Now that electric mountain bikes are powerful and in a manageable size, they can provide a viable connection with the outdoors. You no longer have to be athletic to ride a bike into the mountainous ruggedness or even bike to work. Most electric bikes keep you going for dozens of miles, even if they do not feature self-charging.
The best part is that electric bikes have become more affordable, given declining battery pack prices. It is expected that the 25% tariff on bike imports may soon disappear as global supply chains are primed for post-COVID commerce. You will also find sales, discounts, and other cash incentives from various sources from time to time. While electric mountain bikes can still be a bit pricey, here are four fun and affordable options for under $2000.
1. RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru
The RadRover from Rad Power Bikes is in its 6th Avatar and is more robust than ever. It gives you over 45 miles per charge on a 48 V, 14 Ah Lithium-ion battery for an ample payload capacity. Everything about this electric bike is generously proportioned; it’s also sometimes called the ‘electric fat bike’ among enthusiasts, not merely because of the durable 4-inch tires that are puncture-resistant with special coatings that resist point loads and reflective sidewalls either. The RadRover6 also comes with a customized hub motor that is amply powerful in pushing these tires up your favorite natural inclines with ease. All of the 750 Watts are lined up so efficiently that you go farther without stressing your precious battery pack. With this model, the company has focused on acceleration, giving you all of the power quickly while still being available at lower speeds. The battery also powers auto-activated lights, both at the head and the tail, integrated with your brake line. Custom cable colors have been provided for easy access, maintenance, and safety.
This avatar of the RadRover comes with an easy guided user interface, with big buttons, common sense stats, and nifty info like your trip timing, a clock, power output, mileage, etc. You could still lose your sense of time on the newly designed, highly ergonomic frame designed around rider comfort. The entirely aluminum frame promises improved handling and overall confidence in your riding experience. You also get excellent stopping power with hydraulic disc brakes, so you feel in control at all times at the lightest of your touches. For even greater customization, the RadRover 6 plus now comes with a semi-integrated battery that you can easily remove and replace. The design is sleek, so you can carry an extra easily (plus it installs with single-hand action).
The Rad Power Bikes website has a complete list of all the technical details of the RadRover 6 plus. But, you have to see the bike to appreciate it fully – and we suggest trying it out if you can get your hands on one. The suggested rider height is between 5’4″ and 6’2″, but if you have been riding 17-inch frames, you can still give it a go. The bike is a solid 73.4 pounds and comes with a ton of accessories to properly deck it out to make it perfect for you.
2. Aventon Aventure
With Aventon Aventure, you get to choose from three sizes and three colors! If that doesn’t excite you, the range lasts an average of 45 miles, even with four-inch fat tires. Aventon also promises a reasonably high top speed of 28 mph. Though without a doubt, this bike is beautifully elegant, all the while being rugged as an electric mountain bike must be. The focus is upon maximizing the comfort in your ride, be it using the front suspension fork or the overall handling using clever weight distribution. This bike comes with built-in fenders and integrated lights at both ends – you don’t have to worry about being seen by others or finding your way in the dark. This model bills itself as a class II ebike, but it’s easy to bring it up a notch given its high capacity battery and rear hub motor to match. You also get a mobile app that synchronizes all your stats on the bike computer. Going one step further, it allows you to charge your phone off of the main battery – you are provided with one USB port.
The suspension fork with 80mm of travel takes care of the terrain for you. For everything else, there are integrated fenders. Here is another manufacturer that relies upon four-inch tires for improving the sense of stability and comfort. The 750 W motor ensures that your bike will take you up and down the slopes and leave you in amazement. There is a throttle on-demand function that couples with pedal assist. Five levels of pedal assist will leave you spoiled in terms of how much energy you are expending on your way to the top. You can even adjust the top speed. Highly precise information about remaining juice, settings and configurations, riding goals, community management, stats like your speed, calories burned, etc., are all recorded in the app and easily shared with your coach or community.
Over the Rad Rover product above, these bikes look sleeker, and with app connectivity, you are managing your data better than with other options. That in itself is a superior advantage if you are meticulous like that (and you should be). Forbes calls this bike the most bang for your buck, and it is highly rated on many online shopping destinations. Still, many of these bikes appear nearly similar, and you shouldn’t decide until you get a feeling for the ride one way or another.
3. RipCurrent by Juiced Bikes
Like other available options, Juiced Bikes’ RipCurrent comes in three sizes but only comes in one color option – black. The bike looks more modular in comparison to the sleek options previously discussed. However, the form factor is the same. The top speed matches the competition at 28 mph, with a similar mileage range of around 45 miles, even though the battery is slightly juicier at 52 V and 15 Ah. The setup is primed for fat-tire fun, especially if you like full-throttle action. Again, the motor is 750 W in the Bafang hub format.
Juiced pushes the RipCurrent as delivering unmatched power and range, riding literally on the back of a massive battery unseen in other bikes maxing out at $2000. Another something that caught our eye was the advanced pedal sensor technology. You get assistance for both the torque and the cadence using a dual sensor. The amount of force you can bring upon the pedal is measured a thousand times every second, and a precise amount of power is then applied to match your effort. So the motor is continuously adjusting to your own energy level, taking your satisfaction to very high levels. The cadence sensor is again super sensitive to remove the lag felt on bikes with traditional sensors. This is why we stress the need to ride out your shortlisted models before making a decision. It’s not merely in the size of the battery and the power on the motor. Your riding experience also has to do with the sophistication with which the motor takes power out of the battery and delivers into your experience.
We found this bike quickly appealing to common sense. The backlit LCD provides 24-hour visibility with all of the trip tracking options you would expect. There are several riding modes for the mood and location. You get the industry-leading Shimano transmission with nine speeds that is fit for climbing up the hill, as well as bolting down slopes at very high speeds. There is also a power-on-demand feature, available as a thumb throttle, for times when you are desperate for juice. Hydraulic disc brakes are standard across the industry for motors of this size, bringing you the comforts of gentle breaking using little force. Expect less maintenance than mechanical brakes. Finally, your fat tires are also puncture-resistant, as we saw in several other models. Usually, there is a special coating that protects the liner against point loads more robustly. The bike’s weight again comes out to be around 70 pounds, out of which the battery counts for 10. You’ll also get coil suspension. Not being mobile-friendly and unable to synchronize performance and statistics is kind of a letdown because third-party applications are just not that accurate, nor can you rely upon them for accuracy (for example, per their advanced user manual, you must set the wheel circumference manually in 1 mm increments). By the way, there are many customization options available to make this ebike your personal ride if everything clicks.
4. Ride1UP’s Prodigy
Prodigy is offered in three different frame types, giving you some latitude over functionality and looks. The Prodigy bills itself as a genuine class 3 ebike, topping out at 28 mph, coming in just over the $2000 budget. The motor is German-made and bills at 90 Nm in torque, promising to take you between 30 and 50 miles based on your weight, type of terrain, level of incline, etc., in one charge. This bike uses its lightweight alloy frame for more than riding comfort by concealing and locking electronics within.
The Samsung battery is an honest 36 V, with a rating of 14 Ah. Our recommendation would be to not look at battery numbers alone but also the manufacturer and the range that has been promised. All too often, specifications are inflated or don’t match the results. With the Prodigy, you get a 1.5inch color display, hydraulic brakes, a Shimano 9 sped shifter, and an 11 – 34T cassette, and most of every other module appeared to be industry leading. We note that the Maxxis Forekaster tires over all three frame types were upgraded to 2.4 inches thick. That would not be a bad thing if you wanted to ride lighter and go further. The bike weighs in at sub 50 pounds and can carry up to 300 pounds! You won’t be able to try this bike, nor can you upgrade the battery. For that matter, the company is very upfront about the limitations and real-world expectations out of their product. All in all, with this option, you know just what you are getting.
Picking the Right E-Bike for You
If money is not a factor, go with the extras you can get and consider a mountain ebike that’s $4000 or so. You are buying yourself comfort and ease (after all, regular bikes are far cheaper). That also means being able to replace a battery cheaply or use an aftermarket suspension. Don’t forget where you would use the ebike. There will be terrains where 4-inch tires would nearly be a compulsion. Finally, many of these companies don’t let you try their product, nor is it feasible. See if you can join a Meetup or an ebike enthusiast club, where perhaps you can check out or even try out your options.