If you haven’t ridden or even seen a modern eMTB, here is what I have discovered. They are sturdy rigs that come standard with quality mountain bike components including beefy forks and rear suspension systems, strong disk brakes, and a reliable drivetrain. They are heavy but not that far out of the old downhill bike weight class. The distinguishing “e” features are the electric motor at the bottom bracket (some have hub motors), the battery pack, and the handlebar-mounted computer that controls the system. They have adjustable assist modes: off, low (barely helps), medium, and the battery-draining high mode. When everything is put together, they are something to behold.
Here is your experience amplifier: Spectral:ON gives you more trails per hour. The RockShox Yari RC suspension fork offers the steering precision and rigidity you need for e-biking with its 35 mm thick stanchions, the RockShox Deluxe R shock absorbs at the rear of any obstacle. For the wheels you can rely on the DT Swiss H1900 Spline wheels with reinforced hubs, freewheel bodies, spokes and rims, specially developed for the E-MTB. Schwalbe tires combine top traction with low rolling resistance. Magura's MT Trail Sport brakes with 203mm front and rear rotors will stop you when you need to. With Spectral:ON 6.0, your greatest adventures are yet to come.
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.
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.
Pedelecs are much like conventional bicycles in use and function — the electric motor only provides assistance, for example, when the rider is climbing or struggling against a headwind. Pedelecs are therefore especially useful for people in hilly areas where riding a bike would prove too strenuous for many to consider taking up cycling as a daily means of transport. They are also useful for riders who more generally need some assistance, e.g. for people with heart, leg muscle or knee joint issues.
Whether the terrain is flat or hilly impacts the distance you can travel, as does the weight of the bike, your own weight, the gearing available on the bike, and how much juice you give it. We suggest that a distance of 10 to 20 miles is a realistic expectation. Of course, if you're prepared to do at least some pedaling, you can extend that dramatically.
Cargo bikes and city bikes are common in the e-bike space, but until recently we haven’t seen that many performance road bikes. The Giant Road E+1 is a pedal-assist performance road bike that’s made for more than just commuting; the powerful motor can rank you up to 28mph very quickly on the highest setting so you can rip the flats, join your local group ride, or blast through the mountains with far less effort than a traditional road bike. Don't expect it to feel like a 16lb race bike when you lean it into high-speed turns, but the endurance-oriented geometry allows for an aggressive position on the bike and keeps the it nimble and agile at high speed.
As the CleanTechnica series has been showing, electric bikes are an increasingly big business, and becoming the dominant form of motorized two-wheel transportation globally. The innovation, design, and money is flowing to electric bicycles much more than motorcycles. This is part and parcel of our increasing urbanization and demographic shifts globally. Electric bikes just make sense. They shorten commutes, they flatten hills, they make groceries and children light, they are fun, and they are clean, silent, and convenient.
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...
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.
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.
Countless others have popped up since all over the world, proving that the design has been popular with consumers. However, most people don’t know where the craze started. In fact, it can all be traced back right here to Coast Cycle’s original Buzzraw, which actually started life as Coast Cycles’ Ruckus bike. The Singapore-based company quickly changed the name to Buzzraw, probably fearing Honda’s lawyers.
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.
A carbon frame shaves off several hundred grams of weight, of course. However, this is largely irrelevant when it comes to eMTBing. The two major advantages of carbon on eMTBs are, on the one hand, greater freedom in optimising the frame design and, on the other hand, increased stiffness. Thanks to carbon, smooth transitions can be achieved, better facilitating the integration of motor and battery. Unfortunately, the magical black material also has a few potential disadvantages. Carbon has poorer thermal conductivity, which means that heat is dissipated less efficiently with a fully integrated motor, and stiffer is not necessarily always better. Frames and wheels require a certain amount of flex to be comfortable and to generate enough traction through curves. Buying a carbon eMTB can currently only be justified by aesthetics rather than functionality.
Some power-on-demand only e-bikes can hardly be confused with, let alone categorised as, bicycles. For example, the Noped is a term used by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario for e-bikes which do not have pedals or in which the pedals have been removed from their motorised bicycle. These are better categorised as electric mopeds or electric motorcycles.