Here we are with the final installment of the Value eBike Showdown. Today we’re wrapping it up by comparing and contrasting all four bikes to help you find the best eMTB for you. The bikes on offer are the Giant Reign E+3, the Giant Stance E+1, the Rocky Mountain Instinct PowerPlay A50, and the Orbea Rise H30. All of these bikes cost less than $6,500, but which value ebike offers the best bang for your buck?
The Value eBikes
Today we have four value ebikes on offer. They include the Giant Reign E+ 3, the Giant Stance E+ 1, the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay A50, and the Orbea Rise H30. We’ve done a review on each of these already so we won’t be going into a lot of depth here. Rather, we are going to break down their performance by category.
Value Ebike Drive Systems
In my mind, a good drive system needs to do three things well. It needs to provide enough power, it needs to deliver the power smoothly and the battery needs to last long enough for big adventure rides.
- The Instinct takes the cake for me in two of the three categories. It provides the most power and it does it the smoothest. The Dyname is my favorite ebike drive system to date. I will say it can be a bit of a fickle beast though. It can act out more than the others. Sometimes it overheats, sometimes it cuts your power for no good reason, and sometimes it yells at you for keeping your foot on the pedal while taking a break. I think some of its issues can be avoided by powering on the bike while not being on it. Most of the time, all it takes is a quick calibration (done from the controller on the bike) and it’s back to the races.
- The Reign is next in my book when it comes to drive systems. The Syncdrive Pro is almost as smooth as the Dyname and it certainly is a bit quieter. It doesn’t match the Instinct in terms of power, but battery life is consistent between the two. SyncDrive offers an automatic mode, which I ended up disliking as it felt too slow to respond to changes in my input. The integrated controller and battery/mode indicator are the sleekest of the bunch.
- The Stance feels pretty much just like the Reign when it comes to power and delivery. I didn’t really notice the 15Nm drop in power on the Stance. The controller feels a bit clunky. Overall The Syncdrive sport is still easily one of my favorite drive systems.
- For better or worse, the Rise felt the most like pedaling my normal bike. The EP8 RS offers the least power, although it’s not far behind the Stance. It requires a bit more effort on your part but doesn’t have that big, bulky, obtrusive feel that some of the other bikes have. Given the bike’s efficiency and the fact you can run a range extender, I would think the Rise is the best for longer days.
eBikes present a unique challenge on the climbs. While suspension efficiency is less important, the geometry has to be dialed. Bad geometry is accentuated with the additional power. If your body position is too rearward, the front end will be impossible to control. If you’re too far over the front, you’ll lose traction quickly at the back tire. Traction is another large factor in ebike climbing ability. If the suspension is too firm, you’re not going to have the traction you want for steep and loose climbs. It’s tough to call a winner out of the group as they each bring something unique to the table.
- The Reign provides the most traction and control in bumpy and rough climbing. It makes short work of tough climbs.
- The Instinct offers more power and speed than any of the others. The climbing position is about as good as it gets with your weight very evenly distributed across both wheels.
- The Rise is the most like pedaling your normal mountain bike. It’s easier to manage and maneuver at slower speeds and in tighter terrain.
- The Stance struggles a bit because of the slack seat tube angle. I think the suspension doesn’t do as good of a job at holding you up either which compounds the effect. I found the front end difficult to control.
These bikes vary widely in geometry, travel, and intended applications. It’s tough to pick a winner descending prowess as each one is so different. Again, they each bring something to the table.
- The Reign is easily the most capable descender. It’s the best in rough terrain and at high speeds. It’s big, stable, and squishy. The suspension is the standout feature. It is one of the plushest and smoothest bikes I’ve ever ridden.
- It’s not always the most manageable bike, especially at slower speed. It can take a heavy hand at times. It’s also pretty tough to get off the ground. The higher geometry setting helps a bit here, though.
- The Instinct is the most all-mountain in the group. It’s the most versatile option for me. It handles easier and slower terrain better than the Reign, but it opens up some tougher trails when compared to the Rise and Stance. It’s a bit more aggressive than those two.
- Again the Rise feels the most like a pedal bike on the descents. It’s easier to manage, corner, and unweight than all the other bikes. Not only is it due to the travel and geometry, but the bike is also simply 10lb lighter than the other options. That alone goes a long way in making the Ride really fun to ride. It’s not quite as capable as the Reign and Instinct but it offers something those bikes can’t.
- The Stance is a tricky one on the descents for me. I’ll start by saying it did better than I thought it would. It was stable enough to get away with riding tougher trails, but it wouldn’t be my first pick. The geometry and travel aren’t necessarily designed with the trails we rode in mind. The older geometry is probably better suited for easier terrain. The Stance bounced around a bit more than the other bikes when things got bumpy. On smoother faster terrain, however, the steeper angles will help keep the handling a bit more responsive.
Value Ebike showdown: Value
All of these bikes offer quite a bit for the price tag. One of them really stood out to me. The Reign offers a lot of bang for your buck. All of the components hit that minimum threshold for me. They did the job they’re supposed to do. The dropper was a little short for my liking, but it worked. It was nice to see a good tire setup right out of the box too. The Rise H comes in second for value at only $200 more than the Reign. Again the components all work well enough. I would have liked to have seen 4-piston brakes. As a rule, I don’t think any ebike should have 2-piston stoppers. While the Instinct costs significantly more than the rest, it offers quite a bit in terms of intangibles. While the components aren’t worth the extra money, the motor alone very well may be. It’s tough to put a price tag on the versatility it offers as well.
The worst value bike for me is the Stance. Even though the Stance is the cheapest bike in the test I don’t think it offers the most value. For an extra $500 the Reign is a far superior bike not only in terms of components but in ride quality as well. If you have to save up for an extra month or two in order to afford the Reign (or Trance X) I would 100% recommend doing so. It will be well worth it.
Value Ebike showdown: Who are they for?
The Reign is for the aggressive descender. It’s as much of a monster truck as a bike gets. It likes to go fast even when things get really rough. It’s the best bet for someone looking to maximize the return on their dollar as well.
The Instinct is for the do-it-all rider. It’s going to be the best option for covering the widest variety of terrain. It’s also the best pick for the power fiend. It offers significantly more power than anything else in the test.
The Rise is for the rider looking for the most natural ebike experience. It’s for someone who is hesitant to try an ebike— call it a gateway ebike if you will. It’s more than just that, though. It’s a quick, lively funny, playful, and poppy little whip for the riders looking to make the most of the downhill miles.
I see the Stance as a good bike for the more casual rider. For someone looking to get out on the weekend with their family. Maybe they want to go ride the rail trail or stick to the fun, family-friendly bike park. I wouldn’t really recommend it to folks looking to push the limits of their ability, especially in rough terrain.
Value Ebike showdown: The bottom line
It’s great to see more and more options in the ebike world. Hopefully, this guide helped you find the best ebike for your riding style and needs.