Know About Rising of the Electric Mountain Bikes. If you discuss the issue in a group of cyclists such as I did in Outside’s annual cycle test you’re bound to receive an in-depth discussion about how pedal-assist bikes have made the world a more peaceful environment, leading to all sorts of conflict with trails, closing trails, and in general making cycling a mess.
My suggestion: calm down People. This is about bicycles, not Satan. So I often send the naysayers away to take a ride on one of these bikes. After returning to me, they’re usually smiling all over the place.
This is because, whether you like them or not electric bikes are enjoyable to ride. The long, slow climbs get more rapid. The lunchtime rides are more enjoyable because you’re able to ride further and explore trails that would not have been feasible within such a short period of time. New trail systems are available because the assist lets you ride in areas that are too loose, steep, or rocky for a traditional pedal bike.
Must Read: Best Electric Mountain Bikes In 2022
Just as you’d select an enduro bicycle to rip through super gnarly descents, or a cross-country bike to go for long-distance endurance The e-mountain bicycle is just an additional arrow to use in situations where traditional bicycles might not be as enjoyable.
Officially, they’re classified as e-bikes in Class 1 which means that they lack a throttle and a top assisted rate of around 20 miles an hour. (Class 2, and 3 models have throttles, and/or different top speeds. We’ve restricted the scope of our review to only Class 1.
since the majority of the support for use on trails is currently for these types of bikes.) While critics are prone to attempt to portray all e-bikes as motorbikes, nothing could be further from the truth. Each bike produces only a fraction of one horsepower and only when you’re pedaling like you are riding in an intense tailwind.
I rode a fleet of the most recent bikes out on various trails across New Mexico and was amazed by the extent to which these bikes have progressed since my initial trip back in 2013. Like any technology that is being developed, these bikes will continue to keep getting better. However, if you’re on the market and willing to pay the price I believe they’ve made progress enough to be worth the investment.
Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo ($12,050)
It has 150 millimeters ride on a carbon frame and carbon wheels it’s akin to what the unassisted downhill bikes were (45.1 pounds in medium size) and seemed like it was from the past, with only one difference: the motor provides additional force when you need it.
This makes gauging difficult, but not impossible. A turbo switch, which can provide a quick boost to the maximum power level can be a fantastic option and so is the walk-mode switch–just press it for one mile per hour of assistance for hike-a-bikes. The 700wh battery has the largest capacity available that’s available and provides a longer duration.
It’s also not as simple to take out the battery as on Intense or Trek (reviewed below), it’s not as difficult. Specialized also did amazing work in creating its own application to adjust the power levels and identify problems that may occur, and also an estimate calculator that can help you determine the range of its products.
It’s an incredibly powerful bike that is able to provide users with three powers. Although the 2.6-inch tires were adequate, however, I feel that the extra weight of the bike makes it feel more secure with a tread of 3 inches and will be able to fit it should you opt for it. The bike isn’t enough heavy to be able to get home in the event that your battery fails. I’ve been able to slash a lot of rough singletracks with this bike, and even though the power is from the front, I enjoy it.
The suspension is stable and supple, which makes the bike seem more capable than its numbers indicate. The Levo is costly however the reality is that you can get cheaper models and, with the help of the motor, enjoy the same experience.
Pivot Shuttle ($9,999)
The Shuttle is one of the most typical rides of the bikes. And by normal I mean least assisted because of a dialed-in geometry, tuned motor, as well as a cautious selection of components. Chris Cocailis, the founder and Pivot’s owner Pivot is an engineer, and his knowledge of setting up a ride apparent on this bicycle.
The Shuttle is small and nimble and is precisely what I’m looking for when driving this 46.2-pound machine. Pivot claims that it is “the world’s most light e-mountain bike in Class 1,” which is perhaps an accurate statement for the frame itself however, our test rider was more than one pound heavier than the Levo.
Pivot makes use of Pivot’s Shimano STEPS 8000 motor that delivers three power levels (eco-trail, eco as well as boost) and displays it in the same way on the display Shimano specifications for Di2–a plus of being able to see the level at any time.
The motor is smooth and similar to the Brose in top-assist mode however, low levels of power, in particular eco, appear a little unreliable. (It can be adjusted to alter the power level in the Shimano smartphone application.) Similar to most of these bikes this one STEPS 8000 seems to favor the high-speed.
If my pace was slow, especially on the highest elevations of steep hills the motor would slow down and at times stopped the possibility of me carrying an extremely heavy bike to a hill. The battery’s power is 500 watts. This means that it’s not a plug-and-play as Intense and Trek. Intense as well as the Trek (reviewed here).
In terms of motor, this is a well-grounded and extremely comfortable bicycle for trails with 140 millimeters of clearance in the back and a 150-millimeter fork. The bike is as powerful as the Specialized but is a bit smaller and more trim all around (despite the extra weight). I liked the 2.8-inch tires. It might seem like a bit greater than Specialized’s 2.6-inches however the added weight of an electric bike requires more tread.
The bike isn’t as glaring as the Levo however, it is excellent and, except for the power issues that occur in Eco mode could be my top choice with regard to the (slightly) cheaper price.
Intense Tazer Pro Build ($7,590)
I had to really reduce my doubts regarding the Tazer right from the moment I saw it, but mostly due to its cute down tube and honeybee-themed graphics. Additionally, the rear 29 inches and 27.5-inch rear make it look something like a Frankenbike. Yet on the trails, the Tazer was able to stop me dead in its solid feeling and how it shook off extremely difficult and muddy terrain.
Similar to the Pivot model it also has the STEPS 8000 motor from Shimano. However, here it felt different. I didn’t notice the same kind of cutting out when riding at lower cadences. Also, the three power levels felt more adjusted to my style of riding. (Again the percentages of assist can be adjusted.)
I also like that the battery’s 500-watt capacity is easy to remove from the frame. Just take off the plastic cover that covers the bottom tube and it pops out for external charging, and battery replacement. (Intense offers external battery packs in the event that you’d like to bring one with you to increase the range.) The motor isn’t as quiet as the Brose, with a constant whine that gets louder when you pedal. With Intense’s settings, it’s the most natural and natural feel of the group. I was able to ride nearly exclusively in eco-mode since it was able to handle every challenge I could throw at it.
Between the super slack angle of the head (64.9 degrees)) and the longer travel (a front 155 millimeters wide and 160-millimeter front) and the Tazer seemed to be the most powerful bike in the bunch. I tossed it over some massive drops and it was barely blinking.
The 29-inch and 27.5-inch wheel combo is efficient, gliding over almost everything on the front while keeping a snappy, nimble feel in the back. Also, the 2.6-inch tread in the front feels less sluggish, although it is possible to sub in thicker rubber. The Tazer does not have the same component level or carbon wheels as the Levo but the hoops made of alloy and SLX appear to be just right in this situation. In reality, the specification is accurate, particularly considering the fact that the bike is priced 30% less than the Levo.
It’s a racy shredder although it’s a bit hefty. If you’re able to get past the Euro graphic design and you’re looking for the kind of bike that will tear down some tough terrain, this bike is worth taking a take a look at. I’d recommend the Tazer to do shuttle rides on the most challenging trails without the need for a car to get me there.
Trek Powerfly LT 9.7 ($5,999)
The Powerfly LT has 150 millimeters back travel and a 160-millimeter front fork on 27.5-plus-inch wheels The Powerfly LT is ostensibly a highly efficient machine. Its Bosch Performance CX motor is the most smooth of the bunch offering the smoothest (albeit the most raucous) power output. The motor is powered by an elegant 500-watt battery. It’s also one of the biggest models that we’ve ever tested at 51.5 pounds. We rode 19.5-inch when compared to mediums for all other models, though the weight difference isn’t as significant an issue with electric bikes as pedals are on everyday models.
The Bosch motor drive provides smooth, almost seamless assistance. Similar to the Shimano system, everything is controlled and displayed on the bar-mount display, and comes with four levels. Its eco, trail, and boost settings were all just right, however, the e-mountain bike level, which is designed to boost power based on the terrain, didn’t really meet my requirements.
It makes this system appear endlessly adaptable, which is crucial in this age of continuous technological advancement. I also liked the fact that, just like its predecessor, the Levo (and in contrast to Shimano STEPS) it has a walk mode. Hold it down and the bike is able to move at a speed of one mile per hour, which eases the strain of walking. In short, the Bosch motor is smoother than the Shimano and Brose although I have myself didn’t notice the torque in Brose’s motor. Brose on the Specialized due to its utter silence.
Apart from the motor, the bike is supple and capable, possibly because of the 2.8-inch home-brand tires. Also, I’d suggest that larger dimensions are an advantage for electric bikes. The wheel’s base is more than the other wheels, however, the sensation maybe because of the larger dimension that the bicycle is. The longer geometry and a steeper the head angles (66 degrees) created a feeling that was more like a trail bike than an all-mountain ripper. But, this is an excellent all-around bike that’s boosted due to the fact that it can be upgraded in the future.
A Final Word
A friend of mine said to me that “These modern e-bikes look fantastic, but they’re mostly expensive at the moment.” I can see the point. It is possible to ride e-mountain bikes on half the trails that are available most likely less. Therefore, it’s essential to think about the best places and ways to use them prior to making the purchase.
But I’m extremely excited about these bikes’ possibilities. They’re great for the development of trails, for commuters and exercise (think the motor-pacing) as well as exploration (there’s nothing better than a bit more power to get around in places you’ve not been before) and flat-out capabilities (I took out an elk using mine)–makes these bikes difficult to overlook. I’m also sometimes enthralled by the convenience and speed they offer If I’m having rest days but need to go out and exercise and enjoy the outdoors, I pull out any of them, and then take it off.
You’ll notice that I didn’t go into the battery’s range or power. There’s no specific answer for how long the power of these bikes will last and it is dependent on the riding conditions, the weight of the rider the speed, style of pedaling, and the power of the assist you select. What I can tell you is that I rode all of them on three to four-hour hikes in the Rockies and in areas with significant elevation gains and losses and, by spending the majority all of the time on low-assist mode and boosting it up as needed I was able to finish with around 20-30 percent batteries in each.
It’s also worth noting that even though the high-end models are gorgeous due to their carbon frames, wheels, and top-of-the-line components, with the motor-assist, they don’t have the same level of reliability as they are with traditional bicycles. If I were on shopping for a bike, I’d take a look at the cheapest models of these bikes, keeping an eye on longevity and the advancements in technology as time passes.
Are e-mountain bikes perfect? They’re not yet. However, they’re great to ride and as we’ve seen over just two years, they’re only going to improve. In the meantime, I’ll be cruising in off into the wilderness from time with a huge smile on my face.