In our head to head range test, the Specialized took the win by travelling 20.6 miles and 3,455 vertical feet, 10% farther than the Trek at 18.6 miles and 3,076 vertical feet, 15% more distant than the HaiBike at 17.8 miles and 3,215 vertical feet, and 17% more than the Commencal at 17.1 miles and 3,100 vertical feet. Each of these electric mountain bikes can take you a long way out on the trail, but the Specialized uses its power the most efficiently and can keep you out to play for longer than the competition.
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.
In addition to the pedal-assist feature, some e-bikes come with a throttle that engages the motor with the press of a button. These belong to a separate class of e-bike that, obviously, doesn’t offer a pure cycling experience; they’re also illegal in some municipalities. Interestingly, Benjamin says, people who aren’t already “cyclists” tend to gravitate toward throttle bikes at first, but then turn around and choose a pedal-assist for their next purchase.
A low-mounted motor keeps the centre of gravity low and the entire system compact, while allowing for ultra-short chainstays and a bottom bracket that is integral to the frame. We use a high efficiency, three-phase brushless motor to provide class-leading torque and ultra quiet operation. To get instant power response on trail, we put the torque sensor between the chainring and the drive gear, and our 48v battery voltage allows for super fast charging.
It was a close battle and the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie emerged as the winner of our Editor's Choice Award. Our testers universally agreed that it was the most well-rounded performer on the trail and offered a ride that felt the "most like a mountain bike" of the models tested. It was versatile, with a lighter and more nimble feel, yet it still managed to maintain its charging chops and stability at speed. Specialized has done a wonderful job designing their Turbo Levo models with the battery and motor cleanly and stealthily integrated into the frame. The Specialized 1.3 motor also runs so quietly that you'd almost forget you were riding an e-bike if it weren't for all that power. The Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie wasn't the most powerful e-MTB we tested, but it used its power efficiently and had an impressive distance range that bested some of the competition by 15% or more in our head to head range testing.
With mountain bikes already sporting hefty price tags, the cost of adding an electric motor might be enough to send the value-conscious rider's head spinning. Fear not! We created the table below to help you sort through which bike has the best performance to price ratio. Bikes that fall lower and further to the right, such as the Top Pick winning Commencal Meta Power Race 650B+ and the Haibike XDURO AllMtn 8.0 represent a relatively great value.
The original Power Plus model was one of the most popular in its class, introducing the joy and practicalities of e-bikes to a huge audience around the world. The CX1 builds on that success, adding a NEW more powerful brushless motor, a NEW upgraded battery, a 21-speed gear system, and improved reliability. The steel frame, strong brakes, suspension and quick-shift gears offer all the qualities of a premium mountain bike with the added feature of three pedal assist modes.
On the 8.0 specifically, Haibike sets you up with the brand new Yamaha PW-X motor. This motor comes standard with a 500 watt hour battery, Bluetooth connectivity, and 80 nm of torque out the gate. The PW-X also boasts the benefit of a dual chainring up front. This means you’ll save some battery if you’re willing to work a little harder and use those gears! Speaking of gears, you’ll get a Shimano Deore XT drivetrain. Pair that with Fox 34 Float Performance front suspension and a Fox Float DPS rear shock (150mm travel) and you’ve got a fully-capable, all-around ride.
Electric Hybrid Bikes- As the name suggests, these bikes combine the properties of mountain and fat-tire bikes. They are built to be fast and tough at the same time. They are lighter than electric mountain bikes, so you don’t have to deal with the excess weight when going up hills. You can use the bike to carry heavy luggage or cycle through rough trails.
Bosch’s flagship mountain bike system uses a mini drive ring with internal gearing to send its power to the drivetrain. There’s some resistance in the system over 25km/h, but when you first press down on the pedals there’s an impressive surge of power, and it offers good support over a wide cadence range. Its size has an impact on the width of the cranks (the Q-factor) as well as the chainstay length of the frame, and it’s not the lightest system on the market at 4kg for the motor. On the other hand, Bosch is the most established player on the market, and its system has proven itself over many years.
Pedelecs are much like conventional bicycles in use and function — the electric motor only provides assistance, for example, when the rider is climbing or struggling against a headwind. Pedelecs are therefore especially useful for people in hilly areas where riding a bike would prove too strenuous for many to consider taking up cycling as a daily means of transport. They are also useful for riders who more generally need some assistance, e.g. for people with heart, leg muscle or knee joint issues.