Best electric mountain bikes: top-rated eMTBs to tame the trails

Best electric mountain bikes: top-rated eMTBs to tame the trails

The sheer number of electric mountain bikes on the market can make it difficult to choose the best one. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve put together this guide of the top-rated eMTBs. The best part? Once you choose your eMTB, you can always return to this page and change your mind, as these bikes always have a lifespan of more than two years!

There’s no shortage of great electric mountain bikes out there. The problem is knowing which ones are right for you. We’ve sifted through the reviews to find the best-selling electric mountain bikes, and have picked the winners for you.

The following is a list of the best eMTBs of 2018 (and the previous year). The list is picked by the best ones among the ones that I have tested. Most eMTBs are great in all respects, but if you want to be more selective, you can use my own subjective rating system. Why? I am sure that you can find similar, better or at least equal-performing bikes on the market.. Read more about best electric mountain bike 2020 and let us know what you think.

You can go out for a short ride on an electric mountain bike, which will push you upward swiftly so you can enjoy the descents.

You might alternatively concentrate on climbing the steepest, most difficult hills you can find, or just go longer and faster while grinning from ear to ear. You may go out and visit areas you would not have considered otherwise since you can cover a lot of territory fast.

These bikes also allow you to ride in ways that you wouldn’t normally be able to, and as the designs improve, the handling increasingly matches – and in some cases surpasses – that of traditional mountain bikes.

Read our buyer’s guide at the bottom of this post for additional information on what to look for when purchasing an e-MTB. Otherwise, use our electric bike types guide to choose the perfect bike for you.

BikeRadar’s picks for the finest electric mountain bikes

The finest electric mountain bikes evaluated by the BikeRadar test team are listed below. You may also go through our whole collection of electric bike reviews.

  • £5,695 / €6,199 / $5,999 E2 of the Marin Alpine Trail
  • £4,299 / €4,497 for the ON CF 7.0 Canyon Spectral
  • £4,499 / €4,999 / $5,600 / AU$7,499 for E+ 1 Pro Giant Trance
  • £10,499 / €11,699 / $11,499 Bullit CC X01 RSV by Santa Cruz

Marin Alpine Trail E2

Best electric mountain bikes

The Alpine Trail E2 is a formidable bike thanks to its slack design and Shimano’s EP8 engine. Marin Bikes / Andy Lloyd

  • As tested, £5,695 / €6,199 / $5,999
  • Marin’s first full-suspension electric mountain bike
  • Capable, enjoyable, and at ease

The Alpine Trail E is Marin’s first full-suspension electric mountain bike, which was released towards the end of 2020.

Fortunately, the wait was well worth it, as the Alpine Trail E is a competent, entertaining, and comfortable e-MTB with a well-thought-out spec that provides excellent value for money (top-spec dampers, Shimano drivetrains and branded components).

Shimano’s new EP8 motor delivers power to an aluminum frame with 150mm of travel and aggressive, descent-focused design.

The Alpine Trail E2 is at home on a wide range of terrain and lives up to Marin’s promise of being a bike that makes you smile.

The Alpine Trail E1, which costs £4,295 / $4,499 / €4,899, is also available.

Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7.0

Best electric mountain bikes

Although the geometry isn’t the most advanced, it’s nevertheless a stylish and well-performing bike. Immediate Media / Ian Linton

  • As tested, £4,299 / €4,497
  • The primary frame is made of carbon.
  • When ridden quickly, it has a lot of fun handling.

The Canyon Spectral:ON was redesigned in March 2020, and its primary frame is now carbon with an alloy rear triangle, rather than all alloy, and its 504Wh battery is now internal.

It features dual wheel sizes, with a 29in front and 27.5in rear wheel, same like its predecessor. The rear suspension on this CF 7.0 model has 150mm of travel and a RockShox Deluxe Select shock, with power coming from a Shimano Steps E8000 motor and a 12-speed Shimano XT mech.

The engine has enough of power to go up steep hills, and the ride is more bouncy than grounded when going fast.

We also put the £6,499 Spectral:ON CF 9.0 through its paces. Although its components are superior, we believe there are few additional reasons to pick it over the 7.0.

Giant Trance E+ 1 Pro

Best electric mountain bikes

Long-termer Matthew’s Giant Trance E+ 1 Pro. Immediate Media / Simon Bromley

  • £4,499 / €4,999 / $5,600 / AU$ 5,600 As of the time of testing, the price was $7,499
  • Controls are simple to use.
  • Mode of Smart Assist
  • On the heavier side of things

The Yamaha SyncDrive motor on Giant’s Trance E+ 1 provides plenty of range, as does the 500Wh battery.

There are five preset degrees of assistance, but the Smart Assist option, which adjusts motor power according on how you ride, has wowed us. When ascending, it provides a lot of power, then eases down when riding on the flat or descending.

This second-tier model is equipped with a Shimano Deore XT gearbox and brakes, as well as Fox suspension. The Trance E+ 1 Pro, at more than 24kg, is on the hefty side.

Santa Cruz Bullit CC X01 RSV

Best electric mountain bikes

The top-of-the-line model is the Santa Cruz Bullit CC X01 RSV. Immediate Media / Ian Linton

  • As tested, £10,499 / €11,699 / $11,499
  • Bike that is very quick and capable.
  • On higher slopes, it’s possible to overload the forks and brakes.

The Santa Cruz Bullit has been around since 1998, but the redesigned bike is nothing like the original — it’s now a 170mm travel e-MTB with a carbon frame and varied wheel sizes.

During testing, the bike’s climbing abilities stood out the most – due to the Shimano EP8 motor, it seems unstoppable riding upwards.

Downhill, the Bullit is very competent, especially on quicker and rougher terrain, but slower, tighter, and steeper portions need a little more caution.

The Bullit CC R, which utilizes Shimano’s Steps E7000 motor, starts at £6,899 / $7,499 / €7,699 and goes up to £10,499 / $11,499 / €11,699 for the top-of-the-range Bullit CC X01 RSV shown here.

More buyer’s guides for electric bikes

The BikeRadar test team has also compiled recommendations to the best electric road, hybrid, and foldable bikes.

Take into account…

These bikes had a rating of fewer than 4 out of 5 stars in our tests, but they are still worth considering.

Overvolt GLP 2 Elite by Lapierre

Best electric mountain bikes

The Overvolt GLP was created by Lapierre to participate in the burgeoning ebike racing scene. Immediate Media / Andy Lloyd

  • As of the time of testing, the price was £5,399
  • Agile, ready to pivot, and quick to jump over and around obstacles
  • On hills, it may be difficult to manage.

On the Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Elite, intended for the burgeoning motor-assisted racing scene, Nico Vouilloz and Yannick Pontal have both won ebike races.

The carbon frame makes this a better bargain than some of its competitors, and the Overvolt is nimble and ready to please on the trails.

However, the tiny battery restricts range compared to the competitors, and the front-end may be difficult to control on hills.

eOne-Forty 9000 by Merida

Best electric mountain bikes

The Merida eONE FORTY 9000 is the eONE FORTY’s top-of-the-line model. Immediate Media / Steve Behr

  • As tested, £7,000 / €7,199
  • Handling dexterity
  • On difficult terrain, the suspension holds it back.

On the eOne-Forty, Merida employs the same carbon frame with alloy rear end as the eOne-Sixty, but adds a 133mm travel shock and steepens the head and seat tube angles.

For lots of power and range, it utilizes a Shimano Steps E8000 motor with an integrated 504Wh battery in the down tube.

On flowing trails, the eOne-Forty is agile, but its short suspension and front-end geometry make it shaky on steep descents.

Crafty R 29 Mondraker

Best electric mountain bikes

For more aggressive riders, the Mondraker Crafty R 29 full-suspension e-MTB offers plenty of composure. Immediate Media / Andy Lloyd

  • As tested, £5,899 / $7,199
  • Excellent cornering grip and super-stable
  • A strong motor with a balanced weight distribution.

While the Crafty isn’t very energetic, weighing in at 25.1kg and having a lengthy wheelbase, it is extremely composed, feeling super-stable while riding fast and having great cornering grip.

While larger, more aggressive riders will appreciate the Crafty’s ability to tackle rough terrain with ease, smaller or more timid riders may find it difficult to maneuver the bike and ride it dynamically.

Turbo Levo specialized

Best electric mountain bikes

The newest Levo marks a significant engineering leap, having been lengthened, slackened, and losing significant weight. Immediate Media / Mick Kirkman

  • AU$7,500 / £4,249 / €4,799 / $4,975 / £4,249
  • Excellent frame and motor.
  • Speculation is holding you back.

The frame of the Turbo Levo is one of the finest we’ve seen, with excellent geometry and a ride that feels similar to that of a pedal-powered bike. Although it doesn’t produce as much torque as its rivals, we appreciated Spesh’s smooth 2.1 motor.

However, the components spec disappointed us, with shaky brakes and squirmy tyres, preventing the Turbo Levo from scoring better.

Electric mountain bike buyer’s guide

Types of electric mountain bikes

Best electric mountain bikes

Electric bikes are now available for all kinds of mountain riding. Lapierre / Mathieu Echeverri

Whereas first-generation e-MTBs tended to be trail-oriented with about 150mm of travel, today’s e-MTBs cover a growing number of mountain biking disciplines.

At one end of the range, there are overbuilt versions intended for downhill usage, such as the Specialized Turbo Kenovo and the Cannondale Moterra Neo.

On the other hand, lighter machines like the Specialized Turbo Levo SL and the Lapierre eZesty utilize smaller batteries and lighter, less powerful motors, comparable to e-road bikes. In comparison to more robustly constructed bikes, this reduces the bike’s weight and improves agility.

E-MTBs come with either 29in or 27.5in wheels, although ‘mullet builds’ with a 29in front wheel and a 27.5in rear wheel are becoming more popular. This configuration provides excellent front-end stability and greater rear-end agility because to the smaller rear wheel. Canyon Spectral:ON and Vitus E-Escarpe are two examples.

The majority of e-MTBs are full-suspension bikes, although trail-oriented electric hardtails like the Canyon Grand Canyon:ON and Kinesis Rise are also available.

Motors for electric mountain bikes

Best electric mountain bikes

Electric mountain bikes often use motors from Bosch, Shimano, and Yamaha. Lapierre / Mathieu Echeverri

Bosch, Shimano Steps, and Yamaha are popular e-MTB motors, but Fazua’s lightweight motor is increasingly showing up on weight-conscious bikes.

For trouble-free climbing, Bosch Performance Line CX motors provide 600Wh peak power and 75Nm torque. The ride has a natural feel to it, and the energy management is excellent, allowing the system to get a lot of mileage out of its battery.

Shimano’s E-8000 and E-7000 systems are still popular, but they are starting to show their age, with lesser power output and torque than newer competitors. Because of the smaller batteries, it has a shorter range, but it still has a light weight and a compact design, as well as the option to adjust its power.

Shimano, on the other hand, has just released the new EP8 motor. This increases torque to 85Nm while decreasing weight by 200g, minimizing pedaling drag, improving range, and lowering Q-factor. Shimano increased the battery capacity to 630Wh at the same time that the EP8 was released. It’s becoming more common on modern electric mountain bikes.

Meanwhile, Giant’s e-MTBs are powered by Yamaha’s Syncdrive Pro motor. Its Smart Assist mode calculates how much power to provide in a particular scenario using an array of six sensors, including a gradient sensor.

The Fazua motor technology, which is common on road-going ebikes, is also featured on certain contemporary e-MTBs, such as the Lapierre eZesty. It’s smaller, lighter, and has a lower battery capacity. This means you’ll have to put in more pedaling effort, but the bike’s weight will be closer to that of self-propelled versions. Furthermore, the battery may be fully removed and the bike can be ridden without it.

Specialized manufactures its own motors, which are featured on the majority of its electric bikes. For less help and less weight, the Turbo Levo SL trail bike utilizes the low torque SL 1.1 motor and a 320Wh battery.

Battery capacity for electric mountain bikes

Best electric mountain bikes

With an extra battery, the range of certain motorcycles may be increased. Immediate Media / Simon Bromley

Most electric mountain bikes will feature 500Wh to 700Wh batteries to help you up slopes, generate enough power, and offer enough range.

Clean lines are achieved by using an internal battery in the down tube, although there are also e-MTBs that use external batteries. These usually save weight and allow the battery to be positioned lower and more centrally in devices like the Lapierre Overvolt.

However, as previously stated, e-MTBs with lower capacity batteries (down to 250Wh) are becoming more common. They give up a wider range in exchange for a lower weight and the possibility of better handling.

Mountain biking has become a popular form of weekend recreation, with countless riders searching for the ultimate fix for tackling the trails. But there’s a lot to think about when it comes to picking the right eMTB for you, including both the type of trails you want to ride and the rider who’ll be riding along with you.. Read more about best electric mountain bike under £2000 and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best e bike for trails?

The best e bike for trails is the Kalkhoff Prodigy.

What is the best mountain bike for trails and jumps?

The best mountain bike for trails and jumps is a hardtail.

Do eBikes damage trails?

No, eBikes do not damage trails.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • best electric mountain bike 2018
  • best electric mountain bike 2020
  • best electric mountain bike under $1500
  • best hardtail electric mountain bike
  • best electric mountain bike under £1000
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