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Best electric mountain bikes: top-rated eMTBs to tame the trails

Our pick of the best electric mountain bikes reviewed by the BikeRadar test team

Best electric mountain bikes

The best electric mountain bikes make ascents a lot easier while providing all the performance and handling you want on the way back down and add some extra power on the flat too.

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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, and 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.

If your riding will not be exclusively off-road, then the best electric gravel bikes are worth considering instead. What’s more, motor-assisted miles on tarmac call for the best electric road bikes.

Best electric mountain bikes in 2022

Marin Alpine Trail E2

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Slack geometry and Shimano’s EP8 motor make the Alpine Trail E2 a formidable bike.
Andy Lloyd / Marin Bikes
  • £5,695 / €6,199 / $5,999 as tested
  • Marin’s first full-suspension e-MTB
  • Capable, fun and comfortable

Marin launched the Alpine Trail E at the end of 2020 and it’s the Californian brand’s first full-suspension electric mountain bike.

Luckily, it’s been 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

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Nukeproof also took the top step in our inagural eMTB Bike of the Year test.
Steve Behr / Our Media
  • £7,000 / €8,200 as tested
  • Comfortable, efficient climbing
  • Good balance of motor power and range

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.

Orbea Rise H10

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The alloy Orbea Rise H10 could fool you into thinking it’s a carbon non-electric bike.
Orbea
  • £6,623 / $8,000 / €7,100 / AU$12,600 as tested
  • Well-finished alloy frame
  • Throttled-down Shimano EP8 motor gives natural ride feel

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 full-fat 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.

Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Steve Behr / Immediate Media
  • £12,500 / $15,000 / €14,500 / AU$24,200 as tested
  • Top-drawer spec to match the price
  • Highly tunable geometry
  • 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 S-Works Turbo Levo

4.5 out of 5 star rating
It really is worth the £13,000 asking price.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
  • £13,000 / $15,000 / €13,999 / AU$24,200 as tested
  • Great frame, motor, battery life and power delivery
  • Crazy price, tyres not robust enough to keep up

We really liked the Turbo Levo’s frame and motor when we reviewed the base model, but were underwhelmed by its components and their effect on handling. We’ve also reviewed the Turbo Levo Comp Alloy more recently, again with mixed results, in this case raising issues with the suspension damper, tyres and the bike’s value for money.

The range-topping carbon S-Works model rectifies all that – although at a price. Our reviewer rated it the “best bike he’d ever ridden”.

The Brose motor pushes out up to 565 watts and 90Nm for impressive climbing with smooth power delivery and there’s battery capacity to stay the course. The rest of the spec is as top-drawer as you’d expect.

With 150mm of suspension travel and variable geometry, the bike can be fine-tuned to whatever you want to ride, although we swapped out the tyres to something better able to keep up with the rest of the bike’s capabilities.

Whyte E-180 RS v3

4.5 out of 5 star rating
A mix of stability at speed with agile handling makes for great descending on the Whyte E-180 RS v3.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media
  • £7,699 as tested
  • Geometry and motor/battery positioning designed for stability
  • Near-perfect descending performance

With 27.5in wheels and 170mm rear/180mm front travel, the downhill-oriented, alloy Whyte E-180 RS v3 sits at the top of the brand’s range.

There’s a quality spec with Fox Factory fork and shock, DT Swiss wheels and SRAM X01/GX Eagle drivetrain. Assistance comes in the form of an 85Nm Bosch Performance Line CX motor with a 625Wh battery and a Purion display.

The layout of the motor and battery is designed to give a low centre of gravity and there’s a flip chip to adjust geometry, dropping the head tube angle by one degree. Even in the high setting, it’s quite slack.

We managed 2,300m of climbing with the motor in Eco mode, although that dropped to 1,200m with higher assistance. Descending was near-perfect, with great stability over rough ground and the agility to handle complex trail features.

Yeti 160E T1

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Yeti’s first eMTB is an impressive ride, but feels under-specced for its price.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media
  • £11,899 / $12,700 / €13,790 as tested
  • Superb suspension, balance and handling
  • Very expensive, without top-spec kit all-round

The Yeti is an expensive proposition, but we reckon its 160mm-travel six-bar suspension sets a new benchmark for enduro eMTBs and its downhill capabilities are second to none.

It’s powered by a Shimano EP8 motor with a 630Wh battery. The TURQ-series carbon frame is decked out in Shimano XT with DT Swiss EX 1700 alloy wheels and Fox 38 Factory fork and Float X2 rear shock; there’s also a less expensive C1 spec of the 160E.

There’s loads of grip on bumpy or rough terrain, with the rear tyre giving up before the suspension. Downhill needed a little tuning to raise the bars, but once done the controlled suspension and well-chosen geometry led to incredible, fast-descending performance.

Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7.0

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Although it’s not got the most progressive geometry, it’s still a good-looking and top-performing bike.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
  • £4,299 / $6,299 / €4,497 as tested
  • Carbon main frame
  • Playful handling when ridden fast

Redesigned in March 2020, the Canyon Spectral:ON’s main frame is now carbon with an alloy rear triangle, instead of all alloy, and its 504Wh battery is now internal.

Like its predecessor, it has mullet wheel sizes, with a 29in front and 27.5in rear wheel. On this CF 7.0 model, there’s 150mm of travel at the rear and a RockShox Deluxe Select shock, while power comes from a Shimano Steps E8000 motor, running through a 12-speed Shimano XT derailleur.

The motor provides plenty of power to get up steep climbs, while the feel when riding fast is more playful than planted.

We’ve also tested the top-spec, £7,599 / $9,000 Spectral:ON CF 9.0. Its components are better, but we reckon there’s little other reason to choose it over the 7.0.

Focus JAM2 7.0

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Focus JAM2 7.0 is engaging to ride, despite its weight.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media
  • £7,499 / €7,999 as tested
  • Tunable geometry and 150mm travel
  • Responsive, agile handling despite a 25kg weight

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.

Merida eONE-SIXTY 10k

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Merida eONE-SIXTY 10k is smooth riding over bumps and drops.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media
  • £9,000 / $9,799 / €9,799 / AU$11,999 as tested
  • Smooth riding over choppy trails, high-value spec
  • 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

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Mondraker Level R electric mountain bike sits in the brand’s ‘super enduro’ category, where the focus of performance is on the downhills.
Andy Lloyd / Out Media
  • £5,999 / $8,499 / €5,799 as tested
  • Composed climbing and descending
  • 27kg weight limits climbing range, but isn’t an issue on descents

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, allowing 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

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Santa Cruz Bullit CC X01 RSV is the top-of-the-range model.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
  • £10,499 / €11,699 / $11,499 as tested
  • Exceptionally fast and capable bike
  • 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.


Also consider…

These bikes scored less than 4 out of 5 in our reviews but are still worth considering.

Giant Reign E+ 1

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The Giant Reign E+ 1 is capable on ascents, but the ride feels over-harsh back down.
  • £6,299 / €6,399 / AU$9,799 as tested
  • Good spec and powerful Yamaha motor
  • Low motor efficiency and sometimes harsh ride

The mullet-wheeled Reign E+ 1 has 160mm of travel with 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.

Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Elite

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Lapierre designed the Overvolt GLP to compete in the emerging ebike racing scene.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media
  • £5,399 as tested
  • Agile, eager to turn and easy to hop up and over obstacles
  • Can be tricky to control on climbs

Nico Vouilloz and Yannick Pontal have both won ebike races on the Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Elite, designed for the emerging motor-assisted racing scene.

The carbon frame makes this better value than some of its rivals and, out on the trails, the Overvolt is agile and eager to please.

The relatively small battery limits range against the competition, though, and the front-end can be tricky to keep in check on climbs.

Merida eOne-Forty 9000

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The Merida eOne-Forty 9000 is the top-spec model in the range.
Steve Behr / Immediate Media
  • £7,000 / €7,199 as tested
  • Nimble handling
  • Suspension holds it back on technical terrain

Merida uses the same carbon frame with alloy rear end on the eOne-Forty as its longer-travel eOne-Sixty, but kits it out with a 133mm-travel shock and steepens the head and seat tube angles.

It uses a Shimano Steps E8000 motor with an integrated 504Wh battery in the down tube for plenty of power and range.

The eOne-Forty is nimble on flowy trails, but the short suspension and front-end geometry make it nervous on steep descents. The top-spec bike internationally is now the 8000, with the UK range topping off with the 700 spec.

Mondraker Crafty R 29

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The Mondraker Crafty R 29 full-suspension e-MTB has plenty of composure for more aggressive riders.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media
  • £5,899 / $7,199 as tested
  • Super-stable and excellent cornering grip
  • Powerful motor with good weight distribution

While the Crafty is never going to be described as lively, weighing in at 25.1kg for our test build and with a long wheelbase, it is very composed, feeling super-stable when riding fast and with excellent cornering grip.

Our tester noted, however, that while taller, more aggressive riders will enjoy the Crafty for its ability to handle technical terrain flat-out, smaller or more timid riders may find it hard to muscle the bike around and ride it dynamically.

Saracen Ariel 50E Elite

3.0 out of 5 star rating
Saracen’s Ariel 50E Elite is the brand’s only electric mountain bike and is aimed squarely at the all-mountain and enduro categories.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media
  • £6,500 as tested
  • High-quality spec
  • 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

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Scott’s enduro-ready Ransom eRide 910 eMTB gives you 170mm of travel, but we found the ride a bit harsher than rivals.
Andy Lloyd / Out Media
  • £6,499 / $N/A / €7,190 / AU$14,500 as tested
  • Good motor and spec for the price
  • 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

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The TK01 R is a striking-looking bike with its bold moto-style graphics.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
  • £5,900 / €6,490 as tested
  • Good motor and spec for the price
  • Awkward set-up 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

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The YT Decoy Core 4 MX has a quality spec, but is held back by its rather outdated geometry.
Andy Lloyd / Out Media
  • £7,000 / $8,000 / €7,500 / AU$12,000 as tested
  • Good motor and spec for the price
  • Awkward setup and geometry, poor tyre choice

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

You can now find capable electric bikes for all types of mountain biking.
Mathieu Echeverri / Lapierre

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.

That includes overbuilt models designed for downhill use at one end of the spectrum, including the Specialized Turbo Kenevo and the Cannondale Moterra Neo.

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.

Most e-MTBs are full-suspension bikes, but you can also find trail-oriented electric hardtails, such as the Canyon Grand Canyon:ON and Kinesis Rise.

Electric mountain bike motors

Bosch, Shimano and Yamaha motors are popular for electric mountain bikes.
Mathieu Echeverri / Lapierre

Popular choices for e-MTB 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 system is still found on some eMTBs, although it has started to show its age, with lower power output and torque than newer rivals. Its smaller batteries give you less range too, but it still boasts low weight and a compact design, along with the ability to tune its 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 self-propelled 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

Some bikes allow range to be extended with an additional battery.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

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 that the battery can be placed lower and more centrally.

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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.