High-Performance eBikes Explained
eBikes boost your efforts with hi-torque electric motors, letting you pedal further, higher and harder than ever before. The benefits for commuters are obvious – but eBikes aren’t just about getting to the office fresh, fast and fragrant! The ramifications for cutting-edge mountain bikes are truly exciting. This is one area of cycling that we at Hargroves Cycles get more and more questions about, so we’ve outlined some of the key issues, features and examples here in our Performance eBikes Buyer’s Guide.
The climbing assistance eBikes generate is useful to everyone. Fit riders can go further and faster than they ever could on a regular bike, while those with health or fitness issues can find a whole new lease of life. In fact, they’re as ideal as a first mountain bike as they are for veterans looking to discover the next level. Whoever you are, you find a bigger, broader new network of trails opens up with an eBike.
Obviously, there’s no point gaining access to miles of challenging new trails if the bike’s no fun once you’re there. Happily, progress has been extremely rapid in the performance area: today’s eBikes represent some of the most forward-thinking design in the sport, using highly advanced materials, layouts, geometry and components. High-performance eBikes offer the very latest in electrical systems, app-based tuning, wheel and tyre versatility, suspension design and sheer rugged toughness. Add in increasingly fast charging, integrated frame/motor design and highly progressive geometries and you get some astonishingly capable bikes, with performance that’s more accessible than ever before.
THE FUTURE IS HERE!
The addition of a power source has some exciting knock-on effects. Electronic shifting has already made the jump from road to mountain bikes, bringing with it wires that are unaffected by mud and water, and mechs that constantly ‘trim’ themselves into perfect alignment. These usually standalone systems are easily integrated with eBike drivetrains, along with computer-style head units, power meters and even suspension travel adjustment.
Other electronic tweaks – such as suspension damping, dropper posts or even ABS braking – will rapidly find ways into these new systems. Electronics are how today’s technology makes its most amazing advances. eBikes, in short, are where it’s at!
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
Money no object? The Scott E-Genius 700 Tuned (£6,799) is a perfect example of what’s possible when a manufacturer goes all-out. It’s a 150mm-travel trail bike with top-drawer Fox suspension and dropper post, Shimano’s electronic-shift Di2 gearing, and Shimano’s super-powerful twin-piston Zee brakes.
Scott’s switch to a Shimano motor kicked off a huge redesign for 2018, with a shorter back end for greater agility, massive tyre clearance, and geometry that embraces slacker head and steeper seat angles. These combine to give greater descending stability, and more precise climbing too.
Tyre clearance is good enough not just for the standard 27.5 Plus wheels with their 2.8in wide tyres, but 29in wheels running the latest 2.6in rubber. Flipping a chip in the shock mount corrects the bottom bracket height for the bigger wheels – clever.
Shimano’s STEPS E8000 motor kicks out 70Nm of torque and 250W of power, and is coupled to a higher-capacity 500Wh battery for maximum range. Three switchable modes (Eco, Trail and Boost) let you manage power use, while Trail and Boost performance can even be customised via smartphone – as can the shifter button functions – it’s all integrated! There’s even a Walk mode for when you’re pushing somewhere too steep to ride.
MONEY SOME OBJECT?
You can get most of these benefits for less with the full suspension Scott E-Genius 720 (£4,499). It’s the same as the 700 Tuned, but with suspension from RockShox and X-Fusion, mechanical SRAM NX1 shifters on a 1×11 drivetrain, and a Synchros dropper post. Overall fork travel is 10mm lower at 140mm, but you still get the remotely-adjustable suspension system of the flagship model. Travel and Lockout settings are altered via a TwinLoc bar lever.
Cheaper still is the Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 SL 500 27.5 (£3,899), another incredible trail bike that’s been completely redesigned for 2018. Its 140mm travel frame uses highly-manipulated aluminium for very low weight, and features Bosch power, Fox suspension, and high-end Shimano XT gears and brakes. The 27.5in wheels and 2.6in wide Schwalbe tyres use the extra-wide Boost standard for increased strength and stiffness. Vital when the Performance CX motor kicks out 75Nm and 250W!
At Hargroves we still love a good hardtail, and the latest advances in eBiking hasn’t ignored them. The Specialized Turbo Levo Hardtail Comp 6Fattie (£3,250) is a great example, offering trail-ready geometry, a 120mm RockShox fork, huge 3in-wide tyres on 27.5in rims, and a 1×11 Shimano SLX drivetrain. Power comes from a 250W motor and a 504Wh battery, and is accessible via a smartphone app. There’s a women’s specific Turbo Levo too with different geometry and women-specific saddle and grips amongst other tailorings.
Whatever your preference and your budget, there’s a massive world to explore out there, and you can see, and tame, more of it with a high performance eBike.