How We Made the Shred the Best Hardtail eMTB Under $3,500
- The Shred by Surface 604 is designed to be the best hardtail eMTB under $3,500, providing maximum value for eBike enthusiasts.
- Key features to look for in a hardtail eMTB include torque sensors for precise and natural power delivery, long-range batteries, strong brakes with motor inhibitors, a motor with enough power for mountain biking, and trail-friendly tires. The Shred incorporates these features along with generous front suspension and a comfortable seat for a smooth and enjoyable ride.
- The frame of the Shred is designed with a tapered headtube for increased responsiveness, internal cable routing for protection and aerodynamics, a battery integrated with the downtube for a low center of gravity, and elegant post mount brakes.
- Real riders have provided positive feedback on the Shred, praising its off-road performance and the availability of customization options like suspension seatposts.
The rigid rear end of a hardtail electric mountain bike provides increased responsiveness over rugged terrain and ensures maximum power transfer to the rear wheel—giving you the best bang for your buck with or without pedal assist engaged. But to truly experience the benefits of a hardtail eMTB, you’ll want to make sure you buy one that comes with the right performance capabilities and rider aids. And of course, it also helps if you can find all that without breaking the bank!
Enter the Shred by Surface 604—a bike we specifically designed to provide maximum mountain-biking value for serious eBike enthusiasts. Read on to find out what makes this climbing machine the best hardtail eMTB under $3500 that you can buy today.
What Makes a Hardtail eMTB Great?
As noted above, many serious riders prefer hardtails over full-suspension eMTBs due to the increased feeling of connection they provide with riding surfaces and their ability to transfer more power to the back wheel with each push of the pedals. But having a hardtail should just be your starting point when looking at features in your potential next eMTB. Here are a few we suggest putting at the top of your wish list:
While less sophisticated forms of pedal assist might negate some of the power-transfer benefits a hardtail offers, torque sensors let you maximize this advantage by engaging the motor based on how hard you’re pedaling. Since none of the force you’re applying is being inadvertently soaked up by a rear suspension fork, you can expect power delivery from these systems to be precise and natural, giving you the feeling of being one with your bike at all times.
You don’t want to be cutting your backcountry adventures short to refill your eBike’s batteries, so range is a critical consideration when picking out a new eBike. Look for something with a range of over 40 miles per charge and you should have more than enough to get you through most mountain adventures.
All mountain bikes need strong brakes to stop you from crashing into trees or boulders, and that only becomes more important when you’re blasting through tricky terrain with the help of an electric motor. Hydraulic disc brakes are a must here, and the addition of motor inhibitors is even better.
A Motor Made for the Mountains
Not just any electric motor will do when you’re chasing the adrenaline rush that only a quality eMTB can offer. You’ll need something big enough to provide a generous amount of torque—think 500W—and it helps if you can find one that’s been designed specifically for mountain biking.
The same goes for your rubber. With eMTBs, it’s about quality over quantity—you won’t necessarily want super wide tires (like on a fat-tire ebike), because you’ll likely be riding in tighter areas that demand more versatility. However, you will want to look for something with well-placed center and shoulder knobs. The idea is to get tires that dig into the earth enough to grant you plenty of traction, but are also ready to handle aggressive turning and leaning when you need to pivot quickly.
Generous front Suspension
While eMTBs without rear suspension give you a more responsive ride, you’ll still want some give in the front to prevent you from rattling your teeth and shocking your spine every time you pass over a rock or root. 100mm of suspension travel in front is enough to keep your rides smooth and your bike controllable without taking away your connection to your surroundings.
A Comfortable Seat
Of course, you should be able to feel the terrain underneath you without being in pain, so a comfy saddle is a must for hardtail mountain bikes of any kind. Look for ergonomic designs to help you feel each ride in your heart—and not in your bones.
Putting It All Together: Why Frame Geometry Matters for Electric Mountain Bikes
Of course, an electric mountain bike is more than just a list of components and features—it’s the way those elements are integrated to create a unique riding experience. The frame of the bike needs to make all rider aids accessible without compromising rideability—in fact, since frame geometry also plays an important role in the bike’s handling and stability, designing the frame properly is extremely important.
When we designed the Shred, we made it our mission to design a frame that would help us pack the most value possible into an electric mountain bike. Here are a few of the things we did:
- An upright posture: We didn’t want you having to fold yourself over to ride the Shred, so we designed the frame and bars to support a more upright riding position. This helps you stay on top of the bike and the trail you’re riding.
- Tapered headtube: The tapered design of the Shred’s headtube makes it stronger and more rigid—as a result, you get a front end that’s more responsive to your input.
- Internal cable routing: Running the cables through the frame offers better protection, increasing their longevity while giving the whole bike a more aerodynamic profile and ensuring nothing will catch on branches as you blow past them.
- Custom reinforced battery mounts: We built the battery of the Shred to fit effortlessly onto the down tube. This helps keeps the bike’s center of gravity low and makes the battery virtually invisible.
- Post mount brakes: This is the preferred way to mount brakes for mountain bikes, since it creates a more elegant and minimalistic profile without compromising stopping power.
How We Packed The Shred with eMTB Essentials
Paying such careful attention to the Shred’s frame gave us plenty of room to add everything we wanted a sub-$3,500 electric mountain bike to have. Here’s what we gave it:
- Pedal assist with built-in torque sensors
- A 48V 14Ah/672Wh Samsung lithium-ion 18650 cell battery (upgradable to 48V 20Ah/960Wh with 21700 cells)
- TEKTRO E500 MTB-specific hydraulic disc brakes (post mount, with motor inhibitors)
- CST Patrol 27.5" x 2.8" tires
- SR Suntour XCM 32 29ER front suspension fork with 100mm of travel
- An ergonomic gel saddle
There’s lots more as well—from the 120 LED front headlight to the SRAM X5 nine-speed drivetrain and optional upgrades like suspension seat posts. You can check out a full list of tech specs for the Shred here.
Mountain Bikers Love the Shred
We set out to make the Shred the single best hardtail eMTB in its price range, but you shouldn’t just take our word for it—check out the feedback we’ve had from real riders:
2020 Shred… Spirit Saver
“I put over 1700 km on my Shred the past 12 months, mostly on trails here on the Sunshine Coast, B.C. I did order fenders but took them off along with the headlight (have clip on if I need one, same with rear) and kick stand.
Put on an Ortho Pedal as I have lost a lot of range of motion due to an unsuccessful knee replacement from previous injuries. This bike has been a spirit saver for me as most sports I loved in the past just are not happening anymore.
Love that this bike has a throttle as it is paramount for me when I come to a rise on my right and just need that extra kick.
Getting back out there and getting the juices flowing in the forest has been amazing.”
- Geordie, Canada
“This bike ticks all the boxes, rides great off the beaten path, a must upgrade is the Suntour seat post shock. The only thing I would change is to have 12 gears instead of 9 gears when you are riding on pavement.”
- Brian, Canada
Start Shredding Your Favourite Mountain Trails
You don’t have to break the bank to get a high-quality electric mountain bike packed with performance-oriented features. Buy your Surface 604 Shred here or find a dealer near you to see one for yourself and take it for a test ride.