High End EMTB Vs Mid Drive Home Build E Bike | EMBN Head To Head

High End EMTB Vs Mid Drive Home Build E Bike | EMBN Head To Head

– Electric mountain bikes
cost a lot of money. And it kind of got us thinking, could you get a similar
experience from a DIY bike as you can from a pre-manufactured
super bike like this? – Does the home built take
you to the same places the more sophisticated bike will? Does it give you the same ride experience? – Only one way to find out. This is DIY bike versus super bike. (electric guitar music) (laughing) (electric guitar music) (screaming) (electric guitar music) – I can’t believe you
didn’t die at the top there. (electronic blip) – [Doddy] What makes
a super bike so super? This is a state-of-the-art e-bike. A true, super e-bike. It has 150 ml of rock-sucking
fork travel at the front, 150ml out back, brakes to pull you up on a pin, and looks that wouldn’t be out of place on Kensington High Street. And that is something
reflected in the price though. A handsome 7249 quid, but let’s face it, it’s a damn fine-looking machine. – [Chris] What makes a DIY e-bike? On the other side of the budget there is the home-build kit, which is knocked up in my shed. It costs a fraction of the price, hundreds instead of thousands of pounds, maybe not quite as pretty as the Levo and a slight mismatch of parts. Alcatel geometry, but price-wise this motor kit comes in at a measly 375 pounds, minus the battery. – [Doddy] This bike then, is all I mentioned before and more. Mid-drive 250 watt motor pumping out 90 newton metres of torque. 150 ml travel front and
rear, as already mentioned, with a massive 700 watt hour
battery, giving huge range. All that tech is mounted
to a carbon chassis, running on 29 inch wheels and weighing just 23 kilograms. Designed for the big
days out in the hills, it’s a true trail bike. The Levo is an absolute
animal up the hill, and certainly no slouch
on the downs either. – [Chris] Moving on to the DIY build, built not bought. Bringing an old bike from
my shed a new lease of life, this kit is a home-build
mid-drive kit from Cyclotricity, 250 watt motor with five levels of assist. It’s mounted into
old-school Cannondale Jekyll full-suspension frame with
115 mm rear wheel travel with 120 ml fork up front. It’s rolling on 26 inch wheels with a 36 volt, 19 amp-hour battery, weighing in at 25 kilos. A bike that originally started off as a cross-country machine has now been electrified and given a new lease of life. So how good is this kit? Can it do all the things an off-the-shelf e-mountain bike can do? Or is it a simple case of e-bike
versus an e-mountain bike? Well, it’s time to find that one out. Well, Doddy, I think it’s about time we set this machine to an epic climb test. – Oh yeah. – Now one of the most epic
climbs that I’ve ever done is just across the valley here in Clifton. – [Doddy] Yeah. – [Chris] And that was the
slab, you remember that right? – [Doddy] 100%. It’s crazy that thing. – Well, unfortunately that
thing is a little bit wet, so we’re on the other side
of the valley in the sun, and there’s this mini rock slab which is– – Mini slab. – That, look at that.
– Yeah. – It’s that, you know, it’s that steep, even the local kids are
using it as a slide, it’s that polished in the middle. (beep) – Go on then, go. (screaming) (laughing) – Oh, my God! Oh, my ass! (laughing) (beep) – That’s insane. – Now it’s going to be pretty steep, so I think it’s time to
see how this home-build kit handles on this sort of thing. Well Doddy, I’m a little
bit nervous about this. It’s short, but it is pretty steep. And I think this bike with the motor, you know I’m pushing a
42-tooth chainring up here. I think I’ve got a 32-tooth
biggest on my cassette. So compared to that bike, it’s going to be a different world. – Yeah, to be fair, this is
pretty much designed for this. It’s got sticky rubber tires, loads of torque and power, real low gearing, and even then it is pretty slippy. – Going to be pretty full on isn’t it? – Yeah, so what are we going to do here? Sort of climb up on the right.
– Yeah. – Sort of circle around somewhere where that
colored paint is there and then back down? – Back down, so yeah,
see if we can get it. Stick it in turbo. – Yeah, right, I’m in turbo Good luck to you mate. – (laughs) I’m going to need it I think. – I reckon I’ll probably get it on this. – Yeah, easy, you got it. – But we’ll see. (rock music) – [Chris] Well look at
that. Easy, loads of grip. (rock music) – Ah, that’s a walk in the park. Walk in the park for that bike. – Easy peasy.
– How was that? Good?
– Yeah, it was good mate. Now to be fair it is a little
slippy. You might struggle. – How steep? Right, I got high-power mode engaged. – Secretly, I want you to
be able to do it on that. – I’m looking forward to it as well. Right, go, go go! Oh the gearing isn’t quite as spinny. – [Doddy] Oh he’s missed out the crack. – [Chris] Ugh, this 42-tooth
chainring isn’t really the one. But we’re up, now time to drop in. (laughing) Whoa, my God! (laughing) That was insane. – I can’t believe you
didn’t die at the top there. – Yeah, let’s not talk
too much about that. That was pretty sketchy, but on the way up, you know, pushing that 42-tooth chainring, I had to get out of the saddle. And I was really worried about wheel spin. – [Doddy] Yeah.
– That was the main thing. And about the chain snapping as well ’cause there’s a torque
center in this motor it’s like got to work pretty hard. – I don’t know if you noticed,
but your wheel spinned before you even got into it. – [Chris] I know, it’s all that power. – [Doddy] I was thinking like your lines going to be a bit
of a mess, but… (laughing) Tell you what, fair play for
actually getting up it on that. – Insane isn’t it? – I’m kind of a little bit of a fan of it. – Grown on you has it, Doddy? – Yeah, a little bit. – Well, I think it’s time
for another challenge, let’s get into it. – Sounds good mate. (upbeat music) – [Chris] Chains off. (laughing) (upbeat music) – I know what this bike is for. Oh, merely one of the
kings of off-road e-biking. What exactly is that? I get it, you got a second-hand bike, I get that you’ve got a kit on it, but who is it for? – Well, I think it’s
for one of those guys, that’s kind of like a
multi-use kind of rider guys, probably hitting the trail
centers at the weekend, bit of trail building
maybe, bit of exploring, but probably a lot of
commuting going on as well. – Okay, yeah. – So I mean would you
commute on that bike? – In truth? Absolutely not. So it’s got the sticky rubber tires, they are very slow, even with the power assistance. And to be honest, on my normal daily commuter bike, with mud guards and stuff, I’m probably riding 20
miles an hour on the flat. So I’m riding quicker than
this will allow me to. And let’s not forget the cost. – I can say. – I don’t want to lock
this up around town. – With that being close to seven grand, you’re not going to lock that
up in the bike racks are you? – I kind of get it. So you can commute. You can do a trail center
maybe at the weekend. There’s a lot of things
you could do with that. – Yeah, so to think, keep things fair, I think we should keep
a little bit on road for these first couple of tests– – Okay.
– Rather than on the trails. – Yeah. – So I’m thinking a sprint race from the bottom of this hill to the top.
– Okay. – Kind of like the thing you’d find on a standard mountain bike would get the lungs burning.
– Yeah. But on these e-power I
want to see the difference between the Levo and the home build. Right Doddy, are you ready? – Yeah I’m ready. – Going to go on one, okay? – Okay. – Three, two, one, let’s go. (upbeat music) – [Doddy] Oh my God,
you’ve got some (laughs) you’ve actually got some
power on that thing. – [Chris] It’s all right innit? Ah, that newton meters, 90 newton meters has eaten me up here, ah! (upbeat music) – Well, fair play, Doddy. I was kind of expecting that, big 29er, 90 newton meters of torque. You clipped in. All that power. Pretty much annihilated me on that climb. – [Doddy] It was easy. (laughing) – But you might have got me on the climb, but I think this thing
is going to be faster top speed and on the flat– – Oh.
– than that. So what do you fancy your chances with that puny 32-tooth chainring compared to my 42-tooth bad boy? – I’ve got some natural horsepower. I’ll give it a go. – Nah, you’re not going
to be anywhere near. – Well let’s have a look then. – Right, let’s try and find a road for this one.
– Let’s go. (upbeat drumming) Ah, what are we doing here? – Well Doddy, we’re about
to ride Ashton Court for a bit of mountain biking. Some off-road stuff.
– Oh yeah. – But I think in payback to that annihilation you did on that hill sprint to me, I
think I’m going to show you about the top speed of this machine. So from here to the trail head, it’s all about max speed. – Come on clips, you can do it. (laughing) – Right, so from here, fastest speed that you
can record on your Garmin. – Right, see you later. – Oh, hold on! (rock music) – [Doddy] Uh, oh no! – [Chris] Eat my 42-tooth! Where the hell is he? – Oh, dang it.
– Oh finally, here you are. (laughing) – I told you you’d
never catch this machine on the flat ground. This thing with the 42-tooth chainring absolutely bombin’ along. – Well I’ve got some
horsepower, but I don’t reckon. In fact, hold on. Let’s not guess. All right… 17.5 mile-an-hour. – 17.5?
– It’s so low, isn’t it? – 19.9 mile-an-hour on that flat bit. – Once I’m over the power of the motor with these tires and the weight of this, you can’t sustain that. – No, no this thing was
literally gliding along. Loads of assistance. I think for commuting this thing is absolutely bangin’. – Yeah. – But it’s time to take it off road. We’re at the trailhead now. This is the red trail, so I think things are going to
swap out a little bit maybe. – Well let’s see if we can have some fun. – Yeah, so I don’t think
it’s all about challenge. It’s about having fun. Let’s regroup at the end of this trail. – Yeah.
– Let’s smash down this one, see how much fun it is. – Yeah, man, let’s do it.
– Let’s do it! (upbeat music) (laughing) (upbeat music) (laughing) – So good! – I’ll tell you what. Like, even on like a super good bike with great suspension, it’s still pretty jarring for this. That must’ve been horrendous. – [Chris] I’m not going to lie,
Doddy. It was pretty harsh. Coming down from that rock section. I mean, the upper stuff was really good. The flow you start. – [Doddy] The blue stuff, right? – [Chris] Yeah, this bike I think pretty much held its own. It, you know, stayed with
the super bike up there. – I’ve got to say, yeah, you
had pretty good pace for it. – It was all right, wasn’t it? – I was quite shocked, yeah. – I forget about 26 inch wheels as well, how they dive in the corners. – [Doddy] They’re great
on the turns aren’t they? – Yeah.
– Yeah, that’s right. – [Chris] They’re meant to be.
As they say the rough stuff, just knock this bike about. – Yeah.
– The suspension. There’s some noises coming
from like the battery as well, like knocking around in the frame. And obviously the motor I think is coming a little bit loose, and that thing’s knocking around. – [Doddy] I think your DIY
needs a bit of improvement. – [Chris] Yeah, maybe get a bit of an improvement on the tools. – What d’ya reckon? See if you can stay on me
for the rest of this trail? – Ride the way to the bottom of the trail? Yeah?
– Yeah, yeah. – Well, I don’t fancy your chances, Doddy. I think it’s 26 inch wheels, skinny 2.2 tires. (Doddy laughing) It’s going to be all over that
Land Rover down this trail. – Yeah, well we’ll see. – All right.
– Do it? – I’m not going to even keep up with you. I’m going to overtake you. – Yeah, whatever. – [Chris] Yeah, yeah. (upbeat music) Right, I told you, Doddy. Here you go! (screams) – [Doddy] Oh, you… (laughing) – [Chris] I told you, Doddy. – Oh, my God. – [Chris] This sick.
– What was that all about? – So wrapped down are these surface trails this bike is absolutely flying down there. – I can’t believe you
actually snaked past me. – I know, it was pretty
close on the end of it, but I saw my chance and had to go with it. But pretty comparable on
that kind of trail, isn’t it? – Yeah, I’m so surprised by that. Come on, curiosity killed that cat. Let’s have a go.
– All right, let’s do it. – Let’s have a go on
this old shed. (laughing) – [Chris] Prepare to be amazed, Doddy. – [Doddy] This thing’s tiny! (laughing) – [Chris] Oh, this is
more like it! (laughing) – What did you think then, Doddy? – Do you know what? I’m honestly really surprised. – Pleasantly surprised. – Yeah, like I was laughing
at you all day on it. – Yeah.
– But… It kind of does hold up. I mean,
it’s no comparison to that. – No. – That’s a different league of a bike. – You’re never going to beat
this all-in-one package, are you? – [Doddy] Yeah, no. – [Chris] It’s got the big
battery, the powerful motor, the big suspension, bit tires, travel– – [Doddy] Yeah, but I’m still smiling. – [Chris] Exactly. – And I’ve just been riding this. – Exactly, it does put
a smile on your face for not a lot of money. And that’s the thing about today’s video. This bike, 7000 you know, to over 7000 pound. That bike, with a battery
and the motor combined, just about 800 quid for
the motor and the battery. Then, obviously you’ve got the bike which you’re going to bolt it to. – Yeah.
– Now that can vary in price. – [Doddy] Yeah, you could
spend 100 quid on a bike. – Exactly, yeah you could
get something secondhand and bolt it. Pretty much
like I’ve done for that. That bike cost me 150 pound. Then I added that kit. So I got a pretty capable
bike for under a grand. – I kind of think you’re
on to something with this. – You reckon?
– Yeah. – It’s a good find, isn’t it?
– Yeah. I reckon you should probably
modify it a bit though. There’s a few things a little bit– – Yeah.
– Rough around the edges. – Change the forks. – [Doddy] Better front
tires, a little washy. – [Chris] Yeah, yeah. – [Doddy] It’s a good fit in
the rear, but not in the front. – [Chris] But the motor and
the battery package overall, that’s pretty good isn’t it? – [Doddy] A bit of
fitlock could do you good. It’s all come loose. (laughing) – Anyway, do you want
to fancy another lap? – Yeah, I kind of might have
a lap on this, you know. – Sure?
– I’m a bit slidy on the flat. That’s from my clip shoes, but– – You’re lovin the DIY then? – Yeah, it’s good. Let’s go. I’ll tell you what. I actually can’t believe you
got this thing up the slab. – [Chris] I reckon I can get up the proper one If I change the gearing on it.
All the way to the top. – [Doddy] What? The knotty one? – [Chris] Yeah, yeah, for sure. – [Doddy] You should give it a go. – [Chris] I’d be well up for that. – [Doddy] It could become
the new challenge bike. – [Chris] I could even
go on a lower power motor And I can cruise up there. (laughing)

61 thoughts on “High End EMTB Vs Mid Drive Home Build E Bike | EMBN Head To Head

  1. at video Chris…Good to see Doddy out having a ride on an eMTB. He's proven he's got skills on the Christmas video but don't get to see him much out on the trails.

  2. yet another video pitting lower end diy kits against the best prebuilts to skew the results. try getting a better diy kit and there will be much different results from this

  3. Why do y’all always test bottom of the line junk against the best OEM”s. Bolt on a Bafang BBSHD with a 52 volt battery approximately $1200 USD and run your one sided comparison again

  4. You should have made the comparison fair, by putting the motor on a decent bike, and changing the chainring to something more suitable for a MTB.

    PS How did you find somewhere that isn't underwater, to do this test?

  5. Try change the front sprocket to 36 and take the battery in a backpack…for get a light build.
    Maybe a mullet in that bike?
    27.5 front?
    I think that you did a fair comparison. Not biased like some say. Good job.

  6. Correct me if I’m wrong but that 250 watt diy kit from cyclotricity has two power settings 250watt/ 500watt motor great vid loving the diy build

  7. I see all the complaining comments that this is not a comparison between top of the line DIY vs top of the line ready made ebike. But this is a fair comparison between two different types of bikes. That ebike conversion is something that I may eventually do on my old MTB for commuting purposes. If I have one point of complaint that then it is that the motor attachment seems dodgy 😉

  8. Been waiting for this one. For a 26inch bike with suspension especially and geometry witch is no where near the stanadrd of the levo I think the diy done very well and the 250wLingbei Midmotor Mid-Drive motor performed well. @Chris Smith /EMTB crew are you going to upgrade this bike with better forks smaller chain ring ect then do some more comparison videos?

    How did the torque sensing compare on he 2 bikes i would be very interested to no the answer to this question.

  9. The comparison is not that fair obviously. Try to upgrade another bike with the kits a bit and would perform much better.

  10. I am very disappointed. While I that factory builds have significant advantages, the major players in kits ALL offer 90nm's in their 250watt offerings. Their battery and motor mounts are superior as well. For anyone in the know, this is a bit of an embarrassment for Specialized. It was like the school bully versus the cellist instead of the captain of the football team. It's not like the bully won't win, but it sure makes for a more realistic match.

  11. I own a DIY ebike based on a "recent" enduro hardtail to stay on budget. It weights 18kg with its 630wh battery and similar motor. I had some struggle to get decent integration and shifting, but pretty satisfied with the rest.

  12. Ok that was fun but not very realistic. My BBSHD/Ludicrous @ 60v (Luna Wolf Pack V2) on a Stumpy frame with a Lefty fork will leave that Levo in all but the roughest terrain. I would like to have the torque sensing though. I hit 30mph easily and can sustain it. Longest ride so far was 34 miles @ a 19mph average on road. I have no interest going that far off road, or not in my areas trail 😉 Feel free to check it out on my videos.

  13. Yank view….it appears you are heavily biased toward the expensive “factory” built ebike! WTF are you using a 250 watt DIY mid-drive when you can get a 1000watt BBSHD Bafang for the mid-drive & use a 52v battery source while you too are using an “‘ol school” dated POS 26” tired MTB as it’s base! So it seems that a Euro 4” is “Huge”. 😉

  14. My guess is the vast majority of viewers don't have the money to buy the high end Ebikes so content like this is great. Far too much industry propaganda on components, people swapping out 150mm shocks for 160mm isn't going to do a damn thing, other than drain your bank account.

  15. The diy build will never be put into a positive light on a channel like this. I get you have to keep it legal and what not but the bike you put the DIY up against was unfair a 7k bike against an old bike with a crappy diy kit isn't going to have much chance against a bike thats been refined and has had vigorous testing. The DIY bike you built would of had a fair test against a bike that was in the lower end of the market. Only thing I could take from this video is you can still have fun on a budget but not as much as if you spend 7k which is wrong.

  16. I would much rather see bikes that are on a similar level to each other as far as specs go. It shouldn't be too hard to find a high end bike thats been electrified. At least get 2 bikes with the same shocks and drivetrain.

  17. Not an equal test. DIY a similar travel and parts bike and I will call that unbiased. Even the tires were crap on the diy.

  18. Doody looks better in an EMTB, lets face it , it's growing in you.The way he described that bike was almost like love for the machine

  19. Specialized overpriced as it is. Better bikes for less out there. I'd build a better DIY bike and buy a car with the difference. Lol.

  20. I wonder what the story is on travelling to Bristol for this video rather than being in Bath as usual? Looks like here;


  21. Let me know when you actually do the right thing. Go get a decent full suspension bike with fox fork and shock or good Rock shox air fork. Then add the BBSHD motor, 52v battery, Lekkie blingring. Then compare it to the Levo. This would be more of an honest comparison. I cannot figure out why you keep putting crap bikes against 5000 bikes……. Are you afraid what the real results would be?

  22. on another note torque sensing motors and PAS/cadence motors are both still elctric bike motors not a motorcycle like someone tried to say…. They both require you to pedal and then the programing will determine how much motor power is supplied and delivered when and based on what. The programming is everything. The BBSHD can be setup as a motorcycle if one wanted only a throttle, but for most of us we set up and program the BBSHD to do what a Levo does, we pedal and the motor feeds us a certain amount of power to help. We set the program to deliver the power how we want. Honestly mine is set up for the most part where I do not even feel motor power, just me pedaling, then when I hit a hill I up the PAS level and it continues to feed me power, just more to get up the hill. Also mine is set up to when the cadence goes up the motor cuts back so I maintain a good pedal feel and resistance. Now this takes some work to get the programming right but it is possible. The benefit is for example I converted my wife's Specialized Muta which she really likes this past week, as she is small and light I used a BBS02 ($450) and a Wolf PUP battery that I had from my bike ($250) and that was all that was needed. About 2 hrs for the conversion and 30 min to program it and she rode it today and loved it!!! We may still mess with the power levels on the PAS settings but we are close after one ride. Total out of pocket: $450 plus the battery I already had. Add the battery and I am still only at $700. Beginning of the ride the PUP was at 58.2v, end of the tide 8.5 miles latter 57v, got her up every hill we pointed at, no walking up!!!

  23. Great video. I like it. I bet most of the people complaining are diy guys and don't have a higher end ebike brand. I've have both a higher power DIY mid drive ebike and a Turbo Levo. For trail riding I would pick the Levo all day. It's a more refined system. DIY mid drive ebikes have too much going on. They are loud, no torque assist, doesn't look clean, battery is either in backpack or mounted on frame. Spindle probably can't take much abuse if you like to send it. The high power ebikes are really no fun for the local mtb trails. Maybe for commuting on the road or on dirt bike trails they would be fun to. I ended up selling my diy ebike and kept my Turbo Levo. It fits trail riding better.

  24. Well done Doddy, prior to this video I guessed your skills were average but your bike handling is well above I think 👍

  25. I bought a second hand(but un used) 2018 Voodoo Zobop, a Bafang 250w for about £1000 and fitted a Precialp 32 chain ring to sort the gearing and improve alignment. So have better geometry and gearing than the DIY bike, yes it is not torque sensing but works for me brilliantly. Wish they would compare a better sorted DIY bike against a low to mid range emtb

  26. Ill be honest im getting bored of all the Specialized and Levo promotion. One video has 5 of them in it. You fail to mention the spec sucks and pricing is obscene. Nor the poor reliability of the brose motor. A 10 grand S works Levo is selling for 3k used now. Unreal.

  27. not realy apples to apples 9k vs 300.. you can get a good china bafang frame motor and battery for under 1500. that's 800 watts battery and a torque sensing motor the puts out 1000 watt of power. please make that video 9k vs 2k diy bike please

  28. Great Video . Thanks Producers for getting Doddy on as us home build kit folk are Sick Of Steve Bagging them . Yes It was not the best DIY Conversion but I think what it was aimed at was the norm of Where a semi decent Mid drive conversion would go out of someone's Shed . From Experience I've Built 4 Now Every build you do you learn from and improve on so I am Sure that we will see some more capable builds coming out of their shed and really hope so Too . Recommend Bafang BBS02 speed restricted to your local rules 52V and hand pick a decent full sus bike with a Triangle you can mount a Tiger shark Battery off the lower rail Bottle cage . My 2014 Merida 120 was a good conversion said components 32T Chain ring and as has more torque then the super bike can beat a Scott Genius up hill , Sure won't down hill and is on 26" etc etc but is a very capable mid drive for 3rd the price With 2 batteries than Said store brought . How about some sort of top gear challenge where you have a kit supplied by the producers and a budget then you have to buy and build the best bike you can in a week then do a series of challenges . Get Steve in on it too as that might change things for him and would be great for us to see Chris , Doddy and Steve what they create and how they perform with the envelope challenges . Auction them profit for charity 2 least capable afterwards , Winner carries over to the next Build so the other 2 get to do a new build , New challenges and see if their new build beats the previous best or maybe the 3 build a new one each and Neil competes on the last winning bike in the challenge and do it all again ?

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