The new Propain Ekano 2 AL is the long-awaited successor to the Ekano eMTB. The latest iteration now also features the signature PRO10 rear linkage and even more travel. We’ve put the aluminium beast to the test.
One of Propain’s unique selling points is the huge online configurator, which allows you to build your very own dream bike. Despite the huge range of components to choose from, however, some things are set for the Ekano 2 AL: the bike is only available with an aluminium frame and a mixed mullet wheel configuration. The rear travel is also fixed at 170 mm, with a choice of 180 and 190 mm forks up front. Compared to its predecessor, where you could choose between different travel lengths and different wheel configurations, the latest model is slightly more limited. In return, the new Ekano 2 AL gets a slightly bigger 626 Wh battery, all while keeping the weight virtually the same as its predecessor. For the motor, the direct-to-consumer brand continue to rely on Shimano with the new EP801 model. We tested the pre-configured Goldrush build, which is priced at € 8,999. Tipping the scales at precisely 24 kg in size M, it’s remarkably light for an aluminium bike of this calibre and doesn’t have to hide from carbon bikes.
The new Propain Ekano 2 AL Goldrush in detail
The biggest and most obvious innovation on the new Ekano 2 AL is the switch to the PRO10 rear linkage, of course. As it cycles through the travel, the vertically positioned shock gets compressed at both ends by two rockers that rotate in opposite directions. There are no other pivot points on the seat or chainstays themselves. The Ekano 2 AL is the latest Propain bike to feature this rear-end design, now fitting seamlessly into the brand’s portfolio.
The cable routing is nice and clean throughout: the internally routed cables only emerge briefly as they get routed around the motor before disappearing back into the chainstays. The exposed section of cables is securely fixed to the lower rocker link. Just like the new Tyee, the cables enter the frame via the headset on the Ekano 2 AL. To do so, Propain developed their own system together with Sixpack, allowing the cables to be fed into the headset below the stem. As such, changing the stack height or stem should remain easy to do.
The battery is easy to remove out of the bottom of the down tube. Although it isn’t completely tool-free, loosening the retaining bolt is easy with a 4 mm hex key, after which you can unclip the battery by hand and remove it together with the black cover. The charging port sits on the left side of the seat tube instead of on the motor interface as with the predecessor, which meant that some bottle cages obscured it. It’s nice that they thought of that.
The seat and chainstay are covered with thick, generously sized pads that keeps the bike pleasantly quiet. There is a bottle cage on the down tube and an additional tool mount underneath the top tube.
Components and builds of the new Propain Ekano 2 AL
As already mentioned, you can configure the Ekano 2 AL in Propain’s online configurator, giving you seemingly unlimited build options. In addition to components like the suspension, brakes, drivetrain, wheels, and tires, you can also choose the frame and decal colour. For those who are overwhelmed by all this choice, Propain also have three pre-configured builds available, the Price2Ride, Shred2, and Goldrush.
The Price2Ride variant starts at € 5,889. For this, you get a solidly specced and very capable build. The suspension consists of a RockShox ZEB Select+ fork and a Super Deluxe Select shock. The Formula Cura 4 brakes offer reliable stopping power and the SRAM GX groupset shifts when you need it to, but you’ll have to make do without a display.
The Shred2 variant comes equipped with RockShox Ultimate suspension consisting of a Super Deluxe air shock and a ZEB fork offering 190 mm travel. Furthermore, you get SRAM CODE RSC brakes and the new SRAM GX Transmission drivetrain. At € 7,579, this is our value for money tip.
The Goldrush build on test comes specced with only the finest of the finest from the configurator, as the name suggests. The suspension is taken care of by the FOX Factory Series with a 38 fork and a DHX 2 shock. You get a pair of MAGURA MT7 brakes to keep your speed in check, and the SRAM X0 Transmission for the drivetrain. However, priced at € 8,999, you will also have to reach a lot deeper into your pockets for this build.
The components of the Propain Ekano 2 AL Goldrush on test
The Propain Ekano 2 AL Goldrush is powered by a Shimano EP801 motor. This is combined with the SC-EN600 display, which is slightly larger and offers a new, more modern interface that shows the time and indicates the battery level in smaller increments. The matching battery is nice and compact, allowing for a slender down tube. However, at just 626 Wh, it doesn’t offer much capacity by today’s standards, and there is no alternative in the configurator. However, frugalists can go for the affordable EP6 motor in the configurator, saving themselves € 300. This offers the same performance at an additional weight of around 300 g. If you opt against the display, you can save yourself another € 100. The FOX Factory 38 fork and DHX2 coil shock offer maximum adjustability and excellent performance. The spring rate of the coil is relatively high at 550 lbs/in, but this suited our test rider Simon (78 kg) very well due to the long leverage ratio of the rear linkage. The spring rate can be selected in the Propain configurator, of course, and you’ll get a suggestion based on your rider weight – brilliant! The FOX Transfer dropper post also comes from the Factory line and features the signature golden Kashima coating, offering 175 mm drop.
The MAGURA MT7 brakes are combined with a 200 mm rotor at the rear and a massive 220 model up front. This ensures ample stopping power. Shifting is taken care of by the SRAM X0 Eagle AXS Transmission. It attaches to the frame without a derailleur hanger and shifts cleanly and precisely even under load – without creaking or anything of the sort. This significantly increases the shifting performance as well as the durability of the components, especially on an eMTB.
Thanks to the specially adapted rim profile and carbon layup, the Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon i9 eMTB wheels are designed to offer compliance instead of maximum stiffness, which should result in a slightly more cushioned, forgiving ride. For the tires, Propain rely on a Schwalbe combination made up of a Magic Mary at the front and Big Betty at the rear. We know from experience that this is a good tire choice, though both feature the puncture-prone Super Trail casing, and the configurator doesn’t offer the more robust Super Gravity version, unfortunately. It’s worth fitting more robust tires to avoid punctures, particularly on an eMTB. Therefore, we recommend that you go for the MAXXIS ASSEGAI/DHR II tire combination in the configurator, since it has the thicker Doubledown casing at the rear.
Propain Ekano 2 AL Goldrush
Motor Shimano EP801 85 Nm
Battery Darfon E3C0A 626 Wh
Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 180 mm
Rear Shock FOX DHX2 Factory 170 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 175 mm
Brakes MAGURA MT7 220/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X0 Eagle Transmission 1x12
Stem Sixpack Millenium 35 mm
Handlebar Sixpack Millenium 780 mm
Wheelset Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon i9 E-MTB 29"/27.5"
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary, Super Trail, Soft/Schwalbe Big Betty, Super Trail, Soft 2.4"/2.4"
Size S M L XL
Weight 24 kg
Perm. total weight 130 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 106 kg
The geometry of the new Propain Ekano 2 AL
The Propain Ekano 2 AL is available in four sizes from S to XL. The geometry of the Ekano 2 AL is a lot more modern compared to its predecessor, but still moderate with a reach of 455 mm in size M. Unfortunately, the 430 mm seat tube is a bit long and can restrict your freedom of movement on the trail. The chainstays measure 445 mm across the board.
|Top tube||571 mm||592 mm||613 mm||635 mm|
|Seat tube||410 mm||430 mm||455 mm||480 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||115 mm||120 mm||130 mm|
|BB Drop||24 mm||24 mm||24 mm||24 mm|
|Chainstay||445 mm||445 mm||445 mm||445 mm|
|Wheelbase||1231 mm||1253 mm||1275 mm||1299 mm|
|Reach||435 mm||455 mm||475 mm||495 mm|
|Stack||644 mm||648 mm||653 mm||662 mm|
The new Propain Ekano 2 AL on the trail
If you hop aboard the Propain Ekano 2 AL, you’ll find yourself sitting comfortably. However, due to the rather steep seat tube angle you’re positioned relatively far forward on the bike and, as a result, you’ll feel a bit of pressure on your hands on level terrain, despite the rather tall front end. The front wheel stays planted on the climbs, even when things get really steep. The rear suspension feels pleasantly firm despite offering 170 mm travel, yet it remains active, so that the rear wheel conforms to the terrain and provides plenty of traction on technical climbs. You can – and should – save yourself the effort of reaching for the lockout lever.
Once you hit the descent, you’ll feel right at home aboard the Ekano. It’s easy to ride, you’re well centred on the bike, and the tall front end instils you with confidence. However, this puts less weight on the front wheel, making it feel slightly nervous. Through open corners, you have to actively shift your weight forward to maintain grip. You can remedy this by lowering the handlebar by removing a few spacers under the stem. The handling of the Propain is agile, even playful for an aluminium eMTB. Speccing a rather small battery saves a lot of weight, which certainly contributes to the fact that it rides significantly less tank-like than many of its aluminium competitors. Nevertheless, it offers a lot of composure and invites you to let off the brakes in high-speed sections.
Due to the relatively short chainstays, the Ekano is easy to wheelie or manuals, and it does so without the rear end sagging excessively. The suspension generally performs well and, in addition to offering plenty of reserves – which you would expect from a 170 mm travel bike – it provides a lot of mid-stroke support, so the Ekano can be a blast to ride on more flowing trails too. Compared to its predecessor, the rear suspension has become significantly more progressive, which means it doesn’t tend to wallow despite running a coil shock, allowing you to generate a lot of momentum by pumping the bike through rollers and berms. This further underlines the Propain’s agile handling.
Who is the Propain Ekano 2 AL for?
The Propain Ekano 2 AL is a bike for those who are looking for a bike that is ready to tackle anything you can throw in its path, though without feeling overbiked on flowing trails. Despite the massive amount of travel, the Ekano feels responsive and agile. However, the rather small 626 Wh battery prevents you from going on long, all-day rides. Thanks to the extensive configurator, Propain allow you to build your dream bike without having to scrounge your local bike shops or piecing all the components together from various online retailers.
Our conclusion on the Propain Ekano 2 AL
The Propain Ekano 2 AL is a big hitting eMTB that offers all the benefits of long travel, though with hardly any of the common weaknesses. As you would expect from a 170 mm travel eMTB, it instils you with confidence thanks to composed and capable handling. Due to its agility and progressive suspension, however, it also performs well as an all-rounder, all rolled up into one robust aluminium package. Unfortunately, its touring potential is limited by the small 626 Wh battery.
Tuning tips: select a more robust MAXXIS tire combination in the configurator
- comprehensive online configurator
- rear suspension offers plenty of reserves and a decent amount of support
- agile handling despite the heavier aluminium frame
- only available with a small 626 Wh battery
For more information, visit propain-bikes.com.
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Adrian Vesenbeckh