Focus manage to offer both one of the lightest all-mountain capable e-MTBs and also one of the greatest battery ranges. How do they do it? Simple. A smaller-than-most, 378Wh battery is integrated into the frame (the other bikes in this list feature a battery around 500Wh). Another, optional, 378Wh battery also attaches externally within the mainframe. It’s a novel idea, and the bike is noticeably more playful than some others in its lightweight guise.
Our twelve-person test team not only tested the most exciting eMTBs of the 2018 season in the cold German winter, but also took them to the south of France for two weeks (we will spare you the mandatory muddy photos at this point). We climbed to the top of peaks, rummaged through deep mud, rode over countless roots and ruts on the way up and even more on the way back down, laughed, cursed, lived through many unforgettable moments, and took the bikes – and sometimes ourselves – to the limit.
When all was said and done, the Commencal Meta Power Race 650B+ proved to have everyone's favorite e-bike controls. Commencal uses the Shimano Steps E8000 motor and system which features ergonomic thumb shifters, a small but easy to read digital display and a secure and straightforward charging connection. The ergonomic shifter of the Shimano system is better than the electronic buttons found on both the Specialized, HaiBike and Trek. The Commencal's best-in-the-test digital display also proved to be a favorite for its small size and out of the way mounting location, easy to read at-a-glance information, and color-coded support settings information. The HaiBike's Yamaha PW-X motor and system also featured a digital display, but testers thought it was a little too big, displayed too much information, was more challenging to read, and generally felt a little more clunky and less refined than the Shimano system. That Trek Powerfly's Bosch Purion shifter and display unit was easy to read and had a bright screen, but was in a less visible location on the left side of the handlebar. Our Editor's Choice Award winner, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie scored the lowest in this rating due to the lack of a handlebar mounted display and a less user-friendly charging connection.
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.
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the US, there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28mph. Both of those are allowed in most states and cities without license. Class 2 have throttles that don't require you to pedal to get a boost. They're allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because we still love to pedal and the greater distances pedal assist bikes can cover).
Two bikes clearly set themselves apart from the rest of the test field: the brand-new BULLS E-CORE EVO EN Di2 and the Specialized Turbo Levo S-Works Carbon. Both brands are huge players with great innovative power, and you can tell this from their bikes. The BULLS impressed with its cleverly thought-out modular battery concept, top-end, well-considered spec, and very balanced handling. “Climb aboard and feel at home” is its tagline. Thanks to the 180 mm of travel, the bike offers plenty of reserves for those larger hits, yet still feels agile and playful. With this brilliant combination, the € 6,499 BULLS secures itself the desired Best Value tip!
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The LT or long travel line that Haibike is one of the most interesting developments in electric mountain biking in quite some time. I’ve chosen the FullSeven LT 4.0 because I wanted to show you another quality, low-cost option. The FullSeven line is built a little less aggressively than the AllMtn series, but still functions as a great all-around mountain bike for those riders who want to hit fire roads, and maybe the occasional single-track trail. The coolest thing about the LT line is that it costs exactly the same as the standard FullSeven line that comes with 120mm of travel. You can upgrade to 150mm on any FullSeven bike for no extra cost.
When did mountain biking get so uptight? As we see it, fun is a right, and no matter where or when you're riding, it should always be at the heart of each pedal stroke. So whether you're on singletrack, sand, or snow, the Fatboy will deliver a good time. It has tire clearance for up to five inches, a lightweight M4 aluminum frame, snappy handling, and rack mounts that make it adventure-ready, the question is, 'what's taken you so long?'
Merida has done an amazing job with the EOne-Sixty 900E. It has a fun, playfully ride quality that few ebikes can match, and the price is simply unbeatable. It’s also the only sub 50lb bike in this test, and that’s without a single strand of carbon. It could be even better though. With a two degree slacker head angle and a little more power from the Shimano motor the EOne-Sixty would be able to keep up on the climbs, only to drop the competition on every descent. The biggest issue though, is actually getting hold of one.
The suspension works, but there isn’t any true dampening. That means you’re just riding around on springs. On a real full suspension e-bike (i.e. a few thousand dollars) you get actual oil-dampened shocks. Those absorb bumps and dampen the shock. With springs, the bike bounces a few times after bumps, with the energy dissipating through the spring stretching and compressing.
The Brose motor puts out 250 watts nominally, and can peak up to a max of 460 watts. That’s around half what the 2016 Specialized Turbo S road bike we tested last year develops, but that bike’s much-larger motor sits in the rear hub, which would massively compromise performance on a full-suspension mountain bike like this one. Spend up to the Expert or S-Works spec Turbo Levo and you get a motor that can peak up to 530 watts.
The first functioning electric motor was displayed in the early 19th century, though the device constructed by British scientist Michael Faraday did little more than swirl a wire around a magnet when an electric charge was introduced. Still, the concept proved that electricity could do work. Functional electric motors would follow in many forms after that achievement in 1821. Soon scientists and tinkerers around the world, including visionaries such as Nikola Tesla, were experimenting with all manner of electric motors -- some worked with DC power, others with AC. By the end of the century, myriad electric motors had been produced, capable of exerting enough force with enough reliable control that they were practical for use in myriad applications.
Hikers on Mt. Tam used to say we're crazy. Roadies called it a fad. Clunkers, tension discs— we left our eyes open, heads down, and kept designing. We kept evolving, and today, the Men's Turbo Levo FSR embodies a design unimaginable 40 years ago—a trail bike with pedal-assisted power on the climbs. A trail bike that gives you the power to ride more trails.
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.
E-bikes remain a subject of controversy in mountain biking circles. You may not be able to take one on your favorite singletrack right now, as most non-motorized trails prohibit them. However, things have been tilting in a more permissive direction. Most recently, IMBA, the sport’s largest public advocacy group, shifted its stance to support allowing access for some pedal-assist e-bikes (those that top out at 20 mph) on some trails. With every major manufacturer making e-mountain bikes, more access is likely only a matter of time. “In a few years, people will realize that electric mountain bikes have no more trail impact than a regular mountain bike,” Benjamin says.
For the budding athlete, consider the gift of an electric bike, or e-bike, this holiday season. Whether your dad is a regular biker, or your spouse wants to get around while reducing their carbon footprint, these models add a little extra power to the equation. Whether they're riding a few blocks over for a New Year's party or riding for exercise, even in a neighborhood made entirely of hills, an e-bike lets your loved ones go faster with less lag or strain.
It’s hard to ignore the growing popularity of electric bikes. Commuters and hybrid riders have already embraced the technology, but what about when it comes to mountain shredders? MTB fans are certainly beginning to realise the benefits of electric – an electric mountain bike can give you all the thrills you want from a normal MTB but with the extra power you need to get back to the top and give the trail another go.
I have cerebral palsy and have used a powerchair since I was three.... About a year and a half ago I applied for a grant from the Challenged Athlete Foundation for a handcycle. While I was waiting for letters to go out I worked out at the gym. I was talking to my trainer about handcycles. I explained that because all of the weight was behind the drive wheel in...
More powerful pedelecs which are not legally classed as bicycles are dubbed S-Pedelecs (short for Schnell-Pedelecs, i.e. Speedy-Pedelecs) in Germany. These have a motor more powerful than 250 watts and less limited, or unlimited, pedal-assist, i.e. the motor does not stop assisting the rider once 25 km/h has been reached. S-Pedelec class e-bikes are therefore usually classified as mopeds or motorcycles rather than as bicycles and therefore may (depending on the jurisdiction) need to be registered and insured, the rider may need some sort of driver's license (either car or motorcycle) and motorcycle helmets may have to be worn. In the United States, many states have adopted S-Pedelecs into the Class 3 category. Class 3 ebikes are limited to <=750 watts of power and 28 mph.