Affordable trail-worthy emtb for 5' 7" rider?


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1:59 PM
Aug 12, 2020
I've looked the options and the best one is the Canyon Spectral ON, but since it's not available in the US, I'm considering alternatives. Ideal geo would be ~1200 wheelbase with ~430 CS, ~420 ST, 75+ STA, 445+ reach, 600+ ETT, and as low of a BB as possible, with 155-165 length cranks.

Motobecane HAL-e: $3500
Large - 444CS 75STA 68HTA 1200WB 610ETT 460ST 25BBD 776SO. Looking to convert it to have a 29er front, for more pedal clearance, rollover, and increased wheelbase. L instead of M in order to have a better WB to CS ratio for weight distro. Would probably need 1250WB to make 444CS feel comfy. Likely would need to swap out every part except frame, motor, headset, fork, and maybe drivetrain. Brakes to stronger 4-piston, 5" dropper, cockpit, something more durable than a XT 11-46 cassette (10spd deore maybe).

Commencal: $4300, $5000, other options
Med - 440CS 75STA 66HTA 1201WB 599ETT 444ST 17BBD 561A2C 715SO 435REACH 619STACK

KHS Sixfifty 6555+E (Astro Engineering based): $5500 MSRP
Med - 438CS 75STA 67.5HTA ??WB 605ETT 420ST 333BB 758SO 444REACH 600STACK

Diamondback Ranger (Astro Engineering based), no info found, but apparently they're super affordable on Merlin Cycles (they can't ship it to the US)

Vitus e-Sommet VR (Astro Engineering based) not available to ship to US
- Looks like they customized it to have longer reach. Nice!

I'd be willing to go overbudget if the bike were just right:

Pivot Shuttle 10000
L - spot on if the seat tube were shorter

RM Altitude Powerplay, not available in US?
M - steeper STA, longer reach, shorter seat tube

Reject List, not really coming close to the desired geo:
Kona Remote CTRL $5300
Spec Turbo Levo FSR $5000
Trek Powerfly LT 9.7 $6000
Giant Stance-E $3500
Giant Trance-E $4600-5300
Giant Trance-E SX $6700

Spec Turbo Kenovo $5750? Scott? Merida? Moustache? Lapierre? Focus? Ghost? Cannondale? Bulls? Cube? Orbea? Haibike?
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Why did you reject the Giants? I rode some today and they were nice in so many ways, but I bought a Levo as I liked the geo better myself. Also much quieter.

Giant "won" some YouTube test as "best downhill ebike" so I expected it to be slacker, but when on it, I felt very forward and non-slack - like a cross-country bike. I didn't expect this, but it was the feeling I had.
Giants are off my list because I dislike front-heavy geo, which is a long CS with short WB.

ebike mtb jumpin.jpg

I'm leggy, so I can't hang that far back. These guys are tall enough that they can have the saddles by their knees... I can only compensate so much for front-heavy geo by shifting my weight back before my arms are fully straight. If I tried that last stunt, I expect the front wheel to dive and toss me over the front.

I prefer the weight bias to be more rearward. There isn't a single e-bike that has weight bias too rearward yet, that the front wheel is too lofty. The Altitude Powerplay comes closest though.
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I got lucky last dec. i found an unsold 2017 HT Haibike/Yamaha.
It is a + bike, 120 mm and fits me well(i am also have long legs)
Just over 3,500 kms no issue, pedal, recharge.
Maybe i will go to 130 mm in 3 months at fork maintenance.
It is nice 40 mm for xtra grip.
To make my bikes feel shorter my saddle is all the way forward,
i use narrow bars and if needed a riser.
I'm thinking about getting the Fezzari wire peak elite for $4600 with the shimano e8000 drive system. It looks like a great bike for the money. I rode my first ebike when I rented a 2019 Specialized turbo levo comp last month which is a great bike at The Trail House. The Specialized is also quite expensive. I just want to try out more motors before making a decision on an ebike to buy. I'm going to rent a Scott Genius eRIDE 920 with the Shimano e8000 motor at Sports Basement soon.
I bought the Motobecane HAL eBoost pro in July and love it! I have been ridding the Emigrant trail and having a blast. I get a great workout and have more fun than on my acoustic bike. I added a dropper post, 203mm front rotor, and swapped out the e8000 switch unit for the e6000 unit to make room for the dropper lever. Only 71 miles so far but zero issues. After my last 26 mile ride I still had two bars left.
So what did you end up getting? The original post was almost a year ago so hopefully you found something to your liking? Lots of choices out there.
Was considering selling what I got for a Fezzari Wire Peak L or XL and sticking an angleset on it, considering they keep their seat tube length short enough for me to fit on it at 170cm (20-50mm isn't a big deal on ETT/reach to adapt to). Wouldn't say lots of choices, considering how picky I am for wanting one that's a legit replacement for a non-assist bike. The compromises are kind of off-putting.