The evolution of e-mountainbikes continues. By combining motors with more torque and larger-capacity batteries along with adapted kinematics and improvements in detail, the latest electrically assisted mountain bikes are ready to take you further, all day long.
A lot has happened since the first e-mountainbikes hit the trails more than a decade ago. The electric motors have become a lot more powerful, the batteries have been integrated in the frames, while geometry and kinematics have been improved step by step to adapt to the higher weights and the increased dynamics when tackling terrain previously deemed unrideable. After all, studies point out that e-mountainbikes get ridden more often over longer distances at higher average speeds. For this reason, key components like the rims, brakes and drivetrain parts had to be reinforced to last longer under these loads.
Mainly due to their superior weight distribution, mid-motors dominate this segment, and bicycle manufacturers are designing their models around the latest generation of systems. As a result, the suppliers of these assistance drive systems are key to the development of the category. The main players here are Bosch eBike Systems and Shimano, with Brose, Yamaha, Bafang and ZF as alternatives. A lot of companies are trying to get into the market for mid-motors, but securing OE business has proved to be a hard task. But at this year’s Eurobike, Pinion is notably launching its MGU unit that combines a mid-motor and a 12-gear transmission.
In recent years, the main trends have been to increase both the maximum torque and the capacity of the batteries, to tweak the intricacies of the software for an even more seamless and natural riding sensation and to find ways to optimize geometry and kinematics. The mid-motor and large in-tube battery mean there are clear restrictions in terms of frame design.
While the demand for e-mountainbikes seems to have plateaued in some Central European markets, the Northern American market still has huge potential as only a minority of the states have opened multi-purpose trails for e-mountainbikes.
While many riders may look for the limits of what is rideable mainly on uphill sections on their e-mountainbikes, the Uproc Evo:X of Swiss e-bike pioneer Flyer [hall 12.0 / B14] may well be the most gravity-oriented model in the company’s history.
From the geometry and kinematics to the frame design and equipment, all elements of this e-enduro platform have been optimized for use in rough terrain. To significantly increase the stiffness of the carbon main frame without adding lots of weight, Flyer has opted to cut the down tube at the very bottom end – so the in-tube battery has to be removed from the bottom of the frame.
With a generous 170 mm of travel up front and 165 mm in the rear, a low center of gravity and a reverse mullet set-up with a 29 inch wheel up front and a 27.5 inch wheel in the back, the Uproc Evo:X is built to eat its way through choppy sections. Bosch’s Performance Line CX mid-motor with a maximum torque of 85 Nm gets you to the top of challenging descents, and with the 750 Wh battery you can keep going all day. The Smart System also adds various connectivity functions, and thanks to the built-in Monkey Link interface daytime running lights can be added very easily. Flyer will be offering four models of the new Uproc Evo:X platform.
As a true all-mountain model, the Patron from Scott Sports [hall 12.0 / A22] has been designed to excel both on up- and downhill sections. For climbs, it relies on Bosch’s powerful Performance Line CX mid-motor and the Tracloc system, so you can choose three settings for the rear suspension with a remote lever on the handlebar. The Kiox 300 display is mounted on the stem and thus in plain sight.
To allow for shorter chainstays despite the 29 inch rear wheel, Scott has mounted the mid-motor almost vertically. For clean looks the rear shock is hidden in the section of the carbon frame where the top tube and the seat tube meet.
With 29-inch wheels, 2.6 inch wide, aggressively-studded tires and 170 mm of travel up front and 160 mm in the back, the Patron is ready to tackle seriously rough terrain as well. Both the 12-gear drivetrain and the powerful four-piston hydraulic disc brakes are supplied by Shimano while Fox takes care of the suspension parts. And since the Syncros cockpit parts have been designed with internal routing in mind, all brake lines and shifting cables disappear into the oversized head tube that offers extra space for this as it has been built around the novel 1.8 inch standard for the lower headset bearing.
Superior [hall 11.0 / B08] has a new e-mountainbike with Bosch’s powerful Performance Line CX mid-motor and the 750 Wh in-tube battery ready for Eurobike. The eXF has been designed as an all-day all-round performer. Both the tires and the suspension fork are less burly, and the geometry has been tweaked to offer more playful handling.
Apart from advanced connectivity functions that are part of the Smart System, you also get a high degree of integration – of the assistance drive system, but also of all the lines and cables. And since the frame comes with some well hidden threads and mounts, the eXF can be converted into an SUV-style utility e-bike with an extra portion of comfort.
Spanish bike manufacturer BH Bikes [hall 12.1 / A24] adds a slightly scaled-down alternative to its Atom X model with the iLynx+. While it borrows some of the curvy lines of its sibling’s main frame, the new model has been developed with a reduced overall weight in mind. Thus the carbon frame only weighs 2.45 kg, and complete bikes can be built to hit the 20 kg mark.
As with the Atom X, the battery with a capacity of 540 Wh can be removed from the top of the top tube through an integrated hatch. For particularly long days in the saddle, BH Bikes has developed the XPro range extender with an additional capacity of 180 Wh. Rather than relying on a cable, this extender works with a simple plug & ride mechanism.
Despite this competitive weight, you get the full support and 85 Nm of torque of Shimano’s top-of-the-line EP8 mid-motor. As for the travel, BH Bikes offers three models of the iLynx+ as trail versions with 140 mm of travel and as enduro versions with 160 mm of travel, relying on the much-acclaimed Split Pivot kinematics. A beefed-up linkage and the Super Boost rear axle add stiffness to the rear end of the frame – and space for tires up to 2.5 inches wide. Other notable features include a fully internal routing of all cables and lines and a set of essential tools cleverly stashed inside the steerer tubes.
Thok eBikes [hall 12.0 / C22] also relies on Shimano’s EP8 mid-motor for its novel Gram-RC and Gram models. With carbon frames, progressive geometry featuring a slack steering angle, steep seat angle and low bottom bracket, 170 mm of travel in the rear and a reverse-mullet set up, both the Gram-RC and the Gram are highly capable e-mountainbikes to tackle rough terrain.
Thanks to the in-tube battery with a generous capacity of 630 Wh, you can keep going for quite a while before running out of power. As for the shifting and brake components, Thok has opted for SRAM as its supplier of choice, and the top-of-the-line Gram-RC comes with some trick wheels from Crank Brothers and Renthal’s carbon handlebars.
First presented at the Sea Otter Classic in April, the Rift Zone E of Marin Mountain Bikes [hall 11.0 / A07] has been built as a go-anywhere and ride-all-day e-mountainbike. Its aluminum frame is built around 29-inch wheels and offers 140 mm of travel front and rear for a nice blend of efficiency and descending prowess.
The geometry of these bikes also reflects their purpose as trail bikes with a wide range of use. While the top Rift Zone E model comes with Shimano’s EP8 mid-motor, the other two models feature the EP6 unit. For maximum range, a 630 Wh battery is supplied with the two top models, while the entry level model comes with a 504 Wh battery but can be upgraded to the larger unit.
A quick look is all it takes to realize that something is different with the Rapcon P-Max Pinion of Austria’s premium brand Simplon [hall 11.0 / C10]. The model has no chain, cassette or derailleur but instead features a beltdrive and what looks like a single-speed set-up.
Don’t be fooled as this is one of the first e-mountainbikes with Pinion’s revolutionary MGU unit that combines a mid-motor with a maximum torque of 90 Nm and a 12-speed gearbox. This approach puts the center of gravity at the very center of the bike, and it also solves the issue of mid-motors eating away at narrow chains and costly 12-speed cassettes.
The lightweight carbon frame of the Rapcon P-Max Pinion offers plenty of space for a large 720 Wh battery in the downtube, and for an almost unchallenged range you can add a second, external battery with the same capacity. Thanks to the bike’s progressive kinematics the rear suspension reacts to small bumps without bottoming out at higer speeds or on bigger bumps. The clean internal routing of all lines and cables and strategically places rock guards are adding to the high-end looks of the Rapcon P-Max Pinion, and a connectivity package including GPS tracking is available as an option.
Bulls [hall 11.0 / A05] has also been a development partner of Pinion for the MGU unit, designing a total of six Vuca EVO models around the novel mid-motor with its integrated 12-speed gearbox.
Two of these models are all-mountain e-mountainbikes, complete with 4 link swingarm kinematics, 150 mm of travel up front and in the back and wide tires mounted to 29-inch wheels. A 720 Wh battery fits into the downtube of the carbon main frame, with a 960 Wh battery available as an option for even more range. Adding daytime running lights is also easy thanks to the integrated Monkey Lite interface. Just as their utility-oriented SUV siblings, the maximum system weight for the two Vuca EVO AM models stands at a generous 150 kg, and you can mount a kickstand or a trailer if you feel like it.