First Look: 2021 Propain Ekano - Across the Pond Beaver

Sep 1, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  
Propain Ekano

Propain's Ekano e-MTB is the latest addition to the rapidly growing list of bikes that use Shimano's recently announced EP8 motor.

The new aluminum machine has 165mm of rear travel, a 170mm fork, and can be built up with 29”, 27.5” or with mixed wheel sizes thanks to a flip chip on the swingarm and shock link. Despite all that travel, Propain bill the Ekano as more of an all-rounder rather than a solely gravity-oriented ride.

According to Robert Krauss, Propain's CEO, they listened to customer and athlete feedback during the bike's development to help them create a bike that's "even more versatile, balanced and uncompromising than before."
Propain Ekano Details

• Travel: 165mm (r) / 170mm (f)
• Aluminum frame
• 27.5", 29", or mixed wheel size options
• Shimano EP8 motor
• 504Wh battery
• Price: 4,899 EUR (Start model)

There are three complete models, with prices beginning at 4899 Euro for the Start version, which is spec'd with a RockShox Zeb R fork, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, Magura MT5 brakes, and Stan's Baron S1 wheels. Propain also offers customers the ability to choose their preferred handlebar rise, stem length, and even pick the headtube badge color.

Propain Ekano
Shimano's new EP8 motor is powered by a 504 Wh battery.
Propain Ekano
Flip chips allow the bike to work with a 27.5" or 29" rear wheel.


The Ekano's new Shimano EP8 motor is powered by a 504 Wh Shimano battery. Propain chose that size due to the fact that it's a little lighter, and spares can more easily be carried in a backpack compared to the 630Wh battery. The battery's position in the down tube allows for easy removal, and it's shielded from impacts by a thick protector.

Cartridge bearings from Acros are in place at all the pivots, complete with custom covers to keep water and grit from getting inside. There's even room for to mount a side-loading bottle cage inside the front triangle, a details that's often missing from e-bikes.

Propain Ekano
Propain Ekano

Propain Ekano
29" geometry.


The bike's geometry varies depending on which wheel size configuration is selected, and size small frames are only available in 27.5" or mixed-wheel versions. The head angle ranges from 64.3- to 65-degrees, and reach numbers for a size large are between 452mm to 460mm. With a 29” rear wheel the chainstay length is 459mm, and it drops down to 445mm when in the 27.5” setting.

Propain Ekano
27.5" geometry.

Propain Ekano
27.5 / 29" geometry.

Propain Ekano
Propain Ekano

Propain Ekano
Propain Ekano

Propain Ekano

Across the Pond Beaver 2020

Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,707 articles

  • 79 9
 Was hoping for a natural gas/propane driven option. Might need a bigger downtube. Maybe Taj can draw us up one...
  • 13 4
 Lots of hooks on the top tube as well for my propane accessories to hang out.
  • 5 4
 Need a bbq attachment to grill burgers on the up too
  • 4 4
 If they design it with a couple of camp stove propane tanks in-line I bet they could get away with the same down tube.
  • 2 2
 @reindeln: Soon to be created "Pinbike Comments R&D department"
  • 3 2
 @chillrider199: damnit, bobby!
  • 26 6
 504wh = Fail. Why not the 630wh for a 2021 bike?
  • 5 3
 Agree !
  • 17 26
flag DroppingThreeTwoOne (Sep 1, 2020 at 9:16) (Below Threshold)
 why not (2 human legs)wH?
  • 7 5
 After riding with a 625wh would never go back to 500!
  • 13 22
flag cirque4 (Sep 1, 2020 at 13:06) (Below Threshold)
 Why not 1000wh? Then you can get even fitter! Lol
  • 21 2
 @DroppingThreeTwoOne: why not filtering out the e-bike content you clearly not enjoy?
  • 15 35
flag cirque4 (Sep 1, 2020 at 14:03) (Below Threshold)
 @dirtologist: Why not get ebikes off of a mountain biking website?
  • 21 2
 @cirque4: ciiiiiirque!!! Where have you been? How have been?? All these ebike posts lately must be driving you f-ing nuts, huh? For everyone that doesn't know, Cirque hates ebikes and considers them to not be mountain bikes. Just ask him. Wait. He'll tell you first.

Cirque! Cirque! Cirque! Cirque!
  • 8 0
 @Canieto1: Some people are just born to be haters
  • 13 1
 @sisuman63: I think deep down inside he has a twix bar sized boner for ebikes and having to repress these feelings leads to these online outburst of his. It's the whole "methinks the lady doth protest too much" thing.

Cirque!! Come to Phoenix and let's go ride electric MOUNTAIN BIKES!!!
  • 9 1
 @cirque4: Post like yours leave me wishing I had purchased an ebike? See what you've done? The Ebike sport has grown by one and it's you that caused it. Live with it.
  • 3 0
 Because that requires a new frame mold. You will see quite a few EP8 with 504 this year
  • 3 10
flag eugenux (Sep 2, 2020 at 9:59) (Below Threshold)

He is right. Electrics are not mountain bikes and the poor souls that ride them are not mtb-ers.(probably their wives also use bed)
  • 4 1
 @eugenux: I downvoted your comment and farted in the general direction of France.
  • 3 0
 @eugenux: I mean Romania. You know you can't expect Americans to know what other people flags look like. Although you guys do build some great AK's.
  • 3 10
flag eugenux (Sep 2, 2020 at 11:33) (Below Threshold)

So, similarly intelligent to a beach pebble and you ride an electric while being a a$$hole about it. If you're overweight and live somewhere in country fields america, next to a cow's shite, you really..really fit the trump-estist profile(and electric bike user)

Ffs, even pinkbike's staff don't consider electrics as to be real mtbs and riding them to be something similar with mtb-ing.

If you still don't get it, let me dumb it down enough for you to get it.
Mtb-ing is food for soul, it is a warrior's path, it's a connection with the elements of the universe, all on OSTs by Teflon Sega.

Electric riding is Karen asking for the manager.

Stop being Karen my friend; it is not healthy!
  • 4 1
 @eugenux: Bro. I saw you're pictures on here. You're warriors path seems to be heavily sprinkled with donuts or what ever you're eating over there in France. I have two e- MOUNTAIN BIKES and I'd offer you to go ride with me but I'm afraid you would have a heart attack. Lol!! Man, I'll tell you this much- you should really go ride some electric MOUNTAIN BIKES because they're hella fun!! It'll chill you out, ese.
  • 2 6
flag eugenux (Sep 2, 2020 at 13:14) (Below Threshold)

Yes, I love eating as much as I love mtb-ing. 25-30 miles with 3000ft of elevation is regular. I do 50 miles marathons with 5500-6000 ft of elevation. I do not like donuts though, I pizza, thx.

Ooh, and I did tried extensivelly electrics. They are shite on wheels. They do not feel nor handle like a, I'm not gettin' one soon. I'll wait though for the next generation of Levo SL. That shows promise. The rest of them are useless $hits with wheels.
  • 4 0
 @eugenux: That's great. I'm proud of you, Monsieur. I've enjoyed our brief intercontinental shite talking today. Take care.
  • 2 3

Excellent, do keep on non-mtb-ing.

  • 2 0
 @rednova: This! I never even think about my battery fully draining.
  • 9 1
 Looks great but two big negatives: We’re slack seat tube angle (wtf Propain? You got it perfect with my Tyee 2020, so I don’t understand. And the short reach? Too bad, otherwise it seams like something to save money for.....
  • 10 0
 How do we make something more uncompromised? I know.. add more versatility. #calloutthejargon
  • 5 2
 Don't understand why people are hung up on labeled sizing... Just look at the reach/top tube numbers and pick your size, regardless of what 's labeled. If a Large on Propain in the same as a Medium on another brand, who cares? Does it fit? Get that.
  • 11 1
 No good using this formula if the seat tube too tall.. which these are
  • 5 0
 Looks alright but the geo seems a little dated compared to the Commencal Meta Power just released.
  • 2 0
 All y'all worrying about the motor. I'm just hear trying to imagine how a bike with that antisquat curve would ride. You're at about 120% anti-squat in your natural sag position (not that uncommon) but it ramps up so much from there that as you stomp on the pedals, the bike moves up from the sag position and actually wants to move up more easily as you move up. So that harder you stomp, the more it wants to rise above the sag point. Wild.
  • 1 8
flag DroppingThreeTwoOne (Sep 1, 2020 at 9:19) (Below Threshold)
 vectors. Human power is mostly down into the ground so more squat. Electric motor is doing most the work so horizontal vector is greater.
  • 3 0
 @DroppingThreeTwoOne: In that case wouldn't you want more anti-squat on a pedal bike and less on the powered one since the motor means less of the pedal stroke power is going to be tied to vertical force?
  • 1 0
 @big-red: I agree. Anti squat on e-MTB has to be adjusted compared to an analog bike. I just don't know if all companies do that. From what I've seen most designs are similar to analog counterparts. Sans motor.
  • 6 2
 Why not 630wh or more battery?
Also geo numbers could be more modern especially reach which is a size smaller than most bikes today.
  • 6 17
flag DroppingThreeTwoOne (Sep 1, 2020 at 9:20) (Below Threshold)
 why not 0wh?
  • 6 1
 455 reach on size large? that is inovative in the other way.
  • 3 1
 I guess merging a tank and a barge into one is a bad idea.
  • 3 11
flag eugenux (Sep 1, 2020 at 3:30) (Below Threshold)
The "secret" is, the non-mtb crowd, for which this bike has been made, can't tell the diff on their XC terrain type loops. Also, they need to be comfy. Modern enduro geo and comfy for a non-mtb rider are not in the same sentence.
  • 5 0
 Chainstays longer than reach!
  • 8 13
flag NotNamed (Sep 1, 2020 at 4:44) (Below Threshold)
 You really think the normal E-bike customer even knows what reach/ stack means?

They want a bike that assists as much aus possible uphill and is comfy both up and downhill

They dont care about long geo
  • 6 3
 Dear Propain, I would buy one if you had one with a Reach of 500 or more (and I am only 6'1/186cm). But I already can't ride bikes with a Reach of 480 anymore because it is too small for what I am used to these days :-(
  • 2 0
 @NotNamed: sure do. They probably know a lot more than you do too. I’d 100% buy one if it weren’t for lack of access and the general state of “innovation” in the industry and lack of backwards support. At least it is good to see shimano using the same mounts but just like laptops, things stop working and there is no support. A good hardtail on the other hand will be a better investment
  • 2 8
flag eugenux (Sep 1, 2020 at 6:28) (Below Threshold)

99% from the electric riders I know can tell shite about compresion or how geometry affects the handling. I call for direct BS!
  • 4 0
 @eugenux: I would say proportionally there are fewer ebike riders but that the same ratio of knowledge exists by category. There are diehards and newbs in all. And that’s just straight horse shit to say that mountain bikers understand suspension. There is a big knowledge gap there.
  • 3 0
 Why does a longer reach make for a better bike?
  • 2 1
 @mtb-journal: Honestly what about a 500 reach is better? I am 6' 4" and ride a 478mm reach bike and it feels really good to me! (I've always enjoyed bikes a little more flicky anyways but I am curious on how it affects the ride)
  • 2 0
 @eugenux: I would say that's true of all MTB riders
  • 1 0
 @monkeybizz: And have you tried a 530 reach? We have all been on 440, then 480 felt great until last year and now I am between 510 and 530 and 480 feels like a Circus Bike.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-journal: Interesting, I might have to go demo a bike and see how it feels Smile
  • 1 8
flag eugenux (Sep 2, 2020 at 10:04) (Below Threshold)
 i like how all the small head-tube non-mtb-ers gathered around and start giving negative votes in groups. Hahahaha. You'd better waste your time riding bikes, you trump-etists!
  • 1 0
 I have the 2020 one and its awesome, 6ft2 and have the L as I like playful bikes, never had a problem with reach, but i am from a BMX background. Have done 1300 miles in 7 months on it, both long XC rides and DH on it and it is great at both. Really good at the DH. Sticking with the 500wh just means they didn't have to redesign anything as the frame is only just developed, they want to recoup more money from the design. However I did buy a second battery and it does fit in my bag for long rides.
  • 4 1
 500watt battery no good ebikes should all come with the longest range possible.. otherwise what's the point
  • 4 0
 looks great and at a very reasonable price point.....well done
  • 3 0
 Propane propaaaaane, time to start the flaaaaame
  • 1 0
 Hey @mikekazimer the footer link to check out more pond beaver articles doesn't work because it's missing the -2020 part of the URL
  • 3 0
 odd shimano + Sram build
  • 3 1
 475 reach in 2021 is kinda short
  • 2 1
 Brand new suspension platform for Propain!? Nice! No more flexy rear end..
  • 1 0
 Does the TYEE flex? I was looking at it for my next bike
  • 3 0
 @Trialsiain: It does if you're heavy or aggressive rider
  • 2 1
 More like not pro pain... ohhhhh
  • 1 0
 Now with 520% less compromise
  • 2 1
 So it's balanced and uncompromising you say...
  • 2 2
 Over €2k more expensive than similar spec Tyee is alot of gym memberships!!!
  • 2 0
 Available in the US?
  • 5 8
 Is it an e-bike thing to require a bend in the top tube for added structural integrity? Really liked Propain frames, but this looks just as genetic and ugly as most all other e-bikes.
  • 4 0
 I think its about needing a straight downtube for the battery, but also clearance for the fork top caps. Also, the position/incline of the top tube is pretty much constrained to front of the motor mount towards head tube (while providing said clearance for the fork). So it's either a bent tube or lots of gussets, but the end result seems to be a technical decision, not an aesthetic one.
  • 1 0
 You'er right though. It does look....awkward.
  • 1 1
 Waiting for the Hugene Smile
  • 5 5
 It looks like everyone got pregnant with Shimano.
  • 2 4
 Ugly, heavy, very expensive. Instead of this you could buy a well-spec'd Propain Tyee CF and a gym membership.
  • 2 5
 Hahahahaha. Fuck e-bikes and yer feelings. Buy a Real Dirtbike and have some real fun. They cost less these days anyway.
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