eMTB Options For 2020

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Bring all your ideas here for mountain bike options for 2020.

We had a lot of great discussion on bikes and models in Lenny's 50% off thread but some members complained about the thread content being relevant. So here's a thread to discuss all the options and bike styles, what you like and don't like, and what brought you to e-mountain biking.

Tomorrow I have scheduled a test ride on the YT Decoy 29 Pro at the factory store in San Clement CA. I'll take a few pics and report.

Welcome to the asylum. 👍
 
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Browneye

Well-Known Member
Would you consider this were it not 1/2 price ?? Appears if you get a large enough frame they seat you more upright : As though It's an on off road setup.
Lenny's was selling BH eMTB's for up to 50% off. Half price takes it from 'that looks interesting' to 'well, now that's a no-brainer'.

We did a group ride yesterday, a couple of breweries, 7 ebikes, had a blast. One of the guys suggested I look at YT Decoy - never heard of them, Shimano steps drive - killer looking bikes, local company, direct to consumer sales model.
We do cars and coffee in San Clemente most Saturdays, so I'll be sure to check them out.

I still really like the Giant Trance e-pro+3. If I could get one for under four grand I'd probly be a buyer instead of a shopper.

I really like the Yamaha mid-drive. I have a comfort level with it - like a 'known entity'.

YT has their 'mullet' emtb's - 27.5 rear with 29" front, good suspension, dropper seat, good battery size, nice integration. And a very nice 29" trailbike. All their bikes are carbon fiber - right about 50lbs.

I still think I'd rather have a trance for the $$ involved.

 
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Browneye

Well-Known Member
What these prices reflect is that Dealers Make a Great Mark up. 50% off means he's churning some cash to pay off Consignments : Funny how you never see Deals like this with the Big 3 : Trek Giant and Specialized . Of those 3 Giant appears to have the best Prices : But they are all Good looking > When I was into Dirt Bikes it had to Be Honda : Road Bikes Yamaha's

With this E-Bikes Big Brand Name doesn't seem to Matter : Or does it ?
Brand matters to me. It's what I refer to as a 'known entity'. You pretty well know what you're getting, can rely on it to be of sufficient 'quality'.

That said, I had no problem trying out the more obscure brands in the motorcycle days - started riding at about age 11. At 16 I bought a Penton Six Days - these were a brand new cycle design, shipped in from Austria, from a bike manufacturer called KTM. The rest is history. I've owned a couple of dozen motorcycles, dirt, street, trials, vintage, motocross. The nicest one of of them all, and the most refined, was the BMW.

I found it curious when I saw an eMTB called FANTIC - I had an observed trials bike for a time of that brand, from Italy. It was a very good bike, but way way obscure.
Honda and Yamaha were just way too mainstream. 🤣

Needless to say though, when I found out Yamaha was making ebike motors I was smitten. You just can't miss with the tuning-fork company - everything they make is top-notch.

That Lynx Lite seems ideal for what I would want to invest. And BH gets good reviews overall. I gotta think hard on that one, but I better hurry up, eh??? 😁
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
How would you describe the sound the "yammer" motor makes? Audible, or not? (I think highly of Yamaha motors, know nothing on the sound they make). For your information, Brose motors are completely silent. (I used to watch videos of Electric Mountain Bike Network and got attracted to Turbo Levo; that was the driving factor for my choosing the Vado).

If you consider an e-MTB, @Browneye, bear in mind their range is shorter than of a commuter e-bike, regardless of the battery size. These are made for climbing, not for devouring distances ;)
My PW mid-drive whirs a little when it's cold, when you first get on it. After that it is silent. As I've mentioned, wind noise is ten times what the motor would ever make.
I guess I need to go try a PW-X to verify, but my guess is some commenters have made a mountain out of a molehill. I don't believe any of them are noisy.

Yeah, I figured that on range. Everyone that I've talked to on these things don't seem to use up all their juice - they run out of their own juice before the bike does. 😁
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Good feedback for prospective buyers.
The Yamaha falls between the Brose and Bosch in terms of motor noise. The Yamaha is also freewheeling when the power is off to the motor.
One other consideration is maintenance and repair... the local shops indicated that the Brose belt drive and electronics often need more attention.
Sam at Fullerton Electric Bikes makes this claim as well - he LOVES the Yamaha drive. I think he was one of the very first dealers for Yamaha's own brand of ebikes. Gee, I wish they would bring out more models - in particular a full-springer MTB.

Anyway, freewheeling or not, either bike we have, I would NOT want to pedal them very far without power. They both feel like a boat anchor with the motor off. 🤣
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
I have a direct contact at Lenny's. 👍
Also have one of the best LBS's in the country right here in Fullerton - Sam's Electric Bike Center. He has all these brands in stock as well. I would always try him first, supporting LBS.

The Giant sync-drive pro IS the Yamaha PW-X.
All three brands mentioned get good reviews and are well represented. They simply don't get the market share the big-3 gets. Period. I have no problem with any of them, but if the price gets within spitting distance then it's a no-brainer to get one from your local bike shop. That way if it blows up you drop it off and they fix it.

The Giant has the same battery as everybody else - it's the Yammer swing-out one.
The Giant TranceEPro gets rave reviews by the industry enthusiast/reviewers. YT does as well, the Turbo-Levo is what everything else is compared to - it still reigns supreme.

Personally I don't really need 'latest and greatest' since I'm old and slow. But when the costs get close, then it just makes sense to drop for the best.

I just noticed Lenny's had the Atom Lynx 6 with the Brose drive and 600w bat for $2250. All three of these are really nice bikes. I have to decide if/when to pull the trigger.
And I really think yamaha drive is for me - solid reputation and not the most costly option. 500wh batt would provide plenty of range for my use. I'll get tired way before the battery runs out. 😁

That 2019 Turbo-Levo Comp I found would be really great, the 500w batt is fine for me, but it's still $5200. For a grand less they have a turbo-levo, the entry level one, but it doesn't have a dropper-seat which I think is mandatory. Add $250 for them to install one. Now getting close to the comp - may as well get the mud-colored one - it looks AWESOME! LOL

 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
I really like the looks and styling of the YT above the best, out of all the bikes listed here. Perhaps it may be one of the most $$$ out of all of these? Also like the idea of doing a DIY- Di2 hookup with minimal parts needed on the E-8000 system in place. Looks like the complete package IMO.
I would like to go see them. From what I've been able to gather from online reviewers is that its hands down an extreme value, just for the parts involved. Evidently the frame is a work of art.
The handling is pretty advanced though, and for an all-arounder there are better options - even the giant. And they're all about the same price, the YT's are not exorbitantly expensive. For five grand you can get one helluva eMTB - in any of your favorite flavors. 👍

Maybe we'll check them out one of these Saturdays when we're in San Clemente - it's a great place to go on the weekend.

Frankly, from what I have read around the interwebs, I would rather have a steps 8000 than a brose mag. Just a gut-feeling. I'm sure there are happy owners of all of them. I do like the Yamaha very much. Now I gotta try out the PW-X for comparison.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
We did this a lot - it's a little tougher on a 350lb dualsport, but this one had 55hp so it would go 70 on the hiway too. We got stuck going up a black diamond trail on Sherman Pass - about 8K feet. I thought I was gonna have a heart attack before we got out of there.



Easy riding here. My kid is now a software engineer at LinkedIn. He keeps thinking he would lilke to ride again. Maybe I should get him a eMTB. ;)





Yeah, these were black diamond trails for motorcycles. I would really like to try some of them on a mountain bike to compare.
There are a lot of old single track trails in the Sierras that are now closed to motorized, but you can ride a eMTB on them. Awesome scenery up there.
I actually think they would be easier on a mountain bike, just for the weight. Our lightest dirtbikes were just a hair over 200lbs. Trials bikes are about 60lbs less. I rode competitive observed trials for about four years - it was really embarrassing when a 12yo would out ride you. LOL

 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Looks like you are in the sweet spot of the country to try all of these. Would be interesting to see your take on the E8000, vs the PW-X, vs Brose mag, all in one shoot. I agree, they are all fine works of tech with so many great and varying characteristics. I test rode all but the E8000, back to back at an E-bike Expo and have to say my fav was the PW-X. Then again the newer versions of the others like the Gen4 Bosch may change my thinking.
Hope you find some interesting results.
I am. There's a 'lectric bike shop every few miles here.

So yeah, went to a few shops last week, exploring via ebike, wifey was a little bored but found some interesting things, like a rear strobe, and I got to see some awesome eMTB's.
First stop was our local Trek dealer - they have like 5 or 6 stores around the 'southland' and they are by far the nicest out of all bike shops. Obviously some profits there selling Trek can Electra. I was looking for the new RAIL5 - just sold their last one - sales kid not sure if he can get management authorization to 'bring in another $5K bike'. I said you'll sell them if you have them. He's going to call me if/when they get one.
They had the Powerfly models, even a 2018 one they're trying to blow out, but will need to discount it further to move it. The '19 models are nice, even had a carbon one, but none are 'cheap' - nothing under $4K.
The 2020 Powerfly is now a hardtail - the new Rail model is the full suspension bike with another update to the Bosch CX motor and 700w integrated battery, 29-er.
I did not ride any, but promised to try them all and choose one if they got a Rail in. So the new 2020 models have the upgraded 'gen-4' Bosch, and bigger 700w batteries - the '19s they had are 500w.

Next stop was Fullerton Electric Bikes - Sam has done a lot of the review videos with Court, super nice guy and very knowledgable about ebikes. He has Aventon, Motiv, Haibike, Bulls, BESV, Yamaha, Magnum, Surface, and a few others. I got to try out the Haibike XDuro All Mountain 2.0 with PW-X - it's a very nice bike, about $3200 OTD - our sales tax is 8%.
Then tried out the new BULLS E-STREAM EVO AM 4 (S MAG). This is a state of the art mtb with Fox suspension, 750w integrated battery, 27.5 wheels, Brose S Mag drive. He had special ordered in both of these bikes for customers that never showed back up to buy them - he doesn't require a deposit - does business the old way, based on your word. Both were size L which were perfect for me, and I enjoyed both of them.
The Bulls stickers at $6299 - offered for $5K OTD.

Now for the shocker - Sam has sold the business to Fullerton Bike Shop next door - the top Giant dealer in the country, and he's moving to Thailand (corrected). He said they have some family medical issues that is taking them there, so he's retiring. He'll get involved in the bike business over there - maybe even do some development or marketing assistance for bike builders there.

Then next door at the Giant dealer I took in the Trance E+1, they stock all the eMTB models from Giant, and have Santacruz and a few other pedalics. I really like the TranceE with sync-drive pro. They didn't offer me a discount yet, perhaps if i'm ready to sign. I bought my Explore from them, and have sent in buyers for two more bikes, so I'm a 'preferred customer'. 😇 I did not bother trying out the Trance as it has the same mid-drive as the Haibike.

Now for my review notes...
I had a chance to pick Sam's brain a little on the various drive systems. The biggest surprise was his comment on Bosch - they've been building motors for a decade now and just opened their hundred-thousandth warranty claim. Oh my, they sell a lot but they also repair a lot. He says they have to work on the Bosch systems way more than any of the others. On the other hand, Yamaha doesn't even have a claim center - they just don't have very many failures, addressing any that do come up through their dealer network. His words - BULLETPROOF. That's good enough for me.
And on the Brose S-Mag - with the belt drive, is the quietest of them all, and is much better as the new mag-version. So far so good, but really not proven over long term yet.
His comment about the Shimano drive is that he just never cared for them much. But I don't know if he's worked on them much or not. I wanted his opinion though as that's the powerplant YT uses in their DECOY eMTB's - the 'Steps E8000'.

I got to finally try out the PW-X to compare to my 'pw' bike. It is more similar than different, just a little more punchy, and that's kind of hard to judge cuz the MTB bike is really geared differently than my Explore. And the Haibike version has a double front chain ring which is cool - great for commuting to trail, then super low gears for climbing. When I rolled up after my test ride I asked him why people are saying they are noisy - he explained the drive gears are straight cut and when you get to really high rpms you can hear that. I found out yesterday if I pick a lower gear, like 2 or 3 and pedal as fast as I can, the PW also buzzes some - it's the gears. He says it's not uncommon for people to comment on this after experiencing some serious climbing with the bike, but all in all it's quite insignificant. So the Yamaha drive is still my favorite. There isn't a big difference in feel for PW vs PW-X - they even make the same whirring noise when they're cold. Very easy to hit the speed limiter - all these bikes are Class1, no throttles on eMTB's.

The Brose S-Mag is a little more punchy and very nice to ride. The smaller display on the left is very nice, and the BULLS model was pure bliss - super cushy, great power, very nice to ride.
In comparing all these bikes - the Haibike is the best buy at $3000 or so, very comparably equipped to the others, the Giant next at $4500, then the Bulls for $4700, and now I would have really liked to try the new Trek for $5000. Worth noting, the Trek is the only 'twenty-niner'. Giant does have the 29" STANCE model but it's lower spec and the suspension lacks compared to the top RockShox and Fox options. Both Rockshox and Fox are very plush with adjustable damping - just excellent.

So there you have it - a quick eMTB comparo. Makes the BH PW-X upthread here for $2450 look like a bargain, although with shipping it's getting close to the Haibike Sam has in stock - and I get local support. If I had the $$ sitting I'd probly buy it, but I'm still paying off my Giant and would like to get that out of the way before taking on another one - I'm supposed to be saving for retirement! 😝

Okay, I've rambled on enough...Q&A if anyone has any. I learned a lot yesterday. Oh, and we had a fun ride on our ebikes. 👍

EDIT: I see now the 2020 Trek Rail5 has a 500w battery. Just FYI. And the color is awesome!
 
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Browneye

Well-Known Member
Can anyone comment on the spec on these two bikes?
Lenny's BH on sale: BH Easymotion Rebel Lynx 5.5 PW-X
And Haibike: 2019 HAIBIKE XDURO 2.0

I think the Xduro has a little more suspension travel. Look how close their frames are designed!
The BH is a size S - the shock tower is right a the top tube - there's quite a bit more space on the large size frame. I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a 'dropper seatpost' so that would be a deal-breaker for the $$ involved to add it.



 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Yes, there's quite a spread in costs for these modern emtb's.
Spec observations:
  • Rebel's drivetrain is 1X11, Allmtn's is 2X10
  • Rebel has Shimano SLX brakes, Allmtn has Shimano MT520s (both 203mm front 180 rear)
  • Rebel's Fox Rhythm fork is XC slack (67 degrees), Allmtn Rockshox Yari is more all-mountain (66)
  • Rebel's rear shock is Fox FloatDPS, Allmtn's is Rockshox Deluxe RT
  • Rebel's dropper is a low-end KS model (unnamed on BH's website), Allmtn uses XLC (Haibike house brand)
IMO the Allmtn has better spec all around. I could go on, but they're all on these two websites:
I also have a couple of observations about the photo of the Rebel:
  • The battery in the photo you posted is a Yamaha-branded battery, not an Emotion like shown below. Not sure why that is...
  • Always drives me nuts when people photograph bikes w/droppers compressed - looks funnny to me and it's definitely not good to store them that way.
Thank you. I have trouble sorting thru all the spec differences and what they mean - the various models and numbers mean nothing to me.
But your synopsis is exactly what I was looking for. 👍
Both pics came from their perspective factory-usa sites.

Seems like I saw somewhere that the Haibike seatpost was limited in length due to frame design. But the one I tried, size L, fit perfectly up and down.


On sale pricing and discounts - I agree absolutely. It's like when REI or Nordstrom puts a shirt on sale, it becomes somewhat closer to normal market price. ;)
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Browneye, if you can just take a Turbo Levo. It is the reference e-MTB. Other e-MTB are always compared to the Levo :)
The only other choice is to take a discounted BH from Lenny.
You don't like the Haibike all mountain? I'm thinking for the $$ it's everything I could need or want. Seems almost too good to be true.

Today I looked at the Trance E+1 and E+3. Both discounted about 20%, so I'm listening. The high end Pro-E is really nice for an alloy bike - otd for about five thousand, the E+3 about a thousand less. It's all in the components - same frame and power. The e3 is pretty close in price to the Haibike, and I have the brand notoriety of Giant. I like the nicer Trance even better though, and now up to just about everything else in price.

Also got to sit on a Reign - very spread out. The guy at the shop said I would probably like it from so many years on dirtbikes - he says it's more like a dirtbike than the others - more travel, more stable, less quick feeling. Mid $5K probly. OUCH

I dunno, I'm starting to think I shouldn't buy something 'till I try them on a trail. I really don't want to buy one then realize I got the wrong one.
There is a dizzying array of componentry that goes into these things. They're all very advanced in design.

I saw a couple of bikes from Canada, Norco I think, and a Pivot, both Shimano drive, carbon fiber. High-budget - $7-8K.

Stopped at another independent Trek dealer and no Rail there either - they're not going to bring them in. I just don't get it. Oh well. Yamaha it is.

I also read a review that said the new BULLS s mag-drive is short coupled and cramped. Maybe they just had a bone to pick.

I probably should go try a YT before I buy anything. One group review put it as editors choice - best value. Also a long and slack bike in CF.

My vision of mountain bike riding is mostly trails, up and down, like the single-track we used to ride on dirtbikes in the mountains. So much fun. The vids I see online are drawing me in. :p

If you like dogs and bikes you'll like this one...

 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
The Trance E+Pro looks like a sweet bike in gold. I see them for approx $4Gs. Lookin more like the Levo with the stealthy looks. Another candidate to test ride and would be a nice comparison the the YT Decoy base model in the same $$ range. You will be our new advocate for opinions next to Court after you get done here. Perhaps start doing some VLOG reviews and post them here! LOL :p
YT has their 'base 29' - it's about $500 less than their other 'basic' models. They all have the same frame - some kind of carbon fiber masterpiece, but I'm not exactly sure why that model is less. I'm still not very good with componentry identification, and what's good and what's just okay. For some things I can search the web for reviews - not too hard to do for shocks and forks, derailleurs.

Their other models have 27.5 rear with 29 fronts, and definitely focused on downhill performance.

Every time I visit a knowlegeable dealer I learn something - like hub differences on the Trance E+1 and E+3 - the former is much more heavy duty. Rims too. More or less every component from the base model to the next is upgraded in some manner, including the suspension. The frame and motor are the only things the same. And the little tiny saddle. LOL

I am getting sucked into this one way or another. Can't. Just. Look. Away. 🤣

The E+1 has these 'straight-pull spoke seat' hubs for extra strength:

 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
@Browneye, I can't remember. You're a great fan of Giant. Have you seen that one?

I can get the next model up for right about five grand, the Reign E+1 Pro. I sat on this one at my lbs, size large, which I have decided I prefer over the mediums I've been sitting on.
They can also get me a size L in the Trance e+1 pro with the green paint job for just a little less. Beyond tempting. Like something you can't shake out of your head. LOL
Many of the experienced mtb riders prefer the Trance over the Reign - like it's just too spread out and not quick handling enough. From what I gather, the competitive downhill racer types prefer these long slack bikes for the way they go downhill. They're not as much fun to ride on regular trails. Yes, need to try both, but I'm willing to bet I would like the Trance better.

Sure would be fun to ride all of these bikes side by side with a Turbo Levo Comp, and a YT, the BH, a Bulls, the new Trek- ride them all on the same day. 👍

Cool paint job too, if not a little ostentatious, the new Reign E+1 Pro:

 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
So far, I like this one the best of everything. Going to go test ride one on the trails. I need to buck it up and get to YT in San Clemente and try one of theirs too.

Trance E+1 Pro:

 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
My kid and me in Los Padres forest, 250 dirtbikes on single-track. About the most fun thing I know of - I got started when I was about 11.
Browneye is on the orange bike...Nick had a custom new Yamaha WR250F, after a string of learner bikes. I've had a couple of dozen bikes over all these years.
That bike new in 2008 was just about the same cost as these modern eMTB's are. 😲

One year I had six head-on collisions. It got so I wouldn't ride the popular trails anymore - them dirtbikers are nuts. LOL
I nearly broke my neck twice. Kind of takes the fun out of it.


 
whoa, Browneye you are on a roll tonight, your advice to me in the Fall worked well for me (try them all) when I was looking at the big 3 in North America, after trying out all 3 the levo-comp jumped out for me, and today I pedalled the 1000 km in 2 and a half months and I still can't wipe that proverbial smile off my face, like you I am dealing with back issues for the last few years ( apparently 35 years of training and running marathons is not the best for the back while ignoring the flexibility and other spinal health issues, never thought I would be a yoga guy but . . . ) anyways, the day I bought my Levo my brother in law and his wife bought the Trance 1 ebikes unknown to me and they love them (they are currently holidaying in Arizona and are keeping me updated on the great trails that way) so lots of good choices, the better half doesn't share my enthusiasm for riding during our Canadian winters but our LBS will have her trying out the Specialized como and a couple of giant possibilities later in the spring, the 500w is enough for me as that takes about 4 hours riding (ride mostly entirely in eco thinking I need to keep the fitness thing going in retirement) which is plenty, for me a full charge every 3 rides seems to be where I'm settling in although can't wait for the warmer days that you have all the time and maybe my rides will extend, the best part for me in reading your posts is your e-biking to the breweries, that sounds like a blast, hydration is important
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Excellent!
Yeah, the bikes are a blast.

If you continue to have back pain see if you can find a physical therapist or DC that practices FASCIA MANIPULATION. I've had about 8 back and neck injuries so my back is like popcorn. Regular doc says I have chronic arthritis and I have had on and off severe pain as well as ongoing dull pain. I got a referral to a guy here locally and after three visits he fixed it! I've been the most pain free in the past dozen or more years.

Levo Comp is an awesome bike. Have you ridden the Giants? Can you compare them?

My wife isn't interested in dirt, but she loves pavement and bike trails. We are having a blast! I'm still trying to decide if and when I could actually get out for mountain biking. I sure enjoy learning about what's out there - the technology is just amazing.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Can anyone comment on the spec on these two bikes?
Lenny's BH on sale: BH Easymotion Rebel Lynx 5.5 PW-X
And Haibike: 2019 HAIBIKE XDURO 2.0


I think the Xduro has a little more suspension travel. Look how close their frames are designed!
The BH is a size S - the shock tower is right a the top tube - there's quite a bit more space on the large size frame.
I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a 'dropper Seatpost' so that would be a deal-breaker for the $$ involved to add it.



The BH Rebel Lynx has a dropper Seatpost... here is a better photo of the bike with the post extended in a Medium size.

Regarding the Haibike All MTN 2.0, I would go for the higher spec BH with SLX brakes, XT shifters and Fox shocks.
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