The quality of electric mountain bikes is changing dramatically. We set out to find the best ones you can buy today. After looking at 15 models, we narrowed it down to four in the $5,000-$5,500 price range. We then took to the trails. Over the course of several months, our team of testers rode these e-MTB's for thousands of miles and hundreds of hours to find out how each model performs on the trail, which one has the longest range, the most power, and most user-friendly controls. We rode these bikes hard, scrutinizing every aspect of their performance, exposing the strengths and weaknesses of each. We present our findings here in this detailed comparative review to help you find the model that's right for you.
All too often, tech breakthroughs are measured in wattage efficiency and seconds saved, but we asked ourselves, 'What about the other things that make for an awesome ride?' The answer takes shape in the Alibi, with tires that'll never go flat, a chain that won't rust, and a geometry that just screams comfort. It's everything you need to hit your goals, whether they're to get in shape or get around town in style.
Over the course of our testing, our testers universally agreed that the HaiBike XDURO AllMtn 8.0 had the most responsive and robust motor. The system felt almost twitchy, raring to go with a torquey feel that started the moment you pushed on the pedals. It got up to speed quickly and felt like it had the fastest top speed of all the models we tested. The power output was smooth and consistent, and shifting between the system's 5 support settings went off without a hitch. Testers also loved that the power band extended for a moment after you stop pedaling, not quite as long as the Commencal, but enough to still be a benefit on the climbs. The Commencal has a similarly strong motor, but couldn't quite match the torquey feel of the HaiBike or the top speed, although it has an even longer push of the power band when the pedaling stops. Both the Trek and the Specialized motor systems felt slightly less powerful, still offering plenty of pedal-assist support mind you, but that also resulted in the most efficient motors and longer distance ranges than the models with more brute power. Note that our Turbo Levo showed up with a top speed limit of 16mph and not the 20mph. We were very disappointed with 16mph as a max speed. Luckily, we were able to get it adjusted back to 20 and were then quite happy. If you buy a Specialized, make sure it's set to 20mph.
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.
In our view, e-bikes are approaching a crossroads in concept and design. Heading off in one direction are longer travel, enduro-style e-bikes, which are largely designed for cruising up and then blasting back down. Plotting a slightly different course is the idea of a lightweight model that rides much more like a normal mountain bike, but requires more work from the rider. Of the two approaches, both have their benefits, but it’s the latter that gets us the most excited. Once the overall weight falls into the 16-17kg range (the lightest bikes are currently19-20kg) it’s going to be really hard to tell the difference between an e-bike and a regular trail bike on the descents and the flat, but you get the benefit of a gentle push up the climbs.
The three bikes we tested all use a different e-bike motor system, and the controls, the primary user interface, are an important element that we rated but didn't weight as heavily as some of the others. Each motor system and their associated controls are 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. While we don't feel the apps are necessary for the use of any of these e-MTB's, those with an affinity for technology or personalizing your ride may be inclined to use them.
Riding position: You also may wish to check out an e-bike’s riding position before investing in it. For short trips, the riding position might not make much difference, but for long journeys, the upright "Dutch" style with pulled-back handlebars is very comfortable – particularly for tall riders. The same goes for mountain bike styles, though these bikes are not often designed to actually go off-road.
Bottom Line The Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie was the most well rounded bike in our test, the winner of our Editor's Choice Award. Commencal's first foray into the e-bike market was worth the wait with a hard charging ride that utilizes their Meta frame design and Shimano's E8000 motor. The HaiBike XDURO AllMtn features a powerful pedal assist motor, but in a less refined package. The Trek Powerfly 7 FS is a good electric mountain bike, but its component specification is holding it back from reaching its potential.
Electric bikes and E-bike kits (bikes with electric conversion kits) are part of a wide range of Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) that provide convenient local transportation. Generally designed for one person and small cargo capacity, electric bike range, speed, and cost are moderate. For most of us, the majority of our trips are less than 20 miles - within the range of most e-bikes considering the latest advances in affordable lithium batteries. Clean, quiet, and efficient LEVs offer the advantages of an extra car without the burdens.
The AWOL is equal parts versatility and durability, all in one perfectly balanced package. Whether it's navigating through the urban jungle as your commuter rig or strapping on panniers to explore the back roads less traveled on a bikepacking adventure, the AWOL relishes either challenge. So go ahead, plan your next adventure or see where you daily commute will take you. With the AWOL, the only thing holding you back is your imagination.
Getting an e-bike can dramatically increase how often you ride, according to a recent survey of nearly 1,800 e-bike owners in North America. Beforehand, 55 percent of respondents said they rode daily or weekly. After buying an e-bike, that number soared to 91 percent. It makes sense: Even if you’re super fit, you still get tired (likely from training or racing) and remounting your bike can feel like a chore. If you have an e-bike, you can continue riding while giving your knackered legs a bit of a break. You can also go faster, which makes biking for longer trips more attractive, even when you’re pressed for time.
“Rather than bolt on a bulky off-the-shelf system, we struck out on our own to redefine the category. The Powerplay system is the result of designing an electric drive for the suspension and geometry needs of proper mountain bikes; in fact, the geometry and pivot points of the Altitude Powerplay are identical to those of the new Altitude. In our opinion this is the first electric bike that actually rides like a mountain bike should.”
The weekend is approaching, and when the promise of adventure calls, you need a reliable mountain bike to hit the trails on. Lucky for you, the Men's Pitch hardtail is dialed for everything from meandering terrain to singletrack. That's why it has 650b wheels, a plush 100mm-travel fork with Multi-Circuit Damping, and a confidence-inspiring geometry. It's the perfect package for both new rippers and seasoned riders alike.
Name a type of riding, and there’s an e-bike for that. If you have zero interest in an electric road bike, you may find yourself head over heels for a high-capacity e-cargo bike that can haul 400 pounds of stuff while still cruising at a cool 15 mph. E-bikes are available in fat, cargo, commuter, recreational, hardtail, full-suspension mountain, and even performance road bike styles. For proof, here are a dozen e-bikes we love for every type of cyclist.
There’s a feeling people get when everything just clicks on a ride, and the Roll is a bike that pulls it all together for you. Take it on a bike path and enjoy the smooth ride afforded by a lightweight frame and Ground Control Positioning. Feel the confidence a wider, more stable tire provides. And ride longer with the Body Geometry science that’s gone into the saddles, grips, and pedals. Get out there, get active, and feel it for yourself.
Scott’s top-rung e-MTB is one of the best-looking e-bikes available. Not only that, it’s also kitted out with outstanding components, including Shimano Di2 electronic shifting and Scott’s proprietary TwinLoc remote suspension mode shifter (open/trail/lockout). Shimano's Steps motor will get you reliably up to speed along the varied trails this bike is made for, while its powerful Zee brakes will slow you down again. Its quality can't be disputed. Other price points available.
The UpCycle Eco-Charger is a Powerful Bicycle Generator that Utilizes an E-BikeKit™ Hub Motor and Empowers You to Generate Your Own Electricity! The UpCycle Eco-Charger was created by Adam Boesel, the founder of The Green Microgym Say goodbye to worrying about environmental disasters and hello to making the world a better place. The UpCycle Eco-Charger is the most efficient, reliable, and powerful bicycle generator ever. Over the past two...
On the road, it takes only a few turns of the pedals to activate the Vado’s motor and get it up to speed. In Turbo mode — the bike’s highest level of pedal-assist — the Vado reaches speeds of up to 28 miles per hour, after which the electric drive system automatically shuts off to conserve power (and abide by local law). A built-in LED readout on the handlebars allows riders to monitor battery life, check current speed, and track calories burned while also being able to glance at distance traveled. The Turbo Vado Mission Control app (iOS/Android) also connects to the bike via Bluetooth and allows riders to further tune their ride and adjust the bike’s settings.
On a trip to Palo Alto last year, we had the chance to ride Specialized’s pedal-assisted Turbo Vado and the model is still our favorite ebike on the market. Utilizing a 350-watt motor and 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, the Turbo Vado is capable of traveling a whopping 80 miles on a single charge, which should be more than enough for any daily commute with plenty of miles left over.
The Spectral:ON is our most challenging development project to date. With the focus on the essentials, it was our clear goal to design an E-MTB that rides like the perfect trail bike. The result is already award-winning: modern trail geometry, wheel concept with 29/27.5" wheels front and rear, plus Shimano's powerful Steps E8000 drive. With the support of the engine, Spectral:ON expands your horizons: more trails per hour, trying out new ways and pushing the boundaries. You master even steep, technical climbs playfully and enjoy the agile handling and the outstanding smoothness in fast passages downhill. Space for bottle holder, geometry adjustment and lightning-fast battery change? Standard! We've taken every detail into account to give you the ultimate E-MTB driving experience.
Electric mountain bikes (eMTBs) are relatively new on the scene and mountain bikers are freaking out. “They shouldn’t be allowed on our trails.” “They are going to ruin the sport.” It reminds me of when the first mountain bikes started popping up on trails and hikers were panicking with visions of crazed bikers running them over. Well, their fears never materialized and mountain bikes have become popular tools for exploring the outdoors responsibly.
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.
Dan has a lifetime of experience with bicycles and is a hands-on expert when it comes to converting bicycle to electric. Dan is the person you will most likely converse with on Live Chat. He can assist with diagnosing any issues and he is more than happy to enlighten those who ask on almost any topic related to electric bikes. Dan has been riding electric bikes almost daily since 2008...
Last year, the Trek Powerfly 9 LT was one of the only ebikes with geometry and handling that came close to a modern enduro bike. For 2018, Trek has built on that winning formula with new frame. It’s lowered the battery in the downtube, while adding a stiffer Fox 36 fork, more powerful SRAM RE brakes and a stronger Bontrager wheelset. All welcome improvements to a really capable bike. The price has also crept up to reflect the changes. The biggest transformation however, is that Rocky Mountain has raised the ebike bar to a new high with the Altitude Powerplay.
E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter ones can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph), depending on local laws, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h (28 mph). In some markets, such as Germany as of 2013, they are gaining in popularity and taking some market share away from conventional bicycles, while in others, such as China as of 2010, they are replacing fossil fuel-powered mopeds and small motorcycles.