Like with every e-Bike on the market currently, electric mountain bikes are very much in their infancy. Moving into the 2021 model year has seen significant innovation and improvement in this market segment. Across the board, with much regard, a new player in the market, Haibike is battling it out for best electric mountain bike.
The Haibike XDuro series of bikes is the real deal. Everyone that has ridden one at Eurobike or Interbike trade shows has been duly impressed with the bikes. The suspension designs are top-notch, as well as the overall geometry of the bikes. Many electric bikes have flaws, such as geometry problems since they are designing around a motor and battery, rather than the rider. New integrations such as with the Haibike solve these issues and the quality is immediately noticed.
Top Pick: Haibike XDuro
We chose the Haibike brand and the XDuro series for a variety of reasons as our top pick. The first notable aspect is the Bosch drive system. Bosch is known worldwide and has one of the best support networks for their products available.
In the last year, many brands have been scrambling to adopt new drive systems, and then integrate a battery into the frame in a reasonable way. When Haibike came to market with these aspects clean and integrated it made many take notice. The XDuro series has integrated cradle type motor mounts, this allows the use of almost every major drive system from Bosch, Shimano, and Yamaha. This reach into every worldwide market is excellent and allows for great serviceability.
For men and ladies bikes, there used to be major differences in frame design. With ladies’ bikes being smaller, battery placement was limited, usually to the point of putting the battery on an ugly rack and having exposed wiring leading to the motor drive system. It was barely a professional-looking system. Haibike and similar bikes now can completely hide everything, as the battery integrates into the downtube, without impacts on frame geometry and standover height.
Really consider the Haibike XDuro. Whether you choose the Full Life models or the more aggressive NDuro models, you will find a well-designed bike that brings real value.
Best High-End Electric: LaMere
Our choice for the best electric mountain bike for high end consumers would be the LaMere Cycles Diode carbon fiber 27.5 model.
Most e-Bikes are made of aluminum currently. Carbon is an awesome material but usually reserved for race bikes or high-level enthusiasts. The use of carbon by LaMere allows them to mold a frame that allows for smooth integration of the battery and motor mounts as if the frame was made for it all along. It has!
Most Affordable Electric Mountain Bike: Accolmile Electric MTB
There are so many inexpensive electric mountain bikes available. Finding the best one is really more about price, and unfortunately, when you cut price you cut quality on bicycles. Manufacturers will put inferior forks, or brakes, or even drivetrains in order to cut costs and improve profits. Most bikes have a minuscule profit margin, factor in tariffs, and taxes and you can understand pricing.
For a fun inexpensive electric mountain bike check out the Accolmile Electric Mountain Bike. The long-lasting battery and disc brakes make riding most trails easier albeit slower. With the electric motor, you can conquer almost every trail within reason.
Best Cruising Electric Bike: Pedego Ford Super Cruiser
Not everyone wants to be ripping down trails at 30mph. With that we present the Pedego Ford Super Cruiser.
Many cruisers trace their lineage back to the infancy of mountain bikes. After all mountain bikes were cruisers at one point but now modernized in a variety of ways. Pedego is no different. With the Super Cruiser, you could use the bike both on and off roads.
Most people buying a leisure bike at this price range won’t be using it on a level beyond its design. A fire road or a dirt road in the country would be easy for a bike like this. But by any means, if you are going to ride aggressively, buy the right bike.
Key Considerations for the Best Electric Moutain Bike
I would easily recommend a purchase during the 3rd quarter of 2020 if you can. Most current electric bikes available at this time do not have the most recent round of tariffs applied to their pricing. Bikes that have arrived after September of the year will have tariffs of 25 or 29% applied to the pricing here in the USA.
Be aware that in Europe and the US that electric vehicles out of China are a target for the government. This industry is taking off, and China is manufacturing at very low costs on purpose to gain massive market share. Some companies have already applied price increases to compensate for current and proposed governmental actions.
Understanding e-Bikes could take pages of data to really get to everything. However, it really comes down to one thing: Wattage. Ask any cyclist and they will tell you that wattage dictates nearly everything on a bike, and an e-Bike is no different.
As you ride, motor or not, it takes a certain wattage to accelerate, to maintain speed, and in general keep going. The faster you go, the more wattage is needed. If you bog down, say on a steep hill, torque is needed to get you rolling. This is very much the horsepower versus torque explanation, except we use watts instead of horsepower.
Ok, the first true consideration of features is usage location. In different parts of the world, there are restrictions on electric bikes. Unfortunately, Europe has some pretty deep restrictions, where in general most e-Bikes motors are around 250-350 watts. Due to rapid adoption, European based designs currently dominate the market.
In other parts of the world, restrictions are the same as in Europe or can be more open, such as in the USA. Currently, only 13 or so states in the US have restrictions, but they are based on speed, rather than wattage. In general, the US uses a 3 classification system, where the first 2 classes the bikes are legal on any surface, and a class 3 bike is only legal where motor vehicles operate due to their higher speed capabilities. Class 3 usually is banned from designated bike paths.
A few years ago, battery technology frankly sucked. Both the output and longevity were quite poor. Some systems were 24 volts based and very low amps. Low-end models today may still be 36 volts and still low amps with poor quality cells.
Great, now we have 3 technical terms, watts, volts, and amps. All three are beyond important in the electric bike world and the car world for that matter. If you multiply volts times amps you get amp-hours. Essentially, how much can the battery put out, and for how long? In theory, we want very high volts AND amps, just like a Tesla car. However, if your motor is low watts, it can only realize so much from the battery, or vice versa, a large motor with an undersized battery will waste the power quickly.
Most modern batteries utilize a series of 18650 cells. Normally 4-5 series are pulled together, and using a battery management system will formulate how the battery will work. Most of the cells are not working at 100% of their capability. That helps their life and cuts down on heat. The harder you use a cell, both charging and discharging will cut its life down. 18650 cells are what Tesla utilized in its first two generations of cars.
Unfortunately, there are very few systems that can allow you to regain power. Perhaps only one current company can offer it, and with that, it isn’t mainstream or widely available. In general, regeneration is not all that practical on bikes at this moment.
Many have thought to try to have the rider generate power through a generator of some sort, to then power a motor. Very similar to a hybrid car design. We run into a few small problems.
First off is most motors want to run at higher voltages for performance purposes. Most humans can barely maintain 200 watts of pedaling. Combine these two factors together and your recipe does not come out all that great. Reverse the recipe for regeneration and you will see that speed, time, and inertia are so low, that there is not much energy to regain.
If you can get your hands on the newest of the Haibike NDuro series of bikes, it is really worth your time. With the advanced suspension, up to 7″ of travel front and rear depending on the model, the NDuro series of bikes are all excellent choices as best electric mountain bikes.
There are tons of other choices as well, some less aggressive, and the same potential for fun. Many people do not see the utility in e-Bikes, but they are finding their place for transportation, rehabilitation, and opening up commuting options. Whether you start out with an inexpensive fat bike electric, or something similar to a traditional MTB tire, there are choices for everyone.