- The MXS is a bold and powerful mountain bike spin on the classic SONDORS design, standing out from the crowd with bright colors and the iconic triangle battery compartment, available online-only in North America and covered by a one-year comprehensive warranty
- A Mozo air suspension fork provides a solid 130mm of travel up front, the suspension seatpost adds some comfort to the hardtail design, Maxxis plus-sized tires with boost hub spacing provide strength and stability
- Smooth and intuitive shifting across 7 speeds from the Shimano Altus derailleur combined with a RevoShift half-grip shifter, cassette gear range is low for an eMTB and may struggle with steep inclines, stellar stopping power from Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
- A massive 840wh battery paired with the 750-watt Bafang rear hub motor provides plenty of power for steep inclines and high speeds, but that power and the presence of a throttle will limit trail access, only available in one size so it may not fit some riders well
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This in-depth review was sponsored by SONDORS. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of SONDORS products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below and the SONDORS electric bike forums.
- The MXS is the first electric mountain bike made by SONDORS, a model that has been highly requested for some time now, so it’s cool to see it become a reality!
- While technically qualifying as a hardtail eMTB, the MXS doesn’t really fit nicely into any category box. Sure, it has MTB Maxxis tires with boost hub spacing, a great suspension fork, and powerful hydraulic brakes… but other features aren’t typically found on eMTBs, such as the kickstand and large display which can get easily damaged while mountain biking. There’s also no dropper seatpost, the gear range is limited, and the presence of the throttle (not to mention the massive motor) will limit what MTB trails you can legally ride on. To me, the MXS seems designed for SONDORS enthusiasts who want to tackle trails and rough terrain and have more agility than the typical fat-tire SONDORS Ebikes, while also performing well for city riding and cruising
- The MXS ships as a Class 2 electric bike which means throttle or pedal-assist up to 20mph. You can easily configure it as a Class 3 to reach 28mph speeds, in which case you need to disconnect the throttle to still ride legally in most places. Fortunately, SONDORS includes some easy connectors inside the frame for disabling the throttle, and ships the MXS with both Class 2 and Class 3 stickers so you can apply the right one.
- If you own a SONDORS it is easy to connect with the large and active community of other owners on Facebook and various forums around the web – including right here on EBR! SONDORS bikes are regarded as being highly customizable, both with official accessories and DIY modifications.
- Available online across North America and covered by a new-and-improved one-year comprehensive warranty, SONDORS has also increased the size of their support team to help serve their growing community of riders
- Bright, eye-catching colors of Torch and Ghost Torch (white) and the iconic SONDORS battery compartment make the MXS stand out in a big way, well managed and internally routed cabling keeps it looking sleek as well
- The Maxxis tires are excellent all-purpose mountain bike tires with EXO puncture protection, they are tubeless-ready and plus-sized at 27.5×3.0 which increases comfort and stability
- Stronger-than-average spokes with 12 gauge up front and 11 gauge in the rear, the MXS also has boost hub spacing which further increases strength and durability
- Fairly comfortable for a hardtail thanks to the addition of a suspension seatpost with 30mm of travel, which isn’t a lot but every little bit helps! Up front is the MOZO air suspension fork with 130mm of travel, large 34mm stanchions, as well as a manual air adjustment valve a clicker for rebound adjustments
- Excellent stopping power from the Ebike-specific Tektro Auriga E-Sub brakes, these are hydraulic disc brakes with large four-finger levers which makes them incredibly easy to actuate even if you have low grip strength, for contrast most mountain bikes have two-finger levers (designed so that you can operate the brakes with two fingers while keeping most of your hand on the grip for stability). Large 180mm rotors in the front and rear provide good dissipation and these brakes have no problem stopping the hefty weight of the MXS
- The display features an appealing 3.5″ color LCD with numerous readouts, as well as a USB-A charging port on the right side that pushes a full amp of power, which means you can charge any smartphone with it (iPhones require a full amp vs. the 0.5 amps required by Android devices)
- The control system is incredibly configurable! You can adjust the number of pedal-assist levels as low as 1-3 or as high as 1-9, you can customize what percentage of motor assist you get for each of those levels, and you can even tweak the sensitivity for the battery capacity readout. Of course, you also have access to the more standard options (such as wheel size and backlighting levels)
- The battery is constructed of high-quality LG 3500 cells and has a massive capacity of 840 watt-hours, and should provide plenty of range even when using high levels of electric assist. Its triangle shape fits snugly into the iconic SONDORS frame compartment, and when removed from the bike you can use the carrying handle for easy transport
- The Bafang rear hub motor is satisfyingly powerful with 750 watts nominal and about 1000 watts peak, hub motors aren’t often seen on mountain bikes as they can sometimes struggle on grades at lower speeds, but this motor had no problem with some steep inclines as well as riding on sand (check out the video review to see it in action)
- The drivetrain features a Shimano Altus derailleur and a RevoShift half-grip shifter, and while it isn’t top-of-the-line I really appreciate it for its simplicity and ease of use, grip shifters make it easy to quickly shift up and down the entire 7-speed cassette, and the Altus derailleur is a step up from the entry-level Tourney. I also appreciate that a steel derailleur guard is included, extra important here as it also protects the motor connection point
- The chain is stainless steel which is more durable and rust-resistant, and the MXS also has a double-sided bash guard that serves to protect the chainring as well as keeping the chain securely in place
- Truly impressive tuning of the cadence pedal sensor means that the motor responds almost instantly when you start pedaling, to the point that it almost feels like a torque sensor! Typical cadence sensors have a delay of 1-2 revolutions on the crank arms before they kick in, so I appreciate that SONDORS has really dialed this in
- The adjustable-length kickstand has a wide base and did well even parking in the sand, and it is rear-mounted which means it won’t lock up the cranks when moving the bike backward while the kickstand is down
- The standard charger is 3 amp which is higher than the average 2 amp charger of most electric bikes, this means a faster charging time – definitely appreciated for such a high-capacity battery!
- The battery can be removed from the frame compartment but it is a multi-step process that feels time-consuming compared to most Ebikes. You have to unscrew the compartment, unlock the battery, lift it part-way out while being careful not to stretch and damage cables, and then unscrew the controller connector. These are simple steps but it does mean extra time and effort if you want to regularly remove the battery and store it inside while not riding, which is something I recommend to prolong battery life. Lithium-ion batteries will last longer if you protect them from extreme temperatures, as well as keeping them about 50% full when storing for longer periods of time
- Only one frame size so riders at the ends of the size spectrum may not fit on the MXS, at 6ft 3in I found the MXS fairly comfortable but couldn’t quite get full leg extensions. This is one of the trade-offs when purchasing from a direct-to-consumer company like SONDORS; You save a lot in terms of cost and availability, but you don’t get the test ride option and dialed-in fit that is possible with dealer-distributed bikes
- Any warranty claims or repairs through SONDORS will involve shipping your MXS back to SONDORS… so I recommend hanging on to that shipping box, at least for your warranty period! Fortunately, SONDORS has expanded their warranty and support team to make that process more smooth, and SONDORS Ebikes use industry-standard components so that you can maintain them yourself, or have them serviced at your local bike shop
- The display is adjustable for angle for reducing glare, but it is not removable, which means it is vulnerable from damage to weather or getting dinged at the bike rack. More so here it is at risk to damage while mountain biking, this is why most eMTBs have displays that are either removable or small and out of the way
- The rear cassette has seven speeds but a range of only 14 to 28 teeth, this is a basic range and smaller than I would like to see on a mountain bike, the first gear being only 28 teeth means that you won’t be able to tackle steep inclines without serious help from the motor. Fortunately, the motor is more than up to the task, having no problem with a sustained steep incline during my ride test
- As mentioned in the last point that powerful motor and throttle are great for speeding up hills, but they come at a price. Many mountain bike trails limit the wattage of the motor, sometimes as low as 250 watts, and many trails also do not allow throttle-equipped electric bikes at all. This means that even though the MXS is an eMTB, there will be a lot of traditional MTB tracks where you aren’t allowed to ride, so make sure you check the regulations for your favorite riding spots if being able to ride there is an important factor for you
- The cadence sensor is not sealed which means it is vulnerable to damage and losing magnets, keep in mind that this is a fairly rare occurrence… although possibly more likely if mountain biking on rough terrain! While SONDORS has done a fantastic job of tuning this cadence sensor, it still won’t be able to compete with a torque-sensing mid-drive setup when it comes to riding on highly varied terrain
- There are a few other departures from standard mountain biking load-outs here: kickstands usually aren’t included because they add weight are easily damaged on trails, the saddle is a bit wide and could cause some chafing on longer rides, the large four-finger brake levers don’t feel as secure when operating with two fingers (keeping hands firmly on the grips), and there is no dropper seatpost for quick adjustments while riding. I would say that these things are minor and influenced by rider preference, but all-together they mean that the MXS may not be a great fit for a hardcore MTB enthusiast