It’s pretty crazy to think that when Loam Wolf started back in 2017, I was not a fan of eMTBs. To be fair, my distaste wasn’t purely based on elitism. At the time, compared to their non-electrified counterparts, eBikes were pretty unimpressive for the most part. Fast forward to the 2023 eMTB Shootout and our entire crew has been blown away with the progression in eMTB performance, yet again. Now in its 5th year, The Loam Wolf eMTB Shootout has proven to be an eye-opening experience for our testers. The performance, technology and level of riding we’re capable of doing on these full-power eBikes just keeps getting better. With our test period and filming complete, our crew is hard at work editing video, writing reviews, and laying out the series in hopes of entertaining, and also giving the best information possible for those in the market for a new electric mountain bike.
So, over the years what exactly has changed our minds most when it comes to eMTBs? The biggest change has been the increased amount of fun, fewer broken parts and the reduction in complaints when it comes to critically analyzing eBikes. Early eMTBs barely resembled mountain bikes on the trail. They were heavy, had overly soft suspension and ride quality and also struggled with durability, not to mention the clunky displays, and electronic woes. In the last couple of years eMTBs have gotten so good that that we’re very rarely, if ever, saying, “I would hit this on a normal bike, but not on an eBike.” Similarly, we’re also not breaking spokes or denting rims regularly and many brands have improved motor tunes, suspension performance, and app integration. That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, we still have a ways to go, but as far as on-trail performance, 2023 eMTBs are leaps ahead of what we first tested just a few years back.
Each year we document the stats from our testing period and the reduction in parts breaking, loose hardware, electrical issues and other component failures improves. That’s not to say we came out unscathed though as there were a few freak accidents and a couple interesting developments which we’ll cover in our detailed reviews coming soon.
We do not charge any of the bike brands to be involved, there is no barrier to entry or requirement for them to be advertisers or supporters in any way. As you’ll undoubtedly notice, there are bikes missing from this eBike group review: some that you really wanted to see, and some that we really wanted to ride. We did not exclude anyone intentionally and did our best to invite as many brands as we could, but we must be conscious of the time and cost it requires to create such a production and to ensure we do the participants justice by riding each bike enough to truly know it. As far as those not in attendance, some brands may have an updated bike in the pipeline, others may not have inventory, while others just may want to keep their bike out of such competitive group comparison tests, but regardless of the reason, we want you to know that we did our best to compile a competitive and worthwhile assortment of the latest and best eMTBs for 2023.
This year, with the amazing help of Fox Racing and Schwalbe Tires, our crew was able to review 13 eMTBs in the rocky terrain of Central Oregon before heading over to Pacific City, Oregon for some amazing days in the loam zone. If you’d like to visit Pacific City, Oregon, we’d highly suggest checking out a rental from our good friends at Kiwanda Properties. You could even stay in the same swanky beach-side house they hooked us up with for the week! We’d also like to thank Bros and Hoes Landscaping and Arika’s Cooking for providing us a great HQ on the coast.