Plastic may be fantastic if you've got pockets deeper than the Mariana trench but for those of us on more realistic budgets alloy frames are hard to beat. Here's a quartet of new e-bikes with prices that are music to our ears.
All four of these new e-bikes reject the complexity and labour-intensive manufacturing of carbon in favour of a frame material that has been serving mountain bikers humbly for the last 40 years: aluminium. Yes, this non-ferrous metal might have the atomic number 13, but if you’re looking for maximum bang for your buck, you’re in luck.
Privateer E161: £5,999
Hunt wheels took a big step when it diversified into complete bikes with the Privateer 161, and subsequent shorter-travel 141. But it won the hearts, minds and wallets of many riders thanks to its progressive geometry, robust build quality and affordable pricing. Those attributes have been kept front and centre in the design of the new E161: the brand’s first e-bike, With 161mm of rear travel paired with a 170mm-travel fork, it’s designed for hard charging as well as e-enduro racing, where the 630Wh Shimano battery is easily removable from the down tube to facilitate quick changes between stages.
As with its naturally aspirated siblings, the E161 is built from 6061 T6 alloy and comes in either a no-nonsense raw finish, or with hard-wearing black anodising. Plugged into the mixed-wheel frame is Shimano’s latest EP801 motor, and the E161 also gets Privateer’s signature steep seat angle, forged one-piece rocker link, and durable oversize bearings. The keen price includes high-end Fox suspension, Hunt E All-Mountain wheels and a Shimano SLX drivetrain.
Vitus E-Mythique LT VR: £3,299.99
Vitus is the undisputed king of value, so it’s no surprise to see it disrupting the market yet again with an incredible price-point prospect. And, as one of the first brands in the world to dabble with aluminium as a frame material (albeit before Vitus became part of the Wiggle/CRC stable) it’s fitting to see its new everyman e-bike sport a welded alloy frame.
Biggest news on the 170mm-travel, mixed wheel, E-Mythique LT is the fitment of a Bafang M510 motor, boasting a colossal 95Nm of torque.
Keeping that motor spinning is a 630Wh battery, accessible through a hatch in the down tube. All good numbers, we’re sure you’ll agree, but the most exciting digits are the prices: this VR model comes in at an amazing £3,299, while the VRS and VRX models cost £3,899.99 and £4,399.99 respectively.
Intense Tazer Alloy: from £4,499
Intense has a deep affinity with aluminium. It’s the material that catapulted the brand to stardom with the seam-welded, clamshell M1 downhill bike. And Intense founder Jeff Steber still welds up its prototypes and team frames in California. So the Tazer is more of a glorious homecoming than an economic box-ticking exercise.
Having said that, there is a strong financial incentive for prospective customers, with an entry-level price point of £4,499 for the Tazer Alloy Expert. Your cash gets you a 155mm-travel frame with MX wheels (29in front/27.5in rear), Shimano’s EP6 motor and removable 504Wh battery, Shimano Deore transmission, TRP brakes, and DVO suspension. For another bag of sand, Intense will sell you the Tazer Alloy Pro with the Shimano EP8 motor, larger 630Wh battery and high-end Fox Performance Elite/Factory suspension.
Trek Fuel EXe 5: £5175
Trek really upped its game last year with the release of both the hench new Fuel EX trail bike, and the stealthy Fuel EXe e-bike. Virtually indistinguishable from each other, the assisted Fuel EXe gets the micro TQ motor and removable 360Wh battery, along with a frame that’s multi-adjustable to suit all manner of geometry and wheel size preferences.
Quiet as a church mouse, the motor is as silent as it is invisible, and now, thanks to three new Alpha Platinum alloy-framed models, it makes less of an impression on your bank balance too. This entry-level EXe 5 costs £5175, which is £1225 cheaper than the carbon-framed EXe 9.5, and yet (if Trek’s weights are to be believed) the alloy frame adds less than 800g.