2020 eMTB Roundup - Main

2020 eMTB Roundup

Video by Treeline Cinematic
Photos by Dusten Ryen

After having so much fun conducting last year’s ebike shootout, we couldn’t wait to gather as many ebikes as possible for our Second Annual eMTB Roundup. It’s amazing how much better eMTBs have gotten in such a short time, which meant all of our testers had their work cut out for them. This year the Wolf Pack rolled into Palm Springs, California, ready to take on the rocky terrain and loose trails the region is known for. This beautiful winter destination may not be at the top of most mountain biker’s lists, but it should be if you like technical, rocky and fast terrain with epic mountain views.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

After attending a Shimano media camp in Palm Springs several years ago, it has remained high on our list of winter-worthy riding destinations. The trails are fun, physical, and full of rocks and chunder. Punchy, technical climbs yield to equally demanding downhills. Whether you’re doing the monstrous Palm Canyon Epic or sticking closer to the valley floor, there are more trails and offshoots to ride than you’ll have time for in a week-long trip. Be sure to bring sunscreen, heavy-duty tires, a first-aid kit with a comb or pliers for removing cactus, and some knee pads. Also, be sure to watch out for trail sabotage as we had daily run-ins with large boulders behind lips and around blind corners at one popular trail network.

Palm Springs is a fairly general name for a long list of desert cities that back up to the San Jacinto Mountain Range. We actually stayed in Cathedral City, at the Peach Residence, which is an incredibly awesome spot to base your trip from. The house backs up to the wilderness, has a hot tub that we used daily and a refreshing pool for a post-ride dip. Best of all, you can pedal just a short distance down the road to access a spider web of trails. If you go a bit farther south down Highway 111, you’ll also put yourself closer to the Hopalong Cassidy and Art Smith trailheads, which are a lot of fun to ride as well.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Setting - Palm Springs
2020 eMTB Roundup: The Setting - Palm Springs
2020 eMTB Roundup: The Setting - Palm Springs
2020 eMTB Roundup: The Setting - Palm Springs
2020 eMTB Roundup: The Goal

To familiarize ourselves with and test as many ebikes as possible and to provide the best, most trustworthy advice to our readers who are looking to make an eMTB purchase this year.

Although we’ve been doing the mountain bike media thing for a decade now, the eMTB world is still pretty new to us in North America and we’ve had a lot of fun learning what we like about ebikes and more importantly, what’s important to our readers.

Last year we pit all the eMTBs we could gather together in a no-holds barred test to see which bike performed the best. We were purely focused on what bike rode most like a mountain bike in terms of on-trail performance. While we stand behind our choice of the best riding ebike last year, the Norco Sight VLT, we realized that there’s a lot more to it than that. How we ride an eMTB and what we want out of an ebike, could be totally different from a huge group of riders from east coast to west. That’s why this year we segmented the 17 bikes we tested into two categories. Our Trail category features bikes with 150mm or less, of rear wheel travel and the Enduro category is for bikes with 155mm or more, of rear wheel travel.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Setting - Palm Springs

Furthermore, we took both of those categories and selected three winners that are our top recommendations for three broad styles of consumers. Our goal was not to just pick our personal favorite that shredded the sickest, but to pick bikes that would be useful, practical and the best option for different types of riders all over.

Whether you’re looking for your first eMTB to get back on the trails after a decade off the bike, you’re a young shredder looking to self-shuttle your favorite DH spots, or anything in between, we’ve got the information to help you narrow down your search.

2020 eMTB Roundup: Commencal Meta Power 29 Team

COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM
Travel: 160mm
Motor: Shimano E8000
Battery: Shimano E8035, 504Wh
MSRP: $6,299

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro

GIANT REIGN E+ 0 PRO
Travel: 160mm
Motor: Giant SyncDrive Pro
Battery: Giant EnergyPak, 500Wh
MSRP: $8,500

READ THE REVIEW
Kona Remote 160

KONA REMOTE 160
Travel: 160mm
Motor: Shimano E8000
Battery: Shimano E8035, 504Wh
MSRP: $5,999

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Norco Range VLT C1

NORCO RANGE VLT C1
Travel: 170mm
Motor: Shimano E8000
Battery: In-Tube Battery, 630Wh
MSRP: $7,499

READ THE REVIEW
Orbea Wild FS M10

ORBEA WILD FS M10
Travel: 160mm
Motor: BOSCH Performance CX Cruise
Battery: BOSCH Powertube, 625Wh
MSRP: $7,299

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Specialized Kenevo Expert

SPECIALIZED KENEVO EXPERT
Travel: 180mm
Motor: Specialized 2.1
Battery: Specialized M2-700, 700Wh
MSRP: $8,225

READ THE REVIEW
YT Decoy Pro Race

YT DECOY CF PRO RACE
Travel: 165mm
Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000
Battery: SMP YT Custom, 540Wh
MSRP: $6,599

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Bulls Copperhead EVO AM3

BULLS COPPERHEAD EVO AM3
Travel: 140mm
Motor: Bosch Performance CX Sport
Battery: Bosch Powertube, 625Wh
MSRP: $5,899

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Devinci DC GX 11S

DEVINCI DC GX 11S
Travel: 150mm
Motor: Shimano E8000
Battery: Shimano E8035, 504Wh
MSRP: $6,899

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Fezzari Wire Peak

 FEZZARI WIRE PEAK PRO
Travel: 140mm
Motor: Shimano E8000
Battery: Shimano E8035, 504Wh
MSRP: $5,599

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: GT-E Force AMP

GT-E FORCE AMP
Travel: 150mm
Motor: Shimano E8000
Battery: Shimano E8035, 504Wh
MSRP: £4,199.99

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Haibike Xduro AllMtn 6.0

HAIBIKE XDURO ALL MTN 6.0
Travel: 150mm
Motor: Bosch Performance CX
Battery: Bosch PowerTube, 500Wh
MSRP: $6,699

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Norco Sight VLT C1 29

NORCO SIGHT VLT C1 29
Travel: 150mm
Motor: Shimano E8000
Battery: In-Tube, 630Wh
MSRP: $7,499

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay Carbon 70

ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTINCT POWERPLAY CARBON 70
Travel: 140mm
Motor: Dyname 3.0
Battery: Fully Integrated Li-Ion, 672Wh
MSRP: $7,999

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Specialized Turbo Levo

SPECIALIZED TURBO LEVO EXPERT
Travel: 150mm
Motor: Specialized 2.1
Battery: Turbo M2-700, 700Wh
MSRP: $8,250

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Trek Rail 9.9

TREK RAIL 9.9
Travel: 150mm
Motor: Bosch Performance CX
Battery: Bosch PowerTube, 625Wh
MSRP: $11,999

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Riders
2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Drew Rohde

DREW ROHDE
37 | 5’11” | 165 lbs

Former ebike hater who’s fully embraced the Boost Life. He lives for raw, natural trails with lots of rough sections where you have to work to find flow and natural gaps. Drew has been testing and riding nearly 20 bikes a year, for the last ten years, making his depth of knowledge and experience aboard a wide variety of platforms incredibly deep. He regularly uses hand/foot feedback as a barometer for how suspension handles repeated high-speed hits or chatter on his favorite trails and doesn’t love the trend of making every bike a “flow trail” bike with super long, low and slack geometry numbers.

You may not know: Drew drinks Mountain Dew to get jacked up and eats too many burritos. He also has a theory that the best things in life are round, ask him about it.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Sourpatch

SEAN “SOURPATCH” LEICHT
29 | 6’1” | 160 lbs

As someone who hates climbing, it was odd that Sourpatch resisted riding an ebike for so long. He’s now a convert and loves zipping to the top of his favorite downhills. Sourpatch isn’t a big suspension tweaker or bike set up kinda guy. He likes to get on and go and let the factory settings be his guide. He’s a good barometer for the average consumer who may not spend a lot of time testing and tuning the bike from the shop floor. Sean likes jumping, steep downhills and hitting berms.

You may not know: Not an exaggeration when we say he hasn’t eaten a vegetable in years. If it ain’t neon, he ain’t eating it. He also doesn’t like sauce, or anything that’s not bagged for that matter.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - the Carbon Clydesdale

DAVE “THE CARBON CLYDESDALE” ANDERSON
37 | 5’11” | 235 lbs

Our ringer this year in the Dadvanced rider category, Dave is an extremely busy business owner with a wife and two young kids. Dave took time away to come offer us a consumer’s perspective since he’s still got to pay for all his bike stuff, unlike us spoiled editors that are out of touch. Dave used to do some DH racing back in the day and has rekindled his love of mountain biking in the last five years and ebikes have allowed him to hit the trails even more regularly and lose weight faster than his pedal bikes did.

You may not know: There’s just way too much to get into here…But Dave’s the only person we know who’s vape juice to oxygen ratio is nearly 50/50.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Nic U-Turn Hall

NIC “U-TURN” HALL
33 | 5’10” | 160 lbs

Recovering XC-dork turned endurbro, Nic Hall loves training, pedaling to stay fit and drinking gluten free beers. He’d never eaten El Pollo Loco until our trip and has joined the rest of the Pack as a full-blown ebike convert. Nic still loves going out for long training pedals, but now he can cover twice as much ground, get even more descents and shake his head in disbelief that his heart rate monitor actually tells him he’s getting a better workout on these ebikes. He’s also our resident Medic, and we’re glad we haven’t had to use his services very often.

You May Not Know: Nic has earned the reputation of being “The married bachelor.” Despite having a wife and two young daughters, Nic is always making the rest of us jealous with his new toys and willingness to say, “Yes” to whatever adventure gets thrown his way.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Ryan

RYAN “FRENCHIE” GAGNON
36 | 6’0” | 160lbs

The loose goose – Frenchie has been helping Drew test bikes for a number of years and is almost guaranteed to either break a part or crash trying. As a new dad, Frenchie’s riding time went from some to none real quick. He’s just now getting back on the bike and enjoying the benefits of ebiking as they allow him to get more DH laps in during his short pre-work rides. He represents the hardcore shredder who’s looking to ride fast and hard.

You may not know: Frenchie is partially blind in one eye after a high-heel incident at a party.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Michael Darter

MICHAEL DARTER
52.75 | 5’9” | 158lbs

Darter is an absolute maniac on the bike. He’s an inspiration to us younger guys that age is just a number and we can still shred once we’re, “Over the hill” (sorry Darter ha ha.) We can best describe Darter’s riding skills and fitness are impressive both up and down the mountain. He’s constantly bouncing, hopping and popping wheelies over anything and everything. While he’s a mountain goat of a climber he’s also a more-than-capable descender, having won a U.S. National DH title some time ago.

You may not know: After some rather innocent questioning, Darter rather bluntly admitted that he “may” have an addiction to caffeine…and he also has to keep his love of ebikes hidden from his wife.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Roy Clark

ROY CLARK
30 | 6’0” | 185 lbs

With three years of off-and-on riding experience, Roy represents a very large segment of riders who have the confidence and willingness to push the limits, but are still working on perfecting the techniques to go faster and ride gnarlier terrain. Roy isn’t the fastest descender and he has a tendency to puke if we push him too hard on the climbs, but he’s always down to give it a 100%. Never afraid to roll into a gnarly trail and walk if he needs to, Roy is a solid intermediate rider who doesn’t love big gap jumps or drops, but will test himself on steep, technical terrain.

You may not know: Roy has crop dusted celebrities.

SHAUN SNYDER
28 | 5’9” | 185lbs

With plenty of years of casual riding experience under his belt, Shaun rates himself as an “Above average” level rider. He lives in Southern California and rides trails like Space Mountain, Dead Cow and Sycamore Canyon quite regularly. Shaun hadn’t spent very much time on ebikes before prepping for the eMTB Roundup, but luckily, he got to ride many of our test bikes on his home trails before coming to Palm Springs because the desert took him out pretty quick.

You may not know: Shaun holds two stats in our casualty list that he earned in one crash! Four stitches to the chin and a fractured wrist. Nicely done sir, we appreciate your sacrifice.

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Brian Niles | Treeline Cinematics

VIDEO
BRIAN NILES
@TreelineCinematic

CAMERAS
RED EPIC Helium
Sony A7SII
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K
DJI Ronin M

LENSES & ACCESSORIES
Canon 70-200L
Canon 24-70L
Sony 25mm Batis
Sony Zeiss 55mm
Sony Zeiss 24-70mm
GoPro Hero8
Sennheiser Mics
Rode Shotgun Mic

2020 eMTB Roundup: The Crew - Dusten Ryen

PHOTO
DUSTEN “GINGER SAM ELLIOT” RYEN
@dustenryen

CAMERAS
Sony A7III
Sony A7RII

LENSES
Sony G-Master 24-70mm
Sony G-Master 16-35mm
Sigma 35mm
Canon 70-200mm

2020 eMTB Roundup - The Winners
2020 eMTB Roundup - Orbea Wild FS - Most Verstaile eMTB

ALL MOUNTAIN
ORBEA WILD FS M10

The Orbea Wild FS is what we would consider the jack-of-all-trades. It isn’t the all-out DH racer’s self-shuttle dream bike, but we believe that this is the most practical bike for the largest group of riders. The geometry keeps the bike fun and lively, the suspension works incredibly well and the Bosch Cruise CX is a standout feature. Be sure to read our detailed review and see if this is the right bike for you.

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: YT Decoy Pro Race - All-Out Shredder

ALL OUT SHREDDER
YT DECOY CF PRO RACE

When you think of having a bike that will let you self-shuttle all your favorite downhill trails and then absolutely slay them on the way back down, the updated 2020 Decoy is your ticket. It doesn’t have the greatest range, isn’t the best for mellower trails or casual seated riders, but if you want to get up and hammer down, this is your rig.

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup - Specialized Kenevo - Big Mountain

BIG MOUNTAIN
SPECIALIZED KENEVO EXPERT

Without a doubt one of our favorite bikes of the roundup, the Kenevo blew minds up and down the trail. Don’t write this bike off just because it’s got a dual-crown fork! It is a climbing machine and is a bomber coming down. Great range and power thanks to the 700Wh battery and Specialized 2.1 motor and well-rounded geometry give this bike the ultimate do-it-all ride for riders that want to pedal, explore but have a slight bias towards trails that point down hill.

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Trek Rail 9.9

MOST VERSATILE
TREK RAIL 9.9

Yes, this is the most expensive bike in the roundup. No, we don’t think that’s the only reason it won, and to be honest, we wouldn’t even recommend most shoppers buy the 9.9. The 9.8 comes in at $7,999 and features many of the same awesome features. Trek made a huge leap from last year’s Powerfly to the Rail and we’re glad they did. Just edging out the Specialized Levo, the Trek Rail’s geometry, Bosch Performance CX motor and overall on-trail attitude left our testers thinking, “This bike just does it all a little bit better than the rest.”

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup - Norco Sight VLT 29 C1 - Mini Shredder

MINI-SHREDDER
NORCO SIGHT VLT 29 C1

Last year the Norco Sight VLT won our eMTB of the year. For 2019 they made major changes, and to be honest, we don’t love them all. The bike went from being the all-around most versatile and fun ebike we’d ridden to a very purpose-built mini-shred sled. It is no longer the lively, fun and snappy trail bike it’s 27.5 little brother was. What it lost in playfulness on mellower, flatter and tighter trails, it gained in absolute confidence, speed control and shredding. If you don’t need 160mm or rear wheel travel but want a self-shuttle ebike to let you bang out flow trail laps or new-school trails, this bike is a rocket!

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup: Devinci DC GX 11 - Wolf in Sheep

WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
DEVINCI DC GX 11

The bike that surprised us all! This bike looks a couple years behind the curve yet it was always at the front of the line when we were charging up for the next day’s ride. Devinci absolutely nailed the performance of this bike, although we wish it did look a bit more refined. The suspension performance, liveliness, sensitivity and all-around capabilities as a trail bike make this an easy recommendation. If they can keep the suspension, handling and fun on this bike and just drop some pounds and refine the aesthetics for 2021, we could have a dream machine on our hands.

READ THE REVIEW
2020 eMTB Roundup - Schwalbe Tires
2020 eMTB Roundup - Bontrager
2020 eMTB Roundup - Fasthouse
2020 eMTB Roundup - Smith Optics
2020 eMTB Roundup - G-Form
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2020 eMTB Roundup
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2020 eMTB Roundup
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2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
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2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup
2020 eMTB Roundup