Top 10 eMTB reviews of 2020

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It’s been quite a year for new eMTB releases with new models, new tech and new motors all arriving on the eBike scene. Here are our top 10 eMTB reviews of 2020.

2020 YT Decoy Elite

  • Reviewed by: Andi
  • Price: £6299
  • From: YT

Being one of the first ‘gravity orientated’ eMTB’s on the market, the Decoy feels right at home when picking up speed and aimed at the gnarlier side of the trail. I’ve mentioned how much I rate the Fox 38 in previous reviews, but I’ll mention it again. The 38 is my personal pick of big forks for the year I prefer the feel of the damping and find Fox’s setup suggestions to be pretty much spot on. What’s impressive about the 38 is that it looks like a bruiser aimed squarely at eating up hucks to flat, rocks, logs and jumps, but the small bump sensitivity is second to none. In root-infested off-camber tracks, the 38 tracks amazingly thanks to the separate air spring design that isolates chassis flex and movement front the air spring, not something I would think about usually, but on a heavier bike and at faster speeds these improvements are much appreciated.

Andi

Read the full review here.

2021 Marin Alpine Trail E1

  • Reviewed by: Barney
  • Price: £4295
  • From: Marin
Marin Alpine E Trail

This is the more ‘value orientated’ machine, the E1. We get the same frame, suspension from Rockshox’s more modest offerings (a 35 Gold RL fork has 160mm of travel; a Super Deluxe Coil R shock provides 150mm of rear boing) and Shimano’s E7000 drive unit, with a removable 500Wh battery cunningly concealed within the downtube behind a black battery plate. There’s a Deore 10 speed drivetrain, 203mm rotors for stoppage and some decent rubber in Maxxis’ Assegai 2.5 front and Minion DH 2.8 tyres; in a semi-mullet setup (it’s a 29er at the front and a 27.5plus at the back).

Barney

Read the full review here.

2021 Santa Cruz Bullit

The bike that I have been testing, to give it its full title, is the 2021 Santa Cruz Bullit CC X01 Coil Reserve. It’s the fanciest build of all, and it costs a small fortune! While testing the bike I figured that it must be in the realm of £10,000 and the official RRP for this model is a cool £10,499.

Andi

Read the full review here.

2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 8000

  • Reviewed by: Andi
  • Price: £5799.99
  • From: Merida
merida eone-sixty 8000 review

The major change is the battery. Shimano’s BT8035 battery was the first reasonably sized internal battery from the Japanese gear maker and has been adopted by many eMTB makers. The BT8035 offers the same 504Wh capacity, but because it sits inside the downtube it helps to create a better-looking bike while improving the handling with a lower centre of gravity.

Andi

Read the full review here.

2020 Canyon Spectral:On

  • Reviewed by: Sanny
  • Price: from £3929
  • From: Canyon

Taking the old and new model together, Canyon has delivered on their promise of a ground-up redesign. Integration is very much the order of the day. Gone is the fugly external battery of the mark 1 model to be replaced with a fully integrated number. The main triangle is constructed from carbon fibre while the rear triangle is alloy. When I asked the engineers about this, their answer was unequivocal. Carbon in their view is perfect for the main triangle in order to both save weight and increase stiffness while the alloy back end offers greater impact resistance but with the same level of performance as a carbon one. The chainstays have been lengthened by 5mm to 435mm for increased stability on both descents and climbs while the seat tube angle has been steepened to 74.5° for improved climbing ability. The head angle has been relaxed a smidge to 66.5°. Finally, the head tube has been lengthened in order to make the bike handle better when the trails turn steep and technical.

Sanny

Read the full review here.

2020 Giant Reign E+1

  • Reviewed by: Sanny
  • Price: £4999
  • From: Giant
giant reign e+1

Out of the box, it is to my eye a very pretty bike. The two tone orange and red looks fantastic in the real world. Pictures don’t really do it justice. The spec sheet is bang on trend. Giant has opted for a Shimano set up so shifting duties are taken care of by an XT thumb shifter and matching rear mech. The cassette is an SLX 12 speed number with the now almost obligatory dinner plate at the back. When it comes to spending my own hard earned on cassettes, SLX regularly gets my vote so I would not consider it in any way a downgrade. The chain is an ebike specific KMC number while braking duties are taken care of by Shimano’s latest 4 pot XT offerings. 

Sanny

Read the full review here.

2020 Merida eOne Forty

  • Reviewed by: Antony
  • Price: £7000
  • From: Merida
Merida eone forty

The eOne-Forty isn’t a little sibling to the company’s flagship eOne-Sixty (which Mark got acquainted with here). It’s the same carbon frame, with a shorter fork and shock. The result lands firmly in the middle of ‘do everything bike’ territory, with a 66.5 degree head angle and a 76.5 degree seat angle. The frame’s length is middling but not too stumpy, at 450mm reach on our large test bike. If you want to go longer and slacker, the eOne-Sixty ticks both boxes by speccing a longer travel fork and nudging the frames up a size bracket. As a result, the medium eOne-Sixty has the same size frame as the large eOne-Forty.

Antony

Read the full review here.

2020 Orbea Wild FS

  • Reviewed by: Andi
  • From: Orbea
2020 orbea wild fs

There are four off the peg versions of the new 2020 Wild FS, but if you want something a little more personal you could delve into the MyO online customisation tool to really build the bike that you want. Not only does MyO let you choose the colours of your bike, but it also allows you to choose stem length, shock type and add your name or personal message to the frame. Orbea is so open to building you the perfect Wild FS that you can request pretty much any change you like at an additional fee.

Andi

Read the full review here.

Kinesis Rise E-Trail

Kinesis Rise review

The smallest L1 bike has a seat tube length of just 400mm giving ample standover height, but the reach, at 437mm, is longer than most ‘small’ frames. The idea behind this is that riders can choose a bike based on their preferred reach length and not have to deal with too tall a standover height. As the seat tube is, mostly, straight a 170mm length dropper can be specced so you can really fine-tune the geometry to suit your riding style.

Andi

Read the full review here.

Specialized Levo SL

Ever since I tried my first eMTB over 6 years ago I’ve been waiting in anticipation of the time when I’d be able to lift one over my head. It’s been a long wait but now the Specialized Turbo Levo SL is here, that wait is now over.

Mark

Read the full review here.

With the way the industry is moving we’re sure that we will have plenty more eMTB reviews for 2021 so stay tuned!


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