Today’s electric bikes come in a variety of sizes and styles, many of which don’t look all that much different from traditional non-electric bikes. When you consider it alongside the annual costs of fueling, insuring, and maintaining an automobile, an ebike literally pays for itself over time. Here are five of the best electric bikes currently on the market — and one “just for fun” pick.
Getting down even the most impossible trails will be a like riding down a smooth country road because of the bike's Kenda Sport Juggernaut 4.8 inch tires. If you need to stop quickly while riding the Puma, you will be happy to find that you have at your disposable a pair of powerful hydraulic disc breaks. Great for staying hidden while approaching game, this bike comes with a digital camo finish.
So let's take a look at the fat tire electric hunting bikes on the list. And this review has been updated to name a clear winner from the pack. You can't go wrong with any of these three electric hunting bike brands but after the the last 12 months or so a clear winner has stood out so at the bottom of this review we name our favorite. So first off we have.....
UPS delivered one day later than the expected delivery date. It was a little frustrating, but one day is just one day, so can't be all too upset. Box arrived in good condition. Inside the box, the bike seemed to be packaged well but there were issues. The left gear shift handle was snapped off. Homdox was notified and they said they would send a new one (handle, gear shift, bike.... not sure, assuming a new gear shift).
The RideControl Evo display features a button control on the grip and a readout on the stem, giving you control over ride time, distance and cadence. Best of all, it gives you as very accurate percentage readout of how much battery is remaining, so no excuses for running out of juice! The five rides mode are Eco, Basic, Active, Sport and Power and there’s also a walk assist button.
Rambo and Felt offer bikes with electric assist motors. The lithium ion batteries give you speeds of up to 20 mph and will travel 19 miles between charges on motor use alone. You can use the motor as a pedal assist if you like, which will give you even more distance on a battery. Sweating up a steep hill? Just switch on the motor for some assistance. There is some question about using the electric power on properties where no motorized vehicles are allowed, but a representative from Rambo told me the bike has been okayed by several state wildlife agencies.
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.
The easy-to-operate throttle makes traveling at an exact speed a cinch, plus disc brakes on both the front and rear wheels offer the control you need to navigate tricky terrain. The seat is adjustable to accommodate various-sized riders. The lithium battery charger completely recharges an empty battery in 6 hours. QuietKat includes a lifetime warranty against defective workmanship for the frame. All other components have a one-year warranty.
Another important element is the primary user interface or the controls. It should be user-friendly so that the rider can navigate the features easily. A straightforward control panel should not include anything more than a small, digital display with clear readings, ergonomic thumb shifters, and a charging connection. In fact, a thumb shifter is even better than electronic buttons, although some riders may disagree.
Bosch’s flagship mountain bike system uses a mini drive ring with internal gearing to send its power to the drivetrain. There’s some resistance in the system over 25km/h, but when you first press down on the pedals there’s an impressive surge of power, and it offers good support over a wide cadence range. Its size has an impact on the width of the cranks (the Q-factor) as well as the chainstay length of the frame, and it’s not the lightest system on the market at 4kg for the motor. On the other hand, Bosch is the most established player on the market, and its system has proven itself over many years.
There is no suspension, so the fat bike is not ideal for downhill. Also, you will feel more shocks than usual while doing large drops or crossing big tree roots. The fat tires are helpful for keeping it accurate and quick on sand and snow but don’t run it on ice. The tires simply don’t have enough traction to stay steady on ice. Studded tires may solve the problem but the safer option to steer clear of icy tracks.
The Bulls E-Stream EVO AM 4 is a new addition to our electric mountain bike test and it didn't take long for our testers to fall in love with this new contender. This bike comes ready to rumble with a beefy enduro ready build with 150mm of front and rear wheel travel controlled by a stout RockShox Lyrik fork up front. Testers found this bike to come alive at speed with stable and confidence-inspiring trail manners that preferred to go fast, and big 2.8-inch wide Schwalbe tires that provided heaps of traction. Bulls has done a good job designing this beast, with a powerful and smooth Brose drive unit cleanly integrated into the frame along with a large 650Wh battery. The motor lays down very smooth power in all of its output settings and is one of the quietest models we tested. The large battery storage capacity provides the longest distance range of all the models in the test so you can stay out longer and ride farther than on models with smaller batteries. The e-bike controls have relatively good ergonomics and an easy to read display.
The bikes we tested all use a different e-bike motor system, and the controls, the primary user interface, are an important element we rated but didn't weight as heavily as some of the others. Each motor system and its associated controls are slightly different. Our primary interest is in how user-friendly is it to interact with the system, how intuitive and ergonomic are the shifters, how good and easy to read is the display, and how easy is it to charge the battery? Each drive system also has a smartphone app that is intended to allow the user to fine-tune the motor's support settings, create custom settings, monitor battery charge and health, and a whole lot more. We don't feel the apps are necessary for the use of any of these e-MTB's, but those with an affinity for technology or personalizing your ride may be inclined to use them.
Most brands list their bike's power, but avoid putting too much emphasis on the number— there is no standard for measuring this, so the performance can vary wildly. Every motor on our list is rated to a continuous, or nominal, power output of 250 watts. But even this number isn't always accurate. Instead, look for torque, which measures how much rotational force is being applied to move the motor. It's the oomph, grunt, or kick you feel when you step on the pedals. More torque means faster acceleration and increased assistance.
Due to high total weights of over 20 kg, it doesn’t matter whether the scale stops at 21.44 kg or 22.2 kg for a modern eMTB. In our test, the difference between the lightest and the heaviest bike was just under 4 kg. This is not to be ignored… but a little extra weight in the form of functional, reliable componentry is better than an ebike designed and constructed to be as light as possible, at all costs, but which ends up in the workshop more often than on the trail.
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.