Electric bikes are increasing dramatically in popularity, shifting pressures have led more people to consider alternative transport methods. Away from the commute, however, electric bikes are also having a moment. The gruelling uphill climbs of mountain bike riding can be made much more palatable on these full suspension e bikes.
In this post, we will outline our best buy in the full-suspension market, as well as some other worthy buys. We shall also outline what an e bike is and what to look for, some of the benefits of e bikes, and a series of commonly asked questions about the topic.
New for 2020 the Lapierre eZesty is a smaller version of Lapierre's LTD ultimate. The e bike is built on a full carbon fibre frame and has a Fazua 250 watt motor, which has 60Nm of torque. On average the range of the battery is 35 miles. This depends always on the terrain being covered, however, 35 miles will be ideal for many rides and trail centres.
The eZesty 9.0 comes in three frame sizes; 43cm (or 17"), 46cm (or 18"), and 50cm (or 19.5"). No colour variations are available, the exposed gunmetal style finish is attractive. There's a great design quality to the frame itself, giving the bike a fluid look.
Such quality design extends to the Fazua motor, which is designed and built in Germany, with a modular form which makes servicing and upgrading far easier. A very useful concept stemming from the modular design is that you can remove the entire power unit, cover the gap with a plastic plate, and ride the e bike as a regular bicycle instead.
In total the eZesty weighs 19kg, the lower end of the e bike range. Removing the battery as we've mentioned also allows you to realise that this is a quality bicycle too, not simply a souped-up brick. The eZesty is a joy to ride with or without power assistance.
Part of this is due to the wheel size, the 27+, which offers riders the option for even broader tires - up to 2.8", perfect for those muddy days out. The wheels are fully tubeless, meaning you can expect to have a smooth ride and better traction over difficult rocky mountain terrain - the lower air pressure makes it more grippy and less slippy.
The eZesty comes with Maxxis High Roller II tyres as standard, something which strikes a good balance between speed and a tight grip.
Considering the terms of riding practicalities - there is a stealth seat dropper seat post, allowing the seat height to be changed at the flick of a handlebar-based switch. The control module is screen-less and is backlit in a neon green shade. Making sense of the readout is easy, though it lacks a trip distance indicator.
To return to the distance, 35 miles is a decent ride. Though something cross-country riders will find within their stride or ride. In this instance future firmware updates for the motors can improve on the battery capacity and overall power.
An alternative for those wanting a long workhorse is to pick up another battery. These batteries are not too bulky, and you'll have a back-up to help take the weight anyway.
Pro - Tubeless tyres give a smoother ride that is less prone to pinch punctures
Pro - Available in three different frame sizes
Pro - Quick release seat adjustment for switching between uphill and downhill riding
Pro - Modular design means the bike is suitable for use without the battery and motor system
Con - No screen for the readout, though this is a hardy alternative. Many bikers will prefer to use their own fitness tracking device such as Strava-enabled phones.
The xDuro AllMtn 10.0 is a full suspension electric mountain bike. It is the highest spec iteration of the FLYON range, carrying itself on DT Swiss wheels and shocks, as well as a Sram Eagle 12 drive train.
With a balanced travel of 150mm on the front and the back this mountain bike electric wonder works hard on trails, mountain climbs, single tracks and cross country.
Most electric mountain bikes are unsuitable for big park large jumps, though this is on the table when riding the AllMtn 10.0 bike.
Some of the best pioneers in the mountain electric bike game as Haibike. They're praised in the eMTB media as presenting significant developmental leaps. We see this in a few of the features on this mountain bikes electric motor especially.
The 120Nm of torque leads the field at the moment. The FLYON KPR120S motor is built by TQ Systems, and it offers 820% assistance in pedalling.
This is comapred to 300% from Bosch and Shimano, and 320% from Yamaha. Not at all a bad group to come out as best in. The specialized turbo offers a strapping power-to-weight ratio.
All the power is put down through an asymmetrical pairing of 27.5" and 29" wheels. This matches rolling with strength and manouverability.
Both tyres are Maxxis Minions and are made from a dual compound, allowing for softer edges which give greater control and the best grip around.
Pro - The specialized turbo has awesome power, producing 120Nm of torque
Pro - The most miles on a single battery - 630Wh is outstanding
Pro - Lights are built into the frame on the front and back
Con - There is not the option to extend the battery further - unless you carry one with you
Haibike's AllMtn7 is a very exciting and versatile bike that was released this year. As comfortable on rocky mountain terrain as it is on single track and trail riding, the AllMtn7 has excellent handling and a Yamaha PW-X2 motor giving 600Wh of juice.
Part of the major upgrade on the AllMtn7 is the introduction of a new rear shock. It is a Kashima coated Fox Factory Float DPX2 - Fox's incredibly lightweight and durable all-trail suspension.
Always innovating, Haibike has continued with their rarified wheel combination. At the front is a 29" beast, and at the rear is a 27.5+" wheel. The asymmetry improves handling and provides the same 'roll over' benefits of a full 29" setup.
These wheels are set on Tubeless Ready Maxxis Minion DHF tyres, that include DHR II on the front. The virtues of tubeless are debatable, with the wider tire and lower pressure improving grip, but some do prefer a 'bouncier' ride.
For stopping power on the electric mountain bike there are Shimano Deore M8120 brakes, hanging on a 203mm rotor at the front and the back. This is a popular brake configuration. Four piston calipers really bite, but allow you to feel the levers and modulate your speed exceptionally well.
Also included is a remote seat drop post. The lever is on the handlebar and allows quick saddle adjustments on the move.
Shimano Deore XT derailleur and shifters complete a very high spec bike. The 12 speed group set uses a freehub body giving riders access to the smaller sized 10t sprocket. On electric mountain bikes this gear has become a firm favourite.
The clutch is looked after by a ShadowPlus from Shimano and it promises a secure drive train while going over rocky mountain ridges - without clanking either, it purrs silently.
Yamaha's PW-X2 is a crank driven motor that puts out 80Nm of torque and 250W. What this translates to is an increase in the cadence levels of the motor while under strain.
This release has a completely integrated battery system, which slides along a rail to be changed. The design allows for on an off bike charging.
If you do decide to go with the AllMtn7, the Bosch performance system could be an upgrade to consider. The RangeExtender set of accessories provides a second battery pack which is perfect for multi-day trips.
A nice touch is the waterbottle system, this is a ergonomically conceived bottle which grips onto the downtube using powerful neodyium magnets.
Haikbike's Modular Rail System (MRS) is a new level of quality in accessorising electric mountain bikes. The rail allows for easy switching and swapping of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) accessories.
Similar to the Merida eOne Sixty in many ways, this is an all-rounders mountain bike with great suspension and drive.
Pro - Asymetrical wheels offer superb handling and roll-over abilities at the same time
Pro - Modular rail system opens up a world of accessories
Pro - 80Nm of torque, gives a very strong pull
Con - Doesn't come with Bosch as standard, thus losing access to the RangeExtender system
Con - Not available in a wide range of frame sizes
Orbea''s Wild FS is a full suspension trail bike that's suitable for racking up some cross-country miles too. The Bosch Performance system is in its 4th generation, and comes with a 625Wh battery with an updated motor and drive train which cranks out 85Nm of torque.
In terms of suspension, the Orbea has 2021 Fox kit fitted. These are the Float Dual Piston System EVOL rear suspension, and a 38 Performance fork - which has been optimised for electric mountain bikes - on the front.
The rear shock features a 3-way adjustable lock and air compressor. The rebound adjuster is located externally.
On the Duel Piston System riders can opt for a full lock out or a fully open mode. The middle setting gives some cushion while allowing the conservation of energy.
Those Fox front forks have a three position GRIP Damper added to them, which works through a closed cartridge system. This keeps dampening consistent, it is a top quality component, and this is reflected the cost of the bike
The Wild FS sits on 29" DT Swiss wheels, this size is perfect for rollover on rocky mountain terrain. Shorter pedal cranks, 160mm, meaning ground clearance is raised and unlikely to get stuck pedals.
Orbea have really worked on the geometry of their frames for 2021 too. Increased stability and comfort has been mixed with progressive and advanced positioning. As such this bike works well for downhill runs.
In the same vein as the 2020 Wild model, the 2021 uses a hydroformed alloy frame, it is ultra strong and has exceptional weighting.
When looking at the motor, one of the most attractive features is the Bosch Performance system. The RangeExtender feature, when purchased, allows for two batteries on the bike. The battery power is doubled, and so is your riding distance.
The CX motor system offers 85Nm of torque, adding 350% in turbo electric biking assistance. Readouts from the Bosch Kiox display are gorgeous as well as concise and compact. There's a speedometer, distance and battery level all displayed on screen.
Pro - Bosch's motor is top of the line, and can be extended with another battery
Pro - 29" wheels are perfect for rolling over rough obstacles
Pro - Improved frame geometry as compared to previous Orbea models
Con - 29" wheels are less suited to cross-country rides
Con - Shorter cranks are uncomfortable for some riders
One of the best e bikes to come on the market in 2020, the Wide 6 is new in the Samedi range. It comes from the Moustache men (and women) and features an integrated battery with Bosch CX motor.
Moustache have included their Wide 6 model with a magic Grip Control shock absorber. It has two different compression settings for the right suspension and can have the rebound sensitivity adjusted too.
The suspension is mounted on Trunnions, meaning there is more air volume inside the shock to deal with small lumps and bumps on the trail.
Not only this but the dampening is regulated electronically to maintain traction based on the power being used and the pressure being put down.
Having a specialized turbo is not essential on e bikes, only the best seem to add this in. Despite lacking this, the Wide 6 does hold a 625Wh battery, which can put power down very well indeed.
The frame has the battery embedded within it. Charging takes place with it in-situ. If 625Wh is too powerful, it is possible to fit a smaller 500Wh battery in its place.
One of the best e bikes in it's price range, the Wide 6 has 75Nm of torque and offers 340% of assistance when in turbo mode.
Pro - Double setting suspension helps conserve energy on different surfaces
Pro - Specialized turbo offers 340% more power down
Con - Internal battery makes it less suitable for long, multi-battery trips
A full suspension e bike needs to have enough torque to help you climb the hills back to the top of the mountain. Downhill riding favours full suspension, though they're still very popular on a cross-country ride.
Electric mountain bike riders love the extra lift these e bikes give when tackling climbs. But what about downhill? There's no need for power there.
Some models of mountain bike allow you to remove the power unit and motor, if you want to try some tricks bombing down, without risking the safety of your expensive motor this could be a useful option.
Full suspension e bike riders essentially need an ecosystem on their ride. Shimano Steps is one further option to research in your purchase. The Steps e8000 for instance is a wirelessly programmable way to connect all your fitness and data tracking apps into your ride.
Classic brand names from the mountain bike world also make electric mountain rides. The Merida eOne Sixty is an instance of this, though eMTB makers are carving independent paths and producing equipment with household names like Bosch and Yamaha, as well as Shimano steps and all.
E bikes offer commuters a lot. The health benefits of exercise are well known, you may consider riding an e bike to be quite a gentle form of exercise, yet the joy and the exposure to the world still reap fantastic benefits for our mental health.
Ecologically they allow riders to reduce their carbon footprint in the long run, after the extraction and production emissions of the electric mountain bike are factored in. Increased mobility and maintaining a good overall level of health are made more likely by purchasing an e bike.
RIding with electrics on board also means you can tap into the Internet of Things. Shimano Steps offers a way to track your fitness and tune your motor, Steps E8000 will change the way you approach intense mountain biking activity.
Bosch and Yamaha are two of the leading electric motor manufacturers. Where this is mentioned on our review it signifies which manufacturer's motor is used on the e bike.
Ebikes, or electric bikes, are legal on the road and off the road - certain footpaths are excluded from regular bicycles and electric ones anyway.
There are no regulations on riding electric bikes, there is no license. You may be confusing an electric bike with an e-scooter or electric motorbike. These would require a CBT or motorcycle license.
In the UK the maximum power output of an electric bike is 250 watts, and it should not be possible to propel the bike when the bike itself is travelling over 15.5mph. Electric bicycles can also have more than two wheels, making them tricycles. Car-like electric vehicles which are not cars are not yet widely available.
Riding an electric mountain bike certainly counts as exercise, and you'll want to make a note of those rides.
Services like Shimano Steps enable this kind of connection and make an effort to track how hard your workout ride really was working you. Steps e8000 is the most powerful version of this software.
The best e bike manufacturers have emerged as independent, yet highly skilled workshops. They're not churning out eOne Sixty bikes, they're crafting some cutting edge pieces.
While an eOne Sixty will take you places, the finish and spec on something from Haibike is another level entirely. They've set out as a pure electric mountain bike company.
For those looking to buy, the eZesty is really the best pick. With superb rear shock and front suspension as well as a long battery life, this is one of the most exciting models on the market. The 27+ wheels are an excellent midpoint in riding experience, and offer exhillarating electric mountain biking across the range of disciplines.
The best feature are the tubeless tyres. They're extra-beefy and provide excellent traction - allowing the whole 80Nm of force to get expressed. It is one of the best e MTBs on the market with quality OEM components.