Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

You might be surprised to find that the in the last few years the once singularly defined category of mountain bikes has splintered into multiple, specific-use disciplines. A mountain bike? Were you looking for something for cross country, all mountain, enduro and downhill riding? The reason for these different categories of course stem from the different racing categories. 

As much as most of us don’t feel the need to race, we can certainly thank the competitive types for pushing the limits of design. It has allowed us everyday fun-havers to enjoy the trails with much more confidence. E-bikes have now joined the Enduro World Series (EWS), and companies like Yeti have even designed their bike for racing that series. Many companies make e-bike versions of all the different previously mentioned categories, although the most commonly used and purchased by far are the enduro and all-mountain styles. 

Some companies are beginning to blur the lines between all-mountain and enduro to suit the rider who wants to do a bit of everything. The difference between these styles is defined by the frame geometry. The most obvious difference in geometry would be the head tube angles, meaning the forks will either have more or less slack. Enduro bikes will have a slacker head tube angle, which is meant for more downward-sloped and rough trails. They usually have somewhere around 180mm of front and rear travel. All-mountain bikes usually have a steeper head tube angle with around 150mm of travel and tend to climb better while still being very capable on downhills. 

THE SMORGASBORD

If you’re still in a regular pedal bike mindset and new to “e-bike theory,” there’s a few things you ought to catch up on. The added weight of e-mountain bikes tends to have an initial stigma for those new to the world of assisted riding. But, the extra weight helps keep the bike more planted with less deflection to stop your momentum when rolling through rocky sections like normal bikes generally do. Now more than ever, e-bike companies have stepped up their consciousness of weight and how to distribute it evenly with pedaling and traction in mind. 

In fact, a few brands have introduced new lightweight, cross-country-inspired e-bikes. However, before you get too excited about such a lightweight option, you should know that you will not get the power that the average Class 1 e-bike has. As with most things in life, there are inherent trade-offs to consider here. Sure, the bikes are lighter, but as a result of having less motor and battery, they also provide less range.

In past years we were generally limited to 500-Wh batteries in most e-mountain bikes. Now there are many different combinations available with some brands offering up to 900-Wh options. Finding a battery size you think is right for your bike could be a challenge. We always recommend going with whatever bike you feel will fit your style of riding and will be most comfortable to ride. If you’re not worried about pure performance, go with the bigger battery, especially if it’s in your price range. 

Another new but fast-growing trend is the use of mixed-wheel designs that run a bigger 29-inch wheels up front and smaller 27.5-inch wheels in the rear. Borrowed from the standard spec found on most motorcycles, this design was first popularized on the pro racing circuit when riders quickly discovered the added level of agility and cornering quickness derived from the smaller rear wheel. Tight switchbacks, uneven off-cambered terrain and just cornering in general are all benefited by mixed-wheel setups. Of course, the traditional setup with 29 inches in the front and rear tend to have an advantage in really fast and rough sections and can allow a little bit faster-rolling ability. We don’t feel that the mixed-wheel setups are the end all, be all, but many companies are starting to sell bikes set up this way.

CANYON SPECTRAL:ON CF 8

The lesser build of Canyon’s Spectral:ON is a great value. This bike has a mixed-wheel setup and a built-in USB port for charging phones, lights and other devices.

 Price: $6999 

Drivetrain: Shimano XT 12-speed 

Brakes: Shimano XT 

Fork: 150mm-travel Fox Perfomance 36 Grip 

Shock: Fox Float DPX2   

Frame: Carbon/150mm travel

Wheels: 29/27.5” DT Swiss H-1700 spline wheels 

Motor: Shimano EP8 

Battery: 625 Wh

www.canyon.com 

BULLS COPPERHEAD EVO AM 1 

The Copperhead is one of Bull’s all-mountain style e-bikes, and it was a solid bike when we tested it last year. This year, however, the company has made the switch from a 27.5-inch wheel set to a mixed wheel setup with a 29-inch in front and 27.5-inch out back. The other big advancement will be an updated Bosch drive unit with a 750Wh battery that will be hard to overlook when considering a new e-bike. 

Price: $5999

www.bullsbikesusa.com 

Price: $5999

Drivetrain: Shimano Deore, 10-speed drivetrain

Brakes: Shimano BR6120 brakes

Fork: 150mm-travel SR Suntour Lytro 35 Supreme SL 

Shock: Suntour UNair 

Frame: Aluminum frame/150mm travel

Wheels: 29/27.5” Ryde Disc 30 aluminum 

Motor: Bosch Gen4 Performance

Battery: 625 Wh

www.bullsbikesusa.com 

HUSQVARNA HARDCROSS 9

Husqvarna e-bikes finally made it to America, and the Hard Cross 9 is its top-of-the-line enduro e-mountain bike. It’s one of the most reasonably priced e-bikes out there right now, too. The mixed-wheel setup should offer snappy handling and control through corners.

Price: $6999

Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT, 12-speed 

Brakes: Shimano XT 

Fork: 180mm-travel Fox Factory 38 

Shock: Fox Factory Float X2  

Frame: Aluminum/180mm travel

Wheels: 29/27.5” DT Swiss H 1700 aluminum

Motor: Shimano EP8

Battery: 625 Wh 

www.husqvarna-bicycles.com 

KONA REMOTE 160 

The Remote delivers a quality package, whether it’s the ride performance, build or the Shimano drive unit. It has fast-rolling, nimble and quick-reacting characteristics that will keep you inspired to ride every day.

Price: $6299

Drivetrain: Microshift Advent, 10-speed

Brakes: SRAM Guide RE 

Fork: 160mm-travel RockShox 35 Gold RL DebonAir 

Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select  

Frame: Aluminum/160mm travel

Wheels: 29” WTB ST i30 aluminum

Motor: Shimano EP8 

Battery: 500 Wh

www.konaworld.com 

SANTA CRUZ BULLIT (R Build)

An enduro bike that is built accordingly and ready to punish downhills. The mixed-wheel setup allows for getting even lower without the rear tire rubbing your backside. Santa Cruz’s choice of a 630Wh battery should be enough for that second or third loop depending on your favorite riding spot. The Bullit is available in six different builds and a color choice of brown with a black brand tag or pink with yellow brand tag.

Price: $8449

Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed

Brakes: SRAM Guide RE

Fork: RockShox ZEB, 170mm

Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select  

Frame: Carbon/170mm travel

Wheels: WTB ST i30 29” front, 27.5” rear

Motor: Shimano EP8

Battery: 630 Wh

www.santacruzbicycles.com 

PIVOT SHUTTLE 

There is no doubt Pivot makes some of the best mountain bikes around, and in the past couple of years, Pivot has developed its Shuttle e-bike to the point where it is among the elite. It will come at a cost, but one of the big selling points is the 726Wh battery, which should ease the old range anxiety. 

Price: $11,699

Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed 

Brakes: Shimano XTR 

Fork: 160mm-travel Fox Factory 38 Grip2 

Shock: Fox Factory Float DPX2 

Frame: Carbon/140mm travel

Wheels: 29” DT Swiss EB 1535 

Motor: Shimano EP8 

Battery: 726 Wh

www.pivotcycles.com 

NORCO RANGE VLT C2

The Range is the longer-travel enduro-focused model in Norco’s line of e-bikes. You can choose from among 504Wh, 720Wh and 900Wh batteries, making range anxiety a non-issue. There is also plenty of room for two water bottles, which is not typically an option with most full-suspension e-bikes.

Price:$7898

Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain 

Brakes: SRAM Code

Fork:180mm-travel RockShox ZEB select 

Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Spring  

Frame: Carbon/170mm travel

Wheels: 29” e*thirteen LG1 DH 

Motor: Shimano EP8 

Battery: 540 Wh, 720 Wh, 900 Wh

www.norco.com 

YETI 160E (T1 BUILD)

Yeti made a big splash with a fast-rolling, ready-to-race, enduro-style e-bike. This is one of the lightest and best-handling e-bikes we’ve ridden to date. It is only 50 pounds out of the box and handles amazingly well, as it should considering the relatively high price tag. 

Price: $12,700 

Drivetrain: Shimano XT, 12-speed 

Brakes: SRAM Code RSC 

Fork: 170mm-travel Fox Factory 38 Grip2 

Shock: Fox Factory Float X2 

Frame: Carbon/160mm travel 

Wheels: 29” DT Swiss EX 1700 aluminum

Motor: Shimano EP8 

Battery: 625 Wh

www.yeticycles.com 

MARIN ALPINE TRAIL E2

This is still one of the best e-bikes we’ve tested. There was a certain magic to the handling, whether it was challenging rocky downhills or off-camber cornering. This bike has one of the strongest price-to-performance ratios out there, too. 

Price: $6299

Drivetrain: Shimano XT 8100, 12-speed 

Brakes: Shimano SLX 4-piston 

Fork: 160mm Fox Performance Elite 38 Grip2 

Shock: Fox Float DHX2 coil 

Frame: Aluminum/150mm travel

Wheels: 29/27.5” Marin double-wall aluminum 

Motor: Shimano EP8 

Battery: 625 Wh

www.marinbikes.com 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN ALTITUDE POWERPLAY (ALLOY 70 BUILD)

Rocky Mountain is one of the only companies making its own Class 1 motor. And this year, the company has introduced its updated assist unit called the Dyname 4.0, which is claimed to be even more intuitive than the previous generation unit. 

Price: $7459

Drivetrain: Shimano XT 12-speed 

Brakes: Shimano XT

Fork: 150mm-travel RockShox Pike 

Shock: Fox Float X Performance

Frame: Aluminum/ 160mm travel

Wheels: 29” WTB ST i30

Motor: Dyname 4.0 

Battery: 720 Wh 

www.bikes.com 

NINER WFO e9

The WFO e9 comes with the highly reputable and efficient Bosch Gen4 motor with a 625Wh battery for plenty of range. This is Niner’s enduro-style e-bike with 180mm of travel front and rear for gnarly descents.

Price: $6595 

Drivetrain: SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed 

Brakes: SRAM Guide 

Fork: 180mm-travel RockShox Zeb R 

Shock: Fox Van Coil 

Frame: Alumnum/180mm travel

Wheels: 29” Stan’s Notubes Flow aluminum 

Motor: Bosch Gen 4

Battery: 625 Wh

www.ninerbikes.com 

INTENSE TAZER PRO BUILD 

Intense was an early adopter of the mixed-wheel setup, and this could have been part of the Tazer’s success. And for the money, you get some of the better components available.

 Price: $6999

Drivetrain: Shimano SLX, 11-speed 

Brakes: Shimano XT 

Fork: 160mm Fox Factory 36 Grip2 

Shock: Fox Factory Float DPX2

Frame: Carbon/150mm travel

Wheels: 29/27.5” DT Swiss H 1700 aluminum 

Motor: Shimano Steps e8000 

Battery: 504 Wh

www.intensecycles.com

YAMAHA YDX MORO PRO 

This all-mountain style e-bike has one of the most unique frame designs we’ve seen. The Moro has quick-responsive handling and feels very predictable in the air. This bike craves fast and rough terrain.

Price: $5499

Drivetrain: Shimano XT, 11 speed

Brakes: Magura MT30 

Fork: 160mm-travel RockShox Yari 

Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe 

Frame: Aluminum/150mm travel

Wheels: 27” Yamaha wheels

Motor: Yamaha PW-X2

Battery: 500 Wh

www.yamahabicycles.com 

KHS SIXFIFTY 6555+E

KHS has not gone full tilt on e-mountain bikes, but that doesn’t mean this bike doesn’t have a strong potential for fun. Bordering on cross-country/all-mountain territory, the 6555+E should be a definite consideration for those who aren’t hung up on the hidden battery.

Price: $6299

Drivetrain: Shimano New XT RD-8100, 12-speed

Brakes: Shimano MT520 4-piston

Fork: Fox Float 34 Air Rhythm, 150mm

Frame: Aluminum 

Wheels: WTB Scraper i35 TCS 27.5”

Motor: Shimano E8000 drive unit

Battery: 504Wh battery

www.khsbicycles.com

SPECIALIZED TURBO LEVO PRO

The value of this bike may not be represented in the price tag; however if you buy it, there’s a slim chance you’ll be disappointed. Specialized went with the trendy mixed-wheel setup, which we are definite fans of for the tighter-turning ability. This bike is the top-spec’d all-mountain-style trail bike that is designed to handle the ups as well as the downs. It has 90 N/m of torque, which at the moment is a class-leading amount of assist.

Price: $13,000

Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 Eagle, 12-speed

Brakes: SRAM Guide RE

Fork: 160mm-travel Fox Float 38 Factory Grip2, Kashima

Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory

Frame: Carbon/150mm travel

Wheels: 29”/27.5” Traverse Carbon

Motor: Specialized Turbo Full Power System 2.2

Battery: 700 Wh

www.specialized.com

ORBEA RISE M-TEAM

A lighter, less powerful version of what we are used to in the world of e-mountain bikes but nonetheless an interesting bike. The Rise has a cross country geometry meaning it has a steeper head tube angle. Not a bike meant for steep descents or big drops in the mountain. More of a sporty adventure bike meant for efficiency of the battery range.

Price: $9999

Drivetrain: Shimano XTR, 12 speed

Brakes: Shimano XTR

Fork: Fox 36 Float Factory Grip2, 150mm

Shock: Fox Float Factory/140mm travel frame

Frame: Carbon 

Wheels: Race Face Turbine-R30, 29”

Motor: Shimano EP8-RS drive unit

Battery: 360 Wh

www.orbea.com

HPC SCOUT HARDTAIL

The Scout line of e-mountain bikes are a simple-in-design but sturdy, USA-built hardtail machine. HPC uses Bafang motors integrated into the frame, making it a mid-drive e-bike. The advantage to getting an HPC with a Bafang is that they come programmed to be practical specifically for mountain bike riding. A throttle option with up to 3000 watts of power can be an advantage for people with particular needs. ν

Price: $3995

Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12 speed

Brakes: Magura MT 4

Fork: RockShox Recon RL 150mm

Frame: Aluminum

Wheels: House brand/hand-built 27.5”

Motor: Bafang 750W-2000W

Battery: 596 Wh, 1680 Wh

www.hpcbikes.com 

* This article originated here
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