The box looked rough. Lots of little digs and dents. When I opened the box, the contents were very well packed. Mine did show that it took a good hit to the headset stem as the spacers where shoved and the clear tape was all bunched up and the one spacer was almost at the edge. After taking the tape off, cleaning all the tape residue off everything went together super easy. I used the included multi tool to do most of the assembly. I just needed a wrench for the peddles.
In our head to head range test, the Specialized took the win by travelling 20.6 miles and 3,455 vertical feet, 10% farther than the Trek at 18.6 miles and 3,076 vertical feet, 15% more distant than the HaiBike at 17.8 miles and 3,215 vertical feet, and 17% more than the Commencal at 17.1 miles and 3,100 vertical feet. Each of these electric mountain bikes can take you a long way out on the trail, but the Specialized uses its power the most efficiently and can keep you out to play for longer than the competition.
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.
E-bikes are classed according to the power that their electric motor can deliver and the control system, i.e., when and how the power from the motor is applied. Also the classification of e-bikes is complicated as much of the definition is due to legal reasons of what constitutes a bicycle and what constitutes a moped or motorcycle. As such, the classification of these e-bikes varies greatly across countries and local jurisdictions.
In addition to the pedal-assist feature, some e-bikes come with a throttle that engages the motor with the press of a button. These belong to a separate class of e-bike that, obviously, doesn’t offer a pure cycling experience; they’re also illegal in some municipalities. Interestingly, Benjamin says, people who aren’t already “cyclists” tend to gravitate toward throttle bikes at first, but then turn around and choose a pedal-assist for their next purchase.
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While I was waiting patiently for my 2017 model eBike to be manufactured and delivered, I came across an article in the local paper about a woman with a degenerative muscle disease who wants to take her eBike on forest service trails that are designated for mountain bikes. “What the hell?” I said, completely floored (what I actually said isn’t fit for publication). When I ordered this bike, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind that it would be illegal to ride on mountain bike trails with my new, albeit electric, mountain bike.
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.
Certainly very excited about this e-MTB. Bulls has decided to make use of the super powerful Shimano Steps E8000 motor. With a 500 wH battery and a 250 watt motor, this bike will assist you up incredibly steep hills but not burn too much of the battery. Bulls also sets this bike apart by setting it up with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting and a Deore XT drivetrain for precise and quick shifting. The other specs are about what you’d expect from a ride in this price range. Magura MT5 hydraulic disc brakes, RockShox suspension with 150mm of travel, and Rocket Ron tires on tubeless ready rims let you take on any mountain trails.
The three bikes we tested all use a different e-bike motor system, and the controls, the primary user interface, are an important element that we rated but didn't weight as heavily as some of the others. Each motor system and their associated controls are different. Our primary interest is in how user-friendly is it to interact with the system, how intuitive and ergonomic are the shifters, how good and easy to read is the display, and how easy is it to charge the battery? Each drive system also has a smartphone app that is intended to allow the user to fine-tune the motor's support settings, create custom settings, monitor battery charge and health, and a whole lot more. While we don't feel the apps are necessary for the use of any of these e-MTB's, those with an affinity for technology or personalizing your ride may be inclined to use them.
There are two basic categories of electric bike, and their uses don't offer equal crossover value. The first category is essentially a normal bicycle that has been outfitted with an electric motor. These bikes are the same size as a standard bicycle, and handle almost identically, save for the obvious benefit of added motive power thanks to a motor and battery.
Government agencies like the USDA National Forests and the Bureau of Land Management should distinguish between electric pedal-assist eBikes (Type 1) and self-propelled eBikes (Type 2). The former are still human-powered whereas the latter are fully motorized like a motorcycle. Some states like California are already recognizing the different classifications of eBikes and allowing some on trails while prohibiting others. This clear distinction should help us avoid expanding our mountain bike trails to motorcycles, or worse yet, have trails that are currently open to mountain bikes relegated to “hiking only.”
Another really cool feature on this bike is the Haibike eConnect system. I’m not sure why, but they only seem to be offering it on the 10.0. It has been available in Europe for awhile, so I imagine we’ll see an upgrade for the other Haibikes sometime this year. eConnect offers riders a way to prevent theft on their bikes, track rides, and alert an emergency contact if it detects a crash.
The final appearance of both the FullSeven and the Yamaha PW-X on the countdown. This top notch 27.5″ wheeled shred sled is another perfect fire road rider for the intermediate rider looking to step their game up. One thing I didn’t mention before but I wanted to let you all know is that I think the FullSeven geometry this year allows the bikes to be more accessible to riders of all sizes. Traditionally, most companies offer one or two options for female riders. Haibike does offer the FullLife models, but the FullSeven series by and large offers better components and a very similar geometry. I think that’s great.
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.
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If you’re looking for even more performance and an even more refined bike, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Specialized. Their bike embodies the company slogan “Innovate or die” in a perfect way and is full of smart solutions. Many of them, such as the specially developed app for tuning the motor, the integration of the battery, and the small remote lever for selecting the support level, are obvious. Some, on the other hand, only become clear when you take a closer look – such as the Autosag valve on the shock for a simplified setup process, or the omission of a spoke magnet. The Levo also won us over with its outstanding riding characteristics, obviously. It rides comfortably, climbs quickly and efficiently, and has exactly the right mix of agility and stability. It’s the ultimate machine that promises to bring a huge smile to every rider’s face after just a few metres on board – no matter whether beginner or a pro. The Specialized Turbo Levo S-Works Carbon is currently the eMTB offering the best overall package, and thus the deserved Best in Test! The best eMTB of the 2018 season!
I have been mountain biking since the late 1980s, when all I could afford was an entry-level Bridgestone MB-5 on my strapped college budget. Over the years, I’ve explored up and down the mountains of Washington and Oregon in search of the best singletrack. The bikes changed but our passion ebbed not. When I co-founded Trails.com in the late 1990s, mountain biking was still one of my top outdoor pursuits. Our employees were outdoors nuts as well and biking was simply a part of life.
You should be extra aware about your local regulations as in many countries an L1e-A certified bike needs to be registered and insured (be sure to consult your local laws and rules) and with registration comes the security that the bike can be tracked if it is stolen or misplaced. This approval that we have received is European Union wide and even those countries that are not part of the EU but rather EEA do adopt similar regulations in order to keep the market common but you will need to consult with your authorities. We will detail more about the registration process in an upcoming blog post but if you have any questions you can email us and we will respond in kind.
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.
Torque sensors and power controls were developed in the late 1990s. For example, Takada Yutky of Japan filed a patent in 1997 for such a device. In 1992 Vector Services Limited offered and sold an e-bike dubbed Zike. The bicycle included NiCd batteries that were built into a frame member and included an 850 g permanent-magnet motor. Despite the Zike, in 1992 hardly any commercial e-bikes were available.