How Much Power Does An Electric Bicycle Need. Full power electric bike

How Much Power Does An Electric Bicycle Need?

This is perhaps one of the most often asked questions I get from people looking to build or buy their first ebike. There are many different electric bicycle power ratings out there which can be confusing to a beginner.

250 watt, 500 watt, 1,000 watt, 36V, 48V…. what does it all mean?!

Well the first thing to know is that not all electric bicycles are created equally. Even two ebikes that both claim to be the same power or ‘wattage’ level can actually be fairly different ‘under the hood’. I’ve written specifically about the myth of the ebike wattage, but I’ll cover it briefly here.

Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the higher your electric bicycle power will be. However, many ebikes are labeled differently than their actual power level, whether it be for marketing gimmicks, to sneak higher powered ebikes past laws and regulations, or a whole host of other reasons. You’ll want to check with the manufacturer to determine the actual wattage of an electric bicycle, which will come down to two numbers: the voltage of the battery multiplied by the peak current limit (in amps) of the controller.

A common electric bicycle setup is a 36V (volt) battery and a 15A (amp) controller. Wattage is just voltage multiplied by current, so 36 volts x 15 amps = 540 watts. In this case, we are looking at an ebike of approximately 500 watts. Do the math just like this on any electric bicycle to determine just how much power that specific ebike is capable of delivering.

But how much electric bicycle power is necessary?

How much ebike power do you actually need? The answer will mostly depend on two factors: your weight and whether you will be riding up many decent-sized hills. The heavier you are, the more power you need to accelerate the ebike. The steeper and longer the hill you are trying to climb, the more power you need to get up the hill.

My wife, for example, is quite comfortable on her 24V, 250 watt ebike. This is a very low powered electric bicycle, but she only weighs about 110 lbs (50 kg) and we live in a flat city, so she doesn’t have to worry about hills. If we lived in a hilly area, she’d likely need closer to 350-400 watts of power, which could better be achieved by an ebike with a 36V battery. An electric bicycle with a 36V battery and 12A controller would output a peak power of 432 watts (36V x 12A = 432W) which would be plenty to scoot her up a decent sized hill.

I weigh about 150 lbs (68 kg) and my wife’s 250 watt electric bicycle feels a bit sluggish to me. A 500 watt ebike, such as an ebike with a 36V battery and 15A controller would be about the minimum comfortable level for me, assuming I’m on flat ground.

Of course, I enjoy a sportier, faster accelerating ebike so I ride an ebike with a 48V battery and 20A controller, giving me about 1,000 watts of power to my direct drive hub motor. That’s more than I need at my weight in a flat city, but if I lived in a really hilly city, that would be a quite appropriate power level. As it stands, in my flat terrain city, 1,000W leaves me some wiggle room for strong accelerations and occasionally towing a bicycle trailer, though I generally don’t use anywhere near 1,000W for my daily driving needs.

Power requirements go up quickly for folks weighing over 220 lbs (100 kg). In a flat area, a 750 watt ebike should be plenty, though acceleration will be notably slower. In a hilly area, a 1,000 watt ebike would be the minimum. Heavy riders climbing serious hills might even have to push past a 20A controller to 25A or 30A combined with a 48V battery to get 1250-1500 watts of power, depending on the specifics of their weight and terrain. Once you start getting above a 1,000W electric bicycle, over heating issues can start to come into play on especially long uphill rides.

The best way to know for sure what electric bicycle power level you need is to do a test ride on a few ebikes of different power levels and determine what feels best. On flat ground an underpowered ebike won’t really be too much of an issue; it will simply result in sluggish performance. Trying to ride an underpowered ebike up a steep hill, especially with a heavy rider, can risk causing damage to the ebike by burning out the motor or connectors. If you feel like your power is disappearing as you ride up a hill, that’s a sign the ebike is working too hard you need a higher power setup.

Lastly, think about cargo. A loaded backpack shouldn’t be an issue, but if you want to carry child seats or pull a trailer, consider bumping up to the next higher power level to ensure you have the power you need when it counts. I personally like to err on the higher power ebike side. If you don’t use the extra power all the time, that’s fine of course. But when you really need it, you’ll be happy that extra power is there.

Yea, you’re going to need more than 250 watts…

About Micah

Micah is a mechanical engineer, tinkerer and husband. He’s spent the better part of a decade working in the electric bicycle industry, and is the author of The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide. Micah can usually be found riding his electric bicycles around Florida, Tel Aviv, and anywhere else his ebikes wind up.

Комментарии и мнения владельцев

Greetings Micah, I’m building a trike with a 48 volt 1000 watt front hub and will use a 48 volt 15 or 20 ah lithium battery. My hope is to be able to put my wife on the back and take her for a whirl. The total weight including bodies, bike, battery and all gear will be around 400lbs. My question is whether you think this is an appropriate setup for what I’m trying to do. 90% of the time it would be just myself at around 170 lbs. minus trike and gear. I have an option of upgrading to a 1500 watt or higher rated hub but cost wise things are getting pretty crazy. I sincerely appreciate your time and thoughts helping me/all of us, understand these things. Thank you! christiian Ps I’m using a high end fat tire hub with a really nice street tire for this build, can’t wait!

I’m back! Hi again Micah, So now I have a bigger question and really hoping I might hear back from you. I got a great deal on two Vpower lithium ion 48 volt 10 ah battery packs and need to know once inside, where to make the parallel connections to get the increases I’m hoping for. The only other question would be how to charge…to disonnect and charge separately, they each come with 6amp chargers, or charge them in parallel. I would be happy to to make a donation towards the sites maintenance or a few cups of java for you if there’s any way to do that, please let me know…I would be honored! Shalom!

Hi Jc, You could parallel them by removing the BMS from one battery and connecting each parallel group of cells in parallel. For example, if they are lithium-ion packs, you’ll probably have 13 parallel groups in each battery. You’ll want to make 13 connections, one between each group. But you remove one BMS as the new larger pack only requires a single BMS. Alternatively, you could simply connect the discharge wires in parallel when you want to use them together, and then disconnect them for charging separately. If you go that way, just make sure you never plug them in parallel when they are at different states of charge. A good method would be to only parallel them when they are both full.

Perfect! The alternative method seems to be the easier way to go but just want to be clear, the packs stay in tact with their individual BMS’s, right, and creating a 48 volt 20 ah power sorce? I appreciate the heads up regarding seprate charging and the importance an equal, “full” charge. Thank you Micah, you bless us all with your kindness and knowledge. ~`JcPs I’ve been writing from a small tablet and will lend support when I get home this weekend and back to my iMac by buying a copy of your electric bicycle ebook. Blessings!

It can likely work, but the performance might not be what you’d hope. The problem is there is very little weight on the front of a trike, and when you add more gear/passengers to the back, this imbalance gets even worse. Imagine a pickup truck with front wheel drive and the bed with a full load of rocks. You’ll have serious traction issues with a full load. And with that high level of power, you’ll really need to feather the throttle to keep from doing burnouts every time you start driving. Lastly, most trike forks aren’t meant to handle that much power, so you’ll want to use a beefy torque arm, likely on both sides of the axle.

dear Micah I have selected e-bike as my final year college project and we are producing it for a person who weigh 50 kg and have target to achieve max. speed of 18km/hr. But i’m having confusion regarding the” motor power and battery voltage”. will you please suggest me to use the right accessories for the project. I’m having the project cost of the ”US 200 and I’m using dry lead acid batteries” as the power source.

200 is on the low end of what is possible. If this is just a proof of concept, finding some used batteries and building a custom friction drive using an old DC motor will likely be a good option. Look up “friction drive ebike” and you’ll find many examples. Any ready-to-go ebike kit is going to break your 200 budget, so you’re left with building something custom.

Hi micah First tnx for your useful website can i ask you how much energy can produce an e bike with generator?

I’m not sure I understand the question. If you run a generator off of an ebike, you’ll probably end up getting back around 75% of the energy that was stored in the battery, after efficiency losses. The second law of thermodynamics is a cruel mistress…

Hi Micah, Greetings from New Zealand. Loved your website and every bit of it very informative and useful. I am converting my son’s mini quad bike (40cc) to electric at the moment. I am planning to add a 36v brushed DC motor with 1000w. He is around 40 kg 8 years old. But i would like him to use it until he is 12 years old up to 60kg. I am adding 3 x 12v 7.2Ah/ 20hr SLA batteries (cheap option) and a charger 36v with 12amp charging current. I would like to have your advice if anything wrong with my project ? any recommendations are much appreciated !

I don’t understand what you mean by 7.2AH/20hr batteries. Are they 7.2AH or 20AH? 7.2AH isn’t much, especially for SLA’s where you shouldn’t really discharge them more than 50% if you want long life out of them. Other than that it seems like a good plan. Brushed motors and SLA is old school, but it’s worked for decades. Please be safe though…where I live you have to be 16 to ride an electric bicycle…

Thanks for the response. The battery pack will have 3x sla batteries. Each are 12v – 7.2 amp. The 2ohrs as per the manufacturer that need charging 20 hrs to get 7.2amp. Link below. So i assume 7.2amp × 3 = 21.6 amps total ? I know old skool but not keen to spend alot on his project so far ( on a budget ). He is going to use off road in the farm with protective gear. So he should be fine. Still need your advice about the charger please. It will be 36v charger 12amp.

Hi Micha, first of all thanks for sharing e-bike ideas through your great website!! I am planning to mount an electric kit (like the 8fun mid drive) on my mtb in order to go to work on bike more often. In my case it is 35km one way consisting of a mix 1/3 kinda hilly gravel roads and 2/3 bike lane. I wonder about my power requirements, yet being a newbie I am still a bit confused about the figures in this discussion, since it is not always clear if they are pertinent to “pure throttle mode” or to “pedal assist mode”. I am mostly interested in the latter. For instance in your response to Carlos W you say “A 100kg total (bike and rider) setup with a 250W motor and 36V battery would get 20 km/h on a 5% grade, but only 7 km/h on a 10% grade. On the 5% grade, the motor would overheat in 6.5 minutes, and on the 10% grade the motor would overheat in 1.4 minutes!”. I take the overheating figures are meant without pedal assist, so how would this scale with pedal assist? Any comment welcome. Cheers, Kris

Hey Kris, Those figures are all assuming 100% throttle and zero pedal assist. It’s hard calculate exact figures when using pedal assist because everyone pedals at different power levels… If you assume you’re doing half the work of the motor then you’d effectively double your range, but who knows exactly how much work you’re actually doing? Unless you’re a really serious pedaler, I’d assume you’re not going to be doing more than 1/3 of the work, which would be a good basis to start from. You can head on over to the ebike simulator at though and play around with the numbers for your battery and motor setup to see what figures you get. That’s how I calculated all the figures you referenced.

I am a 95 kg man and looking for my first ebike. Do you consider 250w 36A will not be enough for my weight? Not many hills where I might use it but since it´s a folding one I would like to take it when travelling. Should I opt for the 350W instead? Thanks or sharing

36V 250W will work for you, but it’s going to feel a little underwhelming in terms of acceleration. If you want a nice, slow and easy going ride, 250W will do it. Keep in mind that most humans generate less than 250W when pedaling. But if you want something that feels sportier, 350-500W is the ticket.

Hi Micha, I have just started to repair my 2-seater e-scooter with lithium ion battery pack, which had lead acid battery earlier. I want to change all; battery, controller and the motor. I’m confused with a question: How to define permissible load for a dc electric motor? For example, if I have a 500 W motor, what would be max power and how to relate with load? Thanks anyway for your helpful blog.

Basically, you want to make sure your controller isn’t higher powered than your motor, since it’s the controller that limits power in the system. So if you have a 500W motor, you’ll want to pair it with a 500W or less controller. What will happen if you used an 800W controller, for example? If you’re a fairly lightweight person and/or don’t climb many long hills, chances are you’d be fine (and notice some nicer acceleration). But using more power than the motor is rated for in long durations (like accelerating a larger person or climbing a long hill) could burn out the motor.

Hi Micah, Many thanks for your earlier discussion. I came back with two further doubt. (1) Can I use 18650 Li-ion cells to built a 5 kWh battery pack? I am basically curious about what to do while scaling up the system. (2) If I want to drag one ton of total load (lets say a 3 wheeler) in a nominally flat road, what kind of motor (watt) should be used? (average speed: 30~35 km/h) Thanks in advance. Sourov

What do you think about a BBS02 8fun Bafang motor 750w with a 48V – 10.4 AH SANYO battery, i’m 82kg of weight. I live in a place full of hills. Is this kind of battery appropriate?

There are a few Sanyo batteries out there so it’s a bit hard to say, though most are rated for at least 2C. Basically, 10.4 AH is about the minimum for that motor kit. It will definitely work, but you’ll be pushing the battery closer to its maximum power draw level, meaning it just won’t last as long as a larger battery.

Generally speaking you do not want to use a stronger motor than your power source (battery) is rated for. However, the more important figure would be your controller. If you have a 300W controller or less, than it should be fine for that battery.

I have been looking all over YouTube for something like this. Thanks a lot for the information, I have a little problem I just want to verify with you pls. So I bought mountain bike from Walmart. just ordered 1000watts 48v e-kit ordered (4) 12 volts 7ah batteries (makes it 48×28= 1344, I think).I weigh 168lbs (5’9) and carry a 5lbs school backpack to school everyday.from my apt to school is 1.9mile.always this slide hill (though I’m a new biker still able to ride it) but always tired afterward and little knee pain. ( that’s why I bought the e-kit) 1. do you think with the e-kit and battery power can push me up the hill ? 2. if the watts from my battery is 1344watts but the e-kit is 1000watts, will that mess it up or damage it? 3. the battery fully charged, can it take me to school and back at a constant 48v? note: the 1.9mile to my school isn’t all hill just like 0.2mil.

That all sounds reasonable, the batteries can definitely handle that 1,000W motor and they should be able to drive you 4 miles with a slight hill no problem at all. The 7AH isn’t a lot and the lead acid batteries are a bit old school, but it will all work. Your math is a bit off though. Your battery is a 48V 7AH when you combine those 4 bricks together (the voltage adds since they are in series but the capacity does not add unless they are in parallel). So you’ve got 487=336 watt hours. Not a ton, but you’re also not going that far either. Lead acid batteries can also handle a lot of power – much more than lithium batteries. That is one of their advantages – one of their only advantages actually…

hi i want to make an e bike in my university at first i decide to use hub motor for my e bike but there is a problem in my country this kind of motor are very expensive so i decide to use DC motor (250) watts ( i am 65 kg ) and there is two choice for DC motor first : BLDC second: DC i don’t know the difference of these motors and the usage of them please tell me the best motor for ebike and then tell me why ? thank you

Sorry, but I don’t know too much about the retailer scene in Jerusalem. It’s so hilly that I know most the 250W ebikes (the legal limit in Israel) can struggle on those hills. I wish I could be of more help to you! There are some good groups for ebike riders in Israel, so you might have better luck searching there for a recommendation on a specific Jerusalem vendor.

A person riding a bike cannot usually output more than 200-250 W of power for more than a minute or so. If you use the motor only as an assist, I think that 250 W would suffice even in hilly terrain and for a 100 kg person. Can you please explain why my reasoning is wrong?

A 250W motor can suffice for many people, but a 100 kg person on hills would find the performance to be very underwhelming. I used the hub motor simulator (an awesome tool!) over at to run a few quick simulations. A 100kg total (bike and rider) setup with a 250W motor and 36V battery would get 20 km/h on a 5% grade, but only 7 km/h on a 10% grade. On the 5% grade, the motor would overheat in 6.5 minutes, and on the 10% grade the motor would overheat in 1.4 minutes! These motors are fine for flat ground, but they just can’t handle the hills. A normal rider going up a 5% or 10% incline would get tired and as their legs filled with lactic acid, they’d be forced to stop. A motor, on the other hand, just keeps going and progressively heating up, which increases its resistance which makes it even less efficient which makes it heat up even more and the cycle continues until it eventually destroys itself…

Hi. thanks for the article. I want to buy an E bike. big wheels. I weight 210 lbs and I live in Jerusalem. and as you know Jerusalem has some hills but I will be peddling easily to “help” the bike. What e bike should I choose ? Thanks.

Hi Khalid, In Israel I know that the company Greenbike has some good quality bikes and good service. Most of their bikes are the smaller folding bikes but I believe they have some standard size bikes with larger wheels as well. Jerusalem is pretty hilly as you noted, so I’m not sure how well they will work. They’ll get you around, but the performance will be a little underwhelming on those big hills…

Dear Micah, I was quite happy to discover your site and was surprised about the amount of information that you make available. I would love to build two new battery packs for our two bikes. The bicycles are Gazelle Easy Glider made in The Netherlands around 2008… They are equipped with a Brushless Panasonic motor and powered by a 10Ah 26V Li-Ion Mn battery type NKY233B02. Forgive me if I overlooked your information concerning he use of LiFePO4 cells. Apparently, these cells offer nothing but advantages though their voltage is significantly lower…? I would welcome your ideas on the replacement of the present battery and hope to be able to achieve a bigger capacity. Could you please advise me what BMS I would best buy and possibly also the type/brand of cell and their connection S7 or S8 ? What about using 19670 Vss 18650 ? Does this protection make a difference? Any spot welder recommendation? Thank you for all possible hints ! Kindest regards,

Hey Micah, First, thank you for sharing your knowledge on electric bikes. There is a lot to think about before installing a conversion kit. Pity I did not find your page (my bad) BEFORE I ordered and installed a kit. My questions are regarding Torque: How to know, or calculate torque power delivered? The manufacturers tend to give a higher torque on the specs than the real one, it seems. How to be sure I get what I am paying for? I would like my next build to be stronger, as my 500 w/ 20 A/ 36V gets quite warmed up when I pulling trailer with two kids in it. Living on the west side of Norway, the next hill is not far away! And 1000 w seems a little much to me, as max power allowed on the roads in Norway (EU-regulations) is as little as 250 w. How can I maximize my torque, in short? Best regards Jan

Calculating the actual torque is pretty difficult without a custom dynamometer for your ebike. I actually built one for a senior design project for my mechanical engineering degree, but it’s not a simple build. Generally speaking, a motor with a wider stator is going to be torquier, but with motors that are similar sized it can be hard to compare. Many manufacturers supply a torque graph with the motor, and I’d recommend searching around for one. Here’s a somewhat shady one for a goldenmotor hubmotor showing a max of about 9Nm of torque at full power: The best bet is to try and locate the performance charts like these for each motor before you buy to compare. When you’re stuck with a 250W motor, there’s not a lot you can do to maximize torque though. You can aim for a lower speed motor which won’t have more torque, but you’ll feel like you have more effective torque because the motor will not heat up as much when towing as it is staying in a more efficient rpm range. Other than that, 250W are pretty much known for not being so torquey. You can always overvolt your motor (swap in a 36V battery instead of 24V or 48V instead of 36V) which will give you a boost in power and torque.

sir i want to build a ebike with 100ow motor and how much power battery does it needs? bike wiehgs 80kg and man weighs 70kg

I’m a 5’9″ 246 lbs person who is losing weight. I’ve been checking out ebikes and have ridden four different ebikes by 3 different manufacturers. The only one I’ve been able with peddle assist to get up 20 mph was a Pedego Interceptor. I’m looking for something for commuting 21 miles round trip that can move my heavy body easily at 20 miles per hour for 11 miles with either pedal assist or throttle depending on how lazy I’m feeling at the time. Can you advise the minimum watt motor I should have to meet my needs?

Wattage isn’t the biggest concern here, though anything less than 500W isn’t going to be great for your purposes. 750W would be best. But more important is capacity of the battery in AH. 10AH is the minimum you want if you can charge in between the two legs of the trip. Assuming you can’t, or planning for the odd day that you forget to charge, 20AH would be best to ensure you’ve got enough juice to get there and back on throttle alone.

Hello, I have a 48 volt battery and a 500 watt motor. Will a 48 volt 1000 watt controller work with these, or will it burn out the motor?? Thanks

It really depends on riding conditions. Generally this combination would be a bad idea, but if you’re fairly lightweight and you don’t go up long hills, the motor won’t be pulling the full 1,000W offered by the controller very often. You only pull full power under peak loads (e.g. Heavy acceleration and hill climbing).

I AM SAUD FROM INDIA, I am an electrical engineer. I am going to build an electric motorcycle for a competition. I just want to know that I have to consider both the vehicle and driver’s weight or just driver’s weight for the selection of motor. And please suggest the ratings of motor and battery for 70kg of driver and 60-80 kg of vehicle to drive in a muddy road and to claim through 30 degree elevation.

Hello back from Israel! You definitely want to consider the weight of the rider as well. Unlike cars, for electric bicycles and motorcycles the weight of the driver is a big percentage of the total weight. I’ve never built an electric motorcycle so it’s hard for me to estimate the power you’d need, but you’re looking at seriously powerful components not normally used in ebikes… likely 5kW minimum.

I live in Istanbul, Turkey in a city with hills. Eventually I will return to the USA but I would like to buy an e-bike to ride while I’m here. I’m not sure how to address the 110 vs 220 current issue. I’m familiar with the brand Pedego which I like because it’s perky. I weigh about 112 lbs. I’m thinking 36 volt lithium battery 12 amps. Also, I like a quiet bike and not that loud humming sound. Any advice would be appreciated.

The 100v vs 220v isn’t really an issue, you just buy a different charger if it isn’t multivoltage. If you have big hills, you’ll want a powerful direct drive or a mid drive. A geared motor is smaller but they are usually weaker and also are a bit louder, which you said you’d like to avoid.

sir I want make a ebike to carry a cargo with the weight nearly 100 kg and me 100 kg. how much power motor and battery I needed to built a e bile

That’s hard to say because it also depends on many other factors including type of motor, battery, riding terrain, speed, etc. You’re looking at an absolute minimum of 1000 watts though. I’d aim for a slower winding of motor and you’ll be able to get away with less power. It will also be safer. With that much weight, make sure you’ve got good brakes.

12V isn’t going to provide enough power unless you’re pulling a crazy amount of current, which can be dangerous. Aim for 24V at a bare minimum. My wife weighs 50 kg and her bike uses 24V 10AH battery with a 14A controller.

hi my name is meysam I study in Iran and my major is Mechanical engineering I want to make Ebike and I don’t know if I choose motor’s 500 waat how much is the weigh of bike ? tank you

Yes you can, but it isn’t the best method. It’s hard to know what quality of cells you can find in old laptop batteries. Plus, mixing different types of cells will give less than optimal results.

It really depends. Most 500 watt motors will weigh between 4-6kg, but the weight of the finished bike will depend on the other parts you include and the type of bike.

hi my name is helmy. i am planning to make diy electric bike.i have an old 700cc bicycle. my weight is 100kg. my target speed 25km/h. how much watt motor is needed? what type of motor to use? how many volt battery to use? how to charge the battery electric bike using alternator? how far it can go ? i hope you can help me. TQ.

Hi Helmy, you’ve got a lot of great questions that require specific answers based on your own needs. Your questions are so broad and diverse that I recommend you check out the book I wrote to help people like you plan and build a custom ebike at

Hi Micha, my name is Shalom, and i live in Tel Aviv, Israel. I have been building a diy ebike for some time now but with the laws in israel on ebikes being so tough its hard to get parts. I managed to get a 750w brushless motor (China) on a 750w 36v controller on a 36v 11ah battery. I have a lot of power taking off but then after 10mph or so it wont go any faster. Its quite embarrasing as 36v 250w bikes pass me all the time. I recently got a 48v 13ah battery and a 48v 800w controller. Will i kill my motor if i use this and do you think that i would still be able to use my 36v 11ah battery if needed? Also is there anyway to tell how much max amp my controller is. I am trying to do the math like you easily explained in a different page (thanks for that) to figure out the actual wattage of my bike now and if i were to switch the setup. Thanks

Shalom Shalom, Was the motor meant for a 26″ wheel and you put it in a smaller 20″ wheel? Unless it was already meant to be a really slow wind, then that could be the reason it’s going so slow. 10mph, or 16 kph, is very slow for a normal 36V motor. You should be fine with using 48V on that motor with a new 48V controller, but that will only increase your speed by about 33%, to about 21 kph. There’s a chance that your original controller had a speed limiting function. This is often a set of single wires that can be disconnected with a single wire connector. Or it could be an issue with your controller. If you switch to the 48V battery and controller and suddenly your speed doubles, then that is a sign that it was actually a problem with your 36V controller. To determine the max amp of your controller, I recommend using a watt meter like a Cycle Analyst or Wattsup meter. There’s also the Battman meter that is sold in Israel. Connect that between your controller and battery to see exactly how much current your controller is pulling at any moment. The current it is pulling during acceleration or when climbing a hill will be the max amps of the controller.

Firstly may I say that this is a brilliant site. Especially for a layman who does not know negative from positive in electrical terms, having been in the financial markets for the most of my life. For my sins I purchased a bike hire company and like all good corporate characters have expanded (read this as very busy loosing money) to include more areas and exotics like the Worksman Chariot which I have electrified using a Dillenger ebike 250w kit which is the legal limit for Western Australia. I have now purchased 4 derelict Pedicabs, 2 Chinese specials and 2 VeloCity Cruisers, you can see the difference in quality. The specifications for the latest Velocity cruisers is a 250w 48v motor with a 39ah battery. My model had a 20ah battery. The current batteries and state of the wiring is “had it” and I have no way of testing the motors, so I would like some advice on how I could check if the motors are OK. Secondly do you know where I can purchase a replacement kit with a 20ah battery, or should I go with a 250w 36v 12ah setup which I can get for under 500-00. These are heavy pedicabs, 190kg with a gross of 300kg. However the terrain is as flat as a pankake.

I’m not familiar with the VeloCity cruiser ebike (or is that one a pedicab too?) and didn’t find it in a quick google search. Do you have a link or more info on the motor (brushless, brushed? etc?) that can help me advise you on checking the motor? Regarding a 40AH battery, are we still talking 36V? That’s a big battery for a bike, but if it’s for a pedicab, you might even consider lead acid batteries. Generally I advise against them for ebikes, but since a pedicab is stable and the extra weight isn’t a deal breaker in a flat area, it’d be a cheap way to get a lot of battery. If you can afford it though, there are some big batteries on Aliexpress that could be good for you. Lithium is of course more expensive, but it will last longer too. Here’s a 36V 40AH and here’s a 36V 25AH for comparison, both LiFePO4 batteries so they should last well over 1000 cycles – years even if you’re doing a complete discharge every day at your business. I’m not sure what wheel size you’re looking at. Assuming it’s a standard 26″ kit, something like this would get you everything you need except the battery for about 200 USD.

My Volto is 37 Volts/14 Ah = 514 Watts. It just copes with me on most of my riding as I’m over 100kg. What I have just been reading about, enables me to understand the juddering and complete stop of the motor on 1 or 2 places I’ve been. ( Hot weather also.) This seemingly repaired itself after a long downward gradient. I’m not sure that I would want a more powerful motor at this stage as I’m appreciating the extra exercise, unless I decided to trek over some of the much rougher and steeper roads inland. (which may happen in the future) So thanks for that., Pat.

Hey Pat, I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying your Volto. Remember though, the power equation is Power=VoltsAmps, not Amp Hours. Amps (or more accurately “current draw”, measured in amps) is determined by the controller, not the capacity (AH) of the battery. I’d suspect that your controller is somewhere in the range of 15A, meaning that your Volto is still pulling a bit over 500 watts. That judder you are experiencing can be caused by a few different things, one of the most common is a bad or weak connection between the motor and controller wiring. Sometimes the connection is just weak enough to cause issues during heavy loads, such as climbing a steep hill. When things heat up it can also increase the symptom. You might just examine the connectors from the motor to make sure the sensors and phases are in good shape and haven’t melted together. Happy riding!

E-Bike Riding Range

We hear this question a lot! And, honestly, it’s one of the most important factors in deciding which e-bike to purchase. Finding an e-bike’s exact range is complicated and difficult to distill down to one single number. It can be difficult to compare bike models, but you can absolutely expect a longer, farther riding range from a battery with higher volts and amp hours.

All Juiced Bikes are equipped with the industry-leading 52V battery, while most other e-bikes in the 1,000. 3,000 price range are only equipped with a 48V battery (in some cases, just a 36V battery).

When looking for a long range e-bike. finding its exact riding range depends on many factors including.

much, power, does, electric, bicycle, need

how much energy you have on-board vs. how much energy you need to go one mile.

This is all great. But HOW FAR CAN I GO!? For example, through our range test. we found that riding with light pedaling us a range of 50 miles going at a speed of 10 mph with the standard 52V battery. Here are the results:

How We Conducted The Electric Bike Range Test:

All testing was first performed using throttle-only while riding. Then we repeated the same test with pedal assist. Other testing parameters:

  • Controls: Payload of the rider: About 190 pounds, this includes some gear.
  • Tire Pressure: We use the stock tires at 60 psi. Higher pressure will result in more range but a harder ride, lower pressure will result in a lower range but a softer ride.
  • Bumps: The road surface is more or less normal with a few bumps. Bumps are basically small walls that crash into the wheels and slow the bike down.
  • Hill Grade: The surface is more or less level, but the test circuit does go up and down somewhat.
  • Wind: It is difficult to find an area with absolutely no wind. The test circuit does have a little bit of wind, but it tends to blow in only one direction.
  • Temperature: Warm temperatures of around 80 degrees or more. Cold weather will reduce the range.

Factors That Affect Range

There are several different characteristics of electric bikes that affect how many miles you get per charge. Like miles per gallon in a car, the range is there for a reason — there’s no guaranteed number of miles or the number of hours you can ride per charge.

These are some traits that will affect the range of your bike:

  • Battery size: A bigger battery gives you more power and takes you farther with every charge. Juiced Bikes use 52V batteries in all of our e-bikes.
  • Battery age: As batteries get older, they won’t hold a charge as well as when they were brand-new. With this in mind, you may want to replace your electric bike’s battery if you find that it isn’t getting very good mileage anymore.
  • Pedal capability:Different classes of electric bikes have different pedaling capacities. If you have a model where you can pedal, like with a pedal-assist bike, you can combine your own power with the power coming from the electric bike battery to save juice while you’re out. If you’re relying solely on power from the battery, it might run out quicker.

These are a few more traits of your bike that can affect the range. Like with a car, there is no specific answer on how many miles or the amount of time you can ride with one charge. While you’re out, it’s important to keep track of your time or miles spent so you don’t run out of juice at the wrong time.

Riding Range of a Juiced Bike

Juiced electric bikes have a riding range between 40-100 miles depending on a variety of factors including battery size, average speed, terrain, rider weight, and more. With a smaller 48V or 36V battery, typical range will only be 15-35 miles per charge. That’s a considerable difference. Juiced Bikes customers often describe the ‘range confidence’ they feel when riding a Juiced e-bike, free from worrying about their battery dying during a ride.

Bigger batteries give higher ranges not only because of the charge but from the speed. As we mentioned before, bigger batteries are more powerful. With that power, you could ride up to 30 miles per hour. Even if two batteries’ charges last around the same length of time, the bike with higher speeds will have a higher e-bike mileage.

At Juiced Bikes, we saw the average riding range for e-bikes with smaller batteries and knew they could be dramatically improved. We successfully re-engineered the electric bike battery with most of our batteries providing riding ranges nearly double that of similarly priced e-bikes.

Sign up for exclusive product information, newsletters special discount offers!

Notice of Financial Incentive

The best e-mountainbike of 2023 – The biggest group test yet:⁠ 30 e-mountainbikes head-to-head

30 hot and trendy e-mountainbikes, 26 brands and 12 motor systems go head-to-head in our biggest e-mountainbike group test yet. Our search for the best e-mountainbike of 2023 held many surprises, providing exciting insights and an unprecedented market overview. We cover everything you need to know about buying an ebike and finding out which is the best e-mountainbike for you.

Table of content

  • What must the best e-mountainbike of 2023 be capable of?
  • What type of e-mountainbiker are you?
  • Our expansive e-mountainbike test field: 30 of the most exciting e-mountainbikes on the market
  • The motor systems of the e-mountainbikes on test, their features, and functions at a glance
  • How and where did we test the e-mountainbikes?
  • Our e-mountainbike group test in numbers
  • What should you look for when buying an e-mountainbike?
  • Tops and flops from our 2023 e-mountainbike group test
  • An overview of all e-mountainbikes in our huge 2023 group test
  • The best eMTB of 2023: the Orbea Wild
  • Our Best Buy tip: the Radon Deft
  • exciting recommendations

Have you ever thought about the countless dials and gauges in the cockpit of an aircraft when you last flew away on holiday? The current e-mountainbike market is similarly complex with its sheer mass of products, misleading promises and supposed innovations. Before you know it, you’ll have lost your bearings, and making the right purchase decision is almost impossible – if you make one at all. Finding the right e-mountainbike to suit your needs is more challenging than ever. And nothing is more frustrating than investing your hard-earned money in the wrong bike, which may look good or seem like a bargain but doesn’t meet your own demands and intended use, or simply doesn’t perform reliably.

Long story short: we literally worked our a off for months on end to conduct and compile the biggest and most diverse e-mountainbike group test ever. The result is a comprehensive and detailed market overview containing all the most important information, exciting insights and, above all, clear buyer’s advice. As you read these lines, we’re not just toasting on the completion of this huge project – spanning 202 A4 pages – but also celebrating our 10th anniversary as E-MOUNTAINBIKE magazine. And if we’ve learned one thing during these last 10 years, then it’s the fact that data from spec sheets and geometry tables can’t be taken at face value, revealing little about the overall performance and functionality of the bike. Ultimately, it is the cohesive performance of the bike as a whole that really counts out on the trail.

For this group test, we had a clear goal in mind: to create an all-encompassing market overview and comprehensive buyer’s guide, not just to make comparisons of similar models, but also to open the doors to a broad classification. To this end, we had 30 e-mountainbikes with 12 different motor systems compete against each other, once again demonstrating the variety and vast number of combination possibilities offered by today’s eMTB market. Different battery concepts, range extenders, custom software solutions and specially developed apps, accessory integration, myriad geometries and components… we could go on forever. But instead, we’ll FOCUS on the essentials and tell you what to look for when buying an e-mountainbike, what really counts, and how to find the right bike for you.

What must the best e-mountainbike of 2023 be capable of?

There are many misconceptions, false assumptions, and misunderstandings about what makes a good e-mountainbike. Those who aren’t properly equipped with the right information will shop according to criteria like the best motor, the largest battery, and fall for seductive marketing hype without asking themselves what it is they actually need. In our annual reader survey – which is considered the largest and most representative survey in the e-mountainbike industry – over 12,000 loyal readers answer up to 90 questions, providing us with hard facts and figures about what it is that you really want. Thanks to this data, we don’t just know how, what, and how long you ride, but also what your experiences have been, what you’re interested in, and what makes you tick. This allows us to tailor our test field as well as our test criteria perfectly to your needs. By the way, it just so happens to be time for our 2023 reader survey and we would appreciate your feedback very much! It allows us to continue driving the industry forward and not just know exactly what you want to read, but also ride in the future.

The best e-mountainbike is made up of a combination of good components, geometry, and kinematics, with a suitable motor and software ecosystem. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link – and this also applies to e-mountainbikes. It’s not isolated parameters but the harmonious interaction of all components that matters. Of course, the design, practical accessories, available service network, and detailed solutions also play a key role. Many reviewers will judge a bike based on a short test ride or on spec sheets and geometry tables. But not us, which is why the future of our jobs is secure: AI can’t test bikes and fit them into the overall context – or have you seen ChatGPT ride the trails?

The best e-mountainbike of 2023 can cater to supposedly contradicting use cases and needs, making it the ultimate all-rounder for every type of trail and riding style. It must excel on the trails with intuitive handling, providing a balanced combination of agility and composure, while being a blast to ride. It must perform equally well on epic rides and long climbs, providing sufficient long-distance comfort, efficient yet comfortable suspension, as well as easy-to-modulate yet powerful electronic assistance. The best all-rounder also provides a pleasant user experience with high-quality details. This includes a wide range of software and connectivity solutions, and guided help with the setup or service. Variable battery concepts and the option of configuring the motor output to your needs also provides obvious advantages. Does it sound utopian to combine all this into one bike? It does. Fortunately, however, there are a few e-mountainbikes that can do all this, making them great investments that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to our best friends. It also goes without saying that while the best overall e-mountainbike of 2023 is the best choice for the majority of our readers, some of you have very specific requirements, which is why you might be better off with one of the specialists in our test field. Not to worry, though, thanks to our holistic approach and personalised buyer’s guide everyone will find a bike that suits them and their requirements in this group test.

What type of e-mountainbiker are you?

Before we dive into this group test in Turbo mode, it’s important to know what you need and demand. If you need help with that, you should check out our interactive buyer’s guide. By answering a few simple questions, it will help you make the right decision, providing you with specific bike recommendations along with a selection of other articles that you might find interesting and helpful.

Our expansive e-mountainbike test field: 30 of the most exciting e-mountainbikes on the market

As part of our mega group test, we had 30 current e-mountainbikes from 26 different brands compete head-to-head in a direct comparison. The test field includes as many as 12 different motor systems, some of which provide double the torque compared to other candidates – at least on paper ;). We’ve got everything from 40 to 95 Nm, packaged in vastly different concepts. But don’t fall for the trap of being blinded by the figures. There are enormous differences between how the power is delivered, in which situations, and whether all the power can be transferred to the trail! The differences in battery capacity are just as big, ranging from just 250 Wh to a whopping 800 Wh. However, more capacity doesn’t automatically mean more range. As with EVs, different motors consume electricity at different rates and their respective efficiency must also be considered, which in turn depends on the rider, their riding style, and cadence. Among the 30 e-mountainbikes, we also included 9 of the latest generation Light-eMTBs to shake up the field. This also explains the massive weight difference of over 11 kg between the heaviest and lightest bike on test. The lightest ones tip the scales at just 16 kg, but whether they perform well on the trail is a different matter.

The brands aren’t shy about charging for the Rapid pace of e-mountainbike development with the most expensive bike on the test costing a staggering € 15,999. That’s easily the same as a new compact car. Therefore, it’s all the more important to know whether you’re investing your money in the right place. But don’t worry, the test field includes a wide price range, starting at € 6,699. The best part is that certain bikes are on par with more expensive models in terms of riding fun and performance, though some cost twice as much. However, if you find the are still too high, don’t stop reading, because most findings and tips are universally applicable and we’re already back on the trails, conducting our budget eMTB group test, which will be coming soon.

Bike Motor system Power [Nm] Battery capacity [Wh] Weight [Kg] Price
Berria Mako Hybrid GT LTD Polini E-P3 MX 90 720 21.8 € 12,199
BULLS SONIC EVO EN-SL 1 Shimano EP801 85 750 22.1 € 6,699
Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon LT1 Bosch Performance Line CX 85 750 26.0 € 8,999
FLYER Uproc X 9.50 Panasonic GX Ultimate Pro FIT 95 750 24.8 € 11,299
FOCUS SAM² 6.9 Bosch Performance Line CX 85 750 27.1 € 7,899
FOCUS JAM² 6.9 Bosch Performance Line CX 85 750 26.0 € 7,399
FOCUS JAM² SL 9.9 FAZUA Ride 60 60 430 19.36 € 8,499
Forestal Siryon Diōde BAFANG EonDrive 60 360 19.24 € 14,899
GIANT Trance X Advance E LTD GIANT SyncDrive Pro 2 85 800 23.5 € 12,799
Haibike LYKE CF SE FAZUA Ride 60 60 430 18.6 € 10,999
Ibis Oso Bosch Performance Line CX 85 750 24.3 € 12,498
KTM Macina Prowler Exonic Bosch Performance Line CX-R 85 750 25.2 € 11,999
MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 975 Shimano EP8 85 750 25.3 € 7,249
Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR LTD Bosch Performance Line CX-R 85 750 23.4 € 11,999
Moustache Samedi 29 Game 11 Bosch Performance Line CX 85 750 24.5 € 9,299
Orbea Rise M-Team Shimano EP801 RS 60 540 18.8 € 9,497
Orbea WILD M-LTD Bosch Performance Line CX-R 85 625 22.5 € 11,229
Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01 FAZUA Ride 60 60 430 18.7 € 10,999
Pivot Shuttle LT Team XTR Shimano EP8 85 756 22.9 € 12,199
RADON DEFT 10.0 Bosch Performance Line CX 85 750 24.7 € 6,799
ROTWILD R.X735 ULTRA Shimano EP8 85 720 21.2 € 12,499
Santa Cruz Heckler MX X01 AXS RSV Shimano EP8 85 720 22.1 € 12,999
SCOTT Lumen eRIDE 900 SL TQ HPR 50 50 360 16.0 € 15,999
SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ TQ HPR 50 50 360 19.4 € 12,999
Specialized Turbo Levo Expert Specialized 2.2 Custom Rx Trail Tuned 90 700 22.9 € 10,700
Transition Repeater AXS Carbon Shimano EP8 85 630 22.5 € 12,399
Thömus Lightrider E Ultimaten Maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR 40 250 16.1 € 11,690
Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS TQ HPR 50 50 360 18.9 € 14,499
UNNO Mith Race Bosch Performance Line CX 85 750 22.7 € 10,795
Yeti 160E T1 Shimano EP8 85 630 23.5 € 14,490

Isolated specs and figures say little about the character and stand-out traits of an e-mountainbike. As such, we’ll give you a brief introduction to every bike in this group test along with the table above, providing a rough overview of our test field. Let’s start with a classic among e-mountainbikes: The Specialized Turbo Levo Expert is undoubtedly one of the most popular e-mountainbikes on the market, pioneering integration and holistic development since the first generation was introduced in 2015. This hasn’t changed with the latest generation, which was launched in 2021. Specialized consider the bike as whole, not just developing a frame, but also their own motor and software to go with it, which offers clear advantages in their interaction. That said, the competition doesn’t sleep. The young and still relatively unknown boutique brand Forestal have a similarly holistic approach to development. If you haven’t heard of the Andorran brand, you’ll know what’s up the moment you catch a glimpse of the futuristic looking Forestal Siryon Diōde at the latest. The Light-eMTB relies on a custom BAFANG EonDrive motor and in-house software. On top of that, they’ve integrated a touch display – yes, you read that right – into the top tube. Is this what the future of e-mountainbikes looks like?

The test field includes numerous e-mountainbikes featuring exclusive or unique motor systems. GIANT also rely on their own GIANT SyncDrive Pro 2 motor for the Trance X Advanced E LTD, which is based on the Yamaha PW-X3 and combined with an 800 Wh battery – the largest in the test field. over, GIANT resort to the electronic FOX Live Valve suspension, but does it offer any advantages on an e-mountainbike? Without a doubt, the Berria Mako Hybrid GT LTD is one of the underdogs on test. The golden e-mountainbike of the Spanish brand is the only contestant to rely on the exotic Polini E-P3 MX motor, producing a hefty 90 Nm of torque and paired with a large display in the top tube. But does the overall concept work and can it transfer all that power to the trail? Only the Panasonic GX Ultimate motor in the FLYER Uproc X 9.50 can put out even more torque with a peak of 95 Nm. In addition, it relies on the so-called FIT system, which offers countless connectivity features. Off to a good start for a good test result?

Most of the e-mountainbikes on test hedge their bets on the proven Bosch Smart System. Bosch don’t just offer one of the world’s best service networks, but they’ve recently also started offering bike companies different combinations of displays, remotes, and batteries. The Orbea WILD M-LTD takes full advantage of this, not just allowing you to customise the componentry spec in Orbea’s MyO configurator, but also letting you choose between two battery sizes. We opted for the smaller 625 Wh version. In addition, the WILD relies on the limited edition CX Race motor, which predominantly offers advantages on technical climbs due to the way it’s tuned. The KTM Macina Prowler Exonic – which is KTMs big hitting e-mountainbike – and the Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR LTD also rely on the more powerful Race motor. Check out the individual reviews to find what advantages this offers, if any, and whether it allows them to pull away from the competition.

While the Moustache Samedi 29 Game 11 relies on the proven Bosch system, the company developed their own shock, promising magical levels of grip and a ride like a flying carpet. The RADON DEFT 10.0 doesn’t claim to be a flying carpet, but it can come right to your front door, nonetheless. At just € 6,799, the direct-to-consumer brand offer a well-specced package that surprised us all in the group test. The UNNO Mith Race will let you stand out from the crowd with its extravagant look. However, it doesn’t just look like a designer piece, the integration of the Bosch system is equally refined. Thanks to the large swingarm and asymmetrical design, the Ibis Oso features an equally striking and unique look. It also comes with practical features such as an integrated light. The Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon LT1 combines the best of both worlds, specced with a coil shock as well as practical accessories such as lights. The two newly introduced FOCUS siblings, the FOCUS SAM² 6.9 and the FOCUS JAM² 6.9, also took part in the group test. Besides many similarities such as the removable batteries and integration, they’re targeted at very different use cases due to their geometries and spec. However, being overweight seems to run in the family as they’re both on the heavier end of the spectrum, weighing in at 27.1 and 26 kg respectively. Does that matter?

The two FOCUS representatives have brought light reinforcement, because the German bike brand can fall back on a new Light-eMTB in their portfolio. The slender FOCUS JAM² SL 9.9 weighs 19.3 kg and produces 60 Nm of torque via its FAZUA Ride 60 motor. FOCUS entered the Light-eMTB segment many years ago and are considered pioneers in this field. We found out whether this has resulted in a mature product. The ebike pioneers Haibike also rely on the FAZUA drive system for their new Haibike LYKE CF SE. The popular brand aim to take on the competition with the bike’s sporty look and innovative approach to the integration of the motor. Will they succeed? American brand Pivot have also chosen to integrate the FAZUA system into their Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01. In doing so, they weren’t just early to the party, theirs was the first Light-eMTB available on the market with this motor. For our group test, we chose the model configured for trail performance instead of the top-end version. As usual, it relies on the firm DW-Link rear suspension and high-end components.

The Thömus Lightrider E Ultimate isn’t just specced with the weakest motor on test at 40 Nm, but also the smallest battery with a capacity of 250 Wh. But it lives up to its name with a weight of just 16.1 kg, and there’s no denying its cross-country genes. For obvious reasons, the prize for integration goes to the SCOTT Lumen eRIDE 900 SL. It doesn’t break the scales with its featherweight 16 kg, but its € 15,999 price point might just break the bank. This makes it both the lightest and most expensive bike on test, relying on the inconspicuous TQ HPR 50 motor. As the name suggests, the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ features the same system, but it’s packed into a long travel frame with a FOCUS on the descents. Its analogue sibling has already shown what the platform is capable of, having been crowned the best enduro bike of 2022 by our sister magazine ENDURO. The Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS also relies on the 50 Nm TQ system, but the EXe is less gravity-oriented than the SIMPLON. The US mega-brand were the exclusive launch partner of the TQ HPR 50 motor, and they were significantly involved in its development. In doing so, Trek have garnered some advantages that the competition has no access to. Does that make it better? As you can see, very different concepts rely on the same motor system. This raises an interesting question: does the motor suit all concepts equally well?

The Orbea Rise M-Team is considered a bridge between the Light- and full-power e-mountainbikes because it has a conventional Shimano EP801 motor that’s been throttled from 85 Nm to 60 Nm, as indicated by the RS suffix. In addition, the Rise has a large 540 Wh internal battery, which you can increase to a whopping 792 Wh with the optional range extender. This is the second largest battery capacity in the entire test field, and that’s in combination with a more economical motor compared to the standard EP8!

All other Shimano powered bikes in the group test come with the standard EP8 model, but Shimano leave it up to the respective brands to decide which battery they want to use, which allows them to take very different approaches. The Pivot Shuttle LT Team XTR subscribes to the “more travel, more battery and more fun” school of thought. With a generous 756 Wh, it has the largest internal battery of the Shimano driven bikes, promising a long range. The ROTWILD R.X735 ULTRA has a slightly smaller yet still big 720 Wh battery, and thanks to their convenient removal system, you can swap it out in the blink of an eye. Does that make it the trail king?

The Santa Cruz Heckler MX X01 AXS RSV features the usual high-quality workmanship, look, and VPP rear end. It promises to be more agile on the trail thanks to the smaller 27.5″ rear wheel. But does it have what it takes to be an all-rounder? The Transition Repeater AXS Carbon and the Yeti 160E T1 are the first e-mountainbikes of the two American brands. Both bikes are designed to perform on the trail and are specced accordingly. Nevertheless, the Yeti was crowned the best all-rounder in last year’s group test. Can it build on that success and defend its title, or will it be toppled from the throne this year? The MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 975 comes factory fitted with a headlight and other practical accessories. Its build spec is very promising and it’s fairly priced, too, so it’s no wonder that it’s already secured several titles in previous group tests. The final opponent to roll into our group test is the BULLS SONIC EVO EN-SL 1. At € 6,699, it’s the most affordable bike on test, pairing the new EP801 motor with an automatic Shimano XT Di2 drivetrain. We put the setup to the test to find out whether it provides any advantages over conventional shifting.

The motor systems of the e-mountainbikes on test, their features, and functions at a glance

When buying an e-mountainbike, you don’t just decide on a bike, i.e. the frame, but also on a motor ecosystem and software, which has a significant influence on the performance and handling of your bike. Nevertheless, the drive unit can only be as good as the bike it’s in, and how well it suits your specific requirements. Do you want the battery to be permanently integrated or removable, should it be as big as possible, or would you rather a smaller capacity with the option of an external range extender? Besides that, there are numerous aspects that go far beyond the hardware of the motor, with many systems now providing a vast array of options. These include customisable or progressive support modes, additional features such as digital immobilisers with an alarm, GPS tracking, range-based navigation, assistance that’s linked to your heart rate, or gamified ride data that tracks things like airtime. There are countless options available, and they will continue to grow, so it’s good to have an overview and be aware of what you want from your bike. While newly introduced technologies are state-of-the-art, they often suffer from teething issues. Large established brands usually have a reliable and well-established service network, so you can easily get help when you’ve got trouble with your motor, but they often take fewer risks during development than smaller or more agile players might do. Fortunately, software updates can be used to expand the range of functions or remedy bugs in retrospect, even when the bike’s been in your possession for a long time.

The products offered by large, established brands are usually aimed at the masses, so they don’t necessarily meet your individual requirements. The same applies to custom solutions such as the touch display in the Forestal or the charging port integrations on the Specialized. Practical and individual solutions such as these are usually reserved for bike companies that are involved in the development of the motor instead of sourcing closed systems with technical limitations. However, custom solutions can cause durability issues or lead to difficulty in procuring spare parts. Manufacturers of bikes, components and motors must work hand in hand to offer a complete package. Due to the wide range of systems that are now available on the market, this aspect has improved greatly, increasingly allowing brands to tailor bikes to your individual needs. Nevertheless, the development of an ebike is vastly more complex than that of its analogue counterpart. The large selection of components and rapidly developing industry only serve to complicate matters even more.

That’s why it’s vital to not just consider an e-mountainbikes performance and functionality on the trail, but also its secondary aspects.

Note: with such Rapid development, the market is constantly being flooded with new software updates and accessories such as range extenders. Much of it solves problems or extends the field of application. However, as we’ve seen in the past, this can also create new problems. So, we wrote this article for you based on current information as it stands in March 2023.

Below, you will find an overview of all the motor systems featured in this group test.

Smart System and CX Race – The 2023 Bosch Performance Line CX motor system

The Bosch Performance Line CX system is the top dog among the motors in our group test, featured in 10 of the 30 bikes on test. All of them rely on the Smart System, introduced in 2021, which lends the proven Performance Line CX motor a smarter infrastructure and provides a basis for upcoming features and developments. While the motor has remained largely the same, apart from a few minor hardware adjustments, the ecosystem consisting of the remotes and displays has been completely revised and the old wiring harness also gave way to a new, optimised version. Unfortunately, the Smart System upgrade isn’t backwards compatible with your old Bosch motor, though it’s become standard on new bikes.

The motor still produces 85 Nm of torque with a maximum assistance of 340% in TURBO mode. But beware: some of the bikes on test rely on the CX Race motor. It’s the twin brother of the Performance Line CX motor, just with a gym membership. Thanks to adapted software, the CX Race motor provides assistance of up to 400% with the same 85 Nm of torque. But nothing on the hardware has changed, except for slightly optimised internals.

Bosch give manufacturers the option to combine their motor with the new Bosch PowerTube battery with capacities of 750 Wh, 625 Wh or 500 Wh. All the Bosch powered bikes in our group test come with the largest battery – except the Orbea, which you’re free to configure as you please. We opted to go with a 625 Wh battery on our Orbea Wild test bike. Depending on the bike, some of the batteries are more or less easy to remove while others are permanently integrated. At 4.38 Kg, the 750 Wh PowerTube battery is one of the heaviest on test, and pushes up the system’s overall weight despite the rather light 2.79 kg motor.

The Smart System gives bike companies access to new accessories and combination options. Starting with the Bosch LED remote on the left-hand side of the handlebar. It’s quite large and exposed, and it indicates the battery level in comparatively fine 10% increments by means of classy looking illuminated bars. The colour around the Bosch logo indicates the selected support level. The buttons all offer pleasant haptics, but they could be a little bigger or further apart, because it’s easy to push the wrong button while riding.

For brands who opt against the feature-rich LED remote, Bosch offer the System Controller and Mini Remote combination. The Bosch System Controller is an LED display that integrates into the top tube, indicating the battery and support level via illuminated bars and a colourful, illuminated ring, similar to the LED remote. The Mini Remote provides a cleaner cockpit, with functionality limited to the minimum. Thanks to the few large buttons, you can reliably hit the right button, even as you’re ploughing through a rock garden shortly before a punchy climb.

Bosch also have a fitting solution for riders who don’t want to limit communication with their bike to a few LEDs. The high-quality Kiox 300 display can be mounted in different positions next to the stem, and is controlled via one of the two remotes. The new menu navigation is user friendly, and the display is easy to read while riding. There are some additional functions, too, such as navigation or location tracking by means of the Bosch ConnectModule in the motor. However, the only bike on test with the ConnectModule is the KTM Macina Prowler Exonic. over, using it requires a paid subscription. On the other hand, all Bosch Smart System bikes have the eBike Lock function as standard, which allows you to lock all motor functions temporarily via the eBike Flow app as an anti-theft measure.

The Bosch eBike Flow app also provides a good overview of all functions and is intuitive to operate. In addition to a wealth of information about the system, it lets you tune the support modes according to your own preferences. If you want to use the app, you must first create an account, after which connecting it with the bike is easy to do. It gets a little trickier if several users want to access the same bike via the app. Once the bike has been registered with one account, it can no longer be accessed by another account.

Depending on the bike, you’ve got access to different support modes on the trail. With the TOUR and eMTB modes, Bosch have two dynamic modes that adapt the support to match the riding situation on the trail. The TOUR mode is the more efficient variant and is great for maximising your range, or as a less aggressive alternative to the eMTB mode for light riders. As you might have guessed, the CX Race variant also has a RACE mode. In general, the Bosch motor is one of the best, most efficient, and most powerful on test despite putting out “just” 85 Nm on paper. Thanks to its smooth characteristics and wide cadence range, it provides a shuttle-like feeling on the climbs and leaves the Shimano EP-8 behind despite also being rated at 85 Nm. The Panasonic, Specialized, and Polini motors can all keep up with the CX motor, but they can’t compete with its big, even more powerful CX Race sibling. On the other hand, Bosch are yet to address the annoying metallic knocking noise that the motor produces. This only occurs when the motor isn’t providing any assistance and the chain isn’t pulling on the chainring – during big compressions or when the chain is bouncing around through a rock garden, for example. While this doesn’t detract from its performance, it can get on your nerves in the long run, especially on rough trails.

The Polini E-P3 MX motor system

The Polini E-P3 MX system is an exotic powerhouse. In our test field, the Italian motor features in the no less exotic Berria Mako Hybrid GT, and the list of bikes that Polini supply with their system reads like a guide on the exotic plants of Borneo. With a torque output of 90 Nm, the Italian motor is one of the most powerful in the test field, capable of matching your own input by up to 400%. And all that from a motor that weighs just 2.9 kg. For those who don’t need that much power, Polini offer the 75 Nm E-P3 motor.

For the Mako Hybrid GT on test, Berria combine the Polini motor with a custom 720 Wh Portapower battery. Polini also have two batteries of their own, one with a capacity of 550 Wh and the other with 880 Wh. Nevertheless, the Italian brand leave it to the bike companies to choose where they want to source their batteries. The integrated Portapower battery in the Berria is secured with a lock and can be easily removed. If you don’t find the battery capacity to be sufficient, you can combine it with Polini’s 252 Wh range extender, which mounts onto the bottle cage bosses. Together with the integrated 720 Wh battery, this gives you a total of 972 Wh! Unfortunately, the range extender wasn’t available for our review.

Despite its impressive power output, the Polini E-P3 MX doesn’t make a big show of it on the Berria Mako Hybrid GT. The motor is relatively compact and the down tube housing the battery is rather slender for a full-power ebike. Berria decided to do their own thing with the large Polini colour display, integrating it into the top tube instead of attaching it to the handlebar. Although this looks nice at first glance, it’s a little rough around the edges with the two exposed screws and uneven gaps. The display isn’t quite as large as the touch display on the Forestal, though it’s much larger than the mastermind display in the Specialized Levo. Polini tried to take full advantage of the display size and squeezed in as much information as possible. However, displaying the support level, battery level, distance covered, speed, and motor map each with dynamic bars on one screen is slightly too much of a good thing.

Besides this information overload, the menu navigation isn’t the most intuitive. It doesn’t help that Polini offer 3 predefined support modes as well as two customisable modes, each of which are divided into 5 sub-modes – it will leave you scratching your head! In total, that’s 25 support modes to choose from. The custom modes can be tuned in Polini’s E-Bike app, via which you can also access the display information on your smartphone or retrieve all kinds of data about your rides and the motor. To scroll through the different support modes on the bike, you will have to get accustomed to the very peculiar remote, which makes do with just two buttons. On our Berria test bike, it’s mounted between the grip and the dropper remote, pointing downwards. To reach the button on the back, you’ve got to take your index finger from the front brake (rear brake in the UK). This results in unwanted thrills on the trail and even on forest service roads when shifting modes. Even if the remote is mounted pointing upwards, you’ve got the same problem. In general, the operation of the system isn’t exactly user-friendly with its two buttons. To switch between certain menu items, you must push both buttons simultaneously, which requires accurate timing. It’s a good thing that Polini also offer a remote with four buttons.

Riding the bike, the Polini E-P3 MX motor is a little unpredictable, changing character depending on the support mode. In Touring mode, the motor is very restrained, unleashing its power very predictably and gently. In race mode, the motor flexes its muscles and turns from sensitive to schoolyard bully. It’s very harsh and direct as it kicks in, giving it an unnatural ride feel. The power output is relatively independent of your cadence, always providing plenty of assistance. We were also struck by how loud it is in the higher support modes.

The Panasonic GX Ultimate motor system

The Panasonic GX Ultimate is the bodybuilder amongst the motors in the test field – it’s the undisputed powerhouse of the bunch, with a peak torque output of 95 nm. It only comes specced on the FLYER Uproc X in our test field. Despite its power, the Panasonic motor doesn’t stand out from the crowd of full-power motors in terms of weight, tipping the scales at a mere 2.95 kg. In the FLYER Uproc X, it’s paired with a 750 Wh battery. Panasonic deliberately allow bike companies to use batteries from third-party suppliers.

On our test bike, the Panasonic GX Ultimate motor is controlled via components from the ebike systems suppliers FIT. Compared to most other remotes in the test field, the FIT Basic Remote on the handlebar is rather chunky and the small joystick requires some getting used to. The first time you use it, you could get a little fright from the unusual vibration feedback it provides. You can switch it off, though it certainly doesn’t leave you guessing whether you’ve pushed the button. Alternatively, Panasonic also offer in-house remotes. The Panasonic Side Colour Display Remote has a small display integrated into the remote, as the name suggests. However, this makes it slightly bigger than the not-exactly-dainty FIT Basic Remote. The display on the FLYER is also supplied by FIT and mounted in front of the stem where it’s very exposed. It has a ton of functions and display options, including some more unique features like an inclinometer and an ice warning. In combination with the FIT E-Bike Control app, the display can be adjusted according to your preferences, and even has a navigation function.

When riding the bike, the Panasonic GX Ultimate motor offers four levels of support. In addition to three classic modes, it also has a dynamic Auto mode, which claims to adjust the assistance according to the riding situation. In the highest support mode, the motor provides a good deal of support. Its power output doesn’t decrease significantly at a low cadence, giving you that shuttle feeling on forest road climbs. Due to the sustained assistance, you can easily let it push you over ledges or other obstacles in technical terrain, but it also means you’ve got to brake hard when stopping in a hurry. The Auto mode feels somewhat abrupt and unnatural on level terrain, but it comes into its own on uphill trails. Here, it offers even more precise and sensitive assistance than the highest mode, making it easier to harness its power.

The GIANT SyncDrive Pro 2 motor system

As the name suggests, the Giant SyncDrive Pro 2 motor is exclusive to GIANT and represented by a single bike in the test field, the Giant Trance X Advanced E Ltd. Based on the Yamaha PW-X3 motor, the GIANT drive unit delivers 85 Nm of torque with up to 400% support. The 2.75 kg motor is combined with a massive 800 Wh battery – the biggest in our test. If that still isn’t enough for you, there’s the option of a 250 Wh range extender. It mounts to the bottle cage bosses and pushes the total battery capacity to an incredible 1,050 Wh! With an internal battery capacity of 800 Wh, however, we could skip the range extender for the purposes of our review.

The interface between man and machine is taken care of by the Giant RideControl GO control unit in the top tube, paired with the minimalist RideControl Ergo 3 remote on the handlebar. The control unit isn’t a display as such, indicating the support mode as well as the battery level via 5 illuminated bars. GIANT refrain from installing an additional display on the handlebar. The inconspicuous remote sits flush against the left grip, where it’s within easy reach of your thumb. In general, the operation of the Giant SyncDrivePro2 system is quite straightforward. You’ve got three buttons to shift through the 5 support modes from Eco to Power or activate the progressive Smart Assist mode. Due to the minimalist display in the top tube, you don’t get much information, but it also saves you from having to navigate a maze of menus – the pared down functions of the remote are entirely sufficient. Those who want a little more information can access it via GIANT’s Ride Control app. The app also lets you assign the functions of the remote buttons.

On the bike, you immediately get a sense of the Giant SyncDrive Pro 2 motor’s power. While it feels significantly more powerful than the Shimano EP8, it can’t quite match the punch of the Bosch CX. It kicks in very directly in Power mode. This allows you to get back going after coming to a stop on a steep incline, but you’ve got to brace yourself in anticipation of the motor pushing you forward. In general, the drive unit doesn’t hold back and could be described as more of a ruffian amongst motors. The dynamic Smart Assist mode is significantly more hesitant, holding back longer than the comparable eMTB mode from Bosch. As a result, the Giant motor is clearly slower than Bosch powered bikes when using their dynamic modes to pull away at traffic lights, easily leaving you behind. The automatic mode also lacked the necessary grunt for technical climbs, in which case we preferred using Power mode.

The Specialized 2.2 motor system

The Specialized 2.2 system was developed in collaboration with mechatronics specialists Brose, based on the Brose Drive Mag S motor. Compared to most other brands, Specialized have acquired in-depth motor expertise over the years and want full control over the drive system. They pursue a holistic approach, developing as much as possible in house to ensure the best possible interaction of components, a better user experience, and minimal dependence on the motor manufacturers and their development pace or cycles. The Californian company go to great lengths to achieve this, employing a team of around 70 people in Cham, Switzerland, dedicated to their ebike department! Numerous reviews have shown that their efforts pay off, and the Specialized Levo is amongst the lead pack with its 2.2 motor system this year once again, but more on that later. After two years on the market, the system is now considered one of the old-timers of the test, which is particularly noticeable when looking at the proportions of the hardware – especially the area around the bottom bracket, which is relatively bulky. With a torque output of 90 Nm, the motor of the Californian brand is amongst the more powerful on test, trumped only by the 95 Nm Panasonic GX Ultimate. All that power is produced by a unit weighing 2.98 kg. With a capacity of 700 Wh, the removable battery is neither particularly large nor small. To remove it, you must loosen just one screw with the SWAT tool, which is conveniently integrated into the head tube, and you can pull the battery out of the down tube.

Specialized offer an entire ecosystem around the 2.2 motor, providing harmonious integration. The bike’s brain is integrated into the top tube and goes by the name of Mastermind. Specialized were one of the first manufacturers to integrate a display into the top tube, pioneering a whole range of bikes that have now followed suit. The small and slender colour display gives you all the relevant information you need on a ride, as well as a few fun gimmicks like your current elevation, GPS data, or the number of jumps and airtime generated – rather than big stories about your latest heroics, you get the bare facts! The Specialized Mission Control app also lets you customise the layout and data fields of the Mastermind display to suit your own preferences. Furthermore, you’re able to configure the support, maximum power and acceleration of Eco, Trail, and Turbo mode via the app. You can link the Mastermind up to a heart rate monitor or an additional bicycle computer, too. Doing so would allow you to use the Smart Control function, for example, which adjusts the support level based on your heart rate. The app is very clearly structured and using it doesn’t require a degree in computer science. The remote with which you control the system while riding is quite minimalistic, but it has all the functions you need on the trail. It is easy to use with the left thumb and provides good haptic feedback.

As already mentioned, you’ve got three support modes to choose from on the trail: Eco, Trail, and Turbo – all of which you can customise in the app. The Micro Adjust function is super practical, frequently used, and easy to activate, allowing you to fine tune the support in 10% increments. It’s great for saving battery, or keeping your effort at the perfect, sustainable level. On the way to the trailhead, the Specialized 2.2 system feels like an integrated shuttle service with its 90 Nm torque output. The motor is just as powerful as the Bosch CX Race, though a little less punchy. The support doesn’t kick in too brusquely and the power is easy to modulate. It isn’t bothered by fluctuating pedalling cadences and the generous sustained assistance, i.e. the assistance offered after you stop pedalling, is a fantastic help in getting cleanly over ledges and obstacles. This makes easy work of technical climbs. It’s positively inconspicuous on the descents, too, remaining absolutely quiet!

The maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR motor system

The BIKEDRIVE AIR motor system is maxon’s debut to the ebike market. Before the Swiss brand started supplying bike brands with motors, they helped Mars rovers cruise along on the red planet. In our group test back on planet earth, the maxon system can only be found in the Thömus Lightrider E Ultimate Light-eMTB. The relatively light 1.9 kg motor is generally still a rarity, featuring on just a handful of bikes. With a torque output of merely 40 Nm, it’s the weakest motor in the test field. The battery is permanently integrated into the down tube. Depending on your personal preference or requirements, you have the choice between a battery capacity of 250, 360 or 426 Wh. The Thömus Lightrider E Ultimate on test had a 250 Wh battery installed, for which maxon indicate 3.5 hours for a full charge. It can be paired with a 250 Wh range extender, which weighs 1.4 kg and can be mounted in the supplied maxon bottle cage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available for our test.

The slender battery and compact, lightweight motor allow the system to be integrated relatively inconspicuously. The only thing giving the Lightrider E Ultimate away as an e-mountainbike is the hockey stick silhouette of its downtube. The motor is controlled via a minimalistic aluminium remote that matches the system’s overall look and feel well. It’s beautifully finished and one of the most inconspicuous remotes in the test field. Like the FAZUA Ring Control remote, it’s a ring-shaped control that can be pushed up and down. It’s intuitive to use and fulfils its purpose. The control unit integrated into the top tube, on the other hand, is slightly more striking than the remote. It indicates both the battery level and support mode via illuminated bars, using 8 increments for the battery. It’s not quite as refined as the TQ display, though not as rudimentary as the FAZUA LED HUB either. The control unit also provides an interface for most common bicycle computers and the maxon Connect app via Bluetooth and ANT LEV connectivity. This allows you to have information such as the battery level displayed on your bike computer while riding, or customise the three support modes to suit your preferences in the app.

On the bike, you’ve got three support modes to choose from: Cruise, Push, and Blast. They all offer a very natural ride feel and you can quickly forget that you’re even riding an ebike. The motor engages instantaneously as you apply pressure to the pedals, avoiding any unnatural feeling delays. over, the maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR system is virtually silent – all you can hear are cowbells ringing in the distance and the crunch of your tires. Compared to the Eco mode on a full-power e-mountainbike, Blast (maxon’s highest mode) is more like a sparkler than a full-blown firework. Nevertheless, you’ll be surprised at how much assistance the motor provides on steep climbs, especially if you’ve briefly forgotten about it, which is apt to happen. That said, it’s noticeably weaker than the competition from TQ or FAZUA. Don’t think you’ll make the summit without breaking a sweat with the maxon motor – it’s more of a tailwind on steep climbs. As such, it’s really aimed at fit and active riders, not at leisurely weekend warriors with a phobia of sweat.

The TQ HPR 50 system

The TQ HPR 50 is the Bavarian tech company’s first minimal assist motor, though not their first ebike motor, and it relies on their patented harmonic pin-ring technology. It was developed in collaboration with Trek, which gave the bike brand the exclusive right to the motor for 3 months before other manufacturers such as SCOTT and SIMPLON were given the green light. At first glance, it seems like Trek use the same display as the competition, but they developed their own software and app. All HPR 50 motors are capable of putting out 50 Nm of torque with a 300-watt peak, and they’re exclusively compatible with the 360 Wh TQ battery. In the case of Trek, the battery can be removed, whereas all other brands have chosen to keep the 1800 g battery firmly integrated in the frame. Due to the compact design of the battery, bike designers can keep the downtube slender too. As a result, bikes such as the SIMPLON and Trek are difficult to distinguish from their analogue siblings, easily boasting the most discreetly integrated mid-mounted systems on test with the motor equally well hidden in the bottom bracket. If you want more range, you can stick the optional 160 Wh range extender in the bottle cage, upping the total battery capacity to 520 Wh.

The 2″ TQ display is designed to be integrated into the top tube where it is inconspicuous but clearly visible. It uses monochrome dots and rings to indicate the chosen support mode, which isn’t the most intuitive at first. The battery status is displayed via 10 small bars, each representing 10% charge. By double clicking on the button below the display, you can scroll through various data points, or switch the system on/off. You have the following data points to choose from:

  • current speed in km/h
  • battery level in percen
  • remaining range in the current support mode
  • current power output of the rider and motor in watts

The system can be controlled via a small remote, which is always attached to the left side of the handlebar. It is very unobtrusive and intuitive to use, with just two buttons. It will let you choose the support mode, activate walk mode, or turn off the assistance altogether. The remote has a pleasant feel and ergonomics due to its rubberised coating, and it provides clear feedback thanks to a distinct click. You can also adjust the motor settings and access more data via the TQ app.

Trek, on the other hand, have integrated these functions into their own app, which, above the regular scope of TQ functions, gives suggestions for the suspension setup, lets you connect to third-party sensors like the TyreWiz via Bluetooth, and has a map-based range calculator. All in one – cool! The display of the Trek is a bit more intuitive, too, showing you the support levels with 3 large bars and the battery level in %. Alternatively, you can switch the view to see your average speed and remaining range, with the range displayed in minutes or kilometres.

You have three support levels to choose from on the trail: ECO, MID and HIGH, and there’s a Walk mode too. The HPR 50 motor is by far the quietest and most natural feeling in the test field. Due to its slightly lower power output and the inconspicuous way it engages and disengages, it feels more like you’re extremely fit rather than being assisted by an electric motor. It’s only when the support is switched off that you become aware of how much help the motor has been. To unleash its full power, the motor requires a relatively high cadence, making it more likely that you’ll break into a sweat, but it suits the motor’s character. This makes it better suited to gravel road climbs than technical singletrack ascents, taking the burden out of the uphills when you ride while still keeping you fit. Compared to the rest of the test field, technical climbs require much more physical effort and conscious gear selection to maintain the required cadence for optimal power delivery. If you’re looking for something that will push you up the mountain without putting in any effort yourself, you won’t like the TQ. However, if you like sweating at least a little on the uphills and want a quiet and natural feeling bike, this might just be the perfect companion. Unfortunately, the display became defective during the test, though it’s super easy for anyone to replace once you can track down a spare.

The FAZUA Ride 60 system

The FAZUA ride 60 motor system is the second minimal assist option to come from the Munich-based company, which was recently acquired by Porsche. While the first generation from 2017 consisted of a single unit made up of the battery and motor, which you could remove from the bike, FAZUA parted ways with that design for the latest iteration, increasing the power output while they were at it. As the name suggests, the new Ride 60 delivers 60 Nm of torque, with a peak output of up to 450 watts. FAZUA also supply their own battery, which can either be permanently integrated or removable. It weighs in at 1960 grams and has a capacity of 430 Wh. While FAZUA have announced a range extender, it wasn’t yet available at the time of the test. Due to the elongated shape of the motor and the fairly wide battery, the down tubes of many of the FAZUA powered bikes on test are shaped like a hockey stick, quickly betraying them as ebikes. Haibike are the only brand that tilt the motor horizontally into the seat tube, allowing for neater integration, though this method also comes with certain compromises.

Like most brands, FAZUA integrate their LED HUB display into the top tube where it’s clearly visible. It indicates the support mode and the battery level via 5 small LEDs. As such, the battery level is divided into 5 large 20% increments, and the different colours of the support modes are difficult to read in direct sunlight. By pulling up the LED HUB you get access to a USB-C charging port.

On the left side of the handlebar, you’ll find FAZUA’s Ring Control remote. Unfortunately, it’s unlabelled, and due to the cheap feel and looks, it isn’t on par with the competition. The different functions can be controlled by pressing up, down, or inwards, towards the stem. This lets you control the support modes and activate the Walk or Boost mode.

To no-one’s surprise, FAZUA also have an app with which you can configure the support modes. They’ve tried to optimise the user experience: after an extensive questionnaire, the app will recommend the ideal support mode settings, tailored specifically to the rider. This is great for ebike beginners and all those who don’t want to waste their time by playing with the settings! If you don’t trust computers or don’t always ride in the same kind of terrain, you can also configure the support modes yourself and save them as pre-sets. You could save them as “the early bird gets the dirt”, “fetch beer” or “power hour”, for example, and call them up as needed.

For trail riding, FAZUA have already taken the creative liberty of naming the three pre-configured support modes: Breeze, River, and Rocket. They’ve also got an afterburner, officially called Boost mode, providing a brief power surge when needed. However, it takes a moment to kick in, and the duration depends on the battery status and the temperature of the motor. In ideal conditions, you’ll get up to 12 seconds of additional thrust to pass your buddies. The motor assists noticeably in Rocket mode, pushing you forward even at low cadence. The FAZUA motor is powerful enough to let you conquer technical climbs, but the Ride 60 system has a software-related issue that needs sorting out, restarting after every time you stop pedalling. So, if you stop pedalling on a climb, you’ll have a brief moment of sustained assistance before coming to a stop, or you’ll be pedalling on your own for about 1-2 seconds thereafter as it restarts. This can quickly throw you off balance in tricky terrain and is very annoying to say the least! If you find this to be a problem, you can use the app to make the motor more dynamic, which makes it kick in rather abruptly but seems to shorten the dip in power. FAZUA are already working on a solution and promise to release a software update that fixes this as soon as possible. The motor is perfectly quiet on the descents, but it is audible when pedalling, similar to the noise level of Shimano EP8 motor. Only the BAFANG motor in the Forestal is louder. The character of the FAZUA Ride 60 is much closer to a full-power system and can make easy work of the climbs. Active riders also get their money’s worth, as long as they don’t spend too much time on technical climbs, in which case the above-mentioned software bug can get frustrating. Besides that issue, we encountered several instances during our tests where the FAZUA bikes didn’t switch on. If that happens, it helps to shake the bike, recharge the battery, unplug it, or wait… Unfortunately, one of the bikes remained defective. We hope that FAZUA will get to grips with these problems soon and issue a software update to fix things. As it stands (March 2023), purchasing a FAZUA powered ebike is a gamble.

The Shimano EP8 system

The Shimano EP8 system from the Japanese component giant has been on the market since 2020 and it features on a whole range of bikes in our group test. With a torque output of 85 Nm, it isn’t the most powerful unit, though it is amongst the lightest with a motor weight of just 2.6 kg. Shimano offer two batteries for the EP8 system: one with a capacity of 504 Wh and one with 630 Wh. However, bike brands are free to work with third-party suppliers. It’s thanks to this that some of the EP8 bikes in the test field come equipped with battery capacities beyond 700 Wh.

In our test field, the EP8 motor is universally combined with Shimano’s compact SC-EM800 display. Clamped to the handlebar next to the stem, the colour display shows the battery level in 20% increments and is easy to read even in direct sunlight. It also visualises the motor’s dynamics via a moving bar, along with the speed and the current support mode. The layout in the display is very tidy with the data fields reduced to the minimum, which is very pleasant. Alternatively, you could also get a small black and white display for the EP8 motor, which is integrated into the somewhat bulky SC-E5003 remote. The solution on our test bikes with the minimalist SW-EM800-L remote is a lot more elegant. This makes for a tidy looking cockpit while offering pleasant ergonomics and haptics. In general, the EP8 motor is also compatible with other display and remote options from the old Shimano steps E8000 ecosystem. However, you might require certain adapters.

The Shimano E-TUBE PROJECT app serves as the interface to the motor. It lets you set up two distinct rider profiles, each allowing you to configure the three Eco, Trail, and Boost support modes individually. For each mode, you can adjust the power, support level and response behaviour. You can then choose your preferred rider profile via the display on the bike. The app is clearly structured and intuitive to use, which makes the adjustments and configurations easy to do. Connecting it to the bike is just as quick and easy.

In practice, the Shimano EP8 motor performs convincingly thanks to its good-natured characteristics. It remains easy to modulate even in Boost mode, whether you’re pulling away or on a steep incline. As a result, it doesn’t feel like you get a kick in the backside as you start pedalling, like with other less sensitive motors. Although it’s technically on par with the Bosch Performance Line CX motor, which also produces 85 Nm, it feels noticeably less powerful in practice. You must provide more input and power of your own to get the peak output and support from the EP8 system. Therefore, it feels less like a shuttle, offering a more sporty and natural riding experience. While it emits a restrained hum on the climbs and isn’t conspicuously loud, that isn’t the case on the descents. Instead, it rattles loudly, especially in rough terrain, making it the loudest motor in the test field when riding downhill. Even though the Shimano EP8 motors we’ve tested have proven to be very reliable for the most part, it’s reassuring to know that you can fall back on an extensive dealer and service network in case you do run into any issues.

The Shimano EP801 and EP801 RS systems

The Shimano EP801 is an EP8 motor with slightly modified hard- and software. With the 01 suffix, the motor is capable of offering support at a wider cadence range and has a FINE TUNE mode to further adapt it to your needs. Apart from that, you get a wider range of remotes, and the possibility of linking the system up with the new XT Di2 groupset, which allows for automatic shifting when touring, as on the BULLS SONIC EVO EN-SL 1. In addition to the EP801, we also got to test the EP801 RS on the Orbea Rise. Contrary to what you might think, however, the RS added by Orbea means that the motor’s power output is limited at 60 Nm instead of producing the usual 85 Nm. As with the EP8, bike companies aren’t limited to Shimano’s two in-house batteries, able to combine the 801 with options from third party suppliers. Orbea take full advantage of this, offering the Rise either with a 360 Wh or a 540 Wh internal battery. Bike brands can also pair the system with range extenders, which wouldn’t be possible with a Bosch system, for example.

Along with the standard options available to the EP8, the Shimano EP 801 can be combined with a wider range of displays and remotes. For the EVO EN-SL 1, BULLS rely on the same combination of the minimalist SW-EM800-L remote and SC-EM800 display as all bikes on test featuring the EP8 motor. Orbea deviate slightly, fitting the Shimano EN-600L remote and no display. It uses an LED to indicate the 3 support modes, Walk mode, or an error code via 5 different colours. A second LED flashes red, green, or lights up permanently to show you the battery status. However, it’s somewhat confusing and thus serves more as an emergency signal. If it flashes red, you know that it’s time to head back. Of course, the remote can also shift the support modes up or down, activate walk mode, and switch the system on or off.

With the E-TUBE PROJECT app from Shimano, you can create different profiles for the Eco, Trail, and Boost modes, just like the EP8. What’s new on the EP801 is FINE TUNE mode. This lets you activate and configure up to 15 different support modes. The app also shows you the battery status in percentage points, in case you need more accurate information than the LED on the remote or the 20% bars in the display.

On the trail, the EP801 lets you select from Eco, Trail, Boost or any of the additionally created support modes, same as the EP801 RS. The basic characteristics of both motors are the same, which doesn’t come as a surprise since the EP 801 RS is the same motor but with a throttled maximum output. They’re both easy to modulate in the highest mode, letting you pull away safely even in difficult conditions. They continue delivering noticeable power at low cadences, proving to have a wider power Band compared to the EP8 motor. As such, they will both let you reach the summit in a relaxed manner, even if you must pedal a bit harder with the EP801 RS, especially when things get steep. Technical climbs are a cinch with the power and characteristics of the Shimano EP801, but you will reach your limits noticeably sooner with the throttled RS version. Under partial load, the EP801 emits little noise, but it drowns out the FAZUA under full load. The metallic rattling on the descents is a big shortcoming that still affects the EP801.

The BAFANG EonDrive system

The BAFANG EonDrive motor in the Forestal represents a rather unique solution. It’s manufactured and supplied by BAFANG, but a significant part of its development was carried out by Forestal, who combine it with in-house accessories and software. It’s a daring and impressive achievement when you consider that it’s the debut product of the fledgling Andorran bike brand. The EonDrive motor delivers 60 Nm of torque and is powered by a 360 Wh BAFANG battery. Forestal have announced that they’ll be releasing a 250 Wh range extender, though it was yet to be released at the time of our group test. The Forestal is the only bike on test with a 3.2″ touch display, which is beautifully integrated into the top tube. The display sensitivity can’t keep up with the level of modern smartphones, but it works surprisingly well and is intuitive to use. Just don’t get mud or water on the display, as that seems to confuse it, going back and forth until you wipe it clean. It’s best to lock the display before you ride to prevent that from happening. The display provides an immense wealth of beautifully displayed metrics, such as the battery level percentage, distance travelled, altitude difference and current time. It also has a large navigation map. You can track your rides, too, because the Forestal comes equipped with a GPS antenna disguised as a stem spacer, which doubles as theft protection and works with an integrated eSIM card – cool!

Many of these features require you to connect the bike to the Forestal app, however. This provides additional information about the motor, battery, and your activities. In addition to that, it lets you track your bike and get in touch with Forestal. No other bike on test can match the wealth functions of the Forestal system.

much, power, does, electric, bicycle, need

As with most systems, the BAFANG remote can be found on the left-hand side of the handlebar, which has an additional battery indicator in 25% increments. The remote has two buttons to shift between support modes, and a third button to switch the bike on/off or activate walk mode. Unfortunately, the rubber buttons provide zero haptic feedback, and they seem misplaced on the otherwise premium looking Forestal.

On the trail, the BAFANG system has three support modes to choose from, as well as a Walk mode. Unfortunately, the BAFANG proved to be the loudest motor on test, almost whistling like a turbo when put under strain. That said, it’s also the most powerful amongst the Light-eMTB motors, kicking in with quite a lot of force as you pull away. However, the assistance provided is heavily dependent on the cadence. The motor isn’t capable of unleashing much power at cadences below 60 rpm or above 100 rpm. Fortunately, the display shows you your cadence, which takes out the guesswork and helps you stay in the optimal range. In that case, the motor keeps chugging along even on technical climbs, though it feels like the power gradually reduces the longer the climb – you have to increase your own effort as you approach the summit, making the final bit the hardest. The sustained assistance after you stop pedalling is dynamic. This means that the harder you pedal, the longer the sustained assistance. Although this results in a natural ride feel, it can be a hindrance on technical climbs, as you often need the motor to keep pushing even if you’ve only put in a light pedal stroke. The motor is silent on the descents and there’s enough free movement in the cranks to avoid any unwanted thrust. We didn’t run into any issues with the BAFANG system, but the after sales service could be an issue considering the very small production run and the wealth of custom solutions. Also, the BAFANG system has a very high battery consumption, draining the battery noticeably just from being switched on.

How and where did we test the e-mountainbikes

We admit it: this group test didn’t just consist of superlatives (30 hot bikes!), but also of lived dreams, not to mention blood, tired legs, late-night debates, intensive repairs, and charging until the solar grid collapsed and the generator gave up. And what for? For all-day epics, for putting the bikes through the wringer, and simply because it’s fun! For the core of the test session, we spent a full two weeks with ten riders on a secluded finca with a stunning view of the trails, sun, and sea on the horizon. The fact that we didn’t want to kill each other during those 14 days with such a high concentration of testosterone is a miracle on its own, and it’s a testament to the crew – certainly, the daily test rides until sunset and cooking and dining together every evening also helped. If we didn’t test bikes full-time, we could probably open a restaurant – yum!

If you’re wondering where we were: about an hour’s drive northeast of Barcelona, in Santa Coloma de Farners, where we found the perfect conditions to conduct a group test as big as this. The town has a huge and still rather unknown trail centre – at least in the international scene – with countless trails. Dry, sandy, and peppered with rock slabs and roots, it was the perfect place to push the bikes to their limits. Our chosen test track – a combination of “Dragon Khan” and “La Llosa” – features rock slabs with a sandpaper like surface, roots, flowing berms, and loose, sandy corners. The climb to the trailhead almost had a bit of everything you can possibly expect: wide gravel paths with potholes that would almost catapult you over the bars if you weren’t alert because your caffeine level had dropped. Flowing sections alternating with rough and sandy routes, to technical climbs that our bikes only just got up. So, if you feel like going somewhere other than Italy for a change and are looking for fine trails without shuttles, you will find everything your heart desires at Santa Coloma de Farners.

Our e-mountainbike group test in numbers

Although numbers don’t have feelings, they can give you a good feeling for tendencies and trends. Here are some exciting, interesting, and fun facts, figures, and statistics.

Things that broke during our tests:

  • 1 derailleur hanger torn off
  • 1 display broke
  • 3 chains snapped
  • 3 tires punctured
  • 1 Shimano brake lever broke
  • 3 FAZUA bikes had difficulties starting up
  • 1 FAZUA bike was defective
  • 1 Shimano bike was defective
  • 1 TQ display gave up
  • 3 skid plates broke
  • 1 aluminium crank bent
  • 1 brake lever broke
  • 5 charging ports torn off
  • 2 grips broke

The e-mountainbikes on test:

  • 30 bikes in the test field
  • € 15,999: the most expensive bike on test, the SCOTT Lumen eRide 900 SL
  • € 6,699: the most affordable bike on test, the BULLS SONIC EVO EN-SL1
  • 23 of the bikes roll on 29″ wheels
  • 7 of the bikes roll on 29″/27.5″ mullet wheels
  • the bikes weigh 22.1 kg on average
  • the lightest bike weighs 16.0 kg, and it’s also the most expensive bike
  • the heaviest bike weighs 27.1 kg
  • the smallest battery is 250 Wh
  • the biggest battery is 800 Wh
  • the weakest motor produces 40 Nm of torque
  • the most powerful motor puts out 95 Nm

What should you look for when buying an e-mountainbike?

Before you splash out your hard-earned cash on a new e-mountainbike only to realise that you made the wrong choice, you should ask yourself a few basic questions. Most bikes can only live up to their full potential if they’re used as intended and, by default, you’ll only be happy if you find a bike that suits your needs and riding style.

It all comes down to the overall concept

Many prospective buyers want to know which is the right e-mountainbike or the best motor, but this is just like the 29” vs 27.5” wheel size debate (just slightly more complex): the best motor is only as good as the e-mountainbike it is part of. Conversely, an e-mountainbike is only as good as the way the motor supports and complements the bike’s character. Compared to analogue mountain bikes, this makes matters much more complex, because manufacturers have to take into account more factors, like the integration of the battery and motor, and the weight distribution of heavy components, which must harmonise with one another in order to offer a coherent package with supposedly contradictory characteristics.

New possibilities on the horizon

Spending all day in nature? Exploring new areas and trails? Tired after a long day at the office? Or simply want to take your kids for a spin in the trailer without spitting out your lungs on the first climb? An e-mountainbike might be exactly what you’re looking for, and at the same time ensures top riding fun on the trail.

A massive battery doesn’t necessarily mean more range!

Just because an e-mountainbike has a big battery, it doesn’t mean that it will take you further than one with a smaller battery. Battery capacity must always be considered in relation to the motor’s power, and as such its power consumption. You may get just as far or even further from a less powerful bike with a smaller battery, though with less support, so it’ll take longer or require more effort on your part.

torque ≠ more power on the trail!

While many of the e-mountainbikes in this test field share similar torque values, they’re totally different on the trail in terms of power delivery. Simply put, an e-mountainbike is far more than sheer numbers and torque values, which, unfortunately, say very little about a bike’s performance when considered in isolation. The Bosch Performance Line CX-Race is the perfect example, showing how much difference a simple software tweak can make on the trail. While technically it’s almost identical to the conventional Performance Line CX motor, churning out 85 Nm torque, the tweaked software ensures a stronger, more abrupt power delivery, transferring more power to the ground at lower and lighter rider inputs. The Shimano EP8 motor also has 85 Nm torque, but can’t keep up with either version of the Bosch CX motor despite sharing the same values on paper. The same goes for the limited Shimano EP801 RS, FAZUA Ride 60 and Bafang EonDrive, all of which deliver 60 Nm of torque, but behave completely differently on the trail. The optimal cadence range – i.e. the range at which the motor delivers its power most efficiently – varies enormously from drive to drive, and on top of that many of the motors in this test don’t cope well with pedalling cadences below 60 rpm, at which they deliver very little power while at the same time consuming huge amounts of energy. As you can see, there’s much more to e-mountainbikes than sheer numbers, and the overall performance can only be determined on the trail.

What questions should you ask yourself before buying an emountainbike?

How much battery capacity do you really need?

If you tend to go for short rides with minimal support, big batteries only mean extra weight, which usually comes at the cost of trail performance. Furthermore, lightweight riders consume significantly less battery, and the topography of the trail also has a major influence on range. On the other hand, if you love to pile up the miles and vertical metres, you’ll probably do well with a big battery capacity. Tackling technical climbs, pedalling with high support modes and at low cadences drains the battery quicker too. Fortunately, some manufacturers offer their bikes with different battery options: with the Orbea Wild, for example, you can choose between a 625 Wh and 750 Wh battery to suit your needs and preferences. over, most manufacturers offer range extenders, allowing you to adjust the capacity depending on the planned route. Removable batteries, such as those found on the FOCUS and Rotwild are an option, too. You’ll just have to budget for the cost of a spare battery, and go back to the car to switch out batteries.

How hard do you have to work?

This depends entirely on the support level you choose and the goals you set yourself. With modern full-fat e-mountainbikes, it takes a massive ride to drain the battery in the lowest support mode, and you’ll still have a fairly relaxed time, because many full-power e-mountainbikes cope well with low pedalling cadences, pushing you up the mountain willingly without requiring too much effort from your side. However, it’s a whole different story with Light-eMTBs, which require a relatively high cadence, calling for considerably more input from the rider, even in the lowest support modes – which can be exhausting in the long run. That said, many manufactures allow you to customise the motor settings and adjust the support level to your needs and preferences, basically allowing you to decide for yourself how hard you want to work.

What additional features should an e-mountainbike have?

In a nutshell, the possibilities are endless! Most manufacturers offer countless options for displays and remotes as well as accessories at the time of purchase. But what do you really need? What is helpful and what is simply superfluous? The good thing is that you can retrofit most accessories at a later stage and there’s a constant stream of software updates and extensions entering the market. Before buying, however, you should still have an idea of what you want from your display, whether you need a navigation function or you’re happy with a flashing LED. An integrated light or GPS tracker doesn’t hurt and doesn’t limit the bike’s performance on the trail, but keeps you and your bike a whole lot safer, regardless of whether that’s on your daily commute to and from work or after a post-ride pint in Finale. So, when buying, be aware of what you need or might want to retrofit in the future and find out about compatible options.

Are you planning to use your e-mountainbike for everyday riding?

If you already know that you’ll be using your new e-mountainbike for everyday riding, for example to commute to work, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, you should look for a high level of touring comfort if you don’t want to end up pedalling to work in an aggressive pedalling position, looking like Lance Armstrong crossing the finish line at the Tour de France. over, it’s a great idea to look for a bike that comes standard with a navigation function and integrated light set that draws its power directly from the bike’s main battery. Both bring huge advantages in everyday riding scenarios without getting in your way on leisurely weekend rides. Another key criterion is the charging infrastructures you have at your disposal. Is there a plug in the garage or bike storage room at work, or do you have to constantly remove the battery – or possibly even have to lock the battery inside the bike frame? Needless to say, the battery capacity also plays a crucial role, because if you can’t charge it at work you might run out of juice half way when pedalling home after a strenuous day at the office. However, if your commute doesn’t exceed 20-30 km, you should be fine with most bikes in this test, which should achieve that sort of range even when riding in the highest support level.

What should you consider when handling an e-mountainbike?

When developing e-mountainbikes, manufacturers often have to make compromises in order to create a bike that is as light, clean and slender as possible. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can make things tricky for you depending on the situation. For example, if you don’t have a power outlet where you park your bike, you’ll want to be able to remove the battery for external charging. Or imagine you take your e-mountainbike on a cycling holiday only to find out that there’s no plug in the garage – and what now? Conversely, it can be annoying if you have to remove the battery after each ride to charge it, even though you’ve got a plug right there. The trend of routing the cables through the headset ensures a clean look but also makes servicing a whole lot more frustrating. Inexperienced or impatient mechanics should get a bike with classic internal cable routing with cable ports in the top or down tube or, better yet, good old external cable routing.

What should you consider regarding the components of a Light-eMTB?

While it’s true that there’s no such thing as the perfect, one-size-fits-all build, some components have a much greater influence on a bike’s trail performance and, above all, on your safety. Big brake rotors, for example, are only marginally heavier but ensure a more reliable, powerful braking performance. In this regard, the following applies: big brake rotors are far better than lightweight top-of-the-range brakes. The suspension has a huge influence on your bike’s trail performance as well as on its long-distance comfort and climbing efficiency. You don’t need the fancy Kashima coating on your fork, and should rather pay attention to the damping technology it uses. We recommend the GRIP2 damper for FOX forks, or the Charger 2.1 and Charger 3.0 dampers for RockShox models. With the shock, a piggy-back reservoir is a useful feature to get the best performance from the rear end. At the risk of repeating ourselves, we must emphasise that any component can only work as well as it does in combination with the bike as a whole.

Do most of your riding buddies ride full-fat eMTB all-rounders?

If that’s the case, a powerful motor with plenty of torque is a decisive factor. You don’t want to be that guy holding everyone up! As a rule of thumb, the highest support mode of a Light-eMTB corresponds to roughly the intermediate support mode of a full-power ebike. If your mates with full-power e-mountainbikes ride primarily in the weakest support mode, you can still keep up with a Light-eMTB in one of the higher support levels. But remember: more power also consumes more battery. However, if you want to play it safe, you should opt for a full-fat eMTB all-rounder.

Do you ride lots in groups with analogue mountain bikes

Then pretty much every Light-eMTB or motor system is suitable for you because you can always go slower. In most cases, you can fine-tune the weakest eco mode and adjust the amount of support according to your needs – or turn off assistance altogether. The range shouldn’t be a limiting factor either when using minimal support and if you have extremely fit colleagues, most Light-eMTBs have the option of a range extender. From our experience, you should easily keep up in the lowest and medium support modes and still have enough reserves for the occasional overtaking manoeuvre. With full-fat e-mountainbikes, on the other hand, you’ll have an easy life, because even the weakest ECO mode gives you a huge advantage over your analogue mates – sometimes you might even get bored!


An overview of all e-mountainbikes in our huge 2023 group test

Berria Mako Hybrid GT LTD Hit the link for the full review
BULLS SONIC EVO EN-SL 1 Hit the link for the full review
Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon LT1 Hit the link for the full review
FLYER Uproc X 9.50 Hit the link for the full review
FOCUS SAM² 6.9 Hit the link for the full review
FOCUS JAM² 6.9 Hit the link for the full review
FOCUS JAM² SL 9.9 Hit the link for the full review
Forestal Siryon Diōde Hit the link for the full review
GIANT Trance X Advance E LTD Hit the link for the full review
Haibike LYKE CF SE Hit the link for the full review
Ibis Oso Hit the link for the full review
KTM Macina Prowler Exonic Hit the link for the full review
MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 975 Hit the link for the full review
Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR LTD Hit the link for the full review
Moustache Samedi 29 Game 11 Hit the link for the full review
Orbea Rise M-Team Hit the link for the full review
Orbea WILD M-LTD Hit the link for the full review
Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01 Hit the link for the full review
Pivot Shuttle LT Team XTR Hit the link for the full review
RADON DEFT 10.0 Hit the link for the full review
ROTWILD R.X735 ULTRA Hit the link for the full review
Santa Cruz Heckler MX X01 AXS RSV Hit the link for the full review
SCOTT Lumen eRIDE 900 SL Hit the link for the full review
SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ Hit the link for the full review
Specialized Turbo Levo Expert Hit the link for the full review
Transition Repeater AXS Carbon Hit the link for the full review
Thömus Lightrider E Ultimate Hit the link for the full review
Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS Hit the link for the full review
UNNO Mith Race Hit the link for the full review
Yeti 160E T1 Hit the link for the full review

Berria Mako Hybrid GT LTD

The Berria Mako GT LTD is guaranteed to turn heads outside the pub when you stop for a well deserved post-ride pint. The eye-catching look and countless fancy components are topped off by an exotic Polini E-P3 MX motor, which employs a big display integrated into the top tube. On the trail, however, the Berria doesn’t do justice to its tremendous looks, revealing several weaknesses. On steep, technical climbs, it struggles to transfer the motor’s massive power onto the trail, while downhill, it’s slowed down by its inconsistent spec. That said, the Berria is a comfortable and powerful tourer that doesn’t shy away from the occasional trail stint.


Despite being the cheapest bike in the entire test field, the BULLS SONIC EVO EN-SL 1 is the only contestant to feature Shimano’s automatic Di2 drivetrain. While the feature in itself is extremely exciting, it doesn’t bring any advantages on technical climbs. However, the clever mix of everyday features and good touring comfort makes the BULLS a great option for the price conscious rider who rarely turns off the beaten track. Offroad, it’s strongly limited by its nervous character.

FLYER Uproc X 9.50

The FLYER Uproc X 9.50 is a great companion for extended peak expeditions with tricky climbing sections. The Uproc plays out its strengths on long tours with plenty of elevation gain, where it takes the edge off technical climbs with the strongest motor in the entire test field, the Panasonic GX Ultimate. In addition, it offers FIT system integration and shines with strong connectivity features. Downhill, however, it shows some weaknesses and quickly reaches its limits, especially in the hands of experienced riders.


With its imposing frame silhouette and aggressive-looking coil shock, the FOCUS SAM² 6.9 looks as if it eats rock gardens for breakfast, which makes it the undisputed daredevil in FOCUS’ e-mountainbike lineup. While tours and moderate climbs are only a means to an end, the SAM² still manages them fairly easily. Downhill, it shines with stoic composure and potent suspension. Tipping the scales at a very proud 27 kg, it’s the heaviest bike in the entire test field. Overall, the FOCUS SAM² 6.9 comes with a great spec at a reasonable price.


By contrast, its slimmer sibling, the FOCUS JAM² 6.9, is far more relaxed. In FOCUS’ portfolio, it stands right between the JAM² SL Light-eMTB and the corpulent SAM². It impresses with beginner-friendly handling both on tours and as a do-it-all bike, without standing out for anything in particular – neither in a good nor a bad way. Only on rough trails, we wish it could feel a bit more like the SAM². That said, the two bikes are similar in terms of weight: The FOCUS JAM² 6.9 tips the scales at a considerable 26 kilograms, which becomes evident on the trail.

FOCUS Jam² SL 9.9

Not only is the FOCUS JAM² SL 9.9 extremely understated with its black paint finish, but also rather unspectacular on the trail. However, this is by no means a bad thing, because the JAM² SL is just a discreet all-rounder for sporty riders which combines strong trail performance with comfortable touring characteristics. The rock-solid spec, potent suspension and predictable handling make it a workhorse for beginners and experts alike.

Forestal Siryon Diōde

The Forestal Siryon Diōde is without a doubt one of the most futuristic looking e-mountainbikes in the entire test field. The young Andorran manufacturer has knocked it out of the park with their very first bike, showing a level of development competence that even some of the most established bike brands struggle to achieve – chapeau! In other words, Forestal are showing in which direction the future of ebikes could be heading. The motor system is the result of a close collaboration between BAFANG and the Andorran bike manufacturer, and is complemented by a well-functioning in-house touch display neatly integrated into the top tube and a comprehensive app, which includes a hidden GPS antenna for theft protection. In addition, the Siryon shows how it’s done on the trail, proving one of the most potent bikes in this test. Unfortunately, the battery drains quickly, the motor is annoyingly loud and the service resources are still a big question mark.

GIANT Trance X Advance E LTD

If you’re fond of simplicity, the GIANT Trance X Advanced E LTD might not be the bike for you. The high-tech Taiwanese steed features plenty of electronic gimmicks, including FOX Live Valve, which controls the suspension fully automatically. However, to fully exploit the wide range of functions you’ll have to manage three separate apps on your smartphone. In our 2023 group test, the Giant is the only bike that employs the powerful GIANT SyncDrivePro2 motor, which is paired with a huge 800 Wh battery – the biggest one in this test! While the peculiar geometry with a very low front-end doesn’t really work downhill, the Giant convinces as a true climbing monster, combining tons of traction, good directional stability and a massive battery.

Haibike LYKE CF SE

German ebike pioneers Haibike have taken their time to release a Light-eMTB and weren’t all that present in the more aggressive mountain bike sector until now. However, with the LYKE CF SE, they’ve made a great Light-eMTB debut featuring some clever solutions. They’re the only manufacturer to integrate the FAZUA Ride 60 motor vertically into the frame, cleverly hiding it in the seat tube. Unfortunately, the innovative concept comes at the expense of the seat post’s insertion depth. Despite its aggressive look, the LYKE struggles to deliver on the trail. Unlike the better competitors in this test, it’s difficult to control on technical trails and quickly feels overwhelmed.

Ibis Oso

Californian cult brand IBIS has finally overcome its e-scepticism and joined the electric party with their green shredding machine, the Ibis Oso. With its striking, self-assured design language, it appears to love every minute of its eMTB debut, heading straight to the dance floor. Except for the extravagant look, however, Ibis played it safe, employing a proven Bosch CX Performance Line motor and their classic DW-Link suspension design, which has been tweaked and fine-tuned over many years. At fancy dress parties, the Oso would always turn up in the same costume, because it’s only available in one spec variant. On the dance floor, however, it’s incredibly versatile, boogying away in great style. Only when the John Travoltas among e-mountainbikes hit the dance floor, such as…, the Oso starts sweating a little.

KTM Macina Prowler Exonic

Issued in a limited edition with a savage Bosch CX-Race motor and 180 mm travel at the front, the KTM Macina Prowler Exonic is the Austrian manufacturer’s e-mountainbike for the rough stuff. On the trail however, it doesn’t do justice to its beefy, confident appearance, quickly reaching its limits with its nervous, vague handling – partly due to some major inconsistencies in the spec. Uphill, it’s significantly more difficult to control than the other competitors with Bosch’s CX Race motor. On the other hand, the KTM cuts a fine figure as a monster truck for touring and everyday use. Cool feature: The Bosch Connect tracking module.


As the proud winner of our 2022 budget e-mountainbike group test under € 6,500, the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 975 takes on a test field that includes bikes more than twice as expensive. While the current model retails at € 7,249, the eONE-SIXTY 975 hasn’t changed in its essence. At first glance, the plain alloy silhouette is rather unexciting but upon closer inspection you’ll come across several clever features at a very fair price. On the trail, the MERIDA keeps up with most of its pricey competitors and impressed several of our test riders, delivering a solid riding performance with predictable, intuitive handling. Clever features such as the standard headlight broaden its range of applications enormously and make it a strong all-rounder in all situations, from cheeky trail sessions to everyday use. If you’re looking for a bike with a consistent spec and a fair price, the MERIDA might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR LTD

Straight, elongated lines, sharp edges and confident branding: it’s got to be a Spaniard! The Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR LTD is well aware of its roots, proudly rocking Mondraker’s distinctive frame silhouette and a Bosch CX Race motor. Add the fancy spec including bling Öhlins suspension, and you’re guaranteed a very coherent overall package. On the trail, the Spanish stallion rides as if on rails – provided you shred your way back into the valley in a straight line. If you like to stuff yourself with tapas, we’ve got good news: the Crafty Carbon XR LTD has the highest permissible total weight in the entire test field – go on then, knock yourself out!

Moustache Samedi 29 Game 11

The Moustache Samedi 29 Game 11 enters the race with an old-school look and high-quality spec. The French manufacturer has fully committed itself to the electric cause. The undisputed highlight of their top spec model is the in-house Magic Grip Control shock, which didn’t quite manage to deliver the performance we hoped for in this test. In a nutshell, the rear suspension lacks support and feels rather spongy downhill, struggling to negotiate fast consecutive hits. In return, the Moustache cuts a fine figure as a touring companion, where the powerful Bosch motor and comfortable rear suspension work a treat.

Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01

The Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01 was the first Light-eMTB with FAZUA Ride 60 motor available on the market. In typical Pivot fashion, the firm DW-Link rear suspension ensures an excellent riding performance, both up and downhill, while the poppy rear end provides shed-loads of fun, especially on flowing trails. The precise steering behaviour and fast-looking paint finish ensure a nerve-tickling BMX sensation. Technical trails, however, call for decent riding skills to keep the Shuttle SL under control.

Pivot Shuttle LT Team XTR

The third iteration of the Pivot Shuttle LT Team XTR drifts into our group test with the “more travel, more battery, more fun” mantra. With a whopping 756 Wh capacity, it has the biggest Shimano battery in the entire test field, while the comfortable pedalling position and efficient suspension ensure excellent touring qualities. Downhill, it’s reassuringly intuitive to ride and only falls slightly behind the best bikes in this test field, proving one of the best all-rounders on review.


As one of the models in the German manufacturer’s “Aggressive Series”, the ROTWILD R.X735 ULTRA is aimed primarily at sporty riders. Its orientation is underlined by the sleek frame silhouette and clever detail solutions, like the battery’s quick-release function. The latter makes the Rotwild the bike with the fastest and most intuitive battery removal system! The agile, nimble handling slaps a massive grin on the face of experienced riders, but the somewhat inconsistent spec holds the Rotwild back on technical trails. As soon as you leave the trail to embark on longer rides, the pedalling position is a tad too aggressive, making the Rotwild less suitable for touring.

Santa Cruz Heckler MX X01 AXS RSV

The Santa Cruz Heckler MX X01 AXS RSV came all the way from sunny California to no less sunny Cataluña to take part in our huge group test, promising to be lots of fun with its small rear wheel. And indeed, the Heckler keeps its promise on the trail, providing balanced handling and excellent support. At the same time, it inspires huge amounts of confidence, even when riding at high speeds, while the sensitive rear suspension makes you feel as if you were constantly gliding through a freshly-built trail. Not only is the Santa Cruz an excellent all-rounder, but also a comfortable tourer, albeit with some weaknesses on technical climbs.

SCOTT Lumen eRIDE 900 SL

The SCOTT Lumen eRIDE 900 SL features a TQ HPR 50 motor and is the undisputed master of integration in our 2023 e-mountainbike group test. Not only did the Swiss development team conceal the motor and shock inside the frame, but also integrated countless features and tools in places you wouldn’t think of. In harmony with its XC genes and streamlined appearance, the Lumen grinds its way up the mountain without batting an eyelid and yet delivers an impressive performance downhill. That said, the eye-watering € 15,999 price tag only makes it an option for a handful of people and on top of that, the field of application is extremely narrow considering the price.

Specialized Turbo Levo Expert

Already in its third iteration, the Specialized Turbo Levo Expert remains one of the most popular e-mountainbikes on the market. Thanks to Specialized’s unique do-it-all approach, developing both the motor and software around the bike, the Levo caused a stir right from its first generation and still goes strong after several years, holding up rather well against a test field of modern and rather shrewd competitors. Both the display integration and battery removal system are cleverly implemented into the overall concept and have effectively served as a benchmark for many competitors. On the trail, the Levo impresses with great versatility and intuitive handling, which ensure excellent all rounder qualities and make it suitable for both beginners and seasoned shredders.

Transition Repeater AXS Carbon

With the Transition Repeater AXS Carbon, the Bellingham-based manufacturer has finally jumped on the electric wagon. For their eMTB debut, Transition rely on proven (albeit slightly unexciting) Shimano motor integration and a sleek paint finish, delivering an excellent overall concept with a spec that perfectly suits its intended use. As a result, the Repeater encourages you to take your finger off the brakes and take full advantage of its extraordinary downhill potential. When descending, it inspires huge amounts of confidence and impresses with supportive suspension, which makes it one of the best and most discreet trail rippers in the entire test field.

Thömus Lightrider E Ultimate

While the Thömus Lightrider E Ultimate is the epitome of Helvetic pride, it’s far from being the Swiss army knife among e-mountainbikes. In our 2023 e-mountainbike test field, it combines the smallest battery (250 Wh) and weakest motor, which churns out a rather conservative 40 Nm torque. That said, the mellow character of the motor fits in well with the bike’s XC genes. As a result, the Thömus Lightrider requires more physical effort to get to the trailhead, but at the same time ensures a very natural riding experience. In keeping with its strong XC DNA, the Lightrider places you in a sporty, stretched pedalling position that isn’t overly comfortable on climbs. Downhill, the Thömus is held back by its own spec, though this can be customised using Thömus’ online configurator. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to personalise our test bike.

Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS

The Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS has a clear edge over the other TQ competitors in this test. The motor was developed in close collaboration with the American bike manufacturer and relies on Trek’s proprietary software and app, which brings several practical advantages. These include more intuitive display operation and a wider range of functions in Trek’s in-house app – although the latter only offers added value off the trails. On the trail, the Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS is capable of pretty much everything but doesn’t excel at anything in particular, discreetly cruising along the rest of the test field with beginner-friendly handling.

UNNO Mith Race

Radical and extravagant are perhaps the best words to describe the UNNO Mith Race. With its striking seat dome and metallic paint finish with golden accents, the Catalan steed is a real head turner, both on the trail and outside the pub. Upon closer inspection, you’ll come across countless captivating details, including the seamless Bosch system integration and elegant design features – the elaborate chain and seat stay protector being just one of them. Unfortunately, the peculiar frame design with enclosed shock makes it hard to set up the suspension. On the trail, the UNNO provides tons of support and impresses with direct, precise handling, but also requires an experienced rider who knows how to handle the direct feedback. Overall, the UNNO cuts a fine figure both in your living room and on the trail, where it proves a mean downhill machine for trail veterans.

Yeti 160E T1

Not only is the Yeti 160E T1 the Colorado-based cult brand’s eMTB debut, but also the defending Champion in this group test. It employs Yeti’s proprietary and rather fascinating six-bar suspension system, which knocks it out of the park on the trail and is rounded off by a top-notch spec. Needless to say, all of this comes at a rather eye-watering price. Although the electric snow monster can’t secure victory for the second year in a row, it still delivers a mind boggling trail performance for all types of riders and in a huge range of applications.

The best eMTB of 2023: the Orbea Wild

The Orbea WILD M-LTD 2023 is the Basque manufacturer’s e-mountainbike for the rough stuff. It comes equipped with a new Bosch Performance Line CX Race motor, which can be configured with either a 625 Wh or 750 Wh battery and customised down to the smallest detail using Orbea’s MyO online configurator. Orbea’s € 11,299 eMTB turns the volume to eleven on the trail and at the same time convinces with excellent all-round qualities.

Our Best Buy tip: the Radon Deft

With the RADON DEFT 10.0 750 2023, the German direct-to-consumer brand entered the competition with a thoroughbred eMTB bruiser, which generates a whopping 170 mm of travel and retails at € 6,799. The Bosch Performance CX Smart System and 750 Wh battery are neatly packed into a carbon frame with alloy swingarm. Together with the high-quality spec, this makes the DEFT an very interesting option, not only for its reasonable price.

exciting recommendations

Both our test winner and Best Buy tip, the Orbea WILD M-LTD and Radon Deft 10.0 750, have secured their titles for a reason and should be the ideal companion for most eMTBers. That said, every rider has their own needs and requirements, so depending on your situation, you might be better off buying a touring or Light-eMTB. Here are some recommendations from our editorial team, which should include a suitable bike for everyone.

The best touring and everyday e-mountainbike in our group test: Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon LT1

The Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon LT1 wants to strike the optimal balance between trail artist and everyday Hero, but fails to achieve its goal. However, this isn’t all that bad, because if you shift your FOCUS slightly, the Moterra convinces as a strong tourer and an awesome everyday companion. The excellent riding comfort and countless everyday features, like the battery lock and lighting system, make it the best tourer in the entire test field – and at a fair price! Unfortunately, sporty riders who are looking for trail performance won’t cope well with its passive, sluggish character.

The best Light-eMTB in our huge 2023 group test: SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ

Winning genes? Indeed! The SIMPLON Rapcon PMAX TQ is based on its analogue counterpart, which already secured the “Best enduro bike” title two years ago. Now the Austrian brand has seamlessly integrated the TQ motor into the frame, putting together a tremendous overall package. The bike’s character suits the motor to a tee and despite its low power output, the Rapcon pulls away from most of its competitors thanks to its efficient rear suspension. The SIMPLON begs you to get rowdy downhill and encourages you to push your limits with its predictable handling, stoic composure, and unmatched suspension while inspiring tons of confidence in the process. The SIMPLON Rapcon PMAX TQ is without a doubt the best Light-eMTB of 2023!

Full-fat or Light-eMTB? Or both? Orbea Rise M-Team

With the new Orbea Rise M-LTD, you can customise both the spec and look of your new bike using Orbea’s extensive MyO online configurator. Furthermore, the Basque manufacturer lets you choose between a 360 Wh and 540 Wh battery, which is permanently integrated into the downtube regardless of the size. If you add the optional range extender, the Rise has more capacity than most full-power eMTB all rounders. Speaking of power: the Shimano EP801 is tuned to reduce the maximum torque provided from 85 to 60 Nm and therefore uses less power than other Shimano motors – which translates into even more range! However, the Rise is a strong climber despite the limited motor and cuts a fine figure downhill, where it convinces with intuitive, predictable handling. The perfect compromise between Light-eMTBs and full-fat all rounders.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of E-MOUNTAINBIKE, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.

Words: Peter Walker, Felix Rauch Photos: Peter Walker, Mike Hunger

U.S. Electric Bike Regulations

What makes a bike street legal? Do I need a license for an electric bike? Access QuietKat’s helpful guide to Class 3 Electric Bike Laws and the latest US Electric Regulations to get answers to all your questions.

Whether you’re a seasoned eBiker or a newbie, every rider should be aware of the local and U.S electric bike regulations in their state.

Anyone who is considering purchasing an electric bicycle should understand their legal riding limits. Even veteran eBikers may benefit from a refresher on eBike regulations, as several states have changed their classifications as recently as 2020.

If you’re new to eBiking, you’re not alone; eBikes have become increasingly popular across the U.S. in the last decade. E-Bike popularity has outpaced U.S electric bike regulations and left many states playing catch-up.

E-Bikes have grown in popularity as a fun way to explore outside and an eco-friendly alternative to car-based trips. Electric bikes are popular for recreation, fitness, and commuting. Bikes like those from QuietKat can even go off-road as high-performance electric mountain bikes. E-Bikes are increasingly replacing ATVs as the vehicle of choice for hunting, angling, or Overlanding.

The eBike market grew over 23%-over-year in 2020, with the market projected to grow even more in the next ten years. People across the country continue to discover the benefits of electric bikes to enhance their everyday activities or as an opportunity to explore new terrain. Public Lands organizations also acknowledge the benefits of eBikes and are expanding access to riders across national parks, forests and wilderness areas.

Several U.S. states are still adapting to this Rapid growth in popularity and are navigating the implementation of eBike regulations and classifications. Some states have strict laws for electric bikes. while in other states, eBikes lack a specific vehicle classification, and it’s not clear how they are regulated.

Before you hop on your QuietKat eBike, be sure you understand the current regulations in your state and for anywhere else you plan to ride. QuietKat bikes are great for all-terrain riding, and in most states, they can go almost anywhere off-road vehicles can go. However, if you want to commute on your eBike or ride in the city, you may face a different set of regulations.

Overview of U.S. electric bike regulations

Which states define an electric bicycle?

E-Bike definitions and classification is becoming increasingly common across the U.S. 48 states currently have definitions for eBikes. State legislation usually focuses on whether eBikes classify as traditional bikes, mopeds, or scooters, but definitions still vary across other states.

Adoption of a board tired classification is growing across the country. These 39 states now define eBikes within three standard classes : Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Dakota, Missouri, New Mexico, Minnesota, Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, Alabama, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Eighteen states classify eBikes using unique definitions; these states are Hawaii, Oregon, Montana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington DC, and Rhode Island.

Eleven states or territories currently have no definitions for eBikes.

Alaska, Puerto Rico, U.S Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

What are the different eBike classifications?

Twenty-six states have adopted a three-tiered classification that designates eBikes as either Class 1, 2, or 3. E-bikes span a wide gap between analog bikes and dirt bikes, and the tiered system of eBike regulations recognizes this. It differentiates between eBike models with varying speed and power capabilities.

Class 1 and 2 bikes are the most common class of eBikes for recreational riders who enjoy mountain biking, hunting, or exploring outdoors. Class 3 eBikes are typically designed to replace a moped or motorcycle and are best suited to urban road use.

States which use the three-tiered classification have near-identical definitions for eBikes, as well as eBike safety and operation requirements.

Three-Tiered Classification:

An eBike is considered Class 1 when it has a top speed of 20 miles per hour and an electric motor that works only with pedaling (pedal assist).

An eBike will fall into Class 2 if equipped with a throttle-actuated motor. That motor must cease to assist when the eBike reaches 20 miles per hour.

A Class 3 eBike is a bicycle with a motor that provides assistance only if the rider is pedaling and should cease to assist when the eBike reaches 28 miles per hour. Class 3 eBikes are also known as pedelec bikes. Class 3 is the most restricted classification, and some states impose additional safety restrictions for riders on Class 3 cycles.

Is there a speed limit on eBikes in the United States?

Are you feeling a need for speed? The federal speed limit for eBikes is 20 miles per hour or less under motor power alone.

The tiered classification system, adopted by many states, also specifies this speed limit. That classification sets 20 miles per hour as the legal limit for Class 1 2 bikes. Class 3 bikes are limited to speeds up to 28 miles per hour.

The federal law acknowledges and allows for eBikes to travel faster when the rider uses a combination of human pedal and motor power. Local speed restrictions may also apply in specific areas.

Although some states have a specific speed limit for electric bikes, riders should also observe the local speed limits when on roads. Although many bikes can reach 30 miles per hour, you should follow the local limits if they are lower in areas such as school zones.

How old do you have to be to ride an eBike?

Age restrictions for eBikes vary from state to state and are often only applicable to Class 2 or Class 3 electric bikes.

It is best to check the laws specific to your state to see age restrictions. Some states require riders to be over a certain age, while other states only have age requirements for certain classes of eBikes, and some states have no age restrictions.

What states enforce eBike registration?

Most states that define eBikes as vehicles or on the same basis as mopeds will require riders to meet the state’s specific registration requirements. States currently requiring eBike registration are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Which states have helmet requirements?

Within the U.S.A, 25 states and Washington D.C. currently have helmet requirements for eBike riders and passengers. Five states, Connecticut, Maryland, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Louisiana, require helmets for all ages and across all eBike classes and bicycles.

Electric bicycle helmet laws across other states can be confusing as they are often specific to particular eBike classes or age groups. However, 25 states have no helmet requirements for any class of eBike or riders of any age.

Typically, states which follow the tiered classification system require helmets at minimum for anyone riding a Class 3 eBike. But helmets are often required for younger riders on other bike classes as well.

Most states which require helmets will accept bicycle helmets. However, Alabama requires a motorcycle helmet because it defines every eBike as a motor-driven cycle. While helmets aren’t legally required in all states, QuietKat does recommend helmets for all eBike riders in the interest of eBike safety.

Helmet laws by age

Around half the states in the U.S currently require children to wear helmets on eBikes at least until they reach a certain age. Helmet regulations most commonly apply only when the rider is under 21, but usually specifically for riders under 14 or 16. Around half of the states in the U.S. require children and teenagers to wear helmets, although we recommend that all children wear helmets even if not legally required.

Delaware, Florida, Maine, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Maryland, and Montana require any eBike Rider or their passenger under 16 years of age to wear a helmet.

Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, and New Mexico require anyone under 18 to wear a helmet when on an electric bicycle.

Other states differ on the age up to which they require helmets. Oklahoma has a helmet law for anyone under the age of 19. In New Jersey, all bike riders under 17 must wear a helmet. In West Virginia, bike riders under 15 must wear a helmet and, in New York, bicycle riders under 14 are required to wear a helmet. In Louisiana and Pennsylvania, riders under the age of 12 must wear a helmet.

What states require a license to ride an eBike?

In States where eBikes are classified as mopeds or scooters, they usually require licensing and registration. Alabama, Alaska, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and North Dakota currently require a license to operate an eBike. States using the three-tiered classification system usually exempt electric bikes from registration, licensure, or insurance requirements.

Do I need insurance to ride an eBike?

States which consider eBikes as distinct from motor vehicles do not require the insurance requirements that standard motor vehicles are subject to.

Several states see eBikes as motor vehicles akin to mopeds and require the same license and registration requirements. However, most of those states do not require eBike insurance. Although driver’s insurance is rarely needed, you may wish to add your electric bike to your home and contents insurance to protect against theft or damage.

Where can I use my electric bike?

Each state has different rules about eBike access, and federal land rules also vary.

Roads, sidewalks, and bike paths

Delaware, Iowa and Nebraska, and Vermont all define electric bicycles as on-par with bicycles. Therefore eBikes can operate on any trails and paths where bicycles are allowed. Hawaii’s law does not have any specific restrictions on where e-bikes can be used.

Of the 43 states and D.C. that define eBikes. some state laws, such as in Arizona, Minnesota, Utah, and Washington, specifically allow for eBikes to operate on sidewalks and bicycle paths. However, local governments in these states have the power to impose additional restrictions. Class 3 bikes are more commonly restricted on bike paths and sidewalks as these bikes are allowed to go faster, making them better suited to road use and popular with eBike commuters.

In the following states, eBikes may be operated on roads but can not be used on sidewalks or bike paths: Alabama, Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Some cities or local authorities may have exceptions to these regulations.

In Florida, eBikes are allowed on sidewalks but are not permitted on bike paths when using human power alone.

Where can electric mountain bikes and electric hunting bikes ride?

Off-road areas are different from pavements. So, where can electric mountain bikes ride? Generally, any natural surface trail designated for motorized and non-motorized use is open to electric mountain bikes (eMBTs). Natural surface trails can include motorized singletrack, doubletrack, and primitive roads.

However, riders shouldn’t assume that eclectic mountain bikes are allowed everywhere traditional mountain bikes are. Access on singletrack is usually regulated differently from access to paved and soft surface bike lanes or bike paths. People For Bikes have compiled a handy eMBT ride finder with over 42,000 miles of fun routes and trails cataloged to help riders find tracks.

eBike usage amongst hunters is steadily increasing as enthusiasts discover the benefits of eBiking for off-road excursions. Electric bikes allow hunters or anglers to stealthily access more remote areas which would otherwise be out of limits.

If you enjoy using an electric hunting bike, you may wonder what rules apply and how they differ from an ATV or a quad bike. Most states allow bikes in class 1 and class 2 for hunting areas. However, in Pennsylvania, only class 1 bikes are allowed. QuietKat hunting bikes are ideal for use when hunting or Overlanding and are built to go almost anywhere an ATV can go.

In national parks, electric bicycles are usually allowed wherever traditional bicycles are also allowed. However, the access allowed for cyclists varies from one park to another. Usage rules by the state are complex and varied, so it’s worth checking your local guidelines. Don’t ride your eMTB in wilderness areas where the local regulations are unclear. Ride legally and safely only on authorized trails.

What are the rules for electric bikes in National Forest, BLM land, and National Parks?

Until recently, most non-motorized routes within federal lands prohibited bikes with electric motors.

However, in 2019 several agencies expanded access to eBikes on public lands ; these included The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Reclamation. From August 29th, 2019, all eBikes up to 750 watts (class 1 class 2) can now access Federal Lands and national parks.

E-bikes advance the NPS’s Healthy Parks Healthy People goals and have been acknowledged as a positive way to expand access to national parks. They are also viewed as being a beneficial way to reduce congestion and vehicle emissions in national parks.

Generally, electric bikes in national parks and public lands are now allowed access wherever traditional bicycles are permitted. Under Federal statute, both conventional bicycles and electric bikes remain prohibited in wilderness areas within national parks.

Bicycles are also allowed on administrative roads, which may be closed to public motor vehicles but open to motor vehicle use by the NPS. Access to these roads is determined on a per park basis, where local superintendents have decided eclectic bikes will not disturb wildlife or park resources. Some parks also allow additional access to eBikes on paths where mobility devices like wheelchairs are permitted.

Despite expanded recreational opportunities and accessibility rules for electric bikes on public lands, they still vary for specific trails and classes of eBike.

Riders should follow local jurisdictions’ rules and look up the rules for specific national parks and forests when planning their trips.

In which states are 1000W Ebikes legal?

Six states specifically allow eBikes to have a max power of 1000W; these are Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Virginia. Only two states, Florida Mississippi, currently have no max power limit for electric bikes.

High-powered eBike motors are available, ranging from 1000W-6000W. However, most states cap power at either 750W or 1000W. Once an electric bicycle reaches 1000w. it is more likely to be classified as a moped or scooter. Therefore, many states cap eBike outputs at less than 1000W.

Sixteen states cap eBikes at a max power of 750W; these are; Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Maryland has one of the strictest limits, at 500W.

Other safety considerations

It’s worth adopting the three-tiered system for general electric bike safety if you are in a state with no current electric bike regulations. Helmets are also highly recommended for riders of all ages, even if your state does not legally require them.

Riders of both electric and traditional bikes should make themselves highly visible, especially if you plan to use busy roads. Remember that electric bikes are still relatively new, so other motorists may not be used to sharing the road with eBikes and may struggle to gauge how fast you are traveling.

We highly recommend wearing a reflective vest and using flashing headlights and tail lights when riding at night. Bright clothing can also help make you more visible to other motorists during the daytime.

Whenever you use an electric bike on the road, you should observe local road rules, such as stopping entirely at stop signs, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, and using your hand signals when turning.

With rules and regulations changing rapidly, the eclectic bike community as a whole must show consideration for other cyclists, pedestrians, trail, and road users. Take care of slower-moving vehicles or pedestrians, and be sure to share trails and paths. A good reputation will help electric bike riders advocate for greater access to public spaces.

Ready to ride?

eBike regulations are complex, but once you’ve done your research, you can hit the trails or road with confidence, knowing that you’re not breaking any rules.

QuietKat bikes are best suited to off-road terrain, where riders have more freedom from regulations. Although our bikes are certainly street-worthy, they’re equipped for Overlanding adventures. Our bikes vary from class 1 to class 3, with modifications available on some models. Our range offers our riders the greatest flexibility in choosing a bike that is both trail and street legal in their state. Explore the full range now.

E-Bike definitions classifications by state:

An overview of the definitions per state is provided below, but further information on state-by-state safety and eBike regulations is found elsewhere in this article.

Alaska : Alaska considers electric bicycles as a motor-driven cycle and requires a license and registration.

Alabama: Alabama uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated like traditional bicycles.

Arkansas: Arkansas uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same manner as traditional bikes.

Arizona: Arizona adheres to the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated like traditional bicycles.

California: California adheres to the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bicycles.

Colorado: Colorado uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same way as traditional bicycles.

much, power, does, electric, bicycle, need

Connecticut: Connecticut uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same manner as traditional bikes.

Delaware: Delaware uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same manner as traditional bikes.

Florida: Florida uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same manner as traditional bikes.

Georgia: Georgia uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Hawaii: Hawaii classifies electric bikes as low-speed electric bicycles when used with a max speed of 20 mph.

Iowa: Iowa uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Idaho : Idaho uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Illinois: Illinois adheres to the three-tiered classification of eBikes.Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Indiana: Indiana uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Kansas: The state of Kansas uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Kentucky: In Kentucky, an electric bicycle is considered a bicycle as long it has operable pedals.

Louisiana: Louisiana uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Massachusetts: The state of Massachusetts defines an eBike as a motorized bicycle as long as the bike does not exceed a maximum speed of 25 mph. Riders must carry a license and may be subject to registration requirements.

Maryland: Maryland uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Maine: Maine adheres to the three-tiered classification of eBikes. E-Bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Michigan: Michigan regulates eBikes like traditional bicycles, and the three-tiered classification is used for electric bikes.

Minnesota: Minnesota uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Missouri: Missouri uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Mississippi: Mississippi uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Montana: Montana defines an electric bicycle as an electric-assisted bicycle. A bike can be placed in this category if it has a maximum speed of 20 mph. The same rules of the road apply to both electric bicycles and human-powered bicycles.

North Carolina: North Carolina defines e-bikes as “electric-assisted bicycles,” so long as the electric bicycle’s motor is under 750w, has a maximum speed of 20mph, and has operable pedals. The same rules of the road apply to both electric bicycles and human-powered bicycles.

North Dakota: The state of North Dakota uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Nebraska: Nebraska defines eBikes as an electric-assisted bicycle. Bikes in this category must have a motor under 750w, and a maximum speed of 20 mph, with pedals operated by human power. The same rules of the road apply to both electric bicycles and human-powered bicycles.

New Hampshire: New Hampshire follows the three-tiered classification of electric bikes. E-Bikes are regulated like traditional bicycles.

New Jersey: The NJ definition includes only the first two tiers of classifications used by other states. The legislature also defines motorized bicycles as a device that operates over 20 mph with a maximum motor-assisted speed of 28 miles per hour. This definition closely aligns with the Class 3 definition used in other states.

New Mexico: New Mexico uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Nevada: The state of Nevada uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

New York: New York State uses the three-tiered classification of eBikes. The first two classes follow the industry standard and the third class is defined as s olely within a city having a population of one million or more, a bicycle with electric assist having an electric motor that may be used exclusively to propel such bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when such bicycle reaches a speed of twenty-five miles per hour. Electric bikes are regulated in the same way as traditional bikes.

Ohio: In Ohio, the three-tiered classification is used for electric bicycles, with eBikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Oklahoma: Oklahoma follows the three-tiered classification of eBikes. Electric bicycles are regulated in the same way as traditional bicycles.

Oregon: Oregon defines an eBike as an electric-assisted bicycle if the motor is under 1000w and the bike has a max speed of 20miles per hour.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania defines an electric bicycle as a pedalcycle with electric assist. An eBikes falls in this category if the motor is under 750w. It must have operable pedals but a maximum speed of 20 mph when powered solely by the engine. Additionally, the bike must weigh no more than 100 pounds and follow the road’s same rules as a traditional bicycle. E-Bikes that are 750w and below are allowed on any public trail a traditional bicycle is on DCNR lands.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island defines e-bikes as electric motorized bicycles. E-bikes must have fully operable pedals, a max power output of 1491w, and a top speed of 25 mph.

South Carolina: South Carolina currently has no specific classification for electric bikes. However, since eBikes are vehicles, they should follow standard vehicle road rules.

South Dakota: In South Dakota, the three-tiered classification is used for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Tennessee: Tennessee uses the three-tiered classifications for electric bicycles. E-Bikes are regulated like traditional bicycles.

Texas: The state of Texas uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Utah: In Utah, E-Bikes are regulated like traditional bicycles, and the three-tiered classification for electric bikes applies.

Virginia: Virginia uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Vermont: Vermont uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Washington: Washington state regulates eBikes like traditional bicycles, and the three-tiered classification is used for electric bikes.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

West Virginia: West Virginia uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

Wyoming: Wyoming uses the three-tiered classification for electric bicycles, with E-Bikes regulated like traditional bicycles.

State electric bike rules and regulations change regularly. We recommend you check your local laws periodically so you can legally enjoy the benefits of riding your electric bicycle.

Leave a Comment