The best electric mountain bikes make ascents a lot easier while providing all the performance and handling you want on the way back down. They add some extra power on the flat too.
You can turn your focus to climbing the steepest, most technical slopes you can find – or just go longer and faster with a grin from ear-to-ear. The ability to cover ground quickly means you can go out and explore places you wouldn’t otherwise consider.
These bikes also enable you to ride in ways you usually couldn’t. As designs become more refined, their handling increasingly rivals – and in some cases exceeds – that of non-assisted mountain bikes.
For more on what to look for when buying an e-MTB, read our buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article. Otherwise, check out our guide to the best electric bikes for advice on choosing the right ebike for you.
Best electric mountain bikes in 2023
Focus JAM2 SL 9.9
- £7,499/€8,499/AU$14,499 as tested
- Pros: Impeccable performance; powerful and frugal motor
- Cons: Stock tyres are inadequate; Fauza ring controller feels cheap
The Focus JAM2 SL 9.9 is the German brand’s lightweight electric mountain bike. It uses Fazua’s Ride 60 motor that gives the bike a perky 60Nm of torque combined with a frugal power consumption of the 430Wh battery.
Focus has given the JAM2 two geometry flip chips, allowing the bike to be set up longer, lower and slacker thanks to their position in the linkage and chainstay.
We found this allows the bike to span both the trail and enduro categories, making the bike seriously fun on a variety of trails.
The only letdown from the spec was the lightweight tyres, though this is easily corrected.
Marin Alpine Trail E2
- £5,695/€6,199/$5,999 as tested
- Pros: Capable; fun and comfortable
- Cons: Cluttered handlebar; rear tyre not suited to some terrain
Marin launched the Alpine Trail E at the end of 2020 and at the time it was the Californian brand’s first full-suspension electric mountain bike.
Luckily, it was worth the wait because the Alpine Trail E is a capable, fun and comfortable e-MTB with a well-thought-out spec that offers good value for money including top-spec dampers, Shimano drivetrains and branded components.
You get an aluminium frame with 150mm of travel, with aggressive, descent-focused geometry, while Shimano’s EP8 motor provides the power.
The Alpine Trail E2 is at home on a broad spectrum of trails and lives up to Marin’s promise as a bike that will put a smile on your face.
The range also includes the cheaper Alpine Trail E1 at £4,295 / $4,499 / €4,899.
Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Factory
- £7,000/€8,200 as tested
- Pros: Comfortable, efficient climbing; good balance of motor power and range
- Cons: Low bottom bracket caused pedal strikes
The winner of our first-ever eMTB category in Bike of the Year, the Nukeproof Megawatt scores on geometry, spec and suspension and, with its 170mm rear travel and mullet wheels, is designed for enduro riding.
The top-drawer spec includes a Fox Factory 38 fork and Float X2 shock, Shimano XT drivetrain and four-piston brakes, DT Swiss H 1700 Spline 30 wheels and Maxxis tyres.
Power comes from a Shimano EP8 85Nm motor with three customisable assistance levels and a 630Wh battery supplying the juice. We got over 2,000m vertical in Eco mode and up to 1,400m in Boost.
We loved the downhill performance, a mix of fun and stability that’s hard for bike designers to get right. The super-smooth rear suspension with balanced geometry makes it easy to ride quickly with little effort.
Nukeproof Megawatt 297 RS
- £7,600/$9,599 as tested
- Pros: Great spec for the price; natural-feeling ride that’s easy to master
- Cons: Tyres lack grip in cold weather; large gaps between coil spring rates
The Megawatt 297 RS is the brand’s range-topping model, featuring near-identical spec to the E-EDR bikes ridden by the Nukeproof team.
The bike maintains an easy-going character.
Shimano’s EP8 motor is used, offering 85Nm of torque, and connected to a 630Wh battery located in the down tube.
The bike features a Super Deluxe Ultimate RCT Coil at the rear, which gives the bike a supple feeling over high-frequency bumps and provides good traction through corners. However, some riders may struggle to find the right spring rates because there are large gaps between sizes.
Headset cable routing has been removed on the new frame.
Orbea Rise H10
- £6,623/$8,000/€7,100/AU$12,600 as tested
- Pros: Well-finished alloy frame; throttled-down Shimano EP8 motor gives natural ride feel
- Cons: Limited seatpost clearance; uncomfortable saddle
The Orbea Rise H10 is an alloy version of the original carbon Rise. It’s a stripped-back ‘eMTB Lite’, with less power and weight than a fully assisted eMTB, that Orbea says is “less e, more bike”.
The Rise H10 gets a larger battery than the original, at 540Wh, and is powered by a 60Nm Shimano EP8 motor that’s throttled down to limit its usual 85Nm torque and extend range. You can add a 252Wh range extender.
The H10’s frame has nicely smoothed welds at the top tube junctions that could fool you into thinking it’s carbon, and side-on it’s not obvious there’s a battery in the down tube either. Geometry is trail-oriented and modern but not cutting-edge.
With its higher-torque motor than the Specialized Turbo Levo SL, the Rise feels more powerful on climbs. It can handle rougher, steeper trails, although it’s not as sure-footed as more enduro-oriented ebikes. It’s happiest on rollercoaster singletrack and berms though.
Orbea Wild M-Team
- £9,207/$9,844/€9,727/AU$17,429 as tested
- Pros: Bosch motor and battery; confident and capable on descents
- Cons: Value for money
The Orbea Wild M-Team is our eMTB Bike of the Year for 2023, with the bike’s balance being the dominant trait on ascents and descents.
The Fox Factory 38 fork and Fox X2 Factory rear shock gobble up rough terrain and find good grip though corners.
Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor provides punchy assistance, which feels as though it helps up until the cut-off speed.
Fitted with DH casing tyres, the bike’s spec has been well considered and enables the Wild M-Team to be ridden to the limit with ease.
Santa Cruz Bullit CC S
- £8,699/$10,699 as tested
- Pros: Performance-led spec choices; incredibly capable even on the toughest trail
- Cons: Value for money
The Bullit CC S has a focus on gravity and ‘smashability’, making it roll down technical trails with ease and giving you high levels of confidence through gnarly sections.
Shimano’s EP8 electric bike motor and 630Wh down tube battery feature, giving the bike a natural assistance, though it’s not quite as punchy as some Bosch systems.
Santa Cruz has given the bike good spec where it matters, though value for money isn’t something that can be mentioned when talking about the Bullit CC S.
Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL
- £12,500/$15,000/€14,500/AU$24,200 as tested
- Pros: Top-drawer spec to match the price; highly tunable geometry
- Cons: Lower-powered assistance leads to more rider input to keep up pace
First in our line-up of very spendy Specialized electric bikes, the enduro-focused Turbo Kenevo SL mixes a 19kg weight with 170mm travel.
It’s built from FACT 11m carbon fibre, with the tunable Specialized Turbo SL 1.1 motor meting out 35Nm of torque – about half that of most eMTB motors. That’s powered by a 320Wh integrated battery. You can buy a separate range extender to add another 160Wh.
The geometry is tunable, with 2 degrees of head tube angle adjustment via angled headset cups and flip chips in the suspension pivot. In the low setting, climbing is smooth and composed with subtle assistance. Handling feels more like a pedal-powered bike than an eMTB, with impressive composure on rougher trails.
Specialized Turbo Levo Expert
- £10,000/$10,000/€9,600/AU$16,500 as tested
- Pros: Neutral ride feel that excels on ascents and descents; top-level handling with abundance of grip
- Cons: Frame’s potential exceeds fork’s travel; value for money
The Turbo Levo Expert uses Specialized’s Turbo Full Power System 2.2 motor, which offers 90Nm of peak torque and is powered by a 700Wh battery.
While not as punchy as some Bosch systems, the motor provides a natural assist that some riders may prefer.
Specialized has brought some of the S-Works magic to the Expert model, with the bike remaining one of the best-riding electric mountain bikes on the market.
The bike bridges the gap between trail and enduro well, with the adjustable geometry allowing it to be setup for both types of riding.
Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL II
- £13,000 as tested
- Pros: Incredibly wide performance band; adaptable geometry
- Cons: Inadequate rear tyre casing; cost
The latest S-Works Turbo Levo SL uses Specialized’s ‘semi-skimmed’ Turbo SL 1.2 motor that has 50Nm of torque and 320W of power.
The bike feels comfortable on all types of terrain while maintaining an impressive capability when the going gets tough.
Specialized has given the bike adjustable geometry, and allows the bike to be run as a ‘mullet’ setup.
A drool-worthy spec list featuring Fox Factory suspension and SRAM’s XX Eagle Transmission, make the bike a masterpiece at pace, though this does come at a cost.
Vitus E-Sommet VRX
- £5,499 as tested
- Pros: High-end components at a reasonable price; impressive geometry and suspension
- Cons: Headset cable routing; bottle boss location
Rolling on a ‘mullet’ setup and featuring up-to-date geometry (boasting a 64-degree head tube angle), the E-Sommet is Vitus’ top-spec eMTB designed for enduro with 167mm of rear travel.
It’s powered by Shimano’s EP8 motor capable of 85nm peak torque and 250W of peak power combined with a 650Wh battery. We achieved 1,800m to 2,000m of ascent in the Eco mode from a single charge. This figure dropped in Turbo mode to 1,200m.
With Vitus being a direct-to-customer brand, the E-Sommet is adorned with top spec for its very reasonable price. It features a 170mm RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork, a Super Deluxe Select+ RT shock and Shimano’s XT groupset.
Whyte E-160 RSX
- £7,999 as tested
- Pros: Calm and composed; hides its weight well; one of the best-handling electric mountain bikes tested
- Cons: Chain slap; would benefit from steeper seat tube
Available in 29in or ‘mullet’ form, the E-160 RSX is a 150mm do-it-all electric enduro bike.
It comes well equipped with Fox Performance Elite 38 forks and Float X rear shock, SRAM GX Eagle AXS and DT Swiss wheels. Power comes from a 250W Bosch Performance Line CX motor with a 750Wh PowerTube battery.
Whyte has positioned the battery partially beneath the motor to lower the bike’s centre of gravity, giving it a well-balanced geometry and truly special handling characteristics for a bike of its weight.
We managed to get 2,000m of ascent in Tour+ mode, and regularly hit 1,500m in eMTB mode. The 26.32kg weight (size large) was masked on the descents thanks to the low centre of gravity, making the bike easy to lean from one side to the other.
Whyte E-180 RSX MX Super Enduro
- £8,799 as tested
- Pros: Balanced geometry; smooth and supportive suspension
- Cons: Seat tube angle could be steeper; limited sizing
Whyte’s E-180 RSX MX Super Enduro is gravity focuses, with the rear of the bike featuring 170mm of travel controlled by a Fox Float X2 Factory shock.
Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor provides 85Nm of torque, which is connected to a large 750Wh battery located in the downtube.
The E-180 RSX MX Super Enduro has adjustable geometry that can slacken the head angle from 63.2-degree to 62.7 degrees.
This geometry gives the bike a confidence inspiring ride, allowing you to rip through rough terrain without worry.
Despite it’s high ticket price, the bike offers good value for money with shimmers of Kashima coating reflecting from the fork and shock.
Focus JAM2 7.0
- £7,499/€7,999 as tested
- Pros: Tunable geometry; responsive, agile handling despite 25kg weight
- Cons: Brake-post mount and adapter stand out from the rotor
The Focus JAM2 7.0 rolls on 29er wheels with 150mm of linear-progressive suspension travel, while power comes from the Shimano EP8 85Nm motor, with a high-capacity 720Wh battery from Focus.
A flip chip enables you to tune the geometry and the JAM2 has Focus’s CIS system with cables and hoses threaded through the stem. There’s a built-in USB-C charge port on the top tube and another neat touch is the custom tool bag that sits under the front of the down tube.
We rated the rear-wheel grip when climbing, and the geometry adds playfulness on flowy trails, with direct, responsive handling despite the 25kg weight.
Forestal Cyon Neon
- £10,999/$11,799 as tested
- Pros: Supportive suspension; balanced geometry
- Cons: Pike fork is under-gunned; stock tyres not suitable
Forestal’s Cyon is a solid performer and does well to encapsulate everything a trail bike should be.
The Bafang-built EonDrive motor provides a punchy 60Nm of torque and 250Wh of nominal power which is provided by a 360Wh batter located in the downtube.
The bike’s low sag recommendation makes the bike less comfy than others on rough, bumpy surfaces, but when pointed down a trail the bike feels muted and forgiving.
We did find the RockShox Pike Ultimate to be a little under-gunned, being easily overwhelmed by the capability of the rear end.
Haibike Lyke CF 11
- £6,799/€7,999 as tested
- Pros: Sorted suspension; value for money
- Cons: Unsuitable tyres; messy cable routing
The Haibike Lyke CF 11 provides plenty of support both up and downhill, with the Fazua Ride 60 motor providing 60Nm of torque and up to 450Wh of power taken from a 430Wh battery located in the downtube of the carbon frame.
The bike punches above its 140mm of suspension travel, with the considered geometry able to provide more performance than expected.
Haibike provides a competitive spec, with a Shimano XT /SLX hybrid groupset, Fox 36 Performance forks and Fox Float DPS Performance shock helping to make this bike seriously good value for money.
Merida eONE-SIXTY 10k
- £9,000/$9,799/€9,799/AU$11,999 as tested
- Pros: Smooth-riding over choppy trails; high-value spec
- Cons: Geometry is a bit short and high
Powered by the Shimano EP8 motor system, this top-spec of Merida’s enduro-oriented eOne-Sixty has a carbon front triangle and single-pivot alloy rear. The ride is smooth over obstacles and on fast, choppy trails, although the reach is slightly shorter and the front end a bit higher than we’d prefer.
This top-spec model has everything you could desire, including Shimano XTR gearing and brakes, and DT Swiss carbon wheels with Maxxis rubber, along with a Fox Float X2 Factory fork and shock, and a RockShox Reverb AXS wireless dropper seatpost.
Mondraker Level R
- £5,999/$8,499/€5,799 as tested
- Pros: Composed climbing and descending
- Cons: 27kg weight limits climbing range
Mondraker sets the alloy Level R 29er in its ‘super enduro’ category, with the brand’s Forward Geometry and 170mm travel from a Fox DHX2 coil-spring shock and dual-link suspension system.
Power is provided by a Bosch Performance Line CX motor with four assistance levels, 85Nm of torque, a 750Wh battery and Kiox 300 colour display that can link to your phone, enabling ride recording and motor tuning.
You sit centrally on the bike, which leads to calm climbing with little tendency to front-wheel lift. We weighed the Level R at 27kg, which we found limited ascending capacity to around 1,300m. Weight was less of an issue on descents though, with the Level R feeling planted and well behaved.
Santa Cruz Bullit CC X01 RSV
- £10,499/€11,699/$11,499 as tested
- Pros: Exceptionally fast and capable bike
- Cons: Possible to overwhelm the forks and brakes on steeper trails
The Santa Cruz Bullit is a name that goes back to 1998, but the reimagined bike is a far cry from the original – the Bullit is now a 170mm-travel e-MTB with a carbon frame and mixed wheel sizes.
The bike’s climbing ability impressed most during testing – it feels unstoppable going uphill, thanks in part to the Shimano EP8 motor.
The Bullit is also extremely capable downhill, particularly on faster and rougher trails, but slower, tighter and steeper sections need a bit more care.
There are four models in the range, with prices starting at £6,899/$7,499/€7,699 for the Bullit CC R, which uses Shimano’s Steps E7000 motor, and rising to £10,499 / $11,499 / €11,699 for the top-of-the-range Bullit CC X01 RSV featured here.
Transition Repeater NX Carbon
- £7,500/$8,199/AU$13,999 as tested
- Pros: Great performer on the ups and downs
- Cons: Low spec for the price
The Transition Repeater NX Carbon shines on the descents, being exceptionally adept when things get steep and technical. However, a little more fork travel would be helpful on the gnarliest trails.
The bike uses a Shimano EP8 motor and 630Wh battery pack to give assistance, which produced a total of 2,000m of ascent with a single charge in Eco mode.
Value for money is where the Repeater struggles, with the SRAM NX groupset lacking refinement and the price high when compared to other bikes in the segment.
These bikes scored fewer than 4 out of 5 in our reviews but are still worth considering.
Giant Reign E+ 1
- £6,299/€6,399/AU$9,799 as tested
- Pros: Good spec and powerful Yamaha motor
- Cons: Low motor efficiency and sometimes harsh ride
The mullet-wheeled Reign E+ 1 has 160mm of travel with a slack geometry that was overhauled in 2021. There’s a Giant SyncDrive Pro motor (built by Yamaha) with 85Nm torque and a 625Wh battery, along with Shimano XT components, a Fox 38 Performance Elite fork and Float X2 Performance Elite shock.
Climbing performance is well balanced and capable due to the central position, but the motor’s on/off power delivery limited us to 1,700m climbing on a charge. When descending, there’s a direct, taut feeling, but that can translate to a stiff, harsh ride over bumpy terrain.
Saracen Ariel 50E Elite
- £6,500 as tested
- Pros: High-quality spec
- Cons: Geometry, battery capacity and tyre choice let the bike down
With 150mm travel from a Fox DHX2 Factory shock and a 160mm-travel Fox 38 Factory fork, a Shimano M8100 XT drivetrain, DT Swiss wheels and Shimano EP8 motor, the Saracen’s spec is impressive.
The 504Wh battery limits range though and we’d like to see a slacker head angle than the 65 degrees on offer, which limited performance on steep sections. Traction from the dual-compound Maxxis tyres wasn’t that great on rocks or roots when climbing, although the low bike weight made for a nimble ride.
Scott Ransom eRide 910
- £6,499/€7,190/AU$14,500 as tested
- Pros: Good motor and spec for the price
- Cons: Raw-feeling downhill ride
Another enduro-oriented eMTB, the Scott Ransom eRide has 180mm of travel and runs on 29in wheels. There’s adjustable geometry and some quality parts, including a Fox 38 Performance Elite fork and Float X2 Performance shock, with a SRAM X01/NX Eagle drivetrain, Shimano XT brakes and a Bosch Performance Line CX motor. We reckon it’s reasonable value for money.
We found the ride wasn’t quite as calm or controlled as some rivals though. The rear tyre choice led to slipping on climbs and the downhill ride felt raw and un-smoothed. A tyre swap-out might remedy much of this.
Thok TK01 R
- £5,900/€6,490 as tested
- Pros: Good motor and spec for the price
- Cons: Awkward setup and geometry; poor tyre choice
Italian ebike specialist Thok gives you 170mm travel with its enduro-oriented, alloy-framed TK01 R. It’s powered by a Shimano EP8 motor, which along with the bike’s geometry makes for great climbing. Descending is more of a mixed bag though, and required quite a bit of fettling for handling confidence.
The spec’s good value for the bike’s price, although we didn’t find the tyres quite up to the job. The Thok is a good cruiser, just don’t press it to its limits.
YT Decoy Core 4 MX
- £7,000/$8,000/€7,500/AU$12,000 as tested
- Pros: Easy-to-remove battery; supportive suspension
- Con: Tyres; geometry
YT gives you 165mm of travel from its mullet-wheeled, carbon Decoy Core 4 MX. There’s top-drawer kit including a Fox Factory fork and shock, Crankbrothers Synthesis alloy wheels and a Shimano XT M8100 drivetrain.
Assistance comes from a Shimano EP8 motor and 540Wh custom battery, which YT says has high energy density. We found the range lower than with the stock Shimano battery though and were only getting around 1,000m of climbing in Boost mode.
There’s a rearward-biased seated position, which means care is needed to prevent front-wheel lift on climbs. Performance downhill is poppy and fun, encouraging flicking across the trail and confidence in corners, although on steeps a slacker head tube would lead to improved handling.
Buyer’s guide to electric mountain bikes
Electric mountain bike types
Whereas first-generation e-MTBs tended to be trail-oriented with around 150mm of travel, there’s now an increasing range of mountain bike disciplines covered.
At the other end, there are lighter machines such as the Specialized Turbo Levo SL and the Lapierre eZesty that use lighter, less powerful motors and smaller batteries similar to electric road bikes. That drops the bike’s weight and ups agility over more heavily built machines.
You’ll find e-MTBs with either 29in or 27.5in wheels, but ‘mullet builds’ with a 29in wheel up front and a 27.5in rear are becoming increasingly common. This setup gives good stability at the front and better agility from the smaller rear wheel. Examples include the Canyon Spectral:ON and the Vitus E-Escarpe.
Electric mountain bike motors
Popular choices for electric mountain bike motors are Bosch, Shimano Steps and Yamaha, while Fazua’s lightweight motor is increasingly making an appearance on weight-focused bikes.
Bosch Performance Line CX motors provide 600Wh peak power and 85Nm of torque for fuss-free climbing. There’s a natural ride feel and good battery management that gets impressive range out of the system’s battery.
Shimano’s Steps E-8000 and E-7000 systems are still found on some eMTBs, although they’ve started to show their age, with lower power output and torque than newer rivals. Its smaller batteries give you less range too, but still boast low weight and a compact design, along with the ability to tune the output.
However, Shimano has added the EP8 motor to its range. This boosts torque to 85Nm while reducing weight by around 200g, lowering pedalling drag, increasing range and lowering Q-Factor. The EP8’s launch coincided with Shimano increasing battery capacity to 630Wh. More and more, you’ll find it being specced on newer electric mountain bikes, including many of our picks above of the best electric mountain bikes.
Meanwhile, Giant uses the Yamaha Syncdrive Pro motor on its e-MTBs. Its Smart Assist mode uses an array of six sensors, including a gradient sensor, to work out how much power to deliver in any given situation.
A popular choice on road-going ebikes, the Fazua motor system is to be found on some lighter-weight e-MTBs, such as the Lapierre eZesty. It’s lighter, less powerful and has a smaller battery. That means you typically need to put in more of your own pedalling effort, but it drops the bike’s weight down closer to non-assisted models. Plus, you can remove the battery completely and ride the bike without it.
Specialized has its own motor units, which it specs on the majority of its electric bikes. Its Turbo Levo SL trail bike uses the low-torque SL 1.1 motor and a 320Wh battery for less assistance and lighter weight.
Electric mountain bike battery capacity
To get you up hills, produce enough power and provide adequate range, most electric mountain bikes will have battery capacities of around 500Wh to 700Wh.
An internal battery in the down tube makes for clean lines, but there are also e-MTBs with external batteries. These typically lower the weight and, in models such as the Lapierre Overvolt, mean the battery can be placed lower and more centrally.
But, as mentioned above, e-MTBs with smaller-capacity batteries down to 250Wh are appearing. These trade a more limited range for lighter weight and the potential for improved handling.