Since the pedal assist doesn’t engage while coasting, climbing is where this bike really shines. We tested the bike on southern California’s fire roads, undulating traverses, and on some very steep, rocky, loose, and technical trails—the kind of stuff even the most skilled and fit riders would normally find themselves hiking up—and on the Turbo Levo we were able to ride all of it, and have a blast doing so.
The Spectral:ON 7.0 helps you to try new ways, to shift boundaries and to sit in the saddle more often. The Enduro configuration with rigid RockShox Lyrik RC suspension fork and RockShox Deluxe R shocks tames the roughest trails. The E-MTB-specific DT Swiss H1700 Spline wheels are fitted with robust Maxxis Minion tyres that offer maximum grip and control downhill. The Shimano Zee brakes from the freeride sector with 200 mm large brake discs at the front and rear are very powerful - there is no more control and safety in this class. The 165 mm short cranks guarantee the best possible ground clearance. The Kind Shock Lev Integra SI Vario seat post can be lowered at the push of a button when it gets steep. All in all, the Spectral:ON 7.0 is your ticket to trails that otherwise might not have been accessible.
Commencal has only just recently entered the electric mountain bike market, and their Meta Power Race 650B+ is a well designed and hard-charging contender, the winner of our Top Pick for Aggressive Riders Award. Commencal has integrated the Shimano Steps E8000 pedal assist motor into their proven Meta frame design, creating a bike that climbs well and also charges downhill. This bike comes to life at speed downhill thanks to a progressive long and slack geometry and a great component spec which is highlighted by a stout Rock Shox Lyrik fork and a plush Super Deluxe Coil rear shock. The Meta Power Race took top honors for its climbing performance, mostly due to the Shimano Steps E8000's consistent power output and extended power band, and testers also loved its e-bike controls, with an ergonomic shifter, best-in-test digital display, and user-friendly charging connection.
In full-electric mode, the Pedego City Commuter Classic Electric Bike is capable of moving at up to 20 mph for anywhere from 15 to 30 miles. There are two further options: power-assisted pedaling or fully "unplugged” riding. Renowned Shimano gears are easy to select. Seldom do we come across a product so universally praised by owners. It's not cheap, but comments like "Everything I hoped for!" and "Outstanding!" tell us that it's money well spent.
The time or distance an electric bike battery will run between chargings is impossible to judge with much accuracy. There are too many variables: terrain, speed, rider weight, bike load (shopping, kids, luggage), and more. However, we can make a few generalizations about an e-bike’s recharge time and overall working life. These generalizations should be used for comparison purposes only.
All the models we tested are full suspension all mountain/trail bike models with relatively similar amounts of suspension travel, geometry, and wheel/tire size. The addition of a large battery and a small motor adds significant weight to an e-bike and they generally weigh in the neighborhood of 50 lbs, approximately 20 lbs heavier than non-e-bikes, and the massive weight of these bikes makes them more difficult to ride without the support of the pedal assist motor.
There are various kinds and classifications of electric bikes on the market, but the more common type is the Class 1, or pedal assist, bikes which have motor units that are activated by pedaling and are limited to lower speeds. In the US, Class 1 electric bikes, the type tested and reviewed here, are limited to a top speed of 20 mph and their motors are designed with a speed governor to regulate this. These types of e-bikes resemble modern mountain bikes, but they have significant battery packs and small motor units integrated onto and into the frame design. The e-MTB pedal-assist motor is typically built around the bottom bracket and provides varying levels of pedaling "support" directly into the drivetrain while the cranks are turning. Most drive unit systems offer several support settings that provide pedal assistance between 25% and 100% of the user's pedaling input.