The Different Types of Electric Mountain Bikes

Electric mountain bikes (or eMTBs) are extremely popular, thanks to their versatility and because this discipline is where electric assistance is at its most enjoyable. However, it is important to choose the right type for your needs.

Specialized Turbo Levo Specialized Turbo Levo

There is a wide range to cover every need and the ease of pedalling provided by electric assistance means that the different types are not as restrictive in their use as with conventional bikes. An electric Enduro or trail bike, for example, also performs well on flat terrain. However, using a powerful trail bike just for XC routes or touring would use up more battery power, which is one of the main limitations of e-bikes.

As electric bikes began to gain a foothold in the mountain biking sector they were basically based on just two types: dual suspension bikes with long travel, based on conventional trail and enduro bike designs, and rigid bikes, as the only alternative for those who wanted a lighter bike for technically undemanding routes. Most riders tended to opt for dual suspension, even if it was not needed.

Fortunately, the offer has grown and there are many different types of MTB electric bikes to choose from.

Legislation for Electric Bikes

Before we look at the different types, let's remember that electric-assist bikes, (also known as Pedelecs), are fully equivalent to conventional bikes for legal purposes, as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • They must not exceed a power of 250 W
  • It is necessary to pedal in order for the auxiliary motor to assist pedalling.
  • The electric assistance cuts off if the speed exceeds 25 km/h.

Their certified by the UNE-EN 15194:2009 standard and, when they comply, they are subject to the same regulations as conventional bicycles and are exempt from registration, insurance, driving licence and motor vehicle tax.

It is important to note that some electric bikes exceed these speed and power limitations and may even have a throttle so that the bike can move without pedalling. However, legally, they are considered mopeds, not bikes, and require registration, insurance and a driving licence. Nor can they be ridden on bike lanes or forest roads and tracks, where Pedelecs can be ridden. They are certainly an interesting option for urban use or as a means of transport on roads where their use is permitted, as a much less polluting alternative to vehicles with combustion engines, but we can no longer consider them to be bikes and therefore we will not analyse them in this article.

Hardtail Electric Mountain Bikes

Hardtail eMTBs are suitable for non-technical terrain and even urban or touring use. They usually have 100 mm forks and are the gateway for many new users of eMTBs. These include models such as the Specialized Turbo Tero, Cannodale Trail Neo, Orbea Keram, Giant Talon E+ and Megamo Ridon, among others.

Specialized Turbo Tero Specialized Turbo Tero

Full-suspension XC MTB E-bikes

Like conventional bikes with full-suspension, ebikes are the most versatile with suspensions between 100 and 130 mm. However, most users tend to prefer more generous suspensions and for this reason there are fewer models to choose from in this category. Among these, it is worth highlighting, the BH iLYNX Race.

BH iLynx Race 2022 BH iLynx Race 2022

Full-suspension MTB Trail E-bikes

This type is the undisputed bestseller in the mid and upper ranges, most probably because of the versatility we mentioned earlier. These bikes have a generous 130-150 mm travel and thanks to the electric assistance, give very good performance. So why give up the safety and fun that their geometry and suspension provide?

As we said at the beginning, although these bikes perform well on long, flat routes, the friction of the bigger Trail and Enduro tyres and suspension travel would use up more battery life, although battery life is improving significantly on these bikes for three reasons:

  • Battery capacity is increasing considerably, with the most advanced already exceeding 700 Wh.
  • The leading brands already offer additional batteries (Extender) which are usually installed in a bracket anchored on the bottle cage mount, offering between 200 and 300 Wh extra.
  • The new motors are optimising battery efficiency.

This increased range makes it easier to use these bikes in all circumstances, making them even more popular.

A leading model in this category is the Specialized Turbo Levo, now in its third generation.

Specialized Turbo Levo Gen3 Specialized Turbo Levo Gen3

And models by other brands include the Cannondale Habit Neo, Bh Atom-X Lynx, Orbea Wild FS, Scott Strike Eride, Giant Trance X Advanced E+ and Santa Cruz Heckler.

But we should also highlight a model that has become a real top seller offering alternative solutions to the rest: the Orbea Rise, available in carbon and aluminium versions.

Orbea has opted for a lighter bike, which manages to reduce battery consumption, thanks to the motor design and reduced weight. In its top-of-the-range carbon versions, it weighs just over 16 kg. This allowed them to use a lightweight motor with 65 Nm maximum torque and a 540Wh battery that weighs in at a mere 2.7 kg, which gives sufficient battery life for long routes. But they also offer an additional battery, the Range Extender, which attaches to the bottle cage and increases the total capacity by another 252Wh. This, combined with the geometry, quality, components and price, have turned it into a bestseller.

Orbea Rise H10 2022 Orbea Rise H10 2022

Specialized has taken a innovative and different approach in creating the Turbo Levo SL. Equipped with the new, lightweight Specialized SL 1.1 motor, which is also featured in the Turbo Creo road and gravel bikes and weighs just 1.95 kg. This is achieved by reducing the capacity to 240 W of nominal power and a torque of 35 Nm, compared to the 250 W and 90 Nm offered by the Turbo Levo. The battery has also been reduced in weight, sacrificing capacity. It has an output of 320 Wh, but, with the weight of the bike and the efficiency of the motor, it offers a range of up to 60 km with average use. And it can also be used with the Range Extender additional battery with 160 Wh and a weight of 1 kg, mounted on the bottle cage. This can extend the range by a further 50%.

The Turbo Levo SL is a good choice for those who are looking for an assist, but still want the almost untouched feel of an excellent trail bike like the Stumpjumper. It is not suitable for those who expect the performance of the Turbo Levo, the motor has 90 Nm maximum torque, nor for those who expect a lightweight, record-breaking, weight-assisted XC bike. You can see an in-depth test of the 2021 model in this video.

Full Suspension MTB Enduro E-bikes

The concept of Enduro has been transformed by these e-bikes, making climbs possible that were previously only achieved by carrying your bike or with a ski lift. They maintain the essence of the Enduro bike but take you further, higher and allow a greater number of runs. Featuring travels up to 180 mm, outstanding models include the Turbo Kenevo by Specialized, a reference in this sector, the Cannondale Moterra, Bh Xtep, Giant Reign E+ and Scott Ransom Eride, to name a few.

Specialized Turbo Kenevo Specialized Turbo Kenevo

Final Tips

We recommend you briefly reflect on the use you are going to give to the bike and the models that would best meet your real needs. A wrong choice can be overcome to a degree by the motor assistance, but this is not optimal.

At our Mammoth stores and at you can talk to our specialists and find the widest range of electric bikes. Electric mountain bike brands include: Specialized, Cannodale, Orbea, BH, Giant, Megamo, Scott, Lapierre. Ghost, Mondraker, Santa Cruz, Bergamont, Corratec, Cube and Liv.

You're sure to find the right bike for you!

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