There’s lots of e-MTBs out there now. But there aren’t a huge number of full carbon e-MTBs. One of the benefits of carbon – its lighter weight – isn’t such a benefit on a bike that weighs 21.5kg, but the stiffness of the full carbon chassis translates to a very efficient power transfer from the Shimano motor, and the overall performance of the bike is very good, with a well-balanced ride and capable and hard-wearing equipment throughout.
“The Wisper Wildcat C is the ultimate ride for the serious mountain biker”, says Wisper. “The unique UD carbon frame gives an effective balance between power transfer and comfort when it comes to tearing up the trails as it comes with all the latest technology available.” That frame is constructed from unidirectional U700 carbon fibre and both the front and rear triangles are full carbon. The frame has 150mm of rear travel from the Horst Link rear end, governed by a Trunnion-mounted Rock Shox Deluxe RT shock; that’s matched up front with the same amount of travel from a Rock Shox Yari RC fork. The Wildcat C uses Boost standard axles – very much the de facto standard on e-MTBs these days – and 27.5+ wheels, in this case KT hubs and Alex rims, with 2.8” Schwalbe tyres the interface between you and the trail.
Full carbon and boost axles makes for a stiff chassis, and the stiffness of the Wildcat C is noticeable when you’re out on the trail. It never feels sloppy, and gear changes are crisp and accurate. I’ve ridden other e-MTBs where the power of the motor coupled with the rider’s input is enough to kick the rear end out of of line, sometimes leading to ghost shifting at the rear under heavy load. That was never an issue with the Wisper, it felt very taut even when pushing hard with the motor in Boost mode.
Talking of the motor, it’s Shimano’s E8000 e-MTB motor and you get a choice of either the 418Wh or the 504Wh battery, the latter adding £200 to the overall price. If you’ve read the E-MTB mid motor shootout on ebiketips you’ll know that the Shimano system came out on top there; right now it’s edging out the others in terms of its overall performance, taking everything into account.
The motor has a very progressive feel, and the Trail mode is very responsive, allowing maximum assistance when rider input demands it but pulling right back when you’re soft-pedalling on the flat. In normal riding you rarely need to switch modes, with the Trail mode offering very good range and plenty of help on the climbs. I didn’t have ages on board the Wildcat C, but I managed about 25km of blue and red trails around the Forest of Dean with plenty of climbing, and there was two bars of battery left at the end of that. So for normal trail riding you’ll eke about 40km out of the bigger battery, more if you’re careful or if the terrain is less hilly and technical.
The geometry of the bike will appeal to a pretty wide range of riders. It’s not super-long or slack, but it feels balanced and at home on technical trails. I was riding a size L and if it was my money I’d probably opt for the XL for a bit more room, but I was quite happy tackling reasonably technical terrain on the Wildcat, and the bike responds well to your input and doesn’t have any obvious foibles. In terms of the feel it’s quite a similar ride to the Giant Full E+1 SX Pro I recently tested. For riders like me – I’m happy enough on technical trails but I’m more there to have fun than to push hard at my limits – the Wildcat C was a very able companion. If you’re coming to electric mountain bikes from an enduro/freeride background it might feel a touch traditional, but the market for a bike like this is probably more at the time-pressed leisure end of the market than it is the expert rider. As such, it’s well pitched.
At £5,799 (or £5,599 if you opt for the smaller battery) it’s certainly an expensive bike, but you can pay upwards of £8,000 for a full carbon e-MTB with a spec not dissimilar to this, so it’s decently priced considering the frame quality and the build. I didn’t have enough time on the bike to know how it performs in all conditions (it was a nice sunny day) or how well it stands up to the rigours of continuous use. But first impressions here are very good: if you’re looking for a trail-capable carbon e-MTB then your options aren’t legion, but the Wildcat C should certainly make the shortlist.