When looking for the perfect ebike, there are a lot of things to consider. There’s price, weight, capabilities, performance and something that’s hard to quantify: feel. That’s a combination of factors that is affected by the geometry of the bike, its materials, components and other nuances. I took a ride on the crowd-funded Carbo folding bike this week and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as comfortable on a folding bike in the city as I did on this extremely light, yet powerful ebike.
In the 1890s, electric bicycles were documented within various U.S. patents. For example, on 31 December 1895, Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. Patent 552,271 for a battery-powered bicycle with "6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel". There were no gears and the motor could draw up to 100 amperes (A) from a 10-volt battery.
“People are buying electric bicycles as a way to reduce car trips,” Benjamin says. The data backs him up: 28 percent of survey respondents said they bought an e-bike specifically to replace driving a car. And many other reasons buyers listed for wanting an e-bike—including carrying cargo and kids, avoiding parking and traffic, and environmental concerns—also indicate a desire to get out from behind the wheel. Plus, you don’t need to change clothes or clean up when you arrive at your destination, because you don’t have to work up as much of a sweat.
I used to mountain bike quite a lot. I was a fairly strong 17 stone (238lb) weightlifter and rode pretty fast but didn't go in for big air or jumps. Nevertheless I used to break bikes at a ridiculous rate. I broke the bottom bracket off a Marin titanium frame, I broke the bottom bracket off of a Roberts hand built mountain bike. I snapped 2 pairs of handlebars, broke cranks, pedals, chains, wheels, spokes and forks etc etc.
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.
Remember the freedom, fun, and sense of accomplishment that your first bike gave you? Well, these days, kids can share that excitement at even earlier age with our collection of kids' bikes and equipment. From toddler-friendly walk bikes to pint-sized helmets, we have everything you need to get your little ones away from the screen and out on their bikes.
As my boys were growing up in the 2000s, we would bike together in local parks and I always dreamed of taking them on my favorite big rides when they reached their teenage years. But in 2012 I started getting sick and I didn’t know why. Two years later, after countless doctors visits, tests, and head scratching, I received some bad news from my doctor: somewhere in my adventures, I had contracted Lyme Disease. My life has never been the same.
Descents on such a heavy bike are less fun. Getting the rear wheel off the ground on short notice, or whipping it around turns is very hard. I like to use my rear tire and brakes to steer—locking the brakes in tight corners at speed, then letting off and pedaling out. On very loose and exposed trails, using that approach on the Turbo Levo doesn't work, once the rear starts to loose traction, it’s just all over. Perhaps this could be combated with lower rear tire pressures; we were running 20 PSI.
Come for the price, stay for the awesome. The August Live! LS is one of the lower-cost e-bikes you’ll find. What it lacks is gadgets it makes up for in flare and retains just what you need. You won't find a digital display or integrated lights, Instead you get trendy, chopper-style handlebars, a sweet paint job, and a 250 watt motor that is more than capable of tackling steep hills without a second thought. That said, this bike just begs to be ridden on casual cruises down the boardwalk or bike path.
Mountain biking is all about having fun, right? About getting out there, enjoying the great outdoors, exercising your body and freeing your mind. So what if we told you there was a type of bike that lets you ride further, faster, and have even more fun? One that even made you LOL on the climbs? You’d still have to work for your rewards, but by assisting your efforts, it allowed you to wring every little drop of enjoyment out of your rides.
Basically, there is no reason to ride an eMTB with less than 130 mm of travel. With classic bikes, more travel usually means both less efficiency and poorer climbing characteristics, but this is not true with eMTBs – at least not up to a certain point. The best example is the Specialized Turbo Levo, which with its 135 mm of travel at the rear handles much better than most of the other, longer travel bikes in the group test. Also, eMTBs with suspension travel of 180 mm or more are often noticeably less efficient, as clearly exemplified in this test by the Haibike XDURO Nduro. It climbs a lot slower than other bikes using the same motor and the same level of assistance, an experience you will find with almost all other long-travel bikes from other manufacturers. The exception is the BULLS E-CORE EVO EN Di2: in direct comparison, it climbs a lot more efficiently, even though it also offers 180 mm of travel. The ideal compromise between uphill and downhill performance usually lies somewhere between 130 and 160 mm of travel.
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.
The Riese & Müller Load Touring HS is billed as “the ultimate minivan of e-bikes,” and it holds up to that claim. With a low center of gravity (aided by the 20-inch front and 26-inch rear wheels) the Load is easy to handle. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes add control, and front and rear suspension provide comfort. The Bosch motor offers an assist up to 275 percent of your effort until you hit 28mph, when it cuts out. The massive cargo space (with side walls) can carry and the two 500Wh batteries give you 12 hours or more of range at full power. It’s capable of toting up to 220 pounds of pets, people, and less-animate cargo. R&M also sells a double child seat for kids up to age 6 and a child-seat fastener for your youngest passengers.
Electric trikes have also been produced that conform to the e-bike legislation. These have the benefit of additional low speed stability and are often favored by people with disabilities. Cargo carrying tricycles are also gaining acceptance, with a small but growing number of couriers using them for package deliveries in city centres. Latest designs of these trikes resemble a cross-between a pedal cycle and a small van.
Sleek, powerful, and modern. If those characteristics strike a chord for you then the Bulls E-Core bike could be the pick of the litter so to speak. Each handsome yet power-infused ride is assisted by Shimano’s new 250W E-8000 eMTB motor alongside a 375Wh power pack. Thanks to this power plant, this sweet ride boasts enough juice and torque to conquer and climb even the toughest of trails. Additional features include a 180mm front RockShox Lyrik, a rear Fox Float X2 Air suspension to smooth out that descent, Di2 XT electronic shifting, and 203mm Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes.
We Can Build It. Built by hand in Pennsylvania, mostly by Harry and Alec. Custom Wheelbuilding Some people don't know that we build every one of our wheels here by hand in Pennsylvania. This lets us control each step of the process, ensuring that the spokes are uniform, straight, and undamaged, allowing us to apply spoke-prep to the spokes, oil to the nipple seats, and inspect the rims before...
Remember when riding bikes was all about having fun? So do we. After all, we're big kids at heart over here, so creating the ultimate kids' mountain bike felt more like a labor of love than a job. For the all-new Riprock, we strove to create the bike that any of us would have drooled over as a little one. And with ultra-wide tires, supple suspension, a durable frame, comfortable, confident geometry, and strong, reliable disc brakes, we'd say that the Riprock is approved for fun anywhere that it goes.
If you really want to see the future take a look at the Fazua Evation, with a battery and motor this system weighs an incredible 4.7kg! The battery only has 250wh, but at 1.3kg you could easily carry a spare in a pack. The really interesting thing about this system though, is the motor and the battery can be removed from the frame, so you really do have two bikes in one.
…but currently offer only very few advantages, such as a cleaner design and the option to mount a bottle cage in a front triangle. If you want to take a spare battery in your backpack, you will have to struggle with the larger dimensions of the integrated batteries, or you won’t have the possibility to take one with you at all. Depending on the integration, handling the integrated rechargeable battery (e.g. the on-button for Shimano-Intube) can be awkward. Also, the longer battery results in a higher centre of gravity. The fact is that there are good reasons for continuing to use a standard external battery.
There are many places in the U.S. where you can legally and responsibly ride e-MTB's, and take it from us, they are a heck of a lot of fun. Check with local land management agencies to find out where you are allowed to use an electric mountain bike before taking to the trails. One thing we do know, e-MTB's can be used on any trails that are legal for motorized use, so we took advantage of the wealth of OHV trails in the greater Lake Tahoe area for our testing purposes and had more fun doing it than any of us expected.
Controllers for brushed motors: Brushed motors are also used in e-bikes but are becoming less common due to their intrinsic lower efficiency. Controllers for brushed motors however are much simpler and cheaper due to the fact they don't require hall sensor feedback and are typically designed to be open-loop controllers. Some controllers can handle multiple voltages.