Top 5 2018 e-MTBs

Electric mountain bikes to look out for in 2018

Love them or loathe them — and we’re sure you’ll let us know in the comments — e-bikes are here to stay.

Here are five e-MTBs that piqued our interest as we trawled the shows and attended launches over the summer of 2017.

Commencal

Commencal MetaPower e-MTB
Commencal MetaPower e-MTB

The Commencal Meta Power impressed us no end when we travelled over to the small mountainous country of Andorra earlier this summer.

Non-powered versions of the Meta V4.2 have either won or performed highly in our Trail and Enduro Bike of the Year tests in recent years, so with Commencal utilising our favourite motor — Shimano’s Steps M8000 — it was no surprise that this bike performs at the highest level.

Burly suspension, wheels and tyres not only give supreme levels of confidence when the descents get gnarled and gnarly, but also give sublime traction and control when getting back to the top. Add in long, slack geometry and we immediately felt at home on this big-mountain focused rig.

Rocky Mountain

Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon e-MTB
Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon e-MTB

Also proving popular with testers this year was the Rocky Mountain Altitude PowerPlay Carbon. Rocky Mountain is one of the few brands going it alone with a proprietary battery and motor system.

The advantage? It's not constrained by the architecture of the Shimano or Bosch motor, which has allowed it to build a bike with identical geometry to the standard Altitude trail bike — including short chainstays not seen elsewhere in the e-MTB ecosystem.

This means it’s one of the most natural feeling e-MTBs on the market, and with the added weight of the motor and battery, its suspension felt noticeably better than its non-powered sibling in back-to-back testing.

Specialized

Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie e-MTB
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie e-MTB

If big travel and big attitude is what you’re after and the Commencal doesn’t float your boat, then the Specialized Turbo Kenevo has to be right up on your shopping list.

Boasting a full 180mm of travel, this is a bike for the very highest summits in your mountain chain of choice, without the need for a chairlift.

Much like Rocky Mountain, Specialized uses its own motor, which since we first tested it in 2016 has seen substantial improvements in performance. With Bluetooth connectivity there’s plenty of e-fettling available to fine tune your assisted ride.

Being Specialized, there’s plenty of own-brand spec, which is no bad thing, but we’re also pleased to see an Ohlins coil shock — if anything screams Gucci in the suspension world, it’s Ohlins.

Moustache

Moustache Tandem Samedi 27 by 2 e-MTB
Moustache Tandem Samedi 27 by 2 e-MTB

BikeRadar’s resident advocate-for-Global-Tandemic Jack Luke didn’t compile this list, but if he had, he also would have included the Moustache Tandem Samedi 27 by 2.

Your eyes are not deceiving you: this is a plus-tyred bicycle for two, with a motor giving you even more KOM-killing capability on long fire-road climbs.

You might think development would have been a simple case of popping a motor into a tandem frame, but Moustache had to customise the transmission to make sure that front and rear cranks could be properly connected.

As an added bonus of the additional frame real-estate, there are two batteries — with two riders potentially relying on the motor’s assistance, we don’t think a single battery would get you very far.

The bike comes with a RockShox Yari fork, 2.8” Maxxis Rekon tyres and a Bosch motor. We very much want one, but we don’t know why.

Pivot

Pivot Shuttle e-MTB
Pivot Shuttle e-MTB

The clue is in the name. Pivot’s Shuttle is a gravity orientated bike with an added motor to get you to the top of the trail asap.

It’s based on its one-forty-slash-one-fifty trail and enduro platform, but with a Shimano motor behind the cranks and a battery in the down tube. With a carbon construction, the Shuttle is claimed to be one of the lightest e-MTBs out there, at a shade under 20 kilos.

Pivot is well known for its use of Dave Weagle’s DW Link suspension, and it’s seen here on the Shuttle too. Smooth, composed and highly competent, it’s a system that lets the bike track the ground without throwing any unpleasant surprises your way.

Although we seem to have shed ourselves of the wheelsize debate, you can still find pockets of the internet arguing about tyres, so you’ll be pleased to hear the Shuttle will take 29er or 650b+ rubber.

Tom Marvin

Technical Editor, Tech Hub, UK
Tom's been riding for 15 years, and has always chopped and changed bikes as soon as his budget allowed. He's most at home in the big mountains, having spent nigh on 30 weeks riding the Alps, as well as having lived a stone's throw from the Scottish Highlands for four years. Tom also enjoys racing events like the Strathpuffer and the Trans Nepal.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep and super tech or fast and flowy
  • Current Bikes: Canyon Spectral, Pivot Mach 429SL, Mondraker Vantage R +
  • Dream Bike: Transition Scout
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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