Ethics aside, that’s not to say we don’t at least admire where the technology has taken us thus far – and where it appears to be heading- thanks to some of the best electric mountain bikes on the market today. Some, naturally, are more rugged and built to withstand greater beatings than others. While some feature a price tag similar to that of a new Harley-Davidson. Whatever the case, if the disposable income is there, as well as the integrity not to abuse the power these electric machines offer, then they’re certainly yours for the taking. Just have a look at our eight favorite picks below and see for yourself.
In a parallel hybrid motorized bicycle, such as the aforementioned 1897 invention by Hosea W. Libbey, human and motor inputs are mechanically coupled either in the bottom bracket, the rear wheel, or the front wheel, whereas in a (mechanical) series hybrid cycle, the human and motor inputs are coupled through differential gearing. In an (electronic) series hybrid cycle, human power is converted into electricity and is fed directly into the motor and mostly additional electricity is supplied from a battery.
The Super Commuter is very aptly named. The 350w Bosch motor will help you sustain speeds of up to 28mph, and the burly, 2.4-inch wide, Schwalbe Super Moto-X 650b tires will keep you secure on even the roughest city streets, and Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes provide ample stopping power. Fenders provide welcome protection from road spray so you arrive at your destination fresh, integrated lights are critical for post-sunset riding, and a side-view mirror hanging on the left side of the handlebar gives a great view of traffic around you. After all, you can ride at the speed of urban traffic on the Super Commuter.
The Dew-E packs functionality and fun into a rather traditional and conservative package. Front and rear fenders, integrated Busch & Müller front and rear lights, and a built-in Abus wheel lock make this a very practical commuter bike. An 11-34t 9-speed cassette and 1.75-inch tires provide versatility: You’ll stay smooth over rough city streets and zip down gravel bike paths with confidence. Front and rear rack mounts also give you the chance to outfit this bike for carrying more cargo or supplies for a longer day on the bike. Whichever way you think you’ll be riding an e-bike, this bike deserves a second look.
After a couple years of strong antibiotics, a strict diet, and lots of rest, I was getting better so I thought I would try biking again. My son Andrew took me for a modest city ride and my Lyme symptoms spiked for three solid weeks – malaise, headaches, and weakness returned. I realized that I would probably never ride bikes again. After talking with my doctor and doing some research, I found that easy to moderate exercise can be beneficial, but strenuous activity can be detrimental. With mountain biking it is difficult to avoid exertion except with lift-assist or shuttles to trails with uninterrupted descents. Typical mountain bike rides with even slight hills like my city ride would probably send me into a tailspin again.
The removable 460 Wh battery is hidden in the downtube, and the custom-built-for-Specialized Brose motor is integrated around the bottom bracket, and develops 250 watts of power. A torque sensor detects when you’re applying pressure to the pedals, and provides assistance when you need it. Aside from the glowing green LEDs indicating charge levels and output settings, there is little indicating this Turbo is anything but a typical mountain bike.
Update: Well I've had an opportunity to take the bike on some longer trips now 10 miles back and forth a few times, and the bike performed well, so I am raising my rating to 4 stars. I got a larger seat and raised the angle of the handle bars and it is more comfortable to ride than it was, but still a bit awkward for someone of my size. I've been leaving the bike charging all the time I'm not using it and this seemed to make a big difference with the indicator light not coming on as soon, and the biggest difference is made by me riding the bike the way it was meant to be ridden, ie: pedaling, I was treating it more like a scooter and just staying on the throttle before, but if you use it as a peddle assist bike, the way it's meant to be ridden it performs quite well. The bike is not great going up hills and you still have to work but it does make hills a lot easier. It is also frustrating not having more gears, you basically just leave the bike in 6 gear all the time, and peddle when you can ie: when your slow enough you can peddle. I have no problem with the weight of the bike and it is solid and well built and it will work for my purposes, fortunately the town I live in is only about 5 miles end to end so I don't need the bike to be able to go super long distances, and fortunately I don't mind peddling some, so I don't mind the bike being a peddle assist bike and not a more scooter type. One other gripe I do have is the bike does not have the standard holes to mount a back rack to, one of the main reasons I got this bike was to carry groceries and stuff more easily, so I'm disappointed that it will be difficult for me to mount a rack to, but I'm sure a front basket would work. Anyway, 4 stars, I like it, the price is great, it's well constructed, you will have a hard time finding an electric bike of this quality at this price, but it is not without a little sacrifice.
Mountain bikes have come a long way since the 80s. Rock Shox showed up and eventually everyone had a hardtail bike. Then came dual-suspension bikes for all sorts of riding styles. My choice was a cross-country bike so I could climb fast and descend fast without the need for big air. Brakes have gone from simple calipers, to grippy Shimano V-Brakes, to bomber hydraulic disk brakes. While all this was going on street-focused eBikes were evolving too. It should be no shock that the technologies would merge to create eMTBs. A lot of people who were part of the mountain biking revolution in the 80s are getting older and eBikes allow them to continue the sport they love later in life. Whether it’s riders dealing with health issues or injuries, or simply just getting older, the emergence of eMTBs makes total sense.
As a counterbalance to the cute utilitarian bikes above, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp is a big, bad, and burly mountain bike. With 27.5-inch wheels, massive 2.8-inch tires, 150mm of travel in the front and 135mm of travel in the rear this bike is made to shred. The Specialized 1.3 Rx Trail-Tuned motor is designed specifically for off-road riding and features a double freehweel design that disengages the gear box at top speed to reduce friction while ripping downhill. The low center of gravity and stout parts make this one a relatively nimble handler that is ready for the rowdiest downhills.
Power delivery is smooth and easy to predict, once you get the hang of it. We’re not sure if integration is better on the Turbo road bike, or if the slow, technical nature of trail riding just highlights some quirks. The motor shuts off less than a second after you stop pedaling, and the onset of power delivery is momentarily delayed once you begin pedaling. And this did mean we had to adapt our riding style a little bit to deal with that slight lag.
“Rather than bolt on a bulky off-the-shelf system, we struck out on our own to redefine the category. The Powerplay system is the result of designing an electric drive for the suspension and geometry needs of proper mountain bikes; in fact, the geometry and pivot points of the Altitude Powerplay are identical to those of the new Altitude. In our opinion this is the first electric bike that actually rides like a mountain bike should.”
Another really cool feature on this bike is the Haibike eConnect system. I’m not sure why, but they only seem to be offering it on the 10.0. It has been available in Europe for awhile, so I imagine we’ll see an upgrade for the other Haibikes sometime this year. eConnect offers riders a way to prevent theft on their bikes, track rides, and alert an emergency contact if it detects a crash.
As the CleanTechnica series has been showing, electric bikes are an increasingly big business, and becoming the dominant form of motorized two-wheel transportation globally. The innovation, design, and money is flowing to electric bicycles much more than motorcycles. This is part and parcel of our increasing urbanization and demographic shifts globally. Electric bikes just make sense. They shorten commutes, they flatten hills, they make groceries and children light, they are fun, and they are clean, silent, and convenient.
Depending on local laws, many e-bikes (e.g., pedelecs) are legally classified as bicycles rather than mopeds or motorcycles. This exempts them from the more stringent laws regarding the certification and operation of more powerful two-wheelers which are often classed as electric motorcycles. E-bikes can also be defined separately and treated under distinct Electric bicycle laws.