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I always approach a cheap electric bike review with a bit of caution. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised! In this NCM Prague electric bike review, I will explain why I believe that this offering from Germany is one of the best cheap electric mountain bikes available.
About NCM Electric bikes
NCM make high-quality, but affordable electric bikes, the parent company is Leon Cycle GmbH a German company based in Hanover. Their e-bikes are designed in Germany and manufactured in China.
This excellent value electric mountain bike is now available in the US. This version of NCM Prague has the same spec as the European model but with 350w power output and an increased electric assist speed of 20mph.
Electric System: The NCM electric bike is powered by the proven Bafang 250W rear hub motor, 36v13ah (468Wh) DeHawk lithium battery and Das-Kit LCD.
Bafang has been a market leader in electric bike technology for many years and their 250w electric hub motor is not only reliable but also incredibly efficient. The 15.5mph top speed can be maintained safely without compromising reliability. The LCD offers 6 levels of pedal assistance from 0 (for no assist) through to 6 (for full power). This is a really useful feature, as you can fine-tune the pedal-assist to suit your abilities. It should be noted, that a lot of higher-end e-bikes only have 4 levels of assist.
This bike features a lightweight but strong 6061 alloy frame: As with all e-bikes there is a weight penalty. The NCM Prague weighs in at a hefty 25kg but manages to maintain the handling characteristics of a regular mountain bike. This is due, in part to the battery pack which is mounted low on the down-tube, close to the bottom bracket. This centralised extra mass helps to give the bike a nice, planted feel when zipping along the trails.
Suntour forks and Schwalbe tyres: The Suntour XCT forks are entry-level and offer around 100mm of travel. I am not a big fan of these forks, but to be fair, they are an acceptable compromise at this price point. They do come with an adjustable ‘preload’ setting, and the damping is okay for light trail riding. As long as you are aware of the limitations of these forks and do not try any off-road heroics, then you should be fine. Regular trail riding and light off-roading, are adequate. The 29″ wheels are shod in Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres, these are designed to offer grip and riding efficiency on all road surfaces in all conditions, they also provide a decent amount of puncture resistance, with Schwalbe’s patented K-guard kevlar belt.
Low price, quality components: The 21-speed Shimano gear system on this bike is entry-level but of good quality. The Shimano Altus trigger shifters work well, and gear changes are crisp and precise. Having a triple crankset upfront is going to be very useful for off-road riding, especially if you are going to be tackling steep climbs. The Tektro mechanical disc brakes work fine, provided they are adjusted regularly.
NCM seem to have nailed it with their range of affordable e-bikes. Like its slightly more expensive stablemate, the Prague electric mountain bike offers fantastic value for money. The battery is slightly less powerful at 36v13ah, although this should still give you a realistic range of between 25-40 miles or 23 miles at 20wh (watt hours) per mile.
This bike uses the proven Bafang 250w rear hub motor. I have personally installed over twenty of these motors on various bikes, and I can confidently say, they are incredibly durable. To date, I have never had any issues reported with these motors and can vouch for their reliability.
NCM has used fairly decent components on the Prague. The Tektro mechanical disc brakes do the job, and although I’m not overly keen on the Suntour XCT forks, they are fine for light off-road riding and commuting. The Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres are a decent all-terrain tyre, and have some degree of puncture resistance.
Build quality is above average for an e-bike of this price. The frame is neatly welded and the paintwork finish looks durable and long-lasting. This bike also looks great! The colour-coded battery fits neatly into the frame, giving the overall look of a more expensive e-bike.
The battery can be charged on or off the bike and is easily removable for charging inside.
I wish every cheap electric bike review was like this! The NCM Prague win hands down as the best cheap electric mountain bike available. It stands out from the crowd. There is a feeling of quality and durability, that is sadly lacking in so many cheap e-bikes. If you are looking for an affordable electric mountain bike for some light trail riding or a capable daily commuter, then this bike is for you. I have included this bike along with its stablemate the Moscow. If you want an affordable e-bike, you won’t go far wrong with an NCM electric bike!