Fast and fun on the trail, the SDURO HardNine handles rough terrain with ease, while its large tires roll over most obstacles without missing a beat. The pedal assist makes for quick, energy-saving climbing and the bike descends surprisingly well, too. Its front suspension provides a nice level of cushion on bumpy trails and while we missed having a full-suspension on this model, that would have added additional weight and costs.
As my boys were growing up in the 2000s, we would bike together in local parks and I always dreamed of taking them on my favorite big rides when they reached their teenage years. But in 2012 I started getting sick and I didn’t know why. Two years later, after countless doctors visits, tests, and head scratching, I received some bad news from my doctor: somewhere in my adventures, I had contracted Lyme Disease. My life has never been the same.
On the descents, the Commencal felt somewhat one-dimensional, great when up to speed, but with sluggish and less nimble handling hindering its performance in tighter, low-speed technical sections of trail. The Meta Power Race also had the shortest distance range in our head to head testing, another factor which kept this contender off the top step of the podium. That being said, this e-bike was built for charging, no pun intended, so if you're an aggressive rider who lives for eye-watering descents, then this might be the e-MTB for you. Read the full review to find out more about the Commencal Meta Power Race 650B+.
After doing some research, I found that the article was correct: the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management both prohibit eBikes on their trails that allow mountain bikes. In the eyes of these national agencies, eBikes are “motor vehicles” and lumped in with motorcycles, ATVs, and even off-road vehicles like Jeeps. I have been riding knobby-tired motorcycles since I was in third grade and can clearly state that pedal-assist eMTBs and “dirt bikes” are completely different animals.
Basically, there is no reason to ride an eMTB with less than 130 mm of travel. With classic bikes, more travel usually means both less efficiency and poorer climbing characteristics, but this is not true with eMTBs – at least not up to a certain point. The best example is the Specialized Turbo Levo, which with its 135 mm of travel at the rear handles much better than most of the other, longer travel bikes in the group test. Also, eMTBs with suspension travel of 180 mm or more are often noticeably less efficient, as clearly exemplified in this test by the Haibike XDURO Nduro. It climbs a lot slower than other bikes using the same motor and the same level of assistance, an experience you will find with almost all other long-travel bikes from other manufacturers. The exception is the BULLS E-CORE EVO EN Di2: in direct comparison, it climbs a lot more efficiently, even though it also offers 180 mm of travel. The ideal compromise between uphill and downhill performance usually lies somewhere between 130 and 160 mm of travel.
Just recently my son came to me with this idea of getting an eBike so we could ride together again. He shared some YouTube videos of guys riding these new bikes on technical terrain I dreamed of doing again. I was intrigued enough to test ride an eBike at a bike shop near my home. The salesperson took me out for a long hilly spin on a dual-suspension demo bike and I was impressed. The motor is adjustable from barely noticeable to seriously helping on the uphills. It doesn’t propel a rider like a motorcycle does, instead it just gives a boost to the rider’s normal pedaling of the bike. This assist mode can be turned off too.
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.
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.