The rising popularity of E-MTB's has led to more and more companies pushing R&D to evolve what an E-MTB is and what it can do. My first impression of the early E-MTB was of a heavy, clunky, sluggish bike on the downhill with a motor strapped to it to allow anybody to zoom uphill. It seemed to me like the mountain bike version of fat skis, which opened up the backsides and upper chutes of the mountains to any skier that may or may not actually have the skillset to ski those areas, but the fat skis made them much more approachable. So I shrugged off the idea of ever owning an E-MTB for quite some time, until Orbea released the Rise and the whole game changed for what these bikes really are.
My biggest gripe with most E-MTBs was that they were heavy, and I mean heavy. With most weighing between 50-60lbs, to me that meant that the bike wouldn’t ever feel or handle like a traditional trail bike on the uphill and most definitely not on the downhill. Last year after hearing more about Orbea’s work with E-MTBs, I purchased an Orbea Rise M10. The M10 is the carbon framed Orbea Rise model with mainly XT components and Fox Factory fork and shock. I was surprised that it weighed in at 39.5 lbs even with aluminum rims and cranks.
The appeal of the E-MTB is undeniable on the climb as the Rise has three different modes of power you can choose from. I found the middle "trail" mode to be more than adequate for climbing pretty much anything. On "turbo" mode, you may as well be smoking a cigarette and pounding a pint of your favorite suds on your way up the trail. It's almost laughable how fun it is to climb the bike - it’s the first time I’ve ever roosted berms and corners on the climb! But the most pleasure for me with this bike was the downhill; the Rise rode and felt like any other trail bike. It really rode like the Orbea Occam, the sister "acoustic" (as we like to call it) trail bike of the Rise. I could still easily pick lines, the bike felt poppy up and over rocks, and jumping it felt very comfortable in preloading and smooth on take-offs. A lot of other E-MTB's take an act of God or a name like Semenuk to jump them well, but the Rise is smooth as butter.
As I am not getting any younger and am now into my 40's, the big perk of the Rise is that it allows me to make 30+ miles of riding with ease, or comfortably do well more than two laps at Floyd Hill or Maryland Mountain, which is usually my max on my acoustic bike. This bike has definitely changed the idea and feel of what an E-MTB is now. Call us at Outbound Mountain Gear to ask any questions you have, or stop by the shop to throw a leg over one.