You can’t really get a cheap e-bike just yet. But if you keep the car in the garage more often, you’ll save cash on maintenance and gas money. Not to mention the added health benefits and potentially fewer sick days from getting more exercise. Prices vary widely, but you should expect to pay at least $1,500 for a decent e-bike, and considerably more ($2,500-$5,500) for a quality bike with a motor system from a major manufacturer like Bosch, Shimano, or Yamaha.
In full-electric mode, the Pedego City Commuter Classic Electric Bike is capable of moving at up to 20 mph for anywhere from 15 to 30 miles. There are two further options: power-assisted pedaling or fully "unplugged” riding. Renowned Shimano gears are easy to select. Seldom do we come across a product so universally praised by owners. It's not cheap, but comments like "Everything I hoped for!" and "Outstanding!" tell us that it's money well spent.
Your friends: We all have friends we wish wanted to pedal up hills with us. Many of who might be capable of leaving us in their dust on descents. These are young and old riders; riders lacking the fitness, time, motivation, or who just aren’t interested in climbing alone, at the back of the pack. You’ve done everything to get them back out riding with your regular crew, but pride and reluctance to hold the group back is keeping them away.
The Best in Test and Best Value tips do not result from the sum of star ratings, but by the assessment of the entire test team, taking into account the overall concept of the bike. It would be methodologically wrong to only add up the star ratings to make a final judgment in a scoring system – saying that something is “good” will not help anyone if they don’t know what it is for and for whom it is “good.” For this reason, we give a clear recommendation in every test result for which type of rider and purpose the bike is suitable and which not. The bikes themselves are as individual as the riders are – we just want to provide you with all the information you need to make a well-informed decision before buying. Here’s to long-lasting fun!
The Shiv is a truly triathlon-specific bike. Not only have the frameset and integrated cockpit been honed in our Win Tunnel, shaping its crosswind-optimized design, but we've also worked to keep the athlete as aero as possible. That's why we created an integrated hydration bladder and hid it in the frame, while also providing built-in storage for food and tools. This way, there's no need to break the aero tuck to drink or eat.
Due to high total weights of over 20 kg, it doesn’t matter whether the scale stops at 21.44 kg or 22.2 kg for a modern eMTB. In our test, the difference between the lightest and the heaviest bike was just under 4 kg. This is not to be ignored… but a little extra weight in the form of functional, reliable componentry is better than an ebike designed and constructed to be as light as possible, at all costs, but which ends up in the workshop more often than on the trail.
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.
As the CleanTechnica series has been showing, electric bikes are an increasingly big business, and becoming the dominant form of motorized two-wheel transportation globally. The innovation, design, and money is flowing to electric bicycles much more than motorcycles. This is part and parcel of our increasing urbanization and demographic shifts globally. Electric bikes just make sense. They shorten commutes, they flatten hills, they make groceries and children light, they are fun, and they are clean, silent, and convenient.
With its steep seat tube angle and powerful motor, the Rotwild E+ Ultra masters even the steepest climbs. Its high centre of gravity, however, negatively effects downhill handling. The GIANT FULL E+ 0 is a very solid eMTB where what you see is what you get, although the rather slack seat tube and bulbous-belly isn’t exactly pretty. Not so with the FOCUS SAM²: With its clean silhouette it is a bike for design lovers. But only if you get by with the small integrated battery. As soon as you mount an additional battery, not only the appearance suffers, but also the handling. The BMC Trailfox AMP has minor weaknesses in the componentry, finish and downhill handling – at a price of € 12,000 we expected considerably more. The Thömus Lightrider E1 fares better, it’s no bargain either, but the handling is outstanding. It’s a pity that the bike isn’t available outside of Switzerland. Another exotic specimen is the FANTIC XF1 Integra Enduro 160. The bike from the Italian motorcycle brand can’t deny its roots, tremendously composed and capable on the descents, though it cannot keep up with the competition when going back up – the 180 mm version of the Fantic is significantly better overall.
E-bikes can be a useful part of cardiac rehabilitation programmes, since health professionals will often recommend a stationary bike be used in the early stages of these. Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programmes can reduce deaths in people with coronary heart disease by around 27%; and a patient may feel safer progressing from stationary bikes to e-bikes. They require less cardiac exertion for those who have experienced heart problems.
While the first functional battery was developed in the year 1800 by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, a practical battery would not be seen for several decades yet. By the end of the 19th century, practical and portable batteries were more widely available, this finally freeing the electric motor to be used in a wide new array of applications. It might come as a surprise, but the electric motor, battery, and a bicycle were first paired as far back as the 1890s. It would be approximately 100 years later that electric bicycle development finally entered the mainstream, but the technology and concept behind the electric bike were all in place generations ago.
The Men's Tarmac doesn't do one thing well, it does everything exceptionally—which is why it's been ridden to victory in all three Grand Tours. The new Tarmac's advanced materials and aerodynamic design add a modern edge to the lively character of a classic race bike, while its Rider-First Engineered™ design ensures that the Tarmac sprints, corners, and descends with uniform excellence across every size.
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.
You should be extra aware about your local regulations as in many countries an L1e-A certified bike needs to be registered and insured (be sure to consult your local laws and rules) and with registration comes the security that the bike can be tracked if it is stolen or misplaced. This approval that we have received is European Union wide and even those countries that are not part of the EU but rather EEA do adopt similar regulations in order to keep the market common but you will need to consult with your authorities. We will detail more about the registration process in an upcoming blog post but if you have any questions you can email us and we will respond in kind.
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.
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.
Like the Bolt, the GM bikes are very much urban-oriented, which as the ongoing CleanTechnica series shows is a strong sweet spot for electric two-wheelers. One thing that leaps out of its contest page is part of its vision for the bike: “Zero crashes.” As a recent CleanTechnica article pointed out, there have been a growing number of injuries and some fatalities associated with electric bikes globally. What GM means by ‘zero crashes’ is unknown, but perhaps it’s more than just an interesting throwaway line in marketing.
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 good hardtail can be your answer to both the perfect trail bike and the perfect on-road bike. Their lighter weight also means a faster ride off-road. Haibike offers a full range of 27.5 and 29er wheel size bikes for trails and cross riding. The XDURO and SDURO lines mean a selection of drive systems and a range of power that only Haibike offers.
Motorcycle manufacturer KTM has long produced bicycles too, but it is in the e-MTB category that the brand’s heritage is really employed. Motocross fans and riders looking to get into e-MTB riding will appreciate KTM’s decision to use a ‘precise’ 29er front wheel and ‘traction rich’ 27.5-Plus rear wheel (MX bikes also feature different front/rear wheel sizing), an approach some other manufacturers have also adopted (e.g. Canyon). The bike is adorned with a solid build kit including e-MTB-specific parts like SRAM’s EX1 drivetrain.
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.
The downhill performance is our most highly weighted rating metric because we feel that the most important element of an e-bike is how well it performs out on the trail, especially when bombing down the hill. Each tester rode every bike numerous times and formulated their own opinions of each model, considering how factors like the component spec, geometry, and frame design play a role in its downhill performance. All of the e-bikes we tested were fun to ride, way more fun than any of our non e-bike riding test team ever expected, but they all had a different demeanor and trail manners. To test this, we rode the bikes downhill, a lot, and took them down a variety of terrain, from fast and flowing open trails to tight low-speed technical, and everything in between.
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.
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Prodeco V5 Phantom X2 8 Speed Folding Electric Bicycle is constructed and tested in the USA. Travelling on a bike is sometimes very comfortable to get some fresh air. This bike is the one that is designed by keeping your needs in mind. It allows you to fold the bike in a compact form and can carry it in the office, basements, flats, etc. The Prodeco V5 Phantom X2 bicycle has avid BB7 disc brakes, 500-watt motor, 12Ah battery, and rigid frame. The manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on the frame and 2 years on components.
French brand Moustache doesn't take itself too seriously – which shouldn't come as much of a surprise when talking about a brand named after an item of facial hair – but they certainly don’t mess around when it comes to e-bikes. The Samedi 27 Trail is a highly acclaimed steed that comes in a range of price points, but the top-of-the range, carbon-fibre Trail 11, really steals the show. At a snip under £8k, this zippy trail bike features a proprietary (to Moustache) rear shock and carbon rims, both designed specifically for e-MTB. The full carbon frame, with its sleek Bosch PowerPack battery integration, is a work of art.
Controllers for brushless motors: E-bikes require high initial torque and therefore models that use brushless motors typically have Hall sensor commutation for speed and angle measurement. An electronic controller provides assistance as a function of the sensor inputs, the vehicle speed and the required force. The controllers generally allow input by means of potentiometer or Hall Effect twist grip (or thumb-operated lever throttle), closed-loop speed control for precise speed regulation, protection logic for over-voltage, over-current and thermal protection. Bikes with a pedal assist function typically have a disc on the crank shaft featuring a ring of magnets coupled with a Hall sensor giving rise to a series of pulses, the frequency of which is proportional to pedaling speed. The controller uses pulse width modulation to regulate the power to the motor. Sometimes support is provided for regenerative braking but infrequent braking and the low mass of bicycles limits recovered energy. An implementation is described in an application note for a 200 W, 24 V Brushless DC (BLDC) motor.