Big-travel e-bikes are de­signed to am­plify your rid­ing. We test four to ind out which is the most elec­tri­fy­ing

Mountain Biking UK - - WRECKED & RATED -

Elec­tric bikes are the most di­vi­sive de­vel­op­ment in our sport’s his­tory. They have their down­sides, in­clud­ing high pric­ing and weight. But in our ex­pe­ri­ence, most e-bike scep­tics change their tune once they’ve rid­den one – they’re just a blast!

The evo­lu­tion of the bikes has a lot to do with this. No longer do all e-MTBs have lengthy chain­stays, awk­ward weight dis­tri­bu­tion and hope­less han­dling. They’re get­ting sleeker, more in­te­grated and bet­ter bal­anced. Some ride al­most like nor­mal bikes, but with an added boost on the climbs.

When choos­ing be­tween e-bikes, the most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions are the same as with any bike – ge­om­e­try, sus­pen­sion and spec list. But there are other things to think about too. The mo­tor has a huge ef­fect on the ride. While all the bikes in this test only pro­vide as­sis­tance when you’re ped­alling and at speeds be­low 25kmh (oth­er­wise they’d need to be regis­tered, in­sured and taxed), there are big dif­fer­ences in the smooth­ness and fe­roc­ity of the power de­liv­ery. Some are eas­ier than oth­ers to pedal with­out as­sis­tance too – both when above the 25kmh limit or if you run out of bat­tery. All four bikes here have around 500Wh of elec­tri­cal en­ergy to help you up the climbs – enough for most rides if you use it spar­ingly. While some bat­ter­ies can be re­moved for charg­ing, oth­ers have to be left on, which means you’ll need a plug socket in your bike shed.

The usual draw­backs of long-travel sus­pen­sion – weight, pedal bob – are less trou­bling when you have elec­tri­cal as­sis­tance, so we’ve tested four bikes with a gen­er­ous amount of squish. We’ve cho­sen a price range of £5,000 to 6,000, be­cause this is a pop­u­lar price point for full-sus e-bikes. You can pay even more, but there’s also a small but grow­ing num­ber of e-MTBs that cost less.

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