The German e-bike brand is going e-enduro racing, and this distinctive new design will be easy to spot.


With a high-tech carbon frame, the latest battery tech in its down tube, and what it describes as a ‘mid high-pivot’ suspension design, the new Rotwild R.EXC seems to have all the bases covered in the race to build the best e-bike on the market. And Rotwild hasn’t stopped there; there’s also adjustable travel, variable chainstay lengths, and no idler pulley to add weight, complication, and drag through the drivetrain.

Rotwild R.EXC e-bike

Mid-high pivot, or just forward pivot? Rotwild’s R.EXC is not a mid-high pivot according to the popular definition.

Rotwild R.EXC need to know

  • Carbon e-bike built for enduro racing
  • 170mm front travel paired with adjustable rear travel (160/150/145mm)
  • Shimano EP801 motor with 85Nm peak torque and 600W peak power
  • 820Wh internal battery can be removed quickly via a side door in the down tube
  • Mixed wheels and four frame sizes (S, M, L, XL)
  • ‘Mid-high pivot’ suspension layout with no idler
  • Elevated chainstays claim to prevent chain slap and reduce noise

Rotwild says the R.EXC (Enduro Versatility Competition) has been built specifically to compete at the highest levels of e-enduro racing on the E-EDR circuit, against the likes of the Canyon Strive:ON and Orbea Wild. It will be campaigned in the hands of the Rotwild Schwalbe Gravity Team, consisting of Torben Drach, Kelan Grant, and Helen Weber, yet it was former Swiss downhill racer and Rob Warner’s old sidekick, Claudio Caluori who was pivotal in the development of the bike.

“I quickly appreciated the advantages of the newly designed rear suspension during the initial test rides. What impressed me was that Rotwild had brought the bike to such a level straight out of the box. Suspension, geometry, drive – I literally feel like I’m riding a rocket,” – Claudio Caluori

Rotwild R.EXC e-bike

Rotwild bucks the trend for fully enclosed down tubes with its slightly retro side-entry design, but this does make battery swaps quick and simple.

Is it really a mid-high pivot?

So how has Rotwild earned such praise from Claudio? Well, let’s start with the suspension design, which is probably the most distinctive aspect of the R.EXC. The German brand has gone for what it describes as a mid-high pivot design, although in reality it looks to be only 10-15mm above the main pivot. And this being a four-bar design, the instant centre at sag will be around about in line, but forward of the upper chainline. Which will be why Rotwild has avoided having to use an idler pulley. It’s certainly much lower than the likes of Rocky Mountain’s Powerplay or Norco’s recently released Sight and Range VLT models – all of which use idler pulleys.

Moving the pivot forward helps increase the radius of the axle path, meaning that the chainstay length is kept more consistent through the travel – Rotwild claims just 1.5mm of variation. Rotwild claims the bike has very consistent anti-squat too, between 106% and 108%, which again points to the pivot height being within the realms of normality, as a high pivot bike with no idler will have much greater numbers. But Rotwild doesn’t show which gear it has used to get to these figures, so it’s not quite the full story.

Rotwild R.EXC e-bike

While we can’t be sure from the images in the press pack, it looks like the shock is driven by both the swingarm and the rocker link, which should give a more consistent leverage curve.

Shimano EP801 motor – is it coming back into favour?

Moving onto the motor, and Rotwild has stuck with Shimano as supplier of the drive unit. While I’ve ridden a Rotwild with a TQ motor (the Rotwild R.X275), most of the brand’s models use Shimano motors, with the R.EXC getting the latest EP801. From being derided as underpowered a few years ago, Shimano’s motor seems to be gaining momentum again, as it quietly develops the system using race technicians at the E-EDR events. Those efforts bore fruit last year when Shimano earned a power stage win with one of the Yeti racers.

Rotwild R.EXC e-bike

The seatstays and chainstays run really close together on the R.EXC.

The latest battery cells give range without the excess weight

Rotwild has paired the motor with a third party 820Wh battery boasting some of the latest 21700 cells – as used on Orbea’s recently released Rise. These have the highest energy density on the market, so effectively you carry around more range for the same weight as older tech batteries. This may be enough to get round any E-EDR course without changing battery, but if a power pack swap is needed, Rotwild’s side-entry door allows that in the blink of an eye. Most brands are looking to save weight by fully encasing the battery in the down tube, but this does make battery swaps painfully slow on some E-EDR race bikes, so it’s interesting to see Rotwild take this less fashionable but more practical approach.

Rotwild R.EXC e-bike

Here you can see the 5mm chainstay length adjustment via the axle flip clip and movable brake adaptor.

Adjustable travel and chainstay lengths – but there are knock-on effects

The full carbon frame gets an elevated chainstay, where the seatstays and massive swingarm/chainstays run in close proximity and almost parallel. Raising them keeps them away from the chain, reducing – perhaps even eliminating – chainslap and hopefully keeping the bike quieter and vibration-free. Integrated into the dropouts is a chainstay adjustment feature giving 5mm of variation – choose from 436mm or 441mm depending on the setting.

Rotwild R.EXC e-bike

There are three travel settings on the rocker link giving 145mm, 150mm, and 160mm travel.

Sizing runs from 430mm reach on the Small in 25mm increments up to 505mm on the XL. There’s a head angle of 63.3º and an effective seat angle of 78º. Both of these measurements, as well as the 345mm BB height, gets changed depending on what travel you decide to run. Options are 145mm, 150mm, and 160mm. Reducing the travel increases the progression, and vice versa. To save weight there’s a neat and customisable integrated Eightpins dropper post.

Rotwild R.EXC e-bike

The Eightpins dropper post uses the seat tube as the outer sleeve, saving weight and helping to make the upper tube stiffer and stronger.

Two models of R.EXC will be available when it goes on sale in September. The top spec Ultra will cost €11,990 and weighs a claimed 22.9kg in size large. It will come equipped with Fox Factory-level suspension and a Shimano XT Di2 drivetrain. The Pro version is €2,000 cheaper, and fitted with Fox Performance Elite suspension and a standard mechanical XT drivetrain.