On a trip to Palo Alto we had the chance to ride Specialized’s pedal-assisted Turbo Vado, and the model is still our favorite ebike on the market. With a 350-watt motor and 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, the Turbo Vado is capable of traveling a whopping 80 miles on a single charge, which should be more than enough for any daily commute with plenty of miles left over.
On a trip to Palo Alto we had the chance to ride Specialized’s pedal-assisted Turbo Vado, and the model is still our favorite ebike on the market. With a 350-watt motor and 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, the Turbo Vado is capable of traveling a whopping 80 miles on a single charge, which should be more than enough for any daily commute with plenty of miles left over. 

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.
The ECOTRIC Fat Tire electric bike ticks all the boxes for potential and pro mountain bikers alike. It is designed for and therefore equipped to deal with any number of different terrains including the beach and dirt roads also. Consequently, you can take the bike with you anywhere with ease and the comfort of knowing it won’t let you down as it goes, not just on your mountain biking adventures!
If you are looking for a combination of durability and affordability, then look no further than BackCountry eBikes.  BackCountry eBikes ( aka BAKCOU ) is newer to the electric hunting eBike market but they have done so much for the industry in a short amount of time.  Each bike that they produce is made from the highest quality materials and are more affordable than both Rambo Bikes and QuietKat. 

While most bikes have a range of around 20 miles, the Prowler has a battery range of 30 miles and a max carrying capacity of 330 lbs. Add a rack to this bike and you can carry equipment and a healthy catch to and from camp- no sweat. And of course it’s equipped with Tektro hydraulic brakes, suspension fork, and 4” wide tires to keep you riding steadily on even the trickiest trails.
In order to make the final judgement of every bike as objective as possible, the test team includes ex-racers and engineers as well as amateur riders and eMTB newbies. Even if we explored the bikes’ performance on the trail to the limit, we attach as much importance to their everyday usability. A potent and balanced bike which shines on demanding singletrack and is fun to ride should ride just as well on more moderate trails. And even if you’re not taking yourself and your bike to the limit every time you ride, it’s good to know that the bike is prepared for any situation you might feel like throwing at it.

The motor is incased in the frame of the bike which gives you better ground clearance. A long lasting eBike, this model comes standard with a Panasonic 48V 14.5AH battery that can be quickly recharged while not in use. This gives you a total range of 20 miles without the need for pedaling.  A thumb throttle allows you to easily control the bike while you are ascending difficult terrain. 
So I think that we can agree that e-bikes are definitely not cheap. Why not just go for an electric scooter then? Well electric bikes do have a lot of advantages. First, most of the people have been familiar with the concept of riding a bicycle since they were kids. So there is basically no learning curve with electric bikes. And you don’t have to worry about looking stupid, or getting pulled over just so the policeman could see what the heck you are riding. Second, you can ride electric bike just like a regular bike, just turn off the electric motor/assistance. Third, unlike many electric scooters that are designed for flat surfaces, quality electric bicycles are often created with tires that can withstand a higher amount of roughness, for example electric dirt bikes.
"Powerfly really feels at home blasting around even the most extreme trails. Rough terrain is simply swallowed up by the capable suspension. The relatively long chain stays are a huge advantage on steep sections, letting you stay seated without losing any traction. The front wheel hardly ever lifts off the ground and the central position makes it easy to pedal on technical sections and maintain your balance."
The Altitude Powerplay is one of three bikes on this list (Specialized Turbo Levo and Liv Intrigue E+ are the others) to use a custom motor. The Dyname 3.0 motor offers 100Nm of torque and is also compact enough that Rocky can use the same geometry and suspension-pivot placement as an unplugged Altitude, so the Powerplay feels more like an unplugged bike than most e-bikes. With the motor off it rides like a standard, albeit heavy, trail bike. The motor responds more quickly than some of the more popular systems and the increased torque offers increased acceleration, which, depending on the trail situation, can be welcome or a hindrance.
One of the primary purposes of an e-bike is transferring power from the motor to the drivetrain to "support" your regular pedal stroke. All of the different drive units do this in relatively the same way, although subtle differences in their power output make them all feel slightly different. It is important to note that all of these systems work pretty well; the differences between them are relatively subtle but noticeable. We tested this metric primarily based on feel, as opposed to any sort of scientific measurement, and our testers could all notice the differences between the various models. All of the e-bikes we tested have several support modes offering varying levels of pedal assist support.
Had my first crash on this bike. Right at the 500 mile mark mid-November. Sand had blown all over the bike path and I took it too fast. The bike did ok, but when I picked it back up the motor wouldn't work. I pedaled the rest of my commute and got a ride home. I suspected (and was correct) that the left brake lever was bent and the motor was not able to engage because it thought I was braking. I was nervous muscling it back, but it wasn't bent too bad. So that's what I did. And I also took the time to replace both wheels, inner-tubes, and give the bike a cleaning. The front wheel was still ok on tread but the back wheel tread was completely gone. Changing the front wheel was easy. The back wheel was more challenging because the motor cables and disc brakes. Ended up leaving the wheel on the bike and just moving it slightly to get the tube and wheel in place. Ended up just being more annoying than difficult. The chain cleaned up nice with some Simple Green. I haven't ridden on the commute nearly as much with me feeling a little more cautious and it getting dark so early (I don't need to wipe out in the bike lane into traffic...) All is well though. Have had zero issues with the motor since bending the brake back to its (or close to its) rightful position.
Fast and fun on the trail, the SDURO HardNine handles rough terrain with ease, while its large tires roll over most obstacles without missing a beat. The pedal assist makes for quick, energy-saving climbing and the bike descends surprisingly well, too. Its front suspension provides a nice level of cushion on bumpy trails and while we missed having a full-suspension on this model, that would have added additional weight and costs.
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.

The e-bike movement has been enjoying a massive popularity boom of late. When bikers are preferring to have a little pedal assistance to everywhere, from the daily commute to cruising through city streets, why not have it too while conquering the mountain trails? You know, just for fun? We have also written a complete guide about the best full suspension mountain bikes.


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