Advice on which new bike budget $5k

avee8r

New Member
Hi

I am having a really hard time going thru all the different specs out there. I want to get a new Mountain eBike - I am not a heavy mountain bike use and also want to be able to use it on regular roads as well as fire roads. I have tried the Cannondale Habit Neo5, Trek Rail 5 and on Saturday will try the Specialized Turbo Levo. Does anybody have an opinion of which bike might be a better spec ? They all seem to have similar power, battery strength and motor power is important because I live in a very hilly area. I even looked at the Chinese bikes on Amazon but I'm a bit wary of those going wrong and me being stuck with defunct bike. I could stretch a bit more budget if I had to. I would really like more than a 250w motor and 500wh batter but can't seem to find it with any of the main manufacturers unless any of the bikes I listed can be hacked for more power. Thanks for any advice - Mike
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Welcome to EBR. You can't go wrong with any of the Big 3 at your local bike shop.

I tend to favor Shimano and Yamaha drive systems independent of the bike manufacturer.
 
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Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
I think we are all partial to the brand of bike that we personally own and that familiarity with the brand after long, day after day, year after year, experience with it. In that case, I'm a Haibike owner and I like what this company has within it's lineup. They have an all mountain model, a downhill model, a 27.5 inch tire model and a 29 tire inch model. I own their dual suspension, fat tired model and could not be happier with it after 3 years of trouble free ownership.

Their varied model lineup is powered by 2 of the very best motors on the market, Yamaha and Bosch. You won't go wrong with either. Specialized runs with Brose, another good motor that has had it's early kinks with internal drive belt failures finally fixed. Trek is another fine US brand ebike with a coast to coast dealer network that might be the envy of all. And from what I've read around here, these dealerships keep the customers happy by standing behind their warranty. Trek are powered by Bosch.

Trek, Specialized and Cannondale command a high price at the dealer level. A brand like Haibike sees some deep discounts at the end of the summer/fall riding season as they clear the old stock out for the newer models; especially with the well known on-line Haibike dealers.

Another ebike player that has ramped up things slowly but deliberately is Yamaha, which features a hardtail mtb in their lineup with the PW-X drive motor. And they look about ready to soon introduce a dual suspension mtb which will likely carry the more powerful PW-X2 motor.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I am a big fan of the Turbo Levo Comp (in fact, the industry standard in the e-MTB) world, and always wanted to have it. Unluckily, there were no Levos available when I needed the e-MTB. I found Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro and now own it. The bike is just a beauty, it is very well specced (the Yamaha PW-X2 motor among others) and gorgeously painted. The price of Giant e-MTBs (Stance, Trance, Reign) is very attractive. Not sure about the availability of Levos and Trances at the moment as the market has gone weird.

Another choices to consider are the YT Decoy, and Moustache e-MTB bikes. Of course Cannondale makes very good e-MTBs as well. Bulls Bikes offer excellent e-MTBs but at high price level.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Here's a huge thread on e-MTB options by @Browneye:
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Here's a huge thread on e-MTB options by @Browneye:

Thanks! Yes, lots of eMTB info there...a long conversation of sorts. 😇

The three bikes OP mentioned are all good - having a good dealer to backup your selection can be the difference between joy and frustration with the overall ownership experience.

For mountain biking, the 250w motors are more than sufficient. There's no shortage of hill-climbing power. Anything more would put you in 'motorized vehicle' category and they are all outlawed on public trails where bicycles are allowed.

My guess is you'll have trouble finding one to purchase - pretty much everything for the model year 2020 is sold out as a result of the pandemic and everybody going out for a bike ride.

The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp is the bike everything else is compared to - has won lots of awards and gets top reviews by the pro's. It's a great bike. They use their version of the Brose assist system. It is one of the more expensive options - the standard Levo fits your budget, but for another thousand you get the bigger pack (700+ watt) and better components overall. It's kind of a no-brainer, but gets the price up there in the six-grand range. There are also a lot of warranty claims with their assist system. But overall the buyers seem happy with their purchase. Again, having a good dealer is key. Ebikes are much more complicated than a regular pedal bike.

The Trek Rail5 is new for 2020, has the updated Bosch CX assist - reported to be outstanding. I wanted to try one when I was on the hunt, but couldn't get any local Trek shops to bring one in. I did not bother trying out the CF version for eight grand or whatever it was, just over my budget.

I don't know anything about the Canondale, but generally the brand gets good marks, good reviews. A quick search reveals they're also using the Bosch CX system. Likely a good choice.

The third of the big-3 is Giant - three model options plus the hardtail (Fathom) Reign is the downhill, Stance is the budget model, and Trance their old standby 27.5 eMTB. If you can find a Trance E+1 Pro you could hardly go wrong. The yamaha power plant is the leader in the industry, the most robust and reliable, on par with the others on performance. You really can't go wrong with the tuning-fork company.

Haibike is a popular brand, and there are others you'll find in shops around the country. Bulls is another, and there are a plethora of direct-to consumer sellers that can be good options. Just know getting warranty work can be an issue with anything that gets shipped to you and not delivered by a local bikes shop (LBS). And just skip the china imports from amazon and ebay, that's just a crap-shoot. So of these alternate brands, just make sure your dealer can back up your purchase. If you're in so-Cal or Colorado there are a couple of direct sellers you could access directly - Commencal in Boulder, and YT Industries in San Clemente. Both are excellent.

Good luck and let us know what you find.
 

avee8r

New Member
OK so here is the verdict - I tested 3 bikes and ended on the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp - all my local bike shops had none in stock but I found one 65 miles away so went to get it yesterday and took it out for its first spin at 8am today and ..... OMG what a game changer !! I live in Marin County and to say we have challenging trails and steep hill climbs would be an understatement - I took it to the hardest trail I knew of and it blitzed thru it as if it wasn't there. I am SO HAPPY !! It was more expensive than I had planned plus I had to get a new 4 Bike platform rack from Kuat to carry it but I don't care ! Happy Fathers Day to all and thanks again for all yr advice !
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
OK so here is the verdict - I tested 3 bikes and ended on the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp - all my local bike shops had none in stock but I found one 65 miles away so went to get it yesterday and took it out for its first spin at 8am today and ..... OMG what a game changer !! I live in Marin County and to say we have challenging trails and steep hill climbs would be an understatement - I took it to the hardest trail I knew of and it blitzed thru it as if it wasn't there. I am SO HAPPY !! It was more expensive than I had planned plus I had to get a new 4 Bike platform rack from Kuat to carry it but I don't care ! Happy Fathers Day to all and thanks again for all yr advice !
Congratulations! Safe single-track rides!
 

BikeOn

Member
Avee8r - I'm also considering the Levo - but looking at the SL. I've ridden the small but it is a bit too big; the levo SL comp is one of the few eMTBs that come in a XS for 2021. I have ordered one and am keeping my finger's crossed that it will be small enough for me. So now that you have ridden a week... are you still in love? Any advice on buying? How's your battery life holding up and did you get and are you using the Range extender? Going to do a review?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
How's your battery life holding up and did you get and are you using the Range extender? Going to do a review?
Specialized Turbo Levo Comp allows no battery extender but is equipped with the 700 Wh battery... One of the largest found in e-MTBs.