The Best in Test and Best Value tips do not result from the sum of star ratings, but by the assessment of the entire test team, taking into account the overall concept of the bike. It would be methodologically wrong to only add up the star ratings to make a final judgment in a scoring system – saying that something is “good” will not help anyone if they don’t know what it is for and for whom it is “good.” For this reason, we give a clear recommendation in every test result for which type of rider and purpose the bike is suitable and which not. The bikes themselves are as individual as the riders are – we just want to provide you with all the information you need to make a well-informed decision before buying. Here’s to long-lasting fun!
Riding a pedal-assisted road bike may seem counterintuitive but during longer training sessions, the minimal addition of power helps prevent overall muscle fatigue and injury. Similarly, those looking to enjoy longer scenic routes will appreciate the general boost an electric drive provides. With a top speed of 28 mph, the Road E+1 uses three power modes to give you ultimate control over your ride and assistance level. A four-point sensory system monitors the pedaling force allowing the motor to amplify your movements seamlessly.
Over several months, our team of four professional mountain bike testers rode each of the electric mountain bikes in our test selection on a variety of trails and terrain in a range of weather conditions. We had each tester ride each of the bikes numerous times, often riding the different models back to back for the sake of comparison. We didn't go easy on them. Instead, we treated them all as if they were our own, putting them all through the wringer to identify their strengths and weaknesses. We scrutinized every aspect of each e-bike's performance and scored them all on several rating metrics, e-bike controls, downhill performance, uphill performance, power output, and distance range. Each metric are described in greater detail below. It is important to note that during our testing our impressions of these e-bikes changed dramatically. Our first impressions didn't exactly stick. It was essential for us to test the different models head-to-head and make direct comparisons to flush out the differences. For example, everyone was initially a little underwhelmed with the Specialized's power and more excited about the Haibike, but after hundreds of miles of testing our impressions changed. We go into more detail on this below.
“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.”
On the road, it takes only a few turns of the pedals to activate the Vado’s motor and get it up to speed. In Turbo mode — the bike’s highest level of pedal-assist — the Vado reaches speeds of up to 28 miles per hour, after which the electric drive system automatically shuts off to conserve power (and abide by local law). A built-in LED readout on the handlebars allows riders to monitor battery life, check current speed, and track calories burned while also being able to glance at distance traveled. The Turbo Vado Mission Control app (iOS/Android) also connects to the bike via Bluetooth and allows riders to further tune their ride and adjust the bike’s settings.
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.
Aluminium alloy frames and downtube mounted batteries with integrated motors provide a budget friendly introduction to these motor-assisted bikes, allowing riders who would struggle to keep up to enjoy the stamina of the pros. For those hard hitters, fully integrated battery and motors combine with lightweight alloy and carbon frames to deliver a ride that’ll take on the most demanding trails.
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.
With over a decade of experience as an advertising executive, Mark is certain that the market will accept the electric bike and is here to make sure it happens. Mark has an impressive list of former clients in industries like pharmaceuticals, convenience stores, community banks, floor coverings, visitors’ bureaus, resorts and Location Based Services (LBS). When he’s not on Facebook, tweeting or learning how to leverage the latest viral marketing techniques,...
Bottom Line The Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie was the most well rounded bike in our test, the winner of our Editor's Choice Award. Commencal's first foray into the e-bike market was worth the wait with a hard charging ride that utilizes their Meta frame design and Shimano's E8000 motor. The HaiBike XDURO AllMtn features a powerful pedal assist motor, but in a less refined package. The Trek Powerfly 7 FS is a good electric mountain bike, but its component specification is holding it back from reaching its potential.
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.