– Feb. 9th 2021 10:28 am ET
Portland-based PXCycle’s E-XC series of urban electric mountain bikes was already popular with its rider base. But now the bike shop is launching a new version of the e-bike that takes it another step further.
With a new mid-drive motor and the same rugged utility-oriented design, this is an e-bike you’ll definitely want to check out.
PXCycle E-XC+ tech specs
There are multiple models of the PXCycle E-XC+. Below are the specs for the version I tested.
- Motor: 600 W mid-drive
- Top speed: 20 mph (32 km/h) on throttle, 28 mph (45 km/h) on pedal assist
- Range: 20-60 miles (32-96 km)
- Battery: 48V 11Ah (528Wh) semi-integrated, removable
- Frame: 6061 Aluminum
- Suspension: Suntour spring suspension fork
- Brakes: Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
- Extras: LCD display with speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, odometer, 5-speed settings, thumb throttle, built-in rear rack and bolt-on front rack, included front and rear fenders
PXCycle E-XC+ video review
New launch coming soon
A new version of the E-XC+ in several different configurations will debut on February 23 via Kickstarter. While we often think of Kickstarter campaigns as belonging in the “brand-new startup” category, many established e-bike brands turn to the platform to build a buzz for new launches.
PXCycle is already a respected brand and a trusted Portland bike shop, and the company was kind enough to let us test an early version of the bike before the new model goes on sale.
The bike we tested was almost the exact configuration that we’ll see at launch, with the exception of PXCycle upgrading to a newer mid-drive unit. And while I didn’t get to try the bike with the new motor, I have tried that motor on another e-bike and can attest to its power and performance.
What is an urban electric mountain bike?
In my opinion, urban electric bicycles can be divided into two main groups: Easy-going bike lane e-bikes and full-on urban assault e-bikes. The PXCycle E-XC+ is the latter.
There’s nothing wrong with a nice metro e-bike built for efficient city pedaling. I actually own a couple in my personal e-bike quiver. But when you need to get a bit more… freestyle with your city riding, that’s where an urban mountain bike comes in. They borrow from the mountain bike world with similar components and frame geometries, yet are optimized for the concrete jungle.
Instead of weaving around trees, they’re built for weaving around parking meters and phone poles. Instead of hopping over roots, these e-bikes are built for hopping curbs. And instead of ferrying you to the mountain top, these e-bikes are designed to ferry you and your gear to work.
That’s exactly the type of ride I got from the PXCycle E-XC+.
The bike combines a potent mix of two worlds. The long travel suspension fork absorbs all the abuse you can throw at it, yet you get a nice set of urban fenders tucked underneath it. The Shimano disc brakes bite hard like I’d want on the trails, but are paired with sticky street rubber to bring you to a stop quickly on the asphalt. The forward-riding position gives you aggressive control like a mountain bike, yet the frame still sports both a front and rear rack for ultimate utility.
It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or a mountain e-bike in an urban utility e-bike’s clothing.
Mid-drive power without the high price
Then there’s that powerful mid-drive motor. As I mentioned, here I’m testing an early version of the bike that still used the 500W Shenyi mid-drive motor, but I’ve previously ridden an e-bike with the motor used in the new version of the E-XC+. I can personally attest that it is a powerful, torquey motor that can give the European heavyweights a run for their money.
Technically it is listed as a 600W motor on the 48V version of the PXCycle E-XC+, but it is running at 20A paired with a 48V battery, meaning you’re pulling a peak power of 960W straight out of the battery. As with all e-bikes, who knows how much power that translates to at the rear wheel? But suffice it to say that the motor feels stronger than you’d expect from a conventional mid-drive setup.
The 48V battery is a 528 Wh unit with a real-world range of somewhere between 20-50 miles (32-80 km), depending on whether you’re using pedal assist or throttle. When the new version of the E-XC+ launches on Kickstarter in a couple of weeks, there will be an option to upgrade to a larger 816Wh battery for around $125 extra. If you can swing it, having that extra battery is always nice to ensure you’ve got surplus range. And if you’re heavy on the throttle, you’ll definitely enjoy having a bigger battery pack.
The built-in torque sensor in the mid-drive motor unit means that pedal assist is quick and responsive, offering natural-feeling assist that you won’t get from a cheaper cadence-based sensor. The 8-speed Shimano Altus transmission also gives you a nice mix of gear range and quality, coming in above the lower-tier derailleurs we often see on affordably priced mid-drive e-bikes.
And for those that like having a throttle for extra help at the bottom of a hill or just to give your legs a breather, you’ll be happy to find one waiting for you on the handlebars. I know many people enjoy their pedal assist-only e-bikes, but plenty of others like the confidence boost and safety net of having a throttle at their disposal. Fortunately the E-XC+ offers both.
All of this combines to create that complete package of an all-around urban assault electric bike. I was regularly hopping back and forth from bicycle lanes to grassy swales and popping right over raised manhole covers without thinking twice!
Priced to sell
Like most e-bikes these days, there seems to be a pretty big disparity between the MSRP and the sale price.
While the PXCycle has a list price of between $2,995 to $3,395 for various power levels and battery capacities, you’ll find the e-bike on sale when it hits Kickstarter for 50% off of those prices.
That. Is. Huge.
We’re talking $1,695 for a 600W mid-drive e-bike with over 500Wh of battery and plenty of respectable components that are built to last. There’s also going to be a 36V version of the bike with a still-respectable 400W of power with a sale price of just $1,495.
At these prices, the PXCycle E-XC+ is a no-brainer. That’s a deal that will be incredibly hard to pass up.
Be sure to check back on Electrek for the announcement when the Kickstarter begins. The E-XC+ has already proven to be a popular e-bike, and the new version with an upgraded motor and even better sale pricing looks to improve on an already awesome ride.
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