- A powerful, relatively affordable, hardtail cross country style electric bike that's capable of 28 mph pedal assist and 20 mph trigger throttle operation, offers 24 gears vs. 10 or 11 on most competing products
- This particular model (with 29" wheels) is available in one large frame size and color, but Magnum also sells a 27.5" wheel version Peak which has a slightly smaller frame... so, two sizes?!
- High-capacity 48 volt battery helps to extend range or simply match the range of other bikes while allowing you to ride faster, the battery has a USB port for charging accessories
- Kickstand placement puts it in the way of the left crank arm, display is not removable, the spring suspension fork adds a bit of weight but the head tube is tapered for easy upgrades, solid hydraulic disc brakes with cutoff switches
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Magnum has built a reputation around affordability and power. Their ebikes tend to offer both pedal assist and throttle operation, which can be handy if you need help getting started or simply don’t want to pedal at all times. With the Peak and Peak 29, you get a cross country style hardtail mountain bike with a large but well-placed battery pack, a 24 speed drivetrain, and a zippy rear-mounted geared hub motor that won’t interfere with shifting. The 29er model focused on in this specific review provides larger wheels that elevate the frame, improve comfort with increased air volume, and provide more rolling momentum. The frame itself is slightly larger than the original Peak I reviewed a while back, so I almost think of this as the “Large Peak” for taller riders, but it’s more nuanced than that. This model will be slightly less nimble but provides a lower attack angle and can cruise more efficiently at high speed. One of the things I really appreciate about this bike is that it could serve as both a trail bike or urban platform, you can even purchase a rear rack from Magnum for use with a trunk bag or pannier bags. Recent versions of this bike have been upgraded to 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes on both the front and rear wheels (whereas older versions had 160 mm in the rear) and the top tube now has bottle cage bosses! Which, might not be that useful. You see, as much as I complain about how electric bikes sometimes skip bottle cage mounting points, I can see why they would do so on a bike like this, because any accessory you mount to the top of the top tube is going to raise the stand over height and possibly hit your crotch. A water bottle would be near horizontal and might drip out as you ride, a folding lock might get kicked or brush against your inner thighs when pedaling… I would probably just remove the included bolts and keep the top tube smooth and low because I just barely fit on this bike with my ~30″ inseam and stand over height is about 30″ as measured during the review.
Driving the bike in assist and throttle mode is a torquey planetary geared hub motor that weighs about 10 lbs. It’s rated from 500 to 700 watts and can produce 90 Newton meters of torque, but that doesn’t mean it can climb from standstill. I tested this on an inclined section of dirt trail in the video review above and could hear the motor struggling to start. Once you have a bit of speed, the motor works fine, so consider pedaling a bit to help out at first. As mentioned earlier, this hub motor does not interfere with shifting or chain action on the 24-speed drivetrain. That’s great because it will allow you to shift more smoothly than a mid-drive motor and keep the two derailleurs in better shape long term. I’m a bit mixed on having two derailleurs because it increases weight and complexity, shifter cables stretch over time and that means visits to the shop or more hands-on work for you. The three chainrings up front are completely exposed and could get grease on pants so I suggest riding with shorts… but what about that urban use case? The front derailleur acts as a guide and provides a bit of protection, but I sometimes roll up my pant leg or use reflective velcro pant keepers when riding to avoid snags etc. Having two derailleurs also means having to use two shifter mechanisms up front and the cockpit is already pretty cluttered due to the addition of a display, trigger throttle, button control pad, and brakes with motor inhibitors. I love that the motor inhibitors are in place, in addition to the larger 180 mm rotors, because the cadence sensors are good here, but not quite as fast or fluid as advanced multi-sensors on the more expensive mid-drive systems now being produced. Again, I actually felt that the new sealed cadence sensor was very responsive and you can see that in the video as well.
powering the bike, beautiful backlit display panel, and integrated USB Type A port is a 48 volt 13 Amp hour battery pack. You can charge this thing on or off the bike and the included charger is very standard, offering 2 Amp output. This is a bit of a gripe for me because with such a large battery, and the potential for draining it faster by riding quick or relying purely on the throttle, it would be nice to have a 4 Amp charger. I could see myself buying this bike to ride to work during the week and then taking it on light trails when the weekend rolls around… and the removability of the battery pack means that I could charge the pack from my desk at work, make the bike lighter when loading it onto my car rack, and also reduce chemistry fatigue by storing it in a cool dry place vs. out in freezing temperatures or extreme heat. It’s a battery design that works well because the pack sits low and center on the frame, improving balance, and it blends in beautifully with the satin black frame. The pack clicks in from a 45-degree angle from the left side vs. going straight down, and this makes it easier to mount without scratching the frame. One thing that was missing however, was a slap guard on the right chain stay, but you can use clear masking tape or get a cheap slap guard online or from your local shop if you want. At the top left side of the battery is a standard female USB A port for charging portable electronics, such as your phone, which could be handy for GPS directions. I believe the port is active whether you have the battery mounted to the bike or not, so it could be like a backup power source. When mounted to the frame, this battery pack felt solid, but did rattle just a bit and I have heard some owners talk about using a bit of electrical tape to tighten the fit, just don’t overdo it because you wouldn’t want to see it fall off when riding! The locking core felt solid and there’s a little handle on the left side to grasp when removing.
And so, I mentioned that the cockpit on this bike can be a little crowded and messy because of the second set of shifters, brake lever motor inhibitors, and throttle… but it works well enough. The button pad (which allows you to arrow up through 0 to 6 levels of assist) is easy to reach and allows you to go “around” from six to zero vs. clicking down six times. One complaint, that may not be relevant to all customers, is that the trigger throttle on the right side can be difficult to reach depending on where you mount it. I had to reach across the shifter housing and brake attachment to press the throttle paddle and it compromised my grip a bit which is not idea when riding off-road. Considering that this is either a Class 3 speed pedelec or Class 2 throttle activated ebike by default, it’s probably not going to be allowed on many mountain bike trails in some states. You can probably use it on off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails and private property, and you might also be able to turn down the top assisted speed to 20 mph and remove the throttle to use it as a Class 1 electric bicycle, but by default it’s a bit unconventional. Many people love the power and freedom of this setup, but if you had a crash that damaged property or hurt someone and the bike was seen as more of an unregistered vehicle in court, that could be a bummer. The display panel on this bike is large and easy to read, it can be swiveled a bit to reduce glare (which is nice because it’s very shiny all the way across) but it cannot be removed. This could lead to more damage from weather exposure or other bikes at a public rack, but the display does feel sturdy. It shows your battery level, assist level, and trip stats like trip distance, odometer, and even a timer.
There’s a lot to say about this bike and a few additional points worth sharing here are that the spokes are thicker at 13 gauge vs. 14 gauge on most other products I test and review (lower gauge numbers mean it is thicker). Magnum has upgraded the headset with a sealed cartridge design that won’t squeak or rust as easily and I want to reiterate that the tapered head tube can accommodate more advanced suspension models, such as air forks that will weigh less and provide more adjustability. The stock fork provides lockout and rebound adjust but uses springs and a narrow 9 mm skewer like you’d find on a city bike. Most of the higher end true off-road e-bikes now come with 15 mm thru-axles on their forks to provide more stiffness and strength… and I think that would be nice to have on this bike because it weighs more and can go faster. The ergonomic grips are more of an urban choice because lots of mountain bikers wear gloves and don’t want an overly thick grip… but at least these grips are locking and won’t spin under pressure. The cables on the bike aren’t as hidden or internally routed as some other products I have been reviewing and even the motor controller stands out visually, but Magnum reps told me that the choice had to do with providing more Amps and keeping the system cool. The bike does have walk mode, simply hold the minus key, and that’s handy for climbing hills by foot or walking the bike in a crowded environment or if you get a flat. At ~57.5 lbs, it’s on the heavier side for an ebike without fenders, lights, or a rear rack stock and this is due to the larger battery and wheels. You can tap the power button to turn on display backlighting when riding in dark or dim conditions. I have heard that Magnum may have a narrower “slim” throttle design that could bring it closer to the right grip (maybe mounting between the grip and the brake and shifter clamps) but I cannot say for sure… and it’s worth paying special attention when mounting or dismounting the bike because if it is turned on, the throttle will be hot and could send the bike forward unexpectedly. The throttle will override all levels of assist and zero, which give you great control, but also requires great responsibility right ;) Big thanks to the Magnum team for inviting me to their headquarters in Utah and partnering with me on this post. Magnum has been expanding their network of dealers in the USA and that makes this and other models easier to test ride and get serviced.
- The Peak offers throttle-only mode, allows you to override assist with the throttle up to 20 mph and can hit 28 mph in pedal assist… it’s one of the most open control systems I have reviewed, giving you full control over how to ride
- Higher volume tires improve comfort and increase the contact patch for better handling off-road, ergonomic grips feel nice and reduce wrist fatigue regardless of terrain
- You get 24 gear combinations here which is unique in the world of value priced electric mountain bikes, this also means more potential maintenance and weight, but when you need to climb or hit and comfortably maintain the 28 mph top assisted speed I feel that it can be worth it
- Name brand Schwalbe tires and mid-level SR Suntour suspension fork with lockout and preload adjustment improve ride quality and won’t take damage as easily as super cheap options
- I like that they ship the bike with a derailleur guard to protect the main derailleur and that they used Acera here vs. Altus (which is used for the front derailleur and is lower specced), this guard also protects the power cable that connects into the hub motor on the right side of the rear dropout
- While the Peak only comes in one frame size and color, I feel that the design is great because the top tube angles for lowered standover height, the head tube is tapered for improved strength (and optional fork upgrades) and the black color helps wires and the battery blend in, for those who want a slightly lower and smaller frame, consider the original Magnum Peak which uses 27.5″ wheel size vs. 29″ here
- The battery has a charging port on the lower left side vs. on top which is much easier to get to (of course it can also be charged off the bike if you want) and I like that there is a female USB port near the top (on the left side of the pack) so you could power your phone or lights, consider a right angle adapter for charging while riding to keep the wire out of the way when you pedal, I believe the USB port can also be used to charge stuff when the battery is not mounted to the bike
- Magnum sells a rear rack if you want to carry a trunk bag or panniers but this new Peak frame also has bottle cage bosses added to the top tube, they do increase the stand over height and might position your bottle near horizontal, but could also be used for a folding lock or mini-pump accessory
- Hydraulic disc brakes with motor inhibitors in both levers keep you in control of the bike and are especially important for high-speed operation, you get a larger 180 mm rotor up front for improved braking power and the brake levers offer adjustable reach for people with different hand sizes
- Even though it’s not removable, I like how compact the display is and appreciate that you can swivel it to reduce glare, there are lots of options built in, the button pad used to operate it is mounted close to the left grip where it’s very easy to reach and use on the fly, overall the cockpit didn’t feel super crowded even with the extra wires and two trigger shifter units vs. just one on most other electric bikes that have 10 or 11 speeds vs. 24 here
- Minor pluses: I love that the saddle and pedals are upgraded, less reason to have to replace them for improved comfort and traction respectively, they worked great for me even in the snow when my feet were wet and the trail was bumpy
- Quick release front wheel and removable battery reduces weight significantly (by over 10 pounds) making the bike easier to toss into the trunk of a car or lift onto a storage hook in a garage
- Magnum has a specially designed trigger throttle that is super slim so it doesn’t crowd the brake or shifter mounts and can be easier to reach, the cadence sensor is also slimmer, smaller and better protected by a plastic shell
- The battery capacity is quite impressive, you get 48 volts and 13 amp hours which I would call way above average and the cells are premium brands (LG, Samsung or Panasonic) with a one-year warranty
- In my opinion, the price point of this bike is amazing, it really feels like a good value at $2k given all of the options and dealer network they’ve built (over 75 shops in the US carrying it at the time of this post)
- The bike ships with a rigid 30.9 mm seat post which works fine and is a little thicker for added strength… this is one are you could potentially upgrade with a seat post suspension like Thudbuster or Body Float, you might just need a shim in some cases for the perfect fit
- Surprisingly, I didn’t see a slap guard on the right chain stay, this means you’ll get chips in the paint over time and possibly some wear on the chain itself, consider adding one yourself aftermarket like these
- I’m accustomed to seeing internally routed cables, integrated batteries and compact motors as with the Peak here but the controller box stood out as being large and potentially vulnerable… I asked about it (positioned in front of the bottom bracket) and was told it had to be overbuilt to dissipate heat due to the higher amp output and it’s made from Aluminum alloy to be sturdy
- Due to the hub motor design, there isn’t a quick release at the rear which means you’ll need extra tools for flat-fixing on the go, the power cable also protrudes a bit and could get snagged or bent easier than if it was fully tucked in
- Because the throttle is always active, I suggest being extra careful when mounting and dismounting the bike… or even loading it onto a car rack, I would turn it off to be safe, perhaps future versions of the Magnum Peak can power up to assist level zero and make that a non-throttle mode for safety
- The kickstand is large, adjustable and sturdy but I wish it was mounted slightly back so the left crank arm wouldn’t collide, the demo bike had some nicks already, this is also a concern with the charging port as the pedal could snag it or bend the plug
- The cockpit handlebar area of this e-bike is kind of cluttered because of the two shifters, brake lines, and motor inhibitors as well as the display, control pad, and trigger throttle
- While I think they did a good job keeping the weight of the bike reasonable considering the larger battery pack and motor, this is about four pounds heavier than most other hardtail electric mountain bikes I have been testing
- One area for possible improvement would be a thru-axle on the fork for added stiffness and sturdiness given the off-road nature and higher speed capability of the bike, as it stands you get a regular 9 mm quick release skewer and a spring shock vs. air which would be more adjustable and reduce weight
- Many of the wires are run along the base of the top tube verses being internally routed, this combined with the angled nature of the top tube could make hanging style racks difficult to work with (snagging cables or just not fitting without first removing the battery pack)
- If you’re commuting, especially at high speed, add some reflective stickers or lights because the matte black frame and lack of integrated lights combined with higher speed riding could make you vulnerable and I can imagine a lot of people will use this in urban environments even though it’s trail capable
- The charger is compact and light weight at ~1.5 lbs but it’s not super fast with just 2 Amps output and that could mean longer waits given the larger capacity of the battery on the Magnum Peak