Introduction to E-MTBs and Our Top Picks

In this article we will compare and explore e-mountain bikes. We will also give you a quick non-technical description of what an e-bike is. With Electric bikes representing one of the fastest growing segments of the Australian cycling industry. Many mountain bike race events are now starting to feature e-bike classes. Interested in checking out some brands head to or check out e-bikes here.

Although those of us who prefer 100% pedal power it can be heart breaking when these bikes sail by us up those big climbs!

It’s still a great way to get more people out on bikes, enjoying the ride and I think we will all agree that’s a good thing for cycling! As the market grows, expect to see more and more competitive price options and variants across this range of bikes.    

What are E-bikes?

Advancements in technology have led to in ‘e’ becoming part of many things such as eStore, eMail and even eBuddies. E-bike is another example of how technology is revolutionizing things around us, including good old MTBs. Electric-powered bikes are not a brand-new concept, they have been around since quite some time (first documented in 1890s). An E-bike (where “E” stands for electric) looks, feels and performs like a regular bike for the most part.

Benefits of E-Bikes

What really differentiates an e-bike from a regular bike is the electric motor, which are usually integrated so well that you might have to look closely to spot one. That’s one of the reasons why e-bikes are gaining popularity as they look and feel like a regular MTB. 

The main advantage e-MTBs have over regular MTBs is that they allow riders to explore new terrains and go much further without getting exhausted. With this being said, is there a downside? Well possibly, with the bike weighing in heavier than your standard MTB, monitoring the range when out on the trails is important.  

Some e-bikes only have a small electric motor for partial assistance, while more powerful ones provide moped-style functionality. What’s common in all e-bikes is the rider’s ability to pedal the bike manually, which means e-bikes don’t actually fall into the category of electric motorcycles in most countries. (each country is different and you should check your local laws).  

Some common characteristics of e-bikes/e-MTBs include:

  • They use rechargeable batteries.
  • Most modern e-bikes use Li-ion, NiMH or NiCd batteries
  • Can pedal-assist up to 25 Km/h (more powerful e-bikes can have a max speed of up to 45 km/h)
  • Are a great alternative to fossil fuel based bikes, scooters and small motorcycles
  • Are classified as bicycles so not subject to stringent laws in most parts of the world
  • Depending on where you live, e-bikes are available in different shapes and design variations such as tricycles for the disabled, cargo e-bikes and foldable e-bikes 

Types of E-Bikes

It’s not easy to classify e-bikes and their definition varies from one country to another. However, there are two main types of e-bikes that can be classed according to the power output and control system. 

Pedal Assist E-Bikes

Pedaling regulates the electric motor in these bikes, which are also known as pedelecs and mainly designed to augment rider’s pedaling efforts. Pedelecs have a sensor that detects pedaling speed and/or force as well as brake activation to stop the motor.  Pedelecs can further be classed into pedelecs proper and S-Pedelecs.

Pedelecs proper are low-power (usually less than 250 Watts) pedal-assist only e-bikes classed as bicycles, while S-Pedelecs are more powerful (more than 250 Watts) and not classed as bicycles in some countries. The motor of an S-Pedelecs keeps assisting the rider until a specific speed limit is achieved (usually 25 km/h). That’s why these e-bikes are normally classed as an electric motorcycle/moped in some countries.

Power-on-demand E-Bikes

These e-bikes have an electric motor that can be activated using a throttle, which is mounted to the handle bar. PoD e-bikes are more powerful than Pedelecs and allow the rider to ride the bike in three different modes i.e. completely human powered, fully motor powered or hybrid powered. Since these e-bikes do have pedals, it’s debatable whether they should be classed as mopeds or bicycles.

Our Picks for Best Pedal-assist E-Bikes

Here are some of the best pedal-assist e-bikes that have been carefully selected keeping different budgets and price-to-value ratio in mind.

GIANT FATHOM E+ 3 29 2020

(MSRP AU $3,499)

Have a look at the Fathom range available at Bike Chaser here.

The hardtail E-bike is an affordable yet feature-packed option for riders who want to ride further with ease and comfort. It’s suitable for single-track and XC terrain and delivers instantaneous and smooth power. The riding experience for the most part is similar to a regular MTB, while the looks are also fairly similar as the battery is integrated into the frame.

Key features and specifications

  • 400Wh/36V battery (EnergyPak Smart) integrated into the frame
  • The battery pack can be easily unplugged from the bike for charging
  • Lightweight ALUXX aluminum frame
  • Up to 25Km/h
  • Trail-friendly geometry
  • Instantaneous and smooth delivery of power
  • 120mm suspension fork
  • RideControl ONE for controlling all settings
  • Available sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Hydraulic brakes and levers (Tektro HDM285)
  • Giant PedalPlus 6-sensor tech
  • 29 x 2.4 inch Maxxis Ardent EXO tires for better handling and control

Specialized Turbo Levo

(MSRP AUS $7,000)

Specialized Turbo Levo range available at

Turbo Levo is designed for riders who want to explore and ride more trails on an e-bike without compromising on features. This e-MTB comes with all the features that modern technology riders expect from a premium product and the specialized claim it to be their best-connected e-bike to date.

Key features and specifications

  • Sidearm frame design
  • Specialized M2-500 500Wh battery
  • Smart Control via Bluetooth
  • RockShox Sektor RL fork
  • 29” alloy wheels
  • 11-speed SRAM NX/S700 shifting
  • RockShox Deluxe RT rear shock (150mm travel with custom air valve)
  • SRAM Level T Hydraulic brakes
  • M5 Premium Aluminum frame

Trance E+ 1 Pro 2019

(MSRP AUS $7,000)

Looking for your local store head to and check out the Trance range here

Trance E+ is designed for longer loops, faster uphill climbs and provides more power to extend adventures. The 500 Wh battery can provide up to 80Nm torque, while smooth suspension and geometry helps tackle single-track technical trails like a pro.

Key features and specifications

  • ALUXX SL-grade aluminum frame
  • Motor powered by Yamaha (SyncDrive Pro), 80Nm torque
  • Giant PedalPlus 4-sensor tech
  • 500Wh/36V/13.8 Ah Li-ion battery pack
  • Fox Float Performance fork and shock
  • SRAM GX Eagle rear derailleur and Shifter
  • SRAM Code R hydraulic brakes and levers (200mm)
  • 27.5 x 2.6 inches Maxxis Minion (front) and Maxxis Rekon (rear) tires


(MSRP AUS $7,999)

Find your local Norco Sight bike store here at 

This no-corners-cut MTB has all the qualities of an aggressive Norco MTB plus capable and powerful electric assistance. The lightweight bike is ready for all terrains, while a balanced geometry and centered riding position making slow-speed climbing a breeze. The pedal assist stops working when the rider stops pedaling, which means riders will get a riding experience close to riding an authentic MTB.

Key features and specifications

  • 630W powerful battery (In-Tube)
  • Shimano E8000 drive unit
  • Optimized suspension kinematics
  • Carbon frame, Shimano Motor Mount
  • Built-in charging port, battery can be charged without removing from the frame
  • 27.5 x 2.6 inch DHF/DHF II Maxxis Minion tires
  • SRAM Guide Hydraulic brakes (200mm rotor)


Well we don’t really think you can go wrong, the FATHOM E+ 3 29 2020 is a great option for riders looking for a decent e-bike at a reasonable price. It comes with all the basics and allows riders to go further and explore more. 

Specialized Turbo Levo and Giant Trance E+ 1 Pro 2019 are priced similarly so it mainly comes down to personal preferences and aesthetics when selecting between the two. 

The Norco SIGHT VLT C2 costs more than these two, but comes with the reliability people expect from a premium Norco bike, added power and optimized suspension for even more fun.


Head to your local bike store for the best service and advice when it comes to ebikes. Jump onto 


Header photo thanks to Hermann Schmider


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