A Trailblazer on Every Terrain: Aventon's Electric Mountain Bike Revolution

But the company’s first electric mountain bike, the Ramblas model, (there will be sister bikes in the line-up soon, too) promises to set a new bar for off-road performance and value. This rugged e-MTB adds a new dimension to Aventon’s mission of producing high-tech bicycles at an affordable price point. It combines pleasing functionality and handling with the durability to make it a superb jumping-off point to new adventures for a wide range of riders, from serious off-roaders to urban commuters. So, how does the Ramblas perform, and more importantly, how does it ride on the trail?

Engineering Excellence for Every Terrain

The key to Aventon’s ability to deliver such high-quality performance at such a low price tag comes down to its end-to-end design and manufacturing strategy. Based out of its California headquarters in Ontario, Aventon manages almost every stage of the manufacturing process in-house, from engineering and development, to building its own small parts and framing – and in turn passes those savings on to the consumer.

Navigating the Urban Terrain: First Impressions

Unbox the Ramblas, and you’re hitting the runway for a larger world of e-biking glory. With a Rockshox 35 suspension fork; Sram NX 12-speed drivetrain; hydraulic disc brakes courtesy of Sram DB-8; built-in lights; and a dropper seat-post all included, Aventon hasn’t cut any corners to arrive at the $1,200 price point. Written assembly instructions and a QR code on the body make it easy to assemble a bike and have it fully ready to ride in less than an hour if the owner is mechanically inclined.

The Heart of the Beast: Aventon's A100 Motor

The Aventon-designed A100 mid-drive motor at its electric heart is another differentiator. It can be personalised using a companion app, with a nominal output of 250 watts (based on a consistent 25km per hour, or 15mph with the motor assisting) and 750 watts peak power. I peddled on dirt and on pavement, and the power was seamless in every gear and every stroke. Especially in Eco mode, it felt like the perfect bike for a steep hill. At no point did I need to change power modes – it’s great for all terrains.

The Weight of Performance

I didn’t want to gloss over the fact that the Ramblas weighs 52 pounds; on uphill terrain, tight downhill switchbacks, or when the ground is spongier, the extra heft can be a challenge. But in Duluth’s urban canyons, with their deeply grooved, irregular terrain, the Ramblas was perfectly at home. The front shock absorbed the rocky or broken pavement, the sidewalks and boardwalks, the gravel and tree roots. The bike was a great rig for commuter duty.

A Rugged Commuter for Diverse Terrain

Aside from a few persistent quirks – such as the difficulty of reading the battery’s power percentage at speed – the Ramblas is the most capable e-MTB I’ve yet ridden, proving itself equally adept at the tight, terrifying lines of mountain trails and the chaotic contingencies of urban roads. It is surely a marker of what a user expects from an e-MTB, both as a commuting machine and also as a tool for the singletrack.

Beyond the Bike: Exploring the Terrain

As the story progresses, it becomes obvious that the terrain itself is a vital element in the exhilarating experience, not just a setting for biking but an integral part of it – the gruelling ascents up through the forests, the road conditions from one unpredictable city street to another, the networks of paths and trails, the road races and pilgrimage routes, the everyday life that we conduct and the people we meet while we’re on board. The terrain is a test for both rider and vehicle, and it is a chariot race course.

Suffice it to say, the trail is the proving ground: it is where the evolution of bikes such as the Aventon Ramblas is made visible, both in the challenges that the trail presents and in the authentic sense of adventure it inspires. It is here, in the hills and on the streets, that the best and the brightest of EMTBs will find their true calling, allowing us to gather momentum toward a new era of EMTB that’s as exciting as it is envisionary. So the Ramblas model is potentially not only a bike, then, but a new – perhaps metaphorical – landscape through which to explore uncharted territory; a brave new world of radness that breaks through barriers and opens up new avenues, both figuratively and literally, so that the spirit of loving the ride can reach every corner of the globe. Pedal on!

Jun 08, 2024
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