The Brose motor puts out 250 watts nominally, and can peak up to a max of 460 watts. That’s around half what the 2016 Specialized Turbo S road bike we tested last year develops, but that bike’s much-larger motor sits in the rear hub, which would massively compromise performance on a full-suspension mountain bike like this one. Spend up to the Expert or S-Works spec Turbo Levo and you get a motor that can peak up to 530 watts.  

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Lots of electric bike companies love to tout their ridiculously long ranges of travel you can ride on one charge, but sometimes it's a bit too far fetched for the real world, and may leave you disappointed. Luckily, we're here to help you understand what to really expect out of your electric bike battery so that you can have an easier time selecting the right bike for you!


While we liked the value, component specification, and versatile all-around performance of the Trance E+ 2, it wasn't all gold stars. E-bikes are heavy, that is a given, but the Trance is a little heavier than most at 52 lbs 3 oz. This weight is one of the reasons this bike feels somewhat sluggish at times, especially in low-speed sections of trail. It also has mediocre e-bike controls. Sure, they are functional, but the all-in-one control's display in the form of small LED lights is difficult to see by the left grip and near impossible to read when riding in bright light conditions. Beyond that, we feel the Trance E+ 2 is a quality e-bike offered at a reasonable price.
Not many manufacturers are concerned with building lightweight ebikes because of the necessary compromises (high cost and low performance). For most manufacturers its easier to exaggerate how light an electric bike is (one common trick is specify weight without ebike battery). For example the ridiculous $88k Blacktrail Bt-01 claims to be 40 pounds (yeah right!). What we learn from this list is to build a lightweight electric bike usually takes a thin road bike, a skimpy battery pack, and  a puny motor. The only thing big about these bikes is their price-tag, because they use lightweight (and expensive)  components. As it turns out it is very easy to build a lightweight bike yourself if you are willing to spend the money, and if you use a small geared hub motor. Look to the home builds on this list for inspiration if you want to build one yourself. Most of these bikes have the capacity to carry larger battery packs if the owner so chooses. They are shown here in their most lightweight configurations. 3 of these bikes are Australian (Super Commuter, Commuter Booster, Solar Fixie) 8 are road bikes 2 are mountain bikes 3 are made of carbon (the Montanara Volta, the Super Commuter, and the BH eMotion) 4 are home builds. Someday we hope to make a top 10 list entirely of production electric bikes. But at the moment there are not 10 lightweight production ebikes on the market worthy of this list. 3 of these bikes are mid-drives (through the gears). Mid-drives allow a bike to use much smaller (and lighter) motors and still be capable of decent hill climbing. BH eMotion, Vivax, and Montonara Volta 2 were purpose built to be ebikes (Specialized Turbo, BH Motion Carbon), the others are conversion bikes. 1 of these bikes does not have gears (the Solar Fixie Bike) All of these bikes except for one (Cannondale) have LiPo packs.
Electric bikes in the UK tend to come with either Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) or Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. In China, on the other hand, lead acid batteries are still the most common ones used. In 2014 – according to the China Bicycle Association / IdTechEx  – 35 million eBikes were sold on the Chinese market, and just 2.8 million of them had lithium battery.

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With an electric mountain bike (or e-MTB) that gives you assistance up to 25kph, it’s possible to pack twice as much riding into the same amount of time. Those five great trails that you normally ride after work can now be ridden twice. That boring singletrack climb on your lunchtime loop suddenly becomes the highlight of your day. With the extra push from the motor it’s easy to double the distance covered, or do the same ride in half the time.

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