bike has three modes to choose from: pure electric mode, assist and throttle – riding without pedaling. If you are looking for a style and power at the same time – this bike is for you.
Ride1Ups Ghost Model is one of the top electric bikes for under $1000, and is a new take on the classic 1932 Roadster Bike. This electric bike is a simple and practical electric city bike that is perfect for carrying out your daily chores and trips around town. Compared to other models from Ride1Up this model was designed as a top quality budget electric bike with the design and quality of the bike on par with more expensive electric bikes. The bike features includes the rack and fenders, integrated LED taillight and headlight and it also has a 500W battery that allows the bike to reach a speed of 26MPH
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.
Moreover, the E-bike has an LCD display panel for easy and quick control of the bike. With the LED headlight, you will find it excellent for cycling even at night hours. It also features the 160 disc brakes system that provides the best all-weather stopping power. It is a great bike that features the 21- speed gear to boost the hill climbing power. The electric bike also has two working modes that include the pedal assistant mode and E-bike mode.
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.
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.
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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The Ghost SL AMR scored relatively well in this metric, with a small digital display mounted by the stem. 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.
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Several different versions of the NAKTO Electric Bicycle are available, including some specific models for women. The bike features a carbon steel frame and a carbon steel front fork. A Shimano transmission system ensures smooth shifting as you go. The removable battery has a range up to 35 miles, depending on the mode. You can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Other features include a twist throttle and pedal assist. Both a horn and LED lamp are included to make your rides a bit safer, even if you’re out at night.
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Using that same meticulousness, he built a mountain bike out of titanium in 1995, and it is the lightest in the world. It weighs only 5.855 kg (12.9 lbs), and it became his second “Guinness Book” entry. His latest entry into the record-books came in 1998: only 9.74 kg (21.4 lbs) for the lightest electric bike, of course using his custom titanium frame. The power was from an electric friction-drive similar to the Solex moped, powering the rear tire, but…that drive system would prove to be unacceptable for an off-road mountain bike.
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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.