A carbon frame shaves off several hundred grams of weight, of course. However, this is largely irrelevant when it comes to eMTBing. The two major advantages of carbon on eMTBs are, on the one hand, greater freedom in optimising the frame design and, on the other hand, increased stiffness. Thanks to carbon, smooth transitions can be achieved, better facilitating the integration of motor and battery. Unfortunately, the magical black material also has a few potential disadvantages. Carbon has poorer thermal conductivity, which means that heat is dissipated less efficiently with a fully integrated motor, and stiffer is not necessarily always better. Frames and wheels require a certain amount of flex to be comfortable and to generate enough traction through curves. Buying a carbon eMTB can currently only be justified by aesthetics rather than functionality.
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.
Built by a company that’s made cycling equipment for more than four decades, the Vado feels more like a traditional bicycle than almost any other ebike. Its frame and components have been tuned to provide a familiar experience, making it easy for new and long-time cyclists to jump on and start pedaling. Specialized’s heritage shines through nicely, helping separate itself from the competition in an increasingly crowded ebike market.
All models of the Turbo Levo use a frame made from M5 aluminum alloy, with the motor and removable battery integrated inside. The frame and fork use 148mm (rear) and 110mm (front) spacing. Specialized 6Fattie Purgatory (front) and Ground Control (rear) 3-inch wide tires are laced to 38mm Roval Traverse rims. Rear stays and pivots are beefed up to handle the additional weight (48.5 lbs) and torque, and bridges are added to the stays, over the non-motorized Stumpjumper. The front fork is a RockShox Yari XC with a 15mm thru-axle. The 135mm rear travel is provided by a custom Fox Float Performance DPS shock with automatic sag adjust.
Another really cool feature on this bike is the Haibike eConnect system. I’m not sure why, but they only seem to be offering it on the 10.0. It has been available in Europe for awhile, so I imagine we’ll see an upgrade for the other Haibikes sometime this year. eConnect offers riders a way to prevent theft on their bikes, track rides, and alert an emergency contact if it detects a crash.
Government agencies like the USDA National Forests and the Bureau of Land Management should distinguish between electric pedal-assist eBikes (Type 1) and self-propelled eBikes (Type 2). The former are still human-powered whereas the latter are fully motorized like a motorcycle. Some states like California are already recognizing the different classifications of eBikes and allowing some on trails while prohibiting others. This clear distinction should help us avoid expanding our mountain bike trails to motorcycles, or worse yet, have trails that are currently open to mountain bikes relegated to “hiking only.”
All the models we tested are full suspension all mountain/trail bike models with relatively similar amounts of suspension travel, geometry, and wheel/tire size. The addition of a large battery and a small motor adds significant weight to an e-bike and they generally weigh in the neighborhood of 50 lbs, approximately 20 lbs heavier than non-e-bikes, and the massive weight of these bikes makes them more difficult to ride without the support of the pedal assist motor.
Looking for electric mountain bikes? Propel has you covered. We carry many different types, most of which have a center drive motor since they perform best on the trail and they’re great for climbing. Our bikes have motor systems from leading manufacturers including, Bosch, Shimano, Brose and Yamaha. Most electric mountain bikes or EMTB’s are limited to 20 mph, but some do go up to 28 mph. We carry many different types listed by category below. We have full suspension, hardtail, fat tire, carbon fiber eMTB.
The environmental credentials of e-bikes, and electric / human powered hybrids generally, have led some municipal authorities to use them, such as Little Rock, Arkansas with their Wavecrest electric power-assisted bicycles or Cloverdale, California police with Zap e-bikes. China’s e-bike manufacturers, such as Xinri, are now partnering with universities in a bid to improve their technology in line with international environmental standards, backed by the Chinese government who is keen to improve the export potential of the Chinese manufactured e-bikes.
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.
Stop and go with care. Because you’re heavier and faster, it will take longer to slow down and stop. Squeeze your brakes well ahead of intersections. Remember that the bike will accelerate faster than normal, so don’t start pulling out into traffic until it’s fully clear. Also, because the bike has some heft, you may feel wobbly the first few times you get going or slow to a stop. Practice mounting, dismounting, and stopping in safe places before hitting heavily trafficked roads.
Controllers for brushed motors: Brushed motors are also used in e-bikes but are becoming less common due to their intrinsic lower efficiency. Controllers for brushed motors however are much simpler and cheaper due to the fact they don't require hall sensor feedback and are typically designed to be open-loop controllers. Some controllers can handle multiple voltages.
We rode the Vado through the gauntlet, including some of the steepest hills in Palo Alto, and it easily handled everything we threw at it, maintaining a steady 20 miles per hour even on the most daunting of ascents. The bike also handles well on downhills and is both nimble and quick on city streets and paved trails. It’s even comfortable to ride for extended distances, which is vitally important for any bike built for urban settings.
Depending on local laws, many e-bikes (e.g., pedelecs) are legally classified as bicycles rather than mopeds or motorcycles. This exempts them from the more stringent laws regarding the certification and operation of more powerful two-wheelers which are often classed as electric motorcycles. E-bikes can also be defined separately and treated under distinct Electric bicycle laws.