Choosing my first (cheap) e-MTB

matteof93

New Member
Feb 9, 2024
14
8
Italy
Hi all,

I am an Italian biker who rides in the Alps, which means: steep and technical terrain, a lot of elevation gain, difficult descents, ...
I already own a road bike, an XC hardtail and an all-mountain full-suspension bike (150mm front&rear Orbea Occam, 15 kg).

Since I already have these bikes I was thinking about buying an e-bike with these use cases in mind:
  1. I don't have much time to ride, so I can ride uphill with the e-bike in turbo mode to gain as much elevation as possible and ride back home on singletracks (probably about 1h to do a 1000m elevation gain loop, since now with the XC hardtail I need 1h to ride the first 600m and descend back home)
  2. Use it when I am too tired to ride a normal bike or I am too lazy
  3. Use it when I just want to ride as many downhills as possible around my home
  4. Use it when I want to do super-long rides with a lot of climbing
I am 30 years old, the biggest elevation gain I can ride with my normal bikes is:
  • about 2000m with my AM bike
  • about 3000m with the XC hardtail
  • about 4500-5000m with my road bike
Keeping in mind all these info...do you think that a full-power 25kg e-MTB with, let's say, 170mm front&rear, would be a good choice? Since I have never tried any e-bike, I have no idea whether I would make use of the power of a traditional e-bike or, since I can push significant watts on my own, a lightweight e-bike would be a better choice.

My budget is limited, 3000 to 4000€.
 

lovespicyfood

New Member
Nov 24, 2023
41
12
California
I've only been an e-mtb rider for the last ~3 months so I'm no expert but thought I'd reply considering no one else has yet. You are obviously in great shape to be able to climb that much!

When I initially looked at e-mtbs I thought a lighter power lighter e-mtb would be more appealing. I thought weight would be really a big drawback on the downhills but I've found most of the time it helps where I ride, I don't have to pick lines as carefully as the weight carries the bike through and does not unsettle the bike as much. As I read a lot of posts, it seemed most people recommended a full power e-mtb, the thinking being if you are going electric, why not go all out and dial it down as needed.

I got a Spectral ON CF8 for $4.4k USD. Not sure on your pricing in Europe but I've seen the CF7 for as low as $4.2K USD. It's been a great purchase so far and using profiles on the Shimano EP801, I can dial down assist to make the bike essentially feel like a normal bike from an exertion standpoint.

Given your points of interest, I feel a trail or enduro e-mtb is probably your sweet spot. I have the Spectral ON with the 900 watt battery and it's pretty impressive. You're in much better shape than most so you can likely get a ton of miles in per charge. I almost always ride two good rides per charge. With mostly Trail mode, I guestimate I can probably get at least 30-40 miles per pack with ~5,000' of climbing.
 

B1rdie

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
Feb 14, 2019
831
1,033
Brazil
I see the trend for light ebikes as the answer for your question...
Buy a good used full power ebike for $3.000 from someone who's paying 10.000 on an light E
I ride a spectralon 150mm mixed wheel and cube 170mm 27,5 f/r and believe that both could satisfy you.
 

mustclime

Active member
Apr 19, 2023
237
147
New Jerzy
Scott Ransom eRide 920, 3949€...even better ;)
Not sure of the exchange rate but I think the Marin is cheaper. I am pretty sure the Alpine trail is getting a redesign so the are marked down.

IMG_2733.png
 

franciscoasismm

Active member
May 31, 2021
192
216
Badajoz
Hi all,

I am an Italian biker who rides in the Alps, which means: steep and technical terrain, a lot of elevation gain, difficult descents, ...
I already own a road bike, an XC hardtail and an all-mountain full-suspension bike (150mm front&rear Orbea Occam, 15 kg).

Since I already have these bikes I was thinking about buying an e-bike with these use cases in mind:
  1. I don't have much time to ride, so I can ride uphill with the e-bike in turbo mode to gain as much elevation as possible and ride back home on singletracks (probably about 1h to do a 1000m elevation gain loop, since now with the XC hardtail I need 1h to ride the first 600m and descend back home)
  2. Use it when I am too tired to ride a normal bike or I am too lazy
  3. Use it when I just want to ride as many downhills as possible around my home
  4. Use it when I want to do super-long rides with a lot of climbing
I am 30 years old, the biggest elevation gain I can ride with my normal bikes is:
  • about 2000m with my AM bike
  • about 3000m with the XC hardtail
  • about 4500-5000m with my road bike
Keeping in mind all these info...do you think that a full-power 25kg e-MTB with, let's say, 170mm front&rear, would be a good choice? Since I have never tried any e-bike, I have no idea whether I would make use of the power of a traditional e-bike or, since I can push significant watts on my own, a lightweight e-bike would be a better choice.

My budget is limited, 3000 to 4000€.
I have been with ebike for 6 years I recommend that you look here "Kleinanzeigen" there are very good new and almost new opportunities

Screenshot_20240302_150921.jpg
 

cabbynate

Active member
Sep 30, 2019
126
111
Las Vegas NV
Marin Alpine Trail e1…. Best deal I can think of for your use.
My Girlfriend has one. It's a nice bike for the price. The 500 watt hr battery is just enough to get the OP up as high as he wants to go. Maybe even 2 twice. Great Idea mate. The only thing is the 2 amp character. It take about 6 hrs to change from 1 battery bar. My Rocky Mountain Powerplay Altitude has a 720 watt hr battery and with the supplied 4 amp character I can charge mine from 2% to full in 4 hrs or so.
 

mustclime

Active member
Apr 19, 2023
237
147
New Jerzy
My Girlfriend has one. It's a nice bike for the price. The 500 watt hr battery is just enough to get the OP up as high as he wants to go. Maybe even 2 twice. Great Idea mate. The only thing is the 2 amp character. It take about 6 hrs to change from 1 battery bar. My Rocky Mountain Powerplay Altitude has a 720 watt hr battery and with the supplied 4 amp character I can charge mine from 2% to full in 4 hrs or so.
The Alpine trail E1 has the 630wh battery, the E has the 500wh battery.
 

mustclime

Active member
Apr 19, 2023
237
147
New Jerzy
No, it's a 504wh battery. The Alpine trail E2 has a 630wh battery.
The alpine trail e has the 504wh battery, the e1 and e2 have the 630wh, below is a screenshot shot from the Marin sight of the e1 model. In the 2024 model year Marin came out with the e level models to make an extra low entry level e bike.

IMG_2739.png
 

cabbynate

Active member
Sep 30, 2019
126
111
Las Vegas NV
The alpine trail e has the 504wh battery, the e1 and e2 have the 630wh, below is a screenshot shot from the Marin sight of the e1 model. In the 2024 model year Marin came out with the e level models to make an extra low entry level e bike.

View attachment 135632
Her's is a 2023. I see they made some up grades to them as well as the battery. Better drive train as well. That is a lot of bike for $3,700 dollars. I think my girlfriend paid more for her 2023. Crazy. Thanks for posting the new bike info. If I needed a new EMTB this would be on my shirt list..
 

Brian VT USA

New Member
Oct 2, 2023
75
55
VT, USA
The only thing is the 2 amp character. It take about 6 hrs to change from 1 battery bar. My Rocky Mountain Powerplay Altitude has a 720 watt hr battery and with the supplied 4 amp character I can charge mine from 2% to full in 4 hrs or so.
Quick charge is nice if you're in a situation that requires it but it shortens the life expectancy of the battery.
It's best to charge slowly whenever possible and only to 80% if you're not going to need all 100%.
I got a charger that I can set from 1-4 amps. and shut off at 80% or 100%.
I usually charge at 1 amp while I'm working during the day and only to 80% since that's plenty for my usual after-work ride.
 
Last edited:

Mrj35

New Member
Sep 29, 2023
108
62
canada
Hi all,

I am an Italian biker who rides in the Alps, which means: steep and technical terrain, a lot of elevation gain, difficult descents, ...
I already own a road bike, an XC hardtail and an all-mountain full-suspension bike (150mm front&rear Orbea Occam, 15 kg).

Since I already have these bikes I was thinking about buying an e-bike with these use cases in mind:
  1. I don't have much time to ride, so I can ride uphill with the e-bike in turbo mode to gain as much elevation as possible and ride back home on singletracks (probably about 1h to do a 1000m elevation gain loop, since now with the XC hardtail I need 1h to ride the first 600m and descend back home)
  2. Use it when I am too tired to ride a normal bike or I am too lazy
  3. Use it when I just want to ride as many downhills as possible around my home
  4. Use it when I want to do super-long rides with a lot of climbing
I am 30 years old, the biggest elevation gain I can ride with my normal bikes is:
  • about 2000m with my AM bike
  • about 3000m with the XC hardtail
  • about 4500-5000m with my road bike
Keeping in mind all these info...do you think that a full-power 25kg e-MTB with, let's say, 170mm front&rear, would be a good choice? Since I have never tried any e-bike, I have no idea whether I would make use of the power of a traditional e-bike or, since I can push significant watts on my own, a lightweight e-bike would be a better choice.

My budget is limited, 3000 to 4000€.
over in canada here. I went with a norco range vlt, ive got 190mm front travel 180mm rear, 63 degree head angle. Its a tank but it shreds uphill and downhill. Got it for around 6k cad with tax with a 900Wh battery and a 540wh battery. Im guessing the equivalent would be the YT Decoy for you in your area, not sure if norco is a widely available option in your area.
 

michael_bc

New Member
Sep 4, 2023
28
29
Laax, Switzerland
Keeping in mind all these info...do you think that a full-power 25kg e-MTB with, let's say, 170mm front&rear, would be a good choice? Since I have never tried any e-bike, I have no idea whether I would make use of the power of a traditional e-bike or, since I can push significant watts on my own, a lightweight e-bike would be a better choice.

My budget is limited, 3000 to 4000€.
Hey Matteo.

I live in the Alps and might provide some insight as I own both a full-powered and lightweight e-bike.

Most of the lightweight e-bikes now have 60Nm or more. The difference with a full-powered bike isn't that huge. The main differences are agility and liftability. If you cross many obstacles with your bike on your shoulder, go with the lighter bike. This is huge. I know plenty of people in the Alps that leave their E-bike at home because it sucks to carry it over a log or over a river.

Myself, at this moment, I prefer agility over plowing power, so I prefer the lightweight bike at the moment.

The amount of travel is personal depending on riding style. It also depends on the % you are going up, flat, and down. I think anything around ±150mm works. My feeling is that people tend to exaggerate the difference between 130mm, 150mm, and 170mm. Especially on E-bikes as they all tend to plow just fine. How happy are you with your Occam and what would you change from it?

Considering your budget I would just go for any bike that offers a massive discount. Do you know wheelsports.de? They have fantastic deals on older models. Last month, I was able to back-order a 2023 Orbea Rise from them at a killer price.
 

Chunky

Member
Subscriber
Dec 26, 2019
25
8
South England
I've had several emtbs in the past. Started with a Giant, then on to specialized and now have a Merida E-oneSixty 500 which I think is the best of the bunch. For me and my style of riding anyway. The gearing isn't the best though and on my list to upgrade at some point along with a better fork. But the standard fork works pretty good. I'm a fork snob which is more of the issue.
It has a 630 battery which covers me for around a 50 mile ride on the South Downs.
 

matteof93

New Member
Feb 9, 2024
14
8
Italy
Alright, I am still looking for my first e-mtb. The VITUS E-Mythique is not an option anymore since it cannot be found anywhere in the EU. I have found two MTBs at 3999€:
  • Scott Ransom eRide 920: Bosch Perf. CX, 625Wh, ZEB 180mm fork + FOX X2 180mm rear shock, SLX 4-piston brakes, 29" front and rear, Shimano drivetrain
  • Niner WFO e9: Bosch Perf. CX, 625Wh, ZEB 180mm fork + FOX VAN COIL 180mm rear shock, SRAM brakes, mullet, SRAM drivetrain
Pros of the Scott: Shimano drivetrain and brakes (no need to change anything), probably about 1kg lighter
Cons of the Scott: X2 might not be as reliable as the Van Coil

Pros of the Niner WFO: coil shock that is also more reliable (I heard the X2 has many issues), 10-15mm shorter wheelbase
Cons of the Niner WFO: I would have to change SRAM brakes and drivetrain (SX is not enough, I want at least NX)

Geometry-wise they are not the most modern bikes (I would have to buy a size large to get a 470mm reach, while nowadays that is usually the reach of a M frame) but that is not a problem since I have long legs and short torso, meaning that even with a 470/480 mm seat tube I can use a 170 mm dropper post. The Niner has a 27.5" rear wheel and a bit shorter wheelbase, while the Scott can also be used with a 27.5" rear wheel but it has a longer wheelbase (mostly due to the fact that is has 15mm longer chainstays to accomodate a 29" wheel...chainstay length is 465mm vs 450mm).

Additionally, I have also found:
  • Haibike All-MTN 7 at 4160€: Yamaha PW-X3 motor, 720Wh battery, geometry kind of in the middle between the Scott and Niner, Magura MT7 brakes, SRAM GX drivetrain, mullet wheel setup, FOX 36 Performance 160 fork, FOX DPS rear shock.
  • Ghost E-Riot EN AL Universal at 4200€: Bosch Perf. CX, 625Wh, Fox 38 Performance 170mm fork + Marzocchi Bomber CR 160mm coil shock, Formula Cura 4 brakes, 29" front and rear, Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain
Pros of the Haibike: 720Wh battery
Cons of the Haibike: Yamaha motor maybe is not as energy-efficient as the Bosch, I also read it is almost too powerful. Fox 36 instead of ZEB or Fox 38, rear shock needs to be replaced.

Pros of the Ghost: Fox 38 fork, coil shock, top drivetrain and brakes, 455mm chainstay despite 29" rear wheel (Niner 450, Haibike 460, Scott 465), 38mm bb drop (important given the weight of an e-bike, Niner 20mm, Haibike 20mm, Scott 22mm).

The Scott and the Ghost are the only bikes where I would not need to change anything. Same motor, same battery, the Ghost is 170/160 vs 180/180 of the Fox (but 170/160 is more than enough for me). Ghost is also probably going to be lighter due to better components (no idea about the frame), Ghost also has more modern geometry, shorter wheelbase and shorter chainstays.

Here is a picture of the Ghost. In my opinion it is the best bike out of those 4, but the problem is that I cannot find any review online...not even on YouTube. The 625Wh battery is not a problem, I could buy a 250Wh battery extender. Moreover, with 625Wh that means I can get a 300W constant power output from the motor for 2 hours. I can input easily 200W pedaling, which gives a total of 500W. With that amount of power I think I can probably climb 3 times the mountain where I live (10 km tarmac climb, 900m elevation gain) supposing that 300W from the battery + 200W is enough to reach the top in 40 minutes (280W avg. power is enough for me to climb it with my road bike in 51-52 minutes)...that would mean 2700m elevation gain with a 625 Wh battery (I am sure I could keep going much more, with my road bike I am used to output about 160W avg. power for 6-8 hours without any issue).
93ER1020_PY21_E-RIOT_EN_UNIVERSAL_AL_BLU_2048x2048.png
 

Polar

Member
Jun 16, 2023
204
314
Norway
I suppose you have checked out all the Specialized ebikes on sale these days since these are the ones you now have on your final list.
 

Ride 2d@y

New Member
Jul 12, 2023
60
59
Mexico
Ghost E-Riot w/625 battery at 4,124 Euros is probably not smart system - so you do not have option of range extender. Also looks like it has "old purion' if that matters etc. Great value however.
 

matteof93

New Member
Feb 9, 2024
14
8
Italy
Ghost E-Riot w/625 battery at 4,124 Euros is probably not smart system - so you do not have option of range extender. Also looks like it has "old purion' if that matters etc. Great value however.
Yes, the Ghost probably has the "old" Bosch, meaning that I can't see the battery percentage on the display (Purion instead of Kiox) and I cannot use the battery extender unless I modify the original battery. I do not really care about anything else since I already have a Garmin 820, so all I want is a way to increase/decrease the assistance level of the motor pressing a button and see how much battery is still available. However I guess I won't need any battery extender unless in the case of very long rides where I carry a backpack anyway, so in that case carrying a spare 500 Wh PowerTube battery could solve the issue (ok, there is the problem of the weight of the backpack in that case).

I also want the possibility to customize the assistance level of the motor and an "auto" mode that automatically adjust the motor output depending on the terrain (I would use it basically only when the terrain is rapidly chainging, such as technical climbs).

Another possible bike: Stilus (Decathlon) E-Big Mountain. 4599€, but I would get many bonus points on my Decathlon card, about 680€ in total...so the bike would actually cost about 3900€. I would spend those 680€ anyway some time in the future for other products at Decathlon so I consider the price of the bike to be actually 3900€.

Z1 coil fork, Bomber CR shock, Bosch CX smart system with 750Wh battery and Kiox display, decent geometry, mullet. The only drawback basically is the weight (27kg)...oh, and the SRAM Code R brakes.

 

matteof93

New Member
Feb 9, 2024
14
8
Italy
Another important question: do Bosch motors require to take the bike to an authorized Bosch dealer in order to update/upgrade/modify something? I am talking about the power curve depending on the mode (eco, tour, ...), firmware updates, etc.

I have enough experience to take care of all the maintenance on my bikes, except for suspension service; therefore I would happily avoid going to an authorized dealer for basic operations like a software/firmware upgrade.
 

Ride 2d@y

New Member
Jul 12, 2023
60
59
Mexico
Why re-invent the wheel? Buy a (new or used) Levo/Kenevo with Mission Control - it really is amazing app etc
 

matteof93

New Member
Feb 9, 2024
14
8
Italy
Why re-invent the wheel? Buy a Levo/Kenevo with Mission Control - it really is amazing app etc
Turbo Levo (700Wh battery) costs at least 4500€ with crap fork, shock and brakes. I need to add at least 1000€ to upgrade those parts.
 

Planemo

E*POWAH Elite
Mar 12, 2021
578
676
Essex UK
Yes, the Ghost probably has the "old" Bosch, meaning that I can't see the battery percentage on the display (Purion instead of Kiox)

Can easily solve that problem by fitting a Volspeed ;)

and I cannot use the battery extender unless I modify the original battery.
Some non-smart Bosch bikes had an official option for a 500wh extender including my Haibike. Unless you are being specific to a particular make/model?
 

Polar

Member
Jun 16, 2023
204
314
Norway
Turbo Levo (700Wh battery) costs at least 4500€ with crap fork, shock and brakes. I need to add at least 1000€ to upgrade those parts.
All the other bikes you have looked at have crap brakes and other crap components so maybe it's time to realise you won't get a 10K bike at 4K🥺
 

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