Even if you’re in excellent shape and very fit, you still can get exercise by e-biking. When I did a head-to-head comparison of commuting with my cross bike versus a recreational e-bike, I found that my relative effort was much lower, and I burned about half as many calories, on the e-bike. But I still burned something—up to 200 calories per hour, the equivalent of what you burn by walking. And I opted for quick e-bike rides to town where I would usually drive, which means I was considerably more active overall.
In the end, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie proved to be the tester favorite, offering the best downhill performance that felt the "most like a mountain bike" that the other models couldn't match. The Specialized proved to be the most nimble and agile by far, with the lowest center of gravity, shortest wheelbase, less rear wheel travel, and shortest reach, yet still managed to be confident and stable at speed. By contrast, the Commencal Meta Power Race 650B+, our Top Pick for Aggressive Riders, felt much more one-dimensional with its long and slack geometry and ultra plush suspension, excelling at speed, but sluggish at lower speeds or technical downhill sections. The HaiBike XDURO AllMtn 8.0 proved to be a less inspiring downhill performer, with a massive feel, rattling battery, and a generally unrefined feel, although it was good at going straight and fast. The Trek Powerfly 7 FS was our least favorite e-bike to ride downhill, with a less impressive component specification that held it back and didn't inspire confidence on descents.
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.
Whether you need to fly uphill with ease, rip downhill terrain at speed, or your rides simply demand all of the above, we've designed and engineered every mountain bike in our line to be the best performing machines for the way that you ride. From ultra-lightweight XC hardtails to our World-Championship-proven FSR suspension designs found on our trail and downhill bikes, you'll find the ideal setup for your riding style.
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.
Of course, there is room for improvement. There is no handlebar mounted digital display and the only way to tell your speed is to mount a phone or bike computer to the bars. To see your battery life, you have to stop and look to the side of the frame (or risk crashing). The climbing performance was hampered by the drive unit's more abrupt cutoff when the pedals stopped turning. The charger connection is poorly designed and located: we spent a fair amount of time carefully removing mud to get the bike to charge. Overall though, the Specialized still proved to be the test team's favorite for its versatility and well-rounded performance. We loved it and we think you will too, read the full review to find out more about our Editor's Choice Award winning e-MTB.
The harder you pedal, the bigger the boost, the faster you’ll ride—to a point. E-bikes let you hum along at a brisk clip, but they aren’t motorcycles. You’ll never jackhammer down the road at 45 mph. The motor is governed to stop propelling you further when you hit 20-28 mph, depending on the bike. So you’ll save time on your commute (I shave about three minutes off a five-mile trip) but still enjoy the scenery.
Frame Ultralight 6061 T6 Aluminum Pedals Priority Alloy Platform, Sealed Fork Ultralight 6061 T6 Aluminum Front Light Priority fixed, 700lm, 3x CREE R4 led, wired to bike battery Rims WTB ST TCS 2.0 27.5"/650b - Tubeless Ready Rear Light Priority fixed, wired to bike battery Front Hub Priority 15mm Through Axle, Quick Release Seatpost 31.6 Alloy Micro-adjust, 300mm (17"), 350mm (19"/21") Rear Hub enviolo Trekking Group (n380) Belt Gates Carbon Drive with Centertrack CDX 122T Spokes Stainless Steel, Black, 14g front, 13g rear Saddle WTB Pure or Selle Royale Gel Shifter enviolo Trekking (c8) Handlebar Stem Alloy, 6 degree 80mm17", 90mm 17" and 19" OR 70mm, 35 degree Brakes Tektro HD-M285 Hydraulic Disc Dual Piston Handlebar Alloy, 31.8 clamp, 6 degree rise, 630mm Grips Velo, ergonomic dual density comfort Headset Alloy Sealed Crankset Priority Electric, 170mm (17"), 175mm (19"/21") Tires WTB Horizon 650B PLUS 47M/M Tubeless Ready Front Sprocket 50t Gates CDX Fenders Aluminum+Plastic Rear Cog 24t Gates CDX Kickstand Alloy Rear Mounted Kickstand Included! Motor Bosch Active Line Plus Color Gloss White or Gloss Charcoal Battery Bosch PowerPack 400 Sizes 17", 19" and 21" Display Bosch Purion Weight Approx. 45lbs
After doing some research, I found that the article was correct: the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management both prohibit eBikes on their trails that allow mountain bikes. In the eyes of these national agencies, eBikes are “motor vehicles” and lumped in with motorcycles, ATVs, and even off-road vehicles like Jeeps. I have been riding knobby-tired motorcycles since I was in third grade and can clearly state that pedal-assist eMTBs and “dirt bikes” are completely different animals.
Motor: We have a blog post showing some motor differences: https://www.ebikekit.com/blogs/news/its-whats-inside-your-motor-that-counts Cabling is probably the #1 issue when something goes wrong. Good connectors, good cables, and good assembly (bike shop!) are crucial Strain reliefs on all cable joints! Where you have a junction box or a connector, the stress is concentrated over a small area near this stiff spot on the cable. This can cause small breaks on the internal...
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.
Every major bike manufacturer—and literally dozens of smaller ones—is already in the e-bike game. Car companies aren’t far behind. Ford is already bankrolling an electric bike-share system in San Francisco, and plenty of others are eyeing up the e-bike market. “The car business is jumping in with both feet,” Benjamin says, “because they realize that cars in high-density urban areas, where more than half the human race lives, just aren’t working anymore.” With big transportation players like Uber looking into e-bikes, and cities searching for ways to relieve traffic congestion, programs may only continue to expand.
The Spectral:ON 7.0 helps you to try new ways, to shift boundaries and to sit in the saddle more often. The Enduro configuration with rigid RockShox Lyrik RC suspension fork and RockShox Deluxe R shocks tames the roughest trails. The E-MTB-specific DT Swiss H1700 Spline wheels are fitted with robust Maxxis Minion tyres that offer maximum grip and control downhill. The Shimano Zee brakes from the freeride sector with 200 mm large brake discs at the front and rear are very powerful - there is no more control and safety in this class. The 165 mm short cranks guarantee the best possible ground clearance. The Kind Shock Lev Integra SI Vario seat post can be lowered at the push of a button when it gets steep. All in all, the Spectral:ON 7.0 is your ticket to trails that otherwise might not have been accessible.
The Espin is powered by a 350-watt motor that’s rated for trips up to 50 miles (depending on the terrain and assist level). Once depleted, the battery fully charges in roughly five hours. Thankfully, Espin makes it easy to remove the battery, allowing you to quickly recharge it at home or in the office between trips. A backlit LCD control hub displays your basic metrics and battery life while in transit and LED headlights add a touch of light when needed.
The second type of electric bike is a much smaller, often foldable unit designed for convenient urban (or suburban) commuting and for easy storage in minimal space. These compact electric bikes are perfect for trips of a few miles, and many are small and lightweight enough to be carried onto trains or buses, allowing their rider to make use of multiple types of transportation in a single trip, and to store their bike in a closet or even under a desk at work, at school, or at home.
E-bikes do some of the work for you, but they still count as exercise, especially for people who have otherwise been sedentary. Colorado University researchers found that when 20 non-exercising men and women e-biked about 40 minutes three days a week, they improved their cardiovascular fitness and blood sugar in just one month. “Many people are not fit enough to ride long enough to get meaningful health and fitness benefits from biking,” Benjamin says. “Put them on an electric bike and they can go out and ride for an hour and get a significant amount of exercise.”
Because the power is applied through the chain and sprocket, power is typically limited to around 250–500 watts to protect against fast wear on the drivetrain. An electric mid-drive combined with an internal gear hub at the back hub may require care due to the lack of a clutch mechanism to soften the shock to the gears at the moment of re-engagement. A continuously variable transmission or a fully automatic internal gear hub may reduce the shocks due to the viscosity of oils used for liquid coupling instead of the mechanical couplings of the conventional internal gear hubs.