We know that modern eBikes can do pretty much everything. But how well can they do it? And how would an eMTB suit everyday city life? How big are the differences between eMTBs and urban eBikes? Do we still need city eBikes in a time when SUV eMTBs are taking over the world?

In order to answer these questions we pushed the SCOTT E-Aspect City E-Bike and the BMC Speedfox AMP eMTB beyond their comfort zone to understand how an eMTB compares to a city-E-Bike in an urban environment. We picked SCOTT’s E-Aspect to represent hundreds of trekking e-bikes and city e-bikes in a head to head comparison with performance-oriented BMC Speedfox AMP ONE eMTB. The SCOTT features a Brose Drive S motor and smart everyday solutions whilst the BMC offers 130 mm of front- and rear-travel.

“An eMTB is totally out of place in the city”, “The chunky tires are inefficient to say the least”, “He’s taking his eMTB for a walk!”… . As eMTBers we are used to facing prejudice. But is the scepticism justified or could mountain bike components offer some advantages in road traffic? To find out we fitted a BMC Speedfox AMP with mudguards and lights and took to the rush-hour traffic madness.

Your faithful companion in everyday life – SCOTT E-Aspect

Motor/Battery: Brose Drive S/500 Wh
Fork: SR Suntour Mobie 45 100 mm
Rear shock: – 
Drivetrain: SRAM NX
Brakes: Shimano Deore
Handlebar: Syncros M3.0 720 mm
Stem: Syncros UC1.5 (with integrated Supernova light)
Seatpost: Syncros M3.0
Tires: Schwalbe G-One
Hubs: Formula
Rims Syncros X-25
Weight: 23.23 kg
Price: € 3,999
More infos: scott-sports.com

The sophisticated SCOTT E-Aspect inspired a whole range of smart city and trekking e-Bikes. Rattle-free mudguards, sturdy pannier-racks and kickstands are must-have accessories in this bike category. In city traffic the E-Aspect cruises along smoothly and offers a natural ride-feeling below the 25 km/h threshold. Once you pass the limit on fast downhills or in competitive traffic-light sprints the Brose Drive S motor decouples completely. The upright riding position allows you to keep an eye on the chaotic peak-time traffic.

Schwalbe’s G-One tires are great all-rounders which combine a high level of comfort with acceptable amounts of grip. However you’ll be reminded of every single pothole, curb or tram rail you’re riding through — the stiff rear-end of the SCOTT takes each blow from the rear wheel and passes it straight onto your backside.

Comfort trumps efficiency
Since every eMTB comes with a powerful motor the lack of efficiency of full-suspension frames is irrelevant in this specific case. On the contrary you will appreciate how the full-suspension chassis deals with potholes and road imperfections and how much comfort it adds to your ride.
See and be seen
The elegant Supernova light can be controlled from the handlebars
Keeps your back free and dry
A pannier rack allows you to ride safely without having to carry a backpack
Nothing beats grip…
… apart from more grip. As long as you’re riding in dry conditions the allround-tires deliver a solid performance even on loose terrain.

The SCOTT E-Aspect comes with a number of features that will make your everyday life much easier. The stem-integrated Supernova light can be conveniently operated from the handlebar and the pannier can be easily clicked into the rack — finally you can leave your backpack at home and get to work with a dry shirt.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 400 mm 440 mm 490 mm 540 mm
Top tube 580 mm 600 mm 620 mm 640 mm
Head tube 140 mm 145 mm 155 mm 160 mm
Head angle 68.5° 68.5° 68.5° 68.5°
Seat angle 73° 73° 73° 73°
Chainstays 452 mm 472 mm 472 mm 472 mm
BB Height 307 mm 316 mm 316 mm 316 mm
Wheelbase 1111 mm 1156 mm 1177 mm 1197 mm
Reach 390 mm 403 mm 420 mm 439 mm
Stack 620 mm 645 mm 654 mm 659 mm

A sporty eMTB with all of your everyday-essentials – BMC Speedfox AMP ONE

Motor/Battery: Brose Drive S/500 Wh
Fork: RockShox Pike RC 130 mm
Rear shock: FOX Float DPS Performance Elite 130 mm 
Drivetrain: Shimano XT Di2
Brakes: Shimano XT
Handlebar: BMC MFB 01 Carbon 750 mm
Stem: BMC MSM 02
Seatpost: Kind Shock Lev Integra 125 mm
Tires: MAXXIS Forekaster EVO 2,35″
Wheels: DT Swiss HXC1501 SPLINE ONE
Weight: 21.19 kg
Price: € 9,499
More infos: bmc-switzerland.com

The BMC Speedfox AMP ONE is a text-book trail eMTB. The 29” wheels and 130 mm front and rear travel make it a true trail fun-machine. Despite the sporty riding position the suspension makes it a great option for long rides. The FOX suspension combo deals with most road imperfections and all of the vibrations and relieves your wrists and buttocks.

With its powerful Shimano motor in city traffic the bike will quickly reach the 25 km/h limit. If you pedal to ride faster you’re going to feel a slight drag coming from the motor. The MAXXIS Forekaster tires aren’t exactly optimal choice for pure eMTB applications but offer a sensible compromise for combined city and off-road rides. Strong, reliable brakes are a must in the mountains — and also in city traffic. A powerful brake with 200 mm rotors will keep you safe from careless drivers opening their doors or reckless lane changers.

The 200 mm front and rear rotors will help you stop in time when someone suddenly opens a car door
Drop it!
The dropper seatpost is worth the extra weight and not just when riding trails. You’ll appreciate the dropper when waiting at traffic lights and when climbing or descending.
Well hidden
The speed sensor is integrated in the chainstay and is almost invisible — its position also protects it against damage
A few compromises
The MAXXIS FOREKASTER doesn’t offer enough grip for pure e-MTBing. In return it rolls well on tarmac and only produces little rolling resistance.
Comfort can also be sporty
Whether you’re riding on roots or kerbs the rear-shock absorbs the knocks efficiently

Is an eMTB the more comfortable option then? If you are riding exclusively on paved roads the comfortable riding position makes a city E-Bike an even more comfortable option. An eMTB on the other hand features a much more aggressive riding position but with the added perks of a full-suspension frame — the BMC literally sucks up kerbs and potholes. On top of that the eMTB will open up millions of new “trails” right in the city centre. All of a sudden stairs, urban features and curbs become both a shortcut and a concrete playground. There are no limitations to your creativity in choice of lines… just like when you ride your mountain bike.

Size S M L
Seat tube 400 mm 440 mm 480 mm
Top tube 572 mm 619 mm 648 mm
Head tube 92 mm 103 mm 118 mm
Head angle 66° 66° 66°
Seat angle 74° 74° 74°
Chainstays 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm
BB Drop 33 mm 33 mm 33 mm
Wheelbase 1159 mm 1202 mm 1233 mm
Reach 401 mm 445 mm 472 mm
Stack 598 mm 605 mm 618 mm

How to set-up your eMTB for town

If you want to use your eMTB as an everyday commuting rig you’ll need to make some compromises. Usually a clip-on mudguard will protect your suit from muck and water and a set of bright lights will keep you safe and make you visible at night. However most full-susser frames won’t allow for a pannier rack or kick-stand. Some manufacturers have already addressed this issue and are now providing their frames with specific mounting points. If the bike doesn’t have a carrier you could use a big courier-bag to safely carry your briefcase or shopping.

Admittedly a direct comparison between the two bikes is a little far-fetched. However the exciting bit is the actual intersection of the two categories. If you push both eBikes out of their comfort zone you’ll discover new creative commuting alternatives, unknown trails and inspiring landscapes. In the meantime you’ll have tons of fun and spend some time in the fresh air.


With some clever modifications you’ll be able to adapt your eMTB and make it suitable for everyday use. You’ll discover new routes in town without compromising your week-end trail adventures. When used strictly in an urban context city eBikes are definitely the better option but if you ask us we would always go for an eMTB. Why? Because it’s just a lot more fun both in the city and outside the concrete jungle.

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Words: Photos: Valentin Rühl