Just like the world of unassisted mountain bikes, it is often electric mountain bikes where new tech launches first, which can make identifying the best eMTBs a little difficult. There are plenty of choices, from full-suspension eMTBs to hardtails, and even leisure eMTBS. So whatever terrain you choose to ride, be it bike parks or wild trails - or even the towpath - there’s an eMTB for you. If, however, you’re not sure a full on eMTB is best for your riding, read our overall guide to the best electric bikes to find some alternatives.
Above a certain price point, most, if not all, electric mountain bikes will use a mid-drive motor. This is the motor of choice as it provides superior balance and power transfer compared to hub motors. Additionally, the almost instant assistance can help to inspire confidence when riding up tricky ascents or over obstacles.
There is a big price variation in eMTBs, and some of them are eye-wateringly expensive. However, depending on what sort of riding you want to do, you can find a decent value bike for a couple of thousand pounds (and sometimes even below that).
Best electric mountain bikes 2023
- Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 500 - best leisure eMTB | £1,999 from Evans Cycles
- Riese & Muller Superdelite Mountain Rohloff - best eMTB tourer | £7,470.99 from Electric Bike Sales
- Canyon Spectral:ON CF8 e-MTB - best electric trail bike | £5,249 from Canyon
- Scott Genius 900 Ultimate - best for big budgets | £11,999 from Ebikeshop.co.uk
- Volt Alpine - best hub motor eMTB | £2,199 from Volt
- Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp - best lightweight eMTB | £3,999 from Leisure Lakes Bikes
- Vitus E-Sommet VRX - best enduro eMTB | £4,499 from Wiggle
- Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 9.0 - best electric hardtail | £3,199 from Canyon
- Whyte E-160 RSX 29 - best Bosch equipped eMTB | £6,999 from Leisure Lakes Bikes
- Decathlon Rockrider E-ST 520 - best eMTB under £2,000 | £1,599 from Decathlon
Aimed towards the leisure end of the eMTB scale, the Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 500 is a good value offering that could also work well as a commuting bike, if your journey warrants it. Since we reviewed this in 2021, there have been some updates and a newer model, which comes with Bosch’s new Smart System, although the motor offering remains the same.
It handled our test rides along the Pennines and the Cinder Track rail path well, with the Bosch Performance Line mid-drive motor impressing Richard with its performance and range, with 40-50 miles happily within the battery’s budget. Also for your money, you get a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain and an SR Suntour 100mm coil-sprung fork.
For more detail, read our review of the Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 500 (2021).
One for those with deeper pockets, the Riese & Muller Superdelite Mountain Rohloff is a touring beast for any riders looking for something that can handle long-distance off-road rides. It comes with dual batteries which together provide 1,125Wh of capacity. (Thi is what is denoted by the ‘Superdelite’ part of the name.)
While this does mean the bike tips the scale at 28kg, it’s still capable when things get a bit technical, and thanks to the top of the range Bosch mid-drive motor, it’s barely noticeable when you’re riding. Tester Richard tried the bike around the South Pennines, and reported that the bike, “ate up every incline put in front of it, no matter how steep or difficult. The climbs were mainly of the broad but very bouldery variety, with rock steps and certainly plenty of serious gradients.”
For more detail, read our review of the Riese & Muller Superdelite Mountain Rohloff.
If you’re after an electric trail shredder that’s also decent value, then the Canyon Spectral:ON CF8 e-MTB is worth consideration. With 150mm of travel up front and 155mm at the rear, and a mullet wheel set up (29” and 27.5”), it’s a highly capable bike and thanks to recent geometry tweaking, is set up for more all-round performance than before.
Our sister site off-road.cc had this to say in their review: “The Canyon Spectral:ON CF8 is a bike that devours descents without compromising its all-round trail manners. While its tall front end requires some attention on particularly steep climbs, its real appeal is nestled within its descending prowess. Add to that its relatively lightweight build and great value for money and it's a no-brainer as far as bargains go.”
For more detail, read off-road.cc’s Canyon Spectral:ON CF8 e-MTB review.
Got a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket and a desire to ride fast on the trails? The Scott Genius 900 Ultimate is big in price but big in fun factor too. Featuring a sleek silhouette and a great balance of stiffness with efficiency and capability, it’s one of the best electric trail bikes money can buy.
Using the latest Bosch Gen 4 Performance CX motor, paired with a 750Wh battery and Kiox 300 display, expect the best of the best on this bike. Off-road.cc had this to say in their verdict of the 900 Ultimate: “For top-shelf cash, you get nothing but top-shelf componentry, that ridiculously light and stiff HMX carbon frame, and of course, the tech and R&D that’s been invested into this beautifully designed bike. It’s an exotic bike, to say the least, and it turns heads.”
For more detail, read off-road.cc’s Scott Genius 900 Ultimate review.
The first mountain bike offering from the British brand Volt, the Alpine impressed our tester Richard despite the use of a rear hub motor. At £2,199 it undercuts a lot of the bigger brands but still offers decent performance for the price. The Alpine features the same Spintech branded Bafang rear motor that is seen throughout the Volt range, and it is paired with a torque sensor.
The 504Wh battery is removable and our 70kg tester managed 40 miles of off-road on one charge. If that’s not enough, you can buy bigger batteries for more range. The front forks are Suntour X1 with 120mm travel which suggests this isn’t something for particularly technical trails, but a fun ride off-road nonetheless.
For more detail, read our review of the Volt Alpine.
Specialized has taken the best bits of their unassisted trail bikes and kept the lightweight theme running in electric form. The Turbo Levo SL Comp is ideal for flowy trails and longer adventures as some of the components hold it back over more technical sections - but the SL 1.1 motor provides a high quality natural ride feel.
The motor only provides up to 35Nm of torque, which compared to some of the bigger mid-drive motors like Bosch’s top offering is quite a significant drop. However, tester Rachael found this didn’t impact the overall ride that much.
“The Levo SL's power delivery is smooth and will get you speedily from bottom to top... if not quite as fast as a Levo, it is a great deal faster than an acoustic bike.”
For more detail, read off-road.cc’s review of the Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp.
Although currently out of stock on Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, if you’re after a hard-hitting enduro e-bike, then the Vitus E-Sommet VRX is worth seeking out. The geometry favours the descents, making it highly capable as an enduro rig, but the Shimano Steps EP8 motor means you’ll have no issues heading up the trail either.
You also get a 630Wh internal battery for plenty of trail runs, and the RockShox components are top of the range ZEB Ultimate forks and a Super Deluxe Ultimate RCT shock. It’s not a light bike, but if going fast downhill with a bit of help for the ride back up is what you’re after, the E-Sommet VRX should be a consideration.
For more detail, read off-road.cc’s 2022 Vitus E-Sommet VRX review.
The 9 is the flagship Grand Canyon:ON, and for good reason. An all-round performer, this electric hardtail pairs Shimano’s powerful EP8 motor with a 630Wh battery for plenty of performance and range for your off-road adventures. This is new for the latest model, and an update from the bike we reviewed in 2020. You also get a 12-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain to boot.
Reviewer Jon summed up his feelings on the bike nicely. “If you're after a versatile e-bike that's more than capable of hitting dirt trails as well as being used for all manner of other activities, then Grand Canyon:ON AL 9.0 is a very polished package. There's an awful lot to like, with refined handling and an excellent drive unit with very clean integration and well-thought-out kit, along with the usual excellent value for money.”
For more detail, read off-road.cc’s Canyon Grand Canyon:ON AL 9.0 2020 review.
Whether you’re racing e-enduro or just wanting to ride more laps of the bike park, the Whyte E-160 RSX 29 is a complete package eMTB with a top spec to boot. It uses Bosch’s newest motor, the Performance Line CX Smart System.
We haven’t had the chance to ‘live with’ the bike just yet, but we were invited to a demo day when the bike was launched. The price might be quite difficult to overlook, but for the spec and overall performance, it’s definitely one of the best eMTBs out there.
For more detail, read off-road.cc’s First Ride: Whyte E-160 RSX 29.
One of the best value eMTBs you’ll likely find on the market, the Decathlon Rockrider E-ST 520 isn’t just slung together with cheap components that will fall apart at the first sight of a drop-off. Rare at this price point is a mid-drive motor, namely the BROSE T, which provides up to 70Nm of torque so should be more than capable for most obstacles.
Up front you get a RockShox XC30 120mm coil sprung fork, so while you won’t be riding particularly technical trails on this eMTB, it’ll still help take the sting out of undulating terrain off-road.
How to choose the best electric mountain bike
What is the best electric mountain bike brand?
There’s no one brand that is head and shoulders above the rest in the eMTB world. The motor and battery technology is generally shared across brands with the differences lying in the frame designs and componentry. Many brands have jumped into the eMTB market, so you’ve got plenty of choice.
What styles of electric mountain bikes are there?
Just like unassisted bikes, there are both electric hardtails and electric full-suspension bikes available. Hardtails have only front suspension (in the forks), and typically have less travel than a full-suspension bike.
Electric full-suspension bikes have suspension forks and also a rear shock that provides suspension to the rear part of the bike’s frame. Hardtails are typically cheaper and easier to maintain, but full-suspension bikes are more capable and can tackle more technical terrain.
What wheel sizes are available on electric mountain bikes?
Similarly to unassisted mountain bikes, electric mountain bikes are usually available with either 27.5” or 29” wheels. On rare occasions there may be 650b wheels, but these are typically reserved for the smaller frames.
What motors are used on electric mountain bikes?
The vast majority of electric mountain bikes now use mid-drive motors. These are motors positioned at the cranks and are far more effective for balance, off-road handling and power at lower speeds compared to hub-mounted motors.
You can expect a 250W motor but with higher levels of torque than other types of electric bike. The top Bosch motors can produce up to 85Nm of torque, for example. The levels of assist will vary depending on the motor and manufacturer, but for the best experience, look for a motor that provides natural feeling assistance rather than something that surges as this should ensure you feel in control of the bike.