I’m sat here absolutely knackered after being out this morning for a 3hr session round my local trails, including some much needed trail work which is quite amusing as i tend to stumble and fall on my arse quite a lot but over the past month i have managed to clear pretty much all of my old trails with the aid of a flask of tea, quality tunes on my jambox speaker along with my rake, mini shovel and Silky Zubat saw – I’ve managed to regain that totally exhausted feeling you get at the end of a days riding n” trail grooming so i’m a very happy bunny indeed! – albeit sitting here with aches n’ pains that make me wince if i reach for anything but i wouldn’t have it any other way.
As I said before, going up hills might require some pedaling, but it is SO MUCH EASIER with the motor running. I feel like a higher voltage is used on level 3 pedal assist than can be gotten just using the hand turn, though. It takes a few pedals for the pedal assist to kick in which can be annoying, but it does save some battery on initial acceleration. You also have to be careful pedaling around to park the bike or at a street corner waiting for traffic because you DO NOT want the motor to kick in and send you into a workbench or worse ... oncoming traffic.
Starting with the frame and the folding and locking mechanism. The frame is made from and industry standard aluminum alloy that makes it strong yet light. Obviously it has a folding mechanism that uses a simple, quick latch and lock to hold it in place. This is very good, it feels sturdy when the bike is extended and can pretty quickly fold down to be stored. The pedals are also made from the same aluminum alloy as the rest of the frame. The whole frame is also covered with an anti rust and anti exposure paint to help keep the finish on the bike after it’s been exposed to the elements for a while.
I should have bought one a few years ago but i dithered as i placed my faith in the Spinal team to repair me, or at least offer a solution that i could work with to enable me to continue riding off-road but i finally had to face the fact that i will never be able to ride like i used to on my Soulcraft SS, no more lapping Kirroughtree or climbing Heatrbreak Hill over n’ over just because i could which if i’m honest with myself was partly why i refused to entertain the idea of an electric assist bike – i kinda took the huff n’ sat in the corner with a petted lip due to my lack of leg muscle strength – I refused to admit i needed any help.
Merida has done an amazing job with the EOne-Sixty 900E. It has a fun, playfully ride quality that few ebikes can match, and the price is simply unbeatable. It’s also the only sub 50lb bike in this test, and that’s without a single strand of carbon. It could be even better though. With a two degree slacker head angle and a little more power from the Shimano motor the EOne-Sixty would be able to keep up on the climbs, only to drop the competition on every descent. The biggest issue though, is actually getting hold of one.
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.
For Canyon’s first e-mtb the Spectal:ON 8.0 hasn’t simply hit the trail running, it’s power up it in Boost mode. The geometry, sizing and handling are all on point, and details like the adjustable geometry, odd wheel sizes, tyre specific rim widths and short cranks make Canyon a market leader rather than a brand that’s simply playing catch up. With a Fox 36 Fit4 fork the Spectral:ON 8.0 would probably have won the test, the more basic Grip damper never having the measure of Canyon’s superb rear suspension.
Maintenance is relatively easy if you can get past the bad instructions and perform regular service on your bike. The Ancheer Power Plus has as numerous safety features, a long battery range and enough speed to get you there fast. Running cost is literally pennies a day with the charge anywhere battery and if you run out of power you can still peddle your way home.