E-Bike of the Year 2021 | Part 1: Shop Bought E-Bikes | Mountain Bike Rider

E-Bike of the Year 2021 | Part 1: Shop Bought E-Bikes | Mountain Bike Rider

Five shop-bought 2021 e-bikes, 700km of testing and one deserving winner – it’s part 1 of our very first E-Bike of the Year award. Part 2 will focus on all the key direct-sales brands, including YT and Canyon, but supply issues have caused delays and we should have this ready in a few weeks.
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To read the full reviews, click the link:

Best electric mountain bikes: E-Bike of the Year

To skip to the sections on each specific model, use the time stamps below:

1:10 Overview of motors
7:45 Specialized Turbo Levo Comp
12:57 Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC
16:35 Merida eOne-Sixty 8000
22:25 Whyte E-160 RS V1
28:25 Trek Rail 9

E-bikes have come a long way in the last decade. Not only has their performance improved dramatically, sales have continued to explode year-on-year, with the Confederation of European Bicycle Industries announcing that over 3m were bought in 2019. Following the boom induced by Covid-19’s, 2020 figures should be even more significant, with Halfords revealing that it saw demand for electric bikes and scooters soar by 230 per cent during the period in and around lockdown.

Of course this data includes bikes of all types, so it doesn’t reveal a clear picture about electric mountain bikes, but anecdotally – from talking to brands and retailers, as well as simply witnessing the numbers of them on trails – e-mountain bikes are booming.

About time then, we introduced an annual e-Bike of the Year award to complement the Trail Bike of the Year and Hardtail of the Year tests that we’ve been running since 2013. Only we hazard a guess that this one will be a little more controversial, since anything involving the word e-bike seems to spark intense debate among mountain bikers.

The wind of change can be felt though, and as more and more riders can draw on first hand experience of e-bikes, so they are slowly becoming more accepted, even by the die-hard sceptics. In fact the comments we hear out riding – at least the ones within earshot – have turned from accusations of cheating to a ‘if i can’t beat them, join them’ attitude.

Some of that mind shift can be put down to riders trying them out and feeling the benefits for themselves, and partly it’s because the bikes have got so much better in terms of aesthetics, geometry, suspension performance and motor/battery technology. Manufacturers have really had to work double time improving their products, and it wasn’t long ago that there were yawning chasms in performance between brands, and expensive ground-up redesigns wheeled out on an annual basis as knowledge developed. Which, as a consumer, made knowing when to jump in at the deep end a difficult decision.

The waters are a lot calmer and clearer now though, with all the big advances in frame design and component choice having been made. And with Shimano and Bosch comprehensively updating their flagship motors in the last 12 months, you’re unlikely to be left behind by a power increase or leap in battery tech, for at least a couple of years.

So there couldn’t be a better time to join the assisted bandwagon, and lap up all the extra smiles per hour on offer. Or rather it would be if supply issues and overwhelming demand hadn’t left shop floors empty and back-order lists overflowing. Yes, actually getting hold of a new e-bike in the size and colour you want is still a big challenge. Even for us. Which is why this is only half a bike test. In the planning for e-Bike of the Year we wanted to mirror our Trail Bike of the Year test with 10 bikes split equally between direct-sales brands and shop bought models. But owing to delays with Shimano’s new EP8 motor, we simply couldn’t get all the direct sales bikes in time. All being well, we should be able to bring part two featuring bikes from Canyon, YT, Vitus, Commencal and Radon in the next couple of months – with plenty of the selling season left – but until then, sit down, plug in and enjoy our first e-Bike of the Year test.

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Readers Comments (50)

  1. levo comp all the way.
    changed the fork to 170mm, rear to coil, and flipped the "flip switch" with an assegai front and dhr2 rear.
    you have no idea what this bike is capable…

  2. Christopher Ogley March 1, 2021 @ 9:40 pm

    My haibike has a dint in the frame exactly where that fancy display is on the top tube…I don’t use software and my sensor is on my crank…if the bike FITS ride it.. it’s not a brand thing it’s more a fit thing is the best Emtb…..

  3. WTF? No display is a benefit? I guess you don’t care if you run out of battery miles away from your home. A long battery that does not fit in a backpack is a great design? A battery which makes you flip the bike if you want to replace it? Geez! And all that just to pretend that it is not an ebike!

  4. Hurry up guys, I really need part 2

  5. Sixty Seconds of Stephens March 1, 2021 @ 9:40 pm

    Great review, I enjoy your content.

  6. Have come up with 2 inventions. 1 is called the h-bike where someone else rides your bike and you just sit in the back and do nothing. 2 is called the r-bike where you just sit on couch and watch a POV shot of someone else riding your bike. If these 2 works out I have my last and final invention which is the n-bike in which you just buy a bike and leave it ensembled in you garage.

  7. SJW Bike reviews relying on ‘Feelings’ rather than facts like Engine size, Output, range etc… Why not got he way of Cars, Motorbikes, Boats etc???

  8. Would be interested to hear your thought on which bike of the two tests you thought was the best. Either the shop bought Trek Rail or the direct sales YT Decoy?

  9. Jose Manuel Silva March 1, 2021 @ 9:45 pm

    Good afternoon I’m having a hard time deciding between a full carbon frame and an aluminum frame for an ebike. Is it worth paying more for a carbon one? Or have better material?
    I am having a hard time choosing between Trek Rail 9 or Trek Rail 9.7, can I know your opinion on this matter? Carbon or Aluminum, can you help me plesss? Thank you

  10. TheDiablosix6six March 1, 2021 @ 9:45 pm

    Presenter is absolutely awful!! Let the tester explain!! Don’t need presenter jumping in every fucking second!!


  12. manu abecassis March 1, 2021 @ 9:47 pm

    The battery removal of the specialised is a nightmare compare to any other brands(Whyte excluded). Regarding some of the NO NO specified against EP8 is exactly the big plus… Guys, how come no Giant bike is included in your selection?
    Not very serious… Furthermore the Giant motors are amazing… my 2 cents 🙂 🙂

  13. Anyone know when part 2 is….? Trek Trail 9 looks like the dogs bollocks so a comparision with on line E-bikes would be good….

  14. Christopher Ogley March 1, 2021 @ 9:52 pm

    The bright lights in the eyes of the reviewers of the bikes you love will tell you nothing except that they are the sponsored kind…

  15. Jose Manuel Silva March 1, 2021 @ 9:52 pm

    Good afternoon I’m having a hard time deciding between a full carbon frame and an aluminum frame for an ebike. Is it worth paying more for a carbon one? Or have better material?

  16. Gabriele Sabbatino March 1, 2021 @ 9:58 pm

    Wow, great review, all bikes covered so in detail. Great Job, and a new subscriber for your channel 🙂

  17. Old Man Jeeping and Biking March 1, 2021 @ 9:58 pm

    I got very excited when I saw this video, just to find out Trek does not offer the Rail 9 in the US. After looking at their lineup, it would have been the only Rail in the lineup I would have been interested in

  18. Store Bought brands need a second part as alot of good brands were excluded. I’d love to see how the Scott Ransom eRide stacks up.

  19. Syuper

  20. “Every time I’m trying to get it in I’m stressing” Tell me about it…. Bloody nightmare!

  21. I was in between the Merida e-160 8000 and the Rail 9. It came down the the price, bought the Merida for AU$7700(RRP AU$8999) $2800 cheaper then the Trek AU$10499(they wouldn’t give me any discount). Its amazing the difference in price here in Australia compared to UK and Europe where the e-160 is actually more expensive than the Rail 9.

  22. which bike won?

  23. I somehow like that shimano motor doesn’t have this override.. it is fun on technical climb but actually it feels much more natural without it.

  24. When will part 2 be out for direct sales? Or can someone link me to it?

  25. Burleigh Ibbott March 1, 2021 @ 10:10 pm

    So you pay just under £7k for a Specialised Levo. Your on cloud 9 thinking this bike covers everything. Then you watch this video only to find it’s only good for trail runs. It’s no good for enduro run. Or should I say "falls short"…….wtf….. Did I hear right?? I can’t afford a £7000 bike but if I could and found this I be totally pissed off.

  26. To heavy

  27. Worst thing ever to happen to mountain biking so far.

  28. Please upload part 2 ✌️👊

  29. The amount of times you interrupted him made this video unwatchable

  30. Motor overrun as a positive, desired feature? Probably you can get used to it and embed in your riding, but Shimano’s cut-off allows you to ratchet like a normal bike and gives you full control over the slow tech stuff.

  31. I have the Yamaha ydx Moro pro and I love it

  32. Hi are you gonna test marin alpine trail this year ?

  33. Apparently they stopped making videos as it looks lol 😂So much to "Part two will come around Christmas"

  34. Ive just shopped the fuck out this and chose the Specialized. Nothing comes close.

  35. So the conclusion is ,,,, buy the one you like the best .

  36. Left out the Cannondale Moterra. Which might be the best if not one of them.

  37. I can’t stop thinking about them looking for sticks to prop up $35K in bikes lol.

  38. Someone should finally review Lapierre overvolt

  39. No Santa Cruz? No Giant? Flawed test

  40. Retailer told me Bosch has best reliability and amazing support and parts availability.

  41. These bikes all have one thing in common …. I can’t afford one.

  42. How come the Specialized Turbo Levo top tube has an angle to it when it spreads off towards the seat tube at the point where the shock is mounted, but on their website the top tube is flat?! I’ve noticed this is so many videos already?

  43. Is part 2 out yet??

  44. How is it possible to judge the bike of the year when you have such a small number of bikes tested???

  45. Cockeyed Optomist March 1, 2021 @ 10:31 pm

    great video, but teach the presenter to calm down a bit, switch to decaf, and stop talking over people. i could barely take it.

  46. chippy at work March 1, 2021 @ 10:31 pm

    Pitch hill?

  47. I really want the cube ❤️❤️❤️

  48. where’s part 2?

  49. WE GENERAL CREATE March 1, 2021 @ 10:35 pm

    Please help me one mountain bike bro please.i am an Indian guy

  50. Great video, I liked the second presenter interrupting. Both made great points, good duo.

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