It looks like 2020 will be the best year in eMTB riding yet! We put 25 of next season’s most exciting eMTBs head to head in our biggest group test ever. Read on to find out the trends of the new season, and which bike comes out on top.

Before we get into the review, we would like to tell you about our latest print edition. The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Table of Contents

  1. What does the best eMTB have to be capable of?
  2. The group test in numbers
  3. eMTB trends and findings from our 2020 group test
  4. How to find the best bike for you
  5. What to look for in an eMTB?
  6. Which eMTB on test has the longest range?
  7. The best eMTB of 2020?
  8. E-MOUNTAINBIKE recommendations
  9. Four affordable alternatives

First of all, we want to thank you! Included as a question in our reader survey this year, over 11,000 eMTB riders gave us valuable feedback for this group test, helping us to select which bikes to include, and to make this mammoth project as useful and relevant as possible!

With your input and 25 eMTBs in tow, we travelled to Spain, the Bavarian Alps and the Italian trail paradise of Sanremo to push each bikes’ limits on various terrain. They had to prove themselves in bike parks, on night rides, performing wall rides and taking in the scenery of some of Europe’s best trails. Of course, we also tested the bikes at our headquarters near Stuttgart, where along with regular trail blasting, they had to prove their everyday practicality as offroad commuters.

During the testing we broke wheels and even a frame, suffered numerous punctures and had a few spectacular crashes. We pushed both ourselves and the bikes to their limits, and then beyond. It’s only then that you can accurately assess a bike’s real capabilities. We rode all 25 bikes back to back over 10 days to figure out the many differences between them. Some bikes disappointed with fundamental mistakes, while others left us pleasantly surprised!

After many days testing, we were so worn out that we had to put in a recovery day: who says riding an eMTB isn’t hard work! Still, we’d be lying if we said that we didn’t enjoy ourselves as we spent the day on the beach with paella and white wine…

1. What does the best eMTB have to be capable of?

As part of our big group test last year, we identified three new eMTB categories. These categories are defined by their motor power and battery concept in combination with geometry, suspension and componentry as a whole. For this group test, we focussed on all-round eMTBs. The only exception is the Haibike Xduro Nduro Flyon 10.0: in terms of power and weight, this eMTB is in a different league in several aspects, yet it is one of the bikes our readers are most excited about, so it had to be included!

We are convinced that the 25 models we selected are a representative cross-section of the eMTB market, making for the best possible buyers’ guide. One thing was clear from the start: the winner of this group test would have to be a true all-rounder and excel in every discipline. We were looking for the complete package of handling, climbing and descending capabilities as well as comfort, design, motor performance, battery concept, weight and attention to detail.

To be the Best in Test, a bike doesn’t have to be the best at any one of the extremes we look at, but offer the best all-round qualities. Connectivity and motor customisation also played a role in our final evaluation.

The key specs of all 25 eMTBs at a glance

Bike Motor/Battery Price Weight Travel Wheel size
BULLS SONIC EVO AM 6
(Click for review)
Bosch Performance Line CX
75 Nm/500 Wh
€ 7,199 22.43 kg 150/150 mm 29″/27.5″
Cannondale Moterra 1
(Click for review)
Bosch Performance Line CX
75 Nm/625 Wh
€ 7,999 24.16 kg 160/160 mm 29″
Canyon Spectral:ON 9.0
(Click for review)
Shimano STEPS E8000
70 Nm/504 Wh
€ 6,199 22.12 kg 150/150 mm 29″/27.5″
COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020
(Click for review)
Shimano STEPS E8000
70 Nm/504 Wh
€ 5,799 23.77 kg 170/160 mm 29″
CONWAY XYRON 927 Carbon
(Click for review)
Bosch Performance Line CX
75 Nm/625 Wh
€ 7,999 21.49 kg 140/140 mm 27.5″
CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC
(Click for review)
Bosch Performance Line CX
75 Nm/625 Wh
€ 7,999 23.06 kg 170/160 mm 27.5″
FANTIC XF1 180 Race
(Click for review)
Brose Drive S Mag
90 Nm/630 Wh
€ 6,390 24.19 kg 180/180 mm 29″/27.5″
FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER
(Click for review)
Shimano Steps E8000
70 Nm/378 Wh
€ 6,999 20.49 kg 150/150 mm 29″/27.5″
Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro
(Click for review)
Giant SyncDrive Pro
80 Nm/500 Wh
€ 7,499 24.38 kg 170/160 mm 27.5″
Haibike XDURO Nduro 10.0
(Click for review)
FLYON HPR120S
120 Nm/630 Wh
€ 8,999 27.96 kg 180/180 mm 27.5″
Liteville 301 CE MK1
(Click for review)
Shimano STEPS E8000
70 Nm/630 Wh
€ 8,280 23,68 kg 170/160 mm 29″/27.5″
MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K
(Click for review)
Shimano STEPS E8000
70 Nm/504 Wh
€ 9,799 22.16 kg 160/150 mm 29″/27.5″
Moustache Samedi 27 Trail 10
(Click for review)
Bosch Performance Line CX
75 Nm/625 Wh
€ 6,999 22.77 kg 150/150 mm 27.5″
Norco Range VLT C1
(Click for review)
Shimano STEPS E8000
70 Nm/630 Wh
€ 7,999 23.74 kg 180/170 mm 27.5″
NOX Hybrid Enduro 7.1
(Click for review)
Brose Drive S Mag
90 Nm/625 Wh
€ 7,199 23.74 kg 180/180 mm 27.5″
Orbea WILD FS M-LTD
(Click for review)
Bosch Perfomance Line CX
75 Nm/625 Wh
€ 8,999 22.5 kg 160/160 mm 29″
Pivot Shuttle 29
(Click for review)
Shimano STEPS E8000
70 Nm/504 Wh
€ 10,499 20.9 kg 160/140 mm 29″
Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition
(Click for review)
Dyname 3.0 Drive
108 Nm/672 Wh
€ 9,000 22.72 kg 160/150 mm 27.5″
ROTWILD R.X750 ULTRA
(Click for review)
Brose Drive S Mag/750
90 Nm/750 Wh
€ 9,999 22.3 kg 150/150 mm 29″/27.5″
SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax
(Click for review)
Bosch Performance Line CX
75 Nm/625 Wh
€ 7,979 22.92 kg 170/160 mm 29″/27.5″
Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo
(Click for review)
Specialized 2.1
90 Nm/700 Wh
€ 11,499 20.8 kg 150/150 mm 29″
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert
(Click for review)
Specialized 2.1
90 Nm/700 Wh
€ 6,899 23.6 kg 180/180 mm 27.5″
Trek Rail 9.9
(Click for review)
Bosch Performance Line CX
75 Nm/625 Wh
€ 10,999 22 kg 160/150 mm 29″
Whyte E-180 RS V1
(Click for review)
Bosch Performance Line CX
75 Nm/625 Wh
€ 6,999 24.88 kg 180/180 mm 27.5″
YT DECOY CF Pro Race
(Click for review)
Shimano STEPS E8000
70 Nm/540 Wh
€ 6,599 22.36 kg 160/165 mm 29″/27.5″
BULLS SONIC EVO AM 6 Carbon | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 23.06 kg (size M) | € 7,399
Cannondale Moterra 1 | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 160/160 mm (f/r) | 24.16 kg (size L) | € 7,999
Canyon Spectral:ON 9.0 | Shimano STEPS E8000/504 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 22.12 kg (size L) | € 6,199
COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020 | Shimano STEPS E8000/504 Wh | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 23.77 kg (size L) | € 5,799
CONWAY XYRON 927 Carbon | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 140/140 mm (f/r) | 21.49 kg (size M) | € 7,999
CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 23.06 kg (size M) | € 7,999
FANTIC XF1 180 Race | Brose Drive S Mag/630 Wh | 180/180 mm (f/r) | 24.19 kg (size L) | € 6,390
FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER | Shimano Steps E8000/378 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 20.49 kg (size L) | € 6,999
Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro | Giant SyncDrive Pro/500 Wh | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 24.38 kg (size L) | € 7,499
Haibike XDURO Nduro 10.0 | FLYON HPR120S/630 Wh | 180/180 mm (f/r) | 27.91 kg (size L) | € 8,999
Liteville 301 CE MK1 Werksmaschine | Shimano STEPS E8000/630 Wh | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 23.68 kg (size L) | € 8,280
MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K | Shimano STEPS E8000/504 Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r) | 22.16 kg (size L) | € 9,799
Moustache Samedi 27 Trail 10 | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 22.77 kg (size L) | € 6,999
Norco Range VLT C1 | Shimano STEPS E8000/630 Wh | 180/170 mm (f/r) | 23.74 kg (size L) | € 7,999
NOX Hybrid Enduro 7.1 | Brose Drive S Mag/625 Wh | 180/180 mm (f/r) | 23.74 kg (size L) | € 7,199
Orbea WILD FS M-LTD | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 160/160 mm (f/r) | 22.50 kg (size L) | € 8,999
Pivot Shuttle 29 Team XTR | Shimano STEPS E8000/504 Wh | 160/140 mm (f/r) | 20.90 kg (size L) | € 10,490
Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition | Dyname 3.0 Drive/672 Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r) | 22.72 kg (size L) | € 9,000
ROTWILD R.X750 ULTRA | Brose Drive S Mag/750 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 22.30 kg (size L) | € 9,999
SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 22.92 kg (size L) | € 7,979
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Specialized 2.1/700 Wh | 180/180 mm (f/r) | 24.20 kg (size S4) | € 6,899
Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo | Specialized 2.1/700 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 20.80 kg (size L) | € 11,499
Trek Rail 9.9 | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r) | 22.00 kg (size L) | € 10,999
Whyte E-180 RS V1 | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 180/180 mm (f/r) | 24.88 kg (size L) | € 6,999
YT DECOY CF Pro Race | Shimano STEPS E8000/540 Wh | 160/165 mm (f/r) | 22.36 kg (size L) | € 6,599

Don’t get blinded: what not (!) to look for in an eMTB

What good is the best motor if it’s badly tuned or poorly integrated into the bike? What good is downhill performance if getting to the top of the trail is a chore? Or vice versa: what good is comfortable cruising if the moment you hit slightly technical terrain the bike quickly reaches its limits and offers no margin for error?

Our aim was not to find the best bike with a specific technical feature or specific componentry – say ‘the best Bosch bike’, ‘the best bike with a 625 Wh battery’ or ‘the best bike with 150 mm travel and 29″ wheels’.

Instead, we focussed on helping you find the right bike for you and your riding style. To do that you need a comprehensive overview of the current market and be open to brands you might not have considered before. Sometimes these might be the better choice. The results of this group test confirm that you need to leave your preconceptions and biases at home: some long-travel bikes are worse downhill, less confidence inspiring and more uncomfortable than other bikes with significantly less travel. The same is true for the battery capacity and even the motors, where you can find big differences between identically specced models!

What’s the best Bosch bike? What’s the best bike with mixed wheel sizes? We often hear these questions but we’re not out to answer them. We’re not looking for the best bike with a specific technical feature or specific componentry. Instead we’re looking for the best solution for a specific application!

We are very critical about comparing bikes based on seemingly obvious parameters such as travel, wheel size or battery capacity. Why? Because emphasis is placed on aspects that can be easily measured but which are often less relevant than one would expect: “Powerful motor, lots of travel, huge battery capacity, lightweight? Ohhh yes, this bike has to be amazing!” Bullshit! If you focus on just these things, you’ll cut corners and ignore other crucial factors.

Unfortunately, far too many bike buyers are blinded by individual components – if the handling isn’t good, the best motor isn’t any good either!

Of course, the price is a big factor for many buyers. But it’s important not to conflate price with the real value of a bike. Instead of asking, “What componentry do I get for my money?” ask yourself, “How much performance do I get for my money?” Unfortunately, far too many customers are still blinded by individual components and choose their bike based on whether it has a Shimano XTR drivetrain or a Bosch motor, because they’ve been told that these are the best. But what good is the most prestigious componentry if it doesn’t suit the bike’s intended use? What if those expensive components can’t perform to their potential because they are held back by the bike’s geometry, suspension or some other factor? No matter how good, the best shock can’t compensate for crappy kinematics, even if the price tag claims otherwise!

Why a good eMTB should be capable of more than a mountain bike

The answers we received from 11,000 eMTBers in our reader survey clearly show how diverse and varied your requirements are. While non-motorised mountain bikes mostly fulfil a clearly defined purpose, eMTBs often have to fulfil several roles, getting used in many different ways. For some, it’s all about having fun on your home trails or on weekend outings, for others it’s an SUV with a headlight and rack for commuting, or there are those who carry a spare battery in their backpack as they cross the Alps. Besides that, a lot of our readers use their bike in very different ways. For example, about 44% of you also use your eMTB as transport as you go about your daily routines.

eMTBs make mountain bike experiences available to the masses

Incidentally, it is a misconception that performance on the trail and everyday practicality are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, most of the best bikes on the trail are those with the most balanced and stable handling. Everyone benefits, from beginners to experts! However, that versatility makes it all the more important that eMTBs are equipped to meet the demands of everyday life. That’s why we’re seeing devices such as the MonkeyLink system on the Bulls and ROTWILD eMTBs which quickly lets you mount mudguards as well as lights that are powered by the main battery. As unsexy as it may sound, it just makes sense and meets the real needs of eMTBers.

2. The group test in numbers – the most exciting facts and figures

Numbers aren’t everything, but they can give you a good feeling for trends. We’ve compiled a list of exciting, sad, surprising, entertaining and enlightening facts and figures from the test field and made some comparisons to last year. This year we’ve got more new bikes so there may be some discrepancies, but our findings still provide some exciting insights into eMTB trends.

The price tag

In total, the bikes in this group test cost € 202,828, which could…
… buy you a ticket for a Virgin Galactic flight into space
… 13,520 cases of Augustiner beer. A tough choice, 25 bikes or 135,200 litres of beer?

€ 8,110: average price of the bikes in this group test
2 bikes for the price of one? The most expensive bike (€ 11,499) costs almost twice as much as the most affordable bike on test (€ 5,799).


The suspension

10 of the bike models rely on a RockShox fork
15 prefer FOX forks
0 bike brands chose to go for a different fork brand

+ 163 mm fork travel on average
+ 160 mm rear suspension travel on average
= Cumulatively, the bikes of this group test offer more than 8 m of travel!


Motor & battery

The average battery capacity is 596 Wh. That’s approximately 90 Wh more than last year’s group test.

  • The least battery capacity in the test field: 378 Wh
  • The largest battery option including an additional battery: 1125 Wh
  • 5 bikes give you the option of attaching an additional, external battery to the bike (dual-battery system)

Bosch and Shimano motors are fitted to more than two thirds of the test field

9 x Bosch // 36 %
8 x Shimano // 32 %
3 x Brose // 12 %
2 x Specialized // 8 %

1 x Giant // 4 %
1 x FLYON // 4 %
1 x Dyname // 4 %

6 out of the 9 bikes with Bosch motors rely on the Bosch Kiox display
1 out of those 6 use the original Bosch Kiox mount

The average torque output is 80 Nm
The most powerful motor puts out 120 Nm


Weight, geometry & wheel sizes

The bikes weigh 23.0 kg on average, over half a kilogram heavier than last year’s group test. The reason? Increased battery capacity, more travel and more durable components such as tires with thicker casings.

Wheel sizes
40% of the bikes come with 27.5″ wheels
36% of the bikes use MX wheels (29″ front, 27.5″ rear)
24% of the bikes feature 29″ wheels

Compared to last year, the bikes have become longer and slacker:

  1. The average head angle has slackened by 0.5°.
  2. The average reach has grown by 30 mm

Man vs machine

  • 1 broken frame
  • 2 destroyed carbon rims
  • 6 flat tires
  • 1 broken brake lever
  • 1 lost spoke magnet
  • 1 dropped display
  • Countless dents and scratches on the bikes and our bodies

Have eMTBs got better in 2020? Is the new Bosch motor really as good as everyone says? Where are all the batteries and why did we test an electric downhill bike? After completing our big E-MOUNTAINBIKE group test of 25 bikes, we summarised the most exciting trends and insights we gleaned. This is eMTBing in 2020!

Developments in the eMTB market are coming thick and fast. With each new generation of motors, numerous brands churn out entirely new frames. Battery capacities beyond 1000 Wh are now just as common as motors with torque outputs which even a VW Polo would be jealous of. But where will it end? If you ask us, an arms race of ever more powerful motors and bigger batteries won’t necessarily lead to better bikes. Because what really counts is not the spec sheet but the size of your grin! We’re yet to find a scientific way of measuring this. However, we’ll tell you what we do know about the hottest bikes of 2020: Where is this all going? 11 E-MTB trends and findings from our 2020 group test

How did we select the bikes for this group test?

25 bikes is a big number for a group test, requiring very careful planning. In fact, the effort we put into this group test makes everything else we’ve done pale in comparison: After our editorial team selected what they considered to be the most exciting and important bikes for 2020, we confirmed our choices using results of our reader survey – specifically, the 11,000 votes for most popular brands and eMTBs that you’re most interested in buying in 2020. We also asked you on Facebook and Instagram to tell us which bikes you definitely want to see in the group test and we got hundreds of replies. With the 25 bikes we chose, we’re able to fulfil almost all our readers’ wishes. We included two bikes from Specialized. Firstly because the Levo and Kenevo are clearly very different bikes so it would be exciting to see how they would fare in a direct comparison. Secondly because Specialized and Haibike are by far the most sought after brands among our readers, making them more relevant for our group test. If Haibike’s new XDURO AllMtn 3.5 with the new Bosch motor had been available, we would have included it as well. The new Scott Genius eRIDE 900 Tuned – the carbon version of the Genius eRIDE 910 that we already tested – was also not available at the time of testing.

Why did we only test full suspension eMTBs?

Full suspension eMTBs are not only at the spearhead of eMTB development, offering more fun and safety, but they’re also most in demand. 91% of our reader survey participants plan to buy a full suspension bike, and we couldn’t agree more!

Aren’t the eMTBs in this group test too expensive?

We like celebrating the new season by testing the top end bikes of the new year and finding the best eMTB among them. Price plays a subordinate role to the latest technologies and new benchmarks. The good news for all budget-conscious buyers who can’t afford the Ferraris and Porsches among eMTBs is that we’ll have a group test of more affordable models in the next digital issue – which you’ll be able to download for free in our app. We also discuss some more affordable alternatives to the Best in Test and the Best Value Tip in the conclusion of this group test.

4. Our philosophy – the team, the test tracks and how to find the best bike for you

Burning cars, closed roads and riots everywhere – while the political demonstrations were going on in Barcelona, Girona and other Catalonian cities, a quiet monastery on the Costa Brava run by five nuns was also in a state of emergency. A posse of eight eMTBers took over this tranquil place with their 25 test bikes and temporarily transformed the monastery into the dream of every eMTBer on this planet.

This tranquil location provided us with the best conditions to test the bikes head to head to find out what sets them apart. We had planned our test track based on your feedback from the reader survey as well as an additional survey on the type of riding you do. The varied test circuit included steep climbs and descents, tight switchbacks and open straights, technical sections and easier ones, all on a variety of surfaces.

Back in Germany, the test team also took the bikes to our autumnal home trails around Stuttgart, full of flow, dirt, mud and leaves as well as on forest roads on our morning commute to the office. Finally, once we’d shortlisted our favourite bikes we took them to the Italian trail paradise of Sanremo and into the Bavarian Alps to be able to draw an even more comprehensive conclusion and take them to the extremes of their versatility. As you can see, we take our testing very seriously – without forgetting to have fun, of course!

Up close and personal: the test riders and what they expect of 2020 eMTBs

Pensioners, former Downhill World Cup riders, bike guides, eMTB newcomers, software and app experts, connoisseurs, commuters, bike park adrenaline junkies, heavyweights and flyweights – our test team couldn’t have been more diverse in terms of age and skills. A total of 43 years separate the youngest from the oldest test rider! But everyone had fun doing the tests and thanks to the eMTBs, we could ride in a group with everyone keeping up with each other. Some of the riders reached their limits a lot sooner when the terrain got very technical, but ultimately, skill was the deciding factor here.

Lefti (34), Bike guide and wheelie king

„For me, the most important thing is having fun. I have an active riding style and I like to go fast and play with the terrain. For me, the perfect eMTB has to be agile and balanced when it comes to the handling.“
Susanne (54), eMTB novice and connoisseur

„As a newcomer, simplicity of setup is extremely important to me. I want a light, good-natured and predictable bike that instils me with confidence on relaxed rides and commutes. The Moustache Samedi Trail 27 10 does just that.“
Thomas (33), heavyweight, likes to bend steel

„Muscles weigh more than fat! I can bench 140 kg, so my bikes have to be able to carry a lot of weight. The low permissible total weight rating of some of the bikes becomes a limiting factor for me if I don’t want to void the warranty. A lot of the manufacturers still have work to do here!“
Babsi (32), test rider and flyweight

„For me, a natural ride feel and easy handling are the most important. A low centre of gravity and light weight go hand in hand, if you ask me. Because I weigh only 55 kg, I use significantly less battery power for the same distance than my boyfriend. The FOCUS JAM² is my favourite!“
Jonas (30) Editor, striving for the perfect ride-life balance

„Long days in the saddle are just the thing for me – even better if they include epic Alpine panoramas. I often need an extra battery to reach remote peaks and I’m willing to compromise on handling. The SIMPLON’s dual battery is just what I want. On my technical home trails, I like challenging myself on the climbs and descents – without the added external battery, of course.“
Aaron (31), app expert and early adopter

„While a bike’s performance is important to me I find the topics of eMTB connectivity and customisation just as exciting. With the Levo, I can adjust the motor settings to suit my riding style and access a lot of data via the Mission Control app – which makes riding twice as much fun! It also gives me options for the display. I prefer to ride with my Garmin GPS device and have the data displayed there.“
avi (38), ex-Downhill World Cup racer and new, proud dad

„I’m always on the gas, no matter if it’s a berm, an off camber or a big jump, and I like to test the limits of my equipment. That’s why I need a bike with very precise handling, capable suspension and excellent descending qualities. Climbing is only a means to an end for me.“
Valentin, 23, Editor and avid fair weather commuter

„I want to use my eMTB for commuting, sometimes on trails, sometimes on bike paths. Integrated lights, a comfortable pedalling position and the feel of the motor at the 25 km/h threshold are just as important to me as the handling when I hit the trails!“
Robin Schmitt, 29, Editor in Chief E-MOUNTAINBIKE, all-rounder and an expert in living the good life

„I love innovation and unique bikes. Some of the 2020 models perform unbelievably well on the trails and are in no way inferior to many non-motorised mountain bikes. Even though there are some that are better at climbing or descending, the Levo offers the completest package with lots of clever details, and continues to set the benchmark in terms of all-round performance.“
Christoph Bayer, 31, Editor in Chief ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine

„There’s a 1000 metre climb directly behind our alpine office. If I want to do it twice, I need enough battery capacity and the right componentry for the demanding terrain on the descents: robust tires and wheels along with powerful brakes! I love maximum trail performance – the more natural the handling and the motor feels, the better.“
Finlay Anderson, 19, Editor and high-flyer – on the bike and at work

„I love bike parks and trail centres! I want to play with the terrain on my eMTB, and am always on the gas and looking for jumps! A predictable, fast and composed bike is important. For me, the COMMENCAL is right up there, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s so well priced – I’m young and need the money.“
Manne Schmitt, 61, Editor and ex-detective who doesn’t want to retire

„I use an eMTB to commute and pull my dog trailer – after all, my dog Henry doesn’t like being left at home when I head into the E-MOUNTAINBIKE office. Unfortunately, few bikes are approved for trailers, which isn’t just annoying for me, but also for families with small children. If I’m riding with my buddies without a trailer, I want a good-natured and comfortable bike.“
Antonia Buckenlei, 32, test rider with an eye for beauty

„Looks matter when you ride! For me, the look and design of a bike are very important factors, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about downhill performance. My first choice would be the Specialized Levo, because it not only looks great but it easily masters the alpine climbs around Aschau with its 700 Wh battery!“
Felix Stix, 28, Editor and suspension perfectionist

„My favourite is the Orbea with its outstanding performance on the climbs and descents, the modular battery concept and the MyO-Bike configurator. Not only can I customise the paint job, it also allows me to choose the dropper post length and the suspension before I buy it. My tip: go for the air shock, it works far better!”

Our test philosophy: how to find the right bike for you!

What information do you need to make the right decision? What is the fairest and most realistic way to judge an eMTB? What testing format gives you the most comprehensive information?

Everyone knows that we approach reviews holistically and aren’t fans of rigid systems where points are awarded for individual parameters such as componentry, weight and isolated laboratory measurements, adding them up to get a total score. Why? Because even if the points for the individual criteria are awarded “objectively”, the rating system is inevitably determined “subjectively”. Besides that, we couldn’t have included the more unique aspects of the bikes in our review either, whether positive or negative, because they simply wouldn’t fit into a rigidly fixed ratings system.

This is why we try to judge the bikes according to their strengths and weaknesses in the right context and to let you decide on the basis of this information whether or not the bike suits you and your personal requirements. It is important to us to present the character of each bike in a clear and easily understandable way.

So, the key questions we asked ourselves in this group test were: who is this bike for? And for whom isn’t it? It was our aim to answer these questions with every review, thus giving you a clear recommendation for or against every individual bike. We created scales as a rough guide to the handling of the bikes at the end of each review so that you can quickly assess if a bike might suit you or not but we don’t include these in the overall rating. Instead, we always recommend to read the actual review because this is where we can look at the bike’s characteristics in detail and assess it as a whole.

Three years ago we elaborated on the fact that range measurements made in a laboratory aren’t realistic and so far the bike industry hasn’t come up with an alternative. Giving an absolute range measurement would inevitably be misleading and not correspond to reality. So we have to disappoint those readers who are still looking for an answer to the question “How far will this ebike take me on one full charge?“. Nevertheless, we’ve put together an overview on the currently available battery systems including their advantages and disadvantages while giving you some specific recommendations.

The way we structure our reviews is designed to help you find the best bike for you and your needs. If you have any suggestions or input on how we can further improve our reviews or their presentation, please send Robin an email.

5. What to look for in an eMTB?

A good ebike is more than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, the componentry, integration and technical features as well as factors such as the frame size are crucial in determining the handling, performance and durability. If you don’t want to be in for any unpleasant surprises, you should give a thought to the components – regardless of whether they’re high-end or budget.

Motor

Power is nothing without control. Even though all motors share the same claimed nominal power motor output of 250 watts, there are huge differences between models. The actual feel of the motor is not determined by the motor’s average power output but the maximum power output available in the respective support levels at peak loads. Depending on the motor, the peak output can be as high as 900 W! Torque is just as important, especially the way the torque engages and is controlled through software. Some motors feel very natural in their assistance and are easy to control, while others require you to tiptoe on the pedals at the correct cadence. The same motor can feel very different in two different bikes. This is both due to the kinematics of the rear suspension and the way the motor is integrated into the bike. Also, you should always ask yourself how much support you really need before you get into a torque-measuring contest! An interesting finding from our reader survey was that only about 5% of you mainly use the highest support level. 53% spend the majority of their time on the bike in the energy-saving Eco or Tour modes and never exploit the maximum power available! We’re fans of smart automatic modes such as Bosch’s eMTB mode, which provides the correct amount of support in almost every situation. Nowadays you’ll find similar modes on almost every motor.

If you want to learn more about the current crop of E-MTB motors then make sure to check out our big E-Mountainbike motor group test, in which we not only put the ten most important motors head-to-head but also give you all the most important E-MTB motor know-how.

Sensor integration

Unfortunately, many brands still use spoke magnets, which can easily twist or fall off while you’re riding. Indeed, the exposed position of the speed sensor on the chainstay can lead to a total system failure on the trail. This doesn’t have to be the case, especially given that integrated solutions are now available for almost all systems. Unfortunately, manufacturers still have to find workarounds for Bosch systems.

Suspension

The categorisation of an eMTB based on the available travel is not useful – more isn’t always more. Performance depends on the correct suspension settings and the appropriate kinematics of the rear linkage. Good suspension manages to combine trail performance with comfort and efficiency. Unless the available travel is well-controlled, even a long travel bike can handle poorly in a bike park. Think of what’s most important to you when you ride: do you want long-distance comfort or maximum trail performance? Although responsiveness, mid-stroke support and progression can be tuned by the rider, the kinematics of the rear linkage are largely determined by the manufacturer. Therefore, the most important thing to know at the time of purchase is how you intend to use the bike and to be aware of the design’s advantages and disadvantages. In general, we recommend at least 140 mm travel at front and rear.

Dropper post

Unlike suspension, longer is always better! Ideally, the height of the rider determines the length of the seat post, not the size of the frame. Every bike from size M and up should accommodate at least a 150 mm dropper post, which some brands in our group test still haven’t managed! However, other manufacturers have understood how important it is to enable the use of long dropper posts. Liteville, ROTWILD and BULLS have dropper posts longer than 200 mm as standard – it doesn’t get any better. The advantages are obvious: the further you can drop the saddle, the easier you can get on and off the bike and, above all, it gives you more freedom of movement and confidence on the trail. In some cases, you can upgrade to a more compact dropper post that offer more travel with less insertion depth.

Battery system

Of course, it can be tempting to look at the battery capacity and ogle the biggest numbers. However, the deciding factor here is whether or not the battery concept suits your needs and riding style. The various systems available all suit different types of riding. Seeing as it’s such a complex topic, we’ve dedicated a separate chapter to it later on.

Wheel and tire sizes

(Wheel) size doesn’t matter! Composure, agility and direct handling are determined by many factors besides the wheel size. You get some amazing 29ers, but some 27.5″ eMTBs are just as brilliant. The same applies to MX styleebikes with a 29er up front and 27.5″ at the rear! Each approach has advantages and disadvantages, which have to be considered as a whole.
In terms of tires we can at least make some general recommendations: 2.6″ tires are more than wide enough for the front, offering plenty of grip while still feeling precise. The added grip of a 2.8″ tire on the rear can be particularly useful for the climbs. However, you have to run the tire pressure low enough to make the most of the benefits they offer and to be able to do so you need a sturdy tire casing for stability and puncture protection. In general, the correct tire pressure is extremely important and depends heavily on the rider’s weight, the terrain and the tire casing. On flow trails, a lighter casing will do, but on rough trails you need tires with a thick carcass such as MAXXIS Doubledown or Schwalbe Super Gravity.

You want to learn more about tires? Then give our tire group test a read! Our editor will Felix let you in on everything you need to know about tires, as well as explaining how to find the perfect tire combination for your E-Mountainbike.

Wheels

The weight advantage of carbon over aluminium rims is less noticeable on an eMTB. We can’t see a clear advantage and would advise against opting for more expensive carbon rims. Unless you have robust and correspondingly heavy tires, carbon rims are completely unsuitable for aggressive trail riding. If you damage a carbon rim, that’s the end of your ride, but aluminium rims often only get dented, meaning you can still ride home and won’t have to cut your bike holiday short. We broke two carbon rims during our tests in Spain and hadn’t even punctured the tire. The tires were perfectly fine but the carbon rims were completely destroyed.

Gross weight limit

How heavy are you? Probably too heavy if you consider the total permissible weight limit of many eMTBs! After subtracting the bike’s weight from the total weight it’s rated for, you’re often only left with 95 kg for the rider and their gear. Giant is the front-runner here with a permissible total weight limit of 156 kg, leaving about 131 kg for rider and kit. The weight limit is specified by the bicycle manufacturer and ensures that all the components on the bike are able to carry the load. The limiting factors here are usually the seat post, carbon wheels and cockpit. The weight limit isn’t necessarily based on lab tests, but rather on a limit given by the manufacturer that if not adhered to, can void your warranty. There’s a lot to be done here in the coming years to get more clarity on the subject!

Are you unsure if the maximum total weight limit of your bike is even relevant to you? In our article “I weigh 90 kg – am I too heavy for my E-bike?” we look into that exact question.

Frame size

With non-motorised mountain bikes, more and more bike brands are starting to base their frame sizes on the length of the top tube instead of the seat tube. We’re starting to see the same trend with eMTBs, such as on the new Specialized Kenevo. Short seat tubes make it possible for customers to choose more freely between different frame sizes, provided that you can fit a correspondingly long dropper post. This way you don’t have to choose a size based on the length of your legs but on the handling characteristics that you want from a bike. More composed or more agile? A more upright or a more stretched riding position? (This is how to determine the correct frame size for your next E-MTB)

Brakes

Fortunately, most of the bikes in the test field come with powerful four-piston brakes with at least 200 mm rotors. Still, you have to pay particular attention here, especially with more affordable models. Good, powerful brakes don’t only benefit aggressive riders but also beginners – safety first! (Here you’ll find the best eMTB disc brake)

Display

How much data do you actually need on a ride? There is a huge variety of different approaches, from minimalistic to command centre. Either way, it’s important that the display and remote are well protected in case of a crash, you can comfortably reach the control buttons and the system is intuitive to operate. Bosch have a lot of catching up to do here: the options available from brands such as Specialized or Shimano are a lot smarter and more versatile. None of the bikes in the group test had a navigation feature as part of their standard display, though navigation devices from the likes of Garmin or SIGMA can double as your eMTB display.

Smartphone apps and motor customisation

By now all brands have their own smartphone app. Among them are a few token apps with limited functionality such as route tracking and analysis with an upload function for various platforms like Strava. Along with Rocky Mountain and Specialized, the Shimano system allows you to customise the support levels via an app. Bosch, on the other hand, don’t allow customers or dealers to customise the support modes – not that it’s particularly necessary, since the standard modes are very nicely tuned and clearly differentiated as they are.

Soundscape

Chain, cables, batteries – there’s a lot that can rattle, creak or make other annoying noises on an eMTB when you’re riding down a trail. If you’re going for a test ride, simply riding up and down a curb in the parking lot can reveal a noisy bike. Besides that, the motor itself can be quite noisy when it’s engaged but this varies from one system to another. The biggest flops of the group test: the Bosch motor tends to rattle, the TQ system constantly gives a high-pitched buzz and the Rocky Mountain could be used for a “Made in Canada” coffee grinder radio ad. The shape and volume of the frame plays a major role in the amplification of mechanical and electronic noise from the motor. It can happen that some eMTBs sound like a two-stroke while a different bike with the same motor is nearly silent, because the one frame amplifies the noise and the other dampens it. Incidentally, you don’t only hear vibrations, you can also feel them!

Are you into unprotected sex?

Soooo, now that we’ve got your attention, we can get to the actual question: are helmet and knee pads really necessary? At the very least, if you ask us! An eMTB is only as good as the person riding it. So always wear a helmet, work on your riding technique and ride within your limits. If you’re a beginner and you’re about to attempt conquering an Alpine peak, first think about how you’re going to get back down. Use your brains and in case of doubt, use protective gear! We definitely recommend using knee pads and gloves when exploring challenging terrain and, of course, always a helmet!

6. Which eMTB on test has the longest range?

If you know us, you’ll know that this is a trick question and that it’s impossible to make a blanket statement. In reality, there are countless variables that influence the range and a large battery capacity doesn’t always equal longer range.

The rider weight, tire choice, tire pressure, temperature, support level, route elevation profile and many factors besides affect the range you can achieve. Therefore, quoting you a fixed figure isn’t only wrong, it’s misleading. It is much more useful to think about how you ride or intend to ride your eMTB and find out which battery system is most suitable for this type of riding style. Do you mainly ride in power-saving modes or do you prefer full power? What about your weight? Riders weighing more than 90 kg have very different battery requirements to those that weigh only 60 kg. What’s the furthest distance that you’re likely to ride in an extreme case and with how much elevation gain? Depending on the application, you should choose either a modular system, an integrated battery or an external battery mounted on the down tube. Other useful solutions include quick-chargers which can rapidly fill your battery during your lunch break or even carrying a spare battery. With our 11 tips for more range, you’ll be able ride for longer and go further than you thought you could with 500 to 700 Wh.

More battery capacity inevitably leads to compromises in trail performance, handling and everyday practicality. Our motto: as much as necessary, but as little as possible.

The same rule applies to battery capacity as it does to suspension travel: more isn’t always better. More battery capacity automatically means more weight, which together with the larger dimensions of the battery usually impacts negatively on the centre of gravity and weight distribution on the bike. Externally mounted additional batteries on bikes that feature a dual battery system come at the cost of handling, since they usually move the centre of gravity considerably higher up.

Here for a fun time instead of a long time? Prefer to go on a short but fun ride rather than the endless drudgery of a Sunday ride with an unnecessarily heavy bike packed with enough gear and battery capacity for an Alpine epic!

The results of our reader survey show that one of the main reasons for wanting more battery capacity is the fear of running dry but on an average ride most eMTBers never actually reach their range limit. The sweet spot for most eMTBers seems to be between 600 and 700 Wh, where they are no longer afraid of maxing out their range. Bear in mind that this is more of a guideline given that there’s no fixed or easy way of comparing the range between the different ebikes and systems. After all, you have to consider the bike as a whole, especially given that the differences in energy consumption due to suspension, tires, components, motor tuning and the chosen support modes can be huge. The only general statement we can make is that on the same eMTB, more battery capacity usually means an increase in range.

The right question is not, “Which eMTB in the group test has the longest range?” but rather, “Which eMTB battery system suits me?

Here you can find an overview of the most popular battery systems. As you read this, think about what is best for you and your intended use.

The best eMTB of 2020
Specialized S-Works Levo

The good news first: the majority of the 25 most promising eMTBs of 2020 didn’t disappoint. While the test field did include some failures and disappointments, more than half of the bikes delivered a convincing performance and a coherent overall concept. Many of bikes were built with a specific purpose in mind, which is admirable. but not good enough for the all-round characteristics we expect of the Best in Test.

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo | Specialized 2.1/700 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 20.80 kg (size L) | € 11,499

The bike offering the most complete package of handling, climbing, descending, long-distance comfort, design, motor performance, battery system, weight and attention to detail is the Specialized S-Works Levo. The Levo was previously crowned Best in Test last year and with a few improvements to the details for 2020, it was able to assert itself once again against a significantly stronger competitive field including bikes with the new Bosch motor. The Californian bike brand is still setting standards in terms of integration, connectivity and customisation of the motor tuning.

As the second lightest bike in the test field, despite its large 700 Wh battery, it convinced us with its excellent, balanced handling on the climbs and descents. With a comfortable pedalling position it allows you to take on long rides, offers maximum riding pleasure, instils you with confidence and remains composed and predictable in every situation. The Levo isn’t perfect, as you will read in our review. However, thanks to the superb TCU unit integrated in the top tube, the customisable remote and display options and the purpose-developed Mission Control app, every type of rider can find their own ideal way of controlling the powerful and natural feeling motor. With its well rounded versatility putting a smile on the faces of both novices and experts alike, the Specialized S-Works Levo deservedly wins the Best in Test. As the best eMTB of 2020 it comes at a hefty price: € 11,499!

Click here for the full review on the Specialized S-Works Levo


E-MOUNTAINBIKE Best Value
COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020

COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020 | Shimano STEPS E8000/504 Wh | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 23.77 kg (size L) | € 5,799

The € 5,799 COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020 is almost half the price of the Levo but the overall bike is still one of the best options available. It doesn’t get any prizes for build quality and finish but it offers a convincing package of performance-oriented componentry without any eye catching bling but all the functionality you need. It performs excellently on technical climbs as well as rough and fast descents and it even feels at home on flow trails. With its composed handling, it instils you with confidence and the suspension performs brilliantly and is easy to adjust. Thanks to its predictable and good-natured handling, the COMMENCAL is a great choice for every type of rider. Offering a complete package at an affordable price, the COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM secures the coveted 2020 Best Value Tip.

Click here for the full review on the COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020


8. Further E-MOUNTAINBIKE recommendations

As we already mentioned above, the majority of the 25 bikes we tested offered a great package and performed well in specific types of terrain for specific types of riders. If the Best in Test or Best Value Tip are not right for you, we’ve put together an overview of the best alternatives below. If you’re not looking for the best all-rounder, we made a summary of our recommendations for specific types of riders and terrain.

Our eMTB recommendation for long-distance comfort and Alpine epics

If you’re looking for the most versatile, comfortable and easy handling eMTB, you should take a closer look at the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax. It’s overall performance on the trail is brilliant and it features a dual-battery system which will allow you to fulfil the dream of riding from Munich to Lake Garda across the Alps. The handling is excellent and allows both beginners and professionals to wind their way up and down technical trails in the Alps as well as head for the bike park.

SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax (Click for review) | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 22.92 kg (size L) | € 7,979

If you’re looking for a trail riding alternative but don’t care much for dual-battery systems and aren’t interested in bike parks, then the beautiful Moustache Samedi Trail 27 10 is an excellent option with an emphasis on comfort. The rear suspension is phenomenal and offers sufficient comfort and traction in almost any situation while still offering enough mid-stroke support. The Moustache is as much fun on flow trails as it is on technical singletrack and it’s the most comfortable and capable climber in the test field.

Moustache Samedi 27 Trail 10 (Click for review) | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 22.77 kg (size L) | € 6,999

Our eMTB recommendation for big hitters

Do you only see climbing as a means to an end? Neither of our hard-hitting bike recommendations are bad at climbing and will get chug their way up technical terrain but it’s the descents that they were built for and where they really shine.

The most capable descender is the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert. With shuttle mode engaged, it will quickly get you up the forest road, but more importantly it won’t accept any excuses for taking the chicken line on the descents as it remains composed and precise even in the roughest terrain. If you’re looking for very balanced handling and a low centre of gravity to go as fast as possible on the wildest enduro and downhill tracks, you could also take a closer look at the Whyte E-180 RS V1 too.

Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert (Click for review) | Specialized 2.1/700 Wh | 180/180 mm (f/r) | 24.20 kg (size S4) | € 6,899

Whyte E-180 RS V1 (Click for review) | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 180/180 mm (f/r) | 24.88 kg (size L) | € 6.999

Our eMTB recommendation for experienced enduro riders

Do you like razor-sharp handling, high speeds and jumps? Are you an experienced rider with an active riding style? If so, take a closer look at the Orbea WILD FS M-LTD! It’s even more capable on technical climbs and descents than our Best in Test, the Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo and offers the ultimate trail performance. However, make sure you choose the air shock instead of the coil shock in the configurator, otherwise you’ll struggle to get the most from the bike! Another sensible alternative is the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K. It has a smaller battery than the Orbea and doesn’t climb quite as well but it offers a more comfortable pedalling position for longer rides and provides plenty of thrills on the descents with its superb handling, better even than the Specialized levo.

Orbea WILD FS M-LTD (Click for review) | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 160/160 mm (f/r) | 22.50 kg (size L) | € 8,999

MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K (Click for review) | Shimano STEPS E8000/504 Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r) | 22.16 kg (size L) | € 9,799

Our eMTB recommendation for heavy riders

We keep on getting emails from our readers with questions about the total weight limit of individual bikes that we’ve reviewed. For this test, we compared the limits of all the bikes and found some significant differences. Leading the charge is the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert and Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro. The Giant has a total weight limit of 156 kg and a resulting payload of 131 kg. The Giant achieves this with a double seat clamp, 220 mm brake rotors and tires with the robust Doubledown carcass. The Kenevo is designed to take on big bellies and big drops. With a maximum payload of 136 kg and dual crown forks, it’s made to follow the call of gravity. The good-natured Cannondale accepts a payload of up to 125 kg and the fun YT DECOY will take a maximum payload of 127 kg. Both are good alternatives to the Giant. Unfortunately on both bikes, you’ll first have to change the tires for more robust models before taking them on rough terrain. The maximum payload of most other bikes on test is between 100 and 120 kg. Heavier riders are advised to ask their local dealer about the total weight limit of the bike before buying. However, it has to be said that these weight restrictions primarily serve as legal safeguards for manufacturers and always assume a worst case scenario.

Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro (Click for review) | Giant SyncDrive Pro/500 Wh | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 24.38 kg (size L) | € 7,499

YT DECOY CF Pro Race (Click for review) | Shimano STEPS E8000/540 Wh | 160/165 mm (f/r) | 22.36 kg (size L) | € 6,599

Cannondale Moterra 1 (Click for review) | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 160/160 mm (f/r) | 24.16 kg (size L) | € 7,999

All bikes in test

BULLS SONIC EVO AM 6 (Click for review)Cannondale Moterra 1 (Click for review)Canyon Spectral:ON 9.0 (Click for review)COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020 (Click for review)CONWAY XYRON 927 Carbon (Click for review)CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC (Click for review)FANTIC XF1 180 Race (Click for review)FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER (Click for review)Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro (Click for review)Haibike XDURO Nduro 10.0 (Click for review)Liteville 301 CE MK1 (Click for review)MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K (Click for review)Moustache Samedi 27 Trail 10 (Click for review)Norco Range VLT C1 (Click for review)NOX Hybrid Enduro 7.1 (Click for review)Orbea WILD FS M-LTD (Click for review)Pivot Shuttle 29 (Click for review)Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 | ROTWILD R.X750 ULTRA (Click for review)SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax (Click for review)Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo (Click for review)Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert (Click for review)Trek Rail 9.9 (Click for review)Whyte E-180 RS V1 (Click for review)YT DECOY CF Pro Race (Click for review)

9. The bikes on test exceed your budget? No problem, we’ve compiled a list of four affordable alternatives

To be honest, not everyone can, or indeed wants, to spend € 11,499 on the Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo, the Best in Test. So here are four exciting and more affordable alternatives that offer a great overall package, a wide range of applications and excellent handling.

Most of the 25 bikes in our group test are at the absolute forefront of eMTB development. These are the flagship models that the brands have on offer, with only the best and finest components, guaranteed to have an instant “must-have” effect on customers. Of course, they offer the best performance but you don’t always have to fork out that much money to get grins on the trail. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of four alternative recommendations for those on a tight budget.

The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp – the alternative to the best all-rounder for those with a smaller bank balance

The winner of our big group test is the versatile Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo. It offers outstanding technical features, is suitable for all types of riders and is considered the benchmark in terms of riding fun. But it is also incredibly expensive at € 11,499! The alternative costs over € 5,000 less.

The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp comes with an aluminium frame but it also has a 700 Wh battery, little to criticise regarding spec and is priced at € 6,199: € 5,300 less than the flagship model. The Levo Comp even has one advantage over the S-Works: it comes with aluminium rims. That means you won’t immediately write them off if you hit a rock at speed and will usually come away with nothing more than a dent. The aluminium model is specced with SRAM Guide RE brakes and 200 mm rotors. The SRAM GX 11-speed drivetrain is standard on all Levo models. You get a 150 mm dropper post on sizes M and L and suspension is taken care of by a RockShox Deluxe Select+ shock and a RockShox Lyrik Select RC fork. For 2020, Specialized opted against the less stiff PIKE. If you long for even better performance from the fork, you have the option of retrofitting a higher-end damper. The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp is the perfect alternative to the flagship model if you want to save money, but not at the cost of performance. However, you’ll have to learn to live with the increased weight.

For more information visit specialized.com


The MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 8000 – the smaller sibling of the razor-sharp eONE-SIXTY 10K

The excellent eONE-SIXTY has been completely revised for 2020. The top-end carbon 10K features a beautifully integrated battery, striking design features and numerous improvements in the details. But even the more affordable alternative doesn’t have to hide: the eONE-SIXTY 8000.

The MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 8000 is priced at € 6,199, coming in at € 3,600 less than the flagship model despite having the same carbon frame. It features a 160mm travel Marzocchi Z1 ebike-specific fork and a 150mm RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock. Shimano SLX brakes with 203 mm rotors provide the necessary stopping power. MERIDA rely on the MX wheel concept with a 29″ wheel up front and 27.5″ wheel on the rear of all eONE-SIXTY models. Unlike the top-end model, the more affordable versions don’t have a removable battery. The componentry is rounded off with a Shimano XT derailleur and a 12-speed cassette, a 170 mm dropper post on the size L and a multi-tool under the saddle. Same as on the flagship model, we recommend upgrading the tires with a more robust set if you intend to ride on rough trails.

For more information visit merida-bikes.com


The Orbea WILD FS M20 – the performance machine for aggressive eMTB riders

When it comes to speed on man-made trails, technical climbs and descents and airtime, the Orbea WILD FS M-LTD is our testers’ favourite bike. If you want an agile yet composed eMTB that thrives at high speed, you should take a closer look at the more reasonably priced but still customisable WILD FS M20!

The Orbea WILD FS M20 costs € 5,999 and comes with FOX Performance suspension offering 160 mm travel, which is easy to set up and performs well. Since the Orbea is aimed primarily at more experienced riders instead of leisurely riders, we recommend upgrading to a FOX FLOAT X2 Factory shock for € 99, which gives you more setup options. Upgrading the fork to a FOX 36 FLOAT Factory with GRIP2 damper costs an additional € 299 and it’s worth it. The WILD FS M20 comes with a 12-speed SunRace cassette and XT rear derailleur. Stopping is taken care of by a set of powerful Shimano XT four-piston brakes with SLX brake levers – less bling but good performance nonetheless. The good news is that customising the paint scheme and selecting a 170 mm dropper posts doesn’t come with any additional costs across the range. Brilliant! However, the dual battery and fast-charger option for the integrated 630 Wh battery, unlike with the flagship model, is only available at an additional cost. The EXO+ casing of the MAXXIS tires is limited for aggressive trail use, so we recommend you upgrade these to something more robust if you intend to ride hard.

For more information visit orbea.com

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It's finally here: The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Words: Felix Stix/Robin Schmitt/Jonas Muessig Photos: Finlay Anderson/Robin Schmitt/Felix Stix/Markus Frühmann