As a counterbalance to the cute utilitarian bikes above, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp is a big, bad, and burly mountain bike. With 27.5-inch wheels, massive 2.8-inch tires, 150mm of travel in the front and 135mm of travel in the rear this bike is made to shred. The Specialized 1.3 Rx Trail-Tuned motor is designed specifically for off-road riding and features a double freehweel design that disengages the gear box at top speed to reduce friction while ripping downhill. The low center of gravity and stout parts make this one a relatively nimble handler that is ready for the rowdiest downhills.
eMTBs appeal to a very broad audience, so in practice, the same model is used in very different ways. A final rating according to school grades does not do justice to the individual character of the bikes and doesn’t provide a sufficient system of orientation for new buyers (which is exactly what we aim to do). For this reason, there is a separate article for each bike in the group test; in each article we detail the most important points, informing you comprehensively about the bike’s strengths and weaknesses and the ideal type of riding it is suited for. We also have five-star ratings, which provide condensed snippets of information about the character of the bike for a quick and easy overview.
Wide tyres are an absolute must on an eMTB. They offer more traction, provide extra comfort, increase stability, and they simply look cooler. Tyres with a width of 2.5″ – 2.8″ have proven to be the ideal size. The performance of the MAXXIS Minion tyres is particularly impressive; they provide the best grip and stability. To get the best performance, tyres should be ridden at approx. 1.2 – 1.6 bar air pressure.
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.
Direct-sales German brand Canyon’s entry into the e-MTB market came with a bang. The Spectral:ON is a stunning bike with a superb build kit, decent geometry and respectable weight (21.2KG listed weight). As with anything Canyon, it’s hard to find better value for money. The entry-level 6.0 is down there with the lowest-cost serious e-MTBs available, yet its build kit, including RockShox Yari fork, Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres and Shimano Deore XT derailleur, ensures the bike punches well above its price.
Scott’s top-rung e-MTB is one of the best-looking e-bikes available. Not only that, it’s also kitted out with outstanding components, including Shimano Di2 electronic shifting and Scott’s proprietary TwinLoc remote suspension mode shifter (open/trail/lockout). Shimano's Steps motor will get you reliably up to speed along the varied trails this bike is made for, while its powerful Zee brakes will slow you down again. Its quality can't be disputed. Other price points available.
What could very well be the newest frontier of all-electric transportation, electric mountain bikes are by no means non-confrontational. On the contrary, they’re also hailed as great power assisted means to conquer those tough to nearly impossible trails you’ve been trying effortlessly to tackle. Which, after all, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless, of course, you’re a die-hard analog fan who only believes those with true grit and dedication should be attempting the most impossible of backcountry trails.
The environmental effects involved in recharging the batteries can of course be reduced. The small size of the battery pack on an e-bike, relative to the larger pack used in an electric car, makes them very good candidates for charging via solar power or other renewable energy resources. Sanyo capitalized on this benefit when it set up "solar parking lots", in which e-bike riders can charge their vehicles while parked under photovoltaic panels.
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.