Ebike weight - does it make a difference ?

Jeff McD

Well-known member
Aug 5, 2018
330
340
Kona, Hawaii
Got my S Works Levo down to 43.25 pounds and I can't tell you how much more enjoyable the ride is. It is so much more flickable at high speed downhill and so much more maneuverable in every setting. However I also went to narrower tires, 61 mm at the widest. That also helps the ride at speed.
Admittedly this takes quite a bit of money but if you spend your entire adult life waking up to go to the emergency room for patients or deliver babies in the middle of the night you keep promising yourself there's gonna be a reward someday. Trust me on this, ha ha.
 

Pan

New Member
Oct 27, 2020
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19
Qué. Canada
So you honestly don't think a beginner looking to progress/improve through learning basic skills. for example manuals, bunny hops and jumping would see any benefit switching from a dog heavy 25kg Ebike to something in the 21kg range?

It doesn't actually cost any more to choose an off the shelf 22kg Ebike than the hordes of 25kg Ebikes.

I agree that a 17kg SL is going to be far more manageable for the average 60kg woman than a 23kg full motor Levo and bike weight to rider weight ratio for the two of you is fairly similar.
It's not as simple as that though, Strength (especially upper body and core) and body mass are two entirely different things though.

The general rule is the lighter for the same price is better, for sure. Less certain you can easily get a 22kg bike at the same price, from what i see it is more like 1 grand/kg once you have reached a certain level. That level is not worth it for a beginner (unless you can afford the luxury), after a few years expreience, and once the desires/objectives set then spending more to feather it on a second replacement bike makes sense.

I stand corrected the SL for my wife offers similar weight ratio. I am surprised the market has not produced more women models, that will probably come.
 

BAMBAMODA

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I got my ebike down to 35lbs.
It was shit tho.
Like all things in life I view everything like a woman.
So with this ebike it was super light. You could man handle it around everywhere with ease. But you were always afraid to break it.

I upgraded the shocks to some legit ones and added some serious bouncy rubber.

You want it light bit also you want some weight in all the right places. Suspension and tires are areas where some extra ass is just gonna be more fun.

so to answer your question, are you just laying on top of it working hard or are you throwing it all over? If you’re just laying on it then likely it could be a Harley Davisson. If you want to see how much god loves you and test permanent injury then burn the money and make it as light as you desire. Just remember that there is a limit.
 
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Pan

New Member
Oct 27, 2020
52
19
Qué. Canada
The general rule is the lighter for the same price is better, for sure. Less certain you can easily get a 22kg bike at the same price, from what i see it is more like 1 grand/kg once you have reached a certain level. That level is not worth it for a beginner (unless you can afford the luxury), after a few years expreience, and once the desires/objectives set then spending more to feather it on a second replacement bike makes sense.

I stand corrected the SL for my wife offers similar weight ratio. I am surprised the market has not produced more women models, that will probably come.

Actually, wifés bike is more 20 kg and mine 23.6 kg (8 pounds diff) giving respective ratios of .33 (one third) for her and .26 for me (almost 1/4 my weight). If i was to have her ratio my bike would weigh 29.3 kg thats equivalent of 5.74 kg more. That ratio difference remains huge even with her on a alu SL. The difference of .07 on .26 is 27% more bike for her weight.
 

steve_sordy

Wedding Crasher
Nov 5, 2018
6,790
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What about from the bike's viewpoint?
Take the power/torque characteristics of each motor and see what it has to cope with.

It may well be that your wife's bike is a larger proportion of her weight than your combo. But her motor/battery combo has less to do overall. All your wife has to do is to use the motor a little bit more than you do to make up for the extra proportional weight.

When my grandson rides my emtb, despite it being a huge bike for him, he really flies!
 

Pan

New Member
Oct 27, 2020
52
19
Qué. Canada
There is no general rule. I ride one if the cheapest 170mm Eebs available. it's 21.4kg with pedals.
It was just over £3k all in
Ok, that’s your opinion. Name me one sporting article that’s better heavyer at the same price except dumbells !
 

Yoak

Active member
Apr 5, 2020
207
152
Norway
I’ve ridden the Rail 5 and 7 quite a bit, and i will say that the Rail 9.8 is definitely more playful. I didn’t except to notice much difference between the 7 and 9.8, but was surprised how much more planted the 7 was. It kind of sticks to the ground more. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad for beginners though
 

Gary

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But if we just use mountainbiking as an example. A DH bike built too light actually loses performance. and plenty lightweight components lose durability/longevity and performance if built too light.
 

Pan

New Member
Oct 27, 2020
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19
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But if we just use mountainbiking as an example. A DH bike built too light actually loses performance. and plenty lightweight components lose durability/longevity and performance if built too light.
Yepp I can believe that, we are now in a higher performance perception. The discussion had however moved to is the price difference for lighter bikes worth it for beginners.

And kudos to Rob for finding an item other the dumbells, not one of those you would wish to ride however.
 

Gary

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The discussion had however moved to is the price difference for lighter bikes worth it for beginners.
And as I had already stated. My own bike off the shelf cost considerably less than most entry level bikes, Higher spec And considerably lighter. I'm talking Lyrik, S Deluxe. DT Swiss, Maxxis, Shimano XT/SLX 11 dropper and branded finishing kit for just £3.1k BTW
Unfortunately it's no longer available as now for 2020/21 both punters and manufactures value a MASSIVE hidden away (but clearly not) battery above a light(er)weight better weight distributed frame. And heavier weaker 29" wheels over 27.5
Hey ho.
 
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stiv674

E*POWAH Elite
Mar 4, 2019
774
598
Wiltshire
Why can't we get a lightweight carbon framed bike with lower end components on it?

I can only think of Cube that sell a carbon framed bike for less than £4k, and they've somehow managed to make that as heavy as an equivalent alloy bike... ?
 

Beekeeper

🍯Honey Monster🍯
Aug 6, 2019
1,735
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Surrey hills
According to the Olympic Committee, Chess is a sport and the heavier the pieces the better.
I use triple weighted pieces because nothing comes close in terms and handling and performance capabilities

013256FC-6348-425C-ACF5-F86D9386BEDA.png
 

Gary

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Why can't we get a lightweight carbon framed bike with lower end components on it?

I can only think of Cube that sell a carbon framed bike for less than £4k, and they've somehow managed to make that as heavy as an equivalent alloy bike... ?
The base SPESH carbon SL fulfills your desires
 

Rawmance

New Member
Sep 8, 2022
26
15
Finland
If a bike is 24kg or 26kg it will handle just as shit. But 21 to 26kg that's a difference that starts producing noticeable changes in handling. But it depends. The only way to handle a bike much like a normal one would be to get a 18kg mid drive ebike. But then you are losing on the assist.

The biggest downside of ebikes is the handling because of the weight. But the biggest upside is the speed you get on trails that with a normal bike would just be boring. So there isn't really an optimal solution.

And a further problem is battery size. With 2 batteries you could ride a 500Wh and a 900Wh one to optimize weight. But it will cost a lot more. And depending on bike weight with a full assist bike is that 1,5kg difference really going to matter that much? The weight is in the top tube so it does make the most difference. But still. You can't go smaller than 500Wh because that's what you need for an emtb ride. And then if you feel like doing 10km more you can't because you have the smaller battery. So it's a lot of downsides to get a marginal benefit.

I have a devinci AC that weighs above 26,5kg and it's so much weight you feel it turning. And it's a fairly small battery at 500Wh. It resists turning the bike from side to side. Where as with a normal bike I never noticed any resistance it just turns as fast as you can flick it. Obviously limits bunny hopping and pulling the bike to handle it. If I somehow made the bike 23,5kg I don't think it would help much at all. I would lose far more capability than gain. So not worth it at all. For example I wouldn't have DD sidewalls but weaker exo ones. Doesn't gain any noticeable performance because it's an ebike, but loose a lot of reliability. Get rid of my hand guards, make riding more uncomfortable to gain nothing back. Switch to carbon handlebars that I can't get in the spec I want, got spank vibros now, can't cut carbon oneups to the lenght I want. Switch to lighter pedals that I can't get my feet on right. Switch to lighter seat that probably isn't as comfortable. Then switch to a more expensive drive train. Right now everything on the bike is so cheap that I don't care if it breaks. Switching everything to XTR or carbon spec everything will be a hassle to replace now because it's so expensive. Broke 2 derailleurs this summer and didn't give a fuck because it wasn't expensive to replace. All of that would cost probably 2000€. And wouldn't add to over 3kg of weight savings but hypothetically say it did the bike still handles shit at 23,5kg. And now I have a ton of parts I have no use for. Another problem with upgrading bikes. Just sell the whole bike and buy a higher spec bike if you are trying to save weight or improve performance.

I think with ebikes you just take the weight penalty to get the rest of the upsides.
 

maynard

E*POWAH Master
If a bike is 24kg or 26kg it will handle just as shit. But 21 to 26kg that's a difference that starts producing noticeable changes in handling. But it depends. The only way to handle a bike much like a normal one would be to get a 18kg mid drive ebike. But then you are losing on the assist.

The biggest downside of ebikes is the handling because of the weight. But the biggest upside is the speed you get on trails that with a normal bike would just be boring. So there isn't really an optimal solution.

And a further problem is battery size. With 2 batteries you could ride a 500Wh and a 900Wh one to optimize weight. But it will cost a lot more. And depending on bike weight with a full assist bike is that 1,5kg difference really going to matter that much? The weight is in the top tube so it does make the most difference. But still. You can't go smaller than 500Wh because that's what you need for an emtb ride. And then if you feel like doing 10km more you can't because you have the smaller battery. So it's a lot of downsides to get a marginal benefit.

I have a devinci AC that weighs above 26,5kg and it's so much weight you feel it turning. And it's a fairly small battery at 500Wh. It resists turning the bike from side to side. Where as with a normal bike I never noticed any resistance it just turns as fast as you can flick it. Obviously limits bunny hopping and pulling the bike to handle it. If I somehow made the bike 23,5kg I don't think it would help much at all. I would lose far more capability than gain. So not worth it at all. For example I wouldn't have DD sidewalls but weaker exo ones. Doesn't gain any noticeable performance because it's an ebike, but loose a lot of reliability. Get rid of my hand guards, make riding more uncomfortable to gain nothing back. Switch to carbon handlebars that I can't get in the spec I want, got spank vibros now, can't cut carbon oneups to the lenght I want. Switch to lighter pedals that I can't get my feet on right. Switch to lighter seat that probably isn't as comfortable. Then switch to a more expensive drive train. Right now everything on the bike is so cheap that I don't care if it breaks. Switching everything to XTR or carbon spec everything will be a hassle to replace now because it's so expensive. Broke 2 derailleurs this summer and didn't give a fuck because it wasn't expensive to replace. All of that would cost probably 2000€. And wouldn't add to over 3kg of weight savings but hypothetically say it did the bike still handles shit at 23,5kg. And now I have a ton of parts I have no use for. Another problem with upgrading bikes. Just sell the whole bike and buy a higher spec bike if you are trying to save weight or improve performance.

I think with ebikes you just take the weight penalty to get the rest of the upsides.
Best rant ever . So true 👍
 

Yoak

Active member
Apr 5, 2020
207
152
Norway
Yesterday I was out trying some jump lines with my Rail 9.8 a friend of my built. I could clear them, but didn't get much pop (down to technique, balls and age) A 13 year old kid was trying a Rail 5 for the first time and probably jumped 1.5m higher than me on both jumps. It was a size small, but it was kind of on the lag size for him. He had no problem handling it and whipping it around. I do feel that a few kilos does make a difference on the trail though
 

Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
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Weymouth
Losing rider weight is the best bang for buck! Additonal gross weight (bike plus rider) results in 2 main issues. First is its ability to overcome inertia obviously most noticeable in terms of acceleration from a standstill or very low speed.....but of course there is a motor to help nullify that. Second, having overcome inertia, a heavier bike has greater momentum and therefore takes more braking power to slow it down................the heavier weight does however add to traction and rider weight far outstrips the weight of the bike so can be used to optimise front or rear wheel grip as required.

I dont totally adhere to the view that weight vastly dimishes a bike's manoeuvrability. That has far more to do with the bike's Geo, centre of balance, and suspension set up, than gross weight (at least as far as the difference between 20kg and 26kg of bike weight is concerned. Consider also that the vast majority of weight ABOVE a bike's natural centre of balance is the rider.

I have 2 bikes both weight a bout the same and with very similar suspension components, and the same tyre/wheel set ups albeit different size. One is a 180/170mm travel Enduro 27.5 bike , the other 160/150mm 29er trial/enduro bike (and 2 years later design). The handling difference between the 2 is night and day with the 160mm bike easy to throw around and flick through tight turns etc whilst the 180mm is super planted and just wants to go straight ahead!!

One area that can be felt and will make a difference is the rotational weight of wheels plus tyres. Significant weight loss can be achieved but cost is high and tyre/wheel reistance to damage can be compromised. Maybe worth it for racing but not otherwise.
 

R120

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Apr 13, 2018
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In my opinion what we have seen recently is something of a convergence in bike design, based off having to accommodate the latest big batteries, and the motor systems, meaning that most full fat bikes now have a similar weight and weight distribution.

As a result the riding style of these bikes is very much a plough through rather than play around features, with most bikes around the 25 kg mark.

I don’t think the wholesale move of the industry to 29inch wheels has helped in this regard either, in that you now have big wheeled, big wheelbase, heavy bikes that whilst incredible stable and fun to ride, are not nimble and only really come alive on high speed trails.

in many ways the battery arms race to have more range has taken precedence over optimising handling, and you Just can’t have your cake and eat it in this respect, no matter what the marketing says.

I have stuck with my 2018 E-Sommett because for me it still offers a sweet spot - i am a serial bike buyer but I haven’t tried anything to date that would make me want to move on. For my local riding in the Surrey hills it is brilliant. Weight is around the 22kg mark depending on how it’s set up (and no consideration on my part to the weight of components), which Is heavy enough to provide all the stability you want, but the 27.5 wheels mean it remains very manoeuvrable and fun to ride, and I can also have bullet proof wheels without a huge weight penalty.. The external battery means the weight is placed really well and low down in the frame, and the font end is really easy to lift up and manouver, and it is this which is most noticeable vs more modern bikes. I can get a 20-25 mile ride out of the 504wh battery ridden mostly in trail mode, and have the 625wh battery if I want a longer ride.

As you can see It something of a triggers broom as the only original thing left on it is the frame and the brake callipers, but with modern components on a frame with great kinematics and perfect geometry for my local riding, it still does the job. If I can fit an EP8 in it at some stage I can see it lasting me another 3 -5 years.

I have a friend with a new Rail, and we swapped bike for a couple of runs recently, and he remarked that the rail felt like a barge compared to my bike, which in his worlds felt as easy to throw around as a DJ bike compared to his rail.

45078B13-138B-41E1-90EA-81E639470279.jpeg
 

Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
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Weymouth
In my opinion what we have seen recently is something of a convergence in bike design, based off having to accommodate the latest big batteries, and the motor systems, meaning that most full fat bikes now have a similar weight and weight distribution.

As a result the riding style of these bikes is very much a plough through rather than play around features, with most bikes around the 25 kg mark.

I don’t think the wholesale move of the industry to 29inch wheels has helped in this regard either, in that you now have big wheeled, big wheelbase, heavy bikes that whilst incredible stable and fun to ride, are not nimble and only really come alive on high speed trails.

in many ways the battery arms race to have more range has taken precedence over optimising handling, and you Just can’t have your cake and eat it in this respect, no matter what the marketing says.

I have stuck with my 2018 E-Sommett because for me it still offers a sweet spot - i am a serial bike buyer but I haven’t tried anything to date that would make me want to move on. For my local riding in the Surrey hills it is brilliant. Weight is around the 22kg mark depending on how it’s set up (and no consideration on my part to the weight of components), which Is heavy enough to provide all the stability you want, but the 27.5 wheels mean it remains very manoeuvrable and fun to ride, and I can also have bullet proof wheels without a huge weight penalty.. The external battery means the weight is placed really well and low down in the frame, and the font end is really easy to lift up and manouver, and it is this which is most noticeable vs more modern bikes. I can get a 20-25 mile ride out of the 504wh battery ridden mostly in trail mode, and have the 625wh battery if I want a longer ride.

As you can see It something of a triggers broom as the only original thing left on it is the frame and the brake callipers, but with modern components on a frame with great kinematics and perfect geometry for my local riding, it still does the job. If I can fit an EP8 in it at some stage I can see it lasting me another 3 -5 years.

I have a friend with a new Rail, and we swapped bike for a couple of runs recently, and he remarked that the rail felt like a barge compared to my bike, which in his worlds felt as easy to throw around as a DJ bike compared to his rail.

View attachment 98716
............Alternatively, your bike is a better design than more recent bikes you have tried, and I dont think 27.5 v 29 er would make much difference to that. I might have agreed with your analysis above completely after owning a my19 Levo Comp and Whyte E 180RS, but I recently bought the Whyte E160 RSX ,and whilst I do not know exactly why, it is incredibly throw a bout and manoeuvrable.........and equally good at climbing as fast downhill stuff.
In fact that last bit gives me the biggest clue about why it feels so different...............weight balance. I can climb on the RSX seated where on other bikes I would need to be pinning the front down, and in the process sacrificing rear end grip. Downhill I can remain much more central on the bike without feeling the risk of an OTB. The frame design is new and as far as I can tell it distributes more weight to the rear of the bike. Maybe it is the tendency for other EMTBs I have tried to be front heavy that dominates the way they handle??
 

jbrown15

Active member
May 27, 2020
530
437
Chilliwack, Canada
If a bike is 24kg or 26kg it will handle just as shit. But 21 to 26kg that's a difference that starts producing noticeable changes in handling. But it depends. The only way to handle a bike much like a normal one would be to get a 18kg mid drive ebike. But then you are losing on the assist.

The biggest downside of ebikes is the handling because of the weight. But the biggest upside is the speed you get on trails that with a normal bike would just be boring. So there isn't really an optimal solution.

And a further problem is battery size. With 2 batteries you could ride a 500Wh and a 900Wh one to optimize weight. But it will cost a lot more. And depending on bike weight with a full assist bike is that 1,5kg difference really going to matter that much? The weight is in the top tube so it does make the most difference. But still. You can't go smaller than 500Wh because that's what you need for an emtb ride. And then if you feel like doing 10km more you can't because you have the smaller battery. So it's a lot of downsides to get a marginal benefit.

I have a devinci AC that weighs above 26,5kg and it's so much weight you feel it turning. And it's a fairly small battery at 500Wh. It resists turning the bike from side to side. Where as with a normal bike I never noticed any resistance it just turns as fast as you can flick it. Obviously limits bunny hopping and pulling the bike to handle it. If I somehow made the bike 23,5kg I don't think it would help much at all. I would lose far more capability than gain. So not worth it at all. For example I wouldn't have DD sidewalls but weaker exo ones. Doesn't gain any noticeable performance because it's an ebike, but loose a lot of reliability. Get rid of my hand guards, make riding more uncomfortable to gain nothing back. Switch to carbon handlebars that I can't get in the spec I want, got spank vibros now, can't cut carbon oneups to the lenght I want. Switch to lighter pedals that I can't get my feet on right. Switch to lighter seat that probably isn't as comfortable. Then switch to a more expensive drive train. Right now everything on the bike is so cheap that I don't care if it breaks. Switching everything to XTR or carbon spec everything will be a hassle to replace now because it's so expensive. Broke 2 derailleurs this summer and didn't give a fuck because it wasn't expensive to replace. All of that would cost probably 2000€. And wouldn't add to over 3kg of weight savings but hypothetically say it did the bike still handles shit at 23,5kg. And now I have a ton of parts I have no use for. Another problem with upgrading bikes. Just sell the whole bike and buy a higher spec bike if you are trying to save weight or improve performance.

I think with ebikes you just take the weight penalty to get the rest of the upsides.

Why is your AC so heavy? I have the same bike (size medium) run tubeless but with Maxxis DD tires and it weighs it's 2kg lighter than yours.
 

Philly G

Well-known member
Subscriber
Jun 29, 2020
682
494
New Zealand
With a suspension bike increasing the sprung weight will reduce trail chatter, by making the suspension work more. It's why an eMTB is more planted in descents.
Yes, but if you wanted to increase the sprung weight you wouldn't want that weight up high, you would want it low down, which is where ebikes carry most of their extra weight anyway. If you're wanting to make an eMTB lighter, the obvious area to address would be wheels, tyres, cassette, which being unsprung weight will make a big difference to how the bike handles. After that, it becomes a game of chasing more expensive but lighter weight components, like handlebars
 

p3eps

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Dec 14, 2019
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I’ve got a Levo SL, which I spent a load of time / money on in 2020 upgrading it to be burley enough for my riding, yet as light as possible.
Decent tyres, Lyric Ultimate / Super Deluxe Ultimate, AXS, MT7’s all added weight, but I clawed it back with bars, stem, saddle, groupset, pedals, tubeless etc.
My XL Levo SL was 17.6kg ready to ride.

Compared to the 22.9kg XL Trek Rail I had for a short period, this felt lightweight both when riding and lifting. Climbing over fallen trees, fences, putting it on my bike rack etc with this bike were significantly easier, and it felt like it rode much more like a clockwork bike in terms of handling.

I’m waiting for a new tyre for my SL, so I took my Stumpjumper out this morning. It’s the 2017 Expert 6-Fattie model - carbon frame with 27.5” wheels with 3” wide tyres. It’s been a while since it’s been ridden outside in anger - other than tootling round the block with the kids. Mainly it’s attached to a Kickr for winter! It did weigh about 11.5kg when it was my only bike… but I stole some of the parts of it for my SL… so it’s more like 12.5kg now.

When riding the trails today, firstly I realised how unfit I am! I ride my SL on an Eco setting with 30% assistance… however riding the Stumpy uphill had me breathing out of my arse!
On the flip side, coming down the trails it was a completely different experience.
It was so much easier to chuck the bike about, and hopping over roots and rocks on the fast downhill sections was so much fun. It’s made me realise that I need to try and get my fitness up a bit and ride my Stumpy a bit more!

Anyway - going back to the original question… does weight matter. In my opinion, YES! The 5kg difference from Rail to Levo SL made a huge difference to me… and the 5kg difference from Stumpy to Levo SL also made a huge difference to the way it rides.
 
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