Looking to break into the world of electric mountain bikes, but confused about what’s out there?
Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.
On this page, we’ll provide you with a list of the very best e-mountain bikes on the market and the features you should be considering when shopping for one of these electric offroaders.
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There are many factors such as motor type, battery capacity, frame, and brakes that will all play a significant role in your decision.
If you’re ready, then let’s get started.
Here are 9 of the best e-MTB’s available in the market today.
|S-Works Turbo Levo SL||Specialized||320Wh||SRAM XX1 Eagle, 12-Speed|
|Santa Cruz Heckler||Shimano||504Wh||SRAM XO1 Eagle, 12-Speed|
|Pivot Shuttle Team||Shimano||504Wh||Shimano XTR, 12-Speed|
|Trek Rail 9.8||Bosch||625Wh||SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed|
|Norco Sight VLT C1||Shimano||630Wh||SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed|
|Intense Tazer Expert||Shimano||504Wh||Shimano SLX, 11-Speed|
|Ghost Hybride SL AMR||Shimano||504Wh||SRAM XX1 Eagle, 12-Speed|
|Cannondale Moterra SE||Bosch||625Wh||SRAM NX Eagle, 12-Speed|
|Giant Trance E+||Yamaha||500Wh||SRAM SX Eagle, 12-Speed|
1. S-Works Turbo Levo SL
An Impressive Electric of Specialized’s Classic Stumpjumper
With the S-Works Turbo Levo SL, Specialized has taken its Stumpjumper dual-suspension mountain bike to a whole new level.
It’s built on Specialized’s cutting edge FACT 11m carbon frame.
The motor that gives this bike its Turbo name is an SL 1.1, which provides up to 240 watts. In terms of battery capacity, the Turbo Levo SL features a big enough battery for moderate treks and an optional road extender that increases the range by 50%. This is a nice feature if you’re going on a shorter trip and want to cut weight, and makes it one of the lightest e-MTBs you can buy.
Specialized fits the S-Works Turbo Levo SL with plenty of braking ability by using extra-large 200mm and 180mm rotors.
2. Santa Cruz Heckler
A Nimble and Powerful 27.5” Dual Suspension e-MTB
For its first-ever e-MTB, Santa Cruz has come up with quite an offering.
The Santa Cruz Heckler features a full suspension with 150mm of rear travel and a solid 160mm of front travel, ensuring that you’ll have plenty of shock absorption as you hurtle down the trail.
You’ll need it, thanks to a powerful Shimano E8000 electric drive system that offers 70Nm of torque. The drive system features four different modes that offer different degrees of power and battery savings.
A SRAM Eagle drivetrain provides plenty of gears to go with that powerful motor while a slack 65.5º head tube angle and smaller 27.5” wheels allow the Santa Cruz Heckler for nimble maneuverability.
3. Pivot Shuttle Team
Top End Features at Reasonable Price
Pivot’s shuttle Team e-MTB looks impressive before you even consider the motor that’s hiding in its carbon frame.
This sleek blue bike is built on a lightweight carbon chassis and Fox Factory front and rear shocks. The rear offers 140mm of travel while the front provides 160mm, ensuring that this e-MTB can handle all the road shock that comes from the increased power of having a motor.
Pivot uses Shimano’s E8000 Steps motor and battery for this bike. A Class-1 system, it offers increased power that integrates smoothly with your pedaling as opposed to the jolt of throttle power.
A 12-speed XTR drivetrain offers plenty of gears while a four-piston hydraulic disc brakes provide adequate stopping power for the Pivot Shuttle Team.
4. Trek Rail 9.8
Cutting Edge Technologies that are Ahead of the Competition
The Trek Rail 9.8 keeps up Trek’s reputation for designing bikes that offer more than the competition.
You get not only a carbon frame but also a lightweight and silent Bosch motor, which makes the aptly named Rail feel like you have the power of a locomotive under you without the noise of one.
Trek also goes bigger than its rivals in several areas. The Rail is equipped with a front fork that provides a whopping 170mm of travel and a battery that offers more capacity than the industry standard at 625Wh.
Throw in a suspension that can be optimized and an adjustable geometry and the Trek Rail is one of the most technologically advanced e-MTBs you can buy.
5. Norco Sight VLT C1
Incredible Value for A High End e-MTB
With the Sight VLT, Norco offers an exceptional e-MTB at a price tag that’s even more exceptional.
You get a lightweight carbon fiber frame and Fox Performance Float Suspension that features 160mm of travel on the front and 150mm of travel on the back.
The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain is power-assisted by the Shimano STEPS E8000 motor, featuring an integrated 630Wh in-tube battery, a step up from the 504Wh you find on most e-MTBs.
This is countered by a powerful SRAM Code 4-piston hydraulic brake system. With a price tag that is thousands of dollars less than similarly equipped e-bikes, the Norco Sight VLT C1 is one heck of a deal.
6. Intense Tazer Expert
A High Performance e-MTB At A Low Low Price
Califonia based Intense is a boutique direct-to-consumer bike manufacturer specializes in high-end mountain bikes at prices that are easier on the wallet.
Such is the case with its e-MTB, the Tazer Expert. It features some impressive specs, including a carbon frame, Intense Recon Dropper post, Fox Performance shocks, and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes at a price that’s thousands of dollars less than other high-end e-MTBs.
Its Shimano Steps E7000 motor isn’t quite as powerful as some of the motors on other e-MTBs, and it has an 11-speed drivetrain versus a 12-speed.
But, keep in mind that the Intense Tazer Expert is one of the least expensive full suspension e-MTBs you can find.
7. Ghost Hybride SL AMR S8.7+ LC
The Electric of Ghost’s famed SL AMR Mountain Mike
Ghost’s offering in the e-MTB space is based on its popular SL AMR line of mountain bikes.
This e-MTB isn’t going to be any slouch on the trails. You can go just as hard on singletrack with the GHOST Hybride only, with a motor, you can go farther.
As with the non-motorized versions, the SL AMR is built on a carbon chassis with RockShox rear suspension and a Formula Selva front fork.
Its drivetrain is well equipped with a 12-speed SRAM XX1 Eagle rear derailleur.
Ghost also gets creative with its design, going with a 29” front wheel, for faster roll, and a 27.5” rear wheel for quicker acceleration.
8. Cannondale Moterra SE
A Completely Redesigned Moterra with Plenty of Technological Enhancements
If there’s one thing Cannondale is known for, it’s the handling and supple feel of its frame designs.
Add a motor to that, and you have a bike that allows you to shred singletrack trails for miles and miles.
The Cannondale Moterra Neo 1 features a total redesign of the model. This iteration is powered by a powerful yet silent Bosch Performance CX motor and a PowerTube battery that goes beyond the industry standard 504Wh to give you 625Wh.
Add to that a SRAM NX 12-speed drivetrain and Fox Float Factor 36 fork with 160mm of travel.
Oh, and the front triangle of the frame is now carbon instead of aluminum. Cannondale has also upped its wheel size options to include a 29” option.
9. Giant Trance E+
An Affordable Aluminum e-MTB from Giant
Think you have to spend $10K or more for a dual suspension eMTB that you can take onto an expert level single track?
If you don’t mind the extra weight that comes with an aluminum frame, then check out the Trance E+ from Giant.
Yes, the Giant Trance E+ is a bit heavier than other e-MTB’s, but it more than makes up for that with a Yamaha motor that boasts 80Nm of torque and power assist that goes all the way up to 360%.
Giant also fits the Trance E+ with smaller 27.5” wheels, which cut weight while allowing for greater maneuverability.
It also includes Giant’s RideControl One computer, which integrates the bike’s motor controls with Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible cycling computers and smartphones.
Things to Know Before Buying Electric Mountain Bikes
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the mountain bike class of e-bikes and the key features and options you should consider before making a purchase.
For the uninitiated, the system of e-bikes can be confusing, so we’ll break it down for you here.
E-bikes are separated into three classes, which are determined by the power and max speed of the motors they use.
- Class 1 e-bike provides pedal-assisted power up to 20mph, after which the governor on the motor will cut it off.
- Class 2 e-bikes include a throttle actuator that boosts your speed.
- Class 3 e-bikes offer pedal assistance all the way up to 28mph.
For the purposes of this article, you only need to consider Class 1, as all trail riding mountain bikes generally feature this type of motor.
Class 2 and 3 motors are not considered safe for trail use either because they allow for unsafe speeds or cause too much damage to the trails themselves (the throttle action of a Class 2 e-bike would chew up single-track).
So what exactly is a Class 1 e-bike?
Class 1 e-bikes are generally allowed on all bike trails and single track trails in the U.S., while many states have restrictions on where you can ride Class 2 and 3 e-bikes due to safety issues.
Many municipalities, for example, don’t want people hurtling down a crowded greenway at speeds close to 30mph for obvious reasons.
The important thing to remember here is that laws and regulations are put in place by state and local governments. While some have adopted clear guidelines, others simply lump them in with mopeds and motor vehicles.
It’s important to check with your local laws and regulations regarding e-MTBs, so you know where you are authorized to use one.
Type of E-Bikes Motor
When shopping for an e-MTB, it appears that all have very similar motors as most, if not all, are rated at a motor output of 250 watts.
This is generally the limit most laws have on power before a motorized bike must be classified as something more than a bike.
But, just because that’s the motor’s rating, doesn’t mean that all motors are created equal.
Remember, this number is the nominal load, which only represents the motor’s average power output. Peak power can vary greatly (it can be as much as 900w for some bikes!) and has a huge impact on how the bike feels.
Torque is also an important factor. As with motor vehicles, torque measures the rotational power of the motor.
The higher the torque, the stronger the burst of power the rider gets.
More torque isn’t always a good thing. Remember, unlike a motorbike, the motor is not designed to be the sole force driving you forward.
It is designed to support your pedaling power.
Hence, the more seamless, and less jolting, the motor integrates its power with your pedaling, the better.
Read More : The 6 Best Mountain Bike Pedals
Because of all these factors, it’s important to test ride an e-MTB to see how it feels and not just take its technical specs at face value.
Most motors also come with a variety of different modes ranging from eco to max power. The former provides moderate support, preserving as much battery life as possible, while the latter provides the most support, but will burn through your battery more quickly.
With e-bikes being a relatively new technology, motor manufacturers are racing to create the best product possible.
There are four companies in this area, including veteran motor building companies Yamaha, Brose, and Bosch, and bike component giant Shimano.
Of the four, Yamaha can claim to be the real pioneer, having developed what many believe is the first e-bike all the way back in 1989. Yamaha’s engines are known for their powerful torque.
The company’s PW-X2 motor can produce 70-80 Nm of torque with two versions: one that offers a top speed of 25 km/h (15 mph) or 45 km/h (28mph).
Veteran motor builder Bosch got on the e-bike trend early on with the launch of an electric bike division back in 2012 and a North American bike headquarters in 2015. Since then the company has used its expertise of building small engines to run away with the e-bike market.
The company’s powerful yet lightweight mid-drive e-bike motor, which it calls its Active Line, is known for being nearly silent.
Shimano rarely misses an opportunity to get in on a technological trend in bikes, and e-bikes are no exception. The company has used its name, which is ubiquitous in the cycling world, to establish a beachhead in the e-MTB market.
Despite its comparative lack of experience designing motors, the company has firmly established itself in the e-bike market by exploiting its expertise in designing components to create a motor that pairs seamlessly with a bike’s drivetrain.
Germany-based Brose, holding the smallest portion of market share among the four, gained an early foothold in the market with its mid-drive e-bike motors.
Looking to get a leg up in the industry, the company last year added batteries and a control system, allowing it to offer a full powertrain package.
We tend to think of power as the most important characteristic when it comes to motors, but let’s not forget that the motor on an e-bike is there to supplement, not replace, the main power source, which is of course your legs.
What many people love about e-bikes is that they allow you to go further, especially over steeper terrain by saving your legs. That’s only possible if the battery powering the motor lasts long enough to make that happen.
That’s why battery range is such an important element of an e-bike.
So, what can you expect out of a battery?
Most e-bike batteries are rated for 500Wh.
Most e-bikes allow you to adjust the amount of support you get from the motor, ranging from a 25% assist to your pedaling to a 200% power boost. Keep in mind that the more power you demand, the more quickly you’ll run that battery down.
All e-MTBs have a nominal, or average, power use of 250W.
A simple math equation of dividing the batteries watt-hours by usage tells you that you’ll get about two hours out of a 500Wh battery. You’ll get a bit more out of a 625Wh battery. If you’re using the battery at a higher percentage of boost, say 500W, then expect to only get about an hour.
Keep in mind that power use fluctuates during a ride, so don’t expect to know exactly how much run time you’ll get off a battery. It will also differ depending on the strength and size of the rider.
As with any consumer product, don’t just take the manufacturer at their listed battery rating. Make sure to check out consumer reviews to determine just how much life that battery is giving you.
One problem manufacturers have had to contend with is size and weight.
Batteries are universally dense and heavy.
Even small AA batteries have a noticeable weight to them relative to their size. Imagine how much a large battery with the capacity to power a bike can weigh.
Manufacturers have found ways to lighten and reduce the size of these batteries so they can fit in the down tube. These integrated batteries follow the contours of the downtube and can typically be removed for recharging.
Because e-bike motors have multiple modes, you’ll need a control system that allows you to make adjustments on the fly.
As such, most e-MTBs have a control system mounted to the handlebar, right next to the bar grips.
This unit gives you some basic information, most importantly the power level of your battery. It will also allow you to adjust the range of assistance being provided by the motor.
Some also provide you with base bike computer data such as speed and distance. High end bikes even offer fully integrated control systems that provide you with GPS information and Bluetooth connection for alerts from your SmartPhone.
Carbon Fiber Frames
Although some e-MTBs will use aluminum frames, most performance e-bikes use carbon.
Cutting weight is essential when it comes to e-bikes.
When you figure that the battery and motor system in an e-bike weighs 5 to 8kg (11 to 17lbs.), the need to cut weight elsewhere on the bike is crucial, and the biggest place to accomplish that is in the frame.
Carbon is also stiffer, allowing it to absorb the additional torsional forces applied to the frame by the motor.
And because these bikes are equipped with more power, they also demand more shock absorption, so expect to find mainly dual suspension frames on e-MTBs.
With more speed comes the need for a more robust suspension. This is why most e-MTB designed for trail and downhill use dual suspension.
This is also why front forks on e-MTBs generally offer more substantial front forks that allow for more travel.
Most front forks on high-end e-MTBs are made by market leaders FOX and Rockshox, both of which offer forks that are stouter in order to hold up against the increased forces placed on an eMTBs.
Whereas a normal MTB fork may offer 130 to 150mm of travel, most e-MTB forks allow for 160mm to 180mm of travel.
Wheel and Tire Size
Like standard mountain bikes, you’ll typically have two wheel sizes to choose from with e-MTB;
Each offers advantages.
Cannondale offers both sizes with its Moterra SE.
Tires are generally thicker on e-MTBs for the same reasons forks are more substantial. Thicker tires, though a bit slower, offer more shock absorption.
Most if not all high-end e-MTBs include dropper seatposts.
This relatively new trend in mountain bikes allows you to raise or drop your seat posts on the fly using a lever on the handlebars.
What’s the advantage of this?
When climbing, you want the seatpost to be in your normal saddle height position to allow for optimal power transfer, making your climb more efficient.
When descending you want the mountain bike saddle lower, so it’s out of your way as you’re maneuvering through technical singletracks.
Massive Disc Brakes
A lot of the differences between e-MTBs vs. standard mountain bikes exist because of the increased speed and weight created by the existence of a motor.
Like the fork, which offers more travel to handle more shock, the brakes offer more stopping power to counter the increased speed and weight.
All disc brakes will feature the more powerful hydraulic versions with larger rotors that are at least 180mm in diameter with some going larger.
The S-Works Turbo Levo SL, for example, is fitted with 180mm rotors on the rear and 200mm rotors on the front. Cannondale fits the Moterra Neo 1 with massive 220mm rotors on the front and 200mm rotors on the rear.
Larger rotors better distribute heat, preventing your brakes from overheating and failing under the pressure of the greater speed weight.
E-MTBs are significantly heavier than their non-motorized cousins.
Whereas a non-motorized carbon mountain bike might weigh around 30 to 40 lbs (14 to 18 kg), depending on their set up and price points.
An e-MTB will weigh between 45 to 60 lbs (18 to 27 kg).
The S-Works Turbo Levo SL with its two-battery set-up is an exception at 17.3kg. That’s a significant weight difference.
This is due to the fact that the motor and battery system that power the bike will typically weigh somewhere between 15 to 20lbs (6.8 to 9kg).