Recently, electric mountain bikes have exploded in popularity. Our team researched the top models on the market and purchased six bikes in the $4500-$6000 range to test and review. Our team of testers rode these pedal-assist mountain bikes for thousands of miles, countless hours, and many tens of thousands of vertical feet. In the process, we analyzed each model's uphill and downhill performance, tested their distance range, paid close attention to the user-friendliness of their e-bike controls, and scrutinized their power output. We rode of each of these bikes hard in an effort to expose their strengths and weaknesses and determine the key ride characteristics of each one, and most importantly how they compare to each other.
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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.
Certainly very excited about this e-MTB. Bulls has decided to make use of the super powerful Shimano Steps E8000 motor. With a 500 wH battery and a 250 watt motor, this bike will assist you up incredibly steep hills but not burn too much of the battery. Bulls also sets this bike apart by setting it up with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting and a Deore XT drivetrain for precise and quick shifting. The other specs are about what you’d expect from a ride in this price range. Magura MT5 hydraulic disc brakes, RockShox suspension with 150mm of travel, and Rocket Ron tires on tubeless ready rims let you take on any mountain trails.
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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.
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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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Perhaps the cleverest thing of all about the Electric Brompton is that despite all the extra stuff, it folds up exactly the same as the non-powered variety. It's so simple, and unlike certain folding bikes we could mention, what you're left with is a genuinely small thing, rather than something that's about the size of a bike with the front wheel taken off.
While it was agile and quicker handling, the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp lost ground in this rating metric due to the somewhat abrupt pedal assist cutoff that occurred the moment you stop pedaling. This abrupt power cutoff caused awkward moves in slower technical uphill sections when jockeying pedals to avoid rock strikes. The Bulls E-Stream had power for days and could mash its way up just about anything, but its overall weight and size made it a little more awkward in slower or more technical sections of climbing. The Trek Powerfly had a long wheelbase, reach, and chainstay length, giving the bike a long rear end that kept impressive traction while climbing as long as you kept your momentum, the overall length of the bike, however, made it a little tougher to negotiate in the tighter stuff.
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250-WH of Hobby King LiPo, $3,000 spent in parts with a carbon frame (It would be $1,000 cheaper and only 2 pounds heavier with an aluminum frame). This bike was home-built by Kepler who decided to sell his modified 50mph Stealth Bomber and build this bike with the funds. Read our article on the Super Commuter and Keplers decision to go with a lightweight ebike.
Your friends: We all have friends we wish wanted to pedal up hills with us. Many of who might be capable of leaving us in their dust on descents. These are young and old riders; riders lacking the fitness, time, motivation, or who just aren’t interested in climbing alone, at the back of the pack. You’ve done everything to get them back out riding with your regular crew, but pride and reluctance to hold the group back is keeping them away.
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To help the rider find the perfect fit, the stem is adjustable. The bike also boasts dynamo powered lights alongside hydraulic disc brakes. The bike will suit riders from 4 ft 10 to 6 ft 5, and also integrates with a child seat. The total weight is 22.5kg, making it admittedly a fairly hefty folder – but that’s fairly uniform across electric versions.
How Fast Electric Bike Can Go
Unlike the manual mountain bikes where you would have to fully rely on pedaling, electric mountain bikes depend on an electric charge. As expected, the bike has a battery, which often determines how far one can go on a single charge. A good electric mountain bike should have a good storage capacity. Although most mountain bikes have nearly the same battery storage capacity, it is not uncommon to find one that falls below par. It is also good to know how it performs and uses the battery under different weather conditions terrain and depending on the rider’s weight.
Specifically, battery packs are made up from many cells: the lead acid ones are similar to those we use on our cars, while the lithium ones use the same technology as mobile phones. Apart from the chemical component inside their cells, the main feature that differentiates lead acid and lithium batteries is their size: the lead ones are heavy and have a short life (200 to 300 charge cycles), while the lithium ones are smaller and can last longer (from 500 to 1,000 charge cycles).
There's much less of a sensation of the Electrified S2 'fighting back' once you hit 15.5mph, as well. That's helped by the automatic 2-speed gear box, although this does take some getting used to. Because its cogs are very different sizes you can end up with all sorts of cadence problems as it auto-shifts from high back to low. With practice you can avoid this, or of course you could in theory fit a second cog that's closer in size to the first.