One of the primary purposes of an e-bike is transferring power from the motor to the drivetrain to "support" your regular pedal stroke. All of the different motors do this in relatively the same way, although subtle differences in their power output make them all feel slightly different. It is important to note that all of these systems work impressively well; the differences between them are relatively subtle but noticeable. We tested this metric primarily based on feel, as opposed to any sort of scientific measurement, and our testers could all notice the differences between the various models. All of the e-bikes we tested have several support modes offering varying levels of pedal assist support.
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.

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With mountain bikes already sporting hefty price tags, the cost of adding an electric pedal assist motor might be enough to send the value-conscious rider's head spinning. Fear not! We created a chart to help you sort through which bike has the best performance to price ratio. Bikes that fall lower and further to the right, such as the Best Buy winning Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro, represent the best value.
With different degrees of assistance at your fingertips, riders of varying fitness levels are easily accommodated on the same ride too. Which, depending on who’s setting the pace, can bring a social aspect back to big days out, because you can all ride together and the assistance from the motor makes it that much easier to string a coherent sentence together even on the steepest climbs.
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.
It is important to note that the less power you use while riding your e-bike, the longer the battery will last, makes sense right? All of the pedal-assist drive units we tested also have smartphone apps that can be used to customize your support settings and such changes may allow for more or less range on your electric mountain bike. Specialized's Mission Control app has a feature that lets you set a predetermined route, and the app then regulates the motor's support to ensure power lasts to finish your ride.
But if you’re coming back from injury, looking to ride more miles in a shorter period of time, or just ride further without getting exhausted, then the Turbo Levo is just amazing. This bike is the great equalizer. Some may see that as a negative, lowering the sport’s barrier to entry, but we think more people on bikes can only be a good thing. It will make returning to mountain biking after the birth of a child, an injury, or a stressful period at work much easier. Life happens, the electric assist bikes like this Turbo Levo will help more people ride more often. 

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You've gotta get up to get down, and one of the purposes of e-bikes is to make it much easier to do so. Since we spend significantly more time climbing than descending, we felt it was important to rate how well these bikes perform when pointed uphill. Climbing on an e-MTB with pedal assist support is somewhat different than climbing on a bike without a motor. These bikes are capable of carrying some serious speed uphill, changing the climbing dynamic with a much faster pace, often tossing finesse out the window in favor of power and momentum. The heavy weight of these bikes and plus-sized tires gives them incredible traction, keeping them planted on the ground, and dampening switches can be left wide open to enjoy the added traction benefits of active rear suspension. Each bike's geometry, handling, and power output all played a role in how well these bikes performed on the ascents, and we had plenty of time to test them while rallying back uphill for more downhill laps.
The distance range of an electric mountain bike refers to the distance you can travel on a single battery charge given a specific set of circumstances. All of the e-bikes we tested have roughly the same battery storage capacity, except for the Bulls E-Stream, but external variables like rider weight, pedaling input, terrain, trail conditions, and weather conditions may all affect the length of time or distance that a battery charge will last. To compare the distance range of the models in our test we had the same tester take each of the bikes out in their highest support setting and do laps on a very steep paved hill until the batteries ran down from fully charged to completely dead. When we finished, we recorded the distance and vertical gain that each model was able to complete and easily, and objectively determined our winner.

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The NAKTO Electric Mountain Bike is one powerful bike that delivers great speed. It has the Shimano 6-speed system to allow for easy shifting of the breaks. Secondly, the bike also features the powerful 350W high-speed motor, which ensures that it delivers top-notch speed. You can always adjust the speed from 20-24 MPH. The elegant and body friendly design of the bike makes it suitable for all users. It is a more refined and humanized bike recommended by both experts and riders.


Power delivery is smooth and easy to predict, once you get the hang of it. We’re not sure if integration is better on the Turbo road bike, or if the slow, technical nature of trail riding just highlights some quirks. The motor shuts off less than a second after you stop pedaling, and the onset of power delivery is momentarily delayed once you begin pedaling. And this did mean we had to adapt our riding style a little bit to deal with that slight lag. 

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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. 

This lithium-ion battery bike has a range of nearly 30 miles per charge. As an added bonus, it also operates on three distinct models. You can take it off-road without worrying about damaging the frame on rougher surfaces thanks to its durable mountain bike frame. Features include a 17-inch mountain bike frame that fits most riders between 5’2 and 6’2, and a height-adjustable seat.

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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. 

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Not the best bike but good for what it is. 250watt. not enough power even for small hills on its own and does not do 15/hr even on flat ground. battery looses power when cold but still works. Over all so far, dispite the above I give it 4 stars because it is what you would excpect in a cheap bike and it does work. There is no braket for the headlight tho so be warned you will have to improvise on that.

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@JoePah , Heat and humidity has its own challenges relative to degrading lithium batteries and some motors, too. It has been my experience that the manufacturers who learn from design & performance issues have come back with better bikes and batteries. The product that we sold 3-5 years ago didn't necessarily have the same resilience that today's do. Lifespan of the individual components will vary, so I find it difficult to say that a kit is going to be toast in 3 years time; maybe just not as cool as the latest greatest new unit. 

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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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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).

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Weight isn’t anything like a critical as one would assume. Weight distribution however is a different matter and this is where geometry, specifically the ratio of the front centre measurement to the chain stay length really comes into play. Battery placement is important too, and smaller batteries give an edge in the handling stakes while robbing the bike of range.


Electric bikes are generally heavier than normal bikes. This is due to the battery packs and additional motors which usually makes them about 20 pounds heavier. The weight of the bike can mean better traction in downhill and better stability to the ground, while on the other end, they can make them hard to maneuver with on flat grounds. Therefore, the weight of the bike you get should be based on how and where you intend to use it. The best one to get should be one that is heavy yet have a motor that is powerful enough to support the weight.

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On the AM 4 you get 150mm of travel via a Fox Factory 36 Float fork, 11-speeds from a Shimano Deore XT drivetrain, and Magura MT-Trail hydraulic disc brakes. They also don’t gip you on the dropper with a wonderful, wonderful KS Lev. In terms of geometry, the build is pretty dope. It’s a nice slack feel, so you can do some solid downhills. A DT Swiss wheelset along with Magic Mary tires give you a lightweight and smooth ride.
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.

Lots of electric bike companies love to tout their ridiculously long ranges of travel you can ride on one charge, but sometimes it's a bit too far fetched for the real world, and may leave you disappointed. Luckily, we're here to help you understand what to really expect out of your electric bike battery so that you can have an easier time selecting the right bike for you!
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.
The Haibike AllMtn line makes an appearance again with this incredible price-point option. The AllMtn 6.0 is a nice option with entry level components but the same aggressive build as the rest of the AllMtn line. And when I say entry level components, I definitely don’t mean that as a negative. You still get 150mm of travel with a Suntour Aion 35 RC suspension fork, a RockShox Deluxe RT rear shock, Magura MT32 hydraulic disc brakes, and Shimano Deore M6000 drivetrain with 20-speeds.

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None of this would matter if the VanMoof Electrified S2 (and its close relative the X2) wasn't fun to ride, but it is a blast. Like the Brompton, it pulls off the neat trick of powering you along but giving the illusion that you're doing the work, reacting quickly and cleverly to the speed of your pedalling and the difficulty of any incline you're on. 

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As with all these bikes, the assisted speed is capped at 15mph, but unlike some of them, the Gtech eBike City or its identical (spec-wise) sibling the eBike Sport (this just has a standard frame rather than a step-through one) is light and agile enough for you to be able pedal harder without feeling like the weight is fighting you back down to 15mph. You can even, at a push, use it without the motor on flatter roads.

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The bikes we tested all use a different e-bike motor system, and the controls, the primary user interface, are an important element we rated but didn't weight as heavily as some of the others. Each motor system and its associated controls are slightly different. Our primary interest is in how user-friendly is it to interact with the system, how intuitive and ergonomic are the shifters, how good and easy to read is the display, and how easy is it to charge the battery? Each drive system also has a smartphone app that is intended to allow the user to fine-tune the motor's support settings, create custom settings, monitor battery charge and health, and a whole lot more. We don't feel the apps are necessary for the use of any of these e-MTB's, but those with an affinity for technology or personalizing your ride may be inclined to use them.
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.
If you want an e-bike that positively sprays tech out you, try the Volt Axis on for size. It takes the GoCycle GS's combo of folding, lightweight frame and disk brakes and adds automatic gears, if you please. These react to your speed and pedalling effort. So you automatically gear down when you stop at traffic lights – although what self-respecting cyclist does that? – and then back up as you accelerate.

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Not many manufacturers are concerned with building lightweight ebikes because of the necessary compromises (high cost and low performance). For most manufacturers its easier to exaggerate how light an electric bike is (one common trick is specify weight without ebike battery). For example the ridiculous $88k Blacktrail Bt-01 claims to be 40 pounds (yeah right!). What we learn from this list is to build a lightweight electric bike usually takes a thin road bike, a skimpy battery pack, and  a puny motor. The only thing big about these bikes is their price-tag, because they use lightweight (and expensive)  components. As it turns out it is very easy to build a lightweight bike yourself if you are willing to spend the money, and if you use a small geared hub motor. Look to the home builds on this list for inspiration if you want to build one yourself. Most of these bikes have the capacity to carry larger battery packs if the owner so chooses. They are shown here in their most lightweight configurations. 3 of these bikes are Australian (Super Commuter, Commuter Booster, Solar Fixie) 8 are road bikes 2 are mountain bikes 3 are made of carbon (the Montanara Volta, the Super Commuter, and the BH eMotion) 4 are home builds. Someday we hope to make a top 10 list entirely of production electric bikes. But at the moment there are not 10 lightweight production ebikes on the market worthy of this list. 3 of these bikes are mid-drives (through the gears). Mid-drives allow a bike to use much smaller (and lighter) motors and still be capable of decent hill climbing. BH eMotion, Vivax, and Montonara Volta 2 were purpose built to be ebikes (Specialized Turbo, BH Motion Carbon), the others are conversion bikes. 1 of these bikes does not have gears (the Solar Fixie Bike) All of these bikes except for one (Cannondale) have LiPo packs.
Additionally, it features the Shimano 7-speed shifting system, making it easier to attain a higher speed. It is a reliable bike with two working modes. With this, you can pedal it whenever it runs out of power. The powerful e-bike is able to move at a speed of 32km/h and can move for 22-28 miles on a single charge. The padded and comfortable saddle is easily adjustable for your riding height. You can also adjust the handlebars for a more comfy ride.
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.

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Do you like the fat-tire type of bikes? This is a classy electric bike with the fat tires to move smoothly on all terrains. Second, to this, the bike has been built to suit both kids and adults. This is because it can support up to 360 lbs of weight. In addition to this, the elegant E-bike has durable and sturdy aluminum frames for longer services.

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The durable bike has been designed from the best quality of material for longevity. It is constructed from the high-strength carbon steel frames, which keeps it stable. Besides this, it also an adjustable saddle that can be moved up or down depending on the users’ height. With the wider tires, the bike moves smoothly for a great ride. Lastly, it is also very safe and available in different colors. 

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So it's been knocked off the top spot for now, but the E-Brompton is seriously impressive. If your daily commute includes public transport followed by cycling, it offers total ease of 'parking', can be more easily stowed in a luggage rack than the GX, and still allows you to arrive in a pristine and unsweaty state, thanks to the electric assistance.
Moreover, the ergonomic bike has a large wheel of about 26-inches, which makes the ride smooth irrespective of the terrain. It is a great electric bike that is suitable for cycling even at night hours due to the 10W efficient electric headlight. With the high grade cushioning effect and adjustable seat, it is an excellent electric bike suited for all users. The E-bike also has the anti-slip and wear resistant tires, which makes it highly reliable and safe.
Swagtron Swagcycle folding electric bike is a commuter’s dream bike. It has three riding modes: throttle only, pedaling mode and the assisted mode. This foldable electric bike has a 36V Li-ion battery. With a single charge of the battery, you can reach 18 miles. If you go out of the battery power, it can easily be recharged in 3-4 hours. Need to mention one of it’s best options that this bike is foldable. This bike looks great and rides even better.
Additionally, it features the Shimano 7-speed shifting system, making it easier to attain a higher speed. It is a reliable bike with two working modes. With this, you can pedal it whenever it runs out of power. The powerful e-bike is able to move at a speed of 32km/h and can move for 22-28 miles on a single charge. The padded and comfortable saddle is easily adjustable for your riding height. You can also adjust the handlebars for a more comfy ride.

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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.

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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