As you know, we recently ‘went electric’ for a special electric mountain bike demonstration ride on November 17th with Cycling Made Easy.
I was curious about some of the technical aspects of the e-bikes and Neil was kind enough to explain some of the details…
About the Motor
Each of the bikes uses the Bosch crank drive system. Rather than the motor being mounted directly in the hub like many other e-bikes the crank drive turns the chain wheel and provides plenty of torque.
The motor supplies assistance as soon as you pedal, amplifying, rather than replacing, your own power. Like all electric bike motors in the UK, speed is capped at 15.5mph (25km/h) so that the bike maintains its legal status as a bicycle. Of course, the bike can go faster than that – the motor simply cuts out at 15.5mph so you can sail downhill as fast as you please. Power output is also capped to a maximum of 250w.
This system charges in a record time of 2.5 hours, and has an integrated battery locking system. The motor is under the bottom bracket for an optimal centre of gravity, and provides more torque and range than a hub drive bike by using the bikes gears.
The position of the motor and the battery is in the middle of the frame. This maintains the bikes low centre of gravity so it should be easier to control as you adapt to the different feel of an electric bike.
The Bosch motor is impressively quiet so you won’t disturb the peace and quiet of your cross-country ride.
The Haibike eQ Xduro 29 RC and FS SL – true trail bikes
This bike is well suited to long distances over challenging terrain and was the bike of choice when the Cycling Made Easy team took on the BHF London-to-Paris 300km off-road challenge this summer.
Anyone worried about how an electric mountain bike looks should be pleasantly surprised with the eQ Xduro. It’s colourful and compact and the manufacturer has been careful to avoid compromising the bike’s shape.
The motor is inverted and nestles between the down and seat tubes so that the bike keeps the same outline as a conventional bike rather than having its motor hanging underneath. For strength, the crossbar leads almost directly to the rear wheel axle and its deep headstock angle, to push the front wheel forward, gives extra stability and control.
Just like the mountain bike you may already use, the Xduro takes 29′er tyres – the largest outer diameter wheel size available – so bumps are minimised.
Haibike also do a full-suspension version of the Xduro but with a 26″ wheel, which the Muddymoles also tried out on the demo ride. The rear suspension unit is a Fox Float CTD BV LV 110mm so if you’re looking for comfort, this is the bike to go for.
HaiBike e-bikes retail between £2850 and £4699.
The Scott E-Aspect 920 2013
Scott has rightly earned itself a good reputation among mountain bikers and extreme sports fans, so it follows that their electric mountain bike should be top-notch too. Their commitment to high tech frame design comes through in their Aspect 920 electric mountain bike.
Scott gave the world one of the first dedicated electric mountain bikes, the e-Aspect 29er which impressed with its design and performance. The Aspect 920 is its direct successor. It’s frame has been refined and styled a little more so that it is slightly more ‘cyclocross’ than pure mountain.
The bike is also available in the 910 model, which has an increased specification of gears, brakes and suspension forks and critically, a battery that with a 1/3rd more capacity.
Scott e-bikes retail between £2199 and £2999.
The Ave XH3
Ave’s XH series won ‘Best Buy’ from the In Gear section of the Sunday Times, and ‘Best Sport Road Bike’ award from ExtraEnergy, an electric bike convention in Germany.
The XH3 has the versatility to take you on road and mountain. The handlebars are trekking width to support your palms and give you more control over the rougher ground.
The XH3 is a hardtail so the pedal-power on the downstroke is maintained. Combined with the motor assistance, the bike gets up to speed quickly.
The XH3’s components are high-quality. It comes with a 9-speed Shimano Deore gearset to transfer power from the Bosch motor. The stainless steel sprockets will withstand wet conditions. The Rock Shox forks and Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres give the bike ample bounce for off-road terrain, and Tektro hydraulic brakes give you reliable stopping.
With care taken over all the components, the XH3 makes an excellent ride that would be fun over challenging terrain.
Ave e-bikes retail between £1299 to £2199.