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.
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.
The Ancheer folding electric mountain bike does have a few weird quirks. The first is the handlebar mounted battery. It saves space for the folding mechanism, but looks odd. Fortunately it has very little effect on handling because it is mounted so close the head tube’s pivot point. It does raise the center of gravity of the bike a bit, but the difference is small compared to how much you raise the bike’s center of gravity.
As a household name, Specialized is to be trusted in this world without a doubt. That’s because, in addition to their inventory of pedal-powered machinery, they’ve gone ahead and introduced us to their S-Works Turbo. Here, in conjunction with their custom Trail-tuned motor for off-road use, the Levo FSR frame is constructed entirely of FACT 11m carbon fiber allowing for both a lightweight and stiff ride through the local wilderness. Additional features include instant engagement, heat management, and a silent output for good measure. Not bad Specialized. Not bad at all.
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.
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.
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!
Aluminium alloy frames and downtube mounted batteries with integrated motors provide a budget friendly introduction to these motor-assisted bikes, allowing riders who would struggle to keep up to enjoy the stamina of the pros. For those hard hitters, fully integrated battery and motors combine with lightweight alloy and carbon frames to deliver a ride that’ll take on the most demanding trails.
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An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike, powerbike or booster bike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion. Many kinds of e-bikes are available worldwide, from e-bikes that only have a small motor to assist the rider's pedal-power (i.e., pedelecs) to somewhat more powerful e-bikes which tend closer to moped-style functionality: all, however, retain the ability to be pedalled by the rider and are therefore not electric motorcycles.