Often times, carbon gets all of the attention, but as our Senior Advanced R&D Engineer, Chuck Teixeira, says, 'If you haven't ridden an aluminum bike lately, you haven't ridden an aluminum bike.' And the same reigns true for the Men's Chisel. It packs some serious XC-prowess into an aluminum frame, making it the most durable, value-packed XC bike out there.
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque and others are quieter. But generally all four make good options. Look for motor output (in watts) which will give you an idea of total power. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a better figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a truer reflection of power.
This is a question the designers and engineers of the FOCUS and BULLS bikes of this group test asked themselves. Instead of speccing them with the standard 500 Wh batteries, both have developed a sophisticated alternative. The idea: instead of riding around with unnecessarily large batteries and unnecessary weight on short tours, they integrated a smaller 375 Wh or 378 Wh battery into the bike. If you don’t have enough power for long loops, you can double the range of both bikes with an additional battery for up to a full 750 Wh. While the second battery is mounted in the front triangle of the FOCUS, it disappears sideways in the downtube of the BULLS. In practice, you’ll need the second battery relatively often with both bikes, and in either case, you should consider the additional € 499 investment in a second battery pack when you buy the bike.
If you are wondering why someone would pay so much for an electric mountain bike, I totally get that. I used to think the same thing. But then I started riding some of these bikes on crazy downhill trails. The difference between a $2,000 electric mountain bike and a $6,000 electric mountain bike is like night and day. The former feels dangerous when taken on crazy off-road trails, while the latter feels like a purpose-built tool.
Electric mountain bikes (eMTBs) are relatively new on the scene and mountain bikers are freaking out. “They shouldn’t be allowed on our trails.” “They are going to ruin the sport.” It reminds me of when the first mountain bikes started popping up on trails and hikers were panicking with visions of crazed bikers running them over. Well, their fears never materialized and mountain bikes have become popular tools for exploring the outdoors responsibly.
**The eBike uses a quick-release battery system. Lightweight 200Wh Lithium-ion battery packs can be swapped in seconds at the roadside. Each pack weighs just 1.4Kg, so spare battery packs can easily be carried for longer trips. The range that can be achieved from each pack will vary according to the conditions and effort exerted by the rider. Ranges of around 30 miles are normal per each full eBike battery charge. Less fit riders may achieve ranges of 10 miles or less, particularly in challenging conditions like steep hills, strong head-winds or soft terrain. The conditions which affect the range are rider fitness, weight, size and seating position, head or tail winds, gradient, terrain, tyre pressure, what gear is used, number of stop/starts and the speed the bike is ridden.
Our twelve-person test team not only tested the most exciting eMTBs of the 2018 season in the cold German winter, but also took them to the south of France for two weeks (we will spare you the mandatory muddy photos at this point). We climbed to the top of peaks, rummaged through deep mud, rode over countless roots and ruts on the way up and even more on the way back down, laughed, cursed, lived through many unforgettable moments, and took the bikes – and sometimes ourselves – to the limit.
Come for the price, stay for the awesome. The August Live! LS is one of the lower-cost e-bikes you’ll find. What it lacks is gadgets it makes up for in flare and retains just what you need. You won't find a digital display or integrated lights, Instead you get trendy, chopper-style handlebars, a sweet paint job, and a 250 watt motor that is more than capable of tackling steep hills without a second thought. That said, this bike just begs to be ridden on casual cruises down the boardwalk or bike path.
Finally, if you’ve been waiting for the electric mountain bike to come of age, we’re happy to report that just happened. The combination of the 27.5+ platform with long-lasting batteries, and the remarkably smooth and elegant motor, all integrated into one sharp-looking design, and augmented by user-friendly software has finally delivered a slick, no-compromises product that you’ll want to own. I know we do, the entire IndefinitelyWild team is fighting over who gets to borrow it next.
Government agencies like the USDA National Forests and the Bureau of Land Management should distinguish between electric pedal-assist eBikes (Type 1) and self-propelled eBikes (Type 2). The former are still human-powered whereas the latter are fully motorized like a motorcycle. Some states like California are already recognizing the different classifications of eBikes and allowing some on trails while prohibiting others. This clear distinction should help us avoid expanding our mountain bike trails to motorcycles, or worse yet, have trails that are currently open to mountain bikes relegated to “hiking only.”