Bike finder: Which high-torque e-bike should I buy?

A composite image of two e-bikes, with the back half of the Whyte and the front half of  the Trek. Both are black.
The Whyte E-506 SUV (left) or the Trek Powerfly Sport 7 Equipped Gen 4?
Living the North York Moors, Trevor Appleton needs an e-bike that can handle the steepest of hills as well as touring. Our experts provided him with some options

For: Trevor Appleton, aged 70, from the North York Moors.
Bike needs: The ability to go up the steepest hills there are, such as Rosedale Chimney Bank. Off road I shall largely be on tracks suitable for vehicles. I am interested in touring and have panniers to go on. I need the motor to kick in as soon as I put pressure on the pedals, plus high torque (85Nm?). Low lowest gear and high highest gear, preferably.
Must have: Pannier rack, mudguards. Frame suitable for 6ft 4in, 13st 7lb male. Need to remove battery and carry a spare. High range.
Must not have: Handlebar higher than seat.
Budget: Whatever fits my requirements.

Richard Peace

For once I feel spoiled for choice in selecting bikes to recommend because ‘all-trail’ or SUV-type e-bikes are a rapidly growing segment – and as you haven’t specified a maximum budget that really opens out the options. So I have two suggestions for you.

A standout option has to be the Whyte E-506 SUV (£3,599). Not just because of the powerful (85Nm torque) Bosch Performance Line CX mid-drive and removable 500Wh battery, but because there are some tremendous discounts around (for example £2,499 from House of Fraser).

It has wide-ranging 1×10 derailleur gearing, mega-powerful four-piston hydraulic disc brakes, hardwired front and rear lights, a rear pannier rack and a dropper seatpost.

At the opposite end of the price scale, if you want a virtually indestructible model, you can drool online over Riese & Muller’s Superdelite Mountain (approx £10,000). It boasts the same powerful mid-drive as the Whyte but also has super high-quality full suspension and the option of a 14-speed Rohloff hub gear with electronic shifting, plus front and rear racks. If large range is important, best of all, you get Bosch’s 1,125Wh dual battery system.

There is a whole spectrum of choice in between these two options, including Haibike’s Advntr FS9, Canyon’s electric Pathlite range and the Trek Powerfly Sport Equipped range.

Whyte E-506 SUV £3,599

A black e-MTB with a rear rack
Whyte E-506 SUV

Dan Joyce

Chimney Bank is one of the steepest tarmac roads in the UK, with a maximum gradient of about 33%. The optimum e-bike for climbing such hills is one with a high-torque mid-motor (85Nm, as you surmise) and low gears, which will enable both the mid-motor and your legs to work less hard.

You only tend to find such motors and gearing on e-mountain bikes (aside from some e-cargo bikes). An e-gravel bike would have sufficient off-road capability for what you describe but would come with too-high gearing and a motor with too little torque.

There are plenty of e-MTBs to choose from. Like Richard, I’d suggest a fully equipped hardtail – specifically, the Trek Powerfly Sport 7 Equipped Gen 4 (£4,625). That’s not discounted on Trek’s website but you may be able to find a very similar Gen 3 version for less.

Like the Whyte, it has a pannier rack, mudguards, hardwired lighting, four-piston hydraulic brakes and a dropper seatpost. Its removable battery is even bigger (625Wh) and its gears are lower. A 36t chainring drives a 12-speed 10-51 cassette, compared to the Whyte’s 38t chainring and 10-speed 11-43 cassette.

The XL model is designed for riders between about 6ft 2in and 6ft 5in, so should fit you well. You have a Trek dealer nearby (Big Bear Bikes in Pickering), which will be helpful for test riding and for having local backup if you do buy.

Trek Powerfly Sport 7 Equipped Gen 4 £4,625

A black e-MTB with a rear rack
Trek’s Powerfly Sport 7 Equipped Gen 4

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