Having a motor bolted to the bottom of a mountain bike that provides pedal assistance is an amazing leveller. The constant torque it applies to the chain rounds out the squarest of pedalling actions, which in turn helps stabilizes the rear suspension and counter pedal induced bob, seamlessly shifting your focus from pedalling efficiency to battery life.
Having a motor bolted to the bottom of a mountain bike that provides pedal assistance is an amazing leveller. The constant torque it applies to the chain rounds out the squarest of pedalling actions, which in turn helps stabilizes the rear suspension and counter pedal induced bob, seamlessly shifting your focus from pedalling efficiency to battery life.
While falling gas prices have temporarily halted years of gains in the number of bicycle commuters, more and more of us are using the bicycle to get around. It’s economical, provides good exercise, and is much cheaper than owning a car. But unless you’re in really good shape, you aren’t going to get very far. Enter the electric bike: a glorious new contraption that lets you get around without having to worry about arriving at your destinations a sweaty mess.
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.
The Ultra Mid Drive Bafang motor is the best motor there is and due to it’s high cost most other brands have not adopted it yet. The ‘Ultra’ has torque sensors built in so it knows how much power to give you based on how much pressure you are applying to the pedals, so it intelligently gives you the right amount of power when you need it most and not a predetermined power regardless of what terrain you’re tackling, so you have more control.
You can take it to anywhere you like as the bike is perfect for exploring wild trails, discovering the nooks of city streets, and daily commute. The motor produces no noise, so there is no way to disrupt the tranquility of natural trails. The more than 4-inch wide fat tires will roll over even on snowy and sandy tracks. The width of the tires and the full-suspension design will cushion the paths for you and help to cruise through the climbs and bomb down the descents.
With its steep seat tube angle and powerful motor, the Rotwild E+ Ultra masters even the steepest climbs. Its high centre of gravity, however, negatively effects downhill handling. The GIANT FULL E+ 0 is a very solid eMTB where what you see is what you get, although the rather slack seat tube and bulbous-belly isn’t exactly pretty. Not so with the FOCUS SAM²: With its clean silhouette it is a bike for design lovers. But only if you get by with the small integrated battery. As soon as you mount an additional battery, not only the appearance suffers, but also the handling. The BMC Trailfox AMP has minor weaknesses in the componentry, finish and downhill handling – at a price of € 12,000 we expected considerably more. The Thömus Lightrider E1 fares better, it’s no bargain either, but the handling is outstanding. It’s a pity that the bike isn’t available outside of Switzerland. Another exotic specimen is the FANTIC XF1 Integra Enduro 160. The bike from the Italian motorcycle brand can’t deny its roots, tremendously composed and capable on the descents, though it cannot keep up with the competition when going back up – the 180 mm version of the Fantic is significantly better overall.
This trike can easily be an alternative to your car for local journeys, if you want to do grocery getting or commuting you can now ditch the car, save money on fuel costs, help the environment, and stay in shape (pedal assist modes) or just have more fun by using your electric power trike over the car and then, best of all, it will pay for itself over time.
On the road, it takes only a few turns of the pedals to activate the Vado’s motor and get it up to speed. In Turbo mode — the bike’s highest level of pedal-assist — the Vado reaches speeds of up to 28 miles per hour, after which the electric drive system automatically shuts off to conserve power (and abide by local law). A built-in LED readout on the handlebars allows riders to monitor battery life, check current speed, and track calories burned while also being able to glance at distance traveled. The Turbo Vado Mission Control app (iOS/Android) also connects to the bike via Bluetooth and allows riders to further tune their ride and adjust the bike’s settings.

The demands for the best eMTB are high. It has to climb efficiently, be comfortable to ride, be very stable and composed, yet, on top of that, be a lot of fun on the descents. Also, its integration, ease of use, and motor performance must set the benchmark. Although all the motors perform at a high level, the Bosch Performance CX is unable to keep up with the competition due to the high internal resistance it generates at over 25 km/h. It’s a pity for the Moustache Samedi Race 11: it’s by far the best Bosch bike we’ve ever ridden, but it’s slowed down by the motor. With a price tag of € 5,999, the Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus is clearly the cheapest bike in this group test. It climbs very efficiently, but is held back on the downhills by a poor choice of tyres and slow handling – you should consider a tyre upgrade in your budget. The Haibike XDURO Nduro descends with the stability of a freight train, but it has to let the competition overtake it when going back up. With its long 180 mm travel and high weight (24.54 kg), it even feels cumbersome on the downhills. 

Electric bicycles offer the same great benefits as traditional bicycles and remove many of the roadblocks and challenges that people face with traditional pedal-powered bikes. With help of an electric motor you can get where you need to be faster, climb hills effortlessly and significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Also e-bikes don’t require registration, license plates, or insurance. So how come the electric bikes are have not taken over the world by now? The real problem—even now that e-bikes have been available for years—is cost.
Electric bicycles offer the same great benefits as traditional bicycles and remove many of the roadblocks and challenges that people face with traditional pedal-powered bikes. With help of an electric motor you can get where you need to be faster, climb hills effortlessly and significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Also e-bikes don’t require registration, license plates, or insurance. So how come the electric bikes are have not taken over the world by now? The real problem—even now that e-bikes have been available for years—is cost. 

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.

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