Best electric mountain bikes: top-rated eMTBs to tame the trails. The fastest e bike

Best electric mountain bikes: top-rated eMTBs to tame the trails

The best electric mountain bikes make ascents a lot easier while providing all the performance and handling you want on the way back down. They add some extra power on the flat too.

You can turn your FOCUS to climbing the steepest, most technical slopes you can find – or just go longer and faster with a grin from ear-to-ear. The ability to cover ground quickly means you can go out and explore places you wouldn’t otherwise consider. These bikes also enable you to ride in ways you usually couldn’t. As designs become more refined, their handling increasingly rivals – and in some cases exceeds – that of non-assisted mountain bikes.

For more on what to look for when buying an e-MTB, read our buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article. Otherwise, check out our guide to the best electric bikes for advice on choosing the right ebike for you. If your riding will not be exclusively off-road, then the best electric gravel bikes are worth considering instead. What’s more, motor-assisted miles on tarmac call for the best electric road bikes.

Best electric mountain bikes in 2023

Marin Alpine Trail E2

Slack geometry and Shimano’s EP8 motor make the Alpine Trail E2 a formidable bike. Andy Lloyd / Marin Bikes

  • £5,695 / €6,199 / 5,999 as tested
  • Marin’s first full-suspension e-MTB
  • Capable, fun and comfortable

Marin launched the Alpine Trail E at the end of 2020 and it’s the Californian brand’s first full-suspension electric mountain bike.

Luckily, it’s been worth the wait because the Alpine Trail E is a capable, fun and comfortable e-MTB with a well-thought-out spec that offers good value for money including top-spec dampers, Shimano drivetrains and branded components.

best, electric, mountain, bikes

You get an aluminium frame with 150mm of travel, with aggressive, descent-focused geometry, while Shimano’s EP8 motor provides the power.

The Alpine Trail E2 is at home on a broad spectrum of trails and lives up to Marin’s promise as a bike that will put a smile on your face.

The range also includes the cheaper Alpine Trail E1 at £4,295 / 4,499 / €4,899.

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Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Factory

Nukeproof also took the top step in our inagural eMTB Bike of the Year test. Steve Behr / Our Media

  • £7,000 / €8,200 as tested
  • Comfortable, efficient climbing
  • Good balance of motor power and range

The winner of our first ever eMTB category in Bike of the Year, the Nukeproof Megawatt scores on geometry, spec and suspension and, with its 170mm rear travel and mullet wheels, is designed for enduro riding.

The top-drawer spec includes a Fox Factory 38 fork and Float X2 shock, Shimano XT drivetrain and four-piston brakes, DT Swiss H 1700 Spline 30 wheels and Maxxis tyres.

Power comes from a Shimano EP8 85Nm motor with three customisable assistance levels and a 630Wh battery supplying the juice. We got over 2,000m vertical in Eco mode and up to 1,400m in Boost.

We loved the downhill performance, a mix of fun and stability that’s hard for bike designers to get right. The super-smooth rear suspension with balanced geometry makes it easy to ride quickly with little effort.

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Orbea Rise H10

  • £6,623 / 8,000 / €7,100 / AU12,600 as tested
  • Well-finished alloy frame
  • Throttled-down Shimano EP8 motor gives natural ride feel

The Orbea Rise H10 is an alloy version of the original carbon Rise. It’s a stripped-back ‘eMTB Lite’, with less power and weight than a fully assisted eMTB, that Orbea says is “less e, more bike”.

The Rise H10 gets a larger battery than the original, at 540Wh, and is powered by a 60Nm Shimano EP8 motor that’s throttled down to limit its usual 85Nm torque and extend range. You can add a 252Wh range extender.

The H10’s frame has nicely smoothed welds at the top tube junctions that could fool you into thinking it’s carbon, and side-on it’s not obvious there’s a battery in the down tube either. Geometry is trail-oriented and modern but not cutting-edge.

With its higher-torque motor than the Specialized Turbo Levo SL, the Rise feels more powerful on climbs. It can handle rougher, steeper trails, although it’s not as sure-footed as more enduro-oriented ebikes. It’s happiest on rollercoaster singletrack and berms though.

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Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL

  • £12,500 / 15,000 / €14,500 / AU24,200 as tested
  • Top-drawer spec to match the price
  • Highly tunable geometry
  • Lower-powered assistance leads to more rider input to keep up pace

First in our line-up of very spendy Specialized electric bikes, the enduro-focused Turbo Kenevo SL mixes a 19kg weight with 170mm travel.

It’s built from FACT 11m carbon fibre, with the tunable Specialized Turbo SL 1.1 motor meting out 35Nm of torque – about half that of most eMTB motors. That’s powered by a 320Wh integrated battery. You can buy a separate range extender to add another 160Wh.

The geometry is tunable, with 2 degrees of head tube angle adjustment via angled headset cups and flip chips in the suspension pivot. In the low setting, climbing is smooth and composed with subtle assistance. Handling feels more like a pedal-powered bike than an eMTB, with impressive composure on rougher trails.

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Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo

  • £13,000 / 15,000 / €13,999 / AU24,200 as tested
  • Great frame, motor, battery life and power delivery
  • Crazy price, tyres not robust enough to keep up

We really liked the Turbo Levo’s frame and motor when we reviewed the base model, but were underwhelmed by its components and their effect on handling. We’ve also reviewed the Turbo Levo Comp Alloy more recently, again with mixed results, in this case raising issues with the suspension damper, tyres and the bike’s value for money.

The range-topping carbon S-Works model rectifies all that – although at a price. Our reviewer rated it the “best bike he’d ever ridden”.

The Brose motor pushes out up to 565 watts and 90Nm for impressive climbing with smooth power delivery and there’s battery capacity to stay the course. The rest of the spec is as top-drawer as you’d expect.

With 150mm of suspension travel and variable geometry, the bike can be fine-tuned to whatever you want to ride, although we swapped out the tyres to something better able to keep up with the rest of the bike’s capabilities.

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Vitus E-Sommet VRX

For the money, the E-Sommet has to be one of the best electric mountain bikes out there. Ian Linton / Our Media

  • £5,499 as tested
  • Draped in high-end components at a reasonable price
  • Impressive geometry and suspension

Rolling on a ‘mullet’ setup and featuring up-to-date geometry (boasting a 64-degree head tube angle), the E-Sommet is Vitus’ top-spec eMTB designed for enduro with 167mm of rear travel.

It’s powered by Shimano’s EP8 motor capable of 85nm peak torque and 250W of peak power combined with a 650Wh battery. We achieved 1,800m to 2,000m of ascent in the Eco mode from a single charge. This figure dropped in Turbo mode to 1,200m.

With Vitus being a direct-to-customer brand, the E-Sommet is adorned with top spec for its very reasonable price. It features a 170mm RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork, a Super Deluxe Select RT shock and Shimano’s XT groupset.

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Whyte E-160 RSX

  • £7,999 as tested
  • Calm and composed, hides its weight well
  • One of the best-handling electric mountain bikes tested

Available in 29in or ‘mullet’ form, the E-160 RSX is a 150mm do-it-all electric enduro bike.

It comes well equipped with Fox Performance Elite 38 forks and Float X rear shock, SRAM GX Eagle AXS and DT Swiss wheels. Power comes from a 250W Bosch Performance Line CX motor with a 750Wh PowerTube battery.

Whyte has positioned the battery partially beneath the motor to lower the bike’s centre of gravity, giving it a well-balanced geometry and truly special handling characteristics for a bike of its weight.

We managed to get 2,000m of ascent in Tour mode, and regularly hit 1,500m in eMTB mode. The 26.32kg weight (size large) was masked on the descents thanks to the low centre of gravity, making the bike easy to lean from one side to the other.

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Whyte E-180 RS

A mix of stability at speed with agile handling makes for great descending on the Whyte E-180 RS v3. Andy Lloyd / Our Media

  • £7,699 as tested
  • Geometry and motor/battery positioning designed for stability
  • Near-perfect descending performance

With 27.5in wheels and 170mm rear/180mm front travel, the downhill-oriented, alloy Whyte E-180 RS v3 sits at the top of the brand’s range.

There’s a quality spec with Fox Factory fork and shock, DT Swiss wheels and SRAM X01/GX Eagle drivetrain. Assistance comes in the form of an 85Nm Bosch Performance Line CX motor with a 625Wh battery and a Purion display.

The layout of the motor and battery is designed to give a low centre of gravity and there’s a flip chip to adjust geometry, dropping the head tube angle by one degree. Even in the high setting, it’s quite slack.

We managed 2,300m of climbing with the motor in Eco mode, although that dropped to 1,200m with higher assistance. Descending was near-perfect, with great stability over rough ground and the agility to handle complex trail features.

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Yeti 160E T1

Yeti’s first eMTB is an impressive ride, but feels under-specced for its price. Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

  • £11,899 / 12,700 / €13,790 as tested
  • Superb suspension, balance and handling
  • Very expensive, without top-spec kit all-round

The Yeti is an expensive proposition, but we reckon its 160mm-travel six-bar suspension sets a new benchmark for enduro eMTBs and its downhill capabilities are second to none.

It’s powered by a Shimano EP8 motor with a 630Wh battery. The TURQ-series carbon frame is decked out in Shimano XT with DT Swiss EX 1700 alloy wheels and Fox 38 Factory fork and Float X2 rear shock; there’s also a less expensive C1 spec of the 160E.

There’s loads of grip on bumpy or rough terrain, with the rear tyre giving up before the suspension. Downhill needed a little tuning to raise the bars, but once done the controlled suspension and well-chosen geometry led to incredible, fast-descending performance.

Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7.0

Although it hasn’t got the most progressive geometry, it’s still a good-looking and top-performing bike. Ian Linton / Immediate Media

  • £4,299 / 6,299 / €4,497 as tested
  • Carbon main frame
  • Playful handling when ridden fast

Redesigned in March 2020, the Canyon Spectral:ON’s main frame is now carbon with an alloy rear triangle, instead of all alloy, and its 504Wh battery is now internal.

Like its predecessor, it has mullet wheel sizes, with a 29in front and 27.5in rear wheel. On this CF 7.0 model, there’s 150mm of travel at the rear and a RockShox Deluxe Select shock, while power comes from a Shimano Steps E8000 motor, running through a 12-speed Shimano XT derailleur.

The motor provides plenty of power to get up steep climbs, while the feel when riding fast is more playful than planted.

We’ve also tested the top-spec, £7,599 / 9,000 Spectral:ON CF 9.0. Its components are better, but we reckon there’s little other reason to choose it over the 7.0.

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Focus JAM2 7.0

  • £7,499 / €7,999 as tested
  • Tunable geometry and 150mm travel
  • Responsive, agile handling despite a 25kg weight

The Focus JAM2 7.0 rolls on 29er wheels with 150mm of linear-progressive suspension travel, while power comes from the Shimano EP8 85Nm motor, with a high-capacity 720Wh battery from Focus.

A flip chip enables you to tune the geometry and the JAM2 has Focus’s CIS system with cables and hoses threaded through the stem. There’s a built-in USB-C charge port on the top tube and another neat touch is the custom tool bag that sits under the front of the down tube.

We rated the rear-wheel grip when climbing, and the geometry adds playfulness on flowy trails, with direct, responsive handling despite the 25kg weight.

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Merida eONE-SIXTY 10k

  • £9,000 / 9,799 / €9,799 / AU11,999 as tested
  • Smooth-riding over choppy trails, high-value spec
  • Geometry is a bit short and high

Powered by the Shimano EP8 motor system, this top spec of Merida’s enduro-oriented eOne-Sixty has a carbon front triangle and single-pivot alloy rear. The ride is smooth over obstacles and on fast, choppy trails, although the reach is slightly shorter and the front end a bit higher than we’d prefer.

This top-spec model has everything you could desire, including Shimano XTR gearing and brakes, and DT Swiss carbon wheels with Maxxis rubber, along with a Fox Float X2 Factory fork and shock, and a RockShox Reverb AXS wireless dropper seatpost.

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Mondraker Level R

The Mondraker Level R electric mountain bike sits in the brand’s ‘super enduro’ category, where the FOCUS of performance is on the downhills. Andy Lloyd / Out Media

best, electric, mountain, bikes
  • £5,999 / 8,499 / €5,799 as tested
  • Composed climbing and descending
  • 27kg weight limits climbing range, but isn’t an issue on descents

Mondraker sets the alloy Level R 29er in its ‘super enduro’ category, with the brand’s Forward Geometry and 170mm travel from a Fox DHX2 coil-spring shock and dual-link suspension system.

Power is provided by a Bosch Performance Line CX motor with four assistance levels, 85Nm of torque, a 750Wh battery and Kiox 300 colour display that can link to your phone, enabling ride recording and motor tuning.

You sit centrally on the bike, which leads to calm climbing with little tendency to front-wheel lift. We weighed the Level R at 27kg, which we found limited ascending capacity to around 1,300m. Weight was less of an issue on descents though, with the Level R feeling planted and well behaved.

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Santa Cruz Bullit CC X01 RSV

  • £10,499 / €11,699 / 11,499 as tested
  • Exceptionally fast and capable bike
  • Possible to overwhelm the forks and brakes on steeper trails

The Santa Cruz Bullit is a name that goes back to 1998, but the reimagined bike is a far cry from the original – the Bullit is now a 170mm-travel e-MTB with a carbon frame and mixed wheel sizes.

The bike’s climbing ability impressed most during testing – it feels unstoppable going uphill, thanks in part to the Shimano EP8 motor.

The Bullit is also extremely capable downhill, particularly on faster and rougher trails, but slower, tighter and steeper sections need a bit more care.

There are four models in the range, with starting at £6,899 / 7,499 / €7,699 for the Bullit CC R, which uses Shimano’s Steps E7000 motor, and rising to £10,499 / 11,499 / €11,699 for the top-of-the-range Bullit CC X01 RSV featured here.

Also consider…

These bikes scored fewer than 4 out of 5 in our reviews but are still worth considering.

Giant Reign E 1

  • £6,299 / €6,399 / AU9,799 as tested
  • Good spec and powerful Yamaha motor
  • Low motor efficiency and sometimes harsh ride

The mullet-wheeled Reign E 1 has 160mm of travel with slack geometry that was overhauled in 2021. There’s a Giant SyncDrive Pro motor (built by Yamaha) with 85Nm torque and a 625Wh battery, along with Shimano XT components, a Fox 38 Performance Elite fork and Float X2 Performance Elite shock.

Climbing performance is well balanced and capable due to the central position, but the motor’s on/off power delivery limited us to 1,700m climbing on a charge. When descending, there’s a direct, taut feeling, but that can translate to a stiff, harsh ride over bumpy terrain.

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Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Elite

Lapierre designed the Overvolt GLP to compete in the emerging ebike racing scene. Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

  • £5,399 as tested
  • Agile, eager to turn and easy to hop up and over obstacles
  • Can be tricky to control on climbs

Nico Vouilloz and Yannick Pontal have both won ebike races on the Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Elite, designed for the emerging motor-assisted racing scene.

The carbon frame makes this better value than some of its rivals and, out on the trails, the Overvolt is agile and eager to please.

The relatively small battery limits range against the competition, though, and the front end can be tricky to keep in check on climbs.

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Merida eOne-Forty 9000

  • £7,000 / €7,199 as tested
  • Nimble handling
  • Suspension holds it back on technical terrain

Merida uses the same carbon frame with alloy rear end on the eOne-Forty as its longer-travel eOne-Sixty, but kits it out with a 133mm-travel shock and steepens the head and seat tube angles.

It uses a Shimano Steps E8000 motor with an integrated 504Wh battery in the down tube for plenty of power and range.

The eOne-Forty is nimble on flowy trails, but the short suspension and front-end geometry make it nervous on steep descents. The top-spec bike internationally is now the 8000, with the UK range topping off with the 700 spec.

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Mondraker Crafty R 29

The Mondraker Crafty R 29 full-suspension e-MTB has plenty of composure for more aggressive riders. Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

  • £5,899 / 7,199 as tested
  • Super-stable and excellent cornering grip
  • Powerful motor with good weight distribution

While the Crafty is never going to be described as lively, weighing in at 25.1kg for our test build and with a long wheelbase, it is very composed, feeling super-stable when riding fast and with excellent cornering grip.

Our tester noted, however, that while taller, more aggressive riders will enjoy the Crafty for its ability to handle technical terrain flat-out, smaller or more timid riders may find it hard to muscle the bike around and ride it dynamically.

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Saracen Ariel 50E Elite

Saracen’s Ariel 50E Elite is the brand’s only electric mountain bike and is aimed squarely at the all-mountain and enduro categories. Andy Lloyd / Our Media

  • £6,500 as tested
  • High-quality spec
  • Geometry, battery capacity and tyre choice let the bike down

With 150mm travel from a Fox DHX2 Factory shock and a 160mm-travel Fox 38 Factory fork, a Shimano M8100 XT drivetrain, DT Swiss wheels and Shimano EP8 motor, the Saracen’s spec is impressive.

The 504Wh battery limits range though and we’d like to see a slacker head angle than the 65 degrees on offer, which limited performance on steep sections. Traction from the dual-compound Maxxis tyres wasn’t that great on rocks or roots when climbing, although the low bike weight made for a nimble ride.

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Scott Ransom eRide 910

Scott’s enduro-ready Ransom eRide 910 eMTB gives you 170mm of travel, but we found the ride a bit harsher than its rivals. Andy Lloyd / Out Media

  • £6,499 / N/A / €7,190 / AU14,500 as tested
  • Good motor and spec for the price
  • Raw-feeling downhill ride

Another enduro-oriented eMTB, the Scott Ransom eRide has 180mm of travel and runs on 29in wheels. There’s adjustable geometry and some quality parts, including a Fox 38 Performance Elite fork and Float X2 Performance shock, with a SRAM X01/NX Eagle drivetrain, Shimano XT brakes and a Bosch Performance Line CX motor. We reckon it’s reasonable value for money.

We found the ride wasn’t quite as calm or controlled as some rivals though. The rear tyre choice led to slipping on climbs and the downhill ride felt raw and un-smoothed. A tyre swap-out might remedy much of this.

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Thok TK01 R

The TK01 R is a striking-looking bike with its bold moto-style graphics. Ian Linton / Immediate Media

  • £5,900 / €6,490 as tested
  • Good motor and spec for the price
  • Awkward setup and geometry, poor tyre choice

Italian ebike specialist Thok gives you 170mm travel with its enduro-oriented, alloy-framed TK01 R. It’s powered by a Shimano EP8 motor, which along with the bike’s geometry makes for great climbing. Descending is more of a mixed bag though, and required quite a bit of fettling for handling confidence.

The spec’s good value for the bike’s price, although we didn’t find the tyres quite up to the job. The Thok is a good cruiser, just don’t press it to its limits.

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YT Decoy Core 4 MX

The YT Decoy Core 4 MX has a quality spec, but is held back by its rather outdated geometry. Andy Lloyd / Out Media

  • £7,000 / 8,000 / €7,500 / AU12,000 as tested
  • Good motor and spec for the price
  • Awkward setup and geometry, poor tyre choice

YT gives you 165mm of travel from its mullet-wheeled, carbon Decoy Core 4 MX. There’s top-drawer kit including a Fox Factory fork and shock, Crankbrothers Synthesis alloy wheels and a Shimano XT M8100 drivetrain.

Assistance comes from a Shimano EP8 motor and 540Wh custom battery, which YT says has high energy density. We found the range lower than with the stock Shimano battery though and were only getting around 1,000m of climbing in Boost mode.

There’s a rearward-biased seated position, which means care is needed to prevent front-wheel lift on climbs. Performance downhill is poppy and fun, encouraging flicking across the trail and confidence in corners, although on steeps a slacker head tube would lead to improved handling.

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Buyer’s guide to electric mountain bikes

Electric mountain bike types

You can now find capable electric bikes for all types of mountain biking. Mathieu Echeverri / Lapierre

Whereas first-generation e-MTBs tended to be trail-oriented with around 150mm of travel, there’s now an increasing range of mountain bike disciplines covered.

That includes overbuilt models designed for downhill use at one end of the spectrum, including the Specialized Turbo Kenevo and the Cannondale Moterra Neo.

At the other end, there are lighter machines such as the Specialized Turbo Levo SL and the Lapierre eZesty that use lighter, less powerful motors and smaller batteries similar to electric road bikes. That drops the bike’s weight and ups agility over more heavily built machines.

You’ll find e-MTBs with either 29in or 27.5in wheels, but ‘mullet builds’ with a 29in wheel up front and a 27.5in rear are becoming increasingly common. This setup gives good stability at the front and better agility from the smaller rear wheel. Examples include the Canyon Spectral:ON and the Vitus E-Escarpe.

Most e-MTBs are full-suspension bikes, but you can also find trail-oriented electric hardtails, such as the Canyon Grand Canyon:ON and Kinesis Rise.

Electric mountain bike motors

Bosch, Shimano and Yamaha motors are popular for electric mountain bikes. Mathieu Echeverri / Lapierre

Popular choices for electric mountain bike motors are Bosch, Shimano Steps and Yamaha, while Fazua’s lightweight motor is increasingly making an appearance on weight-focused bikes.

Bosch Performance Line CX motors provide 600Wh peak power and 85Nm of torque for fuss-free climbing. There’s a natural ride feel and good battery management that gets impressive range out of the system’s battery.

Shimano’s Steps E-8000 and E-7000 systems are still found on some eMTBs, although they’ve started to show their age, with lower power output and torque than newer rivals. Its smaller batteries give you less range too, but still boast low weight and a compact design, along with the ability to tune the output.

However, Shimano has added the EP8 motor to its range. This boosts torque to 85Nm while reducing weight by around 200g, lowering pedalling drag, increasing range and lowering Q-Factor. The EP8’s launch coincided with Shimano increasing battery capacity to 630Wh. and more, you’ll find it being specced on newer electric mountain bikes, including many of our picks above of the best electric mountain bikes.

Meanwhile, Giant uses the Yamaha Syncdrive Pro motor on its e-MTBs. Its Smart Assist mode uses an array of six sensors, including a gradient sensor, to work out how much power to deliver in any given situation.

A popular choice on road-going ebikes, the Fazua motor system is to be found on some lighter-weight e-MTBs, such as the Lapierre eZesty. It’s lighter, less powerful and has a smaller battery. That means you typically need to put in more of your own pedalling effort, but it drops the bike’s weight down closer to non-assisted models. Plus, you can remove the battery completely and ride the bike without it.

Specialized has its own motor units, which it specs on the majority of its electric bikes. Its Turbo Levo SL trail bike uses the low-torque SL 1.1 motor and a 320Wh battery for less assistance and lighter weight.

Electric mountain bike battery capacity

Some bikes allow range to be extended with an additional battery. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

To get you up hills, produce enough power and provide adequate range, most electric mountain bikes will have battery capacities of around 500Wh to 700Wh.

An internal battery in the down tube makes for clean lines, but there are also e-MTBs with external batteries. These typically lower the weight and, in models such as the Lapierre Overvolt, mean the battery can be placed lower and more centrally.

But, as mentioned above, e-MTBs with smaller-capacity batteries down to 250Wh are appearing. These trade a more limited range for lighter weight and the potential for improved handling.

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Best electric road bikes: ebikes for a boost on road climbs

It wasn’t so long ago that the world of electric bikes was dominated by electric hybrids and electric mountain bike models. Alongside electric gravel bikes, electric road bikes are increasingly popular and, in some cases, look very similar to non-motorised machines.

A road ebike will have drop handlebars and a more sporty riding position than a hybrid – just like a conventional, non-assisted road or gravel bike. You’ll get the gear range to ride faster and to tackle hills, plus narrower road bike tyres for more Rapid progress on the road.

As with any road bike, reducing weight is important, although not usually at the expense of battery capacity and range. Electric road bikes will always be heavier than their conventional counterparts. However, some road ebikes will have carbon-fibre frames and lightweight wheelsets, bringing their weight down to under 12kg – not a lot more than some unpowered bikes. A road ebike’s handling will also be tuned for a sporty ride, so you can enjoy fast descents, while still getting a helping hand from the motor on the uphills. As with any electric bike motor, an e-road bike’s electric assistance will be limited to speeds below 15mph/25kph as per electric bike laws in the UK, EU and Australia. The limit is 20mph in the US. That’s more than enough for climbing – you’ll be able to climb much quicker than on a regular road bike – but could limit an e-road bike’s appeal on flat roads if riding in a fast group, for example. For more advice on what to look for in an electric road bike, our full buyer’s guide is at the bottom of this article, while we’ve also got a separate guide to electric bike types to help you choose the right motorised machine for you.

The best electric road bikes in 2023

Scott Addict eRide Premium

The Scott Addict eRide Premium offers the sleek looks of a regular road bike and a ride to match. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • £8,349 / 9,299 as tested
  • 1,040g claimed frame weight
  • The looks of a normal road bike
  • Rides like a non-assisted bike too

Scott’s Addict eRide borrows heavily from the Addict RC aero lightweight bike, with similar geometry and Scott’s top-spec HMX carbon.

It’s powered by the Mahle ebikemotion rear-hub motor, with its fully enclosed battery in the down tube, for a really clean look.

Power assistance is smooth, both in delivery and when it cuts out, so that you’re supported as you ride, rather than the motor taking over.

The eRide is available in a range of builds. The top-level Premium spec has a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, a fully-integrated Syncros Creston SL bar/stem and Syncros Capital carbon wheelset, for a sub-11kg weight – about as light as electric bikes come.

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BMC Roadmachine AMP One

  • £7,600 / €7,999 as tested
  • Clever assistance
  • Smooth ride
  • Impressive range

Our tester judged the BMC Roadmachine AMP One “simply one of the best e-road bikes available”.

Its geometry and silhouette closely match those of its non-assisted sibling.

However, it packs in a Mahle X20 motor and a 350Wh battery for an impressively lengthy range aided by clever assistance management.

The handling is well balanced and The SRAM Force AXS groupset shifts with precision. Braking is excellent too.

The Vittoria Rubino tyres gripped and rolled well on dry roads, but wouldn’t be the best choice for more hostile winter conditions.

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Bianchi Aria E-Road

  • £4,500 / 6,500 as tested
  • Stealthy assistance
  • Great handling
  • Sleek looks

The motor-equipped Bianchi Aria E-Road aero bike is blessed with the same great handling offered by its unassisted sister bike, the Bianchi Aria.

The Aria E-Road also uses an ebikemotion motor unit at its rear hub, while the 250W/h battery that powers it is concealed within the frame’s down tube. This makes for a road bike that appears unassisted, at least to the untrained eye.

Despite its appetite for speed, the Aria isn’t a bone shaker on rougher surfaces, thanks to its 28mm tyres.

The best compliment we can pay the Aria is it would work well as a non-assisted bike – it just happens to have a 250-watt boost on tap.

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Bianchi Impulso E-road

The Bianchi Impulso E-Road doesn’t cut quite as sleek a silhouette as some electric road bikes. Robert Smith

  • £4,400 as tested
  • Ideal for those who aren’t as fit or flexible
  • Punchy motor with impressive range
  • Mudguard and rack mounts open further options

Unlike the racier Bianchi Aria E-Road, the Impulso electric road bike isn’t as much of a looker, but we were still very impressed with the ride.

relaxed geometry and a higher front end make it a good choice if you’re a rider who is less flexible, recovering from injury or looking to keep up with fitter riders.

The Polini bottom-bracket mounted motor system of the Impulso was another pleasant surprise, with plenty of power and an impressive real-world range.

Mounts for mudguards and racks mean this one will also make a great commuter bike.

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Cannondale SuperSix Evo Neo 2

Based on the non-assisted SuperSix Evo, the Neo 2 hasn’t lost that bike’s looks or ride. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • £5,000 / 6,500 as tested, now £7,000 (Neo 2 no longer available in United States)
  • Ultegra-equipped, with Dura-Ace Di2 and 105 options available
  • Great ride feel and impressive range

Another ebike that uses the Mahle ebikemotion rear-hub motor, the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Neo is based on our 2020 (non-assisted) Bike of the Year, the SuperSix EVO.

It’s inherited both that bike’s looks and its race-bike ride quality and responsiveness. There’s a long reach and low stack, as well as short chainstays for a performance ride feel.

Quality finishing kit includes Cannondale’s aero bar and stem, a Prologo saddle on a carbon seatpost, and Cannondale RDe alloy wheels, for a bike weight of 12.1kg in size large.

We managed 122km with 1,124m of climbing elevation on a single charge, comfortably beating the 75km claimed range. Above all, we were impressed by how well the motor worked with us, rather than dominating the ride.

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Cannondale Synapse Neo SE

  • £3,299 / €3,799 / 4,400 as tested, now £3,800 / 4,500 / €3,799
  • SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain
  • Bosch Active Line Plus 250W motor
  • 500W/h down-tube mounted battery
  • SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain, 650b wheels with 47c tyres

If you’re spending your time predominantly off-road but want drop bars and the flexibility of a motor then the Cannondale Synapse Neo SE is hard to beat.

The Synapse may be best known as Cannondale’s endurance bike but, with 650b wheels and massive 47mm WTB Byway tyres, the Neo SE is more gravel bike than road bike.

That’s not to say this machine isn’t sufficient on the road, but its ability to monster truck off-road terrain is seriously addictive. Bosch’s excellent drive unit provides generous assistance, even in its minimal-assistance Eco mode.

We managed to get in excess of 60 miles of power from the battery despite a test route that was almost entirely off-road. Cannondale also offers the new Topstone Neo as a dedicated electric gravel bike.

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Focus Paralane² 9.7

The beauty of Fazua’s motor system, used on the Focus Paralane², is its unobtrusive nature. Robert Smith

  • £4,999 as tested
  • Modular Fazua motor can be removed
  • Clearances for large tyres
  • Resistance-free riding above motor assistance limit

The Focus Paralane² was born out of the prototype Project Y electric bike, and makes use of a removable Fazua motor. This minimal motor/battery system weighs only 3.5kg.

Remove the Fazua system and attach the included cover and the Paralane² effectively becomes a standard road bike, with minimal resistance from the gearbox buried in the bottom bracket. Without the motor, it weighs around 11kg.

The USP for the Paralane² is that the motor is designed to work in tandem with you. The result is unobtrusive power delivery with a feel that puts you in control rather than letting the bike take over.

We’d rather see tyres larger than the 28mm specced as standard, particularly seeing as this frame can accept 35mm tyres without issue, making it a great option for year-round riding or dabbling in light gravel.

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Orbea Gain Carbon M20 MyO

  • £4,718 as tested, now £4,699 / 5,599 / AU9,699
  • Electric bike packaged with road bike looks
  • ebikemotion hub-based motor
  • New 2021 models offer significant updates

When it was announced, the Orbea Gain was one of a host of refined electric road bikes that eschewed the bulky ebike looks in favour of something more streamlined.

Built for a group test we conducted last year, our luxuriously kitted out Orbea Gain Carbon M20 was configured using Orbea’s MyO custom builder programme. The result was a bike that was a joy to ride, even with the motor switched off.

In 2021, Orbea updated both the carbon and alloy Gain, borrowing features from its OMX aero road bike, upping tyre clearance to 40mm, fully enclosing the cable runs and dropping weight to 11.8kg or less.

It also has integrated front and rear lights, its own head unit with an out-front mount for more info on the motor and battery life, and Mahle’s newest ebikemotion X35 Plus motor. Orbea says it has tuned power delivery to more closely replicate the feeling of riding an unassisted road bike.

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Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL

The Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL is one of the most expensive e-road bikes on the market, but it’s an impressive machine to ride. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • £10,999 / €12,499 / 13,500 / AU19,000 as tested
  • High spec with Dura-Ace Di2, a power meter and Roval carbon wheels
  • Stable, smooth, nimble ride

You’re paying a superbike price for the Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL, one of the most expensive electric bikes available. But the high-spec frame and top-drawer specification, including Roval CLX50 aero carbon wheels, Dura-Ace Di2 shifting and a built-in power meter, help justify the outlay.

Ride quality feels like the Roubaix endurance bike and the Turbo Creo SL even comes with the FutureShock 2.0 headset damper fitted to that bike. The motor weight sits low down to ensure stability and it’s nimble despite its 13.7kg weight.

The claimed 130km range from the internal battery is increased to 195km with the included range extender, although we didn’t quite match these figures.

Latest deals

Trek Domane LT 7

The Trek Domane LT 7 is equipped with a Fazua Evation motor and comes with the superb Ultegra Di2 drivetrain. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • £7,800 / 9,200 / €7,999
  • Lightweight Fazua motor
  • Great ride comfort and handling that can cope with gravel too

The Fazua motor system on the Trek Domane LT7 drops the weight down to 13.8kg and is removeable, so you can ride the bike like a non-assisted Domane too. Like the non-electric bike, it incorporates Trek’s IsoSpeed front and rear decouplers and IsoCore bars for loads of road comfort that transfers over to light gravel rides.

We got over 100km range with 2,000m-plus of climbing – impressive, as is the handling and comfort on offer.

Buyer’s guide to electric road bikes: what to look out for

Electric road bike motors explained

The ebikemotion rear-hub motor is a popular choice for electric road bikes. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Electric road bike drivetrains are sleeker and more covert than ever, with low-profile batteries often fully enclosed in the bike’s down tube or disguised as a water bottle.

Electric road bike motors tend to be compact and hidden away in the bottom bracket shell or the rear hub – a far cry from the bulky units of old – while controllers are often small, with a tiny button in the front of the top tube being an increasingly popular placement, although you’ll also find bar-mounted controls. That can lead to a bike that at first glance is hard to distinguish from a conventional road bike.

Fazua and ebikemotion motors are a popular choice seen on many e-road bikes thanks to the progressive power delivery well-suited to road riding, although Bosch units and own-brand motors from the likes of Specialized can also cut a minimalist silhouette.

best, electric, mountain, bikes

Electric road bike batteries explained

Most electric road bikes have a battery enclosed in the bike’s down tube. Again, that leads to an unobtrusive look. In the case of Fazua, you can drop the battery pack out of the down tube for recharging, or remove it to take it indoors closer to an electric plug. You can even remove it completely and ride the electric bike like a non-assisted road bike.

Other batteries such as ebikemotion’s are more firmly lodged in place, though, so you need to be able to get the bike to a socket to add some juice.

Typical battery capacities are around 250W/h – usually enough for 60km or so of range, although you should be able to get more than that on flatter ground with judicious use.

How much does an electric road bike weigh?

Electric road bikes undoubtedly make climbing a faster affair, but the added weight can be a hindrance when riding fast on flat roads. Orbea

The lightest electric road bikes tip the scales at 12kg or less, which isn’t a lot more than some unpowered bikes. That’s achieved by having a frame and fork made of carbon fibre, often accompanied by carbon-rimmed wheels. That tends to be a pricey menu.

Weight is important, though. On the flat, many road riders will be managing over the 15mph/25kph legal limit (or 20mph in the US) at which the motor cuts out, making the motor and battery a dead weight above those speeds. Keeping the bike’s weight low will make riding without assistance easier, adding to performance and enjoyment.

On the other hand, a more robust, heavier build could be an advantage if you’re aiming to mix in gravel riding. Weight is also less of an issue if you plan to predominantly ride within the legal limit for motor assistance.

Electric road bike wheels and tyres

Just because a bike’s battery-powered, doesn’t mean the finishing kit has to be sub-par. Scott Sports

With more power delivered to the road and a heavier bike weight, electric road bikes tend to have wider tyres than standard road bikes. Many pair that with beefed-up wheels with alloy rims, although higher-spec models may come with aero carbon hoops.

Tyre width on electric road bikes tends to start at 28mm. That’s not unusual on a pedal-powered road bike now though, and provides a more comfortable ride, with additional versatility for rough roads or dabbling on light off-road trails.

Can you convert a road bike to an electric road bike?

While less common than, say, an electric hybrid conversion, it is perfectly possible to convert your road bike to an ebike.

Check out our in-depth guide on how to convert a bike to electric power for more info.

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Paul Norman

Paul has been writing about bike tech and reviewing all things cycling for almost a decade. He had a five-year stint at Cycling Weekly and has also written for titles including CyclingNews, Cyclist and BikePerfect, as well as being a regular contributor to BikeRadar. Tech-wise, he’s covered everything from rim width to the latest cycling computers. He reviewed some of the first electric bikes for Cycling Weekly and has covered their development into the sophisticated machines they are today, on the way becoming an expert on all things electric. Paul was into gravel before it was even invented, riding a cyclocross bike across the South Downs and along muddy paths through the Chilterns. He dabbled in cross-country mountain biking too. He’s most proud of having covered the length of the South Downs Way on a crosser and fulfilling his long-time ambition to climb Monte Grappa on a road bike

Fastest Electric Bike

We understand that speed can be a key part of any adventure, so we set out to offer features that contend with the fastest electric bike you can find. Pick your pace with three modes—750, 2000, or 4000 watts (5.3 horsepower). You choose how much you want to cruise or sweat with the option to use solely pedal power, fully electric power, or a blend of the two. What’s certain is the speed will be smooth, thanks to the Swiss-made Schlumpf High-Speed Planetary Drive crankset controlling the pedal cadences. One heel tap of the button shifter provides the high gearing to pedal at a comfortable cadence, even on one of the fastest electric bikes around.

The Key Feature The Fastest Electric Bike Lacks

We designed Outrider with three wheels to offer more power and stability than the fastest two-wheeled electric bike. Our electric tricycle’s bigger battery pack means you can carry a large amount of cargo in the pannier bags or even tow up to 200lbs. But let’s FOCUS on performance. A recumbent tricycle chassis provides better weight distribution and sleeker aerodynamics than the fastest upright electric bike, for the best power to weight ratio available. In fact, overall, Outrider trikes are some of the fastest cycles in the industry. And our enhanced stability means faster cornering. Check out our electric trikes in action on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A Better Battery Than The Fastest Electric Bike

Outrider electric tricycles are designed with superior drivetrain efficiency and battery capacity over the fastest electric bike. An Outrider 422 Alpha can achieve up to 165 miles of range depending on conditions. And our battery can go from 0 to 90% recharged in two hours using any 110V outlet. So stop in at a restaurant, fuel yourself (none required for the trike), and resume the fun.

To recap: Our electric trikes rival the fastest electric bike in road speeds and they surpass them in range and recharge times.

Taking on the Fastest Electric Bike

Our founders had their fun at the 2012 Pike’s Peak Pedal Electric Hill Climb, where Outrider trikes bested the fastest electric bike there, taking the top two spots. Our electric trikes commanded 12 miles of road on this true test of speed, traversing 4,700 feet of incline in 23 minutes and 32 seconds, setting a course record. If you want to see for yourself, check out this video.

Record Setting Speed

In addition to the Pikes Peak record, on April 8th, 2014, Outrider secured the title for Fastest Sub-100lbs Vehicle in History and Fastest Sub-100lb Electric Bike. Outrider USA Co-Founder Tommy Ausherman rode a modified Alpha 422 an incredible 85.9 mph. He did it on a private air strip (Hendersonville Air Strip) just south of Asheville, North Carolina. The modified Alpha 422 weighed only 99 lbs. and had several modifications including steering stabilization, twin-motor, twin controller, and a race seat. It’s worthwhile to point out that this should not be attempted at home or by anyone without enormous experience, precisely calculated gear, legitimate safety equipment, and whole lot of courage. And even then, Outrider does not condone or encourage it.

If you want to experience the thrills yourself, and compare the performance of Outrider trikes to the fastest electric bike you’ve ever ridden, email us at testride@outriderusa.com to arrange a test drive.

Visit these links to learn more:

The Fastest Electric Bike

So, you’ve found yourself searching for the perfect electric mountain bike. You’re scrutinizing suspension and geometry. You’re making sure you have top-of-the-line brakes and a build kit that suits your riding style. Before you opt all the way in for speed, ask yourself: what do you sacrifice when you go all in on power that’s solely centered on speed? We’re here with a host of tips to help you make sure you choose and create the fastest electric fat tire bike possible.

The Fastest EBike

When we look at any bike that doesn’t utilize pedal assist and touts a motor power of over 5KW (that’s over five times our most powerful motor), we tread further away from the realm of electric bicycles. Truly, they fall into a class of their own that exists somewhere between e-bikes and motorbikes and mopeds. And, they’re not allowed on many bike trails or in National Parks. So before you make a decision, ensure you’re fully understanding what kicking up the speed might preclude you from accessing.

best, electric, mountain, bikes

The Three E-Bike Classifications

As the technology of electric mountain bikes becomes more sophisticated and more people around the globe buy and explore on their e-bikes, local and national authorities are creating more legislation to ensure that all user groups can coexist in Smart ways that promote a positive experience for all.

Recently, there was a monumental announcement from the National Forest Service that paves the way for allowing local governing bodies to decide where and how e-bikes can be used on trails owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Part of what this announcement does is further sharpen the language around the three classifications of electric bikes. Yes, this is a positive step for e-bikes, but it is also something of which you should be well aware when you’re thinking about your need for speed.

Class 1: electric bikes in this category are pedal-assist only—meaning the bike will not move without active physical engagement by the rider—and there’s no throttle with a maximum assisted speed of 20mph.

Class 2: electric bikes in this category are also pedal-assisted but also feature a throttle. The maximum speed is still 20mph.

Class 3: like Class 1 bikes, electric bikes in this category are pedal-assist only and there’s no throttle. But, unlike Class 1, the maximum assisted speed is 28mph.

Note that it’s understood that all classes limit the motor’s power to 1 horsepower. So the aforementioned fastest electric bikes on the market are outside of this classification.

Ways to Make Sure Yours is the Fastest Electric Bike

In order to ensure the greatest possible access for our electric bikes, you can expect that maxed out, all QuietKat e-bikes will roll at about 20mph (which—all things considered—is pretty fast when you’re hauling through the forest on the trail). But, there are a number of other ways to attempt to make sure yours is the fastest electric fat tire bike possible. Here are our quick tips:

Make sure you’re fully charged.

A fully charged electric mountain bike yields a higher voltage output. We broke down the full details of what to expect from a (fully charged )1000 watt electric bike on our blog.

Invest in a higher voltage battery.

Like we said above, a bike with a higher charge results in a higher voltage output which, in turn, ensures you’re getting the most out of your speedometer. Peruse the full lineup of QuietKat batteries and charging accessories to see if an upgrade is right for you.

Opt for smoother tires.

If you’re taking your mountain-going steed off the trails and into the urban concrete jungle, one way to make sure you’re achieving top speed is to swap out your knobby, grippy tires for smoother tires. Smoother tires have less rolling resistance and can even add a 1-2mph bump.

Tune your brakes.

Did you know that poorly tuned brakes can slow down your e-bike? The unnecessary friction from brake rub can keep you from your full speed potential. It’s easy to learn how to tune your brakes yourself. If you’d rather leave it to the experts, simply take it to your local bike shop.

Tuck!

Ever watched the Tour de France? Then you’ll see the riders picking up impressive speed when they crouch low into their handlebars and reduce wind resistance. Try it: it’s amazing how much speed you can feel yourself picking up when you’re rolling downhill.

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