China has experienced an explosive growth of sales of non-assisted e-bikes including scooter type, with annual sales jumping from 56,000 units in 1998 to over 21 million in 2008, and reaching an estimated fleet of 120 million e-bikes in early 2010. This boom was triggered by Chinese local governments' efforts to restrict motorcycles in city centers to avoid traffic disruption and accidents. By late 2009 motorcycles are banned or restricted in over ninety major Chinese cities. Users began replacing traditional bicycles and motorcycles and e-bike became an alternative to commuting by car. Nevertheless, road safety concerns continue as around 2,500 e-bike related deaths were registered in 2007. By late 2009 ten cities had also banned or imposed restrictions on e-bikes on the same grounds as motorcycles. Among these cities were Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Changsha, Foshan, Changzhou, and Dongguang.
Mountain bikes have come a long way since the 80s. Rock Shox showed up and eventually everyone had a hardtail bike. Then came dual-suspension bikes for all sorts of riding styles. My choice was a cross-country bike so I could climb fast and descend fast without the need for big air. Brakes have gone from simple calipers, to grippy Shimano V-Brakes, to bomber hydraulic disk brakes. While all this was going on street-focused eBikes were evolving too. It should be no shock that the technologies would merge to create eMTBs. A lot of people who were part of the mountain biking revolution in the 80s are getting older and eBikes allow them to continue the sport they love later in life. Whether it’s riders dealing with health issues or injuries, or simply just getting older, the emergence of eMTBs makes total sense.
The need to develop a high-performance e mountain bike provoked the launch of the ATOM X project over three years ago. A team of experts was put together from the fields of MTB geometry, suspension and performance, advanced motor, battery and IT technologies. That is how the innovative and patented “X System” came about, which represented an integration that was both ergonomic and different. It was developed until it became the best eMTB with the best of both worlds: high performance and the most advanced electric technology. See the ATOM X e mountain bikes...
Focus manage to offer both one of the lightest all-mountain capable e-MTBs and also one of the greatest battery ranges. How do they do it? Simple. A smaller-than-most, 378Wh battery is integrated into the frame (the other bikes in this list feature a battery around 500Wh). Another, optional, 378Wh battery also attaches externally within the mainframe. It’s a novel idea, and the bike is noticeably more playful than some others in its lightweight guise.
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.
Sure, you train hard and eat right, but there’s just one thing missing—an edge. The Amira gives you two. First, there’s the performance edge you get from its FACT carbon frame and tapered head tube. The combination results in responsive handling and true get-up-and-go accelerations. Then comes the psychological edge. The feeling that, when teamed up with a lightweight, high-performance machine, there’s no limit to what you can achieve together.
I know that this topic is new and still contentious, but the community needs to be talking about it because it isn’t going away. The weather up here in Seattle is rainy and cold (no surprise there), so I haven’t ridden my new eBike except around the block to make sure it worked. I can’t wait to hit the trails (legally or illegally). Expect a follow up comparing the eMTB to my other mountain bikes both in how it performs and the feeling I get from riding it. I never thought I would be riding an eMTB, so trust me, I won’t hold back.
While GM and Tesla are getting their toes wet, or at least implying that they might, and Ducati is at the table with a serious range of electric bikes, Yamaha is the Japanese entrant to the market. But this isn’t new news. The company has sold over 2 million electric bicycles globally, as well as 4 million drive units. It is a big player in this space and has been since it started. As with Ducati, you can’t buy an electric motorcycle from the motorcycle-heavy brand, but you can power up hills on road and off with one of their motorized products.
The Brose motor puts out 250 watts nominally, and can peak up to a max of 460 watts. That’s around half what the 2016 Specialized Turbo S road bike we tested last year develops, but that bike’s much-larger motor sits in the rear hub, which would massively compromise performance on a full-suspension mountain bike like this one. Spend up to the Expert or S-Works spec Turbo Levo and you get a motor that can peak up to 530 watts.
With almost as many awards as technical features, it’s no secret why we opted to include HaiBike’s SDURO HardNice 4.0 in the list. First and foremost, this sleek aerodynamic ride doesn’t even initially come off as an electric mountain bike. That is until you experience first-hand the integrated Yamaha PW Drive Unit offering dynamic support and a top speed of 20 mph. Also, the bike features a shock-resistant skid plate that works to protect the motor from harm, and a Yamaha LED display that’s small yet robust and works to keep you informed on the bike’s status and functionality.
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.
Powered by a 250-watt Brose Centerdrive system, the Redux is capable of reaching speeds of up to 28 mph, which comes in handy when dodging traffic. Its 36-volt lithium-ion battery provides enough juice to give the bike a range of up to 80 miles between recharges, making it a great option for daily commuters. Raleigh even outfitted the bike with wide tires which provide stability and traction, even when the road gets wet. Other key features include a 10-speed Shimano crankset and shifters and a built-in LCD screen that displays all the usual information.
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.
This is a question the designers and engineers of the FOCUS and BULLS bikes of this group test asked themselves. Instead of speccing them with the standard 500 Wh batteries, both have developed a sophisticated alternative. The idea: instead of riding around with unnecessarily large batteries and unnecessary weight on short tours, they integrated a smaller 375 Wh or 378 Wh battery into the bike. If you don’t have enough power for long loops, you can double the range of both bikes with an additional battery for up to a full 750 Wh. While the second battery is mounted in the front triangle of the FOCUS, it disappears sideways in the downtube of the BULLS. In practice, you’ll need the second battery relatively often with both bikes, and in either case, you should consider the additional € 499 investment in a second battery pack when you buy the bike.
When did mountain biking get so uptight? As we see it, fun is a right, and no matter where or when you're riding, it should always be at the heart of each pedal stroke. So whether you're on singletrack, sand, or snow, the Fatboy will deliver a good time. It has tire clearance for up to five inches, a lightweight M4 aluminum frame, snappy handling, and rack mounts that make it adventure-ready, the question is, 'what's taken you so long?'
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.
The frame itself incorporates a series of mounts allowing you to easily trick-out the Road E+1 with a rack, fenders, or panniers to more aptly meet your touring requirements. Again, most touring purists will certainly scoff at the mere notion of pedal-assistance, however, individuals looking for more of a guided tour and less of a tour de force will swoon over the Road E+1.