It is not a off-road motorbike with an electric engine and a throttle. Electric mountain bikes have motors that only work when you’re pedalling. The motor tops-up your pedalling input. It’s called ‘pedal assist’. There are differing levels of assistance (called things like ‘eco’ and ‘turbo’) that you select via a handlebar-mounted control unit. The motor also cuts out once you reach 25km/ph (or faster). There are strict limits on the power of electric mountain bikes; 250w is the maximum nominal power. More powerful than that and the bike requires tax and insurance (like a car/motorbike) and is also not allowed on bridleways at all.
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.
@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.
Built into the bell cap are tiny LEDs that warn him about his level of energy consumption, and also how much battery power remains. The former marathon runner states “My aim has always been to use this bike 100% for off-road only” since E-bikes are legally restricted to a mere 250-watts maximum in most of the European Union countries that he enjoys visiting.
That’s a tough one to answer. It depends on the power of the battery (typically 24, 36 or 48V), the power of the bike (limited in the UK to 250W), the bike’s battery management system, and the way you ride. Some bikes allow you to choose different levels of assist to prioritise speed or battery life, which makes predictions of battery life even more difficult.
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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.
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.
The removable 460 Wh battery is hidden in the downtube, and the custom-built-for-Specialized Brose motor is integrated around the bottom bracket, and develops 250 watts of power. A torque sensor detects when you’re applying pressure to the pedals, and provides assistance when you need it. Aside from the glowing green LEDs indicating charge levels and output settings, there is little indicating this Turbo is anything but a typical mountain bike.
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If you are an experienced rider this is actually annoying as hell. Personally, I tend to leave whatever I'm riding in a high gear all the time, because my body is like a powerful machine, and I found the way it slowed my escape from the lights quite disconcerting. For beginners, it could be useful, but it's worth remembering that the whole point of e-bikes is that the motor helps you along anyway, so I do really question the usefulness of this.
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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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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The motor is powerful enough to allow you to hit up to 35kmh on a 10.4ah battery that stays alive for 50km. With the fat Kenda tires and suspension fork, the bike does not need any pedal assistance to smoothly roll on even surfaces. The PAS provides five levels of assistance and even the first level is quite powerful. The fifth level will just blow you away with speed and torque and there is no way that you can pedal fast enough to meet any resistance.
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Hi @Sharonerd , Lifespan is relative to the quality of kit you buy, type of battery, how you're using it and consistent regular maintenance (like checking tire pressure, lube the chain, etc.) What's your goal for the kit? I'm a fan of conversions when you're wanting to upgrade a bike that you really like, that fits you & your lifestyle just right. For instance, one of the EBikes that I ride is a hand built folding bike, the Airnimal, with smaller 24" wheels which better fits my 5'4" height and shorter leg length. This bike has a BionX kit on it, so the final product is lighter than any ebike on the market.
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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.
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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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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.
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.
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.