Living With an eMTB, After the Honeymoon - Opinion

Aug 22, 2017
by Matt Wragg  
eMTB Week
Pinkbike is running a week-long focus on eMTBs. We’ll be sharing reviews, news, and opinion pieces all week in addition to our regular coverage. Read our stance on eMTBs here.

Header for Matt s Op Ed pieces.


There are plenty of articles out there about which eMTB to buy, which system to go for, and what the best components are, but what is it like to have one of these things out in the wild? In this feature we detail what it's like to own and maintain an eMTB, rather than putting in enough miles for a review, and then shipping it back to the manufacturer. This piece isn't to tell you which bike to buy, or what kit is best, but hopefully to give you a few things to consider if you're in the market for an eMTB.

Last November, I picked up a Cube Stereo 160 Hybrid, which has been my personal bike ever since. I have put in about 1,500km on it. About 70 rides, varying from short runs to the shops, to back-country loops in the mountains where I live. During that time, I have played with some of the components and tweaked, fiddled, and fussed with the setup. Here's what I learned:

Bike photos
My trusty, personal Cube Stereo 160.


Invest in the Motor and Battery

If you're about to lay down cash for an eMTB, don't be sucked in by the main components. Get straight to the powertrain. This isn't like choosing between a RockShox Lyrik and a Fox 36, or Shimano XTR and SRAM X01. The motor and battery are going to colour the rest of your time on the bike. You can't switch the motor over later and a new battery can cost around the 700 Euro mark. Get a good system and you'll barely think about it, but if you get a bad system you will find yourself cursing it, struggling up the technical sections, and running out of battery all too soon. A 500W/hour battery should be one of the first things to look for. Having been forced off my customary Bosch system for work for a week, it was surprising how switching to a system that doesn't work as well dominated the experience.

Bike photos
The Bosch 500 watt/hour battery—arguably the best on the market right now.


Tyres

eMTBs look to be a natural home for big tyres. Almost every brand is spec'ing their eMTBs with 2.6" and up. Having tried a few tyre sizes, I'm confident in saying that you're definitely going to want bigger ones—the increased contact patch helps almost everywhere. The question is how big? There are two problems with "Plus" tyres: first, the casings. When you're riding a 50lb bike, support from the sidewall becomes more crucial than ever, yet most of the major Plus tyre suppliers don't offer aggressive tread patterns with anything stronger than an intermediate casing. This means you'll have very little support from the sidewall when you're trying to lift or pop the bike. Instead, the tyre deforms and feels vague. And, there's the usual issue of how fragile Plus tyres tend to be. If you are an aggressive rider on rough terrain, you are going to find them deflated in no time at all.

Bike photos
It's well-loved, not worn out...


An eMTB will accelerate tyre wear too, so you are going to find yourself running through tyres faster than you might expect. A Maxxis Rekon EXO 120TPI in 2.8 retails for around 150 Euros (you can find them for 90 Euros a tyre on certain online retailers). How do you feel about the prospect of running through one or two in a month? If you opt for DH tyres, you're faced with adding a kilo to the bike's rotational mass, which still becomes is a big issue with these bikes and will reduce your range noticeably. Right now, the only tyres on the market that seem to tick the size, weight, and strength boxes are the Maxxis WT 2.5s—but at 60 Euros a pop, they are still a pricey proposition. Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.35" bike park tyres, which are strong and cheap, but they come up smaller than I would personally prefer to run.


Service

One of the biggest differences with an eMTB and a mountain bike is going to be your relationship with wrenching on it. Most serious mountain bikers are used to fixing their own bikes, and shipping them off for only the most delicate or complicated of jobs. This is not the case with the powertrain on eMTBs. A big part of this is down to the legality of these bikes. If the maker made it easy for you to pop the cover off and tweak it, then it would be all too easy to hack the motor to exceed the legal limit of 25km/h top speed and 250W power output (for instance: Bosch's 750W motor uses the same hardware as the 250W moto, only it's software differentiates the two). In other words, you are going to need to get to know your local bike shop a lot better. This is somewhat of a double-edged sword. While most people like the idea of supporting a local bike shop, they are running a business, so you are going to need to give them your hard-earned in return for fixing your kit.


Replacement Parts

Replacement parts are another practical issue. Earlier this year, I smashed my bashguard on a rock, which meant the chain wouldn't complete one rotation of the sprocket without jamming behind it. It is one of the few things on the Bosch system that you can fix at home relatively easily. The parts are fairly cheap—the sprockets are 15 Euros and the bashguards are around 30. However, none of the local shops had the parts in stock, even the supposed eMTB specialists. This is definitely a concern. If I'm going to take my bike into a shop, then I expect them to have the basics to hand.

In the end, the internet solved the issue, but as soon as the parts arrived, it became clear that a 30-Euro special Bosch tool was needed to assemble them (a familiar story for most MTB systems these days). The repair itself took 10 minutes and the tool proved worthwhile for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a huge amount of dirt builds up around the sprocket, so whipping it all off and cleaning it fairly regularly is well-worth doing. Secondly, it meant I could experiment with different sprockets. Dropping from a 16t to a 14t sprocket made a big difference to the bike—it turned out that I was rarely using the 11-rooth end of the cassette, because the motor's assistance tops out at 25km/h. lower 14t drive sprocket moved my most-used gears towards the center of the cassette and reserved the big sprockets for climbing.


Where to Spend, Where to Save

If you're buying parts for an eMTB, the calculations on where to invest your cash are different from a regular mountain bike. Good hubs are an absolute must. I have seen more than a few eMTBs with lunched freehubs as the extra torque tends to tear through them. I have been running DT's star ratchet system for nearly all of my 1,500km on the Cube and it seems to be holding up well so far. Conversely, with the rims: strong, wide, and cheap are the key ideas. You'd have to be either drunk or rich to consider mounting an Enve rim to an eBike. Ideally, you'd want a tough rim that is semi-disposable, somewhere in the 30–40mm-width range. (I have snapped four rims on my local DH track on the Cube.)

Bike photos
No frills FSA cranks, all business.

Bike photos
Would you fancy putting carbon cranks through this kind of abuse?


Cranks are another area to avoid investing in too heavily. Currently, many eMTBs come with FSA cranks, which are pretty much perfect, except they don't come shorter than 170mm. I have found that I am smashing my cranks on eBikes much more often than on my mountain bikes—mainly down to the steeper, more technical climbs that are possible, where you don't always have the luxury of timing your pedal strokes. At 40 Euros a set, I don't feel guilty about smashing FSA crank arms. If they last six months I'm happy. Miranda also make cranks at the same price point and they offer more options for both finish and length. Some of the recently-launched eMTBs come with some lovely-looking Race Face cranks. Don't get me wrong, I highly rate their products, but Race Face cranks can rarely be found at 40 Euros a pop. It's also worth playing with crank length - 175mm cranks don't really have any place on a modern mountain bike, in my opinion, and on an eMTB you can go even shorter. I have heard tell of German journalists running cranks as short as 135mm, but I'd start with 165mm first.

Same goes for drivetrain components. There is no point to buying a lightweight cassette or chain. You will pull them apart in no time at all. The SRAM's EX1 cassette is good, but at 450 Euros, it is certainly an investment and a half. After 1,500km, however, mine is still going strong, where normally I would expect to be on my third regular cassette. You'll need to choose whether to go for the big one-off purchase or more frequent smaller purchases. SRAM's one-step gear shift is frustrating at first, you miss the consistent spread, but it does seem to help increase the life of the chain and cassette, as it helps prevent you from putting the torque through the chain at odd angles when you shift multiple gears. Finally, you're going to want the biggest brakes you can find, ideally paired with 200mm rotors. When the bike weighs more than 20kg, saving 15g by dropping to 180mm rotors is foolish. A general rule is to approach your eMTB components choices as you would a DH bike, as it is going to receive more abuse than a regular mountain bike.


Suspension

I will admit that my personal experience is a little off the back with some of the newer eMTB-specific options. The first thing I have found is that stock mountain bike suspension tends to be under-damped. Up front, my Cube has a standard 160mm Fox FIT4 Factory 36, which is widely rated as one of the best forks on the market, but I have it pushed to the end of its tuning range. I weigh 75–80kg (depending on the time of year) and when I was just working with air pressure, I had over 100psi in the fork to try and stop it from diving in steep compressions. Adding air tokens helped, but I am currently at four orange tokens, which feels like a lot for someone of my weight and ability (I believe it is about the same as Richie Rude runs for the EWS). I have since backed the air pressure down to 85psi and added on as much compression damping as I could (I feel the last click makes the fork too harsh), but it is still not quite there. My brief experience with the eMTB-specific Fox 36 has been positive, but I only have a few days on unfamiliar trails with it, nor have I spent much time on a Rockshox eMTB fork yet.

Bike photos
All the adjustments.

Bike photos
Coil + full-range adjustments are a winning combo for an eMTB


Out the back, I think the answer is simple: coil shock. For this kind of bike, where the weight is less critical, it is just a better way to go. The Fox X2 coil shock I am running has the advantage of high and low-speed compression adjustments, which means I can tune it to my personal preferences (this may not be the best solution for everyone). If anything, I would like a re-tuned compression lever, so that I can have modes with more damping for descending and general riding, then a completely open mode for technical climbing where I want every little bit of traction possible. Quite the opposite from present shocks.


Silencing Rattles

Rattles are a big problem with the current Bosch system out in the real world. The battery mount is a cradle the bike manufacturer fits onto the frame, and most companies leave it at that. After a while, the battery starts to work loose on the trail and it make an unpleasant noise, especially when going fast. When Kieran was reviewing the Haibike we noticed that they had placed some foam underneath, which silenced the rattle. A quick scour of Amazon turned up adhesive foam that is mostly used by kayakers. At £10–£20 a roll it's pretty cheap, and a small piece under the battery silences it wonderfully (at the expense of needing to force the battery in slightly once it is in place). The next generation of eMTBS seem to have integrated batteries, so maybe this is a moot point, but when eMTBs cost as much as they do, it seems a fairly glaring oversight—especially one so easily solved.


149 Comments

  • + 69
 I don't know if I'm the only one who thinks the E-MTB thing is being made into too big a deal? To me it's just another toy with 2 wheels that would probably be fun to ride. I'd give one a go. I'd probably enjoy it. Each to their own.
  • + 90
 Godammit man, don't you know this is Pinkbike? Get yourself an extreme opinion on everything bike related and stick with it no matter what.
  • + 12
 Agreed.
"if it offends you, just don't listen to it." - Disclaimer, Offspring.

Can understand the concern in regards to trail access and it does need to be addressed. If enough people don't buy an e-mtb it will fade in time like any other fad.
I recently saw a bloke on the trails that was 76 years old. He was loving it. If I make it to 76 I'll consider an e-mtb for sure (tbh, if I make it to 40 I'll probably need an e-mtb.)
  • + 11
 If you are a strong and good rider you will have the blast of your life. I would love to have an E road bike that goes up to 70. That could make road biking fun for me. Instead of 50-70kms I would get from a regular road ride, I could make up to 200 in the same time and same exertion. AWESOME! It doesn't get easier, it gets faster.
  • + 9
 I would get one too, because basically I don't like riding up hills. It takes too much riding time. You're talking about riding uphill for 52 minutes to enjoy an eight minute downhill. I wonder how much the e bike would reset this equation. I wonder if it's possible to reverse it.
  • + 2
 There loads of them in Europe. I see an elderly man most days on one out for a cycle. Not doing anything gnarly just round paths. Fair play to him. I'll be getting one at some point in next few years when too old to uplift. There is a big market for them, bigger than DH bikes so people need to get over it.
  • + 0
 Waiting Martyn Ashton and Stacy Kohut to approve this.
  • + 2
 Tuning the engine is the issue. I have no clue why would they put 750W engine on the bike knowing exactly that 250W is the max legal output. Then kind of battery is influencing the output too. I'm all for pedal assisted E-bikes but hello... it takes more battery life and is heavier. Play fair you fkrs. Only an idiot wouldn't try to "tune" his motor.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: f*ck me the world's gone mad. Waki talking about fairness. What happened to watching the world burn?
  • + 9
 @BenPea: Even I have limits... like: I never ride on red light when commuting on my bike... that allows me to judge those who do!

No really, 250W motors are plenty helpful when pedalling. I saw 1000W Stealth (Wanker) Bomber in action and it wasn't cool. It's about trail erosion. If bike makers will keep doing it, they will bring it upon themselves. People WILL hack the engine for max available power and then they will find a way of putting throttle dial on it. There is no point in putting throttle on a fkng 250W motor you'll just make an idiot out of yourself. Making pedal assisted E-MTBs remaining MTBs not motorcycles is crucial in my very honest opinion. Otherwise they can fk off and build their own trails. I don't think any motorcyclist would like to see one of them on moto trails.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: this is something quite worrying that I hadn't thought about. Which is strange given that I know of people who openly sell both legal and illegal e-kits for commuter bikes. Can we rely on all e-mtbers being pure of heart and soul? I remember when motorcycles were limited to 100 bhp in France. There were illegal exhausts hanging off bikes left, right and centre... Oh lordy...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: oh, and I've seen commuter bikes with throttles...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Maybe using a 750w motor helps whit the torque using the same amount of energy. I think the "low end" on a big motor is stronger and more useful at low speed in a steep climb.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: good grief, it's called duty cycle.
  • + 1
 @homerjm: It's irrelevant how useful it is. 2500W motor limited to 100W would be even more useful. The problem with trail damage is exactly that low speed.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Can't agree more.
  • + 3
 Russia. Just saying.
  • + 1
 @jaame: I ride eEnduro in the Alps here. Had that Cube 160 mm eEnduro a year, the 2016 Model. You can go as much as 1300 to 1500 Vertical meters per Hour on Sports/Turbo Mode, if you push hard even more. These bikes are so much fun. And now Uphills are fun too!
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: EU legislation puts a cap to Watts output at 250W for 30 minutes at a thermal balance of 25 Degrees Celsius for the Motor - after this time the Motor has to shut down... Aside this there is no max power limit for these Motors. EU National States can have their own legislation regarding Pedelecs. So Germany has 250W and Austria for example 600W (again for 30 Mins, 25 Degrees Celsius). Cheers
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: what Pinkbike and others are writing about are Pedelecs. These are Hybrids which need Human Power as well, and account for 99% of eBikes sold in Europe and elsewhere.
It is a US specific misunderstanding to think of “throttle” operated eBikes when discussing it. Throttle ones are rare and Bikepark use only (like EGO Kit), these are not eBikes, these are eScooters. Cheers
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: The legality of wattage output of eBikes is really confusing. The 250 watt legal maxium is "nominal" wattage output. That does NOT mean the same as max output wattage. Most (perfectly EU legal) eBikes are set at 250 nominal wattage and have upto 750 max power at peak.

Confusing
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: emtb must to improve in how to manage those W over the trail is obvious, maybe a throttle for those low speed situations,from 0-8 km/h like some city cargo bikes can help whit the power output or some kind of TCS. eMtb needs to go one steep further in software options like custom modes depending on the terrain.
  • + 2
 i gave it a thought or two and the case may be lost. It is very hard to execute any sort of regulations. That includes even an absolute ban of any motor equipped vehicles on non motorized trails. The only reasonable thing to do seems to regulate the bikes anyways, make E-bike approved trails and hope for the best. Maybe they all should be registered - if your engine is stronger than 250W - sorry, register it as a motorcycle. I mean it even for commuter bikes. When controlled by Police or a Ranger you should be able to show registration paper. Both cyclists and bike makers should feel incentivized to keep power low. For safety and for minimizing trail erosion. Majority of Ebikes are not for handicapped people, they are used by perfectly healthy folks, maybe weak, but still. They are coming, they are here. Stupid resistance is futile, we have to find the way to deal with it. What do you guys think?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I think that cities are trying to get people out of their cars and onto bikes (at least mine is) and so will be reluctant to put an additional stick in people's e-spokes, as the saying doesn't go.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Good point
  • + 1
 @jaame: Exactly. It also opens up so many other trails that would otherwise be a slog of a trail you wouldn't ride. A lot trails not in areas around the Mecca of mountain biking are like that. Climb 1 hour for 5-8 mins down. If that. Makes the local hills a hoot.
  • + 1
 @bigtim: Best comment I've read on here in a long time lol
  • + 1
 @IllestT: Comes from electronics. Think of your stereo speakers - they have a maximum and continuous max rating which basically can be said to be related to the amount of heat dissipated in the device. The heat has to do damage before the speaker is harmed.
You can stand getting hit by water close to boiling for a split second but stay in 50 degrees celsius for 24 hours and you're done, same for electronics

Guess the nominal wattage being used is for the simple reason that (almost) any time you would talk about power consumption, it would be the nominal power that you refer to, no reason to change it for e-bikes, it is an electrical motor after all
  • + 1
 You'll be... Beleive me... Wink
  • + 22
 Dear Pinkbike,
For years now I don't follow auto-moto sites and reviews. More or less the only sites I visit daily are news portals and biking sites. I'm a simple man.
Yesterday evening my wife and I had a first date in 3 years (kids were secured more than 1100 km away). It was really nice.
On our way home I noticed one beautifull white Alfa Romeo 4c parked just opposite of ours family car. I have to be honest and admit that I don't know anything about that car. But I like it. And my wife also likes it. And my middle age crisis is getting stronger and stronger with every new morning..
So, dear Pinkbike, can you please, please, please make a comprehensible review of that car?
Thanks Pinkbike.
You're the best!
  • + 7
 Dear Pinkbike, While your at it, could you do some reviews of supermarket Peanut Butter, best ingredients, best taste, price etc etc. Thanks pinkbike, Your the best
  • + 3
 @Smokey79: No joke: PB needs one ingredient. Peanuts. If there's anything else in it it's shit.
  • + 10
 @pakleni I actually wrote a story that touched on Alfa Romeos not long ago. Enjoy!

www.pinkbike.com/u/mattwragg/blog/opinion-the-campaign-for-worse-bicycles.html
  • + 4
 Beer reviews, because it's bike related.
  • + 1
 Wait?!?!?

The Alfa Romeo 4c has pedals?!?!?!?


Cool.....
  • + 4
 @DaleE: of course it does! And not just two, but 4! Ok, 2 of them are called paddles.
  • + 2
 @pakleni: ya I should have said "can be human powered" but I suppose pushing it around would be the next answer to that lol Smile
  • + 3
 @DaleE: That's understandable. When you buy yourself an Alfa you know that sooner or later you will push that car around.
  • + 12
 This is the most interesting article on e-bikes that I've bothered to read.
  • + 8
 Yep, excellent article - gives a good overview of the pros/cons etc. Tbh it confirms my thought on how unappealling eMTBs are, with the target demographic being very different to current MTBs.
  • + 7
 So they cost a heap more and are trickier to set up and also more expensive to maintain. My cell phone battery starts getting weak after 2 years. I wonder how long those 700 E battery packs will last with the kind of current they are expected to push? I foresee numerous eBikes sitting in peoples garages with dud batteries that are so expensive to replace, people have rather spent the money on a hardtail and rediscovered real mountain biking. Watch this space. :-)
  • + 1
 A Bosch Battery can easily do 1000 to 1500 charging cycles. Note that a recharge when it is eg 60% full, is counted a half-charge, a charge with say 40% left in the battery is a full charge. After 1500 Cycles the Battery may have 70% of it’s capacity, and take longer to load. So you can easily do 3-5 years on a 500Wh Bosch and others.
We have seen 6 years old Batteries here and they still had 60 to 70% Capacity.
Cheers
  • + 2
 li-ion batteries have a 500-1000 cycle life at near 100% cycle charge/discharge but can have near infinite cycles life when cycled between 20 and 80%
So never discharge deeply your ebike and never keep it at 100%, especially for long term storage and you will be fine.
  • + 8
 @mattwragg - your experiences on the suspension tuning - welcome to the world of the Clydesdale. We have to deal with that on our normal bikes...
  • + 3
 Many up votes! When you are 6'5" and 100kg plus you always end up running air shocks above maximum pressure and loose small bump sensitivity, especially on the rear.
  • + 2
 @ cptmayhem That sucks, I know I have been running rear shocks at 200PSI+ on my regular bike, so I'm sure you guys get the short end of the stick.
  • + 6
 I've owned an eMTB for over a year now and my conclusions are very similar.
The tyres - yeah big is good, but schwalbe Procores are basically essential. Without them (or something similar) multiple punctures on every ride were inevitable.
The transmission gets absolutely NAILED (obviously due to far greater torque) so buying expensive stuff to save a few grams is complete pointless. SLX and Deore are the only groupsets to consider as replacement.
And of all the BS so-called eMTB "specific" components, the big one actually missing is suspension damping. I had to have both fork and shock tuned significantly - basically to add a crap load of compression damping, because the bikes own weight is so different to a normal bike
  • + 3
 Out of curiosity - what made you purchase an e-mtb? (I'm assuming you are not a sponsored rider/retailer for e-mtbs).
  • + 12
 @OzMike: My next bike will be an e-bike purchase. Two reasons.
1. I've had 6 surgeries on my left knee, 2 on my right and in need of another. Practically no cartilage left. On my normal bike I can do about 10 miles before the pain gets too much, and the majority of that pain comes from the slow grinds up hill, and often I can barely walk the next day due to the pain. I absolutely love mountain biking having been hooked since 1988 when I got my first mtb and it absolutely sucks to be in the situation where I can only do a couple hour rides at the most.
2. e-bikes really are great fun! I've done a couple demo days and even though all of a sudden I can do the 30+ miles again it means I get more time doing the part of biking I love the most, hitting the DH trails!
So yeah, I may have a slightly different use case than others, but I still think they are damn good fun.
  • + 2
 @bigtim: well said
  • + 3
 @OzMike: I bought one simply because I wanted one. I don't really have any other reason, I don't really see why I need any other reason to be honest.

I looked at other non-eMTB's for £3000 and there didn't seem to be much difference other than they didn't have a motor. Spec and suspension travel are very similar, so I couldn't really see why I wouldn't get the one that pedals itself!
  • + 1
 @bigtim: I have a mate in the same exact situation. eMtb let the guy hit the trails again whit less pain and more fun.
  • + 5
 Having tested few ebikes my self and writing a series on articles in spanish, I totally agree with all @mattwragg commented but mainly, suspension tuning and stopping power. Ohhh man... I had a basic model Cannondale Moterra for 3 days and competed on one of the Spanish Enduro Series race, I was struggling to stop it on one of the gnarliest an step section of the trail, with 180 rotors I had zero brakes after couple of minutes. For ebikes 200mm rotors is a must and DH tires too.
  • + 1
 tyres are one of the things to pay attention to, for sure. I suffered a lot of punctures, even when "just riding along", so swapped to tubeless which has improved things greatly. Just a Maxxis Minion 2.3 seems enough for my riding style and location. Even so, I need quite high pressure to stop burping. Brake pads and chains will wear quicker, and front sprocket, depending on which brand you choose. Wheel wise I've found DT Swiss 1900 spline to be very strong. Watch riding in the wet and be careful cleaning the bike. Keep the contacts dry and clean. Take a think chain lube on rides as they seem to go through it quickly and the drivetrain can become noisy. Hope this helps
  • + 2
 one other thing to consider. Lets say you've a long travel model and are making the most of it, you'll likely be doing maybe 3 or 4 more times the work than you would on a DH bike pushing up and riding down. Say your normal day is 4 push ups and ride downs, that could be about 15 minutes of descending. On your ebike that could be more like an hour of it. That'll wear some of the components quicker, and you'll be feeling it all over. Take is easy on the last run down I would advise....
  • + 2
 Yeah! We want 2-ply plus tires! Especialy for the rear (with 29" front wheel).

Dear Maxxis, please make a Minion DHRII Double Down 2.8 happen!
  • + 3
 @mattwragg this has been an incredibly useful article. Especially when dealing with these bikes more and more, we just don't get the time in the saddle we do with non-ebikes. These insights are helpful and will benefit my customers.
  • + 2
 soon we'll be seeing every tom, dick and harry ripping up our nice clean trails that we have been riding for years. UK is over crowded as it is and i like to get out on my bike to get away from it all. Just concerned that the volume of people riding ebikes will result in new legislation that may effect mountain biking the way it currently is.
  • + 2
 A ebike weights 21/22kg and people are making noise about that fact.About tires that dont are at that level,gears,sprockets,chains,legs when battery goes off ,trail damage etc etc
Sorry but those are all young teenagers complainning .
Who are from the recent past who saw and lives with Banshee Screams with Shiver and Marzo Monster with 25 kg (or more,the scales didnt handle it)
I didnt saw anyone complaining at the time.Only a few ones moans but they started to shave the hairs from legs,chest,armhole,beard epilation,using high heels and so on.I lost track of them
  • + 1
 Interesting article, but batteries are my problem..
if I could be sure that nackered batteries were completely recycled and nothing went to the landfill then I might consider an eBike.
to be honest, even if these batteries were completely recycled,, i'd still find it hard to justify buying a bike that requires batteries.. when I've never needed to include this maintenance part before.

Until batteries stop being expensive and environment damaging, I wont consider an ebike... but I can completely understand the demand for these bikes among riders who need the power assist . i.e. old people/disabled.
I certainly wouldn't criticise my parents if they bought one for example.
  • + 1
 Something I haven't seen discussed much anywhere - how's battery life / range in the depths of winter? Sub-zero doesn't normally play nice with battery chemistry. Any eMTB that gets added to the collection would still be living in the (uninsulated) garage with the rest of them, would be frustrating to pull it out on a winter morn and get only a fraction of the range out of it.
  • + 1
 you can buy neoprene sleeves that help with that problem. Also, keep you battery indoors rather than on the bike, it'll last longer. Not sure how an integrated battery would work for that though - guess they come out somehow
  • + 1
 Uninsulated, we do not all live in caves !
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Yes, it's resuming perfectly the concept.
On the tyre : I had trouble with all the Maxxis tyre, the side of the tyre is too weak, i just put some Magic Mary DH casing, that solve the issue, BUT, at the rear, the tyre worn out faster than a bullet. 2.8 and 2.6 is the perfect size
Brakes: 4 piston, 200 mm, is the minimum, I know hope is doing a 225mm, maybe i will try one day.
Battery : On the bosch, it starts to move after 500 km, I just solve the issue with electric tape, and some foam on the side.
Cranks : Twisted 2 cranks on the left side, Miranda is shit, sram is complicated to have in 165, Race Face is impossible to have, didn't know FSA have one, will try later. 160/165 should be the norm.
Suspension : FOX is limited, I have a Talas in front, complete shit. I want to put the new Hydraulic Ohlins, maybe, when I will be rich. RS Yari is very good with some work on it, that the opinion of a friend.
Wheels : I destroyed 2 rims, DT swiss 40MM, I think the 40 is too wide, 35 maybe is the good number, but for sure, rims are suffering, maybe insert will be a good solution.
Sram EX1 : I'm not totally convince and happy with the EX1, I don't have the new brakes, I have the Guide R, not very good. 8 speed is okay, the 14 speed on the motor is a very good idea. But the cassette, on the left, the differences between the speeds are too high, and the one between the 11/13/15 is not enough, I think they should rethink a little the 48/44/40. After, it's a strong cassette, after 1200 km, it's still running smoothly. I broke the internal of a shifter, don't know how.
After, my ride is a Mondraker e-crafty XR+, very good geometry, hope i will have the possibilty to switch to a integrated one
  • + 1
 @adesp06 Did you buy your bike from Cyril?
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Yes, Oxybike rules. We have many friends in commun.
  • + 1
 I must say I was the same, until I rode one you can't compare it to a proper mountain bike because it isn't simple. What I will say is after jumping on a specialized Levo only because some bloke happened to ride past and offered me a blast, as I didn't know what to expect I headed off I was in eco mode and as I expected an assisted peddle bike thought to myself this ain't bad went back to the man and said yea that Ls pretty cool it rides well and the suspension almost feels more motorbike feel because of the weight I pressume. He then said have another go this time switching it to full assist no this just blew me away it was incredible I can certainly say once they have sorted the motors and batteries I reckon I will buy one as the riding that is accessible is insane, and also the quality of the ride too as in tracks rode in a certain time
  • + 1
 This is the best article this week I've been riding one these beasts for 2 years now and crank arm length is well worth getting right 160 trials cranks take the most abuse and are well over built like my onzas, sram xd freehubs are also a must have to get rid of the snatch as these things eat the shimano type and a good bombproof fork shock,and dropper for me is an absolute must have,chains and front rings also have to be good,wolftooth 30 up front and lots of kmc 118 link chains
  • + 1
 @mattwragg very useful article. however, you are wrong on a couple things.
# unless Cube specified a Non-eMTB Fox 36 on that bike this is a EMTB Version of the 36 with reinforced stanchions, crown and steerer tube
# most European eEnduro riders have started to use 153 mm Miranda Cranks as a replacement, especially on Bikes with low BBs, like the Cube is with a BB of 330 mm to avoid pedal clipping
# of course you a right that expensive replacement parts are not the best route on eMTBs, but the eMTB specific SRAM EX-1 is for a reason a good replacement part, saves battery consumption especially when combined with 14T front
# I would consider running different tire sizes / widths on a eMTB, 2.5”-2.6” front (especially 29” front) for good cornering, steering precision, and 2.8”-3.0” rear for good traction and puncture resistance (27.5Plus or 26Plus rear)
  • + 1
 @dropperposter It definitely isn't the eMTB-specific version - aside from the fact I know it isn't from the spec, it uses the larger 36 tokens, where the eMTB versions uses the smaller 34 tokens.
  • + 1
 "don't be sucked in by the main components. Get straight to the powertrain."
--> In other words: Stamina + Power > Bike Bling


"Riding a 50lb bike, support from the sidewall becomes more crucial than ever" & "tyre deforms and feels vague" & "Out the back, I think the answer is simple: coil shock. For this kind of bike, where the weight is less critical, it is just a better way to go" & "you're going to want the biggest brakes you can find, ideally paired with 200mm rotors. When the bike weighs more than 20kg, saving 15g by dropping to 180mm rotors is foolish."

---> In other words: bike+rider over 100kg = coils + sturdy tires + big brakes



BTW, it seems Geometry is not that important.
In other words:
Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 size 20 (L) reach = 436mm, seems ok!
  • + 1
 @TDMAN As I said at the top, this isn't a bike review. That said, Cube know that I would prefer it if the bike were a bit longer and their 2018 model is.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Please do yourself a favor and do a test-ride of the 2018 Mondraker E-Crafty!
I have the current model, it's mint! The new one looks even better!
  • + 1
 All these smart guys who complain about emtb on Pinkbike:
Notice that more than 50% of all bikes in Alps already have electric support. Pinkbike would be crazy to loose these readers/interesting group.
E-Mtb is fact, is today, it will be always more and more and will be forever. It is just as carving skis at the end of 90's. And look the carving skis evolution by today...
  • + 1
 some interesting posts and some proper nobs on this thread. I am looking at getting a Spesh Levo Carbon, I am not able to get out as much as I used to due to work and family, a new baby so I'm lucky to get out once a week, when I do I enjoy it but the climbs do me in as I try to keep up with mates and then I'm knackered so I reckon if I get the e bike its gonna help with the climbs and I will enjoy riding in a group again. any advice welcome.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg detail : the energy is 500Wh (500Wx3600s=joules) not W/h, and this 500Wh means it can deliver the 500W during one hour or 250W during 2 hours etc. I'm sure you know that but the writing bugs me.

Interesting article! Could you give an estimation with those replacements, for example mtb costs 100€/month for replacement parts whereas ebike is 200€/month?
Not even talking about long term, if the battery lasts only a year or two, seems pretty expensive
  • + 1
 Lots of company jump on the ebike bandwagon with crappy bikes like was for the 29er early years Take a shitty old geo frame, a battery random fixed, poor brakes.. gears...suspensions.. hubs...yeahhh ebikes for all... If you seriusly use ebike like enduro standard bike, need good specific components I think that after the hype only few big producers will gain market and reputation... producers that can put money in research and oem... Just this year we begin to see a real potential of an ebike but the price are actually insane, a bmc 12000 euros... i can buy a ktm450exc for less money... and buy also a standard good mtb...
  • + 2
 50lb bike. Unless you change bikes every year at some point you are going to be left stranded on a back country/long ass route.

Plus anyone ridden a ebike then gone back to a regular bike- what's it like?
  • + 6
 Nah, you just have to think about your rides - it does change how you plan your routes. If I'm going further out than my regular trails I tend to plan things quite thoroughly.

It makes your trail bike feel amazing - they feel so light and nimble after! Although it's good to keep mixing up which bike you ride so you get the benefits between them: the ebike builds strength, the trail bike builds leg power and the road bike builds endurance.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Woah there! So now you're suggesting we HAVE to ride road bikes too? What TF is going on here? You can't gain strength or endurance on an analog mtb anymore?
  • + 10
 @BenPea: When did I say you "have to" ride anything? I enjoy riding road bikes, you don't have to.
  • + 0
 @mattwragg: Nowhere, obviously. You're not a fascist. But the inadvertent inference in your final sentence tripped a fuse in me. We're all on hair trigger right now. The change management training received by PB's staff to help push through this e-bike thing is going to be put to the test this week I'm afraid.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: You can do anything on any bike, but with the roadbike it's easier
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Yes man, it's fun!
  • + 4
 I brought a E-bike to join the stable. After 3 months I realized I hadn't touched my normal ride (Yeti SB) so I decided to take it for a ride. I hated everything about it the ups were slow and boring and I could only do half the distance in the same time, it didn't plow through rock gardens as well as the ebike.

I thought that maybe I was just having a bad day so away it went for a few weeks. The next ride was nearly as bad slow long drags up the hills. again the distance was shorter (due to family I only can get out for a couple of hours) the only real positive was that the bike felt so light and was easier than ever to throw about.

in the end I sold all the bikes apart from the ebike and road bike as I felt I wasn't having as much fun on them.
I did consider keeping the Yeti just for up lift and park days as it was so nimble in the air.
  • + 3
 @Harverto: yeah its like riding with the brakes on when you go back onto a "normally aspirated" bike. But good to have the option of both if you can
  • + 2
 @Harverto: I switched "full e-bike" at the end of last year. I have never regretted my old trail bike.
But now i want a dh bike, because since I have the e-bike, Ive never had so much downhill rides and now I want more!
  • + 1
 You can expect that everyone who wrenches their own Bikes will also tune the powertrain above legal limits, just like it's the case with mopeds. Is there already a Website for that?
  • - 1
 And why wouldn't you? If it's just electronics all you need is a laptop and some software. I'm all for it.

My mate had his beem tuned in this way. He literally paid a tuner £250 to change some fields on the ecu from 0s and 1s to 2s and 3s, no tools required.
  • + 1
 @jaame: "my mate". Nice one! "My mate" has his chipped and says its a blast getting power up to about 30mph....
  • + 1
 @john260164: I've got a Mazda 3.
  • + 1
 @jaame: at least you've owned up to that! ;-)
  • + 1
 Some can be tweaked easily. But beware the consequences.
For example in France it's not illegal, but it moves it in the mopped/motorcycle category, meaning registration plate, lights, insurance etc....
Even if ridden on private track insurance is still required.
  • + 1
 I'd like to know more about the development of e assist systems that maybe only help you by a much smaller amount but are lightish(1.5-2 kgs) and can be retrofitted to a conventional bike.
  • + 1
 "After 1,500km, however, mine is still going strong, where normally I would expect to be on my third regular cassette"

You wear out cassette at 500 km? You must be one powerful rider. I would expect at least 5000 km.
  • + 1
 @rsilvers On an ebike, yes - recommended lifespan for a regular chain and cassette is about 5-600km.
  • + 1
 But do you still enjoy the damn thing? I remember the first ebike reviews seemed to say that climbing is more fun then descending on them.
  • + 2
 @Rubberelli I wouldn't keep riding any bike that wasn't more fun on the way down.
  • + 1
 Not quite, but its pretty bloody good climbing them and needs extra skill, particularly on steep, technical singletrack - chosing the right mode and avoiding trees, rocks other hazards while going quicker than normal. Flat singletrack is brilliant but again you need to remember you're going quicker....!
  • + 2
 Do people get insulted and beaten up down the bikepark if they ride an ebike?......if so, im not getting one
  • + 1
 In italy... not
  • + 0
 Not in Germany. Saw some ebikes in bikepark Winterberg (they even used the chairlift). No insults that I heard. Maybe the downhill crowd isn't as narrowminded as the average mountainbiker.
  • + 1
 This was a really well thought out and informative down to earth review even if I'm never going to buy an e-bike I still appreciate this kind of writing.
  • - 1
 Bullshit alert! The difference in weight between an ebike and a regular mountain bike is no more than 10kg, all this talk about the weight making any difference to your wheels/tyres etc is bullshit, unless you're willing to ignore the fact that riders vary in weight by way more than that, let me put it like this, lets say this reviewer weighs a pretty average 75kg (165lb), and his ebike weighs 23kg (50lb), thats a combined weight of about 98kg (215lb). An also pretty average 85kg (187lb) rider on a regular mountain bike lets say 30lb (13kg) is putting the same amount of weight through his wheels/tyres as the 75kg guy on an ebike but apparently both of these people should only ever buy cheap shitty rims, will always have squirmy tyres, will go through a set in a month, NEEDS Procore etc. This is a non article.
  • + 14
 @deadmeat25 I take it you haven't actually ridden an ebike then?
  • + 6
 @mattwragg: Well yeah I'm surprised too that the weight increase is such a big deal. I do get it about the drivetrain torque but for brakes, rims etc it surely doesn't matter too much whether you have 75kg rider on a 22kg bike or a 85kg rider on a 12kg bike? Apparently it does though, considering your experience. Could you explain what's the difference?
  • + 0
 Very true, I'm 12 stone so will be lighter on an ebike than someone 14 stone on a normal bike.
  • + 2
 It's not BS, he's just experiencing what it's like to be a Clydesdale. Sprung weight is sprung weight. Also - at that total weight with plus tyres, you NEED reinforced sidewalls or some sort of cushcore equivalent in order to safeguard against shit like rolling and punctures. But that's par for my course.
  • + 6
 @vinay: Ok, I have never reached 85kg, so this is based around me weighing somewhere around 75kg. On my Mondraker Foxy I ran the same rims for two years with one breakage, and have had a (larger) set on my Orbea Occam 29er for a couple of years too (and my Ibis Ripley before that). In that time I snapped only the one rim. On my local DH track on the ebike I snapped 4 rims in 7 runs... It is definitely noticeable how much more damage they take.

As for the tyres, I ran Schwalbe SG 2.35s, then Schwalbe 2.6 Apex, Maxxis 2.5 WT DD in succession. It was really, immediately noticeable how much more positive you could be on the bike with the DD casing, compared to the intermediate Apex tyres. On my Orbea (with the same rims) I can get away with Snakeskin casing with good security, I don't feel the need for a stronger carcass.

Brakes? Where I live in the South of France my test is always nose turns in tight switchbacks - to have enough power in the brake to pivot on a long descent when they are already hot. I have struggled with a whole bunch of different brakes on the ebike and at the EWS last year I found the combination of a smaller, lower profile rear tyre and a smaller rear rotor meant I cooked my brakes on one of the big stages. Since I switched up tyres and rotors I haven't had that issue since - the tyre means you have more traction when you need to brake, so you're on the brakes more and then the bigger rotor helps it cool.

This isn't in isolation from me, either - I have talked to other riders around me who ride these bikes and they are saying similar things.
  • + 0
 @mattwragg: Yes i have, but for me it wasn't much different in terms of weight because my Brooklyn already weighs well over 40lb, btw, i weigh about 80kg, so my combined weight on my bike is well over anything i stated above and i still don't see any of the problems you mention, so i'm still calling it bullshit mate, argue with that...
  • + 0
 @mattwragg: Yep. Describing my situation perfectly. 105kg. Giant Reign advanced. 2.35 MM Snakeskin is JUST holding on @ the front. Slaughter GRID is marginal @ the back, and needs far more pressure than I'd like. Running the pressure I want to results in rolling them in the corners and perpetual dent-removal from my Asym i35's.
  • + 3
 @deadmeat25: Nico Vouilloz's current setup: www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/article/nico-vouilloz-lapierre-overvolt-pro-bike-50493 TLDR: DH tyres, looking to switch to Saint brakes.
  • - 2
 @mattwragg: Matt, the same would be true if you simply weighed more yourself, just drop it, it's a non issue and you must realise that, no matter how many other people you ask it's just physics mate.

While i'm here i'll call the same bs on the drivetrain issue too, you may have to replace your chain more regularly, that's literally it, chain stretch destroys drivetrains, nothing else comes close.

And ebike specific forks? Dude please listen to yourself.
  • + 3
 @cptmayhem: Ah, you see, on a Reign I would definitely have Supergravity casing tyres, even at my weight.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg:

"@deadmeat25: Nico Vouilloz's current setup: www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/article/nico-vouilloz-lapierre-overvolt-pro-bike-50493 TLDR: DH tyres, looking to switch to Saint brakes."

I don't see your point here, there is your answer, dh tyres, more powerful brakes, sorted, but only if you weigh over xxxkg or it doesn't matter.
  • + 8
 Not quite the same as the bloke sitting on a bike is not rigidly attached to it. Our arms and legs are basically suspension between the bike and body which makes a huge difference
  • + 2
 Maybe something to do with the rider weight can be unweighted in tech sections. Or delayed/ damped by arms and legs as we hit stuff. A bike weight is fixed/ delayed by the suspension performance. So maybe this could be the cause?
But essentially your saying there is a lot of component innovation to get us up to pace. Sounds like going back 20yrs when I used to break cranks and rims all the time. Bend bars too. @mattwragg:
  • + 3
 @deadmeat25: You clearly know far more about this than I do, so I'm off to ride my bicycle. ps. I'm bigger and heavier than Nico Vouilloz.
  • + 0
 @SleepingAwake: At high compression moments, the only moments in question, the weight is dead weight, all going in the same direction, it is exactly the same.
  • + 4
 @Intensevp: I don't pretend to have answers to that, just time riding these bikes, talking to other people who are riding them and to the people who are making them. Certainly I think there is some progress needed in kit to really reach the potential of these bikes.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: So you're bigger and heavier than Nico, you know he runs dh tyres and more powerful brakes but didn't think to make the same upgrades or changes, or even put a positive slant on the use of these sort of upgrades, my issue with this article is that it's so negatively biased, in none of these comments have you said anything positive about ebikes at all, was that you're point overall?
  • + 3
 @deadmeat25: no because your body is going to move by maybe a foot down during a hard landing and as f=m*a with a the acceleration being smaller on your body the force is going to be smaller too
  • - 2
 @SleepingAwake: You're splitting hairs dude give it up.
  • + 3
 @deadmeat25: no otherwise there would be no point in having suspension. That's the whole idea behind it...
  • + 2
 @mattwragg: Thanks for your response. It seems like the components aren't quite there to make these bikes do what you expect to use them for. They may save you time on the ride up, but if seven runs means you need to lace up four new wheels (and take rotors and cassettes off and on to do so) and replace tubeless tires, it seems like a lot of wrenching. That's a couple of hours work. I don't think I can lace and true up a wheel in less than an hour.

I appreciate this article. It seems it is not another bike to have on the side. It either requires very regular attention (and investment) or it spends the majority of the time in the garage waiting to be fixed.
  • + 0
 @vinay: No more maintenance than a regular bike unless the problem is with the motor or battery, because is it a regular bike with a motor and a battery, WTF bullshit ignorance is going on here? Wake up you impressionable fool.
  • + 1
 they're a bit of a bugger to lift over a deer fence. I think mine weighs 50lb and its odd going back to my DH bike, an old V10, which now feels really light.
  • + 1
 @deadmeat25: yeah I remember bikes near 50lb, mine was 44 2 years ago but have it slimmed down to 40 now.
  • + 1
 Can't argue with solid riding and fixing parts that break. Keep smashing the shite out of it. It Can only improve things for everyone. @mattwragg:
  • + 1
 It's just weighting 10kg more, and crossing the design limits of the bike component, something 80kg+ rider knows for long time.

For the rims I guess that heavy pedaling in uphill tech section can really put them down, especially in side loading department.
  • - 1
 @Mac-Aravan: A rider that weighs over 80kg is NOT exceeding the design limits of ANY parts that come on ANY emtb currently available you utter, utter cock.

80kg is 12.5 stone, what are you a f*cking gnome? 12.5st is light for an actual man.
  • + 1
 Forgot... an interesting point could be:

What is the minimum budget for a good ebike?
  • + 1
 e-hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
  • + 1
 So, this ebike content will be euro specific. who would have thought...
  • + 1
 Good article, lots of usefull details. Thanks.
  • + 1
 So . It's just another standard being pushed on us . Jog on
  • + 1
 Very interesting review Ebike are quite similar at DH bike for components
  • + 1
 ok this Escalated quickly
  • + 1
 NAH!!!
  • - 2
 e-bikes are for pussies
  • + 6
 If you think ebikes are for pussies you're clearly doing sex wrong.
  • + 3
 @fatduke: no pussies required, the clue's in his name
  • + 2
 @fatduke: Laughed way to hard at this.
  • + 2
 Bear74 likes it raw and natural... ;-)
  • - 3
 The other problem with owning an e-bike long-term is having to tell your parents that you're gay.
  • + 5
 @chupicocconut I can tell them for you, if you like.
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