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Electric Bike Review – BH Emotion Neo Xtrem Electric Mountain Bike
Feb 27, 2012
BH Emotion Neo Xtrem electric mountain bike on the trail.
This is one of the first electric mountain bikes that I have reviewed and I have to say I am impressed! It is not without it’s downsides but the overall bike seems to be a good ride for the singletrack adventurer or someone looking for a versatile around town bike.
I am very interested in the new electric mountain bike niche because I have been a mountain biker for over 20 years. I was a professional cross country mountain bike racer on the US national circuit and today I still ride my mountain bike as much as possible 🙂
Living in Sedona Arizona allows me to put a bike like this through it’s paces on some rough trails! Here is a video that will give you an idea of what mountain biking in Sedona is like:
The Emotion Neo Xtrem is an electric mountain bike that can work well on the trails but it can also work well for around town riding. Some people like a mountain bike for city riding because mountain bikes have an upright comfortable position and they have wide tires with tread that can handle off road riding.
Here is the real world information on how this bike performed on my typical riding circuit that includes a lot of hills, wind, etc.
The results below are based on a paved circuit that I use for testing other electric bikes. This bike was also ridden off road on the Sedona trails but I did not record the range because there are a lot of different factors that can effect a mountain bike ride (riding on hardpack vs. mud vs. sand, etc.)
While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions (highest assist setting with little pedaling) to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed.
Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the bike traveled 20 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 1700 ft. Considering that I weight 190 lbs and I pedaled very lightly this is pretty good range for a 36 Volt 9 ah battery pack (324 Watt Hours).
Emotion Neo Xtrem Range and Elevation Info
Speed: The Xtrem had no problems maintaining 20 mph on the open road. This bike climbs well because of it’s geared hub motor so I didn’t need to help it much on the hills.
Weight: This bike tips the scales at 49.2 lbs. which is impressive for an electric mountain bike. This in combination with a geared hub motor makes this electric bike relatively easy to pedal without electric assistance.
The weight distribution on this e-mtb is pretty good but it could be a little better. With a rear hub motor the back of the bike is a little heavy when trying to roll over obstacles and/or hopping over them. A center mount or crank drive motor would probably be better for good weight distribution.
Pros of the Emotion Neo Xtrem
The Emotion Neo bikes have well integrated battery location on top of the downtube.
Battery and location. The battery pack is made by Samsung which is a well known brand in the electronics world. Storing the battery on top of the downtube is a big pro for this bike because it maintains a low center of gravity and keeps the battery in a relatively safe place (although inside the downtube would be safer). The battery is easy to remove for charging or safe keeping. Finally, it just looks cool! The curved downtube and battery is unique and it blends well with the rest of the frame look. It can be hard to tell that it is an electric bike from a distance.
Nice Pedal Assist. This electric bike only has the pedal assist feature with 5 levels of assistance (there is no throttle control). I felt like it provided a responsive assist when I was pedaling easy and when I was pedaling hard.
This is nice when you are mountain biking because you want a bike that will give you predictable power based on how much power you are putting into the pedals. Too much electric assist power could cause you to spin out in loose areas.
The Xtrem could accelerate from a stop very well which can be handy when crossing a busy intersection. I think this e-bike may be one of the quickest accelerating e-bikes that I have ridden in the 350 watt motor category.
Good climber. With the 350 watt geared hub motor this bike climbed very well. The motor had a lot of torque which helped me climb the steep sections of trail I rode the bike on. It took me a little while to get used to the torquey-ness on the trail but once I found a good pedal assistance setting it worked very well.
Comfortable mountain bike position. As I mentioned before mountain bikes typically have a comfortable riding position and the Xtrem definitely has that. The position works well for casual trail riding and zipping around town. I didn’t feel to hunched over (like a racing position) and the bike seemed to handle the singletrack trails well from a handling perspective.
The Emotion Neo Xtrem uses Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes front and rear.
Hydraulic disc brakes. The Tektro disc brakes had good stopping power and that can come in handy on the trail especially since an electric mountain bike is heavier than a typical mountain bike. The brakes seemed to modulate well and could stop you quickly if you needed them to.
Shimano Alivio drivetrain. Shimano is a tried and true bicycle component manufacturer and the Alivio component group is a good entry level mountain bike group. If you ride this bike off road a lot you will probably need to upgrade the components eventually. If you mainly use the Xtrem around town with the occasional off road adventure the components should last you a while.
Cons of the Emotion Neo Xtrem
Pedal assist is a little finicky. As good as the pedal assist is it stays on a little longer than I would prefer. This can be a good thing in some situations on the trail when you need to get over an obstacle but you can’t pedal because that obstacle gets in the way of your pedals. On the other hand when you are trying to go slow and get around an obstacle the extended electric assist can make things interesting! The brakes levers have sensors that will stop the electric assist when you use the brakes. Once you get used to controlling the electric assist with the brakes, the extended assist is less of an issue.
The acceleration of the bike is great but if you are at a stop and you don’t have the brakes on, putting your foot on the pedal can activate the bike and it will lurch forward, which can be a little weird. If you have the brakes on ,the brake lever sensors will prevent the motor from activating. Some other electric bike systems that I have tested don’t activate until you are actually moving.
These are some nuances of the pedal assist that you can get used to, but I wanted to mention them as something to look out for when riding the bike for the first couple of times.
Noisy motor. As with almost every geared hub motor you will get a some noise from the gears. The noise it not too noticeable, especially once you are moving fast, but it is there.
The Emotion Neo Xtrem comes with a Suntour XCT suspension fork. If you plan on riding this bike off road a lot I would recommend upgrading the fork.
Suspension fork could be better. I was not very impressed with the suspension fork on this bike. There was not much damping control which led to the fork rebounding very quickly after hitting a bump. If you plan on using the Xtrem a lot on the trails I would recommend upgrading the fork to something that is more off road worthy. If you plan on riding this bike mainly around town I wouldn’t worry about replacing the fork.
Battery could be damaged by a crash. Compared to other bikes that have their batteries housed inside the downtube (Stromer, IZIP, etc.) the battery location on top of the downtube leaves it a little more vulnerable to side impact damage during a crash. The downtube itself will provide some protection but not complete protection. Mountain biking can be a rough sport with crashes as part of the fun!
The Emotion Neo Xtrem is a true cross country electric mountain bike. You can hit the trails and enjoy some electric assist to get you up and over those hills or take the easy ride home when your legs are done. This is also a nice all around electric bike that is good for getting around town in addition to being off road worthy.
The BH Emotion Neo Xtrem electric mountain bike can get you out on the trails.
The overall value of the bike is there. For the price I think that Emotion did a good job in selecting quality components (electric and traditional bike parts). If you plan on riding this bike off road a lot I would recommend upgrading the fork and eventually you may want to upgrade the drivetrain and brakes as they wear out. But overall this electric mountain bike is a great way to get you out on the trails for a reasonable amount of money ($2600 USD).
There is a little bit of a learning curve when getting used to the pedal assist on technical trails but after a few rides you should get used to it.
Last but not least, this is a cool looking electric bike and I applaud Emotion for their integrated battery design.
Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test. This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability. My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes. If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.