We were lucky enough to have two riders attending the ride day so we had the unique opportunity to ride both bikes on our day out. After some bouncing around in the parking lot of our hotel we were ready for the shuttle to pick us up. As we sat around looking for a big van to roll up, we were instructed to mount up and power the bikes. We looked around at each other knowing we were several miles from any trailhead we knew of.
We powered up and zipped out of the parking lot and turned left on the coastal bike path. Even if you hate e-bikes, you probably hate traffic more! The fact you can now leave the truck behind and pedal to the trails is a very redeeming quality and one we didn’t think about when this whole trend started sweeping the bike world.
We pedaled into a rather aggressive headwind at 20-MPH. on the edge of the Pacific and watched as the hills got closer. Our photographer drove over in a van and we ended up getting to the trail at the same time, even with a scenic detour.
It’s pretty needless to say that climbing performance is impressive compared to the non-E-versions of the Trailfox and Speedfox we’d ridden before. We ascended steep grades with elevated heart rates and heavy breathing, but didn’t feel like we needed a break at the top. This is another part of what allows riders to ride more miles on e-bikes. Less recovery stops and refueling time means more shredding!
The Shimano Steps E8000 motor is currently our favorite. The system relies on several factors to give you a natural boost when you need it and less when you don’t. The shifter is located on the left side of the bars and easily lets the pilot choose between Eco, Trail or Boost modes, making it easy to tune the amount of power for your current trail needs.
Geometry on both bikes was pretty spot on for the terrain we were riding in Santa Cruz. If you like the security of having more travel and a slacker head angle for gnarlier terrain, the Trailfox AMP is definitely going to be your preferred option. If you live in an area with more rolling terrain or want a bike that’s going to help you get in big miles, the 29-inch wheeled Speedfox may be worth looking at. We did have one gripe on the spec of the Speedfox AMP however. The stem was too long and affected our confidence on the descents. When you’ve got a motor on your side, having the ability to lean down over the front end on the climbs isn’t really necessary anymore and we believe the bike’s spec should take that into account.
Suspension performance on both bikes was pretty impressive overall. The Speedfox has a less progressive spring rate out back so once again and the fork also felt a little divey, if you’re a heavier rider or want to push this 130mm bike a bit harder, be prepared to add some volume reducers. Small bump sensitivity was on point with the best e-bikes we’ve ridden and when it came time to send the Trailfox deep into some chundery section of trail, it remained composed. Making it our favorite of the two bikes on this day.