The biggest growth in the mountain bike industry is coming from eMTBs – electric mountain bikes.
Here are 5 that are awesome.
Starting our reviews off in great style, the Stereo Hybrid 140 SL is our more wallet-friendly choice. It’s still a sizable chunk of cash of course – we only choose the best from the market – but for an electric mountain bike this is from the ‘entry level’ end of the spectrum.
It’s a beautifully constructed bike built from top quality materials and components that ensure you always have a great experience. It uses a Superlite aluminum frame accompanied by Cube’s performance Fox rear suspension and agile trail geometry that helps you eat up the miles.
The Cube Stereo Hybrid uses a Bosch Performance CX (75 Nm) Cruise (250 Watt) pedal-assisted drive unit. Among the features this unit has to offer is its eMTB trigger-less mode so the rider doesn’t need to switch between support modes on the trail.
The electric motor generates a feisty 75 Nm of torque which makes a noticeable difference when on rocky, steep terrain. The upgraded system, fresh for early 2019, now gives more walk-assistance speed up to 6 km/h so you can push your bike that little bit more quickly. The walk assistance comes in particularly handy if you’re trying to negotiate root-strewn ascents where you can’t physically ride your bike with ease.
The Stereo Hybrid features a Shimano XT drivetrain boasting four-piston hydraulic disc brakes which gives you confidence to tackle challenging descents any time of day or weather. Along with the Fox Float DPS EVOL suspension, the Cube dropper seat post contributes to your comfort.
Last year was a great one for the Vitus E-Sommet; it was awarded the 2018 10-out-of-10 MBR E-Bike Test win for Enduro. No mean feat for a category that is rapidly being over-subscribed! Its impressive electric motor is the popular Shimano E8000, a reliable performer that gets you further into climbs and helps get you home after a long day at the office.
We like the shorter chain stay as gives the E-Sommet the geometry and handling of a regular mountain bike. It’s Q-factor is one of the narrower ones at a welcome 177 mm which is more ergonomic and efficient for pedaling. The Q- factor was originally coined as being the ‘Quack’ factor – as the larger the value the wider your legs have to be and the more like a duck you would waddle after dismounting!
The Shimano E8000 weighs just 6 lbs, one of the lightest on test and its center of gravity works to your advantage, helping boost your stability in corners. Power levels are more conservative than some here but the reduced weight makes up for this. The E8000 develops up to 70 Nm torque and hits a top speed of over 15 mph. The pedaling feel – whether or not the motor is in use – is natural and you almost forget when it’s running. The motor applies power in a steady, regulated way so the ride is always smooth.
One of the best features of the Vitus is its choice of tires, the Maxxis 3C which use a combination of three different rubber compound layers for the base, center and shoulders to maximize traction without the drag or deformation that is common among cheaper tires.
Suspension is delivered by RockShox; the fearsome Charge 2 RC2 for the fork which has reduced friction to absorb more minor bumps with ease to reduce rider fatigue. The RC2 also operates in two modes: high and low speed compression adjustment to further improve the ride quality. The rear is the equally formidable Super Delux RC3. Both use DebonAir.
The MTB saddle is by a company whose name always raises a smile and that is Nukeproof. The Nukeproof Neutron is a welcome addition to any bike thanks to its great reputation for comfort and durability.
Giant’s Full-E+ 1 Bike uses the best quality materials; a strong yet lightweight ALUXX SL frame. ALUXX SL is an aluminum 6011 alloy fashioned into a resilient double-butted frame. The tubeset is shaped by an injection of high-pressure air, a technique known as WarmForming.
The Yamaha SyncDrive Sport motor has five assist levels and all can be delivered with a hearty 80 Nm of torque and 110 rpm cadence. The levels and their percentage assists are as follows: Eco (50%), Eco+ (100%), Normal (175%), Sport (250%), and Sport+ (350%).
The top assisted speed toplines at 20 mph. The Giant bike comes with its proprietary EnergyPak 500 rechargeable battery, that yields 500 Wh (Watt hours), a larger capacity than cheaper models’ EnergyPak 400 that gives 400 Wh of life between charges. Depending on conditions this can give you 20% of extra range.
There is a lot to love about the Giant Full-E+ 1 mountain bike. It’s well-specced beyond its Yamaha motor. Take the Maestro suspension for example; its remarkably smooth 140 mm transfers enough terrain feedback to enjoy the course without all but the most jarring bumps.
The fork is a Fox 34 Float Performance and its rear shock is the popular, trunnion-mounted, Fox Float Performance DPS. The bike is a bit of a Shimano-fest with its 11-speed HG-M7000 11 x 40 cassette, 200 mm hydraulic disc brakes, SLX shifters, and XT front and rear derailleurs.
Fresh for 2019, the Devinci delights as much as it surprises with its blend of top-quality components, well-balanced modern frame geometry and handling in a wide variety of terrain conditions. It’s a lightweight, sturdy Aluminum Optimum body that withstands the toughest punishment you can throw at it.
The Devinci comes with the excellent Shimano Steps E8000 unit paired to a Shimano Steps E8020 Li-ion rechargeable battery. The motor develops 250 W of power and is amply supported by the battery’s 504 Wh. Its top speed goes all the way up to 20 mph. Using its bespoke handlebar-mounted controls you can select between three assist modes ranging from Eco to Trail to Boost.
The Devinci uses an 11-speed SRAM GX drivetrain which we’ve found to be reliable and responsive on the trail. When it comes to riding it’s not all about the top speeds, the bike’s braking ability is just as important and it’s with some confidence we recommend the Devinci with the awesome stopping power of its SRAM Guide T hydraulic brakes.
Trek has been in the mountain bike business for decades so it’s little wonder that their electric mountain bikes ride and handle just like regular mountain bikes. Indeed, they have taken great care in preserving the genuine MTB experience. The Powerfly is our only bike on test to sport a carbon fiber frame. Strength to weight ratio, carbon fiber outperforms aluminum but its higher price limits it to only the best of the best bikes. And we’re happy to say that the Powerfly earns its place in this category!
As you might imagine, a premium bike is going to be fitted with a premium motor. The Trek boasts a Bosch Performance CX, a trusted electric motor that develops a steady 250 W that will propel you quickly to 20 mph. The Bosch PowerTube is a high capacity 500 Wh battery which will give you more powered range than most of its competitors.
The motor is paired with a Purion controller with an easy-to-read useful display giving you information such as speed and battery life remaining. It’s an ergonomically designed and positioned device that allows you to comfortably change settings without having to take a hand off the handlebars.
The Trek Powerfly is packed with little features that ensure you keep a smile on your face. Keeping the clean lines and functionality of your bike as a top priority, the Removable Integrated Battery system hides the battery fully within the frame.
It’s also easy to remove completely and swap out for a fully charged spare on long treks where there is a big distance between recharge points. And did we mention it’s a tool-less operation? So feel free to mount a water bottle cage on the frame; not even the suspension will get in the way of this behaving like a traditional mountain bike.
The motor is protected by a stylish Motor Armor aluminum shield so there’s no need to worry about damage from stones and roots. Trek uses its patented Active Braking Pivot – a neat piece of kit – that allows you to experience the full suspension experience regardless of whether you are braking.
Exceptional Bontrager components have been liberally used for your comfort and riding pleasure. Starting with the Bontrager Arvada saddle, the Rhythm Comp handlebars, the XR Trail Comp grips and finishing with the Rhythm Comp stem, this is one relaxing bike to be on for longer adventures.
As standard, the Powerfly comes with long travel suspension and 27” mid-fat tires which give the best compromise for traction, stability and effective handling on all but the toughest terrain. If you are looking for an eMTB not so hardcore, try the Trek Powerfly 5.
There’s little doubt that electric mountain bikes are the way forwards or, at least, going to be a major player for riders’ attentions when choosing their next new MTB. In this guide of five of the top E-bikes, we hope we’ve helped express our excitement and the great reasons why we think you should consider one for these beauties as your next purchase!
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