With most ebikes the choice of motor defines aspects of the frame geometry and to a lesser degree the suspension characteristics of the bike. Not with new Rock Mountain Altitude Powerplay. With its bespoke motor Rocky has been able to design an ebike that reflects the ride quality of a highly evolved 150mm trail bike. With instant power pickup, extended battery life and streamline proportions it’s not just the handling of the Rocky that will get you charged up for riding. It’s the best bike in this test by some margin, but we had an issue with the motor momentarily cutting and raising questions over it’s reliability.
Chris McNamara spends a whole lot of time in the saddle. This rock climber turned mountain cyclist loves huge rides covering obscene distances. He is working on a few gigantic rides including a singletrack route around Lake Tahoe and a ride from South Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Lakes. Paul Tindal is a versatile rider who spent years in the elite ranks in the road, downhill and enduro disciplines. Paul is now the lead mechanic and shop manager at a busy bike shop in South Lake Tahoe. Joshua Hutchens has spent decades in the bike industry. He has been a racer, bike shop owner, mechanic, and a guide. Joshua has a great eye for the subtleties of a bicycle.
XB-300-SLA X-Treme Electric Mountain Bicycle is a great bike for the novice as it is easy to ride with simple steps. It is an affordable bike with high-quality features that work on a motor of 300 watts and offers a speed up to 20 MP on a single charge. It takes up to 4 hours to fully recharge the battery for the next use. The comfortable padded seat, 18-inch steel frame, 7-speed tourney gear, 24V lead acid battery, power assist system, and steel front forks are a few features that make it popular.
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For Canyon’s first e-mtb the Spectal:ON 8.0 hasn’t simply hit the trail running, it’s power up it in Boost mode. The geometry, sizing and handling are all on point, and details like the adjustable geometry, odd wheel sizes, tyre specific rim widths and short cranks make Canyon a market leader rather than a brand that’s simply playing catch up. With a Fox 36 Fit4 fork the Spectral:ON 8.0 would probably have won the test, the more basic Grip damper never having the measure of Canyon’s superb rear suspension.
If you want an e-bike that positively sprays tech out you, try the Volt Axis on for size. It takes the GoCycle GS's combo of folding, lightweight frame and disk brakes and adds automatic gears, if you please. These react to your speed and pedalling effort. So you automatically gear down when you stop at traffic lights – although what self-respecting cyclist does that? – and then back up as you accelerate.
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While we’re on this thread, I want to go ahead and throw in the most tricked-out shred sled in the AllMtn line. Haibike spared no expense wit the XDURO AllMtn 10.0. It’s a premium bike, and here is why. A Fox Factory 34 front suspension fork with 150mm of travel and Kashima coating starts things off. That’s followed by a 20-speed drivetrain brought to you by Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus. Then you’ve got DT Swiss rims, KS LEV-DX dropper seatpost, Magura MT7 HD brakes, and a Yamaha PW-X motor. ‘Nuff. Said.
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It’s important to note that because this is an electric bike, not all trails are legally accessible. You’ll need to check with the federal, state, or local land management agency in charge of the trails you want to ride to see if it’s possible. You may also face some resistance from holier-than-though cyclist types. Those guys are best avoided anyway, and the glowing LEDs on the down tube should at least help you identify them quicker.
Even with cheaper or heavier bikes, once you accept that you are really meant to pedal gently and let the motor do the work, non-speed freaks will get into it. E-bikes are great for commuting and for places that aren't pancake flat. They'll pull you away from the lights quickly, iron out hills and stop you getting sweaty, so you can bin the Lycra and ride in jeans, a suit, or a winter coat.
The Bulls motor is claimed to have 90Nm of torque, but it was so smooth and quiet that it didn't feel outrageously powerful. The assistance came on smooth and strong thanks to the belt driven system. The Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 uses a drive system that claims to have up to 108Nm of torque. While their system felt quite powerful, it didn't feel stronger than the Bulls, and we noticed that it seemed to modulate its output in a way that the others didn't. The Rocky Mountain makes you work for it a little more than the rest. The Trek, Giant, and the Specialized motor systems felt slightly less powerful, still offering plenty of pedal-assist support mind you, but that also resulted in efficient motors and longer distance ranges than the models with more brute power.