eMtb Ride Review - We Compare Three Top Performers
Electric mountain bikes have blown up in popularity over the past few years, so it was long overdue to take a trip to the desert to test some of the top models in the game. We decided to venture down to St. George with the Santa Cruz Heckler and the SCOR 4060 Z ST. We wanted to include the Orbea Rise in the comparison test as well, but our test bike was not delivered in time. Isaac and I have spent time riding the Rise though, so we’ll include our impressions in the comparison.
While we were down south, we were able to get miles on the Heckler and the 4060 Z and give them the tests they needed. We did everything from trail riding to technical rock gardens and even some small freeride features. Both bikes had the same Shimano EP8 drive system, so we were able to judge the bike for how it handled independent of the motor. This made us able to truly get down to exactly how the bikes handled and where we felt there were differences.
SCOR 4060 Z ST
The SCOR 4060 Z ST is SCORs trail e-bike option with a Shimano EP8 motor, 150mm of fork travel, and 140mm of rear shock travel. In terms of riding this bike, it is truly a beast. On the downhill the 4060 Z is incredibly capable, rolling over even the sketchiest of rocks with ease. This bike handled all types of terrain well by being overly capable in the rocks and fun and playful on the jumps. We could tell this bike wanted to rip!
On the climbs, the electric assist made the bike into a shuttle for getting to the top. We wouldn’t say it's the easiest bike to climb on or that it maneuvers quickly and allows you to adjust for the technical climbs, but the decent amount of travel combined with the motor makes it able to get over anything in its path. The bike requires little finesse, as it is more of a point-and-shoot type of bike.
Unfortunately because of the weight on this eBike, it is unable to be ridden without the motor turned on. In a pinch you could pedal it without any electronic assist, but you’d tire quickly if you were doing it for an extended period of time. With assist, this Trail E-Bike handled everything we could throw at it with brute force and confidence.
The second bike on the docket was the Santa Cruz Heckler. This bike has 10mm more travel front and rear, but it felt much more playful. On the descents the bike felt like it wanted to be thrown around, rather than just forcing its way through the terrain. Jumping is the most fun on the Heckler, because of its playful tendencies. Over the rock gardens, the Heckler requires a little more finesse on the downhill than the SCOR, but it is still incredibly capable.
The Heckler performed better than the 4060 Z on the climbs. Because the Heckler has a 27.5” rear wheel, it was able to bounce up the rocks more easily. Another added advantage of the small rear wheel is its ability to follow your lines. The small wheel follows where you put the front of the bike, making it easier to ride on the climbs.
This bike, like the SCOR, is not very fun without the motor turned on for assist. The bike is heavy, so it is an eBike that relies on the assistance of the motor to be effective. That being said, this is a well designed trail eBike that is ready to tackle any trail. The playfulness helps the bike maintain a fun and fast ride.
As mentioned, we were unable to ride the Orbea Rise on the same day as the other two. We chose to still include the Rise in the comparison as myself and one of the other testers have spent hours on the bike in the foothills of Salt Lake City. This bike is the lightest and the most responsive of the bikes on the list. As you descend, it feels like it is not an eBike and is able to be thrown around. Even though it has the same travel as the SCOR, the Rise is not as capable in the rock gardens. The Rise requires you to choose your line a little more carefully. Jumping this bike is fun because as you jump, the weight falls away and you are able to jump it like a non-electric bike.
The Rise is the best climber of the three bikes. With a shorter wheelbase and lighter weight, the Rise climbs quickly and efficiently. Unlike the other two bikes, the motor on the Rise is tuned to 65nm. However because of its lower weight, the motor was more than enough to keep you going on the trails. The Rise feels much like a normal bike, so you are able to be picky with line choice and hop up anything that might cross your path.
The only thing you may want more of on this bike is motor power. Since the aim was to make the bike as light as possible, there is not the same power as offered in the 4060 Z or the Heckler. The Rise outperforms both those bikes on the climbs though, so more motor power may not be necessary. The Rise is the perfect eBike for those who don’t care about flying down the downhills and would rather just go out and ride their bike.
All of these bikes are great options. We’d recommend the SCOR for those that want to shred the downhills, The Heckler for those who want an all-rounder and have a full powered motor, and the Rise for the everyday rider who just wants to ride.
We have all three of these models in stock now. Feel free to call or email us, or visit us in person. We are happy to answer any questions you may have on any of our trail eBikes.