The electric bike industry has been bustling with innovation in recent years. We’ve been seeing exciting new developments from both new and established players – everything from advancements in battery tech to new powertrains pushing the boundaries of lightweight, powerful motors.
Needless to say, 2023 was an exciting year for e-bike enthusiasts. Big innovations from some of the biggest names in the industry rolled out left and right, and new players emerged with some impressive e-bikes that offer impressive levels of performance for small budgets. With all that being said, let’s take a look at some of our favorite e-bike innovations that emerged in 2023.
Bosch Performance Line SX
Bosch is one of the most established names when it comes to e-bike powertrains, and in 2023, it unveiled its newest motor called the Performance Line SX. Bosch’s Performance series of motors is among the most widely used in the industry, with the Performance Line CX being a favorite among electric mountain bikers. Meanwhile, the top-tier Performance Line CX Race delivers uncompromising performance in a lightweight magnesium housing.
As for the Performance Line SX, this motor isn’t all about brute force, but rather, providing a smooth, natural-feeling pedal assist. Bosch says that the Performance Line SX motor is designed for gravel bikes and lightweight MTBs, and indeed, manufacturers were quick to pick up on this innovation, as lots of new e-gravels, e-MTBs, and electric trekking bikes feature this new motor.
SRAM Eagle Powertrain
Sram has always been a force to be reckoned with in the cycling world, but until recently, didn’t really show much interest in the e-bike space. This all changed when it dropped the Eagle Powertrain, a powerful e-bike system co-developed with German company Brose. Apart from delivering impressive performance, the Eagle Powertrain offers a wide array of integration and compatibility features, allowing riders to fine tune their riding experience.
One of the Eagle Powertrain’s standout features is its ability to control the bike’s drivetrain. It offers automatic shifting for Sram’s wireless drivetrains, allowing riders to focus solely on pedaling and enjoying the ride without needing to fiddle with gear changes. That said, performance-oriented riders looking for a more engaging experience can still choose to shift manually.
Trek Fuel EXe Alloy
Trek’s Fuel lineup of mountain bikes is among the best-known in the business. It’s been around for more than a decade now, and has evolved from all-mountain MTB to full-on enduro builds. The Trek Fuel EXe unveiled in 2022 was truly an e-MTB to behold, with its carbon fiber frame and top-tier components. However, it was naturally premium and beyond the reach of many riders.
Luckily, in 2023, Trek released the Fuel EXe Alloy, a similarly capable electric MTB, albeit one with an aluminum frame and more affordable components. The result was a capable e-MTB that had an MSRP starting at $5,500 USD – still a sizeable chunk of change, but nonetheless more accessible than the carbon frame that would cost you a thousand bucks more.
Yamaha’s 2WD Gravel Bike
As it would turn out, Yamaha has a thing for two wheels. Apart from making some of the best motorbikes in the market, it’s also pushing innovation in the e-bike industry. In May 2023, it unveiled the YDX Moro 07, a premium enduro e-MTB with a unique Dual-Twin frame. Even more interesting was Yamaha’s two-wheel-drive electric gravel bike.
The Yamaha Y-01W AWD made its debut at the Japan Mobility Show, and attracted attention due to its wilde frame design and futuristic technology. Among the features on offer are a dual-battery setup and two motors – one in the middle that powers the rear wheel, and another one mounted on the hub of the front wheel.
Pinion’s innovations in the bike world go beyond electric bicycles with its intuitive internal gearing solutions. However, its MGU, or Motor Gearbox Unit, seeks to revolutionize the way e-bikes are built. By combining the motor and gearbox in a single housing – similar to how a motorcycle internal combustion engine works – the MGU not only offers a compact setup with central weight distribution, it also extends service life and reliability.
The MGU incorporates a myriad of sensors to precisely time each and every shift. Pinion says that the system is so smooth that it shifts in a seamless manner and delivers a natural-feeling pedal assist. To keep weight down low, the entire setup is housed in a compact die-cast magnesium housing.
Let’s take a step back from all the performance-oriented e-bike innovations and take a look at a bike that’s all about enjoying the simpler things about e-bikes. Indeed, Jackrabbit’s XG is proof that bigger isn’t always better. Perfect for the crowded metropolis, the Jackrabbit XG injects a dose of pure-hearted fun into your rides with its lightweight and powerful motor. Its compact dimensions mean that it’s easy to carry around with you.
Jackrabbit’s XG is its most powerful e-bike on offer, with a 500-watt rear hub motor solely responsible for propulsion (no, there aren’t any pedals). So while the Jackrabbit XG may look like a bike, it’s actually more like a teenie weenie electric motorbike. The price for this fun and practical toy? $1,750 USD.
Ride1Up CF Racer1
California-based e-bike specialist Ride1Up has always been about producing budget-friendly e-bikes that are good around town. However, it came as a surprise to many when it dropped the CF Racer1, its most performance-oriented e-bike to date. To make it even better, the CF Racer1 is priced extremely attractively at just $2,295.
It’s hard to find a carbon fiber electric gravel bike at this price point, let alone one that’s packing as much tech as the CF Racer1. It’s rocking a Bafang mid-drive motor that pumps out a nominal 250 watts. On top of that, it’s rocking a Sram 1x11 drivetrain and hydraulic brakes. All these parts are impressive, and more commonly found on bikes that retail twice as much as the CF Racer1.
Ducati E-Enduro Powerstage RR LTD
If you’ve got a spare 11,990 euros ($13,100 USD) burning a hole in your pocket, and you want an electric mountain bike from one of the biggest names in the motorcycle world, then the Ducati E-Enduro Powerstage RR LTD is just the bike for you. This full-carbon electric enduro bike is one of the best e-MTBs to come out of the House of Borgo Panigale, and features no shortage of cutting-edge tech.
It’s rocking Shimano’s top-tier motor, the EP801, which delivers 85 Nm of torque and up to 400-percent pedal assistance. The bike features Ohlins suspension and rolls on a mullet wheel configuration (29 inches up front, 27.5 inches at the back). Only 230 of these bikes will ever see the light of day.