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Best Electric Mountain Bikes in 2020 Reviewed

The history of electric bicycles goes back further than most would expect. Way back in the late 1800s, American inventor Ogden Bolton Jr patented a battery-powered bicycle with a hub motor on the rear wheel. This early invention and other similar ones were often slow, clunky, and didn’t include any gears.

Only toward the end of the 1900s did modern components like torque sensors and power controls begin appearing on electric bikes. Around the same time, ‘e-bikes’ began gaining popularity in the Far East when the first pedal-assist electric bike was manufactured in Japan.

By 2007, e-bikes had become a common sight on the streets of major Chinese cities and slowly began finding more favor in the West. Since 2013, sales of e-bikes in Europe have more than doubled to the point that many manufacturers struggle to meet demand.

Rocky Mountains Under Blue Sky

Electric mountain bikes offer a great deal of freedom to explore various terrains. Some even say that e-mountain bikes have introduced a new era of riders who didn’t see the appeal of it before.


Speed and range
Modern e-bikes use high-torque motors to reach speeds of up to 28 mph (45kph) and long-range batteries that will go up to 250 miles (400km) on a single charge. However, more common pedal-assist bikes usually only go about 12 mph (20kph) and cover about 62 miles (100km) on a single charge.

Types
E-bikes fall into two categories – pedal-assist and power-on-demand. As the name suggests, pedal-assist e-bikes require you to pedal for operation, whereas power-on-demand bikes can be controlled from a handlebar-mounted accelerator. In some cases, an e-bike will have both pedal-assistance and a handlebar-mounted controller.

Cost
Electric bicycles tend to cost a bit more than standard bicycles but you can still find a few decent ones for under $1,000 on Amazon. An average price for an electric bike tends to stay in the $4,000 – $6,000 range. The most expensive e-bikes are usually pro-level carbon fiber mountain bikes that would cost a lot even without the extra motor and battery. Prices range from as low as $600 to over $13,000.

Anyway, here are the best mountain eBikes as of today
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Best Electric Mountain Bike of 2020 🏆

 

Santa Cruz Bicycles – Heckler

Carbon CC XX1 Eagle AXS Reserve E-Bike

best full-suspension electric mountain bike by santa cruz bicycles

Trail

Carbon CC / 12-speed / 27.5″ x 2.6″ / 70Nm  250W  20mp/h / Weight: 48lbs

MSRP $13,099 CompetitiveCyclist.com

The Santa Cruz Heckler could quite possibly be the best electric mountain bike in the world! The eye-watering price tag will have some questioning if they’ve read it correctly but rest assured – this bike cuts no corners when it comes to quality. It’s packed from head to toe with the absolute best of the best, from the full carbon frame to the top-of-the-range SRAM drivetrain.

Surprisingly light for an e-MTB, it offers super-smooth gear changes and ultra-responsive suspension. From the Di2 carbon handlebar to the Hollowtech cranks, each component is specially selected for their high strength and lightweight attributes. It’s truly a work of art. The only negative we could find about this bike is how long you’ll have to save to buy one. Sure, you may need to take out a second mortgage but hey – it’ll be worth it!

  • SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS derailleur & shifters
  • Fork: FOX 36-E Float Factory
  • Rear shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, 150mm travel

BackCountry.com – Hecklers starting from $7,399

Availability – Competitive Cyclist


 

Specialized – Turbo Levo 2021′

Out of stock

specialized Turbo Levo emtb

Trail

Aluminum / 12-speed / 29×2.6″ front & 29×2.3″ rear / Max torque: n/a / Max speed: n/a / Pedal Assist Range: n/a / Weight: n/a

MSRP from $5,000 Specialized.com

Specialized is a brand known for its precision and attention to detail, so it’s no surprise that this Specialized electric mountain bike is a well designed and fined-tuned piece of machinery. The high-quality full suspension frame glides effortlessly over rough terrain, leaving the fully-integrated motor and battery barely noticeable to both you and envious onlookers.

One of the most searched e-mountain bikes online

Even the Bluetooth-enabled speed controller is cleverly hidden in the top tube, hiding any sign that this is an electric bike. It’s the perfect bike for those who need some extra uphill power without losing the raw feeling of a standard mountain bike. Lightweight, responsive, and tough – the Turbo Levo is very enjoyable to ride.

  • Rear derailleur: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Fork: RockShox 35 Silver TK, 160mm travel
  • Rear Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select, 150mm travel
  • SRAM Guide RE, 4piston hydraulic disc brakes with 200mm rotors

Availability – Specialized


 

Trek – Powerfly 4 2021′

black trek powerfly electric mountain bike

Trail

Aluminum / 10-speed / XS,S 27.5″ x 2.35″ – M-XL 29″ & 2.3″ / 75Nm 20mp/h / Pedal Assist Range: 60 – 90+ miles / Weight: 52lbs

MSRP $3,700 Trekbikes.com

As the most affordable Trek electric mountain bike in this range, the Powerfly 4 looks and feels like it should cost a lot more than it does. The fully-integrated battery fits seamlessly into the frame giving a clean and professional-looking finish, while the powerful motor makes short work of steep uphill scrambles over loose, rocky surfaces.

Models for both men and women

Trek has managed to keep costs down by using a cheaper fork and brakes with standard Bontrager tires but injects some extra quality flowing with a high-quality drivetrain. Sure, it might not be a professional-level MTB but only the most discerning cyclists will notice the difference. For some exciting weekend fun in the mountains, you’ll struggle to find anything better at this price.

  • Derailleur: Shimano Deore
  • Tektro HD-M265 hydraulic disc brakes, 203mm rotors
  • Fork: Sr Suntour XCM, 80 to 120mm travel (depending on frame size)
trek mid-drive engine

Bosch Performance CX – 250W, 75Nm of torque

Available in-store only – Trek bikes


 

Niner – RIP E9

niner carbon full suspension mountain bike

Trail, All-mountain, Enduro

Aluminum / 12-speed / 29″+ x 2.5″ / 625Wh  20mp/h / Weight: 55.5lbs

MSRP $6,000 JensonUSA

The RIP e9 is a full-suspension electric bike from the high-end outdoor cycling specialists Niner. It’s an imposing piece of machinery that will certainly turn heads both in cities and on the mountain. The striking frame design has a futuristic appearance that is only amplified by the complex rear suspension geometry and sharply inclined down tube with an integrated battery pack.

This is an e-MTB built for downhill charging of the most aggressive kind, with a powerful motor dedicated to launching you back up the mountain for round two. The incredibly soft and responsive suspension is complimented by instantaneous braking power and tactical precision on the handlebars. With adjustable frame technology, raw power at the flip of a switch, and silky-smooth gear changes, the Niner RIP e9 is an absolute pleasure to ride.

  • SRAM SX Eagle derailleur
  • Fork: RockShox Yari RC, 160mm travel
  • Rear shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select, Plus RT, 150mm travel
  • SRAM Guide RE hydraulic disc brakes w/ 200mm rotors
bosch cx engine dual suspension

4 power modes

Availability – JensonUSA / Backcountry


 

Giant – Trance E​+ 3 Pro 2020′

Giant trance electric mountain bike

Trail

Aluminum / 12-speed / 27.5″+ x 2.6″ / 80Nm  20mp/h / Weight: 57lbs

MSRP $4,500 evo.com

This Giant electric mountain bike is one of the most attractive we’ve seen, with a well-concealed, integrated battery pack that is barely noticeable in the frame. It’s not just a pretty design though – the powerful Yamaha motor packs out enough torque to take you straight up a rocky mountain pass without any trouble.

Yamaha’s e-bike motor

With top-class brakes, thick tires, and excellent suspension, this is the perfect e-MTB for days spent charging down the mountain without the slog of cycling back up. With the fast-charging and long-lasting 500Wh power pack, the only batteries you’ll have to worry about charging throughout the day are your own.

  • Derailleur: SRAM SX Eagle
  • Fork: Rock Shox 35 Gold RL, 150mm travel
  • Rear shock: Fox Float DPS Performance,140mm travel
  • Tektro HD-M745, 4-piston Orion hydraulic disc brakes, 203mm rotors
  • 500Wh battery
200mm rotors and derailleur

203mm brake rotors

Availability – evo.com


 

RadPower – RadRover

Fat-tire E-Bike with front suspension

electric fat tire mountain bike

Urban / light trail

Aluminum / 7-speed / 26″ x 4″ / 80Nm 25-45+ miles range / Weight: 69lbs

MSRP $1,500 RadPower

RadRover is more of an urban fat-tire bike compared to most other mountain bikes on this list. Although this model is not built on a full-suspension frame, it still offers plenty of freedom in terms of choosing your trails. Matter of fact, the RadRover is pretty much the only eBike in this list that could conquer sandy or snowy trails with ease. 4″ wide tires are more than enough to use it on beaches, snowy, or muddy trails.

One size frame – fits riders 5’4″ to 6’2″

The riding position is rather upright and comfortable. This is also the only bike in this list that features lights, kickstand, and fenders! An awesome choice for anyone who likes to commute daily through various terrains. Rad Power Bikes offers a great bunch of bikes at a reasonable price tag, so it’s worth checking out the rest of the range as well!

  • Derailleur: Shimano Acera
  • Fork: Rad Power Bikes RST, 80mm travel
  • Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc brakes, 180mm rotors
twist grip throttle

750W on-demand

Availability – RadPower


 

Norco – Sight VLT C3 27.5″

norco full suspension mountain ebike

Trail, All-Mountain, Enduro

Carbon / 12-speed / 27.5×2.5″ & 27.5×2.4″ / 650Wh  20mp/h / Weight: 50 lbs

MSRP $5,399 JensonUSA

When it comes to high quality, full carbon mountain bikes, Norco is one company that is known to deliver the goods. Their new Sight VLT e-MTB range continues this legacy – with an added boost of power. The Sight VLT range won The Loam Wolf’s 2019 e-MTB of the year for its excellent balance, versatility, and liveliness.

Related: Norco bikes review

They are potent, lightweight all-mountain bikes that live up to their purpose – there are very few places in nature you won’t be able to visit with these bikes. The Sight VLT C3 is a full-carbon, full-suspension e-MTB with top quality components – and the price tag to match. Yes, it’s a bit pricey but if you can afford it, you won’t regret it.

  • SRAM SX Eagle derailleur
  • Fork: RockShox Yari RC, 160mm travel
  • Rear shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+ DebonAir Trunnion Mount
  • Shimano BR-MT520, 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes w/ 200mm rotors

 

electric bike charging plug hole

Image source: Norco.com

Availability – JensonUSA


 

Cannondale – Moterra Neo 5

green cannondale electric mountain bikeXC / Trail

Aluminum / 10-speed / 29″ x 2.3″ / 75Nm 60 miles range  20mp/h / Weight: 53lbs

MSRP $4,000 REI.com

Built to take on all kinds of mountainous terrain, this Cannondale electric mountain bike is a trail-blazing beast that’s ready for adventure. Considering the wealth of high-quality components on the Moterra Neo 5, we were expecting a higher price. A SmartForm C2 alloy frame with full suspension and a quality Shimano groupset makes this an excellent MTB in its own right. Add a powerful motor and long-range battery pack and you have a killer electric MTB that can easily compete with the best.

The head tube angle on the Moterra Neo 5 is quite slack, which gives you better stability going downhill but a bit less power on long flats or uphills. However, large 29” tires help to keep it rolling smoothly over those long uphill climbs. It’s the perfect electric mountain bike for hilly, undulating terrain with a lot of technical downhill sections.

  • Shimano Deore derailleur
  • SR Suntour XCR LO Boost, 140mm travel
  • Rear shock – X-Fusion O2 Pro RL,150mm travel
  • Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes, 180mm rotors
bike rear suspension system

X-Fusion O2 Pro RL rear shock with rebound and lockout

Availability – REI


 

Marin – Nail Trail E2 ‘2020

womens electric mountain bike

Trail, All-mountain

Aluminum / 8-speed / 27.5″ x 2.8″ / 70Nm  20mp/h / Weight: 48lbs

MSRP $4,400 JensonUSA

The Marin Nail Trail is a hardtail women’s electric mountain bike with medium to high-quality components and some impressive features. The battery isn’t as well concealed as we would like but the lightweight aluminum frame has a nimble, playful feel that carries the extra motor and battery weight well.

One of the few hardtail mountain eBikes

The dedicated electric SRAM drivetrain is a nice touch that we are starting to see on more bikes these days. It integrates very well with the motor to overcome some issues that older electric mountain bikes struggled with, resulting in a smoother, natural feel when cycling. Coupled with an excellent front fork and strong brakes it offers an impressive all-round package at a decent price.

Marin Nail Trail E1 – Starting from $3,300 at JensonUSA

  • Derailleur: SRAM EX1
  • Fork: RockShox Revelation RC, 140mm travel
  • Dropper post: X-Manic, 120-150mm travel
  • Shimano BR-MT520 hydraulic disc brakes, 203mm rotors

Availability – JensonUSA


 

Ghost – Slamr S1.9+

rei electric bike

Trail

Carbon CC / 12-speed / 27.5×2.5″ -F & 27.5×2.8″ -R / 70Nm 20mp/h 20-63mile range / Weight: 50lbs

MSRP $4,300 REI.com

Ghost’s Hybride SL AMR series is an excellent range of medium to high-quality mountain eBikes. Although it’s not exactly cheap, the S1.9+ is actually one of the more affordable models and offers great value for money. Weaker riders, in particular, will appreciate the ‘Boost’ mode which helps you sail up even the steepest of ascents with minimal effort. There is also a convenient Eco mode to save battery if you plan to cycle over a long distance.

Related: Ghost Bikes Overview

However, some features are missing. The battery is not integrated into the frame and there is no detailed display panel. While these additions don’t detract from the overall operation of the bike, their absence might put off some more discerning riders.

  • Derailleur: SRAM SX Eagle
  • Fork: RockShox Recon RL, 140mm travel
  • Rear shock: RockShox Deluxe, 140mm travel
  • Tektro TKD94 hydraulic disc brakes, 203/180mm rotors

rear system link by ghost bikes

Availability – REI


 

 

FAQ

What is the best electric mountain bike?

The best mountain eBike is the one that fits your budget and has the right geometry and level of components to your riding needs. Mountain biking has many different disciplines, but all of the bikes here are fully ready to hit the trails, to say the least. We are not big fans of the supermarket nor the Walmart electric mountain bikes, as mountain biking in general is something where you really wouldn’t want to cut corners in terms of your own safety!

Is an electric mountain bike worth it?

These days, electric mountain bikes are gaining mainstream appeal, making them more affordable and more widely accepted. In particular, older riders or cyclists with injuries are able to enjoy cycling again with electric bikes. Furthermore, they can save a lot of time and energy going up a mountain. If you wish to dedicate more time enjoying the fast-paced, downhill sections of a mountain you’ll find an e-MTB to be an invaluable resource.

Is it safe to ride an electric mountain bike?

With speeds seldom breaching the 20mph mark, electric mountain bikes don’t pose any more risk than a standard bike. In most cases, the small motors only provide minor assistance and aren’t powerful enough to cause any real danger on the roads. So long as you familiarise yourself with the controls, use a helmet, and follow proper traffic laws, you should be as safe as you would be on a normal bike.

Where is the best selection of electric bikes to buy online?

  • JensonUSA – Norco, Marin Bikes, Niner, Intense Cycles, Decinci
  • BackCountry – Santa Cruz Bicycles, Pivot, Niner e-mountain bikes
  • Aventuron – A small selection of Cannondale eBikes
  • Trek, Specialized, other main brand official sites!

Customer Reviews

How fast does an electric bike can go?

The fastest stock electric mountain bikes can reach up to 28 mph (45km/h) but most don’t go above 20 mph (32km/h) on flat terrain. In many cases, a fit cyclist will be able to outpace the motor just by pedaling alone, so you can go as fast as you would on a normal bike. Electric bike motors are more focused on providing pedal assistance to save on energy rather than achieving high speeds.

Are motorized bikes worth it?

Electric bikes offer a great alternative to traditional bicycles, and the trend nor the demand hasn’t seen a decrease so far. The affordability of electric bikes has improved well over the past 5 years, but there’s still a lot of time before we could say that about electric-assist mountain bikes. It’s just that mountain bikes in general tend to cost more due to their stronger component being used! motor-assisted bikes are the future!

Full-suspension electric mountain bike vs hardtail eMTB?

There’s no question that full-suspension mountain bikes offer better comfort, while there are a variety of hardtail models available as well. As the bikes are already assisted by electric motors, it is way more convenient to climb with a full-suspension mountain bike, while on the other hand in some cases should the battery run out, it is way easier to pedal with a hardtail mountain bike.

Can electric bikes go up steep hills?

Almost all electric bikes will be able to climb steep hills but usually, you will still need to provide some pedal assistance. Only Specialized e-bikes in a class similar to that of light motorbikes will be able to climb steep hills on their engine power alone. The higher the torque of the motor, the less amount of effort you will need to exert when pedaling uphill. Also note that the more uphills you do, the quicker the battery will die.

How durable are electric bikes?

Electric bikes have come a long way in the past decade and nowadays you can get excellent products that will last years without trouble. However, the growing popularity of electric bikes has also spurned on many cheap manufacturers. Some cyclists who have purchased lower quality electric bikes complain of motor failures and short battery life so it’s best to go with mid to high-quality products.

As there are higher torque and weight to be thrown around the trails, components on electric bikes are made of stronger and more durable materials.

How heavy are electric mountain bikes?

An average electric mountain bike weighs around 50 lbs, with a max capacity of 300lbs of the rider.

Mid-drive or hub drive?

All of the bikes reviewed in this article use a mid-drive motor, which is generally used on higher-end e-bikes. Hub-drive motors, on the other hand, are often used on city/urban electric bikes.

Derailleur / Internal gearing

Although there are already electronic shifters and derailleurs on the market, we haven’t noticed the internal-geared electric mountain to review. Derailleur and sprocket systems are dominated in the electric mountain bike range.

Chain vs Belt

Electric mountain bikes all come with a specific e-bike chain and a derailleur system, where there’s a single cog in the front. Although there are considerable benefits to belt-drive bikes, unfortunately, we haven’t seen belt being used in the electric mountain bike industry so far.


 

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