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The Best Electric Mountain Bikes To Hit The Trails

Best Electric Mountain Bikes 0 Hero
Photo: Ducati Powerstage RR Limited Edition

Despite the fact that electric mountain bikes have existed since the early 1990s, it wasn’t until the last few years that EV powertrains have gotten small, lightweight, and potent enough to genuinely make for practical machines. And though they do come with some added heft compared to their entirely pedal-powered counterparts, E-MTBs allow riders to achieve higher levels of speed and performance, as well as unlocking the ability to effortlessly power a bike uphills.

Hugely benefitting from technological advancements made in recent years in the electric car and motorcycle sectors, today’s electrified mountain bike segment is comprised of thoroughly state-of-the-art models that combine the latest frame constructions and geometries with cutting-edge suspension setups and ultra-advanced electric motor and battery configurations. However, with more models to chose from than ever before, shopping for an E-MTB can be a daunting task — especially to the uninitiated. So, with this in mind, we’ve reviewed the last several years of two-wheeled releases and the latest and greatest offerings from the leading brands in the space to deliver this guide on the best e-mountain bikes.

The Best Electric Mountain Bike Breakdown

  • Best Enduro Pick

    Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Elite

  • Best Long-Range Pick

    Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 2

  • Best All-Mountain Pick

    Simplon Rapcon Pmax TQ

  • Best Downhill Pick

    Santa Cruz Bullit S

  • Best Lightweight Pick

    Trek E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 AXS

  • Show more

Technical Classifications

What Are The Different Type Of eBike Classes?

Class 1: Allowed on more public trails than the two higher classes, Class 1 eBikes are comprised of electric bicycles that are pedal-assist only. Devoid of a throttle, Class 1 models see the rider’s pedaling booster and amplified by an electric motor. These electric bikes have a maximum assisted speed of 20mph.

Class 2: Class 2 eBikes are similar to Class 1 e-mountain bikes though they feature a throttle that controls the motor, rather than solely using a pedal-assist setup. Class 2 machines also share their Class 1 counterparts’ 20-mph assisted top speed. 

Class 3: Also known as “speed pedal-assisted” bikes, Class 3 eBikes are pedal-assist only models that don’t feature a throttle, but are more powerful than Class 2 bikes. Legally required to have a speedometer, Class 3 eBikes offer a maximum assisted speed of 28mph. Class 3 eBikes also have the most restrictions when it comes to use on public trails. 

Mountain Bikes Vs E-Mountain Bikes

What Are The Benefits & Drawbacks Of E-MTBs?

Benefits & Pros: There are a variety of ways in which electric mountain bikes are superior to their solely pedal-powered counterparts. With the benefit of an electric motor, e-mountain bikes can be throttled through trails or up hills, which can be a major advantage. And, thanks to their ability to climb hills, e-mountain bikes let their riders save their energy for descents. What’s more, electric mountain bikes aren’t only faster because of their EV powertrains, but the added weight from these systems also makes them more stable. Electric mountain bikes can also be something of an equalizer amongst riders of different skill levels, enabling slower, less experienced bikers keep pace with faster riders when out on the trails. 

A lot of today’s e-bikes — E-MTBs included — also come with the ability to connect and pair with dedicated smartphone apps that allow users to review real-time metrics and data such as battery life and the like. Additionally, though it’s admittedly not what they were built for, with their ability to soak up bumps and potholes and their EV powertrains, e-mountain bikes can also make for surprisingly competent commuter vehicles and urban mobility options. Last, and most importantly in our opinion, electric mountain bikes are just extremely fun to ride, and provide a seriously smile-inducing and thrilling experience in the saddle

Drawbacks & Cons: While there’s no denying the myriad of strengths offered by e-mountain bikes, they definitely aren’t without their shortcomings. For starters, electric mountain bikes feature controllers, battery packs, wiring harnesses, and electric motors — all of which add complexity to the bike and present possible elements and systems that can potentially break or fail. When there are issues with an E-MTB’s powertrain, they often require a professional to diagnose and fix the problem. Electric mountain bikes can also run out of battery, leaving you out on the trail with a solely pedal-powered two-wheeler that’s still burdened with the weight of the battery and motor. The battery packs on these bikes will also slowly degrade over time, which will result in an ever-shortening range as the years go by. What’s more, electric mountain bikes also need to be plugged in, which may not sound like a big deal, though it can be extraordinarily frustrating to set out for a ride only to realize you forgot to plug in the bike — and now have to wait at least several hours before riding. 

Electric mountain bikes are markedly heavier than regular mountain bikes, with even Class 1 models typically tipping the scales at or around the 50-pound mark. This extra heft can make it more difficult to wrestle the bike around beneath you, especially at lower speeds. On top of resulting in worse/longer braking distances, the added weight of these systems also puts more stress on the bike’s wheels, brakes, and suspension components. One of the biggest drawbacks of electric mountain bikes is undoubtedly price. High-end e-mountain bikes often add anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 to the price of a regular mountain bike, with MSRPs on top-shelf models that are comparable to that of a great many new motorcycles

Dollars & Sense

Are Electric Mountain Bikes Worth The High Price?

Though this is one of the most common questions posed when discussing E-MTBs, the reality is that there’s no clear-cut answer here, as there are dozens of variables and factors that come into play here that will vary from person to person. This includes your budget and income, your fitness and riding experience levels, your riding style, the trails or areas you plan on riding, etc. Having said that, if you can afford one, we’d argue that electric mountain bikes are well worth the price, as the slew of advantages they offer very much outweigh their shortcomings. It’s also possible to purchase electric mountain bikes second-hand on the used market, which can be a great way to get your hands on an electric model without spending an arm and a leg — or a sum that could literally buy you a great many of today’s latest full-on motorcycles. 

Restricted Riding

What Are The Laws & Restrictions Regarding E-MTB Use On Public Trails?

E-mountain bikes aren’t permitted to legally ride everywhere that regular mountain bikes can. Not unlike a dirt bike, E-MTBs are classified as motorized vehicles, and as such can only be ridden in designated and approved trails and adventure parks. There are also often restrictions set based on the e-mountain bike’s class, depending on whether it’s of the Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 variety. For this reason, it’s important to look into the rules and laws pertaining to riding E-MTBs at your intended locale. In the United States, these laws will vary from state to state. This information is usually readily available online, and there are even a growing number of smartphone apps that show off-road and trail maps that include this vital legal information. 

Electrified Downhill Demons

The Main Qualities To Consider When Purchasing An E-MTB

Shopping for a high-end mountain bike can be an intimidating experience, even more so when dealing with electric models. Knowing this, we’ve put together this condensed guide on the six most pivotal areas to factor in before making your purchase.

Frame Construction & Geometry: As the backbone and skeleton of a bicycle, an MTB’s frame is of extreme importance. When reviewing this area, you’ll want to keep an eye out for both frame’s material, as well as the construction technique(s) used to create it, as these two areas play pivotal roles in the strength and rigidity of a chassis. Aluminum and carbon fiber are two of the most common frame constructions used today. What’s more, you’ll also want to check out the geometry of a bike’s frame, exploring areas such as seat angle, wheelbase, reach, bottom bracket height, chainstay length, and head angle, amongst others.

Components: Alongside the frame, another element that plays a pivotal role in determining a given mountain bike’s overall quality is undoubtedly the individual components that comprise it. This includes componentry such as a bike’s front and rear suspension pieces, handlebar and stem, headset, seat and post, brakes and levers, rims, hubs, tires, crankset, and pedals, just to name a few of the more important ones. These pieces can also be individually swapped out, replaced, or upgraded, as well.

EV Powertrain: Though unique to mountain bikes of the electric variety, another monumentally important set of components to consider when shopping is the elements that make up a bike’s EV powertrain. This includes the type, size, and rating of the battery pack and motor, as well as some smaller additional parts such as displays and charging ports.

Performance Specs: As performance-focused machines, an e-mountain bike’s real-world capabilities are also wildly important. It can at times be difficult to get a sense of how these capabilities translate to use on the mountain, though figures on specs such as top (assisted) speed and maximum (assisted) range do give a more objective understanding.

Dimensions & Weight: Just like when shopping for a regular, non-electric mountain bike, it’s important to look into a model’s weight and physical dimensions in order to ensure a given bike will properly fit its rider. Many of these figures are listed within a bike’s geometry. It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that electric MTBs are usually a good deal heavier than their pedal-powered counterparts, as the batteries needed to power these electric two-wheelers are quite heavy — though are also strategically located within the frame to optimize performance.

Intended Use: Though every model on this list falls under the same basic category of “mountain bikes,” these machines can hugely vary in some areas depending on their intended use. To help understand which type is best for you, you’ll want to explore the five main types of mountain bikes — cross country, all-mountain, downhill, freeride, and fat bikes — and then determine which will be most conducive to your intended use.

Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Elite

Photo: Lapierre
  • Equipped w/ Bosch & Shimano powertrain & components
  • Offers great value
  • Utilizes Rockshox suspension fore & aft
  • Same bike used to win an Enduro World Series-E downhill championship
  • Lacks premium features & tech of pricer E-MTBs

Best Enduro Pick: Designed and engineered in France, Lapierre’s Overvolt GLP Elite is an endurance electric MTB that features an EV powertrain that’s bene centrally located within a carbon fiber chassis in order to deliver a riding experience that’s remarkably similar to that of a traditional mountain bike. In addition to a RockShox Zeb Charger RC fork and four-piston calipers, this model sports the latest generation of the Bosch Performance CX motor that draws from a 500Wh Bosch Powerpack Purion.

Frame Construction: Carbon Fiber
Top Assisted Speed: 15.5MPH
Range: N/A
Weight: 46.8LBS
Wheel Size F/R: 29″ | 27.5″
Motor: Bosch Gen4 Performance CX
MSRP: $7,160

Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 2

Photo: Cannondale
  • Constructed around Proportional Response Tuned Carbon frame
  • Uses surprisingly premium components for its price
  • 625Wh battery offers generous 60-mile range
  • Powered by 4th-gen Bosch Performance Line CX motor
  • Heavy weight

Best Long-Range Pick: Rather than trying to shoehorn a battery into an existing frame design, for Cannondale’s Moterra Neo Carbon 2 bike the company has custom-designed a proportional response-tuned carbon frame from the ground up that’s been engineered specifically for e-mountain bike use. On top of its 20mph top speed, this bike’s Bosch Performance Line CX drive unit and 625Wh battery together afford an assisted range of more than 60-miles on a single charge.

Frame Construction: Carbon Fiber
Top Assisted Speed: 20MPH
Range: 63-Miles
Weight: N/A
Wheel Size F/R: 29″ | 27.5″
Motor: Bosch Gen4 Performance CX
MSRP: $7,750

Simplon Rapcon Pmax TQ

Photo: Simplon
  • Benefits from numerous proprietary features
  • Made in Australia
  • Offered w/ dual-battery option & lighting system
  • Makes for a fantastic touring bike
  • Bottom bracket lacks ground clearance

Best All-Mountain Pick: Simplon’s Rapcon Pmax is a top-shelf touring and all mountain-focused bike that’s largely characterized by its immense performance prowess and its extreme versatility. This Aussie-built offering boasts a dual battery configuration with an impressive 1,125Wh of battery capacity while still managing to tip the scales at just under 50lbs — a feat made possible through the use of an ultra-lightweight carbon frame.

Frame Construction: UD Carbon Fiber
Top Assisted Speed: N/A
Range: N/A
Weight: 49.6LBS
Wheel Size F/R: 29″ | 27.5″ / 29”
Motor: Bosch Gen4 Performance CX
MSRP: $7,900

Santa Cruz Bullit S

Photo: Santa Cruz
  • Benefits from numerous race-derived elements
  • Engineered for hardcore downhill riding
  • Has an impressive 170mm of suspension travel
  • Utilizes high-end components from SRAM, RaceFace, RockShox, Shimano, & FOX
  • More premium XO & GX variants come at much steeper prices

Best Downhill Pick: In early 2020, Santa Cruz debuted the first e-MTB in the company’s more than quarter-century-long history. Since that time Santa Cruz has developed an even more advanced electrified mountain bike with the Bullit. Weighing less than 50lbs, this bike hugely benefits from a host of parts and elements that have been derived from the cycle firm’s downhill race bikes. The bicycle’s Shimano EP8 drive system has been custom-tuned to afford more power while in trail mode without compromising its 630wh battery’s range.

Frame Construction: Carbon Fiber
Top Assisted Speed: N/A
Range: 37.3-Miles
Weight: 49.93LBS
Wheel Size F/R: 29” | 27.5”
Motor: Shimano EP8
MSRP: $8,899

Trek E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 AXS

Photo: Trek
  • Award-winning E-MTB brimming with top-shelf components
  • Weighs less than 35lbs
  • Motor & drive system are completely removable
  • Uses same suspension as Trek’s top-of-the-line Supercaliber models
  • Five-figure price doesn’t include dropper post

Best Lightweight Pick: Trek’s E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 AXS electric mountain bike comes loaded with some of the finest components that money can buy, affording it some incredible performance capabilities. However, what makes this model so special is undoubtedly the fact that it currently stands as the lightest full-suspension E-MTB in the world. Designed to offer a similar riding experience to a traditional cross country model, this E-Caliber bike also boasts the same cutting-edge suspension setup found on Trek’s top-of-the-line Supercaliber bikes.

Frame Construction: Carbon Fiber
Top Assisted Speed: 20MPH
Range: 43.5-Miles
Weight: 34.76LBS
Wheel Size F/R: 29” | 29”
Motor: Fazua Evation
MSRP: $10,699

Ducati Powerstage RR Limited Edition

Ducati Powerstage RR Limited Edition
Photo: Ducati
  • Ducati’s first carbon-framed model
  • Developed via a collaboration w/ Thok
  • Engineered specifically for hardcore off-road/technical riding
  • Brimming w/ top-shelf components
  • Produced in limited numbers
  • Expensive price

Best Overall Pick: Engineered for hard-core off-road riding, the Ducati Powerstage RR Limited Edition is the moto marque’s first-ever carbon fiber-framed electric mountain bike — as well as what’s undoubtedly the brand’s most exclusive e-enduro model to date. Good for 62.7ft-lbs of torque, the Powerstage RR LE is powered by Shimano’s new 250-watt EP801 drive unit which is paired with a 12-speed electronic SRAM shifter and an integrated 630-Wh Shimano battery. Designed using a spare-no-expense approach, this Ducati E-MTB also boasts Braking First brand disc hardware, all internally-routed cables, Crankbrothers Synthesis carbon wheels, and a top-shelf Öhlins RXF38 m.2 air fork and TTX shock that afford 180mm and 170mm of travel respectively.

Frame Construction: UD Carbon Fiber
Top Assisted Speed: N/A
Range: N/A
Weight: N/A
Wheel Size F/R: 29” | 27.5””
Motor: Shimano EP801
MSRP: $11,990

Specialized Turbo Levo SL

Photo: Specialized
  • Powertrain features in-house-designed motor, battery, wiring harness, & charger
  • Extremely agile thanks to carbon frame & 37.25lb weight
  • Features Bluetooth-connectivity
  • Battery offers 3.5 hours of ride time
  • Can have twitchy steering at higher speeds & during steep descents
  • Very expensive price

Best Premium Pick: Specialized’s top-of-the-line S-Works Turbo Levo SL is a wildly impressive E-MTB that feels remarkably similar to a traditional pedal-powered two-wheeler. This Bluetooth-connected E-MTB pairs its custom lightweight motor — which was designed in-house by Specialized — with a 320Wh battery that, while smaller than other cells on the market, enables the S-Works model to weigh in at an incredibly svelte 37.25lbs — a figure that was no doubt helped along by the use of the bike’s lightweight carbon fiber frame.

Frame Construction: Carbon Fiber
Top Assisted Speed: N/A
Range: 3.5-Hours
Weight: 37.25LBS
Wheel Size F/R: 29” | 29”
Motor: Custom Lightweight Specialized SL 1.1
MSRP: $13,525

Greyp G6.X Limited

Photo: Greyp
  • Uses most high-end components available
  • Features outstanding, hypercar-grade build quality
  • Equipped with class-leading 80-mile range
  • Brimming w/ tech including TFT display, onboard 1080p cameras, heart rate monitor, & embedded GPS unit
  • Limited to only 100 units
  • Extremely high price

Most High-Tech Pick: Having previously been tapped by Rimac to develop the elite hypercar marque’s ebikes, it’s frankly unsurprising that Greyp’s (pronounced Grape) Limited Edition G6.X is one of the most advanced and cutting-edge ebikes on earth. In addition to a top-shelf array of hardware — including a 12-speed SRAM Eagle AXS Controller shifter, Magura brakes, Öhlins suspension, a BikeAhead Biturbo wheel-set, and custom Greyp cranks and pedals — this smart bike packs a host of state-of-the-art tech such as a 3” TFT display, integrated 1080p forward and rear-facing cameras, connectivity to a mobile app, a heart rate monitor, a bevy of sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, and barometer), and an embedded GPS unit.

Frame Construction: Carbon Fiber
Top Assisted Speed: 15.5MPH
Range: 80-Miles
Weight: 55.1LBS
Wheel Size F/R: 29” | 27.5”
Motor: MPF 6.0
MSRP: $15,440

The Best Adventure Motorcycles

Best Adventure Motorcycles 00 Hero
Photo: Ducati DesertX

Interested in checking out an additional array of motorized off-road-ready two-wheelers? Then be sure to cruise over to our guide to the best adventure motorcycles for a curated list of today’s latest and greatest go-anywhere scoots.