light e-bikes you should know about
Electric mountain bikes have been gaining popularity in recent years, especially among adventure enthusiasts who enjoy hitting the rugged terrain of mountains and forests.
The addition of electric assistance has made it possible for riders to cover more ground and tackle tougher trails. However, one of the biggest concerns among e-mountain bike enthusiasts is the weight of the bike.
A lighter bike is easier to maneuver and provides more agility, making it ideal for the trails.
Canyon Spectral: ON
The Canyon Spectral: ON is a versatile electric mountain bike that is perfect for both trail and enduro riding. It weighs just 21.9 kg, thanks to its lightweight carbon frame and battery technology.
The bike features a powerful Shimano EP8 motor and a battery capacity of 900 Wh capable of providing an impressive range of up to 60 km on a single charge.
Pivot Shuttle SL
The Pivot Shuttle SL is another great option for those looking for a light electric mountain bike. It weighs just 16.44 kg thanks to its carbon frame and innovative design that delivers high performance and reliability. The bike is powered by a A 60Nm FAZUA motor, combined with a 430Wh battery, and three different assist modes. It also features a long-range and no removable battery that makes the bike silent and sleek looking.
Trek Powerfly LT 9.9
The Trek Powerfly LT 9.9 is a high-performance and full suspension electric mountain bike that is designed to tackle the toughest trails. It weighs about 22.5 kg, thanks to its lightweight carbon frame and wheels.
The bike features a powerful Bosch Performance CX. a 500wh battery, and the best quality components of the PowerFly series. This e-bike is a sure bet for a long enjoyable ride.
Haibike XDURO AllMtn 10.0
The Haibike XDURO AllMtn 10.0 is a premium electric mountain bike that is designed for the most demanding riders. It weighs just 24.7 kg, thanks to its lightweight aluminum frame and battery technology which makes it easy to dominate all mountain excursions and steep climbs.
The bike features a powerful Yamaha PW-X3 motor and battery capacity of 720 Wh that offers plenty of capacity for long rides on a single charge.
Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp
The Specialized Turbo Levo SL is a top-of-the-line electric mountain bike that is designed to provide an incredibly smooth and responsive ride. It weighs just 19 kg thanks to its lightweight carbon frame and small battery with capacity of 320 Wh. It also features a powerful Specialized SL 1.1 lightweight motor.
In conclusion, a light electric mountain bike is essential for riders who want to experience the thrill of the trails without the added weight of a traditional mountain bike. The bikes listed above are some of the best on the market and offer a range of features that make them ideal for off-road riding.
Whether you choose to ride conventional or e-bikes, it is also important to use proper frame protection. The AMS E-bike frame protection is essential to protect your investment from scratches, dings, and other damage that can occur while riding. Make sure to invest in a quality e-bike frame protection to keep your bike looking and performing its best for years to come.
Carles’ passion for Enduro MTB ignited the creation of AMS. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find him speeding along scenic gravel paths, enjoying the thrill of his gravel bike.
Best Electric Mountain Bikes Of 2023
Electric mountain bikes are bicycles with an electric motor and battery, intended for off-road riding. E-MTBs have wide tires, suspension, disc brakes, and trail-ready geometry, just like traditional mountain bikes. However, they also feature pedal assistance and/or throttle to help the rider pedal.
There is no doubt that electric mountain bikes spark a lot of controversies. Should they be allowed on trails? Does riding one equal cheating? Are electric-assist mountain bikes as capable as regular mountain bikes?
Regardless of how you answer these burning questions, electric mountain bikes are here, and they are here to stay. The number of people who ride these e-bikes is on the rise and it’s becoming easier and easier to spot one both on- and off-road.
In this article, we are reviewing our 10 favorite models that will help you ride faster, go farther, and conquer climbs that you thought were out of the question before.
Are eMTBs Better Than MTBs?
The answer to this question depends on what kind of a rider you are and what requirements you have. Some people will answer with a definitive ‘Yes’, whereas others will scream ‘No’ at you. The reality is that electric mountain bikes have their strengths and weaknesses.
An eMTB performs very similarly to a regular mountain bike. But it also provides you with pedal assistance which makes it easier to overcome tough climbs or keep riding even after your legs are toasted.
E-mountain bikes typically have three or more pedal-assist levels and/or throttle, so you can adjust how much help you want to get and how much of the hard work you wish to do by yourself. Therefore, even though you’re on an e-bike, you can still get a very good workout.
Nowadays, modern electric mountain bikes have impressive trail capabilities, so an average rider won’t notice a huge difference when making the switch.
Still, due to the addition of a motor and battery, the ride feel is slightly different. For example, companies often need to extend the chainstays to fit a mid-drive motor, so most e-MTBs have a longer wheelbase than their traditional counterparts. This affects handling slightly. Also, the electric components add extra weight to the bike, so riding without pedal assistance becomes more of a challenge.
But these are not things that would bother an average rider too much. If you’re someone who struggles to ride as often, as long, or as hard as before, for whatever reasons, an electric mountain bike is definitely better than a regular MTB.
Why Did We Choose These Bikes?
The number of electrically-assisted mountain bikes on the market is on the rise, so picking one model from a plethora of choices can become a problem. We created the selection you see below to give you an idea of what’s worth the money and show you our favorite picks.
Every bike you see on this list was rigorously analyzed and researched before being given the green light. Before including each of the models, we analyzed the market, spoke to brands, checked user reviews, and relied on our prior experience as well.
For a bike to enter our top 10 selection, it had to have high-quality electronics (a strong motor and a dependable battery), reliable brand-name components, trail-worthy geometry, and it had to be built to last.
So scroll down to see our recommendations or check out each of the brand’s selection to find a model that might fit your requirements even more.
Not sure how to choose the right one? See our guide on how to choose electric bikes.
Trek Rail 7 Gen 2
Our top pick! Most Capable Electric Mountain Bike
MSRP: 6,650 Battery Motor: 625 Wh battery and 250W/85Nm motor Features: Aluminum frame, 160mm travel, Shimano XT 12-speed, 4-piston hydraulic brakes
Trek Rail 7 Gen 2 bridges the divide between electric mountain bikes and traditional bikes. This is a high-performance e-MTB capable of plowing through proper trails, along with analog trail bikes.
It’s built around Trek’s famous Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame that comes paired with a RockShox Domain RC 160 mm fork and a RockShox Deluxe Select rear shock. Therefore, it’s ready for big descents and fast singletracks.
The Rail 7 Gen 2 is powered by a Bosch Performance CX 250W motor with 85 Nm, that features a magnesium body. It will assist you up to 20 mph and the 625 Wh battery will provide you with up to 6 hours of assistance.
The drivetrain consists of a Shimano XT 12-speed rear derailleur and a Shimano SLX shifter, while the Shimano M6100 4-piston hydraulic brakes provide all the braking power you need.
The Rail 7 Gen 2 weighs around 53 lb, but you won’t feel the extra weight on climbs thanks to the Bosch motor.
All things considered, Trek Rail 7 Gen 2 seems like the right choice for anyone who needs a little bit of help on climbs but wants to let all hell loose on descents.
RadRover 6 Plus
Best All-Around Performer
MSRP: 1,999 Battery Motor: 589-672Wh battery and 750W motor Features: Pedal-assist and throttle, 7-speed drivetrain, lights, kickstand, 4″ tires
This Rad Power electric mountain bike is our top pick for a large number of good reasons. This is a versatile bike that excels in different settings, so it could be the right pick for various types of riders.
RadRover 6 Plus is not a bike built to be abused on rough, technical trails. Instead, it’s a bicycle that can be used for city commutes, off-road detours, dirt and gravel explorations, and moderate singletrack adventures.
This is a class 2 e-MTB with a geared rear hub motor and a semi-integrated battery. That means that it offers both five pedal-assist levels and throttle.
- Sturdy and sleek-looking aluminum frame that’s easy to mount and dismount.
- Meaty 4″ tires that are suitable for any type of terrain.
- Comes with the necessary accessories to ride it in any weather and at any time of the day.
- The 750W has all the ‘oomph’ you need and the battery provides up to 45 miles of range.
- A suspension fork with 60mm of travel improves comfort and stability.
RadRover 6 also has a 7-speed drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and front suspension. Therefore, it’s able to cover some serious ground both up steep hills and down breathtaking descents.
The most noticeable feature is the 4″ tires, which make RadRover an electric fat tire mountain bike. This electric MTB has fenders and bright lights, but you can add many other accessories, including racks, baskets, and more.
RadRover is one of the best electric mountain bikes for 2,000, so don’t hesitate to get it if you’re a MTB beginner or you need an affordable all-around performer and everyday workhorse.
Cannondale Moterra Neo 4
Second-best! Best Electric Mountain Bike
MSRP: 5,900 Battery Motor: Shimano EP8 with 630Wh battery Features: High torque motor, high-capacity battery, full suspension, aluminum frame, large tires
The Cannondale Moterra Neo 4 is a versatile MTB e-bike built for experienced riders to enjoy any type of terrain and surface.
It’s equipped with big 29″ wheels that roll on tubeless tires that can conquer rocks, dirt, and mud equally well. over, its front coil suspension fork with 100mm travel will improve your comfort and give you all the confidence you need when descending.
When it comes to the bike’s electronics, it has an industry-leading Shimano EP8 motor and a huge 630Wh of juice to provide a full day of trail riding.
The Moterra Neo 4 is one of the best electric mountain bikes considering it comes with all-mountain 150mm suspension and solid components.
- Mid-drive motor provides powerful, natural assistance.
- SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain gives you great range.
- Four-piston hydraulic disc brakes stop on a dime when you need.
- A capable 100mm travel fork improves comfort and stability.
This electric mountain bike is built around an aluminum frame that comes with trail geometry for all-mountain riding.
Not only is it a capable MTB and packs a great punch with that motor it is one of the best-looking bikes on this list.
All in all, if you want an electric mountain bike that does not differ from a non-electric model and brings even more to the table, The Cannondale Moterra Neo 4 is the right choice.
Niner RIP e9 3-Star
Third Place! Best Trail/Enduro Electric Mountain Bike
MSRP: 6,699 Battery Motor: 625Wh, Bosch Gen4 Performance Line CX 75Nm Features: Aluminum frame, 20mph top speed, 12-speed SRAM SX drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, 160mm/150mm travel
Niner RIP e9 is a wildly popular electric mountain bike that eliminates much of the skepticism that usually surrounds e-MTBs. It’s a fun bike that removes barriers and lets you experience trail riding the same way you would on a standard mountain bike.
To begin with, this e-bike is a 29″ full-suspension shredder with a 160mm RockShox Zeb R fork and a 150mm Fox Float DPX2 Performance rear shock. It also features a wide-range SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed cassette, coupled with powerful hydraulic disc brakes.
- Powerful Bosch Performance Line CX motor and a high-capacity battery.
- Schwalbe Eddy Current EVO 29 x 2.4″ and Hans Dampf EVO 2.35″ tires.
- Class 1 e-bike with pedal assistance up to 20mph.
The high-quality Bosch electronics are some of the best in the game. The setup provides you with a 20mph maximum assisted speed, and you can expect a 50-mile range thanks to the 625Wh integrated battery. You can smash climbs and make short work of difficult terrain.
This Niner electric mountain bike is a slack mean machine with a slack head tube angle and a steep seat tube angle. It comes in three sizes and has an attractive black paint job.
Buy it if you can afford to spend 6,699 on getting one of the best electric mountain bikes.
Best Full-Suspension E-Bike
MSRP: 7,500 Battery Motor: 696 Wh battery and 1000W or 750W motor Features: 26″ x 4.8″ wheels, full suspension, 9-speed drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes
QuietKat Jeep provides the biggest amount of travel you will see on this list. It’s a powerful hunting-specific mountain bike with 150mm of suspension travel and Tektro 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes for rowdy descents.
The Jeep will expand your abilities when it comes to the trails and terrain you can ride on. This bike comes with 26″ x 4.8″ fat tires that can handle any challenge. Feel free to ride on snow, sand, mud, and rocks without fear of loosing grip.
- A high-capacity 696 Wh battery and 1000W or 750W motor
- 26″ x 4.8″ fat tires.
- Downhill ready 150 mm of front and rear suspension.
- Tektro 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes.
- Developed in collaboration with Jeep.
What e-bike lovers will appreciate the most are the powerful electrical components. You can get this bike with a 1000W or 750W mid-drive motor, depending on how much climbing you intend to do. The 696 Wh battery provides up to 58 miles of range, though you can order an additional one to carry with you on long rides as a replacement.
This QuietKat electric mountain bike also has a SRAM 9-speed drivetrain, which is a slight drawback, considering the price. We feel that a larger gear range would be more appropriate.
In any case, by purchasing QuietKat Jeep, you get a bike that descends like mad and climbs even better thanks to the electronics. You should have loads of fun on it and easily reach your favorite hunting spots.
Best Step-Through Electric Mountain Bike
MSRP: 1,895 Battery Motor: 672 Wh battery and 750W geared rear hub motor Features: Aluminum frameset, integrated battery, front suspension, Shimano Alivio group
Ride1Up is well-known for building some of the best budget electric bikes in the industry. They’re making a name for themselves in the electric MTB category as well. LMT’d is a fast and powerful hardtail electric mountain bike with an unconventional step-through frame design.
This is a 27.5″ wheeled aluminum MTB with dependable components from Shimano, Tektro, Schwalbe, and other big brands. It’s propelled by a geared rear hub 750W motor and a 672Wh battery, which is more than enough juice for a day on the trails.
As a class 3 e-bike, this Ride1UP electric mountain bike provides pedal assistance up to 28 mph, so you’ll be able to turn long and backbreaking days into casual trail excursions.
- Lightweight and stiff aluminum frame.
- Geared motor assists you up to 28 mph.
- Excellent Shimano Alivio 9-speed drivetrain for easy climbing.
- 80mm air suspension fork
- Massive 27.5″ x 2.4″ tires.
In addition to the excellent electronics, Ride1UP comes with an RST Asteria 80mm air fork. That is a serious suspension setup ready for moderate trails and gravel and dirt roads.
You also get a Shimano Alivio 9-spd drivetrain, Schwalbe Super-Moto X tires, hydraulic disc brakes, and a comfortable saddle.
Ride1UP LMT’D is the ideal hardtail mountain bike for casual riders who love moderate trails and want to enjoy a day in nature with the help of some electricity.
Orbea Rise M20
Quality Full-Suspension Electric Mountain Bike
MSRP: 7,399 Battery Motor: 280Wh battery and 250W motor Features: Carbon frame, 29″ x 2.4″ tires, 140mm in the front and rear, Shimano SLX components
Orbea Rise M20 is another bike on this list with a solid list of specs. This model comes with a Shimano EP8 motor and a 360Wh battery. The motor will assist you up to 20 MPH and the battery will give you enough juice for all your adventures.
Orbea Rise is a full-suspension e-mountain bike, ready for all kinds of adventure.
Now, this bike features Shimano SLX components, which offer premium quality – 510% gear range, smooth shifting, and excellent chain retention. This groupset is built to be abused.
- Carbon fiber frame
- Dual suspension
- MicroShift 7-speed drivetrain.
- Quality motor and battery
Orbea Rise M20 electric mountain bike offers quality suspension as well. Your adventures will be cushioned by Fox 34 Float Performance fork and Fox Float DPS Performance rear shock. Both offer 140mm of travel.
The wheelset is worth mentioning too – Maxxis Dissector front tire and Maxxis Rekon rear tire work in unison, offering the best possible riding experience.
While the Orbea Range M20 might seem to be out of reach for many, this electric mountain bike will pay for itself over time.
Santa Cruz Heckler C R
Best Performance Full-Suspension E-Bike
MSRP: 8,749 Battery Motor: 720 Wh battery and Shimano EP8 Motor Features: 12-speed drivetrain, plus-size tires, dual suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, Carbon frame
There’s no doubt that Santa Cruz has electric mountain bikes figured out. That’s also pretty obvious with the Heckler, it’s not a general day-to-day e-bike, it’s an off-road racing machine. This is a versatile full suspension trail bike that can navigate all types of mountains and trails, including very steep ones.
This Santa Cruz electric mountain bike has the well-known Shimano EP8 motor, which is incredible. It’s combined with a 720 Wh battery that’s completely hidden inside the downtube.
The super lightweight Carbon frame boasts front and rear suspension for maximum comfort and off-road performance. Therefore, you have enough capability to go anywhere into the wild.
- Excellent all-around performer, good for all types of trails.
- Front 160mm RockShox Lyrik and rear 150mm RockShox Super Deluxe suspension.
- 12-speed drivetrain with a wide-range cassette.
- EP8 motor and 720 Wh battery.
- 29″ x 2.5″ Maxxis front tire and 29″ x 2.4 Maxxis Rear tire.
The groupset is the legendary SRAM NX 12 speed. It offers you a huge range of gears not just for climbing but downhills too.
This bike also features hydraulic disc brakes with massive rotors, these will stop you literally on a pin.
This is an excellent full-suspension mountain bike for versatile riders who love testing their limits on different types of terrain.
Consider Also: Affordable Versatile Off-Road Commuter
MSRP: 2,799 Battery Motor: 375Wh battery and 250W motor Features: Lightweight aluminum frame, front suspension, a mid-drive motor, torque sensor, enviolo rear hub
Vvolt’s Sirius is not a trail-worthy or a race-ready full-suspension electric mountain bike, but we still decided to include it in our list. We did it because we think it would meet the requirements of many riders out there—it’s fun, versatile, ready for paved and unpaved adventures, and it does not cost a fortune.
Sirius sports a 250W mid-drive motor, which is one of the most popular units on the market. It’s combined with an integrated 375Wh battery that gives you an impressive range of up to 60 miles, according to the manufacturer.
- Step-over aluminum frame suitable for male and female riders.
- 100mm air suspension fork makes off-road rides smooth and improves comfort.
- Class 1 e-mountain bike with a 20 MPH maximum assisted speed.
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Enviolo rear hub with stepless shifting
This Vvolt electric mountain bike is off-road ready, but we wouldn’t put it through too much abuse. It features a 100mm air suspension fork, an enviolo stepless rear hub, and trusty hydraulic disc brakes. Therefore, it is well equipped for off-road routes.
What we also like is that Sirius is versatile and can be used for city commuting. It comes with fender and rear rack mounts, and powerful front and rear lights.
All things considered, this is the best value electric bike for the average rider. It’s pretty much the only e-bike you need if you commute by bicycle, ride for fun, and take detours off the beaten path just for kicks.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Take a look at our list of the best mountain bike brands.
Best AWD All-Terrain E-Bike
MSRP: 4,999 Battery Motor: 14ah Battery and 2 x 500w motors Features: 26″ wheels, aluminum frameset, suspension, 1 speed, Maxxis Minion fat tires, rear rack
The Rambo Krusader is an all-terrain e-bike, which means it’s perfect for riding on rough terrain, away from the beaten paths, and even on roads. It’s built around a durable aluminum frameset and comes with excellent components for the money.
This Rambo electric mountain bike is a proper trail-ready machine thanks to the front suspension. The setup is made for extreme comfort. The larger tires and relaxed geometry will keep you on the bike for many miles before needing to stop.
The aluminum frameset is durable and stiff. It brings the weight down and improves performance despite the extra pounds added by heavy-duty electronics.
- Versatile 26″ wheels.
- A great all-around performer with front suspension.
- Single Speed Drive
- Powerful 2 x 500W motors and a 14ah battery.
- Reliable hydraulic disc brakes.
If you’re struggling to ride uphill the twin 500W mid-drive unit will help you do it. Plus, the 14ah battery will give you enough range to do it again and again until you find the perfect spot for a rest. The beauty of this bike is the fact both wheels drive so you can imagine you’re getting incredible grip and torque from this bike.
This bike has a comfortable and versatile geometry, as well as mid-range components, so it won’t limit your trail riding in any way. Instead, it will enhance it and allow you to ride further and spend more time in the forest and in the mountains. If you are concerned about just having a single gear don’t be the motors are powerful enough to still take you up tough inclines.
The Rambo Krusader is definitely not a cheap electric mountain bike, but it is worth the money. If you like the 26″ setup and want dependable 1000W pedal assistance, you shouldn’t hesitate to get it.
Haibike ALLMTN 3
Best All-Mountain Electric Bike
MSRP: 5,800 Battery Motor: 625Wh battery 250W motor Features: Mountain bike drivetrain, aluminum frame, 160mm travel front 150mm on the rear, fat tires, hydraulic disc brakes
The Haibike ALLMTN 3 is an amazing electric mountain bike that has everything you could ever ask for when hitting a technical trail. However, it has something you might dislike as well, which is a very steep price of 5,800.
With that number in mind, it’s worth considering if the features reflect the investment, and the answer is yes. This Haibike electric mountain bike has some mouth-watering components and features.
It is powered by a 250W motor that makes climbing on any terrain and gradient super easy. This way, you can get the most natural pedaling assistance when you need it the most. The bike itself as an e-bike is incredibly light and it is nimble and agile to use.
- Lightweight and stiff full suspension aluminum frame.
- 27.5″ / 2.8″ wide rear tires, 29″ / 2.5″ wide front tire
- 250W motor
- Full suspension
This is an electric mountain bike, in our opinion, it’s one of the best-looking electric mountain bikes you can get. It looks great and with that full suspension setup performs great too.
The groupset comes in the form of SRAM SX 12-speed mountain bike groupset. It is known for silky smooth shifting and is probably one of the most reliable groupsets you can buy.
What’s good is that this bike boasts powerful Shimano hydraulic disc brakes which are going to stop you very quickly if you require them to.
If you enjoy mountain biking and are looking for a full-suspension bike that is going to give you a bit of assistance the Haibike ALLMTN 3 is got everything you need.
People Also Ask
Do you have any other questions about electric mountain bikes? You’re not the only one!
What is the best electric mountain bike?
The best mountain bike is not the same for everyone. On our list, Rad Power RadRover took the first position because it is versatile, capable, and affordable. Thus, it can be the best electric mountain bike for different types of riders. Others might like another model on the list better, which is why it’s hard to give a universal answer.
Is an electric mountain bike worth it?
An electric mountain bike is definitely worth it. For the right type of rider, an e-MTB does not really have any disadvantages. If you’re struggling to ride as hard or as long as before due to an injury or age, an electric mountain will quite literally change your life.
How much does an electric mountain bike cost?
Electric mountain bikes cost anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000. However, on average, you should expect to spend around 4,000 for a mid-range model with quality suspension, components, and electronics. Such a bike will be trail-ready and will allow you to ride as hard as before.
How long do e-mountain bikes last?
Electric mountain bikes can last just as long as non-electric bicycles. Over time, the battery capacity deteriorates, so you need to swap it every 3–5 years. However, all other parts should last for years with proper maintenance. Of course, regular servicing is a must.
While creating this list, we aimed to include a wide variety of electric mountain bikes that would satisfy different types of riders. Therefore, we’ve reviewed off-road commuters, lively electric hardtails, and full-blown trail shredders with full suspension.
Whichever model you end up choosing, you may rest assured you’ll be getting a well-built, high-quality e-bike that will give you more mobility and boost your fitness and health. The only drawback to many of them is the high price, but the benefits are often worth it.
Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев if we failed to include your top pick and we’ll consider reviewing it in the future!
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Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Uh… Rocky Mountain much? Not only built around an in-house drive, also happens to have the most – let alone MTB-specific – torque.
Electric Mountain Bikes
At 99 Bikes we have a wide range of Mountain bikes for sale Australia wide. Get more out of cross-country riding, climbing and downhill trails with an electric mountain bike. The natural feeling assistance makes these riding types more accessible to riders of varying ages and abilities.
For those starting out, more pedal power means less exertion and more time to enjoy the ride! It also turns uphill climbing from an often painful chore into becoming an engaging part of the overall experience. Experienced riders exploring more advanced trails will appreciate the suspension and grip of a mountain bike, which provide a greater level of comfort and control while going downhill, compared to regular mountain bikes.
Reasons to Buy an Electric Mountain Bike?
- Powerful motors open up new territory and trails riders may not have been able to reach before.
- WIth ascents being an absolute breeze, riders can score extra runs before tiring out or running out of time.
- Paired with wider tyres, riders can push through tough terrain with more stability and control
Choosing an Electric Bike
Choosing an Electric Mountain Bike can be a big decision. Electric trail bikes range from 2,000 to 20,000 and there is a wide range of models to choose from.
There are 2 main types of EMTB’s, hardtail mountain bikes which are for new riders or riders who want to use the bike for multiple purposes like commuting. Dual suspension electric bikes feature suspension at the front and back for the bike. Full suspension e bikes are designed mainly for use on mountain bike trails.
When choosing an electric mountain bike, the Motor and battery are definitely the most important component to understand as it will generally be the differentiating factor when it comes to weight, price and how the bike feels to ride.
Dual suspension electric mountain bikes are quite heavy when compared with a regular dual-suspension mountain bike, most models weigh in around 20-25kgs.
Understanding EMTB Motors
Power of Battery = Volts. The simplest way to think of volts in terms of E-Bike performance is the ‘horsepower’ of the battery/motor. E-Bike batteries typically come in 24V, 36V and 48V options.
Battery Capacity = Amp-hours. Amp-hours are the most common unit for battery capacity in E-Bikes. The best way to think of them is the size of the ‘gas tank’. The more amp-hours (Ah) a battery has the longer range you’ll get from your E-Bike.
Battery Run time = Watt-hours. Sometimes battery packs will be quoted in Watt-hours, eg. Bosch Batteries being available in PowerPack300 and PowerPack400 options, both referring the Watt-hour capacity of the battery.
Watt-hours is generally a better indicator of range as it takes into account the volts and amp-hours of the battery.
Bike #1 has 24 Volts and a 20 AH battery = 480 watt hours Bike #2 has 48 Volts and a 10 AH battery = 480 watt hours.
Six of the best electric mountain bikes in 2023
Electric mountain bikes – otherwise known as e-MTBs – are rugged machines designed for the rigours of off-road riding in all types of weather. That riding can be as sedate as pottering around the local park or as extreme as chucking yourself down cliffs in some remote desert. As such, there are styles to match all kinds of riders, from mild to wild
Bikes range from simple hardtails with just front suspension to full-suspension designs with close to six-figure pricetags, making this a complex sector for newbies. But finding a bike to suit your tastes and budget gets a lot easier once you’ve decided what sort of riding you want to do.
At the extreme end of the spectrum, today’s e-MTBs provide tons of thrills thanks to their power and technology. Capable of taking on trails many of us would struggle to walk down, they’re all about giving riders maximum support.
Meanwhile, more sedate users will be happy to find many electric mountain bikes now employ features such as integrated lighting or pannier racks to help make the most of their electrical assistance.
radical forms of riding place greater strain on a bike, but almost all mountain bikes opt for the power of a mid-drive motor to help propel them up and downhill. You’ll also want a large battery to keep pace, while suspension, disc brakes and broad-spectrum gearing are also pretty much standard. Of course you’ll pay for all this technology and electric mountain bikes can be expensive. Luckily, they’re a riot to ride.
In this guide we’ve rounded up our six favourite e-MTBs, which have caught our eye for the following reasons:
- Moustache Samedi 29 Game 3: An incredible value build that competes on serious performance
- Cannondale Moterra Neo 3: Generations of Cannondale engineering know-how condensed into a performance eMTB
- Merida Eone-Forty 400: A capable full-suspension bike at a entry-level price for a performance bike
- Specialized Turbo Tero X 4.0: One of the most versatile electric mountain bikes at an accessible price
- Haibike Alltrack 5 29: Best value hardtail for the impressive battery size
- Cube Reaction Hybrid One 500: A solid all-rounder that will be as happy on the tow path as in the woods
What to look for in an e-MTB
Suspension: Bikes with dual suspension suit rougher terrain, while hardtails with just front suspension are preferable on smoother trails. They’re also lighter and less expensive.
Weight: A lighter bike is nimbler, but heavier bikes with larger batteries can go further and are often more comfortable. Weights tend to fall between 15 and 30kg, with under 20kg being incredibly light and 20 to 25kg being average.
Motor power: Effective motors start at roughly 70Nm of torque, while 80–90Nm is the norm on stronger machines. The occasional super-powerful outlier can reach 120Nm.
Battery capacity: Small batteries of about 250Wh may be sufficient if you’re looking for a lightweight bike for a few hours of vigorous pedalling. You’ll require considerably more if you intend to stay out all day or ride in hilly locations.
How much do I need to spend?
A fair bit, which makes sense given the demands made of e-MTBs and their complex, costly components. Expect a hardtail to set you back at least £2,000, with full-suspension models commanding an additional premium.
Buy if you want…
To wring maximum enjoyment out of exploring outdoors.
Avoid if you want…
To stick to sedate paths – e-MTBs are overpriced and over-equipped for smooth terrain.
Moustache Samedi 29 Game 3
As full suspension electric mountain bikes go the Samedi 29 offers great value and performance
French brand Moustache has been quietly building a reputation as a supplier of innovative, stylish and good-value electric bikes. It’s continuing this trend with the introduction of the Samedi 29 Game 3, one of its best value electric mountain bikes.
Of course, over £5,000 may seem like a lot of cash, but consider the inclusion of a Bosch Performance Line CX motor coupled with a large-capacity 750Wh Bosch battery. Then run your eye over the respectable Shimano Deore 11-speed drivetrain. Finally, take a moment to appraise the enormous amount of suspension travel – enough to eat UK trails for breakfast. All this combines to make the pricetag more understandable.
Moustache provides maximum fun for each pound spent by employing a hydroformed aluminium frame that holds a proprietary Magic Grip Control air shock to extract 160mm of rear-wheel travel. The clever shaping of the frame also allows Moustache to conceal the bike’s battery within the down tube and create a solid mounting point for the motor to help keep the centre of gravity low. Front-wheel dampening is then handled by a 170mm RockShox Domain R fork.
Clearly, the Samedi 29 Game 3’s chassis is designed to let you boss challenging terrain. This is also apparent in the inclusion of a KS dropper seatpost that lets you lower the seat out of the way via a handlebar-mounted switch. This ability is likely to prove pretty much essential when heading downhill or over jumps or drops.
Shimano’s Deore groupset may not have the cachet of posher ranges, but it still provides 11 gears and reliable and consistent operation. The same goes for the brand’s MT420 four-piston hydraulic disc brakes. Plus, if you crash and damage anything, the cost of a replacement won’t break the bank.
Most of the remaining finishing kit comes from Moustache’s own brand. This includes the 29-inch wheels, which feature tubeless-ready rims shod with aggressive Maxxis tyres. In keeping with the rest of the bike, they’re ready to rumble from the word go.
Pros: Copious suspension travel and a Bosch drivetrain with a large capacity battery represent excellent value for money
Cons: Own-brand finishing kit will put off potential buyers unable to see past more fashionable brand names
Moustache Samedi 29 Game 3 specs
Stated weight: 26kg; Frame material: 6061 T4-T6 aluminium; Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX 250W; Battery: Bosch PowerTube 750Wh; Stated range: 129km (80 miles); Gearing: Shimano Deore 11-speed; Saddle: Moustache Sport; Brakes: Shimano MT420 hydraulic disc; Wheels: Moustache tubeless 29in; Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 29 x 2.5in
Cannondale Moterra Neo 3
Full-fat thrills from a big and bouncy bike that’s made for serious playtime
Cannondale has been making aluminium-framed mountain bikes for almost as long as mountain bikes have been a thing, and the Moterra Neo 3 is the latest in that tradition. It’s just that, unlike the company’s first offerings, this model has suspension at both ends plus electric assistance.
As the e-bike market grows and matures, its various segments become more defined. Some manufacturers FOCUS on bikes that offer subtle assistance, low weight and conventional handling, while others opt to go ‘full fat’. Bikes in this style include large-capacity batteries that provide high mileage and full-throated assistance at the expense of slightly increased weight and less nippy handling.
To provide all-day assistance the Moterra employs a sizable 750Wh Bosch PowerTube battery, which lives within the down tube of its aluminium frame. That heavily sculpted frame also houses a RockShox Deluxe Select shock that offers an impressive 150mm of rear-wheel travel.
Cannondale now uses a system it calls ‘proportional response size-specific design’ to ensure each rider gets the right fit. This means each frame size gets its own unique layout and geometry to make the best use of its suspension. This also sees smaller frames drop their wheel size from 29 to 27.5 inches to keep dimensions in proportion.
At the front end of the bike you’ll find a matching RockShox Yari RC 150mm suspension fork. That much suspension travel on tap increases the possibility of getting into trouble on the downhills, which Cannondale counters with a set of Shimano MT420 four-piston hydraulic disc brakes.
You’ll probably want to get back up the hill, and your legs will find assistance in the form of a mixed 12-speed Shimano XT/Deore groupset and Bosch Performance Line CX motor. There’s even a trials bike-style skid plate to protect the motor from damage if you get really adventurous.
The result is a full-bodied bike that’s ready for almost anything the mountain can throw at it and which packs enough charge to last a full day of up-and-down riding. When it comes to having fun in challenging terrain, the Cannondale is no lightweight.
Pros: A large-capacity battery plus lots of travel suspension equals big fun off-road
Cons: Not as competitively priced as the aforementioned Moustache with little to separate them
Cannondale Moterra Neo 3 specs
Stated weight: 26kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX; Battery: Bosch PowerTube 750Wh; Stated range: N/A; Gearing: Shimano XT 12-speed; Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport; Brakes: Shimano Deore hydraulic disc; Wheels: WTB ST i30 TCS; Tyres: Maxxis Minion/Rekon 29 x 2.6in
Merida Eone-Forty 400
The Merida brings what passes for affordability to the world of electric full-suspension mountain bikes
Merida may not be one of the best-known bike brands, but the company is among the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers. Over the years it has made bikes for many renowned brands, and the Eone-Forty 400 puts all that knowledge to good use. The result is a well-outfitted and reasonably priced full-suspension electric mountain bike.
OK, so £4,000 for a bicycle may seem like a lot, but the average mid-range full-suspension mountain bike isn’t far off this total. And the Eone-Forty 400 doesn’t seem so expensive compared to the rest of the market, especially when you factor in its Shimano Steps EP8 motor and powerful 630Wh battery (although shorter riders should note that the smaller frame sizes require a slightly more petite 504Wh battery).
The frame housing the Shimano motor and matching battery is hydroformed from aluminium and allows for 130mm of rear-wheel travel. This is matched at the front by an SR Suntour XCR34 fork with 140mm of travel.
What isn’t shared front and back is the wheel size. The Eone-Forty 400 is what’s known as a mullet bike, whereby the front wheel is larger than the rear. It’s a common feature on many full-suspension bikes these days and aims to combine smooth rolling with manoeuvrability.
Both ends of the bike come fitted with seriously wide Maxxis Rekon tyres, and keeping these big treads turning when you’re not using the motor is Shimano’s Deore ten-speed drivetrain. While having ten gears at the rear may seem a lot for the uninitiated, more experienced riders might have expected to see an 11 or 12-speed cassette. Still, given the cost, it’s not something we’d be too minded to complain about, especially as you get the same highest and lowest gears. importantly, you get a dropper seatpost, which is now a must for serious mountain bikers.
Taken together, the Merida is an aggressive and capable mountain bike that’s unlikely to be stumped by anything but the most extreme terrain. Yes, the price is significant, but you’ll find it’s hard to beat.
Pros: A capable and on-trend mullet full-suspension bike with quality components for sensible money
Cons: The use of a Deore ten-speed groupset is an apparent move to keep the price down
Merida Eone-Forty 400 specs
Stated weight: N/A; Frame material: Aluminium; Motor: Shimano Steps EP8 (mid-mount); Battery: Shimano E8036 630Wh (504Wh on smaller sizes); Stated range: N/A; Gearing: Shimano Deore ten-speed; Saddle: Merida Comp SL; Brakes: Shimano M42040 (front), M4100 (rear); Wheels: Merida Comp TR; Tyres: Maxxis Rekon 29 x 2.4in (front), 27.5 x 2.6in (rear)
Specialized Turbo Tero X 4.0
A cargo-capable full-suspension bike that doesn’t defy existing genres but creates one for itself
Capability and comfort. The Turbo Tero manages to fill a gap in the market that many of us might never have noticed was there. It’s a bike with full suspension and aggressive tyres that can transport rider and kit over rough terrain in comfort and safety, yet it’s practical enough for day-to-day use too.
To help keep the bike as stable as possible, it uses a smaller 27.5-inch wheel at the back for a lower centre of gravity paired with a larger 29-inch front wheel for smoother rolling where this is more desirable. You also get a dropper seatpost to lower your position on the bike for hopping on and off or getting the saddle out of the way during tricky descents. In all, there’s more than enough mountain bike technology to help you navigate rough and technically demanding routes.
At the same time the Tero can carry up to 20kg of gear via its integrated rear rack, plus another 10kg on the front. Then there’s an integrated headlight to light your way and rugged full-length mudguards to stop you from getting sopping wet if the weather turns. You even gain a kickstand for easy parking.
To reach for a comparison from outside of cycling, it’s like a sports utility vehicle. However, rather than spewing fumes into the environment, the Turbo Tero uses a proprietary 50Nm Specialized mid-drive motor and 530Wh battery to help propel you along.
Like a sports utility vehicle, the Tero is also happy to be put to more pedestrian uses. For one thing it’s capable of towing a trailer, so it could potentially be used for ferrying children on the school run, only in this case you won’t get dirty looks if you park it on the zigzag lines outside school.
Whatever use you put the bike to, its MasterMind display provides instant tunability to swap between modes and a live range estimator, so you’ll always know how much you have left in the tank.
Pros: You’re unlikely to find yourself underequipped whether your rides are mild or wild
Cons: Might be a tad overkill for day-to-day use on the tarmac
Specialized Turbo Tero X 4.0 specs
Stated weight: 26.7kg; Frame material: Aluminium Fork RockShox Recon Silver RL; Motor: Specialized 2.0E; Battery: Specialized U2-530 530Wh; Stated range: N/A; Gearing: Sram SX Eagle 12-speed; Saddle: Specialized Bridge Sport; Brakes: Sram G2 RE hydraulic disc; Wheels: Specialized 29in (front), 27in (rear); Tyres: Ground Control Grid T7 2.35in
Haibike Alltrack 5 29
A machine that looks like a mountain bike at first glance, but turns out to be much more versatile
When mountain bikes first appeared they were frequently called ATBs – all-terrain bikes – and they were indeed designed to be ridden everywhere. Perhaps it’s now time to re-establish that idea with bikes such as the Alltrack 5 29 from Haibike.
One upshot of mountain bikes becoming ever more capable off-road is that they’ve become inversely less usable on the road. Who needs 140mm of suspension travel at both ends of a bicycle that will be used as much for trips to the shops as it will for thrashing along muddy trails?
For many riders, such rugged full-suspension designs only add weight and are a potential liability when it comes to servicing. By comparison, the Alltrack 5 29 is a simple e-bike that can be taken off-road but isn’t so extreme that it can’t be used on the road. It’s a genuine all-rounder.
The Alltrack 5 29’s frame is a chunky-looking affair, but it needs to be to carry the bike’s impressively large 750Wh battery in the down tube. This should provide enough power to quell anyone’s range anxiety, even when toting heavy panniers or taking in multiple climbs. The oversized frame also provides a solid mounting point for a powerful Yamaha PW-S2 electric motor.
Sitting next to the motor is a single-ring crankset that directs both human power and electric assistance to the rear wheel via a Shimano Deore ten-speed gearset. Yes, an 11 or 12-speed groupset would be nice, but the ten-speed setup is robust and simplifies gear selection.
As the bike’s name suggests, the wheels are 29 inches in diameter, although that drops to 27.5 inches on smaller frame sizes to keep the handling consistent. It’s a nice touch that means all riders get the same ride experience. And no matter which size fits, you’ll find the same Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres on the wheels. Like the bike, they’re a bit slow on the road but are more than capable once you hit the dirt.
Pros: A no-nonsense mountain bike that’s not so extreme it can’t also be ridden on the road
Cons: The Yamaha motor is relatively new to the market and is not yet as well established as other premium brands
Haibike Alltrack 5 29 specs
Stated weight: N/A; Frame material: Aluminium; Motor: Yamaha PW-S2 250W mid; Battery: InTube 750Wh; Stated range: N/A; Gearing: Shimano Deore ten-speed; Saddle: XLC; Brakes: Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc; Wheels: Rodi Tryp 30 29in; Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance 29 x 2.6in
Cube Reaction Hybrid One 500
An adventurous hybrid or an easy-to-pedal mountain bike. The Cube is capable in either role
No one seems quite sure how to define the ‘hybrid’ bike. Is it a road bike with flat handlebars or a mountain bike with less knobbly tyres? As far as Cube is concerned, it’s the latter.
Clearly the manufacturer wasn’t going to be constrained by traditional design ideas and predefined use categories in creating the Reaction Hybrid One 500 – it may be called a hybrid, but it definitely looks like a mountain bike. Yet there’s also the option of an easy-entry step-through frame, which is not what you’d typically expect of a mountain bike. Then again, you can argue that bikes are made to be ridden, and if they can be ridden on all sorts of terrain then they’re genuinely hybrid. That’s certainly the case with this model.
Whatever you use it for, you’ll be assisted by a fourth-generation Bosch Performance CX motor that’s tucked away at the base of the frame. It combines with the Shimano Deore ten-speed gearset to let you conquer the steepest of hills or cruise along the high street with little effort.
Like many of today’s electric mountain bikes, the Cube’s frame is made from heavily shaped aluminium tubing that conceals the 500Wh battery inside the down tube. Those same shapely tubes also carry all the control lines internally, while cables are also hidden away from view to create a clean aesthetic.
The bike gives a nod to its mountain bike heritage by featuring an SR Suntour NVX30 suspension fork, which offers 100mm of front wheel travel. It also sports large-volume Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres that provide comfort and grip off-road or on.
If you plan on using the Reaction Hybrid One 500 on the road, you’ll appreciate how Cube has incorporated mounting points for a side stand, mudguards and a rear rack to let you commute in comfort. Still, even with all these extras and the motor taking the strain, this bike probably enjoys trails more than tarmac.
Pros: An all-rounder with frame options to suit a wide range of riders and riding styles
Cons: The hybrid name belies a bike more suited to off-road riding than regular road use
Cube Reaction Hybrid One 500 specs
Stated weight: 22.7kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Motor: Bosch Performance CX Generation 4 mid; Battery: Bosch PowerTube 500; Stated range: N/A; Gearing: Shimano Deore ten-speed; Saddle: Natural Fit Sequence; Brakes: Shimano BR-MT200; Wheels: Cube EX23; Tyres: Schwalbe Smart Sam, Active, 29 x 2.35in
Interested in the market’s very lightest electric mountain bikes only? Rotwild now lays claim to having developed the lightest mass-production unit.
The best full-suspension off-road step-through bike 2023 – 4 ebikes in review
A picnic in the mountains, a trip to the beer garden or exploring glacial lakes on a summer’s day? It has never been easier to go on an adventure – all thanks to the growing sector of full-suspension off-road step-through bikes. Superior to trekking bikes in many ways, they promise more comfort, safety and fun. We’ve tested four bikes for you!
- The next generation of full-suspension off-road step-through bikes
- Why ride a step-through bike and not a trekking bike with a classic diamond frame?
- What is a must-have in the “off-road package” for an off-road step-through bike?
- Which motor system is the best for a full-suspension off-road step-through bike?
- Stretch bench or garden swing – The ergonomics and adjustability of our off-road step-through test bikes
- Form follows function – The design of our off-road step-through bikes
- Equipment ≠ Equipment – Large differences in the functionality of the features
- Tops Flops
- The test field at a glance – Winners, losers and recommendations
A real revolution is currently taking place in the bike world, making biking more accessible and changing people’s perceptions: We’re talking about full-suspension off-road step-through bikes. These bikes come without a top tube, which makes mounting and dismounting much easier – they don’t require you to lift your leg high, you just, well, step through the frame. Not only are they a game changer for older and less agile bikers but also for everyone who is looking for a reliable companion for commuting safely through the city, or for a relaxed bike ride in the great outdoors. This is where the off-road aspect comes into its own. Thanks to sensible features and a clever frame design, the step-through bikes are clearly superior to classic trekking ebikes and old-fashioned city bikes in terms of comfort and safety, bringing young and old together. As early as 2020, we recognised the potential of off-road step-through bikes and invited 10 promising candidates to our big comparison test. Already back then we had the vision of an inclusive means of transport. In the words of Dr Martin Luther Biking Jr: „I have a dream that one day, everyone will be able to bike together” ;). In the meantime, technology has taken another significant step forward. In the first edition of our comparison test, only one out of ten ebikes had a full-suspension frame. However, manufacturers have recognised the potential, and the market for full-suspension step-through bikes is growing significantly.
The next generation of full-suspension off-road step-through bikes
What defines the latest generation of off-road step-through bikes? They are ingenious bikes made for adventure and exploring while raising comfort, safety and off-road capability to a new, even higher level. The full-suspension chassis is the core element. Off-road step-through bikes not only have a suspension fork at the front but also a suspended rear triangle. You notice the benefits already on rough asphalt, and even more so on cobblestones or off-road. Suspension rear ends are commonplace on mountain bikes, but on step-through bikes they are a feat of engineering and require a cleverly thought-out design. Our test shows that not all models meet this criterion. The frame function is usually designed differently for mountain bikes and step-through bikes. While mountain bikes are made to absorb fast, successive impacts while still providing good feedback from the ground, step-through bikes are designed to dampen only isolated impacts, as from kerbs or potholes. Their primary aim is to provide comfort and safety rather than speed. Obviously, some of the step-through bikes we tested are great fun on flowing trails, too, but that’s not what they were originally made for.
While cobblestone roads or kerbs can become the ultimate comfort killer on many trekking hardtails, a well-designed rear suspension absorbs most impacts, increasing not only the comfort and safety but also the traction. Thanks to the full suspension, the rear wheel hugs the ground even on bumpy and unpaved roads, ensuring a smoother ride and shorter braking times. Newbies even feel encouraged to test out the many possibilities of the off-road step-through bikes exploring more adventurous trails. To experience the riding characteristics of the still relatively new ebike type for ourselves, we set off for the picturesque municipality of Olang in South Tyrol to do the testing where others spend their holidays. This community of 3,200 people is located in the heart of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park and offers us the ideal testing conditions for our workation trip. The centre of Olang lies at 1,080 m above sea level – pure mountain village idyll! You can gain many vertical metres on numerous trails around the Olang-Valdaora valley, rewarding yourself with a stop at one of the numerous alpine huts that are still kept in the traditional way. A visit to the regional glacial lake, Lago di Braies, is a must on any bucket list. In the summer months, however, access by car is limited, which is why exploring the region on an off-road step-through bike is perfect.
Why ride a step-through bike and not a trekking bike with a classic diamond frame?
Step-through bikes are often regarded as ladies bikes, but a well-designed ebike with a low entry offers advantages for many target groups. Especially with bulky panniers, it takes Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Epic Split to swing your leg over the fully-loaded rear of a trekking bike. Step-through bikes also offer a special advantage in tricky riding situations, particularly for beginners who try to put their feet on the ground as quickly as possible in dangerous situations. On classic diamond frames the top tube hinders them in doing so, which affects their confidence and sense of safety. Bike manufacturers have realised that this does not only affect ladies with long skirts, and have therefore started to advertise their step-through bikes more as wave frames instead of women’s bikes. However, there are also some disadvantages that cannot be dismissed. Technically, step-through bikes are not easy to implement, as it is the top tube that gives ebikes a lot of frame rigidity. Without a top tube, the rest of the frame has to be reinforced, which often results in a slightly increased weight. Our test bikes all weigh between 28 and 31 kg. A really light off-road step-through bike is hard to find, as unless the frame is reinforced at the critical points, the handling will be unstable. The handlebar on some of the models we tested tended to wobble, especially with heavy loads on the rear rack. But then again, many classic step-through bikes without rear suspension suffer from this phenomenon too.
What is a must-have in the “off-road package” for an off-road step-through bike?
Not every bike with a low entry immediately qualifies as a comfortable off-road step-through bike. Besides geometry and chassis, other factors have to be considered as well.
Tires: Voluminous knobby tires ensure riding comfort due to their cushioning properties. A chunkier tread adds safety by providing a good grip on gravel roads and forest paths. All manufacturers in the test went with the Schwalbe SUV tire lineup. The Johnny Watts model is used by three manufacturers and one chose the Schwalbe Al Grounder with a lower tread. The team from ZEMO equip the SU-E FS 11 with 2.6″ tires, the other manufacturers use the narrower but still quite bulky 2.35″ ones.
Brakes:The same applies to the brakes as to the tires, they must be suited for the area of use. Off-road step-through bikes are made for exploration and therefore need to come to a halt safely and in a controlled manner, even in a mountainous area or with a heavy load. To ensure this, the brakes must be suitably fade resistant and well dimensioned. Compared to two-piston brakes, four-piston stoppers generate more braking power with lower operating forces, which means that your hands, fingers and forearms do not tire as quickly on long rides or downhill. Large brake discs also provide better performance during sustained braking. Due to their larger radius, they also require less pressure on the brake lever. Another benefit is that larger discs ensure better heat absorption and dissipation and therefore a more constant braking force without overheating too quickly. Unfortunately, this concept has not yet reached all manufacturers. On our test bikes, only CONWAY and Victoria use a large front brake disc, and the ZEMO was the only model equipped with a four-piston brake on the front wheel.
Dropper post: Another item on the checklist is a dropper post. While it was still considered a highlight in our 2020 comparison test and was only used on three out of ten ebikes, the feature is now a must-have. Not only does it make it easier to get your feet on the ground when stopping at a traffic light, but it also gives you more freedom of movement when riding in rougher terrain. In our current comparison test, we rode seatposts with a stroke of a measly 75 mm up to a stately 160 mm. Dropper posts with a lot of travel also require a correspondingly long insertion depth in the seat tube, which, however, is limited by the shock on full-suspension step-through bikes. That’s why long-stroke droppers are not easy to accommodate.
Which motor system is the best for a full-suspension off-road step-through bike?
Anyone who has read our motor test knows that this is a trick question. There is, of course, no such thing as “the best motor system”, as it is only as good as the overall concept of the bike in question. A good motor does not make a bad bike ride well. All our test bikes use the Bosch Performance Line CX motor with identical performance numbers and almost the same hardware. It’s also the motor of choice for many performance-oriented eMTB models. However, how well the CX motor supports the bike depends on several factors, including the type of drivetrain, tires and geometry. While the Enviolo gear hub in the Victoria PARCOURS 5 only has a limited range, lacks a light climbing gear for steep climbs and sometimes slips under heavy workloads, the test bikes with chain drivetrains are unfazed even with a great deal of pressure on the pedals.
And while there is little variation in the motor itself in our test, there are clear differences in the motor system and the integration of the Bosch systems. Victoria and ZEMO rely on the new Bosch Smart System, Malaguti and CONWAY still manage with the “older” Bosch motor generation, which has both its pros and cons. Victoria and ZEMO benefit from modern connectivity features such as the eBike Lock, using the smartphone as a digital key, the rudimentary navigation function on the Kiox 300 display or the compatibility with the SmartphoneGrip mount. Malaguti and CONWAY owners, on the other hand, can upgrade their ebikes at a Bosch dealer to the first-class Bosch Nyon display, which combines real offline navigation with battery and motor data on the handlebar. Those who prefer to order these two off-road ebikes with the new Bosch Smart System will have to wait for the model change in 2023.
When it comes to batteries, there is one that stands out in the comparison test. If you like to put in some extra laps on your weekend tour, you’ll be excited about the ZEMO’s large 750 Wh battery and the fact that it is already prepared for a dual-battery option. So as soon as Bosch brings the second battery to the market, it can be attached to the down tube of the ZEMO SU-E via an additional holder. CONWAY, Malaguti and Victoria rely on a fully-integrated Bosch battery with 625 Wh capacity, which also has its advantages, as a shorter battery allows smaller frame sizes. The CONWAY CAIRON SUV, for example, is significantly more compact in size S than the smallest ZEMO, making it a great option for very small people and for saving on extra ballast.
Stretch bench or garden swing – The ergonomics and adjustability of our off-road step-through test bikes
Even the best off-road step-through bike is no fun if the ergonomics just aren’t right. The more user-friendly settings an ebike offers for adjusting the ergonomics and seating position, the better. Once you’ve got yourself a stylish off-road step-through bike, you’ll quickly draw admiring glances from family members who also want to take it out for a spin. If two or more people share an ebike, it is an obvious advantage if it can be easily adapted to different body sizes. Here we see many different approaches. CONWAY and ZEMO address this issue with adjustable stems, for example. This allows the handlebar position to be adjusted in width and height by simply loosening and tightening a bolt, no need for major fiddling around. The Victoria is equipped with a stylish stem that doesn’t offer any adjustment options, however, the bike has a handlebar with plenty of rise. Rotating the handlebar in the stem, the seating position can be straightened or flattened to a certain degree. In typical MTB fashion, Malaguti use a flat bar with a stub stem that can be slightly raised or lowered with spacers. At 760 mm, the handlebar is significantly wider than on the competitors’ bikes and forced the test riders into a broad push-up-like arm position. People who don’t have the arm span of a Michael Jordan or a swimmer’s chest will have to reach for the hacksaw and shorten the handlebar to find the right position.
When it comes to saddle height, all manufacturers in the test have shown their expertise. Thanks to the dropper post, the test bikes can be adapted with a quick flick of the remote on the handlebar, making it particularly easy to change riders. The CONWAY CAIRON also allows another tool-free adjustment of the saddle height via a quick-release on the seat tube. The principle here is: One size does not fit all – but many. Ideally, several riders can e bike.
To ensure that not only the ergonomics but also the riding comfort is right, the pressure in tires and suspension must also be adjusted to the rider’s weight and riding style. For the SR Suntour and RockShox forks in the test field, the manufacturer’s specifications can be found online and used as a good starting point for a suspension setup. When it comes to the right tire pressure, it takes a bit of trial and error. Especially the 2.6″ wide tires of the ZEMO can be a little too hard and bouncy if the pressure is too high. The setup of the rear shock is a little more difficult, as you have to find the sweet spot. If the pressure is too high, the rear end feels too firm, but if the pressure is too low, it sags too much in the suspension travel. On some of our test bikes, however, the shock air valve is obstructed by the frame and difficult to reach. On others, it is hard to check the suspension sag, as the access to the rear shock is partially covered by the frame. If you need help, you should ask the dealer directly for assistance when buying the bike.
Form follows function – The design of our off-road step-through bikes
Step-through bikes are sexy! While exploring the Lago di Braies during our test laps, we attracted more attention than the mountain lake scenery itself, despite the fact that #lagodibraies delivers over 450,000 hits on Instagram. The design on some of the test bikes has clearly been given considerably more thought than on others. The integration of the shock in the rear triangle particularly shows the different design approaches. While the rear shock on the Victoria is almost completely integrated into the frame and the rear triangle kinematics can only partially be glimpsed, the CONWAY shows off its shock with the iconic shock linkage reminding us of the Specialized Demo downhill bike rear triangle.
The elaborate integration of the motor into the frame as well as the paintwork with its bright and well-matched colours are in the same league as expensive eMTBs. Yet the sometimes very rough weld seams or the chaotic cable management in front of the cockpit still show potential for improvement on all the test bikes.
Equipment ≠ Equipment – Large differences in the functionality of the features
All bikes on test come fully equipped with a lighting system, mudguard, kickstand and a rear rack. Just as useful in everyday life as on the trail. Regarding the quality and functionality of the attached parts, however, the test reveals major differences. While some features are a real bonus on certain bikes, they make life significantly more difficult on others. For example, wide, firmly-mounted aluminium mudguards protect against splashing water and provide peace and quiet on rough trails, while poorly mounted mudguards scraped the tire and tested our patience during the test. With the front light, it’s not only the brightness that counts but also the positioning. The Malaguti is the only test bike that has its lamp positioned at the top of the handlebar, which improves visibility by preventing the front wheel from casting a shadow in front of the bike. On the other test bikes, the front light was installed low on the crown of the suspension fork.
The ZEMO, the Victoria and the CONWAY score extra points with a brake light function, drawing attention to the bike in the hectic after-work traffic of a big city. The ZEMO is the only bike with an additional practical high beam function.
Nobody likes to ride with a heavy backpack on their back, so a rear rack is a must-have for tours with luggage. Whether for daily shopping or on a multi-day tour, the panniers should be as easy as possible to attach and remove. A standardised luggage rack system has not yet been established in the industry. Available for our test bikes are pre-mounted bag holders such as the MIK system, AVS, Ortlieb Quick-Lock 3 and MonkeyLoad. In contrast to third-party pannier bags, these ones can be attached easily even when fully loaded, but the additional weight at the rear can have a hugely negative impact on the handling. Some step-through models such as the Victoria or the Malaguti start to sway due to the load at the rear and respond with a wobbly handlebar. The CONWAY, on the other hand, remains very stable even when fully loaded. Nevertheless, you should think twice about whether you want to carry all seven Harry Potter volumes with you at all times.
Another attachment that can cause problems on step-through bikes is the water bottle. Its placement in the lower area of the step-through frame means that you have to lift your leg much higher than normally when getting on and off the bike. Malaguti and Victoria do not have a bottle cage at all, while on the CONWAY the mount on the seat tube is rather suboptimal and somewhat blocks the entry. The ZEMO comes with a practical bottle cage next to the head tube, but even this placement can lead to restricted movement while pedalling.
Without light, there’s no shadow: In our test, we encountered many clever and practical solutions along with well-implemented details. But among the many highlights there are also a few letdowns that left us scratching our heads. Here are the tops and flops of our comparison test.
The test field at a glance – Winners, losers and recommendations
A good off-road step-through bike is a real source of joy, but only if the overall package is right. With the right balance of comfort, riding safety and handling, the bikes enable young and old alike to enjoy relaxed outdoor explorations, and for some they might even open up completely new horizons. Our hand-picked selection of four full-suspension off-road step-through bikes shows the potential of the concept and what the future of trekking bikes could look like.
Our best in test – ZEMO SU-E FS 11
The ZEMO SU-E FS 11 is the deluxe model among the off-road step-through bikes. The ZEMO team has not only equipped the ebike with all comfort features such as a well-functioning rear triangle or a suspension seat post, but has also provided a comprehensive safety package with many detailed solutions. Thanks to the successful motor integration around the Bosch Smart System and the preparation for a dual battery, ZEMO give you everything that the concept of off-road low step-through bikes currently has to offer. The ZEMO pays for its high level of functionality with a somewhat overloaded look and a rather incoherent design. Nevertheless, it is deservedly the winner of our off-road low step-through bike comparison test.
Our best buy – CONWAY CAIRON SUV FS 5.7
The CONWAY CAIRON SUV FS 5.7 off-road step-through bike is all about the powerful frame and the elaborately designed rear-end kinematics. No other step-through bike in our comparison test can match the ride comfort and stability of the CONWAY. With the main FOCUS being on off-road performance, other aspects such as connectivity, suitability for everyday use or design were rather neglected. Nevertheless, at a comparatively attractive price the CONWAY shows no significant shortcomings in the test. That’s why the CONWAY CAIRON SUV FS 5.7 gets our best buy recommendation.
Malaguti COLLINA FW6.0
The Malaguti COLLINA FW6.0 stands out for its style and emotionality. The full-suspension off-road step-through bike with Italian motorsport history seeks to inspire with its design, but lags behind the competition in terms of functionality and rear end performance. Instead of a wide range of features and connectivity extras, it only offers minimalism and thus will probably only attract the aesthetes among ebikers. It is certainly not up to the various demands of an off-road adventure.
Victoria Parcours 5
The elegant Victoria PARCOURS 5 comes with many features of an off-road step-through bike and, with its full-suspension chassis, is not only very comfortable but can take a hit when off-road. Next to the other off-road step-through bikes, it looks a little overdressed. The Victoria impresses with a consistent design language that fits better into a modern urban landscape than a rustic natural setting. The low range gear hub and the tires with a lower profile also make more sense in everyday commuting than on an off-road expedition, which is why the Victoria is the city bike among the off-road step-through bikes.
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Words: Rudolf Fischer Photos: Mike Hunger, Julian Lemme