10 Most Asked Q's
Revolution MTB|Issue 60
Having spent the year listening to questions from e-mtb riders from right across the country there’s a handful of questions that keep popping up time and time again. And so in this article we’ll set out to give the answers to the 10 most commonly asked things about e-bikes in year crazy year that was 2020.
Darren Mallard

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ENTRY-LEVEL E-BIKE AND THE TOP-LEVEL BIKES?

Okay, so let’s use the Merida E-One Sixty 300 as the benchmark for entry-level and the Santa Cruz Heckler top build as examples. The Merida comes in at $5,999, and for that, you’ll get, Suntour Suspension, Shimano Deore Groupset, and entry-level four-piston brakes. All of that is bolted to a 160mm alloy frame, while an E7000 motor from Shimano assists the bike. The Geo is modern(ish) with a 65.5 head angle, 439.5 mm chainstays and has a reach of 460mm on a large. On the other end of the spectrum, many, many, many miles away is the Santa Cruz Bullit. It is a premium 170mm carbon fiber frame powered by the new EP8 motor and is littered with Kashima coated Fox Factory goodness. The bike comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame along with a lifetime supply of pivot bearings. A Sram X01 drivetrain takes care of transferring power, super-powerful Code RSC brakes take care of stopping this monster and Reserve carbon rims make sure you won’t be stuck with broken wheels in the middle of nowhere. There are more modern geo numbers like a 475mm reach (LG), 64-degree head angle, and 449mm chainstays. So in summary, literally just about everything is different!

CAN’T I UPGRADE THE PARTS ON MY E-MTB AS I GO?

Here is the thing, new parts are rad, and upgrading the bike to your personal preference is amazingly fun. However, it is rarely the most cost-effective route, let alone dealing with the multiple standards. Let’s look at upgrading some parts on the E-One-Sixty. Carbon wheels would be the logical place to start, and a decent set of those will set you back at least $3,000. Next would be suspension at around $1,700 for some 38 Factory forks and $1,000 for a factory rear shock. The Code RSC brakes are about $700 with discs, and the rest of the groupset is upwards of $1200. So, the total cost is around $7,600 for parts and depending on what shop you would be looking at about $500 labor for the parts swap. This would bring the total cost of the bike to $14,100. While that may seem like a whole lot cheaper, it doesn’t necessarily mean the bikes will ride the same. Firstly the geometry is a whole lot different, and while there are ways to change this, none of them always translate as they should. The carbon is going to be a much lighter bike while retaining the desired stiffness. A better frame with better Geo (for you) will always be the better bike, not to mention the motor upgrade on the Bullit. That takes the Bullit to a whole different world of riding.

WHAT UPGRADES AM I GOING TO NOTICE THE MOST PERFORMANCE GAIN AND BENEFITS FROM DOING TO MY BIKE?

Firstly E-Bikes are heavier and often carry a lot more speed, so brakes are the main point of call for a cost-effective upgrade. Usually, Shimano Saints, SRAM Code RSC’s or Formula Cura 4s are my go-to.

On any value-orientated bike, wheels are often akin to boat anchors laced to cheese. A good set of wheels can drastically change a bike’s ride. DT Swiss is always an excellent place to start; they even offer oBike specific wheels like the HX1501 wheelset.

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