First Ride: Focus Vam² SL - Electric Downcountry?

Feb 6, 2024 at 9:16
by Seb Stott  
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We're in the middle of an arms race to build the lightest possible e-mountain bike. Focus have fired off the Vam², a short-travel electric trail bike with a claimed weight starting at 16.2 kg (35.7 lb). While some other e-bikes make similar claims, most weigh significantly more in the flesh, but my XL test bike weighs an impressive 16.7 kg (37 lb). That's lighter than a Trek Fuel EX-e but not quite as svelte as Scott's Lumen. But Focus boasts more power and battery capacity than either.

It's a dedicated 29er with 125 mm of travel at the rear and a 130 mm fork. Like many modern cross-country bikes, it uses a lightweight flex-stay single-pivot suspension system, along with a full carbon frame and one-piece cockpit. While it would be tempting to call it a "downcountr-e" bike, Focus say that "the VAM² SL isn’t defined by a specific terrain, but it defines your way of riding. Direct and playful for more speed and smiles on your rides."

Focus Vam² SL Details
• Full-carbon frame, flex pivot suspension
• 125mm (r)/130 mm (f) travel
• Fazua Ride 60 motor: 60 Nm, 450 W peak power
• 430 Wh battery, optional 210 Wh range extender
• 29" wheels
• Weight: 16.7 kg / 37 lb (actual, XL )
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL; 420-505 mm reach
• Price: €5.799 / £5,099 to €10.999 / £9,699
focus-bikes.com



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Motor & Battery

Focus say they chose the Fazua Ride 60 motor because it's lightweight but still offers enough power (up to 450 W and 60 Nm of torque) to keep up with "full-fat" e-bikes. The 430 Wh battery is also bigger than many other lightweight e-bikes. For example, the Scott Lumen is perhaps the lightest on the market - with a claimed starting weight of 15.5 kg - but it uses a TQ motor with a peak power of 300W and a battery capacity of 360 Wh, so the Vam² should offer considerably more assistance and/or range. Fazua will offer a range extender with an additional 210 Wh of juice.

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A remote toggles between the three assistance modes, which are shown with green, blue or purple LEDs on the top tube. The number of LEDs indicates the battery level from 1-5 bars.

The battery is enclosed inside the downtube and cannot be removed for off-bike charging without first removing the motor. This helps save a little weight compared to a removable battery.



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Frame details

Focus kept things simple and lightweight with the suspension too. The carbon seatstay flexes slightly as the suspension compresses to follow the arc of the short rocker link on the seat tube. The rocker link is aligned so this flex is kept to a minimum, and the bending barely contributes to the suspension forces. Compared to a conventional seatstay or chainstay pivot, this sheds weight and reduces the need for bearing swaps.

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Focus claims their 9. series frame (with the lightest carbon layup) tips the scales at 2,172 g, while the more affordable 8. series frame weighs 2,545 g. Those numbers are for a size medium, including linkage and bolts but excluding motor, battery and shock. It's interesting that e-bike frames can have a similar weight to regular ones - excluding the electronics.

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Cables must be run through the headset, but unlike other Focus bikes, they don't go through the stem. More affordable models use a two-piece bar and stem (left), while the top two models use a one-piece carbon cockpit (right). An included accessory mount can hold a computer or GoPro.

The frame is strength tested for enduro use and it's rated for a 140 mm fork should you want to make it a bit rowdier. The headset offers two head angle options: 65.5 or 66.5-degrees. Unlike a flip chip, it does this without affecting the other geometry measurements much. Fitting a 140 mm fork will knock another half a degree off the head angle.



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Geometry

Given the travel bracket, the geometry would not look out of place on a modern muscle-powered downcountry or short-travel trail bike. In particular, the 440 mm chainstays are pretty standard on regular bikes these days, but many e-bikes regularly exceed 450 mm in all sizes due to the need to fit the pivots around the motor.

Compared to the Scott Lumen, the geometry is almost identical if you set the Focus to the slack setting. The main difference is that the Vam² has a 10 mm shorter chainstay, which may benefit smaller riders.



Models

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10.999 €, CHF 11.499, £ 9.699

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8.699 €, CHF 9.199, £ 7.599

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6.899 €, CHF 7.299, £ 5.999

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5.799 €, CHF 5.999, £ 5.099



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Ride Impressions

Focus sent me the top-spec 9.0 model to test on my local trails in the Tweed Valley. While I've only spent a short time on the bike, riding familiar test loops makes it possible to get a sense of how it performs. I rode it on blue, red and black trail centre sections, natural singletrack and hand-cut enduro trails.

The Vam² is in its element when you want to cover ground quickly. Fast-rolling tires make it possible to exceed the assistance limit regularly, and the motor's subtle support fades away smoothly enough that you often don't notice when it's all your own work until you slow down and the motor kicks back in. Even riding with the motor off is completely manageable, so there's no fear of running out of charge mid-ride. The suspension does allow a little bob, but it's sensitive over small bumps.

But once things get chunkier (stones the size of a tennis ball or larger), there is inevitably more feedback than longer travel bikes, which can upset the pedalling rhythm. The Wicked Will rear tire is dicey in the wet too, which scuppered more than one technical climb. I'd also prefer a steeper seat tube in these situations, but the geometry is great for racing along rolling terrain and trail-centre singletrack.

The Fazua system offers noticeably more torque than its Bosch SX or TQ counterparts, making it less prone to bogging down when the cadence drops too low. While not as powerful as the Bosch SX when spinning at a high cadence, it offers plenty of power without doing all the work for you.

When descending, it's easy to flick around trail centre chicanes. It's also very easy to manual and hop. While it weighs as much as the heavies enduro bikes, the lightweight wheels and low bar height make it feel lighter and more chuckable when descending at speed.

When things got spicy, it soon started to feel out of its depth. This isn't surprising given the travel and intended use, but I hit the edge of its comfort zone a little sooner than expected.

The bar height is lower than I'd like (I'm 191 cm tall, riding the XL), and thanks to the one-piece cockpit this is hard to address. The fixed upsweep is pretty extreme too, which to me makes the head angle feel steeper than it is. I'd prefer a shorter effective stem length and longer dropper post too. The combined effect is more XC than Trail when things get technical; I found it hard to maintain a good position over the bike, particularly when negotiating steep turns, or corners with a step leading into them. The SRAM Level brakes also became slightly spongey towards the end of the steeper descents. Here I'm not talking about downhill tracks, only the spicier side of what such a bike could be expected to ride.

On the other hand, the cockpit, brakes and dropper could be swapped out, and cheaper builds have more powerful brakes and conventional cockpits from stock. The Grip2 Fox 34 continues to impress, and the frame feels like it has more to give when things get hectic. But it's interesting to compare Focus's Vam² to their Jam2, which I rode on many of the same trails last year. The Jam² is only ~1.5 kg heavier but feels dramatically more capable. In this context, the Vam² feels like it's sacrificing a lot to save an amount of weight that's hard to notice in the real world. So, it's best suited to those who intend to stick to fast, flowy singletrack - where it excels.




Author Info:
seb-stott avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2014
298 articles

116 Comments
  • 113 15
 Hopefully, I never need an E-bike, but I do ride with people who ride them. My honest question is if you have a motor, why would you not want all the travel? I thought down country was to capitalize on lighter overall weight. This just seems like it is missing the mark of why people ride them.
  • 22 2
 As an eeb owner, I also don't know. I've done 40 mile rides on my 160mm eeb (I did fit exo casing tyres though, minion dhf and aggressor combo so relatively fast rolling but still not xc tyres) with little issue or desire for less travel (and being very grateful for it on the last descent of the day after 37 miles in summer heat)
  • 36 15
 A 130mm E-bike is perfect for a lot of riders, many of which don't ride an e-bike because they 'need to' but because they are really fun and help you to get more of the best kind of riding into the same amount of time. I would love to try a 35lbs e-bike, for my local riding I think it would be silly fun.
  • 37 30
 @Vudu74 No one "needs" an E-bike. Sure they can get people out that haven't ridden in a minute or are recovering from an injury, etc. However, for an advanced rider they will allow you to do things that are either impossible on a regular bike or extraordinarily difficult. As such, in this guise I want all the travel and power.

I have several bikes including a full power E-bike. That bike has taken the place of the long travel enduro bikes I used to ride all the time. Now when I want to pedal, I ride my hardtail, short travel trail bike (not down country) or do some some mixed terrain stuff (gravel or whatever it's called). This seems to be the way things are going for many as big bike sales have decreased while E-bike sales are up industry wide each year.

Lastly two things to note. First, don't think for a second that you won't get a workout on an E-bike. Yes, it's possible to ride them without putting much effort in, but my pals and I take them on the most severe trails around and push ourselves. Second, it's near impossible to have a bad time on one. Hell, the shock on mine blew during a recent ride; oil everywhere, total mess. However since it was a coil I tightened the preload and was able to finish the ride. Despite having no damping and it clanking like cheap bed in the upstairs of a house of ill repute, I still had a blast. ☠
  • 39 2
 Because no matter how much power you have going up, a 50+lb bike still rides like a 50+lb bike going down (or also when you have to maneuver it when not riding). Ebikes don't magically make handling preferences go away. The same person who would choose a downcountry bike over a trail/all mountain bike will appreciate a lighter ebike too.
  • 9 2
 @bigtuna00: This - I love my ebike but you can tell it’s a 50lb bike when things slow down a little, a 35-40lb ebike would be mega fun, can’t wait to try one.
  • 8 1
 @bigtuna00: i also thought this but every single one of the ebike riders that i ride with actually likes the weightier full-fat ebikes they're on. i think there is something to the sprung:unsprung mass ratio in that case. either way, i am stoked that ebikes exist cause it means i get to ride faster or longer with friends that otherwise wouldn't be able to
  • 9 1
 Honest answer - if you ride a lot of XC and want the bike to feel more agile (more similar to a regular bike). The full fat e-bikes are easy to pedal but they weigh 55-60 pounds if equipped properly and in techy/undulating terrain they are a lot to move around. Sometimes you don’t want massive power in those scenarios let alone all the suspension travel (just like on a regular bike).

Full power/long travel is desirable for most everything else - like adventuring, self shuttling/bike park riding, etc. According to my opinion. I wouldn’t want to ride a lot of the natural terrain that I prefer to mess about on with my eeb, without a more capable bike.
  • 2 0
 I agree with you for the most part.
I ride normal bikes from hardtail and fs 120mm rear travel up 180mm. Sweet spot for me for an ebike is around 150mm rear travel to keep it poppy and playful but handle any chunk.

I’ve had 170mm ebikes and due to the travel and weight it hugged the ground. It was FaF but not very playful and poppy. 140/150 seems to be (my) sweet spot
  • 6 0
 Usually the longer the travel, the longer and slacker the bike. And not everyone wants longer and slacker bikes. This is why I only ride 120-130mm bikes. And for my terrain that's plenty. It's not weight I'm concerned about it's size. If I ever bought an ebike it would also be in the 120-130mm range for that reason.
  • 2 0
 @bigtuna00: Absolutely - I briefly owned a Sight VLT - it was a little big for me and the weight combined with the size made it impossible to ride with confidence on anything less than a flat out flow trail. I didnt enjoy it and sold it pretty quickly. A lighter weight, shorter travel makes sense to me - the Heckler SL seems to fit nicely in the middle ground of light enough and big enough to do all I want.
  • 2 0
 XC e-bikes make no sense to me. For me it's just a way to shuttle a DH / Super Enduro bike without needing other people. I want ALL the travel and all the DH/ enduro parts.
Very few people "need" an e-bike but they're a darn fun addition to the quiver if you can have one. It's very region specific though. If you don't have big, steep mountains with hour plus climbs to access the good stuff then you likely don't need one.
  • 3 0
 @bigtuna00: This is true. For me a SL style long travel e-bike is the sweet spot.
On tech trails full power ones give you one hell of a workout going down and they are a tad harder to slow down with things are steep and loose.
  • 2 1
 @Dustfarter: Agreed E bikes are shuttle machines. Sure you can use them for xc, but it makes less sense if the point is to enjoy the ride and scenery, and have something simple, lightweight, and reliable.

Downcountry is a term that should no longer exist because xc bikes are overall very capable. Calling an e bike downcountry is just nauseating.
  • 2 1
 This is the industry trying to tell us what we want because they see a gold mine at the end. It makes no sense to build these bikes aside from trying to flip them onto folks buying into a bad joke or fad or whatever.
  • 3 6
 @justanotherusername: I can ride for just as long on a bike as I can on an e-bikes. I don't see how a motor makes anything fun.

Folks on e-bikes need to start admitting they like them because they are easier. As if batterie do not die.

What happens when you want to ride longer than your battery allow?
  • 5 0
 @MidwestMountains: Of course people like them because they're easier. That's the point. Every ebiker would agree with this. It's the same reason people take shuttles or lifts. It's easier to get to the top for the fun stuff. Not everyone enjoys climbing. Nothing wrong with that.
  • 3 1
 @vitaflo: nothing wrong with admitting it too. That's my point.
  • 2 0
 Some people's local trails might be best suited to just a trail/DC bike, regardless of whether you are doing it under your own steam or with motor assistance.
If you're riding at 15-20mph whether thats from a motor or from gravity having a big travel slack sled is fun; but theres some tight techy woodland singletrack where no style of ebike is going to be troubling the speed limiter. People want a light responsive bike to get the most out of tamer trails... and some people want to do it with Nino's legs rather than their own.
  • 3 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: it is really astonishing how much power these bikes are making. i ride with a fella that's more than 30 years older than me and if we're on a slight uphill, for example, and we both sprint, i cannot ride away from him. after 20-30 seconds of that action, i'd be smashed anyway, so why bother. now, unless it is a super technical climb that balances things a bit, he is taking it relatively easy on the climb, even if i am pushing it. the ebike is an awesome tool for leveling the fitness/ability of friends in different conditions
  • 2 0
 @MidwestMountains:

"I can ride for just as long on a bike as I can on an e-bikes. I don't see how a motor makes anything fun."

So can just about any advanced rider. It's quality over quantity. You can do way more highly technical things, even repeating segments in a given time window than you can on a regular bike. Riding super technical ascents, the stuff that requires trials moves is fun and a motor makes success in these situations significantly higher. Descents are kind of a given, but ask anyone who likes getting off the ground and they will tell you that a heavy e-bike makes for a much better jumper than most regular bikes.

"Folks on e-bikes need to start admitting they like them because they are easier. As if batterie do not die."

Nothing to admit. As I said above, you can get a serious workout on an e-bike. Studies have shown that riders' heart rate and power output is the same if you are going hard in either situation. However, you are not beating up your knees as much with an e-bike as the torque value is lower.

"What happens when you want to ride longer than your battery allow?"

Depends on how much riding you wish to accomplish. I generally do b/t 2-3 hours when I ride my Levo and have 30% or more battery left over. That is in "Trail" (middle power) mode for more than 90% of my ride. Mileage is 20-25 miles on average and most of that is on very technical terrain. Think steep, wet, rocky stuff similar to the PNW. If I want to go further I can A. bring a spare battery. This is actually rather do-able as the extra weight is not a deal-breaker even though it still is cumbersome. Most commonly, B. I bring a charger cable and top off for 30-45 minutes top off over a beer or coffee which typically adds another 30-40% power.

Ride whatever turns you on.
  • 2 0
 @hellbelly: you lost me at "ask anyone who likes getting off the ground and they will tell you that a heavy e-bike makes for a much better jumper than most regular bikes."
  • 3 0
 @mi-bike: It's same deal for motocross bikes and a reason that DH riders often add weights to their bikes. The heavier weight manages the centrifugal forces better centering everything easier than on a lighter weight ride. In my own experience when I ride a regular bike I am putting in faster times and have better handling ability after doing an e-bike ride.

BTW, on average 60-70% of my rides are still on regular bikes lest anyone think I am some fat POS* e-bike slob or shuttle goon. Before anyone gets their panties twisted up I am okay with them too. However, while no particular riding subset really bothers me, I do find that the most egregious behavior typically comes from the tight suit-wearing XC strava*sholes chasing KOM's on busy trail days. YRMV.

*I might still be a POS, but am working hard on not being too fat of one.
  • 2 0
 Simply comes down to entertainment value. I could say the same about a regular bike, if not racing XC then why not have all the travel. You will get strong enough eventually right? I actually followed this concept for a long time logging 30-50 mile rides on my 170 bikes.

Then I got a modern XC bike and my whole world view changed. Way more entertaining on the descents, even if my ultimate speed wasn't quite equal (my XC bike is actually faster on most descents) and also way more fun on flat or rolling terrain.
  • 2 0
 I see no value in an e-downcountry myself. I have a Relay (170mm) and I want an additional downcountry (full or hard tail, not sure yet) to go with for days where I dont need the big full sus. Because honestly these are so light and pedal so well that it doesnt feel all that different from the ebike in terms of fatigue, they're just less plowy and capable for the big stuff and repeated hits.

Similarly though I see zero value in road ebikes outside of commuters - and indeed, i don't see a lot of them on the road...
  • 2 0
 @MidwestMountains:

You should go on a ride with a couple capable riders who happen to be on e-bikes. It isn’t just old, fat or lazy people riding these things. It’s a different discipline of mountain biking that opens up some crazy possibilities that hardly anyone would care to do in a regular bike. Yes you can ride further or do more laps or just plain work less - that’s all obvious. You can also ride stuff that I’d confidently say is borderline impossible on a normal bicycle. So yes, the motor can not only make something fun, but also possible on a pedal driven bike.
  • 1 0
 @Maxcycles: it is actually super fun to do 'ebike climbs' on a mountain bike. sometimes defeat is inevitable but it is amazing what you can get up if you just try super super hard haha
  • 1 0
 @MidwestMountains: @MidwestMountains: Here's the main difference I have found after experimenting with my Turbo Levo and my other bikes, a Tallboy and a Hightower. On a EMTB you can ride longer and burn less calories compared to a MTB because your heart rate stays in a lower zone. You can consecutively ride more days and more miles in a week, and basically, more time riding per month and year because your body doesn't require as much time and energy to recover. Unless if you're riding a cross country weight weenie bike you might be able to achieve similar results as the EMTB. (lower heart rate zones, burning less calories than you would on the trail bikes and enduro bikes.) But let's also recognize that on a EMTB, they have more suspension so are also more forgiving on the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, etc than a 100mm XC rocket.
  • 3 0
 @MidwestMountains: No, it's not easier like you say for all. Mountain Biking saved my life. I Love my regular bikes. Had several. But I lost part of my left lung serving in the Marines. My Buddy got into Mountain biking, to get me out and out of my depression.
As I have gotten older, it's hard on my lung and body. Believe. Just because it has a small motor to help. Your still peddling 40 pounds. Plus, it's a pedal assist bike. I don't have a throttle.
Several of my friends I ride with, have injuries that hurt when you get older. But we still get out. Ride, have a great time. Talk to other riders and get thumps up, when we tell them why we ride still. I never thought I would have one, and don't ride it every time. My Single Speed is my favorite.
  • 1 3
 @devinkalt: Or you could just get fitter and stronger
  • 1 0
 For mellow trails, a lighter, short travel bike/ebike, will make your ride much more fun, than a full macho machine
  • 1 0
 @MidwestMountains: you carry an extra battery on the backpack, or buy an extender (up to 540W/h).

So, with a total of up to 1500W/h battery (750W/h x2), you can ride up to:
±150km
± more than 4.000m

In a Tour+ mode.

That is something I wouldn't be able to do on my BIKE
  • 3 0
 @omegalung: fellow vet. Keep riding brother.
  • 1 0
 I agree that you always want a little more travel on an e-bike, so this bike would be perfect for people who ride on dirt roads and need a little suspension for breaking bumps and potholes.
  • 1 0
 @p1nkbike: totally agree. The beauty of an emtb is that you don't have to compromise with less suspension to keep it peddle friendly. No need for a motor on a road, gravel, xc or downcountry bike imo. Other than for commuting or when you have a condition or something.
  • 2 0
 @T-Brick: You also Brother.
Keep up the Fight.
  • 1 0
 Agree with the confusion around wanting a powered bike that doesn't offer full shredability. Easy flowy trails are more fun on a light bike. If you're on XC trails that don't demand huge climbs, why splurge on an e-bike? And if you do splurge, why not have a bike that can also handle rowdy terrain better? If the reason for a motor is to take you to more places, don't some of those places include steeps and drops, or is someone wanting to conquor big vert just to ride mellow blues all the way back down every ride? For anyone who has fitness/cardio issues but just wants a chill bike, this makes more sense.
  • 28 1
 Good looking Bike....except for the stem / spacer madness

Sram Level Brakes........WTF
  • 5 0
 How else would they keep the price under £10k?
  • 1 0
 They are Level 4-piston, same as the old G2 brakes but with updated Stealth levers.
  • 1 0
 @zmcfadden28: Correct, and the G2s are not strong enought for most people and terrain.
Why would any Company spec them at their top price point bike when it can be expected that the first thing the tester and customer are goig to compalin about is the brakes.
Saving a bit of weight over a set of codes can´t be as importand as getting a review that says "well rounded component spec" rather than "the first thing you gotta do is to get better brakes"
  • 1 0
 @spoegel: they're plenty strong when paired with HS2 rotors.
  • 13 0
 "Cables must be run through the headset".... Not again :-(
  • 4 5
 But it makes the steerer tube area look so clean, just check the pictures Big Grin
  • 3 0
 @chakaping: form over function
  • 3 6
 It's annoying and shouldn't happen, ever. But...having just purchased a gravel bike with headset-routed cables, I asked myself when the last time I replaced an upper headset bearing was on my MTB's. Been riding 13 years 5 days a week rain or shine. I've replaced the lower bearing (and the upper along with it because the two bearings came together) but I've never had an upper get thrashed to the point of needing a replacement. The more annoying thing is going to be figuring out how to route the shifter and dropper cable housing (since they definitely do need replacing every once in awhile), but I'm sure that's a problem that can be solved, and even non-cable-tourist bikes have routing difficulties (trying to route a brake line through a Santa Cruz rear triangle almost gave me an aneurism). I've also never had to replace a brake line.

So...headset routing shouldn't happen, but it's not a big deal if it does, IMO.
  • 2 0
 @chakaping: Who gives a shit
  • 2 0
 @nicoenduro: I feel I should have added a winky face to my comment.
It looks disgusting as well as offering a horrible experience for mechanics.
  • 11 3
 Eeebs are certainly progressing, each iteration looking less pregnant. Would love to see modular battery options so you can do short rides with fewer batteries (eg light weight) but able to put more cells in for when you want to go on more epic adventures.
  • 7 0
 You mean like a range extender or two?
  • 22 6
 Modular batteries already exist. They are yellow and have the shape of a banana.
  • 2 0
 norco has a platform with 3 batt size 540 w 720 or 900W. you can pick the one that fit your need.
  • 2 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: yes, but without taking away waterbottle space. Something modular integrated *in* the frame.
  • 2 0
 @criscoe: but rather than having separate batteries, it would be better if you could have like a 400wh, with the option to slot in another 250wh *into* the frame, then even maybe another 250 on top of that.
  • 1 4
 @criscoe: and it was unreliable dogshit which they've already abandoned for 2024.
  • 13 1
 Downcountr-eeee, surely?
  • 10 0
 Stop it already with the headset cable tourism!
  • 7 2
 I came here to find a joke on E-downcountry, but instead realized this bike is cheaper than a Switchblade, and only 16,7kg , despite few heavy components. Hate to say it, but E-bikes are getting more and more difficult to hate. At least, I can still hate saying it, so my pb accourt will reamin usefull
  • 6 1
 Sorry but this is stupid. The beauty of a downcountry bike is that it’s light and nimble, making it fun and easy to pedal all day. If you add a motor to it you’re completely defeating the point.
  • 4 3
 Dont buy it?
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername:
I won't. I can still call it stupid though.
  • 3 1
 @justanotherusername: yes, generally the consensus when considering bullshit.
  • 5 1
 Why is there an arms race for light weight ebikes? There really that much demand for ebikes in general from the serious MTB population? All mountain epics, I get it, commuting, get it, health/injury related, get it. But xc, gravel, road when talking about the sport of cycling and folks actually passionate about it makes little sense to me.

I'd put my money on a group of suits with investments in battery related industries trying to push ebikes vs folks actually pining for a "down country" e-bikes.
  • 1 1
 @MidwestMountains - I can easily see why - I wish I'd scored the 40 lb Levo SL over a 53lb behemoth otherwise. I'm on Team Eeb temporarily healing up from an injury - hurts to even bike at all, but I can't pedal up at all otherwise w/ the pain. I'm now 7 mos out, healed from break but on surgery #3, still in pain I while its not comfortable going downhill I have the doc's nod, so the Eeb is gonna be semi-adaptive for me possibly. But aside from that - literally all of the major (racing participating) shredders in my area already have ebikes...these guys ride road & gravel, huge elevation & mileage days, not slouchers. They do it for fun.

For riding tho,throwing 53 lbs around is way different than 40, and my enduro & DH bikes are both 38 and 40 lbs...not a biggie. They now feel like toys vs. the Eeb. In light of this had I just gotten the Levo, the handling would feel much more like either for my (too heavy) normal bikes that I'm used to vs. something I'm still only getting used to nearly 4-5 mos later. I"m a massive non-fan of having to plug in a bike though. That just feels limiting to me, not to mention some of the likely future motor / batt issues (plust a dead battery eventually) and I'd rather just be analog...but that's not in the cards for the near term.

Just saying - there are far more situations physically (health) than yours or other "normal" lives out there and even riding conditions. Agreed however that industry is possibly pushing this too much, but on the flip of that - its so massive in Europe now (and full fat Eebs) that dudes are getting spare 900wH batts and spending full big elevation park days with no lifts any longer. That's way better than diesel & ski lifts. There are other situations too - just saying there can be more than just what you're used to or thinking about. Without the (hopefully temp) Eeb for my use, I"d just be sitting at home on a trainer or stationary hating my life when I live right near some of the best trails in the US.

PS: the bike industry is not making any more off ebikes than reg bikes. Plus, businesses in in biz to make money. That being said if you're gonna have an Eeb, I don't understand having less (or no) travel vs. lots given the bike can push you uphill by barely pedaling.
  • 1 1
 @Mtn-Goat-13: Full power ebikes are fine for the park, where you can coast down to the base if you run out of juice. My summer riding consists of remote, rugged, backcountry enduro and the nearest paved road might be several mountain passes away. I cannot afford to be marooned on a dead 55 lb ebike and stress out over battery juice, so I pedal a 37 lb enduro rig and I wouldn't trust anything else. My winter consists of building the fitness needed to pedal up 8k ft on a big bike, and I'm a much stronger rider because of that.
  • 3 0
 @fentoncrackshell: so just to clarify, you're super strong have great fitness, but an extra 10lbs on your bike would leave you stranded helplessly in the mountains? Pedaling a dead ebike sucks, but only because you are comparing it to how insanely fun it just was with the motor. It's really not much harder than a typical enduro rig like yours, and a fit rider like yourself would have no problem.

Not trying to convert anyone, I love all bikes. It just bothers me to see all the fabricated downsides that people make up about ebikes without actually riding them.
  • 1 0
 @fentoncrackshell: ok re-reading, and realizing you might be simply saying you support this lightweight emtb category in comparison to the full power 55lb+ hogs? in that case I apologize, totally makes sense.
  • 1 0
 @fentoncrackshell: I ride mine in similar (super remote) areas and even on a 540wH batt: not a prob. I just scale the power back. Im not out to blast up hills & pass riders at all... but to get out. Haven't even been in a park in mine yet (using my 38-39 lb enduro pig for that w/ shuttles) and Im more referring to the handling.

Doesn't totalluly matter, but seems 38-40 lbs would be a hella lot more fun no matter what the terrain than 52-54. Still: none of this really matters for your needs & Im not sure why you'd bother even reading this (or commenting) - not a slam at all just seems like why bother. Im jealous of being innur shape again but 3 surgeries later and still damage: Im not sure it'll ever be in my cards again.
  • 5 0
 Good luck to the mechanic who has to replace an upper headset bearing on that bike. I've seen a Sam2 have to have motor out because all the cables ran through the headset
  • 9 3
 The Luddite within me grows stronger every day.
  • 3 1
 I'm getting super tired of rereading the full debate and rationales for ebikes versus mountain bikes every time an emtb article is published. Ebikes are here to stay. If you don't like it or don't get it, fine. No one made you read the article. No one made me read the comments--so I'm going to stop reading them. This is a waste of brain power.
  • 2 0
 To me, there is no point in having a low travel (under 140mm) ebike even if it is under 40lbs. You can make a very lightweight XC or downcountry bike with lower travel bike that pedals very easy. Might as well just make ebike over 140mm. But that is just my opinion.
  • 2 0
 Fazua/Porsche are still not capable to offer a range extender, which btw they promised 1,5 years ago. Why would you trust a technology that's definitely not up to speed. Bike like the Pivot Shuttle SL or the SC Shuttle SL could be a great alternative but without the tech support its just an overprized gadget
  • 1 0
 Anyone else been waiting on a full power 120-130ish travel trail ebike? I know cube and Trek make one but they seem to be more geared towards city commuters. Loved the old Trek Powerfly FS. Tried the new Rail and it seemed like overkill for most of our trails in upstate NY.
  • 1 0
 Good looking bike. Looking less and less like an eeb with each iteration. I rode a similar in weight Pivot Shuttle SL over Christmas break at their demo center in Phoenix, AZ. South Mountain was pretty fun. Had some good technical terrain. I was overall impressed with the Shuttle SL, but not so much I wanted to buy one.
  • 2 0
 Low weight but not alot of travel. The orbea rise offered similar weight years before this with more travel. Its make a niche market (SL ebikes) even smaller by being a XC/downcountry bike.
  • 2 1
 I know it is dicey since people will be upset when their experience varies, but I would LOVE to see ebike reviews that include some real life range experience. If one bike can reliably get me 30-35 miles and the other is more like 25-30 miles that's a pretty huge factor in my purchase, probably the biggest factor. Obviously it varies a lot rider to rider and on different terrain, but being able to see how the different bikes compared under same/similar testers would be super valuable.
  • 4 0
 I lost my Focus after reading e bike.
  • 1 0
 “Electric downcountry” implies the existence of “acoustic downcountry”, which is making me laugh awkwardly to myself right now in public.
  • 2 0
 What’s impressive about a 37ib short travel bike. That’s at least 10lb overweight.
  • 1 0
 I would love to see the number of units that will need to be sold to cover the development and production costs. Best of luck to the employees and shareholders.
  • 1 0
 Most of us fat dudes ain't gonna ride this. The motor is too small and we'll have to work to hard to get it moving. We want basically a dirt bike that looks like a mtb.
  • 1 0
 @pinkbike would be interesting to see people that are interested in buying lightweight ebike, what are their travel preference
  • 1 0
 I just saw a guy driving a custom neon green tesla with a matching mountain bike on top. So ya that’s about where we are on the map
  • 1 0
 Kenevo SL still the top ebike! 170/170, 42 lbs, 50NM. 480 Watt Hours. best linkage. I guess if it was a mullet it wouldnt have much anywhere to go.
  • 1 1
 For those that want a fast nimble bike that will take them the distance, but are too much of a lard to do all the work themselves and would rather ride a 37lb brick with a motor.
  • 1 0
 "The Vam² is in its element when you want to cover ground quickly."

You don't say. Good looking bike though.
  • 2 0
 A half-fat, half-fat ebike. Who knew we needed that genre
  • 6 2
 2% milk exists even though whole is far superior
  • 1 0
 Thats not e-DC that's e-trail. Seems a bit pointless though, why not have more travel
  • 1 0
 Pretty neat little rig, not my thing but you could cover a lot of ground in a little amount of time.
  • 3 5
 Stupid..be a man and or a woman..and pedal your own damn bike tards.. you ve accomplished nothing if you're being assisted by a motor..I can do 40 miles jajaha..no shit it has a motor..I can do 40 miles also..but it takes an hour longer and I I've actually accomplished something..no one gets it
  • 2 3
 Everyone's ok with flex-stays? To me it's just another through-headset cable routing level scam that also intentionally makes bikes last less
  • 4 2
 Have you ever snapped a flex stay? I abuse mine and have never had an issue
  • 2 1
 Didn’t know I needed a electric down country bike.
  • 6 0
 Consume and feed the machine
  • 2 1
 Gotta love that cable routing
  • 1 0
 I will never forget the day when Dylan went electric downcountry.
  • 1 0
 Is Nobby Nic a good front tyre?
  • 1 1
 I mean any Santa Cruz with their thick tubes, looks more like an E Bike than this thing does.
  • 1 0
 Is it available in the USA?
  • 1 1
 Looks killer and I'd definitely like to ride one. It's got 2 wheels so it's gonna be fun.
  • 1 0
 Now I know why ML left PB.
  • 1 4
 people losing their minds over ebikes is HILARIOUS! yall cant even take a joke about it. Y SO SRS?!?!? its just bikes! laugh a little!
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