Today’s electric bikes come in a variety of sizes and styles, many of which don’t look all that much different from traditional non-electric bikes. When you consider it alongside the annual costs of fueling, insuring, and maintaining an automobile, an ebike literally pays for itself over time. Here are five of the best electric bikes currently on the market — and one “just for fun” pick.
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.
Due to high total weights of over 20 kg, it doesn’t matter whether the scale stops at 21.44 kg or 22.2 kg for a modern eMTB. In our test, the difference between the lightest and the heaviest bike was just under 4 kg. This is not to be ignored… but a little extra weight in the form of functional, reliable componentry is better than an ebike designed and constructed to be as light as possible, at all costs, but which ends up in the workshop more often than on the trail.
Let’s face it, at this price you likely won’t get a bike that hides its battery with any sort of elegance. Except for the Blix Vika+ folding e-bike on this list that tucks its battery behind the seat tube and the Propella that passes its battery off as a water bottle, most are stuck to the top of the down tube. Don’t expect to ride across the state on these, either. The highest range in this list is 50 miles, but most average about 30 to 35. Check the bike’s battery range before you buy to make sure it fits your daily needs.
Powerfly FS 7 is a full suspension mid-fat electric mountain bike with a fully integrated battery and a performance suspension package for incredible capability on more rugged trails. A Bosch Performance CX motor for speeds up to 20 mph, 27.5+ mid-fat tires for extra stability and traction, RockShox suspension, and the latest in e-MTB frame design will bring your off-road adventures to entirely new places.
You'll have to wait until the fall to pick up one of Cannondale's new offerings, and it's clear that high-performance mountain e-bikes don't come cheap. The Habit NEO ranges from $5,500 to $7,000, and you're looking at between $6,000 to $9,000 for the Moterra line (the Moterra SE costs $8,500). These are for riders determined to overcome most any terrain and don't mind paying a premium.
The extra grip a 50lb e-bike normally helps to prevent overshooting corners when on the brakes, and bring pure DH-bike-like fun factor on the steepest trails. This electric Orange, however, rides more like a ‘standard’ enduro bike with a motor, which could be good or bad, depending on your expectations and riding style. It’s built tough and delivers stacks of fun in less time than any regular bike can. Adding a motor hasn’t upset Orange’s superb geometry.
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.
Trevor Porter, Kona's e-bike manager, said that motors can demand longer chainstays and adding batteries to downtubes can require larger headtubes, increasing stack height. This is common across the range of e-mtbs we tested. The reach and head tube angle tend to remain similar to standard bikes, but the chainstay length, head tube length, and stack height are generally increased.
Seven batteries keep you powered without adding much bulk to the bike. These state-of-the-art lithium batteries are built to last up to 10 years. A single charge provides a range of 20 to 25 miles. It takes just 4 hours to reach full charge. The battery pack mounts to the frame and sits directly beneath the seat making it less noticeable. 300W motor with variable speed throttle provides powerful propulsion to achieve a speed of up to 20 mph.
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.
With a 150mm-travel RockShox Yari fork and 132mm of rear travel from the RockShox Monarch Plus R shock, the Remote CTRL is Kona’s first dual-suspension e-mountain bike. It’s powered by a 250-watt Bosch Performance Line XC mid-drive motor that uses the company’s progressive E-MTB mode that is adaptable to rider input, which means you don’t have to toggle through assistance modes while riding. It offers assistance up to 20 mph, and the 500Wh integrated battery is the largest Bosch currently offers. Beefy 27.5x2.8-inch Maxxis Recon tires offer plenty of traction and also help to absorb smaller hits.
Trek Bicycle Corporation is one of the worlds largest bicycle manufacturers operating in North America, Europe and Asia. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Waterloo Wisconsin USA and includes multiple subsidiary brands (Electra, Gary Fisher, Diamant and the Bontrager parts label). Trek offers an industry leading warranty and provides service through more than 1,700 dealers in North America making them one of the easier brands to test ride and get ongoing service for. They were one of the first big brands to offer an ebike in the US relying on BionX drive systems and have since expanded their lineup using Shimano and Bosch systems.
The Domane+ e-road bike is the electric version of Trek’s popular Domane. It’s designed for riders who appreciate that bike’s reliable comfort and IsoSpeed technology but want the added fun and function of e-assist. It’s also the ideal companion for anyone coming back from injury, slower riders who want to mix it up with a speedy group, and couples with different fitness levels. A Bosch Performance Line Speed motor provides a very welcome 28 mph of pedal assist, and the 500Wh Powertube battery sleekly integrates into the down tube. Also integrated: front and rear lights, which are powered by the battery—no charging required.
The Moterra Neo is one of the shorter travel e-bikes we've tested. It has a 140mm Rockshox Pike fork and 130mm of rear travel. That was enough travel to handle everything we encountered on the trail and the shorter travel was welcomed on less technical terrain. It uses a Bosch Performance Line CX motor with 500 Wh battery integrated into the downtube. In testing, we've found Bosch's E-MTB mode works very well, offering a quick and hearty kick when you need to accelerate quickly, but gentle assistance in tricky sections. The lower travel stopped the bike from bogging down in technical uphill rock gardens, making them easier to ride through, and the 160mm cranks also help to reduce pedal strikes so you can keep the power on. The agile handling and stable ride make it one of the easier e-bikes to adapt to, and one of the most versatile.
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. Despite having the same Shimano Steps E8000 pedal-assist motor, the Ghost felt less powerful than the YT Decoy. The YT felt as if it delivered more power more consistently and smoothly than the Ghost could.
If you’re looking for even more performance and an even more refined bike, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Specialized. Their bike embodies the company slogan “Innovate or die” in a perfect way and is full of smart solutions. Many of them, such as the specially developed app for tuning the motor, the integration of the battery, and the small remote lever for selecting the support level, are obvious. Some, on the other hand, only become clear when you take a closer look – such as the Autosag valve on the shock for a simplified setup process, or the omission of a spoke magnet. The Levo also won us over with its outstanding riding characteristics, obviously. It rides comfortably, climbs quickly and efficiently, and has exactly the right mix of agility and stability. It’s the ultimate machine that promises to bring a huge smile to every rider’s face after just a few metres on board – no matter whether beginner or a pro. The Specialized Turbo Levo S-Works Carbon is currently the eMTB offering the best overall package, and thus the deserved Best in Test! The best eMTB of the 2018 season!
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.
This utilitarian Class 3 (28 mph) road e-bike is smooth and torquey thanks to its Bosch Performance Speed motor. With a drop bar and traditional road-bike position and handling, the CrossRip+ is more suited to long rides on mixed terrain than navigating congested city streets. It comes with a rear rack—for mounting bags, not for attaching cargo directly—full fenders, a kickstand, and integrated front and rear lights (which are powered by the Bosch 500Wh battery). It features a SRAM Force 1x11 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and wide 700x38mm tires.
All the electric bikes need to have the best braking system to keep them safe for all users. With this quality E-bike, you are assured of a safe ride thanks to the front and rear disk brakes. This makes it easier to stop the bike even when at a higher speed. Besides this, the bike also lasts for years due to the high-strength carbon steel used in the construction. This makes it a great investment for anyone looking for the best electric bike. What's the best electric mountain bike?