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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I used my 1Up bicycle carrier to take a Yamaha e-mountain bike for a ride. The hitch is a few inches higher than the one on previous car which was an Outback. Much easier to install on Ascent versus Outback since receiver is accessible once cover is removed; Outback hitch was hidden somewhat under bumper cover.
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Much easier to install on Ascent versus Outback since receiver is accessible once cover is removed
Did you have any issues clearing the rack while opening the rear hatch? The hatch in my OB cleared my rack fine (when empty), and as expected needs to be tilted down when loaded with a bike in order for the hatch to clear it. Rack is an original Kuat Sherpa.

The same rack on the Ascent gets clipped by the hatch when the rack is empty. I needed to tilt it down to get the hatch to open. This was with no bike, I didn't try to open it yet with a bike on.
 

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Did you have any issues clearing the rack while opening the rear hatch? The hatch in my OB cleared my rack fine (when empty), and as expected needs to be tilted down when loaded with a bike in order for the hatch to clear it. Rack is an original Kuat Sherpa.

The same rack on the Ascent gets clipped by the hatch when the rack is empty. I needed to tilt it down to get the hatch to open. This was with no bike, I didn't try to open it yet with a bike on.
My Saris MTR1 clears the hatch when lowered to the first down position (normal bike carrying position) . It has a very similar profile to the 1Up I think.
 

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Did you have any issues clearing the rack while opening the rear hatch? The hatch in my OB cleared my rack fine (when empty), and as expected needs to be tilted down when loaded with a bike in order for the hatch to clear it. Rack is an original Kuat Sherpa.

The same rack on the Ascent gets clipped by the hatch when the rack is empty. I needed to tilt it down to get the hatch to open. This was with no bike, I didn't try to open it yet with a bike on.
I have both the 1 up and kuat nv 2.0 and I didn’t have any problems with the hatch as long as the rack is in carrier position!
 

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I've been using the 1UP for years now for my Specialized Turbo Levo e-MTN bike which weighs around 45 lbs. It has to be one of the best and easiest to use heavy-duty bike racks available. Excellent construction and excellent engineering. I even used the 1UP on the back of my RV to transport my bike from VT to FL with no issues.

Highly recommended. If you're looking for one of the best bike racks available, consider this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Did you have any issues clearing the rack while opening the rear hatch? The hatch in my OB cleared my rack fine (when empty), and as expected needs to be tilted down when loaded with a bike in order for the hatch to clear it. Rack is an original Kuat Sherpa.

The same rack on the Ascent gets clipped by the hatch when the rack is empty. I needed to tilt it down to get the hatch to open. This was with no bike, I didn't try to open it yet with a bike on.
Hmmm. I didn’t try to open the hatch as I had put helmet and other goodies on the front passenger seat. However, I did noticed that clearance will be minimal when opening. The next time I use the rack I’ll have to remember to check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Regarding the bike, I enjoy it and at my age, and conditions with bad knees for example, the electric assist allows me to get out and enjoy the trails. Also, the full suspension delivers a nice ride. I would buy the bike again even though I thought I was spending too much money when I bought it...
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Regarding the bike, I enjoy it and at my age, and conditions with bad knees for example, the electric assist allows me to get out and enjoy the trails. Also, the full suspension delivers a nice ride. I would buy the bike again even though I thought I was spending too much money when I bought it...
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E-bikes are expensive but they're so worth it. I go everywhere with mine. It takes me to places I would never see without it. I can ride 35 miles or more a day and come back the next day for more. As your photos show, this is the scenery that you encounter, and incredible bike trails are everywhere. E-mountain bikes can go almost anywhere.

I loved biking when I was young but I never thought that I would ride again until e-bikes came out. They open a whole new world even for older riders.

I'm in my mid-60s but when I'm on the bike, it's like being young again, and there's no price I wouldn't pay for that feeling.
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Regarding the bike, I enjoy it and at my age, and conditions with bad knees for example, the electric assist allows me to get out and enjoy the trails. Also, the full suspension delivers a nice ride. I would buy the bike again even though I thought I was spending too much money when I bought it...
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Which make & model E-Bike is this? Would you buy the same today based on your ownership, or are there newer and improved models to consider? I've been thinking of buying one.

Thanks; John
 

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E-bikes are expensive but they're so worth it. I go everywhere with mine. It takes me to places I would never see without it. I can ride 35 miles or more a day and come back the next day for more. As your photos show, this is the scenery that you encounter, and incredible bike trails are everywhere. E-mountain bikes can go almost anywhere.

I loved biking when I was young but I never thought that I would ride again until e-bikes came out. They open a whole new world even for older riders.

I'm in my mid-60s but when I'm on the bike, it's like being young again, and there's no price I wouldn't pay for that feeling.
View attachment 16328
Which make & model E-Bike do you own? Would you buy the same today based on your ownership, or are there newer and improved models to consider? I've been thinking of buying one.

Thanks; John
 

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Which make & model E-Bike is this? Would you buy the same today based on your ownership, or are there newer and improved models to consider? I've been thinking of buying one.

Thanks; John
I need to make a long post for this question. Sorry, but this is a complex subject and you or anyone else reading this deserves a good answer. Apologies to the OP for being off-topic, hopefully this is of some interest to you as well.

A few years ago I didn't know anything about e-bikes. My adult son, who is an avid mountain bike rider bought one and he said "Give it a try, Dad". I was reluctant because I hadn't been on a bike for over 20 years. But as soon as I tried it, I was instantly hooked. E-bikes ride just like other bicycles but the power is incredible. I loved bike riding except for the hills and mountains which were always torture to me. With an e-bike, that problem is virtually gone. They give an ordinary person the power of an Olympic athlete. I rode my e-bike up the largest mountain in Vermont and loved it. You feel like superman. You can easily adjust the amount of motor power assistance to tailor whatever level of workout you desire. You can even turn the motor off to use it like an ordinary bike, but this is not recommended because an e-bike is significantly heavier and thus harder to peddle without the motor. But if the motor or battery ever quits, you're not stranded.

Buying an e-bike was tricky, there are a lot of great ones and a lot of not so great ones. I did a deep dive researching them and learned everything I could. I now know all I need. If you wish to do this too, simply go on YouTube and start watching the many excellent videos explaining in detail everything you'll ever need to know.

But, here's a highly condensed version to get you started:

E-bike is a very generic term. There are a lot of "e-bikes" but they basically fall into four categories.

Class 1: Sometimes called pedelecs, this class uses a battery/motor that renders assistance only when the bike is being peddled. It stops assisting when a speed of 20mph (US) is reached, but you can still peddle as fast as you wish. You're required to peddle to get motor assistance, but the motor can offer significant assistance allowing the rider very easy access to hills, mountains, and long distances. This class of e-bike is currently allowed to ride in most places an ordinary bike would ride throughout the US, but some states and municipalities do currently have some regulations and restrictions as well as some private lands.

Class 2: This throttle-type class uses a battery/motor that renders assistance with or without being peddled. It usually has a throttle as would a moped or motorcycle. This class of e-bike is currently allowed to ride in some places an ordinary bike would ride throughout the US, but some states and municipalities do currently have some regulations and restrictions, sometimes more so than Class 1 e-bikes. Assisted speeds are limited to 20mph (US), but you can still peddle as fast as you want just like an ordinary bike.

Class 3: This pedelec class uses a battery/motor that renders assistance only when the bike is being peddled. It stops assisting when a speed of 28mph (US) is reached. You're required to peddle it, but the motor can offer significant assistance allowing the rider easy access to hills, mountains, and long distances. This class of e-bike is currently allowed to ride in some places an ordinary bike would ride throughout the US, but in many states and municipalities, they're often restricted from most shared or multi-use paths, bike paths, and trails shared with pedestrians. They are often restricted to on-road bike lanes due to their increased speed capabilities. They can be excellent for commuters.

Class 4: High-power class. A throttle control or pedelec with an assisted top speed of 28mph and motor output of greater than 750W. Under the U.S. electric bike classification system, Class 4 e-bikes are not permitted for road use. This puts them in the same category as electric dirt bikes, the difference being is that Class 4 e-bikes have pedals, while dirt bikes do not. Strictly speaking, electric mopeds, electric scooters, and electric motorcycles could also be called class 4 e-bikes, and are treated as motorized vehicles that may need to be licensed and registered.

I would recommend a Class 1 bike only unless you have significant physical issues where peddling is impossible or difficult, or need to go faster than 20mph with motor assistance. Class 1 bikes currently have the least restrictions, are welcomed in more places, are the least intrusive, and have the least chance of being overly regulated. E-bike etiquette is essential for avoiding future regulations and restrictions, but that's a topic for another discussion. Just be aware that a quiet, peddled Class 1 e-bike is rarely going to annoy anyone. That can't be said for the other two classes and some sketchy manufacturers are now designing and selling e-bikes as electric-powered mini-motorcycles which is bound to cause further restrictions. So please choose a Class 1 if at all possible.

The first thing you have to decide is where you'll be riding. If you only want to ride paved roads and paved trails, then you have a lot more choices. You can buy a commuter/road model, a mountain bike, or a hybrid of the two. If you want to ride off-pavement, then you really need a bike with a front and/or rear suspension. This includes mountain bikes and hybrids. Of the two, mountain bikes are vastly superior. Hybrids are ok for light off-roading but a well-made mountain bike can go almost anywhere and handle anything you encounter with more comfort, control, safety, and reliability. They have considerably better suspensions, frames, brakes, motors, batteries, gears, components, and geometries. All the latest and best technology goes straight into quality mountain bikes (and the price reflects that). I recommend e-mountain bikes to everyone over all other types except for those who want to do only light, pavement riding.

Lately, a relatively new style of e-bike has been emerging. I don't know the industry term for them but I call them "Senior Bikes". :D These are small diameter, often fat-wheeled Class 1 or 2 e-bikes with rudimentary suspensions and inferior hub-style motors and cheap components supposedly designed for on/off-pavement use. Seniors seem to love them, I see them a lot at the mostly retiree RV park I'm currently staying in. They're significantly lower in cost than e-MTN bikes costing around $800-$2K. I don't know what to make of them. They're probably fine for light-duty riding for seniors I suppose, but I'm a senior and I sure wouldn't want one. If this type of e-bike appeals to anyone, I can't help you, find reviews for them on YouTube. There's no doubt that a quality e-MTN bike is vastly superior, but some older folks feel that a mountain-style bike is too much for them. As a fellow senior, I disagree, but if you have significant physical limitations, this might be the case and a senior bike may be the better choice for you. Maybe in 10-20 years, I'll want one.🥺I sure hope not. So, I'll assume you're not old enough for these yet and stick to e-MTN bikes.

My son spent a fortune on his e-MTN bike and I told him there was no way I was going to spend that much. I set a limit of $2,500 which I thought would be more than enough. He just laughed. I was way off. The more I researched it, the more I realized that he was right. You can buy an e-MTN bike for $1,000 or even less, but what you're getting is a toy. Some people will insist their $1,000 e-bike is great, but it's all cheap Chinese junk. I've seen them, I've ridden them, I've analyzed them, and they're junk. There's just no other way to say it. I apologize to anyone here who owns one, they might be fine for riding around the block or on paved roads/trails, but for anything else, they're simply not going to cut it. You need to spend at least ~$3000-$5000 just to get into the entry-level quality e-MTN bikes. That's a fact, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. E-bikes took off like fire and the market is now flooded with inexpensive, cheaply made, sketchy models, I see them here and there. They might be ok for pavement or very light trail riding, nothing more, and when they break, they're going to be hard or impossible to fix. They're basically throwaway starter bikes, good for a couple of seasons and that's it. Well-made e-bike batteries alone can cost as much or more than some of these cheap e-bikes. If anyone wants one of these, there's nothing more I can do to help. There are several YouTubers who tested them, most fell apart while were riding. I would much rather spend $4500 on a quality e-bike that lasts a decade or more than a $1500 e-bike good for only a couple of seasons. Quality e-bikes also hold their value. I can now easily sell my 2019 Turbo Levo for significantly more than I paid for it because the price of new ones has gone way up. Try doing that with a cheap e-bike. If you have no financial choice but to buy a cheap e-MTN bike, then at least try to find the best ones. There are several YouTube videos testing them and a very select few are just ok.

So, for anyone truly serious about this, we've now eliminated commuter bikes, hybrid bikes, senior bikes, and cheap off-road e-bikes posing as something legitimate. We're down to well-made e-MTN bikes. You may still not think you need a mountain-style bike, but they're usually always the best choice. They have to be. Expert mountain bike riders ride on trails no sane person would even think of taking a bike on. :D My son does this. He rides on roots, rocks, mountainsides, cliffs, trails no wider than a bike tire, and very narrow long wooden bridges high over rivers that I wouldn't even want to walk on. He thinks it's great fun and no big deal. I've tried it and I've learned enough riding techniques from him to do it well enough, but while elite riders think it's fun, it terrifies me. I primarily ride on unpaved bike trails that have been at least somewhat groomed, not full-out mountain bike trails. But rinding on any unpaved trails, even fully groomed ones, really requires a mountain bike if you want decent comfort, safety, stability, and maneuverability, and you want the bike to last. Commuter and road bikes are only for pavement, hybrid bikes can handle some mild trails but are nowhere near as reliable, comfortable, and maneuverable as mountain bikes, and those senior bikes posing as off-road bikes are a total unknown. I certainly wouldn't trust one. So, it always comes back to mountain-style bikes as the best and safest choice for the best ride, comfort, and reliability for most riders. No other style bike is built better for general, multi-surface riding.

So which e-MTN bike to buy? There are many excellent, well-made e-MTN bikes out there. This post is already too long and off the OP's topic (again sorry), and it would take 50 such posts to even begin to answer this question, so I'll summarize. For the best experience, start with the most reputable well-known bike manufacturers. There are plenty of excellent lesser-known manufacturers, but you really need to know your bikes to properly evaluate them. With a reputable manufacturer, quality, performance, and reliability are usually a given and you're pretty safe with them. You can buy excellent e-MTN bikes online, but unless you're an experienced bike mechanic or a DIY wizard, choose a bike sold by a dealer within reasonable driving distance. E-MTN bikes are not for amateurs to fix. The best ones are highly reliable, I've had no problems with mine since 2018, but if something technical does go wrong and you can't fix it, you'll want a good bike shop to help. If the bike is under warranty, the bike shop will need to be authorized to fix the bike you chose. Who are the best, most reputable e_MTN bike manufacturers? Here is a shortlist that is by no means complete and in no particular order:

Specialized
YT
Trek
Canyon
Giant
Marin
Santa Cruz
Merida
Cannondale
Lapierre
Pivot

There are many others, but this is a good starter list. Within e-mountain bikes, there are several styles for the type of riding you like. Too much detail to go into here, but be aware of it.

To narrow it down to a single bike, the best advice I can give is to choose a reputable well-rated one in your price range suited to your riding style. If you're a full-out mountain biker, you're going to want the upper-end bikes. If not, you can go for the "entry-level" models which are still superb within the top brands, they just lack refinements like carbon-fiber frames and the best, hottest components, which you don't really need for less aggressive trail riding. YouTube is the best source of e-MTN bike reviews with many dedicated channels thoroughly testing almost every bike available. You'll learn everything you ever need to know there and a whole lot more.

If you want a single, specific, super-safe recommendation, here it is. The Specialized Turbo Levo series. My son and I call these the King of all Bikes. These e-MTN bikes are widely considered some of the best of the best. Specialized is a top manufacturer considered by many to be the consistent leader in bike technology and designs. If you don't want to be bothered doing a lot of research, there really isn't a safer choice you could make. They have authorized dealers everywhere, have incredible designs, have excellent reviews, use the best components, have excellent warranties, stand firmly behind every bike they make, and most people love their products. But, of course, with all this going for them they're certainly not inexpensive. The Turbo Levo series currently costs $4,950 for the entry-level Turbo Levo to $15,000 for the ultimate S-Works Turbo Levo. I own the Turbo Levo Expert. It cost me $7,500 in 2018 and now costs $11,000. I only bought it because, at the time, it was the only model left in stock, these sell out fast, Turbo Levos are so popular they can be hard to find. The entry-level Turbo Levo, currently at $4,950 is actually an incredible buy for many riders. It gets you one of the best-designed e-bikes you can own from one of the best brands available anywhere. It will satisfy all but the elitist riders and if you end up as an elite rider, you can easily upgrade most of its components. You can certainly buy a decent e-bike cheaper, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a better one for the price and, unless you know exactly what you're buying, you can easily end up with a $1000-$3500 piece of junk. For $4,950 you can buy one of the best e-bikes for the money currently available anywhere. You might need to search around to find one, locally or online, but they can be found. You can confidently buy a Turbo Levo new online, Specialized only authorizes vetted dealers to sell them and if you buy online, all local Specialized dealers and shops must service them if they want to remain a Specialized dealer.

Please don't buy anything else without excellent unbiased recommendations and reviews. There are a lot of excellent e-bikes out there but there is also a ton of junk as well and you may somehow be tempted to go with one. I see them around and I wonder how people came to buy them, so please be careful. You wouldn't buy a cheap, poorly designed car, boat, or motorcycle from a sketchy company, so don't buy such an e-bike.

I'm here to help. If you find an e-bike that you think you like and want a second opinion, please feel free to PM me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow, Pro covered this topic extremely well. Personally, I own two RAD Minis which are internet only and Chinese built and each bike was approximately $1,500; both have worked well and fold up nicely in the Ascent. When I go on car trips one or both (have two so my daughter or lady friend can ride) come with me and both have been great bikes for their mission of all around easy riding. The Yamaha mountain bike was approximately $4,400 which I thought was terribly expensive but one can easily spend more... much more. The Yamaha has been great and works well for me. I would buy both brands again.
 

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I need to make a long post for this question. Sorry, but this is a complex subject and you or anyone else reading this deserves a good answer. Apologies to the OP for being off-topic, hopefully this is of some interest to you as well.

A few years ago I didn't know anything about e-bikes. My adult son, who is an avid mountain bike rider bought one and he said "Give it a try, Dad". I was reluctant because I hadn't been on a bike for over 20 years. But as soon as I tried it, I was instantly hooked. E-bikes ride just like other bicycles but the power is incredible. I loved bike riding except for the hills and mountains which were always torture to me. With an e-bike, that problem is virtually gone. They give an ordinary person the power of an Olympic athlete. I rode my e-bike up the largest mountain in Vermont and loved it. You feel like superman. You can easily adjust the amount of motor power assistance to tailor whatever level of workout you desire. You can even turn the motor off to use it like an ordinary bike, but this is not recommended because an e-bike is significantly heavier and thus harder to peddle without the motor. But if the motor or battery ever quits, you're not stranded.

Buying an e-bike was tricky, there are a lot of great ones and a lot of not so great ones. I did a deep dive researching them and learned everything I could. I now know all I need. If you wish to do this too, simply go on YouTube and start watching the many excellent videos explaining in detail everything you'll ever need to know.

But, here's a highly condensed version to get you started:

E-bike is a very generic term. There are a lot of "e-bikes" but they basically fall into four categories.

Class 1: Sometimes called pedelecs, this class uses a battery/motor that renders assistance only when the bike is being peddled. It stops assisting when a speed of 20mph (US) is reached, but you can still peddle as fast as you wish. You're required to peddle to get motor assistance, but the motor can offer significant assistance allowing the rider very easy access to hills, mountains, and long distances. This class of e-bike is currently allowed to ride in most places an ordinary bike would ride throughout the US, but some states and municipalities do currently have some regulations and restrictions as well as some private lands.

Class 2: This throttle-type class uses a battery/motor that renders assistance with or without being peddled. It usually has a throttle as would a moped or motorcycle. This class of e-bike is currently allowed to ride in some places an ordinary bike would ride throughout the US, but some states and municipalities do currently have some regulations and restrictions, sometimes more so than Class 1 e-bikes. Assisted speeds are limited to 20mph (US), but you can still peddle as fast as you want just like an ordinary bike.

Class 3: This pedelec class uses a battery/motor that renders assistance only when the bike is being peddled. It stops assisting when a speed of 28mph (US) is reached. You're required to peddle it, but the motor can offer significant assistance allowing the rider easy access to hills, mountains, and long distances. This class of e-bike is currently allowed to ride in some places an ordinary bike would ride throughout the US, but in many states and municipalities, they're often restricted from most shared or multi-use paths, bike paths, and trails shared with pedestrians. They are often restricted to on-road bike lanes due to their increased speed capabilities. They can be excellent for commuters.

Class 4: High-power class. A throttle control or pedelec with an assisted top speed of 28mph and motor output of greater than 750W. Under the U.S. electric bike classification system, Class 4 e-bikes are not permitted for road use. This puts them in the same category as electric dirt bikes, the difference being is that Class 4 e-bikes have pedals, while dirt bikes do not. Strictly speaking, electric mopeds, electric scooters, and electric motorcycles could also be called class 4 e-bikes, and are treated as motorized vehicles that may need to be licensed and registered.

I would recommend a Class 1 bike only unless you have significant physical issues where peddling is impossible or difficult, or need to go faster than 20mph with motor assistance. Class 1 bikes currently have the least restrictions, are welcomed in more places, are the least intrusive, and have the least chance of being overly regulated. E-bike etiquette is essential for avoiding future regulations and restrictions, but that's a topic for another discussion. Just be aware that a quiet, peddled Class 1 e-bike is rarely going to annoy anyone. That can't be said for the other two classes and some sketchy manufacturers are now designing and selling e-bikes as electric-powered mini-motorcycles which is bound to cause further restrictions. So please choose a Class 1 if at all possible.

The first thing you have to decide is where you'll be riding. If you only want to ride paved roads and paved trails, then you have a lot more choices. You can buy a commuter/road model, a mountain bike, or a hybrid of the two. If you want to ride off-pavement, then you really need a bike with a front and/or rear suspension. This includes mountain bikes and hybrids. Of the two, mountain bikes are vastly superior. Hybrids are ok for light off-roading but a well-made mountain bike can go almost anywhere and handle anything you encounter with more comfort, control, safety, and reliability. They have considerably better suspensions, frames, brakes, motors, batteries, gears, components, and geometries. All the latest and best technology goes straight into quality mountain bikes (and the price reflects that). I recommend e-mountain bikes to everyone over all other types except for those who want to do only light, pavement riding.

Lately, a relatively new style of e-bike has been emerging. I don't know the industry term for them but I call them "Senior Bikes". :D These are small diameter, often fat-wheeled Class 1 or 2 e-bikes with rudimentary suspensions and inferior hub-style motors and cheap components supposedly designed for on/off-pavement use. Seniors seem to love them, I see them a lot at the mostly retiree RV park I'm currently staying in. They're significantly lower in cost than e-MTN bikes costing around $800-$2K. I don't know what to make of them. They're probably fine for light-duty riding for seniors I suppose, but I'm a senior and I sure wouldn't want one. If this type of e-bike appeals to anyone, I can't help you, find reviews for them on YouTube. There's no doubt that a quality e-MTN bike is vastly superior, but some older folks feel that a mountain-style bike is too much for them. As a fellow senior, I disagree, but if you have significant physical limitations, this might be the case and a senior bike may be the better choice for you. Maybe in 10-20 years, I'll want one.🥺I sure hope not. So, I'll assume you're not old enough for these yet and stick to e-MTN bikes.

My son spent a fortune on his e-MTN bike and I told him there was no way I was going to spend that much. I set a limit of $2,500 which I thought would be more than enough. He just laughed. I was way off. The more I researched it, the more I realized that he was right. You can buy an e-MTN bike for $1,000 or even less, but what you're getting is a toy. Some people will insist their $1,000 e-bike is great, but it's all cheap Chinese junk. I've seen them, I've ridden them, I've analyzed them, and they're junk. There's just no other way to say it. I apologize to anyone here who owns one, they might be fine for riding around the block or on paved roads/trails, but for anything else, they're simply not going to cut it. You need to spend at least ~$3000-$5000 just to get into the entry-level quality e-MTN bikes. That's a fact, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. E-bikes took off like fire and the market is now flooded with inexpensive, cheaply made, sketchy models, I see them here and there. They might be ok for pavement or very light trail riding, nothing more, and when they break, they're going to be hard or impossible to fix. They're basically throwaway starter bikes, good for a couple of seasons and that's it. Well-made e-bike batteries alone can cost as much or more than some of these cheap e-bikes. If anyone wants one of these, there's nothing more I can do to help. There are several YouTubers who tested them, most fell apart while were riding. I would much rather spend $4500 on a quality e-bike that lasts a decade or more than a $1500 e-bike good for only a couple of seasons. Quality e-bikes also hold their value. I can now easily sell my 2019 Turbo Levo for significantly more than I paid for it because the price of new ones has gone way up. Try doing that with a cheap e-bike. If you have no financial choice but to buy a cheap e-MTN bike, then at least try to find the best ones. There are several YouTube videos testing them and a very select few are just ok.

So, for anyone truly serious about this, we've now eliminated commuter bikes, hybrid bikes, senior bikes, and cheap off-road e-bikes posing as something legitimate. We're down to well-made e-MTN bikes. You may still not think you need a mountain-style bike, but they're usually always the best choice. They have to be. Expert mountain bike riders ride on trails no sane person would even think of taking a bike on. :D My son does this. He rides on roots, rocks, mountainsides, cliffs, trails no wider than a bike tire, and very narrow long wooden bridges high over rivers that I wouldn't even want to walk on. He thinks it's great fun and no big deal. I've tried it and I've learned enough riding techniques from him to do it well enough, but while elite riders think it's fun, it terrifies me. I primarily ride on unpaved bike trails that have been at least somewhat groomed, not full-out mountain bike trails. But rinding on any unpaved trails, even fully groomed ones, really requires a mountain bike if you want decent comfort, safety, stability, and maneuverability, and you want the bike to last. Commuter and road bikes are only for pavement, hybrid bikes can handle some mild trails but are nowhere near as reliable, comfortable, and maneuverable as mountain bikes, and those senior bikes posing as off-road bikes are a total unknown. I certainly wouldn't trust one. So, it always comes back to mountain-style bikes as the best and safest choice for the best ride, comfort, and reliability for most riders. No other style bike is built better for general, multi-surface riding.

So which e-MTN bike to buy? There are many excellent, well-made e-MTN bikes out there. This post is already too long and off the OP's topic (again sorry), and it would take 50 such posts to even begin to answer this question, so I'll summarize. For the best experience, start with the most reputable well-known bike manufacturers. There are plenty of excellent lesser-known manufacturers, but you really need to know your bikes to properly evaluate them. With a reputable manufacturer, quality, performance, and reliability are usually a given and you're pretty safe with them. You can buy excellent e-MTN bikes online, but unless you're an experienced bike mechanic or a DIY wizard, choose a bike sold by a dealer within reasonable driving distance. E-MTN bikes are not for amateurs to fix. The best ones are highly reliable, I've had no problems with mine since 2018, but if something technical does go wrong and you can't fix it, you'll want a good bike shop to help. If the bike is under warranty, the bike shop will need to be authorized to fix the bike you chose. Who are the best, most reputable e_MTN bike manufacturers? Here is a shortlist that is by no means complete and in no particular order:

Specialized
YT
Trek
Canyon
Giant
Marin
Santa Cruz
Merida
Cannondale
Lapierre
Pivot

There are many others, but this is a good starter list. Within e-mountain bikes, there are several styles for the type of riding you like. Too much detail to go into here, but be aware of it.

To narrow it down to a single bike, the best advice I can give is to choose a reputable well-rated one in your price range suited to your riding style. If you're a full-out mountain biker, you're going to want the upper-end bikes. If not, you can go for the "entry-level" models which are still superb within the top brands, they just lack refinements like carbon-fiber frames and the best, hottest components, which you don't really need for less aggressive trail riding. YouTube is the best source of e-MTN bike reviews with many dedicated channels thoroughly testing almost every bike available. You'll learn everything you ever need to know there and a whole lot more.

If you want a single, specific, super-safe recommendation, here it is. The Specialized Turbo Levo series. My son and I call these the King of all Bikes. These e-MTN bikes are widely considered some of the best of the best. Specialized is a top manufacturer considered by many to be the consistent leader in bike technology and designs. If you don't want to be bothered doing a lot of research, there really isn't a safer choice you could make. They have authorized dealers everywhere, have incredible designs, have excellent reviews, use the best components, have excellent warranties, stand firmly behind every bike they make, and most people love their products. But, of course, with all this going for them they're certainly not inexpensive. The Turbo Levo series currently costs $4,950 for the entry-level Turbo Levo to $15,000 for the ultimate S-Works Turbo Levo. I own the Turbo Levo Expert. It cost me $7,500 in 2018 and now costs $11,000. I only bought it because, at the time, it was the only model left in stock, these sell out fast, Turbo Levos are so popular they can be hard to find. The entry-level Turbo Levo, currently at $4,950 is actually an incredible buy for many riders. It gets you one of the best-designed e-bikes you can own from one of the best brands available anywhere. It will satisfy all but the elitist riders and if you end up as an elite rider, you can easily upgrade most of its components. You can certainly buy a decent e-bike cheaper, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a better one for the price and, unless you know exactly what you're buying, you can easily end up with a $1000-$3500 piece of junk. For $4,950 you can buy one of the best e-bikes for the money currently available anywhere. You might need to search around to find one, locally or online, but they can be found. You can confidently buy a Turbo Levo new online, Specialized only authorizes vetted dealers to sell them and if you buy online, all local Specialized dealers and shops must service them if they want to remain a Specialized dealer.

Please don't buy anything else without excellent unbiased recommendations and reviews. There are a lot of excellent e-bikes out there but there is also a ton of junk as well and you may somehow be tempted to go with one. I see them around and I wonder how people came to buy them, so please be careful. You wouldn't buy a cheap, poorly designed car, boat, or motorcycle from a sketchy company, so don't buy such an e-bike.

I'm here to help. If you find an e-bike that you think you like and want a second opinion, please feel free to PM me.
Very informative, thanks. I think I'll look into rentals to see if a mtn E-bike and the attendant sport appeals to me without the big cash outlay. When I lived in CA, I used to ride a quality street bike daily to the gym and back (why drive there in a car and then spend 10 minutes on a stationary bike to "warm up", when you can ride there and arrive warmed up?).
 

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Did you have any issues clearing the rack while opening the rear hatch? The hatch in my OB cleared my rack fine (when empty), and as expected needs to be tilted down when loaded with a bike in order for the hatch to clear it. Rack is an original Kuat Sherpa.

The same rack on the Ascent gets clipped by the hatch when the rack is empty. I needed to tilt it down to get the hatch to open. This was with no bike, I didn't try to open it yet with a bike on.
The rack had to be in the carrier position to open hatch. To open hatch with a bike it needs to be tilted down. It barely clears my Spesh Epic size Large when it’s tilted down.

I like to leave my rack on my car all summer. Im going to buy abs adapter that lowers the hitch so my hatch can clear the rack even when it’s folded up.
 

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The rack had to be in the carrier position to open hatch. To open hatch with a bike it needs to be tilted down. It barely clears my Spesh Epic size Large when it’s tilted down.

I like to leave my rack on my car all summer. Im going to buy abs adapter that lowers the hitch so my hatch can clear the rack even when it’s folded up.
Did you end up finding an abs adapter that allows the hatch (of your Ascent, correct?) to clear the 1up double rack in the folded up position?
 
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