2023 Pinkbike Awards: eMTB of the Year Winner

Dec 21, 2023 at 12:23
by Dario DiGiulio  
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Love 'em or hate 'em, electric mountain bikes might be the fastest-paced area of development in the off road bike world right now, with significant updates coming every couple years, and new technologies getting unveiled on a regular basis. It can be hard to keep up with, and like any incremental improvement it's usually worth waiting a cycle or two before jumping for that new model. That said, this year's eMTB of the Year nominees all represent impressive steps in development, be it on the motor & battery or ride quality & performance side of things.

Of course, there can only be one, so without further ado, here we have the Pinkbike Award for the finest eMTB of 2023.




eMTB OF THE YEAR

Orbea Wild

The new benchmark.




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Orbea seems to have pulled out all the stops for the new Wild, with significant updates to the kinematics and geometry, speccing one of the best motor and battery systems, and considering the finer frame details and user interface. The bike is currently available in a 29"-only setup, but given Orbea's history with aftermarket links for the Rallon, it's likely we'll see a 27.5" rear wheel option down the line. Luckily, the big wheels don't negatively affect the handling or ride quality, with a composed and confident feel that really impressed our testers.

The stock build kit seemed particularly well-suited to the nature of the bike, but should you want something different, Orbea's custom builder program allows you to alter the build kit as you please. While Mike was impressed by the longevity of the 625Wh battery, there is a 750Wh option, should you want all the range available. As tested - with the sum total coming out to $11,124 USD - the Wild is as staggeringly expensive as many top eMTBs are, but you're genuinely getting a top-tier product for that top-shelf price.

We're excited to see where the eMTB space evolves in the coming years, but for now the Orbea Wild represents a strong high point in the market.




Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
194 articles

102 Comments
  • 38 6
 Not including the Crestline was a joke. Can’t say I’m surprised the final choice was an Orbea…
  • 10 1
 Kaz literally wrote “e-bikes are in the middle of a rapid evolution, and the 75/50 is a good example of what's possible.”
  • 8 0
 totally agree!! Crestline spec is similar with more adjustability
  • 11 0
 Agreed! Crestline at least deserved a nomination. It's an absolute fun machine for anyone looking to get in their daily DH/Enduro fix. Find a steep enough fire road to climb and roaring descent and you're easily getting 4000 ft of DH per hour
  • 4 0
 Can you buy the Crestline though?
  • 55 1
 "Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the support and kind words in the comments.

As a small boutique brand we know our bikes are expensive so we really appreciate the support and are doing our very best to keep pricing in line with bigger company offerings of a similar spec which i think is apparent when comparing. The new Pivot with the bosch CX race motor is a good example to compare against.

We worked very hard on our first ever e-bike and its humbling to see any number of folks recognizing and expressing positive feedback about it. We will continue keep ours heads down to make sure we offer the best full power eMTB we can and it looks like we have work to do ;-)

All that being said we would like to congratulate Orbea for winning pinkbike's eMTB of the year and the others that were included in the top e bikes for 2023. We'll make sure we get up here to rub shoulders with the bigger manufacturers at some point.

All the best for 2024 to everyone! #hereforthehotlaps" - TROYDON
  • 5 0
 @zarban: We have a new batch of bikes arriving in March/April 2024. Please feel free to shoot us an email and we will ad you to the list and let you know exactly when we start allocating bikes which will be around February. We will have a limited number of frame only options too!
  • 12 26
flag tonybah (Dec 28, 2023 at 11:09) (Below Threshold)
 and the CR250, YZ250, and a Surron just for kicks.
  • 6 0
 I have a Wild and think it is amazing, but I agree, the Crestline is a bike that intrigued me but was not available and higher than I wanted to pay (got a deal on my 2023 Wild)
  • 3 0
 @zarban: Totally. They're made in limited numbers though so you have to pre-order.
  • 5 0
 Also not mentioned re:Crestline, not only do you get a great product, but the best customer service bar none.
  • 6 0
 @crestline: with a crestline you can travel ( removable battery) this alone sets your bosch arrangement ahead as orbea takes an epic fail both with fixed batteries and headset cable routing. How can Orbea possibly win e-bike of the year?
  • 3 0
 Likely because it's near a years salary for some people. £10k gbp is a huge whack for a bike.
  • 1 0
 @zarban: no, have you seen how much they cost?
  • 2 0
 @r-macattack: as someone else pointed out, this isn’t value e bike of the year.
  • 1 0
 @professed: I feel like with removable batteries there’s a higher chance of the battery rattling around or having a messed up connection.
  • 28 7
 No bike or ebike with headset cable routing should get BOTY/eBOTY.
  • 3 1
 I was thinking this lol but it’s a nice bike
  • 7 0
 @bikerdre: No mechanic will want to change your seatpost, shifting &/or braking housing through the headset.. let alone underneath a motor which may need to be dropped also! Lol
  • 6 16
flag BermJunky (Dec 28, 2023 at 10:00) (Below Threshold)
 @Jaybirdy: find a skilled mechanic and it’s a non-issue. You guys and your blanket PB declarations. Too funny.
  • 7 3
 @BermJunky: What you said is pretty idiotic. Regardless of anything integrated headset routing is shit and more difficult to work with and takes more time. I don't take the fork off anymore for lower service because it's a huge pain to put back in.
  • 4 17
flag BermJunky (Dec 28, 2023 at 10:11) (Below Threshold)
 @Bunabe: so don’t buy one then! Sounds like maybe you’re the idiot.
  • 3 0
 I think the orbea is a good emtb of the year choice, but it just highlights all the current issues with ebikes: bonkers pricetag if you want their claimed sub 22kg weight, huge compromises on removable battery and headset, previous model was completely unreliable... It's a tough call putting down so much cash for these things recently.
  • 4 3
 @BermJunky: calm down guy, have a snickers
  • 3 2
 @kilgore-trout: I am calm. But a snickers does sound delicious.
  • 4 2
 @BermJunky: No you are the idiot. First of all for suggesting that it's somehow about the skill of a mechanic which already means you are dumb enough to not understand what you are talking about and what a stupid solution to the problem. And second you are incapable of thinking that many bikes have the integrated headset and in many situations you don't have a choice.

So no there is no doubt that you said something profoundly stupid and made yourself look like an absolute idiot.
  • 1 3
 @Bunabe: bahahaha hurt you feelings I guess. Do you feel better now? So easily triggered!
  • 3 1
 @BermJunky: I am a Skilled mechanic & it sucks ass! Maybe I’ll just start charging double for the extra time and headache headset routing takes.. if you’ve ever actually worked on your bike yourself or other ones with headset routing, maybe you’d be less inclined to justify shit that doesn’t fix anything whatsoever.. lmao
  • 2 0
 @Jaybirdy: Of course they will. They’ll just charge more. And most people will service their bike from the shop that they bought it from. It’s not like a shop won’t service the same bikes that they sell
  • 1 2
 @Jaybirdy: hahaha sounds like you are bitter about your job.
I have more important things to do than service my bike. I used to work on it. But now I have two kids, wife, career. So, I pay someone to make sure my bike is always tuned. When I have time to ride, my bike is always ready.
  • 2 1
 @BermJunky: Love my job.. I thank You kindly
  • 2 1
 @Tustinite: For some of those reasons I can list a few issues I’ve seen in not just one specific bike manufacturer but others as well..
Cable bite & pinch
Many of these manufacturers design the bikes with terrible plastic spacers that eat away at cables like hungry termites..
Perhaps more time and new ideas may make it easier/less cramped in the future (at least one can hope) but for now it’s still experimental at best.. No real “master fix” by having cables run in around or straight down the head tube itself, just for show unless your Arrow Joe ;^P
  • 2 2
 @BermJunky: You are basically now trying to deflect as you have nothing intelligent to say. Basically trying to hide behind being a troll. It's not that I'm triggered but that you are massively insecure.
  • 1 2
 @Bunabe: lol! You got me!
  • 22 5
 The people's champion is the Crestline. Crestline has removable battery, top tube screen, travel adjustments, mx wheels options. The only good thing Orbea had is cheaper models.
  • 7 2
 Yup, exactly! Crestline should have made the list and beat out this Orbea
  • 5 15
flag BermJunky (Dec 28, 2023 at 9:54) (Below Threshold)
 Stop talking like you know what the people want. That’s your opinion sheesh.
  • 12 4
 The crestline could certainly be the peoples champion for about 1% of the population haha, silly expensive
  • 12 2
 @Chondog94: This isnt the value e-mtb of the year award, this is THE E-MTB of the year award. Price shouldn't dictate much and Crestline is perfectly in line with other same spec'd bikes
  • 5 0
 @avg-roadie: Thanks for pointing this out!
  • 1 0
 @avg-roadie: Not arguing with that, just commenting on the OP.
  • 10 0
 I think the Wild is a nice bike but I think the Crestline outshines it for many reasons such as better build quality, not so rigid feeling, frame only options even with the Race Bosch motor, better paint quality, no headset tourism, etc. The PB staffers missed this one.
  • 10 2
 OK bias alert. However, I have been riding my Wild since April. It is flat out awesome.
  • 5 1
 I've ridden bunches of E-bikes and the Crestline is hands down the best I've ridden. PB missed the mark by not at least including them in the best of nominees. IMHO they should have won.
  • 7 2
 I would think E-bike of the year would at least have PB Product of the Year, SRAM Transmission, since it is also E.
  • 3 1
 Love this, All Crestline's now come with transmission since it was released ;-)
  • 6 4
 "The new benchmark" - fair enough. It's amazing though, that value eBikes don't get more attention, considering what you can get for under $6k new. Devinci E-Troy, Nukeproof Megawatt and Propain Ekano 2 AL all come to mind, there are others.
  • 2 0
 Also note that the "affordable" alu orbea wilds are about 26kg and some models come with rubbish suspension for high prices.
  • 4 0
 Under $6K buys you some pretty nice stuff these days if you don't mind them being a couple years old designs - including full carbon bikes with pretty good spec from Canyon and YT (well, OK, a bit older than a couple years) and Fezzari. There are still some sale bikes from Specialized floating around as well.
  • 5 2
 no fast replaceable battery is a downer for ebike racing or uplift chasing days- it takes 20 minutes to change the built-in battery: www.emtbforums.com/threads/all-new-2023-orbea-wild.31418
  • 2 0
 Damn that's a big no no
  • 1 0
 I might be bias but I've had my 750Wh Wild since August and it does around 1600-1700m ascent on steep rough trails in eMTB mode, more in trail or eco mode or when riding up fireroads. By the time the battery is nearly dead, I'm absolutely knackered from the amount of riding done in a day and I can honestly say the battery not being "hot swappable" has not been a negative for me personally. It is such an efficient & capable bike. Granted in certain situations a hot-swappable battery is useful but it shouldn't put most people off.
  • 1 0
 @Andrewuk1990: yes no problem if you can keep the bike where you charge it. For me that's sometimes not possible, plus i like to charge my batteries in a safe box. Maybe I'm paranoid, but 750wh battery has potential for an insane fire! It burns easily through that frame.

I wonder how much that integration saves weight? Gotta be atleast a kilo/2lbs?
  • 2 0
 For this to be a valid award, pinkbike needs to be upfront and clear about their business relationship with any brand, so be sure its not a paid for award. disclose the advertising levels of each brand.... to be believable. Transparency is key,
  • 5 1
 I have the new Wild and it’s a very good bike, headset routing is super shitty, but that’s a small issue.
  • 3 4
 Why? I’ve had mine since April and not one single issue.
  • 4 0
 @BermJunky: Had mine about the same, absolute dream to ride!
I did find when I upgraded the fork, that the cables at that point were a bit of a pain, but I built a tool to hold them all in place when the forks out, and it was not a problem from that point on when I have them out for servicing.
  • 1 0
 I have the old wild and it's a really good bike for the 3rd hand money I paid for it. The vitus I borrowed is a different descending beast though. Would love to try the new wild as I heard it's amazing for range, power and handling. As I can change the battery in my old wild and do regularly for battery rinsing days the new wild would be a compromise. Super long and slack bikes are great but on most of our local trails the slightly steeper and shorter bikes work better, maybe we just need all the trails rebuilt to suit long and slack.
  • 3 0
 I got the Aluminum H10 version for $5200 with a decent spec. Climbs much better than my Levo which was a nice bike but just kept frying motors. Heard good things about Bosch.
  • 1 1
 "The Wild is staggeringly expensive"...quick conversion puts this puppy at $17,568 NZD!!! I'm not saying it's a bad bike at all, and I'm sure it's a worthy winner but I can get a 2024 Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 2 for $9300 bucks (lightweight, full power, fox sun f&b) from a local dealer. It may be bike of the year but Orbea will sell jack down here in hobbiton.
  • 4 2
 Cable tourism for the win
  • 4 2
 for 2023, I have to go with the Triumph 400x....
  • 1 0
 As much as I do not care about e-bikes having a bike with headset cable routing as e-bike of the year is wild.
  • 6 8
 The end of access to trails lies within the mountain bike industries hands. Or is it ok when you spend 12K to enter trails marked for bicycles. Idc.. I say as long as you don't endanger others however when the signs start to read No Bikes.. the problem grows. Cool bike
  • 6 1
 @MrSMF Might be true where you live. Here, all Wa state park trails that are open to bikes, are open to eBikes as well (they don't make a distinction). It also sounds like Galbraith (where PB does many of it's reviews) is headed towards legal eBike access. As it is, I see at least 50% ebikes these days. Land managers have not reported increase conflicts or wear.
  • 4 2
 CRESTLINE...STOP MESSING AROUND!
  • 1 0
 Hey! Hells Angels! Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. Take 'em.
  • 2 2
 What's going on with the valve on the rear?
  • 3 1
 That's the wireless speed sensor.
  • 2 2
 Fezarri Timp Peak in mx is better!
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