Which Bike To Buy? A buyers guide to the latest EMTB's

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Which EMTB should you buy?

With an ever increasing number of manufacturers producing high quality EMTB’s there’s never been a better time to buy. Many manufacturers have been putting out quality EMTB’s for years, others are just getting started this year with their first Electric bikes, having made quality regular mountain bikes in the past.

If you’re just starting out, 2018 is a great time to buy. The market is in a huge period of growth and I personally think that the majority of manufacturers see this segment as the biggest shift in biking in a decade, perhaps even 20 years when FS bikes became mainstream.

But where do you start? What makes a great bike? Well, after having ridden a few of them in 2018 what I can tell you is that as long as you’re sticking to a ‘known’ brand, no one makes a bad EMTB. That being said, there are some big differences in the way that they perform.

The way that they perform is mostly determined by the motor and the software. This is the biggest difference that you’re going to see separating EMTB’s compared to regular MTB’s. A 2018 Bosch powered EMTB will perform different to a 2018 Brose powered EMTB.

After the motor and software, you’ll then get all of the regular things that separate MTB’s, like travel length, geometry and component spec. Some manufacturers will have just a single EMTB in their range. Others, such as Haibike, will have an incredible range starting at kids bikes right through to downhill monsters.

So where to start? Here’s a list of what I think are some excellent bikes to consider and test ride.

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2018 Vitus E-Sommet VR
Photo Credit: @R120. A huge spec for the money. Best bang-for-buck by far.
Motor:
Shimano E8000

The best value EMTB. At £3599 (even less if you have a 10% off British Cycling membership), this bike has really smashed the market apart and demonstrated that you can get a bloody good bike and not hammer the wallet too hard. Packed with Shimano components, the excellent Steps E8000 motor, 170mm RockShox Lyrik fork, Rockshox Super Deluxe RC3 shock, Guide brakes and Chain Reaction Cycles in house branded components, it’s an absolute stinking deal. In fact, this could be one of the Best Buy bikes of 2018. If you can actually buy one. They are all gone, and it’s no surprise that this bike sold out so quickly, the components are top quality, ride reports on the forum are excellent. There are a few niggles that no doubt will be fixed by Vitus for 2019, like the dropper post location but apart from that this bike at this price point has set a real benchmark for consumers.

Some negatives that owners report are no bottle cage bosses, so you're gonna need to think about other means of carrying water. The dropper doesn't drop super far and the area above the motor and shock difficult to clean. Many have also changed the default Shimano E8000 speed controller to the E6000 as it frees us handlebar space somewhat.

I think that this one took Vitus by surprise, or they didn't order enough. No doubt it's been a banger for them so expect to see it back with a vengeance soon.

full

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo
The Ford Mondeo of EMTB's?
Motor:
Brose 1.3

Probably the best selling EMTB of 2018. It’s no surprise with the marketing power and investment into EMTB’s that Specialized have pumped in over the past few years that this bike is the one that you see everywhere. With an excellent dealer network it’s been really easy to pop into your local dealer, have a look, have a test ride and instantly be converted over to the world of E*POWAH!

With the newer, 2018 Brose 1.3 motor, the Specialized Levo now packs a punch and it will give around 500 watts of assistance at 100% motor power. But which one to buy? The choice between £4250 Comp or the £5000 Carbon Comp, £6250 with the Ohlins and Carbon wheels? If you must go carbon (don’t we all!) then all you're really getting over the standard aluminium Comp is a 650 gram weight saving for and additional cost of £750. Is it worth it? Well, carbon is nice, right?!

There's no screen on the bars. Specialized like to minimise the fuss on the handlebars. Personally I'm a fan of this and if needed I have a Wahoo Bolt that I can attached to display speed and battery life.

150mm travel at the front and 135mm for the rear is perfect for trail, single track, bike parks, commuting and whatever else you want to go and ride. It really is so versatile. I often get asked what is it like versus the Kenevo. We’ll look at that in a moment.

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2018 Specialized Turbo Kenevo

Eats dirt for breakfast.
Motor: Brose 1.3

It's no surprise that following the success of the Turbo Levo Specializied started to develop the Kenevo. Based around the same Brose 1.3 motor, speed controller and software as the Levo but with a chassis and geometry similar to Specialized's Enduro MTB. The Kenevo has 180mm travel front and rear. So why would you go for this over the Levo? Well, it's capable of pretty much anything you chuck it at. The aluminium frame paired with the 180mm Lyrik fork absolutely soak it all of the gnar. Its slightly slacker head angle of 65 degrees (vs the Levo's 66.1 degrees) mean that its slightly more composed on the steepest of hills.

I've ridden both and often get asked which one to buy. Honestly, they are both extremely good bikes. The Kenevo at £5500 vs Levo Comp Carbon at £5000 is a tough comparison. Certainly for UK riding, the Levo will take it all on. If I were riding more hardcore terrain more often that I do I'd choose this bike. It weighs in at
24.5KG vs the Comp Carbon Levo weight at 22.7KG mean that the range suffers slightly and it doesn't feel as quick off the mark compared to the Levo, but this is a marginal difference.


Overall, it is one of, if not the most capable EMTB's that exists right now. Now, if only they released a carbon version!

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Moustache Samedi Race 9
You've probably never heard of them
Motor: Bosch CX

Moustache is a small French company that is relatively new, starting our in 2010. The founder previously worked at Lapierre as a Product Manager, so it's no surprise that they have created a neat package with the Samedi Race series of bikes. 160mm front and rear is near perfect. It's a lively bike, feels snappy to ride and looks brilliant. The only thing that I'd consider with this is that it uses Bosch's CX motor which is a good couple of year old now and is starting to get a little behind the times compared to the competition, with the friction when there is no motor assistance, and the noise levels compared to Brose, Shimano and Yamaha.


That being said its still a really fun bike to ride and looks beautiful in the black and red carbon. It's definitely one to keep an eye on and take for a test ride.

Conclusion
No doubt there are more fantastic bikes out there, but i've not ridden them all. Haibike have over 80 models to choose from and I'd really like to take out some to get to know them a bit better. I rode the Haibike AllMtn 6.0 with the Yamaha PW-X motor which I really enjoyed but I found the double-front chainring a bit old school. I'd love to try more from Haibike, the NDuro range looks excellent.

There is so much innovation happening at the moment too that this list could well change over the next few months as we see 2019 motors (hopefully Bosch, I'm hearing lighter, quieter and better decoupling performance), new technology, software and more specific EMTB components hit the market this year.

It is an amazing time to buy an EMTB.
 
Last edited:
Rob Hancill

Comments

R120

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#3
The biggest movement at the moment is a lot of brands switching to shinamno form Bosch, e.g Cannondale.

Realistically I don’t think there is going to be any Great Leap Forward in e bike design for a couple of years, and I suspect that will be more driven by the next generation of batteries that will be either smaller, larger capacity, hopefully both!

Most likely changes to next year will be tweaks, though there are bound to be a few new models come out that may be interesting in terms of geometry and spec
 

Rob Hancill

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#4
Nice piece Rob...

So in your opinion is it worth buying a bike now or waiting for the 2019 updates?

Thanks
M
Honestly, I'd buy now. I cant see anything changing that would be really worth waiting for at the moment. Eurobike is in 4 weeks, we might see some new stuff there for 2020, but I doubt much will change for 2019 models (that will already be bought, specced and produced right now).
 

Rob Hancill

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#5
The biggest movement at the moment is a lot of brands switching to shinamno form Bosch, e.g Cannondale.
Lapierre have also moved to Shimano E8000 on their latest 'Snake' folding batteries.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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Lapierre
#6
I am from Germany. I ride the Lapierre Overvolt AM 727i, Shimano Steps an the snake battery. Must say, everthing works out great!
 

Rob Hancill

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#7
I am from Germany. I ride the Lapierre Overvolt AM 727i, Shimano Steps an the snake battery. Must say, everthing works out great!
Hello and welcome! I looked at that bike today, looks great! Never ridden one though. I like the snake battery design (y)
 
Jun 8, 2018
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Lapierre
#8
I´ve got three weeks ago. Had four Cube Hybrids an one Specialized Turbo Levo Expert before. Must say, this is the best bike :D
We have a local dealer and he only had one model...

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May 30, 2018
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#10
Spent an hour os so at an event organised by Rutland Cycles riding some e-bikes.

Lack of display on the Levo a real pain as I couldn't tell which mode I was in, also found it didn't give me the power when I wanted it, in any mode.

Rode the Focus Jam2 and loved it. The shimano motor was superb and the the the trail mode did everything well.
Will hopefully be ordering one as soon as I've made my mind up which model. Can stretch to the Lappiere am's otherwise I think they might be my perfect bike. Still a carbon Jam2 looks very tempting.

M
 
Jun 8, 2018
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Lapierre
#12
Just came back from a little ride with the lapierre overvolt. Will send some pictures later...
 
May 14, 2018
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socal, USA
#13
Nice article, Rob, and I agree with you there's not much new occurring in the EMTB world. I'm surprised there's not more talk about the Bikes Direct Shimano bike which is $3600 delivered in the US and seems similar to the Vitus, but guess they're not a worldwide supplier.
 

R120

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#14
The Devinci AC and DC range are worth a shout, they have a very neatly integrated Shimano system, and retain water bottle bosses, i have seen one in a shop but not out in the wild. I would have seriously considered one if i had known about them before i got my Vitus.

They have put some thought into them, e.g they have upsized the suspension pivot/bolts/bearings to take into account extra weight of the bike and abuse the frames get on e-mtb's, over their equivalent non e-bikes, and have good specs on the kit.

Search results for: 'DEVINCI' - Freeborn.co.uk

Devinci launches all-new electric mountain bikes | Cycling news | Bikenation.ca

They AC is aimed at the endure/freeride crowd with 170/180mm of travel, and the DC is more cross country with 150mm. Would love a go on the AX XT, its meant to be an e-bike version of the Spartan, and looks like a real Kenevo rival with a shimano motor

DEVINCI

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Last edited:

smokey_jo

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#17
Surprised not to see the Merida eOneSixty on that list, nearly bought one myself but the Vitus was to much of a deal. Also think the Canyon SpectealOn will do well at what looks like a competitive price point - if they can ever get them ready for dispatch (the long wait out me off)
 

Bonz

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#18
Surprised not to see the Merida eOneSixty on that list, nearly bought one myself but the Vitus was to much of a deal. Also think the Canyon SpectealOn will do well at what looks like a competitive price point - if they can ever get them ready for dispatch (the long wait out me off)
Yes, I have a Merida E160 900. Great bike with great specs for a good price.
Just been doing some research on prices in various country’s. Sure does depend on the country you’re in.
I’m in New Zealand, my Merida was £4350. But other brands are more expensive, quite a few we will never see here.
 
Last edited:
Jul 16, 2018
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Haibike
#20
Hi all,
I am the new guy here. Used to ride a Hibike but I sold it last month. I am interested in a turbo levo but my bike handler advised me of not getting a levo because the knocking sound in the motor problem and me being 190 cm tall and 115 kilos would not help. Any advise other than cutting a leg to loose weight? Is this problem solved? If I am posting in the wrong forum, please point me in the right direction.

Thanks much,

Vic
 

ccrdave

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#21
knock sound??? I have had between the wife and I five levo's/kenevo's and never had any knocking sound, motors are almost silent. one or two may have had drive belt problems but they are sorted by warranty which is 2 years on the motor
 

R120

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#22
knock sound??? I have had between the wife and I five levo's/kenevo's and never had any knocking sound, motors are almost silent. one or two may have had drive belt problems but they are sorted by warranty which is 2 years on the motor
5? That means you have had to have 3 replacement bikes?
 

ccrdave

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#23
nope only one was replaced, my wifes levo for a kenevo under warranty the others were upgrades
 

ccrdave

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#26
Yes my first levo had a new motor and new wiring all done under warranty my wife had two new motors and nothing but trouble after one year they gave her a full refund and she bought a kenevo. The trouble bikes were 2016 and 2017 the 2018 bikes have been faultless
 
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#27
Yes my first levo had a new motor and new wiring all done under warranty my wife had two new motors and nothing but trouble after one year they gave her a full refund and she bought a kenevo. The trouble bikes were 2016 and 2017 the 2018 bikes have been faultless
I see, I tested the comp and I liked it very much. At this moment I ordered a 2019 Trek Powerfly LT9 and it should come at the end of August but I think I will give the comp another try. What it got me thinking is that the Trek has better components than the Comp. Hard choices to make.
 

Donnie797

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#28
I see, I tested the comp and I liked it very much. At this moment I ordered a 2019 Trek Powerfly LT9 and it should come at the end of August but I think I will give the comp another try. What it got me thinking is that the Trek has better components than the Comp. Hard choices to make.
congrats, that's a good bike!
 

Doomanic

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#29
The new Trek is a peach and will be a beaut to ride.
 



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