This article is a transcript of the EMTB Videos review. The video can be found further down in the article.
Trye, a Norwegian company that offers emtbs for hire, invited us to do a first ride review of Rossignol ebikes. There are two bikes in the lineup. The Rossignol E-Track Trail is the top of the line model with 27.5 Plus wheels, 150mm travel up front and 140 mill at the back.
E-Track Trail has got a 500 Watthours battery that is integrated in the downtube. And the downtube is quite chunky. That’s because Rossignol is using the old BT8020 battery that is bigger than the current crop of integrated batteries. Along with the 2.8” wide Plus tyres, it looks a bit dated, and that’s okay. In Norway this is among the cheapest proper trailworthy emtbs, and several competitors are running external batteries. The price might be less competitive in other markets, so keep that in mind if you’re considering this bike.
I usually point out that internal batteries add weight and cost compared to external designs. But not so much in this case. The E-Track Trail weighs in at just under 24 kilos without pedals, so the weight is competitive by todays standard. And it’s not just the weight. The geometry figures are looking good too.
A 65.25* degrees head angle is pretty much perfect for this kind of bike, and so is the 445 mill chainstay length. 443 mill Reach for size Medium and 464 mill for size Large is an average length, nothing wrong with that. Bottom bracket drop of 25mm is quite generous for a 140mm travel frame. Resulting in a bottom bracket height of just under 340 millimeters. I think that’s a good height.
I found this a bit surprising. I was halfway expecting to see a random generic frame from Alibaba, with outdated geometry. The Rossignol E-Track Trail has the same frame as the Felt Redemption. So, coming to think of it, these companies should have the knowledge between them to design a sorted frame.
We tested the bike in size Medium. Even though I’m 181 cm tall, and Fredrik is a few cm taller, we often enjoy riding Medium frames. But we were having issues with the E-Track Trail. Due to a kink in the seat tube, and the way the rear suspension is attached to the frame, the seat post can’t be inserted deep into the frame. So, the E-Track Trail has a short dropper seat post with just 100 millimeters of travel. And we couldn’t get the seat high enough because we were exceeding the minimum insertion for the seat post. The Medium frame would work well for us with a 125 mill dropper. The shallow seat tube could be an issue for some, but in all fairness, most people our size would pick size Large and have no issues.
The E-Track Trail has got good components. The Rockshocx Deluxe R is a well performing shock with no lockout. That doesn’t bother me at all I never ride shocks in the firm setting or locked out anyway. The fork is the entry level Rockshox 35 Gold RL. Far from a plush magic carpet ride, but a rugged fork that will handle big hits. A highly unsurprising choice. Drivetrain is the old SLX 11-speed with an 11-46 teeth cassette offering a nice spread of gears. Brakes are the powerful Shimano MT520, four pot brakes. Good choice! Tyres are decent, it’s the dual comopound rubber from Maxxis, and they’re the old 27.5 by 2.8 inch size.
On the trails
I had forgotten how comfortable the Plus-tyre could be on the trails. Unfortunately, I was soon reminded that it’s difficult combining a high level of comfort with hard riding. After fixing a puncture we increased the air pressure. There is no denying the Plus tyres can be pleasant, but when we’re forced to run high air pressure, we decided we still prefer the narrower 2.5 to 2.6 inch tyres.
We continued riding at a good pace. The E-Track Trail doesn’t have the geometry to be a climbing specialist. But the 445 mill chainstay length is a good compromise, ensuring the Rossignol is a capable climber. On the flat trails we enjoyed the somewhat short chainstays and relatively low weight. The bike felt nimble and handling was pretty effortless. The Shimano E8000 motor was performing well in the climbs. It dished out all the power we would ever want. A review of the motor can be found here.
The slack head angle and low bottom bracket made the bike a capable descender. But most of all it was a playful descender. We were all over the trails, at good speed, searching for challenges.
In Norway, the Rossignol E-Track Trail is a well-priced bike. I’m always looking for the cheapest proper trail bike, and this might just be the one. The E-Track Trail offers lot’s of well performing and solid components. And it’s looking pretty good with the integrated battery. But what stands out is the frame geometry and nimble handling. This has got to be my favorite entry level emtb so far.
This review is a transcript of the video review by EMTB Videos.