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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The entire drive system is neatly incorporated into the bike's design for optimal weight distribution and the ultimate in sexy design, while users control torque and power output, which peaks at a surprisingly punchy 530W, via a cool Mission Control App that can also be programmed to a time or distance parameter to ensure there's enough power to get you home.
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The 250W motor and the 36V battery is built into a frame that also includes 26 inches wheels, anti-slip power-off brake, and Shimano 21-speed shifters. An integrated LCD screen shows power, speed, battery charge, and a few other statistics. It is suitable for adults as it can carry up to 360 lbs weight. However, the bike itself is almost 51 pounds, so keep that in mind.
I rubbed my eyes in astonishment as an elderly man shot up a steep path at high speed in the forests of Kusnachtertobels, just east of Lake Zurichsee. A faint high-frequency hum revealed that he was accelerating with more than just his own muscles. Once he came to a stop, he smiled mischievously at the faces of stunned bystanders. The man on this carbon-fiber E-bike is Jean-Pierre Schiltknecht, a 74 year-old avid mountain cyclist. The wily senior assured me he has been active with mountain cycling “Since the inception of the sport!”
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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.
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Nakto electric bike comes with two styles of frame, both for man and a step-though frame for women. Equipped with Shimano 6 speed derailleur, the 6-speed gear system allows you to reach up to a 25mph top speed. Nakto City E-Bike is affordable, but it’s got a lot of features that are found on more expensive models. You can switch between pedal assist and twist-and-go settings and engage the motor with just a flip of a switch when you need an extra push.
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I’m currently looking at the M2S All-Go. Carbon Fiber, cool looking design, stated 33 lbs with a stiff fork for $2250. I haven’t seen anything that light that comes even close to that price. The luna Bike Grit I think it’s called is in the same category, a bit cheaper but over 40lbs. I also have a significant number of stairs to haul the bike up so I’m in the same boat.
The Bulls motor is claimed to have 90Nm of torque, but it was so smooth and quiet that it didn't feel outrageously powerful. The assistance came on smooth and strong thanks to the belt driven system. The Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 uses a drive system that claims to have up to 108Nm of torque. While their system felt quite powerful, it didn't feel stronger than the Bulls, and we noticed that it seemed to modulate its output in a way that the others didn't. The Rocky Mountain makes you work for it a little more than the rest. The Trek, Giant, and the Specialized motor systems felt slightly less powerful, still offering plenty of pedal-assist support mind you, but that also resulted in efficient motors and longer distance ranges than the models with more brute power.
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Descents on such a heavy bike are less fun. Getting the rear wheel off the ground on short notice, or whipping it around turns is very hard. I like to use my rear tire and brakes to steer—locking the brakes in tight corners at speed, then letting off and pedaling out. On very loose and exposed trails, using that approach on the Turbo Levo doesn't work, once the rear starts to loose traction, it’s just all over. Perhaps this could be combated with lower rear tire pressures; we were running 20 PSI.
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In theory, an electric bicycle battery can undergo several hundred charge cycles. How much exactly? That depends on the battery type concerned. The way you take care of your battery will also affect its life. For example, if you store your battery somewhere dry and protected from temperature fluctuations, you will keep it longer. In general, with regular use, an electric bike battery becomes less efficient after 3 to 5 years.