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.
E-enduro bikes aren’t as different to regular bikes as one might imagine. All of the fundamentals are the same and by nailing the geometry and sizing Vitus has produced an amazing e-bike with the E-Sommet VR.Sure there are a couple of little things we’d probably change, like the STEPS Di2 mode shifter and rear tyre, but that’s about it. And given how much cheaper the Vitus is compared to the competition, you can easily afford to make these changes and even buy a spare battery. The E-Sommet VR is no golf buggy, but Vitus has it’s certainly hit a hole in one with this bike.
Yep, there’s no getting away from the fact that i’m peddling a 21kg bike when the assist is switched off but with the massive battery & range there is no real need to switch it off, I can barely turn the pedals on a normal bike when i hit a hill so if i’m on the road and wanting as much range as possible to explore a few of the surrounding trails in my area of Galloway i’m quite happy using the eco mode to get myself around, the tour mode gives a bit more assist and is enough to tackle the majority of single track climbs with effort from myself, the sport mode is enough for all but the steepest of singletrack use and the turbo mode is just batshit mental for all out super steep climbs and so much fun.
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.
With 170mm travel, aggressive angles and Shimano’s superbly calibrated STEPS motor, the Focus Sam2 is an enduro bike with a built-in shuttle. With the bolt on TEC pack you really can climb to new heights, but without it the smaller capacity internal battery means you need to be ultra economical with your energy use. It’s also frustrating that the internal battery can’t be removed easily for charging. By far the biggest frustration with the Jam2 though is that the sizing isn’t very generous and standover clearance is limited. It’s still a great e-bike, but when you’re spending this much money, you can afford to be fussy.
My wife has a Scott, essentially a Contessa with a Bosch crank motor. Very heavy thing, bloody hard work with no assistance, but even with assist on progress surely depends on your effort. We don’t do a lot of trail centres, but it’s been fine round Rothie, up to Einich, in Inshriach and up the Corbett behind Kingussie, as well as onroad. Lets us ride together, which would be harder without assist, and is heling her recover from skiing injuries.
Why We Like It: This is a very capable mountain bike that just about anyone can ride and enjoy. It has great suspension, a smooth ride, and amazing tires that grip everything. The charge time and the battery’s odd position on the frame are our only gripes, but those things aside, you can’t argue with the power and quality of this fat electric bike. It makes a heck of a beach cruiser. You’ll love everything from the front hub to the back hub.
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