The best eMTB of 2021 for € 5,500 – 7 budget eMTBs go head to head


After finding the best high-end eMTB in our big group test of 25 bikes, we’re turning our attention to the 7 hottest entry-level bikes of the 2021 season to find the best eMTB for around € 5,500. How much performance can you expect from a budget eMTB and where do you have to accept compromises?

Before we get into the review, we would like to tell you about our latest print edition. The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2021 is our fourth annual edition and the ultimate guide in your search for the perfect eMTB. Spread over 260 pages of high-quality print, we offer you a comprehensive buyer’s guide, reviews and details of 35 bikes and a group test of the 8 most exciting motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Table of content

  1. Reality check – What do you really need and where do you ride with your eMTB?
  2. The test field of our budget E-MOUNTAINBIKE group test
  3. What does the best eMTB for € 5,500 have to be capable of?
  4. What does value for money mean?
  5. Who tested the bikes, where and how?
  6. Our test philosophy
  7. The motors and batteries on this test
  8. The most exciting insights from this group test
  9. The tops und flops of the group test
  10. Which is the best eMTB for € 5,500?

With every new season, we see exciting new bikes getting developed and introduced. That’s why we have the crème de la crème of the hottest bikes compete against each other in our big group test of 25 eMTBs at the start of the season. Our aim is to find the best bike of the year that will set the benchmark for all else to follow. However, not everyone needs or wants to spend their hard-earned cash on the best and most expensive bike. After all, the bikes in our high-end group test cost an average of € 8,846. The most expensive model will set you back by a whopping € 13,999. That’s where this group test comes in, seeing us set an upper limit on the price.

This test is about finding the best eMTB at a cost of around € 5,500. We’re looking for the best all-rounder that’s capable of mastering every trail and combining the best riding characteristics in one coherent package – just at a more affordable price. That said, our goal is to help you find the bike that suits you, no matter how much you want to spend. Given the difference in price and performance of the bikes in these two group tests, it’s impossible to make direct comparisons. However, there is a certain degree of overlap, given that one bike, the FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE, features in both tests. The flagship model of the FOCUS JAM² with its Bosch motor is priced at € 5,499, perfectly fitting the criteria of this test. However, it allows us to draw some conclusions about the performance differences between the bikes in this and our mega group test of 25 bikes. The realisation: regardless of whether you want to budget € 5,500 or € 10,000 on a bike, you can buy an excellent all-rounder or an absolute stinker no matter how much money you’re spending.

Reality check – Which type are you? Our personal buyer’s guide will help you find the answer

Regardless of the group test, our goal is to classify the bikes according to their strengths and weaknesses so that you can find the bike that’s right for you. Only you know what you really need, what’s important to you and what demands you have of a bike. To help you with this, we ask ourselves to which type of rider a bike is suited and to which it isn’t, for every single bike. Let’s be honest, only a bike that suits you will make you happy. As such, it’s important that you know what your ideal eMTB must be capable of. Where do you usually ride? And what type of rider are you?

If you don’t know the answer to all these questions or aren’t entirely sure, that’s no problem. Our personal buyer’s guide is here to help. It will help you find out more about yourself and your needs and provide you with personalised tips, tech and bike recommendations from our editorial team as well as a selection of articles and bikes that are relevant to you.

The test field of our budget E-MOUNTAINBIKE group test

As mentioned, the FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE bridges the gap between our mega group test of 25 bikes and our budget test, with the same exact model competing on both occasions. Of course, we also had to include entry-level alternatives to the Best in Test and Best Buy from our big group test – the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10 K and the SCOTT Ransom eRIDE 910, respectively. After all, they’ve already proven themselves against a strong competitive field in the high-end segment, making them hot candidates for another test victory or buyer’s tip. MERIDA sent us the eONE SIXTY 700 and SCOTT provided the Ransome eRIDE 920. Additionally, we took our readers’ feedback to heart and invited the brands that you’re most interested in. Haibike competed with the AllMTN 4 and Canyon sent us the Spectral:ON CF 7. Propain are also in the mix with the Ekano AL 29. Completing the test field is young German brand, INFRONT, with the IF-2.1 Fully, the most affordable underdog of the test field.

We set a price limit of € 5,500 before the start of the test, so you might be surprised to notice that two of the bikes in the test field cost more. That’s due to the current bike-boom, crisis, stock shortages and the associated cost increases for manufacturers, which have ultimately led to price hikes. Canyon and MERIDA raised their prices during our 3 month test period. As a result, the MERIDA eONE SIXTY 700 is now € 100 over the limit. The Propain is 29 € above the maximum price of € 5,500 because we wanted to max out the potential of the online configurator by choosing the air-sprung suspension.

Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7
Shimano EP8/630 Wh
150/150 mm (f/r) | 22.92 kg in size L
€ 5,199 | Click for review
Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh
150/150 mm (f/r) | 25.58 kg in size L
€ 5,499 € | Click for review
Haibike AllMtn 4
Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh
160/160 mm (f/r) | 25 kg in size M
€ 5,299 | Click for review
INFRONT IF-2.1 Fully | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh
150/150 mm (f/r) | 25.1 kg in size L
€ 4,900 | Click for review
MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 700 | Shimano EP8/630 (504 in XS) Wh
160/150 mm (f/r) | 23.92 kg in size L
€ 5,599 | Click for review
Propain Ekano AL 29 | Shimano EP8/504 Wh
170/165 mm (f/r) | 24.92 kg in size L
€ 5,529 | Click for review
SCOTT Ransom eRIDE 920
Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh
180/180 mm (f/r) | 24,95 kg in size L
€ 5,499 | Click for review

What about CUBE, Trek and Specialized?

Admittedly, we would like to have included more bikes. However, the current delivery situation and bike boom have made it more difficult than usual to get every bike that we wanted in the group test. Unfortunately, the winner of last year’s group test, the Trek Rail 7, and our Best Buy, the CUBE Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC, weren’t available. COMMENCAL and Moustache also didn’t have the bikes we wanted during the test period. YT didn’t yet have an eMTB with the new Shimano EP8 motor and were unable to participate. BULLS didn’t want to face the competition in a head to head comparison and Specialized simply don’t have an aggressive eMTB in this price bracket.

What does the best budget eMTB for € 5,500 have to be capable of?

Ideally, our sought-after all-rounder can deliver on tours, is fun to ride on a wide range of trails both up- and downhill and is equally suited to experienced riders, beginners and experts. Its intended uses range from relaxed cycle paths, flow trails and technical singletrack to manicured bike park tracks. It’s not necessarily about being the best in one individual discipline but about offering the best overall package. The best bike is able to combine supposed opposites such as composure and agility, ideally combining lots of comfort on the one hand, with predictable and direct handling on the other. Besides having refined geometry, a great motor and good suspension, the design, motor performance, battery concept, weight, attention to detail and appropriate components are just as important contributors to a successful bike. However, the amount of fun you can have on the trail remains our most important consideration! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: the bikes have to meet some basic safety requirements. In other words, the brakes must be powerful and easy to modulate, the tires have to be grippy and the overall build must make a solid impression, while assembly quality should meet high standards.

Why did we draw the line at € 5,500? Because it’s here that you will still find plenty of attractive options on the market that are suitable for aggressive trail use. If you go lower than that, you will usually have to accept significant compromises that severely restrict a bike’s performance on the trail. According to our reader survey with 13,500 participants, this is the most applicable price point for you too, as you aim to spend an average of € 4,947 on your next eMTB. Perhaps you’ll be willing to reach a little deeper into your pockets for the most exciting bikes in the test field. Our head to head comparisons show that it’s worth it!

What does value for money mean?

Clearly, value for money plays a pivotal role in this test. At E-MOUNTAINBIKE, we don’t measure value for money based on Excel spreadsheets, theoretical values or the spec list. Instead, we consider the actual performance on the trail and the quality of the overall package. In other words, the deciding factor in our determination of value for money is the handling, not the components. What good is the best motor if the bike’s handling or suspension aren’t any good? No good at all! When assessing value for money, we also make sure that the componentry matches the eMTB’s intended use. To make sure your hard-earned money is well-invested, we’ve made it our task for this test to find and evaluate price-related compromises. Safety also plays a crucial role in our evaluation as we believe it’s something no manufacturer should save on! By that, we don’t just mean powerful four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors, as fortunately, you’ll find them on every bike in the test field, but also the assembly quality and safety in general. Spoiler: unfortunately, not all manufacturers in the test field succeed in the latter.

Who tested the bikes, where and how?

We found the ideal test conditions in Germany’s Palatinate Forest, where all 7 bikes were ridden head to head on a varied test loop. Simple paths, flowing singletrack, rooty and rough trails with bike park features such as berms and jumps: we had it all. Our chosen route was sure to bring each bike’s individual strengths and weaknesses to light. Going back up, we didn’t just stick to fire roads but also took on more technical singletrack climbs. To complete the picture and for the ultimate test of versatility, we also rode the bikes on our home trails around Stuttgart and in the Odenwald.

Jonas, 32, E-MOUNTAINBIKE editor-in-chief, doesn’t look for the best thing but the right thing:
„The best bike is the one that best meets your personal requirements. For me, balanced, light-footed handling in every situation is incredibly important – the bike must be easy to ride quickly, safely and enjoyably without too much strength required. In addition, I’m concerned with numerous other factors on top of the ride quality: individualisation options for the motor as well as the finishing quality and design. My favourite: the Canyon.“
Felix, 29, chief tester and E-expert with an eye on the overall concept:
„The carbon version of the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY has already proven itself against the competition. The geometry of the aluminium eONE-SIXTY 700 even manages to trump the flagship model thanks to the much shorter seat tube, which is the biggest complaint we had of its counterpart. That makes the prospects of the eONE-SIXTY on the trail super exciting!“
Peter, 26, technical editor and suspension specialist:
„At first glance, some of the forks in the test look the same. However, they couldn’t differ more on the inside. The best example of this is the ZEB R on the SCOTT compared to the ZEB Select+ on the Propain. The difference on the trail is enormous, because their internals, the damper, are what determine their performance on the trail.“
Rudolf, 34, editor, connectivity expert and early adopter:
„Software is just as important as hardware! Individual motor settings, range-based navigation or connectivity to upload data to digital platforms constitute benefits which make bikes smarter, more versatile and simply better. These features are largely lacking on the bikes in this price segment. The Shimano powered eMTBs are the only ones that offer customisation. If you want more adjustability, you’ll have to reach deeper into your pockets.“
Nils, 23, editor and bikepark addict with a love for air time:
„Big jumps, drops and rock gardens? Yes please! Shuttle runs allow me to have maximum fun and I don’t even need a lift. The Propain is just the bike I need as it lets me push the limits! Its small battery doesn’t last a long time, but the bike definitely guarantees a good time!“
Thomas, 35, heavyweight, likes to bend steel:
„Muscle weighs more than fat! I bench press 140 kg, so my bikes have to be able to carry a lot of weight. The low maximum permissible weight of some of the bikes becomes a limiting factor for me if I don’t want to void the warranty. A lot of the manufacturers still have work to do here!“

Our test philosophy – Honest instead of simple, differentiated instead of “super”!

Lots of buyers let themselves be blinded by graphics, diagrams and lab measurements in the search for quick and easy answers. Thankfully, the industry is developing more of an awareness of the fact that reality is significantly more complicated and that a bike, its abilities and its characteristics can’t be expressed in just numbers. Every day we confront several questions. Which information helps with making a purchasing decision? How can we test bikes in the fairest and most realistic way possible? What testing format provides the best guide?

Everyone knows that we take a holistic approach and aren’t fans of rigid scoring systems in which individual parameters like components, weight and lab measurements are viewed in isolation and added up to give an overall score. Why? Because the scoring system itself will have been established on a subjective basis, even if the points are supposedly distributed objectively for the individual criteria. In addition, this kind of method completely disregards unique characteristics that can make certain bikes attractive for some riders. Special solutions created by manufacturers also can’t be considered, regardless of whether they are positive or negative – they just wouldn’t fit into a rigidly defined test structure.

That’s why we try to evaluate the bikes according to their strengths and weaknesses in a context that lets you decide, based on this information, whether the bike fits you and your personal requirements. Furthermore, where and how you use your bikes are too diverse to be lumped together in one set of testing criteria. We need to represent the character of every bike clearly and in an easy to understand way. As such, we consider assigning marks or scores the wrong way to go about things because it simplifies complex realities and doesn’t do them justice. A bike can’t just be “very good” or “super”, because its handling and characteristics will predetermine it to be better for one use and worse for another. Apart from that, we’re also convinced that every reader or biker has different requirements and preferences, and in turn, needs to be able to identify which bike fits or doesn’t fit them. Anything else would be misleading and not just unfair towards manufacturers, it would also patronise our readers.

For this reason, the central question that we asked ourselves during this group test is to which type of rider a certain bike is suited. And to which it isn’t. We want to answer these questions in every review, providing you with clear recommendations or even steering you away from a purchase when necessary. To help you quickly understand whether a bike suits you, we visualise the characteristics of every bike at the end of their review with a sliding scale of ratings.

Good eMTBs manage to reconcile apparently contradictory characteristics managing, for example, to be both playful and stable at the same time. For the scales at the end of the review, the higher the rating, the better the bike is in this regard. The ratings refer exclusively to the bikes in this group test and let them be compared to one another. To make the differences clear, we make use of the full range of the scales. To be clear, this means that scores of 10, but also 0 or 1, are given to the best and worst riding characteristics. We’re not aiming to rat out individual manufacturers but trying to make it easier for you to compare the bikes. A scale from 0 to 10 only makes sense if all of it is used! Despite these ratings, the bike texts are decisive, because that’s where we explain the characteristics of the bikes in detail and look at them in context of one another.

Oh sh**…
Batteries can come loose? We were just as surprised on the trail as you are now. But the fact is it happened, and not just once.

2 out of 7 bikes had a massive safety issue

What happened to us was something that should never have happened, and it didn’t just happen once. The battery fell out of the down tube while riding at full speed! At first, we couldn’t believe it either. But it happened! If you’re thinking that’s because we pulled some kind of crazy stunt, we have to disappoint you: we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary when the battery fell out of the down tube of both the INFRONT and the Propain. Fortunately, no one got hurt, but it could have had serious consequences. A battery coming loose on the trail is a serious safety concern.

Batteries can actually fall out of bikes? An absolute no-go! We’re just as surprised as you are, but it happened!

And now to the question that everybody’s asking: how did it happen? After the batteries came loose and fell out at various points on our test rides, we invited both manufacturers to come and help us find the cause and get to the bottom of the issue. It turned out that Propain had installed the battery mount incorrectly on our test bike, which meant that the battery didn’t sit as tightly and securely in the down tube as it should. On the contrary, it had a lot of play! As a result, it fell out of the down tube on the trail after landing a moderate jump. Once Propain had adjusted the battery mount correctly, the battery remained reliably in place when we tested it again, no matter how high the drops. The exact same thing happened on the trail with the INFRONT: the battery fell out of the down tube. Here, too, the small German company helped us trace the problem back to an assembly error. After modifying the spacing between the two battery brakets, the battery remained securely in the bike even over large drops.

For both manufacturers, this has given them some serious thought as regards the quality of their assembly, because a battery that turns into a potential projectile on the trail is the worst case scenario for the customer! That said, we have to commend both for their commitment and their willingness to openly approach and solve the problem.

Balancing integration, performance and range – The motors and batteries on test

Regarding motors, the test field was split between the Shimano EP8 and Bosch Performance Line CX, which means that all of the bikes on test have one thing in common: the motor rattles. Regardless of the manufacturer, there are clear differences in the integration of the drive units. This shows which brands have paid attention to detail when integrating the motor system into the bike. Canyon show us how it’s done with the Shimano EP8 system: the motor is well integrated and the display and remote have been cleverly chosen, saving money where it makes sense. The cable routing is good, keeping the cockpit looking clean and tidy and the speed sensor is integrated into the dropout. FOCUS do it best among the manufacturers who rely on the Bosch Performance Line CX motor, not only doing a good job of integrating the motor and the 625 Wh battery into the bike but also setting the standard when it comes to details such as cable routing. For the cover of the charging socket, FOCUS have chosen not to rely on the poorly executed in-house option supplied by Bosch, designing their own solution instead.

All the bikes on test have one thing in common: the motor rattles on the descents!

With the exception of INFRONT, all manufacturers have realised that a spoke magnet and exposed speed sensor are a bad idea and that it’s better to integrate them in the dropout and the brake rotor for improved reliability. Branches and rocks that twist the spoke magnet and spoil your ride belong in the past. The frame of the INFRONT IF-2.1 is even prepared for accommodating the sensor in the dropout. We can’t understand why this opportunity isn’t being used.

Bosch has some catching up to do
We are big fans of customisable support levels, letting everyone adjust the motor to suit their personal preferences. While this is easy and uncomplicated to do using the Shimano app, it isn’t possible at all with the Bosch system.

In terms of battery capacity, 625–630 Wh batteries have now become the norm. There is just one exception in the test field. Propain have kept the Ekano frame from last year and updated it to the new Shimano EP8 motor without redesigning the down tube to accommodate a larger battery. As such, the Ekano is still only available with a 504 Wh battery. The fact that most bikes have (almost) the same battery capacity doesn’t mean that all bikes can achieve the same range. Range cannot be derived directly from the battery capacity. As you might know by now, it depends on countless variables such as the suspension efficiency, tire pressure, speed, cadence, weight, temperature and more. If you want to learn more about range, you will find everything you need to know in this article.

With the exception of INFRONT, all manufacturers have come to understand that external spoke magnets are a thing of the past for 2021.

For more information on the most important motor systems on the market, we recommend checking out our motor group test. You will also find all the details you need about the most important battery concepts on our website.

The most exciting insights of our budget E-MOUNTAINBIKE group test

€ 5,500 is a lot of money for an eMTB and you would expect to get a bike that you can take straight from the store onto the trails. But is that the case, or do you have to budget for upgrades? Since every cent counts at this price, we’ll tell you what to look for and which eMTB meets all the requirements.

Don’t be dazzled by an expensive rear derailleur

Unfortunately, buyers still get fooled by an expensive, high-end derailleur and expect the bike to perform well because of it. On the one hand, the drivetrain alone has a relatively minor influence on the bike’s behaviour on the trail, as it says nothing about handling, comfort or riding pleasure. On the other hand, a high-end derailleur often serves merely to distract you from a cheaper chain, cassette and shifter and some brands in our test field (MERIDA, Canyon and SCOTT) try to fool buyers like this. You’ll find the cheekiest example of a dazzling derailleur on the MERIDA. At first glance, the XT derailleur promises a high-end drivetrain but there is little to back it up. The DEORE cassette and DEORE M6100 shifter cannot keep up with a full XT drivetrain in terms of shifting performance. Individual gear shifts work just fine, but the shifter doesn’t have the multi-release function that allows you to shift down several gears at a time. The expensive derailleur becomes an unnecessary cost as it doesn’t offer any real-world advantages. As a result, money is invested in the wrong place and often gets subtracted from where you need it more.

It’s not all smooth sailing

The first wheel was ready for the bin and the fun was over after just a few kilometres of riding. It’s crucial to pay attention to the quality of the wheels, otherwise you’re likely to find yourself cursing loudly on the trail, while once you get back home, the costs to service them will quickly exceed their actual value. Haibike, INFRONT and MERIDA rely on in-house wheelsets with insufficiently tensioned spokes. On the other hand, Canyon, FOCUS and Propain rely on wheelsets from the wheel specialists, DT SWISS and Stans, which are significantly better. Those who want or even have to upgrade will need to reach deep into their pockets. You can expect to pay an additional € 380 for a good wheelset such as the DT SWISS H1900, which you’ll find on the Canyon and FOCUS.

The first wheel was ready for the bin after just a few kilometres on the trail.

Those who can, can! Handlebar ergonomics and their pitfalls

You’re only connected to your bike at five points: your hands, your backside and your feet. Pedals and saddles are typically a matter of taste and should be selected or adapted according to individual needs. However, manufacturers shouldn’t save on any contact points involving riders’ hands. Everyone benefits from grips that don’t pass vibrations on to the hands and a cockpit that is sufficiently adjustable. You can immediately see where the manufacturers have saved when looking at how quickly and intuitively you’re able to operate the dropper post and shifter. A good cockpit should allow you to adjust everything to suit you and your needs, so that you always hit the desired levers in the heat of the moment on the trail. For example, if the shifter and brake lever can’t be aligned to play well with each other, it’s not just annoying but also dangerous. Unfortunately, this is the case on the SCOTT Ransom eRIDE 920. Canyon, MERIDA, Propain and INFRONT prove that good ergonomics with sufficient adjustment options are easily achievable on an eMTB for around € 5,500.

When the brake and gear lever don’t play well together
SCOTT combine a Shimano brake lever with a SRAM shifter, which limit each other severely in terms of their adjustability. This not only affects the amount of fun you’ll have but also safety.

The display also has a major influence on cockpit ergonomics. To save money, three out of the four Bosch powered eMTB on test rely on the Purion display. However, it interferes with many brake levers, causing issues with ergonomics and limiting the adjustability of the levers and display. As a result, reaching the buttons to select the support level can be difficult for some riders. The problem can be solved with an adapter as used by Moustache, though no brand on test thought of doing so. On the INFRONT, you’ll find the higher-end Kiox display, which not only looks better but also allows you to reach the motor remote with less effort. Unfortunately, the display on the stem of the IF-2.1 Fully is very exposed and likely to get damaged. Regarding usability, cable routing, look and feel, Shimano displays are clearly ahead of Bosch. Canyon and MERIDA have saved money in the right place by speccing the cheaper black and white SC-E7000 display and SW-E7000 remote, which are compatible with the EP8 system and in no way inferior to the newer EP8 components, apart from the lack of colour.

Tires are black gold – Save here and you’re saving on your only point of contact with the ground

Tires are a complex, yet very important topic. The rubber compound, tread pattern, tire width and casing all have an influence on riding performance, each offering specific advantages and disadvantages. With so many different tires, brands and special designations available to choose from, it’s difficult to keep track of things. Nevertheless, it’s a vital topic as the right tire choice can tease a lot more performance out of a bike while the wrong tires can worsen its handling significantly. Manufacturers like to save weight and money here to make a good impression on the shop floor. The test field of this group test shows significant differences in terms of grip, steering precision, traction and puncture protection, which also affects handling, rider confidence and the overall experience on the bike. The MERIDA, FOCUS and Propain come fitted with puncture-proof tires that offer a lot of braking traction, ticking most of the boxes of our broad test criteria.

In general, it is important to choose the tires according to the intended use and your personal needs, so that they suit both you and the bike. If you predominantly find yourself riding on gravel, forest and meadow paths, you’ll do well with a less aggressively treaded tire and thinner-walled casing. You’ll want something much sturdier if you’re planning to chase the clock down the trails though. Our big tire group test includes over 50 tires and tells you how to find the right ones for your needs.

With dropper posts, more = better!

Not only does the remote have to fit, but the travel of the dropper post also has a significant impact on the amount of fun you can have on the trail. Unfortunately, Haibike and INFRONT merely spec 125 mm dropper posts. Even on the size M Haibike (150 mm in size L), this isn’t sufficient and unnecessarily restricts your freedom of movement, clouding the fun you could otherwise have on the descents. On the size L of the INFRONT, it’s an absolute no go. It should have at least 150 mm travel! The best dropper post in the test is featured on the Propain. The BikeYoke REVIVE not only offers the longest travel (185 mm) but is also easy to operate.

The tops and flops of our test field

The versatile test field brought to light numerous tops and flops, not to mention an existential crisis. The differences between the bikes are both striking and surprising. Using specific examples from the test field, we will show you what insights we were able to gain, what was good, what was bad and what you should pay attention to.


Caesar salad or endive?
Neither of the two, since all you’ll get here is cable salad. With the exception of the FOCUS, MERIDA and Canyon, chaos reigns in the cockpits of all the bikes on test! The more affordable models here can’t keep up with the high-end bikes from our big group test in terms of clean cable routing.
The right choice
The tires on the MERIDA, Propain and FOCUS offer the best combination of grip, steering precision, traction and puncture protection. All three rely on a good tread pattern, rubber compound and durable casing, making them the right choice for a trail all-rounder.
Unique in the test field!
Ein tiefes Sitzrohr wie am MERIDA oder FOCUS ermöglicht zusammen mit einer langhubigen Variostütze nicht nur viel Bewegungsfreiheit, sondern im besten Fall auch die Wahl zwischen mehreren Größen! Dann kann man die Größe des Bikes nach den Fahreigenschaften und nicht nur nach der Sitzrohrlänge aussuchen.
Leading the way!
Canyon and FOCUS show us how it’s done. The DT SWISS H1900 wheelset is the best in the test field. The Stans No Tubes ZTR Baron S1 on the Propain is a good choice too.
Less is more!
A short seat tube like on the MERIDA or FOCUS in combination with a long-travel dropper post not only offers a lot of freedom of movement but, in the best case, free choice of several frame sizes! That way you can choose the size of the bike according to your preferences in terms of handling and not just based on the seat tube length.
That’s how we like it!
The BikeYoke REVIVE dropper post on the Propain offers 185 mm travel and is easy to use, making it the best dropper post on test.
Nice to have
Canyon also fit the USB-C charging socket on the top tubes of its lower-end models, which you can use to charge your smartphone, light, GPS device and more directly via the main battery.
Same same
The SCOTT’s rear end suspension performance is great! It features the same shock as the flagship SCOTT Ransom eRide.


An absolute no go!
A battery that turns into a dangerous projectile on the trail isn’t acceptable at all! Unfortunately, we encountered this problem twice during the test.
Attention to assembly is vital!
Propain and INFRONT flop with the assembly quality of their test bikes. In both cases, the battery came loose and fell out of the bike. Both manufacturers have since been able to identify and rectify the cause, promising us that it won’t happen again. Let’s hope that the same applies to their (online) customers.
Quality issues
INFRONT, Haibike and MERIDA rely on poorly built and bad quality in-house wheels. Those who like to ride on demanding trails will quickly push them to their limits.
Too heavy for your bike?
The maximum permissible weight and maximum payload of the FOCUS, Haibike and INFRONT leave a lot to be desired. According to the manufacturers, you and your gear can’t way more than 96 kg. That’s clearly too little.
Click clack, click clack
None of the bikes on test are quiet on the trail since all the motors rattle. Regardless of whether you prefer a Bosch or Shimano motor, those looking for a quiet bike will not find what they’re looking for in this test field.
If you only look at the derailleur, it’s your own fault, since it alone says nothing about a bike’s performance. Manufacturers often pair an expensive derailleur with entry-level components for the rest of the drivetrain. The most blatant example of this is the MERIDA.
Simply too little!
A 125 mm dropper post, as found on the INFRONT and Haibike, unnecessarily restricts your freedom of movement on the trail. From size M, the minimum should be 150 mm.
Lacking power!
The Shimano BR-MT520/BL-MT501 brakes fitted on the SCOTT offer insufficient braking power. They’re also combined with the lower-end rotors, which are only compatible with resin pads, leaving you with no way of improving their stopping power.

Which is the best eMTB for € 5,500?

Many of the bikes on test delivered an impressive performance with their good handling and excellent trail capabilities. From great all-rounders to gravity specialists and mountain goats, the seven bikes on test offer something for everyone. But which bike will allow you to have the most fun on as many trails as possible? Which is the best eMTB of 2021 for € 5,500?

Our Best in Test:
Our Best in Test – The MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 700

MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 700 (Click for review)
Shimano EP8/630 (504 in XS) Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r)
23,92 kg in size L | € 5,599

No bike in this group test manages to combine high-speed stability with nimble handling as well as the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 700. It convinced us with its wide- ranging versatility, excellent handling and flow trail fun. At the same time, it can handle almost anything, regardless of whether it is technical and steep descents or just super fast blasting. The suspension offers the perfect mix of traction, support and sufficient reserves. When ridden by an aggressive rider, the bike knows no limits. That said, even beginners and touring riders get their money’s worth with its precise yet good-natured handling and sufficient riding comfort. Best in Test! Anyone looking for an all-rounder for € 5,500 will find what they’re looking for with the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 700.

Our Best Buy:
The Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7

Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7 (Click for review)
Shimano EP8/630 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 22.92 kg in size L | € 5,199

As soon as things point downhill on flowing trails, the lively handling of the € 5,199 Spectral:ON CF 7 is unbeatable, setting the standard when it comes to having fun. Touring riders will also appreciate the level of comfort it offers. However, if you want to master the most demanding chutes or technical climbs, or blast down the trail at high speed, you’d be better off looking elsewhere. The carbon frame of the stylish Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7 is cleverly designed and of high quality, masterfully integrating the Shimano EP8 system. Anyone looking for a lively eMTB with great handling and good value for money will find what they are looking for with the Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7. A well deserved Best Buy!

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7 (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE (Click for review) | Haibike AllMtn 4 (Click for review) | INFRONT IF-2.1 Fully (Click for review) | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 700 (Click for review) | Propain Ekano AL 29 (Click for review) | SCOTT Ransom eRIDE 920 (Click for review)

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Words: Jonas Müssig Photos: Jonas Müssig, Valentin Rühl, Felix Stix, Peter Walker

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