Finally, if you’ve been waiting for the electric mountain bike to come of age, we’re happy to report that just happened. The combination of the 27.5+ platform with long-lasting batteries, and the remarkably smooth and elegant motor, all integrated into one sharp-looking design, and augmented by user-friendly software has finally delivered a slick, no-compromises product that you’ll want to own. I know we do, the entire IndefinitelyWild team is fighting over who gets to borrow it next.
However, if your friends are riding a bigger single battery pack, you’ll have to either choose to cut the ride short or conserve battery life while they run in turbo. If your local rides are short, fast blasts but you want to benefit from the ability to take on longer tours, the Sam2 could be for you. We love the Pro version, but it’s also available at a range of price points.
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.
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.
While this set off some excitement among Tesla watchers who also love two-wheelers, it’s much more likely that any e-bike that emerges will be a limited production run, Tesla-branded bike built with one of many great e-bike companies in California. Like the Tesla carbon-fiber surfboard or the Boring Company Flamethrower, it would provide excellent press, be offered at a high price point, sell instantly and be even more good marketing for Tesla. It might be a folder designed for the Model S frunk or other niches on the Model 3 or X. On the other hand, e-bikes are becoming a high-volume, global business and Tesla is well positioned with global retail space, excellent access to batteries, and big factories to get around for its staff. There might be a permanent product in place. Regardless, a dozen e-bike manufacturer CEOs undoubtedly picked up their smart phones and tried to get through to Musk or his execs immediately to offer their services.
Generally speaking, e-bikes are bicycles with a battery-powered “assist” that comes via pedaling or, in some cases, a throttle. When you push the pedals on a pedal-assist e-bike, a small motor engages and gives you a boost, so you can zip up hills and cruise over tough terrain without gassing yourself. Called “pedalecs,” they feel just like conventional bikes—but better, says Ed Benjamin, senior managing director at the consulting firm eCycleElectric. “You control your speed with your feet, like with a regular bike,” he says. “You just feel really powerful and accelerate easily.”
With different degrees of assistance at your fingertips, riders of varying fitness levels are easily accommodated on the same ride too. Which, depending on who’s setting the pace, can bring a social aspect back to big days out, because you can all ride together and the assistance from the motor makes it that much easier to string a coherent sentence together even on the steepest climbs.