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.
In our view, e-bikes are approaching a crossroads in concept and design. Heading off in one direction are longer travel, enduro-style e-bikes, which are largely designed for cruising up and then blasting back down. Plotting a slightly different course is the idea of a lightweight model that rides much more like a normal mountain bike, but requires more work from the rider. Of the two approaches, both have their benefits, but it’s the latter that gets us the most excited. Once the overall weight falls into the 16-17kg range (the lightest bikes are currently19-20kg) it’s going to be really hard to tell the difference between an e-bike and a regular trail bike on the descents and the flat, but you get the benefit of a gentle push up the climbs.
E-bikes remain a subject of controversy in mountain biking circles. You may not be able to take one on your favorite singletrack right now, as most non-motorized trails prohibit them. However, things have been tilting in a more permissive direction. Most recently, IMBA, the sport’s largest public advocacy group, shifted its stance to support allowing access for some pedal-assist e-bikes (those that top out at 20 mph) on some trails. With every major manufacturer making e-mountain bikes, more access is likely only a matter of time. “In a few years, people will realize that electric mountain bikes have no more trail impact than a regular mountain bike,” Benjamin says.
After a couple years of strong antibiotics, a strict diet, and lots of rest, I was getting better so I thought I would try biking again. My son Andrew took me for a modest city ride and my Lyme symptoms spiked for three solid weeks – malaise, headaches, and weakness returned. I realized that I would probably never ride bikes again. After talking with my doctor and doing some research, I found that easy to moderate exercise can be beneficial, but strenuous activity can be detrimental. With mountain biking it is difficult to avoid exertion except with lift-assist or shuttles to trails with uninterrupted descents. Typical mountain bike rides with even slight hills like my city ride would probably send me into a tailspin again.
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.
Update: Well I've had an opportunity to take the bike on some longer trips now 10 miles back and forth a few times, and the bike performed well, so I am raising my rating to 4 stars. I got a larger seat and raised the angle of the handle bars and it is more comfortable to ride than it was, but still a bit awkward for someone of my size. I've been leaving the bike charging all the time I'm not using it and this seemed to make a big difference with the indicator light not coming on as soon, and the biggest difference is made by me riding the bike the way it was meant to be ridden, ie: pedaling, I was treating it more like a scooter and just staying on the throttle before, but if you use it as a peddle assist bike, the way it's meant to be ridden it performs quite well. The bike is not great going up hills and you still have to work but it does make hills a lot easier. It is also frustrating not having more gears, you basically just leave the bike in 6 gear all the time, and peddle when you can ie: when your slow enough you can peddle. I have no problem with the weight of the bike and it is solid and well built and it will work for my purposes, fortunately the town I live in is only about 5 miles end to end so I don't need the bike to be able to go super long distances, and fortunately I don't mind peddling some, so I don't mind the bike being a peddle assist bike and not a more scooter type. One other gripe I do have is the bike does not have the standard holes to mount a back rack to, one of the main reasons I got this bike was to carry groceries and stuff more easily, so I'm disappointed that it will be difficult for me to mount a rack to, but I'm sure a front basket would work. Anyway, 4 stars, I like it, the price is great, it's well constructed, you will have a hard time finding an electric bike of this quality at this price, but it is not without a little sacrifice.
Bosch’s flagship mountain bike system uses a mini drive ring with internal gearing to send its power to the drivetrain. There’s some resistance in the system over 25km/h, but when you first press down on the pedals there’s an impressive surge of power, and it offers good support over a wide cadence range. Its size has an impact on the width of the cranks (the Q-factor) as well as the chainstay length of the frame, and it’s not the lightest system on the market at 4kg for the motor. On the other hand, Bosch is the most established player on the market, and its system has proven itself over many years.
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.
Alright guys and gals, it’s 2018 and there are more choices for electric mountain bikes than ever before. Nearly every major brand has significantly expanded their lineups. This means that you’ll get better bikes at better price points. Still not sure if you should upgrade to an electric mountain bike? It’s the 21st century people! As the crew at Bulls says, “it’s not cheating, it’s just more fun.” The point of these bikes is not ruin other people’s fun by going at unsafe speeds, it’s to make your ride easier and your day last longer! Check out our top 10 electric mountain bikes for 2018 to see which bikes will get you out on the trails for thousands of miles.
Time to give some love to my dudes and dudettes over at Bulls bikes. The Bulls E-Stream Evo AM 4 27.5+ (phew, out of breath after saying that one) is an incredible electric bike for the price point. I was going to put the step down from this bike on the list, (2018 Bulls E-Stream Evo AM 3 27.5+) but I realized that this bike is only $400 dollars more. The upgrades you get for that 400 bucks are pretty remarkable.
There are individuals who claim to have lost considerable amounts of weight by using an electric bike. A recent prospective cohort study however found that people using e-bikes have a higher BMI. By making the biking terrain less of an issue, people who wouldn't otherwise consider biking can use the electric assistance when needed and otherwise pedal as they are able. This means people of lower fitness levels or who haven't cycled in many years can start enjoying the many health benefits E-bikes have to offer. 
Whether you're riding in the backcountry or racing enduro, you need a bike that's capable and efficient. After all, to ride 'all mountain' necessitates riding the entire mountain. That's why our Enduro line of all mountain bikes, both in 650b and 29er options, come equipped with loads of travel, lightweight constructions, and geometries that can handle themselves on anything from downhill tracks to stomach-wrenching climbs.
Another type of electric assist motor, often referred to as the mid-drive system, is increasing in popularity. With this system, the electric motor is not built into the wheel but is usually mounted near (often under) the bottom bracket shell. In more typical configurations, a cog or wheel on the motor drives a belt or chain that engages with a pulley or sprocket fixed to one of the arms of the bicycle's crankset. Thus the propulsion is provided at the pedals rather than at the wheel, being eventually applied to the wheel via the bicycle's standard drive train.
For an overview of Stark Drive Electric Bike, its features and our story click above. Our passion for biking and our determination to take electric bikes mainstream have driven us to create the world’s most affordable electric bike. As technology improves, so will Stark Drive with the caveat that we will always offer the most affordable electric bikes in the world.
I always felt GM should have taken a similar strategy as IBM did. Get rid of the manufacturing and focus on the service. In IBM’s case, it was a logical choice. But for a carmaker, switching to service only is foreign territory. GM has a lot of might in its manufacturing power and its global presence, now streamlined to a few brands. However, most of its sales are still gasoline SUVs, CUVs, and pickup trucks, as with other major OEMs. How much is it really focusing on its electric mobility path, including the addition of folding electric bicycles?
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.