With mountain bikes already sporting hefty price tags, the cost of adding an electric motor might be enough to send the value-conscious rider's head spinning. Fear not! We created the table below to help you sort through which bike has the best performance to price ratio. Bikes that fall lower and further to the right, such as the Top Pick winning Commencal Meta Power Race 650B+ and the Haibike XDURO AllMtn 8.0 represent a relatively great value.
With its steep seat tube angle and powerful motor, the Rotwild E+ Ultra masters even the steepest climbs. Its high centre of gravity, however, negatively effects downhill handling. The GIANT FULL E+ 0 is a very solid eMTB where what you see is what you get, although the rather slack seat tube and bulbous-belly isn’t exactly pretty. Not so with the FOCUS SAM²: With its clean silhouette it is a bike for design lovers. But only if you get by with the small integrated battery. As soon as you mount an additional battery, not only the appearance suffers, but also the handling. The BMC Trailfox AMP has minor weaknesses in the componentry, finish and downhill handling – at a price of € 12,000 we expected considerably more. The Thömus Lightrider E1 fares better, it’s no bargain either, but the handling is outstanding. It’s a pity that the bike isn’t available outside of Switzerland. Another exotic specimen is the FANTIC XF1 Integra Enduro 160. The bike from the Italian motorcycle brand can’t deny its roots, tremendously composed and capable on the descents, though it cannot keep up with the competition when going back up – the 180 mm version of the Fantic is significantly better overall.
Without a doubt, Commencal has a valued reputation in the bike world. And with their newest electric mountain bike slated for release in September of 2018, this 2019 model is surely one we had to highlight while we could. Simply put, it’s one of the best options out there for the price point thanks in part to its E8000 system, lightweight body, and ergonomic feel. Additionally, a reinforced frame ensures uncompromising stiffness and accuracy while atop the saddle, Shimano XT brakes stop the large 29-inch wheels without issue, and a 12-speed SRAM Eagle transmission offers up the perfect gear in just about any off-road situation.
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.
The Shiv is a truly triathlon-specific bike. Not only have the frameset and integrated cockpit been honed in our Win Tunnel, shaping its crosswind-optimized design, but we've also worked to keep the athlete as aero as possible. That's why we created an integrated hydration bladder and hid it in the frame, while also providing built-in storage for food and tools. This way, there's no need to break the aero tuck to drink or eat.
On a trip to Palo Alto last year, we had the chance to ride Specialized’s pedal-assisted Turbo Vado and the model is still our favorite ebike on the market. Utilizing a 350-watt motor and 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, the Turbo Vado is capable of traveling a whopping 80 miles on a single charge, which should be more than enough for any daily commute with plenty of miles left over.
This isn't just the lightest mountain bike frame we've ever made, it's our lightest frame—period. The Men's Epic Hardtail was redesigned from the ground-up to give you an unparalleled performance advantage on the XC track. It flies up hills with ease, sends descents with confidence, and wastes nary a watt. Consider it a cross country revolution, and remember, this is going to be epic.
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.
Because e-bikes are capable of greater speeds for longer periods of time than standard bikes, you want extra control. Wider tires provide traction and some bump absorption with little penalty. You also want strong brakes to slow you (and all that extra weight) easily. It's worth looking at the quality of the brakes and investing in bikes with better ones if you can.
Before this test we thought more travel on an e-bike would obviously be better. After all, with the motor flattening out the climbs, why not have the extra suspension firepower to smooth out the descents? Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But in the case of the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert, the extra travel and weight make the bike less effective and less engaging on all but full-on downhill tracks. And if that’s your bread and butter, the Kenevo could well be the perfect topping. Here in the UK though, the Vitus proved more versatile, just as capable and way better value.
The Men's Tarmac doesn't do one thing well, it does everything exceptionally—which is why it's been ridden to victory in all three Grand Tours. The new Tarmac's advanced materials and aerodynamic design add a modern edge to the lively character of a classic race bike, while its Rider-First Engineered™ design ensures that the Tarmac sprints, corners, and descends with uniform excellence across every size.
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.
But if you’re coming back from injury, looking to ride more miles in a shorter period of time, or just ride further without getting exhausted, then the Turbo Levo is just amazing. This bike is the great equalizer. Some may see that as a negative, lowering the sport’s barrier to entry, but we think more people on bikes can only be a good thing. It will make returning to mountain biking after the birth of a child, an injury, or a stressful period at work much easier. Life happens, the electric assist bikes like this Turbo Levo will help more people ride more often.
Last year, the Trek Powerfly 9 LT was one of the only ebikes with geometry and handling that came close to a modern enduro bike. For 2018, Trek has built on that winning formula with new frame. It’s lowered the battery in the downtube, while adding a stiffer Fox 36 fork, more powerful SRAM RE brakes and a stronger Bontrager wheelset. All welcome improvements to a really capable bike. The price has also crept up to reflect the changes. The biggest transformation however, is that Rocky Mountain has raised the ebike bar to a new high with the Altitude Powerplay.
“Rather than bolt on a bulky off-the-shelf system, we struck out on our own to redefine the category. The Powerplay system is the result of designing an electric drive for the suspension and geometry needs of proper mountain bikes; in fact, the geometry and pivot points of the Altitude Powerplay are identical to those of the new Altitude. In our opinion this is the first electric bike that actually rides like a mountain bike should.”
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.
Like the Bolt, the GM bikes are very much urban-oriented, which as the ongoing CleanTechnica series shows is a strong sweet spot for electric two-wheelers. One thing that leaps out of its contest page is part of its vision for the bike: “Zero crashes.” As a recent CleanTechnica article pointed out, there have been a growing number of injuries and some fatalities associated with electric bikes globally. What GM means by ‘zero crashes’ is unknown, but perhaps it’s more than just an interesting throwaway line in marketing.
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.