As we recently had the Maxx Jagamoasta ELS for testing we mainly memorized two things. First: it's a great working horse if you are out for loads of power wrapped in reliable parts and a bullet proof frame to transport yourself and your stuff. Second: a kickstand, rack, lights and rigid fork may seem helpful for that purpose… BUT… That's bloody old school stuff and sooo uncool – unless you are into it. We're not. So we started asking ourselves: what if this was a SPORTY built? How much potential is hidden under that dusty crust of old school FATBike values? I mean, face it: it's one of the last remaining e-FAT hardtails. Wouldn't it be great if it could do more for us than just hauling stuff? So, we asked Maxx to let us a more sporty version of their horse. Kick ass over kickstand. And that's what we will be talking about today.
The Evil Twin – in matte grey
Speaking about sporty twins of boring family sedans and wagons built by AMG, Audi RS or BMW M they all seem to have on thing in common: they look cool in grey. Matte. And as our Jagamoasta kinda mimics that concept of turning something functional into something that's cool it also wears a nice matte grey powder coating accomplished by some cool looking under-coat 3D decals. It also comes with a Manitou Mastodon fork, dropper post and super solid Shimano brakes. All of that plus the plain absence of nicknack like kickstand, rack or even a headunit are speaking a clear language. „Listen, I'm the evil twin. Better take me serious!“. But wait! Did we just say „no headunit“? Right! Except of some tiny switches there's nothing attached to that handlebar that might distract you from your full throttle mission.
Though you might think that such clean built could be kinda weight optimized remember: there are a heavy fork and a dropper post on board. So, gravity lends this machine a mass of a whopping 25.2 kg (50.4Ibs, incl. pedals and tubeless wheels). Considering the big power figures that its frame will have to withstand for decades it's not really surprising that „super low weight“ was not on the engineering wish list. Anything else you may want to know can be found in your popular fold-down „FATBIKE-IN-A-BOX“ below:
All data is provided by the manufacturer and is based on size „L“ as tested
|Seat Angle (effective)||73°|
|Suspension Travel front||100mm|
|Suspension Travel rear||0mm|
|Rear Hub Width/Axle||197/12mm through axle|
|Weight (inc pedals)||25.2kg (50.4Ibs)|
Power needs endurance
After many years of using Brose powerhouses Maxx have recently re-worked their line-up to fit in Shimano drive. The Jagamoasta is propelled by an 85Nm/250W Steps EP8 which in turn is fired by a lavish 726Wh battery pack. Speaking in beer: you don't get a crate. You get a keg. Awesome! This massive energy bar contributes widely to the weight mentioned above, kinda offsetting the fact that every other drivetrain component has become lighter since. However, thinking about the weight-to-Wh ratio you will recognize a positive trend: longer lasting power without sacrificing on weight.
As usual we tend to hide when it comes to statements about range. That's simply because we have no standardized testing capabilities that consider all influencing factors in a proper way. However, sitting on the new 2021 Jagamoasta ELS you can leave any fear of getting stranded with an empty battery aside. Thanks to the generous cell pack – but also to the easy rolling Schwalbe Al Mighty 4.8 tire – your stash of energy lasts long even with full power engaged. And if the rare circumstance happens and you are left on your own (or better: on your own muscles) the very low internal friction of the EP8 system ensures that most of your hard-earned Watts will be turned into thrust.
By the way: of course you can re-fuel your Jagamoast both ways, with its battery attached as well as removed. For the latter simply take off the proprietary Maxx battery cover and release the chunky energy tank hidden behind.
Well, it for sure is a matter of taste what exactly you will call „sporty“. As a matter of fact this bike is a nice assembly of sturdy and performance oriented parts. The guys in Rosenheim (where Maxx bikes are made) rely on wide riser bar and stem by Race Face, strong XT brakes sporting 200mm rotor at front, Acros pedals, Ergon grips and exclusive Schwalbe Al Mighty 4.8 tires. As an option you may direct your horses via a Gates drive to propel the rear wheel and/or change gears via an internal gear hub made by Rohloff. Your Manitou fork adds 10cm of travel, but comes only in the lower line „Comp“ version. We'll dig into that topic later.
Thanks to the aforementioned absence of a head unit the handle bar looks nice and classy. If there's anything you want/need to know or adjust related to the motor you have to involve your mobile phone. Download the required app, hook it up via bluetooth and go ahead. For our test we refrained from nailing our phone (or better: a matching cradle) to the stem but that's the way to go in order to achieve a fully fledgeg head unit. The provided interfaces are nicely minimalist, though being little communicative on the other hand. There's a pair of hard to read LED's telling you the system state in a barely clear language:
However: this is not an issue. If you have time to play around with your controls you're simply not fast enough! And THAT's what we want!
And just in case you wanna know more…
…Shimano gives you some handy tools called E-TUBE and E-TUBE RIDE app. The functional scope is huge and within certain limits you may even configure your power levels individually. Cool stuff! Nevertheless both apps seem a bit quirky and sort of half-baked to us. Particularly the initial bluetooth connection can be painstaking. Overall the user experience is mediocre. There's just no fun to use it. There's no fun in the fact that you need TWO apps. I mean, these are not bad apps at all, but the entire show doesn't seem smooth and well integrated. And that's what it should be. We're speaking about Shimano, the leader of the pack. We'd expect a bit more „Wow!“ here. Who want's to mix his/her beer from water, concentrated hops and plain alcohol…
Speaking about mixing it's time to mention that each Maxx bike is custom configured to perfectly meet client needs. So, this test rig is just one example of how your own Jagamoasta ELS might look like. Accordingly, the price is a function of your own desire. Starting at an entry fee of Euro 5.359,- you would have to add another chunk of hard cash to reach the approx. 6.700,- our test bike would cost – if you bought it right off the shelf. In that case your hard earned money buys you a trail e-FATBike that leaves little to no wishes open, sports the color of your liking, relies on a lot of „Made in Germany“, has bullet-proof technology and a wide range of possible use.
Riding Part 1: Jagamoasta, the Huntsman
First of all, for all of you out there who don't speak Bavarian (which is supposed to be a dialect of German – but maybe not everyone tends to agree here ;)): Jagamoasta is Bavarian and means „Jägermeister“ (yes, just like the famous German Schnapps!) which in turn translates as Huntsman.
That said lets speak about what it can do for you. We already unveiled the general features and skills of the Maxx Jagamoasta ELS during our last test. Winding single tracks, tricky uphills and fast downhills – that's what we would focus on this time!
On uphills this rig gives you a great performance. There's plenty of power at any time. However, more important than just brute force is how the power is turned into acceleration. Particularly in the medium power mode, that modulates power output dynamically as a function of power demand, the output is as nice and smooth as it can be. Stop & go riding is rock solid even on steep and slippery trails. Gone are the days where your rear wheel spun like crazy when the motor kicked in. Nice and smooth, that's what it is. On the other hand we missed the smile the former Brose system put in our faces with its hard punch during take off. Shimano goes the Japanese way: gentle, precise and reliable – and also silent.
On winding single tracks the Jagamoasta sort of benefits from its rather conservative geometry. The steering angle is said to be 68° (though it actually feels steeper) which makes the bike more handy that one might think. This is a great way to disguise the heavy weight. Any steering maneuver feels light and precise. And that setup proves to work on fast downhills, too – the Jagamoasta feels always stable and easy to control.
On the other hand the combination of a heavy rig, huge nasty brakes and rough terrain easily pushes the Mastodon to its limits – and beyond. And that's because we're speaking about „only“ 100mm of travel. Not much during a hard-braking-into-a-curve maneuver. So, that lead us to one thought… What if… I mean, what if there is more potential? Couldn't we… No! SHOULDN'T we try to unlock it? Oh yes, we should!
Driving Part 2: Jagamoasta, the Master Hunter
Travel! More Travel! In our shelves there is a 150mm Mastodon Pro STD fork that came from an earlier bike. Normally we don't alter test bikes beyond changing stem and handlebar position. But this time it was just too tempting. So, we simply swapped the standard fork out for our long travel monster. And at this point we have to mention: this is NOT an option Maxx offers. But! It truly unlocks the last bits and bites. What we've got is a slightly slacker steering angle and 50% more front end travel. It's just „more!“. Now heavily armed, the huntsman turns into a master hunter that eats up every obstacle, fully utilizes the capabilities of the motor and compensates most weight-based disadvantages with more travel.
Again, we have to say that this is not a factory option. Moreover a hard tail with 150mm front travel is pretty extreme. This translates into a heavy influence on the geometry (steering & seat angle, BB height/drop, etc.) and you should think about whether or not this will fit your personal riding preferences and style. It's an option for that kind of bike dudes who demand the most, prefer to be insanely fast and know what they are doing. BUT: nicely tuned 120mm travel makes a great option for that bike and would lead to a nice improvement of many riding parameters. If you want to try yourself you will find helpful hints here (sorry, German only…).
Of course we rolled back our little travel adventure before returning the bike. But our experiment has proven: there is way more about the Maxx Jagamoasta ELS than you might think. With some slight modifications this rig can cover a very wide range of possible use.
When we first met the Jagamoasta ELS we made the acquaintance of a traditional FATBike, built to last. The Maxx Jagamoasta ELS is a solid, bulletproof FATBike built on a rather conservative basis. That's why kickstand and rack work so well here. But we've known from the beginning: there is more beyond being a work horse with huge power. Add some travel, a dropper post and some other performance oriented modifications – most of which are available as factory options – and you will get a trail rocket. Though it's not our super favorite we actually can appreciate combining downhills with motor-accelerated climbing. It's fun and gives plenty of new options. Again and again. As a conclusion the „Evil Twin“ gives you more of everything and makes a great companion for everyday trail riding.
So, this article is also thought as an inspiration to think about certain bikes in a different way, off what they were designed for, finding and raising the hidden potential. Just like in this case: there's more about the Jagamoasta ELS than you would think!