Bike Test: Easy Motion Rebel Lynx 5.5

What the e-bike world has known as Easy Motion in the U.S. has actually been making bicycles under the Spanish BH brand since 1919. Originally founded in 1909 as a firearms producer, BH stands for Beistegui Hermanos after the three brothers (Cosmo, Domingo and Juan) who started the company. As the story goes, it was their mother that got them to produce something other than weapons, and soon enough they were in the bicycle business producing economical transportation for the citizens of Eibar, Spain, where they were originally located.

In addition to their BH-branded bikes that have won a flurry of international road and mountain bike events, electric bikes and even fitness equipment now make up their holdings. Their latest e-bikes include the Evo and Atom lines of e-bikes.

THE BIKE

Building on their experience with mountain bikes and electric bikes, the Rebel line incorporates Yamaha’s PWseries and PW-X motors in both hardtail and full-suspension designs.

As part of the nomenclature, the “5.5” designation in the name is the travel in inches (140mm equals 5.5 inches), and the bike uses the same patented rear-suspension system used on their World Cup enduro and cross-country mountain bikes. They’ve also optimized it for their electric pedal-assist full-suspension mountain bikes.

It’s designed to be very efficient in climbing or riding across flats, with good anti-squat properties, supple small-bump compliance, mid-travel cornering support and a bottomless feel on
big hits.

The bike’s design came from a collaboration between designers in Spain and U.S.-based Peter Shigo and Nick Ducharme, giving it a blend of European- and American-style geometry. Nick is the driving force behind BH Global’s modern mountain bike geometry.

A Shimano Deore XT 1×11 drivetrain ensured we never ran out of gears.

THE MOTOR 

BH chose the Yamaha PW-X motor for this bike, and it’s one of our favorites for its power and size. Based on the PW motor, it is, however, 13 percent smaller, 1 pound lighter and has smaller pawls for faster engagement. It offers up to 70 N/m of torque in the first four levels, but you can “turn it up to 11” by putting it into EXPW mode, which boosts it up to an almost insane 80 N/m of torque. You won’t likely spin the back wheel, but you will be able to climb anything short of a tree.

One great thing about the PW-X design is that it can be used with a 1x or 2x chainring system, and there’s virtually no resistance from the motor when it’s off or you’re going over 20 mph. When it does cut off at 20+, it isn’t a sudden drop, but a gradual taper that you almost can’t feel.

When we first saw this bike, it was spec’d with an older Yamaha display. The production version comes with Yamaha’s new PW-X display with an indicator light in various colors to show you which mode you’re in via your peripheral vision, green for Eco and Eco+, blue for Standard and High, and yellow for EXPW. The display is in a rugged case and mounts behind the handlebars, next to the stem, to protect it from most danger. It has Bluetooth capability for connectivity with various fitness apps and has a USB port for charging your phone if you need it. It shows you speed and battery capacity, and can also display average speed, maximum speed, trip meter, odometer, range, cadence, clock or stopwatch.

The PW-X system has a walk mode, but currently on the Rebel sold in the U.S., that mode is disabled. That was a corporate decision based on sensitivity about “throttles” (walk mode isn’t the same as a throttle), but that may change for the future based on customer demand.

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

The top-of-the-line Rebel is aimed at serious all-mountain and cross-country riders. It has a slack head angle that makes for confident descents and excellent suspension that can take whatever a rider throws at it. Depending on power use, rider weight and riding conditions, the battery can last a weekend’s worth of riding on one charge.

THE RIDE

For our first time in the mountains on the Rebel, we were hooked. We’re long fans of the PW-X motor, and we felt at home immediately on this bike, not just for the motor but for the overall feel of the bike. They’ve worked out the geometry, and the bike feels great climbing or descending. Even with steep climbs, it doesn’t want to loop out with the power, and you never feel like you want to lock out the rear suspension for efficiency. They’ve really done some great R&D on the suspension.

This is the kind of bike that shows up at the office, and we just want to go out and ride it as often as we can. We put in some long rides, and there was no range anxiety. Yamaha’s performance and range have always impressed us, and with all the major motor manufacturers going to 500-plus-watt-hour batteries, even with high power-level use, most current e-MTBs have more than enough range for long rides in the mountains.

The motor is turned upwards, in line with the downtube, and the battery is mounted as low as this will allow, keeping the center of gravity low and centered. Overall looks of the bike are clean. With the weight low and centered, it’s fairly easy to pick up the front end over logs and rocks, and the suspension keeps the bike feeling planted. Those Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires have grip for days, and the bike corners almost like it’s on rails.

One of our test riders is a motocross racer who recently took up mountain bike racing. He’s fearless, and we wanted to see what this bike was made of, so we went to a local downhill track with some big features and unleashed him. He jumped it over massive gaps, dropped it off some huge drops and railed some crazy berms.

Over the big gaps, he never bottomed out, the brakes never faded, and he had a huge smile on his face the whole time. He had to do runs several times for photos, and the bike climbed the steepest trails with ease. EXPW mode works extremely well
for that.

THE VERDICT

The Easy Motion Rebel is a very capable, responsive e-MTB with great power, range, geometry and suspension. It’s a lot of bike for the money. If you’d prefer, you can swap out the wheels and turn the bike into a 29er as well. BH offers a full five-year warranty, stem to stern.

SPECS 2018 BH REBEL LYNX 5.5

Price:$5000

Motor: Yamaha PW-X

Battery: Yamaha, 500 Wh

Charge Time: 4.5 hours

Top speed: 20 mph (with assist)

Range: 25–40 miles

Drive:Shimano Deore XT, 11-speed

Brakes:Shimano SLX hydraulic disc 200mm/180mm

Controls: Shimano STEPS

Fork: Fox Rhythm 140mm Sweep Adjust

Shock: Fox Float DPS

Frame: Aluminum

Tires:Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5×2.8”

Weight: 52 pounds

Color Choices:Black

Sizes:M, L

www.emotionbikesusa.com


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