The major reason I want a lightweight e-bike is so that I can largely ride it as a regular bike and only occasionally use the assist and so that I won’t notice quite so much when the battery runs out of juice going up a hill. Other reasons I want a lightweight e-bike: so that I can easily lift it onto the bus bike rack; so that I can hang the front tire on the bike hooks in our light rail trains; so that I can put it on a car rack; so that I can occasionally carry it up stairs.
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There are many places in the U.S. where you can legally and responsibly ride e-MTB's, and take it from us; they are a heck of a lot of fun. Check with local land management agencies to find out where you are allowed to use an electric mountain bike before taking to the trails. One thing we do know, e-MTB's can be used on any trails that are legal for motorized use, so we took advantage of the wealth of OHV trails in the greater Lake Tahoe area for our testing purposes and had more fun doing it than any of us expected.
Even with cheaper or heavier bikes, once you accept that you are really meant to pedal gently and let the motor do the work, non-speed freaks will get into it. E-bikes are great for commuting and for places that aren't pancake flat. They'll pull you away from the lights quickly, iron out hills and stop you getting sweaty, so you can bin the Lycra and ride in jeans, a suit, or a winter coat.
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The new and improved version of the very popular Cyclamatic Power Plus series, the CX1, stands out with its elegant design. Glossy silver finish and sleek lines of the frame make this e-bike look much more expensive than it actually costs. But besides its look, the designers of this electric bike have also focused on the convenience. Everything, from ergonomic design to easily removable battery, is created to give the rider an awesome experience. Improvements are made in motor and the battery as well, and the bike is now equipped with the 21-speed gear system.
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Jeremy Benson eats, sleeps, and breathes mountain bikes. This native New Englander started mountain biking in 1992. He got more serious in college and started racing bikes in 1999. After moving to Tahoe, Jeremy continued his obsession with riding. He continues to race mountain bikes and has racked up some impressive results in the expert class at the Downieville Classic and the Lost and Found Gravel Grinder. Jeremy authored Mountain Bike Tahoe which was published in 2017. Jeremy's riding statistics are eye-popping, to say the least. He rode over 5,000 miles in 2018 climbing nearly 600,000 feet. Oh yeah, he was also a sponsored skier for well over a decade. Jeremy has a very critical eye and is also good at breaking things. These are wonderful traits for bike testers.
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There is no crossbar or crazy geometry to speak of, simply a high modulus carbon front frame that is connected to a trailing arm. Even the wheels are cutting edge, with the special patented quick-detach "Pitstopwheels" fastening to a central hub like a sports car. On top of this, there's a futuristic Knightrider-esque "cockpit", which consists of numerous coloured LEDs that give slightly abstract readouts on battery range, gear selection and speed. Again, lighting is built in, drawing power from the main battery.
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That aside, the Axis is a fantastic e-bike. At 'only' 16kg, it's almost lively by e-bike standards, but it also feels rock solid. It's geared too low in my opinion – I think it's fair to say I am not the target market – but in 8th, you can breeze on past the legally mandated, electrically-assisted 15.5mph. The hydraulic disk brakes will then bring you to a pleasingly rapid dead stop. The range and charging time are good, too. Cheap it is not, mind you.
The bike looks a no different than a regular mountain bike. The 36 V, 8Ah Li-Ion battery is very cleverly designed and disguised as a thermos, so you will not be able to tell whether this is an e-bicycle or a regular one unless you get really close. It is very nicely build, and pretty sturdy; the frame is 100% alloy and the front fork is made with high-grade carbon steel. The bike itself weighs about 45 lbs.
By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best e-bikes available for those who are interested in new technology combined with traditional bikes. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best electric bicycles currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
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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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Mountain biking is all about having fun, right? About getting out there, enjoying the great outdoors, exercising your body and freeing your mind. So what if we told you there was a type of bike that lets you ride further, faster, and have even more fun? One that even made you LOL on the climbs? You’d still have to work for your rewards, but by assisting your efforts, it allowed you to wring every little drop of enjoyment out of your rides.
The downhill performance is our most highly weighted rating metric because we feel that the most important element of an e-bike is how well it performs out on the trail, especially when bombing down the hill. Each tester rode every bike numerous times and formulated their own opinions of each model, considering how factors like the component spec, geometry, and frame design play a role in its downhill performance. All of the e-bikes we tested were fun to ride, way more fun than any of our non-e-bike riding test team ever expected, but they all had a different demeanor and trail manners. To test this, we rode the bikes downhill, a lot, and took them down a variety of terrain, from fast and flowing open trails to tight low-speed technical, and everything in between.
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Many retailers suggest charging the battery at least once a month if the bike is not ridden much, and say that the more the bike is ridden, the stronger the battery will be. All batteries, though, will deteriorate in time and they will need to be replaced and disposed. When that time comes, it’s best to ask your local retailer how to dispose of the battery, but bear in mind that local authorities should provide recycling and disposal facilities.
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Every bike we tested was a blast to ride. However, they all had very different ride characteristics. All of these could stand to improve in different areas, but the category is not mature enough to get a very capable bike for a reasonable price. We will continue to update this review as new bikes emerge, and electric mountain bikes continue to evolve.
Thanks for your excellent article. I’ve been riding ebike for about 16 years. My first electric bike was a Meridian pedal assist bike. I just up graded to a new bike. I’m 73, so I wanted a pedal assist bike that had a throttle. I researched for several months and bought what I think is the best bike for the money. It’s a Rad Rover 2017 fat bike. It has a 750 watt mother with a 48 volt 11.6 amp battery. It’s a fantastic bike, that is a lot of fun to ride. You might want to check it out and add it to your list of bikes. Rad Rover also make a city commuter bike, a cargo bike and a folding bike. You can’t beat their price for a quality bike. Thanks again for both of your articles. They were very informative.
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The Bulls E-Stream EVO AM 4 is a new addition to our electric mountain bike test and it didn't take long for our testers to fall in love with this new contender. This bike comes ready to rumble with a beefy enduro ready build with 150mm of front and rear wheel travel controlled by a stout RockShox Lyrik fork up front. Testers found this bike to come alive at speed with stable and confidence inspiring trail manners that preferred to go fast, and big 2.8-inch wide Schwalbe tires that provided heaps of traction. Bulls has done a good job designing this beast, with a powerful and smooth Brose drive unit cleanly integrated into the frame along with a large 650Wh battery. The motor lays down very smooth power in all of its output settings and is one of the quietest models we tested. The large battery storage capacity provides the longest distance range of all the models in the test so you can stay out longer and ride farther than on models with smaller batteries. The e-bike controls have relatively good ergonomics and an easy to read display.