“I’d like a Bosch bike!” This is what bicycle dealers hear several times a day from new customers – and it’s the biggest mistake you can make when buying an ebike. Sure, the motor is important. However, you don’t buy a car just because of its engine. If you want to be happy with your eMTB in the long term, you have to consider a bike as an overall concept. This group test will help you to find out which bike is best for which type of rider, terrain, and riding style. The motors of the big names in the industry all work extremely well, but differ in their purpose and functionality.
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.
The second type of electric bike is a much smaller, often foldable unit designed for convenient urban (or suburban) commuting and for easy storage in minimal space. These compact electric bikes are perfect for trips of a few miles, and many are small and lightweight enough to be carried onto trains or buses, allowing their rider to make use of multiple types of transportation in a single trip, and to store their bike in a closet or even under a desk at work, at school, or at home.
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.
While we’re on this thread, I want to go ahead and throw in the most tricked-out shred sled in the AllMtn line. Haibike spared no expense wit the XDURO AllMtn 10.0. It’s a premium bike, and here is why. A Fox Factory 34 front suspension fork with 150mm of travel and Kashima coating starts things off. That’s followed by a 20-speed drivetrain brought to you by Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus. Then you’ve got DT Swiss rims, KS LEV-DX dropper seatpost, Magura MT7 HD brakes, and a Yamaha PW-X motor. ‘Nuff. Said.
In a friction drive motor, a small, solid wheel rotates against the side of the tire in order to drive it. The first motorcycles used the same concept, with a motor mounted above the front wheel. The problem is that the drive rubs at the side of the tire. It's inefficient, and it quickly wears the sidewall away. Tires need to be replaced every couple hundred miles. For this reason, you'll seldom see electric bikes with this type of drive anymore.
E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter ones can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph), depending on local laws, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h (28 mph). In some markets, such as Germany as of 2013, they are gaining in popularity and taking some market share away from conventional bicycles, while in others, such as China as of 2010, they are replacing fossil fuel-powered mopeds and small motorcycles.