We tested four of the most popular drive systems from Bosch, TQ, Fazua, and Specialized to find out which motor performs best out on the trail.


Lightweight electric mountain bikes are the next big thing, with new motors hitting the market to help brands achieve minimal weight without too much loss of power compared to full-fat e-bikes.

Each drive system offers something slightly different. Whether it’s the most natural ride feel, or the most torque to help you get up those steep climbs and keep up with your mates on full-fat bikes – or even the most range from the batteries so you can do more laps.

Mid-power e-bike motor test

For our mid-power e-bike motor test we used the Mondraker Neat (top left), Whyte E-Lyte 150 Works (top right), Haibike Lyke CF 11 (bottom left), and Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL 2 (bottom right).

So which motor is best? We put four benchmark mid-power motors, fitted to some of the latest lightweight e-bikes to the test: the TQ HPR50, the Bosch Performance SX, the Specialized SL 1.2, and the Fazua Ride 60.

Motor comparison table

Motor comparison table

The bikes

The bikes in question? The Mondraker Neat RR, which uses the TQ motor, the Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL 2 Expert with the Specialized unit, the Haibike Lyke CF 11 with Fazua’s Ride 60, and the Whyte E-Lyte 150 Works with the Bosch SX system. While Tredz doesn’t sell Whyte, it does have other e-bikes with the SX system, like the Cube AMS Hybrid ONE44 C:68X SUPER – that utilises a lightweight carbon frame alongside the powerful Bosch SX motor for a fast yet nimble ride.

Mondraker Neat RR SL

The TQ HPR 50 on the Mondraker Neat RR SL is almost invisible.

It’s important to note that, while the bikes obviously play a small factor in the results, the drive system is quite literally the biggest thing ‘driving’ these bikes and thus we’d expect similar results across different bikes using the same motors and batteries.

Mid-power e-bike motor test

Riding the bikes in our mid-power e-bike motor test was a lot of fun!

The testing

We made sure our four test riders were around the same weight and used Maxxis Maxx Terra compound control tyres, running the same pressures on each bike to reduce variables.

We set three challenges to get the best representation of what each of these motors are about: a drag race, a hillclimb and a range test. For each test we used the maximum power assist mode on each bike and didn’t use range extenders (available as options on the Bosch, Specialized, and TQ).

With the range test, we focused on elevation rather than distance, as this puts a higher drain on the battery and is more realistic for mountain biking. And, let’s be honest, as mountain bikers, most of us live for the descents – so it’s more useful to see just how much descending we can get out of each system.

haibike lyke cf11

The Haibike Lyke CF 11 even has a removable battery for charging indoors.

The results

In the drag race, the Bosch won by a healthy margin in two out of the three runs. This makes sense considering SX’s 600W peak power – 150W more than the next best (Fazua) system.

New Bosch Performance Line SX eMTB motor

The new Bosch Performance Line SX motor ticks a lot of boxes, with stacks of power and customisable battery capacity with the optional range extender.

In the hillclimb, the Fazua came out on top, which, considering its 60Nm of torque may not be a surprise. The Bosch, with 55Nm of torque came second, so if you’re after a hill climbing beast, the Bosch and Fazua motors are the two to consider.

It all came down to the final test – the range. While all were within 150 metres of each other, the Fazua once again shone brightest, and racked up 1,120 meters of climbing (or 26.49km of riding) from the 430Wh internal battery.

lightweight motor range test results

Lightweight motor range test results

Of course, each motor is more than a simple set of tests – each one rides slightly differently, and which would benefit you as a rider depends on what you want from your lightweight eMTB. So while the Fazua and Bosch might seem like the obvious winners, the TQ is the smallest, lightest, and quietest system. The Specialized is also quiet and smooth, with excellent integration through the top tube display, bar-mounted controller, and smart phone app.

Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL 2

The Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL 2 has very few rivals in the e-enduro sector.

Speak to the experts

As one of the UK’s largest specialist cycle retailers, Tredz has got expertise aplenty. It’s staffed by cycling enthusiasts across all disciplines, and is located just a stone’s throw from some of the best mountain biking trails in the UK in South Wales – so you can trust it knows what it’s talking about. And as an online retailer, its in-house experts are always on hand to give advice through the online chat tool.

So if lightweight e-bikes are on your radar, Tredz stocks a wide range of brands including Mondraker, Specialized and Haibike. And these can all be bought through the Cycle to Work scheme, which can save you up to 42% off the full price.

If you want to learn more about the bikes then head over to Tredz.