As more and more motorcycle brands get in to the e-bike market, we look at five moto marques that could start squeezing out the traditional cycling brands.
E-bike sales are currently dominated by traditional mountain bikes brands like Specialized, Trek, Canyon and Giant. But there are an increasing number of motorcycle brands keen to get in on the e-bike action. With obvious tech crossovers with e-mobility, the smart moto brands know that their future is electric. But do they offer anything different from the best electric mountain bikes sold by legacy cycling brands? Let’s take a closer look at the motorised movers and shakers making major inroads into electric mountain bike market.
The motorcycle brand that’s synonymous with MX and Enduro is part of the KTM group. And with the recent launch of the GasGas ECC (160mm) and MXC (140mm) platforms, both of which feature the new SRAM Powertrain, GasGas’s e-bikes have gained instant credibility.
GasGas clearly knows its customer base. For the diehard mountain biker, the full carbon frames have size specific chainstays for balanced handling. For the petrolheads, the top two models in each platform feature WP suspension, with its legendary Cone Valve technology (built by DVO). In fact, the 630Wh battery could be the only turn off for anyone that isn’t strictly focused on racing. Thankfully, there’s also a 250Wh range extender available aftermarket which will give you a whopping 880Wh to burn through. And because the entry-level ECC 4 forgoes the wireless AXS transmission and Auto Shift feature for a traditional cable-operated drivetrtain, it’s currently the cheapest way to get hold of the new SRAM motor.
Yamaha motors power all of Giant’s e-mountain bikes, but Yamaha is also developing its own range of e-mtbs. The Moro 07 full suspension bike is designed around Yamaha’s PW-X3 motor and a unique Dual Twin frame design that has twin top and down tubes for tuned flex and handling. At £4,100 the Moro 07 is an entry-level e-bike with a 160mm RockShox fork and Super Deluxe shock where the frame boasts 150mm travel.
It’s clearly early days for Yamaha, but with multiple MX championships under its belt and all of the engineering know-how from manufacturing everything from golf carts to boats, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see the e-mtb equivalent of the YZ125. Also the YZ125 MX bike costs £7,400, so pretty much the same as a most mid-range e-bikes.
This iconic Italian motorcycle brand needs no introduction. But rather than go it alone in the e-bike market, Ducati teamed up with Italian e-bike brand Thok. We featured the flagship Ducati Powerstage RR a couple of months back, and it was clear from the first pedal stroke of the Shimano EP801 motor that it was designed to showcase Ducati’s racing heritage, and to win timed uphill stages. Hence the name and the use of the lighter 630Wh battery.
Ducati also has the MIG-S in its range, with 150/140mm travel, an EP8 motor and more all-mountain focused (read steeper) geometry. Ducati’s e-bikes clearly are not unique to the brand, but it is trying to bring a different service model to the rider, as Ducati wants to handle every aspect of the rider experience, from the handover of the bike to full tech support. Hopefully it can succeed.
Also part of the KTM group in Austria, Husky makes everything from robot lawnmowers to Paris Dakar ready enduro motorbikes. In 2024 its e-mtb line underwent a major redesign, its new Cross range of e-bikes looking completely dialled. It’s cool too, that rather than defining the bikes by travel and geometry, Husky has done it by terrain. As such, Husky has the Hard Cross (180/170mm travel) for Demanding terrain, Mountain Cross (150mm travel) for Rugged terrain and the Light Cross (130/120mm) platform for Moderate terrain.
The bikes all use Shimano EP801 motors and the Mountain Cross and Light Cross both use a neat frame design that clocks the motor and allows for easy removal of the big 720Wh batteries. All models run an MX wheel format even though some of the bikes are listed as having 27.5in wheels on the Husqvarna website.
This isn’t Honda’s first foray into the world of mountain bikes. The prototype 2004 RN01 DH bike, with its derailleur-in-a-box transmission and Showa suspension, would still be innovative by today’s standards. That is, if Honda had ever made a production version. Now, 20 years later, Honda is back, this time with a concept e-mountain bike. Its latest release looks more like a proof of concept, that clearly isn’t fully thought through as there are obvious compromises in seat tube insertion depth, frame/wheel clearance at full travel, and basic kinematics, with the shock being driven directly off the swingarm. Hopefully this specific model will never see the light of day, but if Honda can make something as cutting edge as the old RN01, ideally an e-bike with a low-drag, gearbox transmission, we’d love to ride it.