The trend towards electric bicycles is unbroken - and does not stop at all-terrain mountain bikes. The ÖAMTC and its partner organizations have therefore tested eight current models.
With consistently satisfactory results, as ÖAMTC technician Steffan Kerbl explains: “Six of the bikes were rated 'good', two 'satisfactory'. However, the differences have little to do with the driving characteristics, but are explained more by nuances in the design and the electric drive.” Only full-suspension e-mountain bikes that were available for less than 2022 euros at the time of the test purchases (in November 5.000) were examined.
The most important findings from the ÖAMTC test
The test winner is an all-rounder and comes from Cube: The Stereo Hybrid impresses with very good brakes, a large number of useful displays and a seating position that makes it comfortable to drive even on level roads. Criticisms: The limited turning of the handlebars and the battery removal, which is relatively complicated. The other five bikes rated “good” are also recommended and have different strengths and weaknesses.
Two bikes were rated "satisfactory": The Scott Strike eRide 940 has pleasant ergonomics and a well-responsive motor. "Unfortunately, the seat post is not optimal to use and the battery capacity is relatively limited at only 500 Wh," explains Kerbl. A safety-relevant problem that other models in the test also have: the installation of brake levers that require two fingers to operate. Kerbl: "When driving downhill, it is essential that you can grip the handlebars as stably as possible, even when braking."
Also only “satisfactory”: The Canyon Neuron:On 8, which scores with agile handling and very good brakes. “Unfortunately, the motor is not only a bit too weak, but also very loud. And: the charging time – an adapter for charging the removed battery has to be purchased separately – is extremely long at nine hours,” states the ÖAMTC expert.
Battery and drive – it depends on the terrain
An important part of the ÖAMTC test were the properties and performance of the battery and drive. “On less demanding forest, field and cycle paths, the differences were still small. This is different on the sometimes steep trail: Here, advantages for the bikes equipped with Bosch drives emerged, with which difficult passages could be overcome much more easily,” summarizes Kerbl. The range depends on both the battery size and the efficiency of the drive: Depending on the model, 70 to 110 kilometers are possible - but on the flat. With an average gradient of ten percent, 1.370 to 2.180 meters of altitude were possible.
It doesn't matter which model you ultimately choose: a test drive before you buy is a must. And: Anyone considering purchasing an e-mountain bike should be aware that their area of use requires a minimum level of fitness and riding ability. "The electric support certainly makes it easier to conquer steeper and impassable terrain uphill - but the descent at the latest is and often remains extremely challenging," clarifies Kerbl. "Without the appropriate practice, you shouldn't underestimate the tracks and, if in doubt, switch to easier terrain."
ÖAMTC tips for the purchase
- Basically, you should know in advance where you want to go with the bike - for city trips or the way to work, e-mountain bikes are only suitable to a very limited extent due to their construction - the ÖAMTC test also showed that.
- The right frame size and optimal adjustment of the damping elements are essential for driving pleasure - but both should and must be done by experts. Some dealers even offer “bike fitting” for tuning.
- The handlebars are also crucial for driving pleasure: the brakes, seat post and gears should be easily accessible. When it comes to the brake lever, a “single-finger brake” is definitely to be preferred in order to be safe when going downhill.
- Take your time during the test drive and also pay attention to ergonomics and handling - ideally also check straight away whether the display elements are sufficient and understandable.
- If you don't already have it, it's best to invest in additional safety equipment when you buy the bike - a helmet, preferably with a chin guard, is essential, and knee and elbow pads should also be worn.