e-MTB vs XC – which is faster?

We organised a race to find out

Just how much of an advantage can an e-bike bring you over a regular mountain bike? It’s a question we set out to answer in a fun yet totally unscientific challenge outlined here in the BikeRadar office.


We took our supremely fit resident cross country racer, Joe Norledge, and pitched him head-to-head with Jon Woodhouse, our less fit but similarly rapid bike tester. A 3km loop was outlined at Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean and three laps were completed on three very different bikes: the first was from Jon Woodhouse aboard Lapierre’s XM527 E:I trail bike – no motors here. Jon, fully kitted up for enduro riding, gave the lap his all to the point of vomiting after getting off the bike.

Next up, ultra-lean Joe took to the hill on his customised long-term test bike, a 9.6kg BMC Teamelite. As Joe was 90 seconds into his lap, Mr Woodhouse then set off on his motorised weapon of choice – Lapierre’s Overvolt FS 700 complete with its 250w Bosch CX motor.


Would Jon catch Joe? Would electric power beat hard-earned fitness? Watch the video above for the full story plus Joe and Jon’s honest verdict on e-bikes for mountain biking.

e-MTB vs xc – which is faster?