Sunday, March 29, 2020

Revelo Flex Review

A mini-sized "high wheeler" electric bicycle that's light weight ~33 lbs with compact folding design, front and rear fenders an optional single-side pannier
The smaller 250 watt geared motor saves weight and gets a leverage boost because it's mounted in a smaller 16" wheel
Folds extremely compact (1ft wide, 2ft long, 2.5ft tall) and can be rolled when folded, I love the sturdy detachable aluminum pedals vs. plastic folding designs I see on many other models
A bit awkward to pedal, the padded saddle is great but you still feel the cracks and bumps (optional seatpost suspension upgrade), solid one year warranty with lifetime frame and fork wearranty

The Revelo Flex is a unique ultra-portable folding electric bike that seems like a cross between the Yikebike and a more traditional folder from Tern or Dahon. It has pedals, but you don’t have to use them if you’re more interested in scooting around under electric power. The right crank arm has a release mechanism that allows it to rotate back and line up with the left creating an even foot placement. I found the non-pedaling ride position to be more stable. Unlike most bicycles being sold today, the Flex doesn’t use a chain or cassette with gears… it’s a single speed front wheel operated platform much like the original “Penny Farthing” bicycle from the 1880’s. The benefits are reduced weight and complexity with fewer repairs and easier folding but the drawback is stability, comfort and pedaling efficiency. Honestly, pedaling this thing was not much fun because the wheel and handlebar would turn with each foot stroke. Furthermore, the lack of any sort of gearing mechanism means that a natural and comfortable cadence only exists at one speed, about ten mph. Pedaling seems most relevant for steep climbs when the motor might otherwise struggle on its own. This ebike is wonderful for solving that “last mile” challenge that commuters face, heading to or from the train station or bus stop and it’s so small and light at ~33 lbs that it’s easier to haul on board than more standard sized bikes. It would also be wonderful for boats and RV’s as long as you’re traveling to places with relatively smooth roads. the small wheels and feet-forward position can lead to a sore back and neck going over cracks and bumps but the addition of a suspension seat post (basic telescoping suspension post included with the upgraded version) can really help. From my perspective, the primary value here is small size and light weight. The bike does accommodate tall and short riders pretty well thanks to the quick release seat and stem and I love the optional pannier rack… it works wonderfully with the Axiom Seymour DLX 20 (just one at a time), the warranty is great, there are four color choices and the engineering felt solid.

Driving the Revelo Flex is a modest 250 watt internally geared hub motor spoked into the 16″ rear wheel. With a peak output of ~350 watts, this thing really zips! I was able to climb the driveway of my house easily and let a couple of my larger ~200 lb friends test it out. No complaints about power but speed is limited to ~17.4 mph due to the smaller wheel size. Many folding ebikes run slower than full sized 26 and 700c models and in my view that’s fine because stability can start to drop off with higher speed. Many similar sized electric bikes I’ve tested only go to 15 mph so I’d consider this an upgrade. Operating the motor is easy using the variable speed trigger throttle mounted near the right grip and there are motor inhibitors built into both brake levers so you shouldn’t have a problem stopping. It uses v-brakes which tend to be easy to maintain (tighten, replace pads etc.) and I noticed a “power modulator” inline for the front brake. This device reduces tension in the brake line if you really bear down. It mitigates the likelihood of a skid… instead of a solid wire going from the lever to the caliper you’ve got a spring inline to take off the edge. If you go with the upgraded version of the Flex you get SABS anti-lock brakes which might be overkill for the lower speeds and limited commuting applications of this ebike but they do look pretty sweet.

Powering this e-bike is a really nice little battery built into a “Frog” style case. Usually I’m critical of these cases because they seem to crack and break more easily when ridden over rough terrain (specifically, riding off curbs). Revelo has strengthened the mount with a left-side strut and mounted it lower on the frame to a purpose-built tube just behind the seat post. Frog batteries are usually mounted higher up, directly to the seat post, which can also limit seat post position and slow down any type of folding process. So the battery mount feels solid and the pack itself slides on from the back and locks with a metal rod. You do have to leave the key inserted to power this bike and that’s something I regularly complain about but in this case the location is out of the way of feet and legs which is nice. You might hear some jingling or get a snag if you leave the key in while lifting the bike but I love that the head of the key folds in half and is protected in the enclosed section of the frame when the bike is folded… So the battery cells inside the pack use Lithium-ion chemistry known for being light weight and long lasting. Revelo estimates that you’ll get 1,000+ full charge cycles before seeing capacity drop and they offer an excellent year long warranty. They also sell replacement battery packs and you could always get your own generic Frog elsewhere online (that’s the nice thing about an industry standard part). To really maintain this battery I suggest storing in a cool, dry location (avoid extreme cold and heat) and if you know you’re not going to ride for several months then leave it about half charged so as not to stress the cells. This is how most batteries are shipped because retailers anticipate some shelf time.

Operating the Flex is about as easy as it gets, once the pack is charged and mounted you simply twist the ignition key to on, make sure the throttle button has been activated and press down on the power lever. The default display unit is super simple, just three LED’s denoting the charge capacity. This is one area where it really feels like there’s room for improvement. It’s nice to get a more precise battery readout, see your speed, distance and even time. If you’re willing to pay a bit more for the Pro or Expert version you’ll get a nice little LCD along with an inline female USB charging port to keep your mobile device full. It makes sense that the display costs extra and I love that they give you this option but the Flex feels pricier than some of its competitors that are slightly larger and heavier. The e-Joe Epik for example retails at ~$1,400 and includes a rack, fenders, lights and only weighs a few extra pounds. It’s larger and more complex to be sure but it also offers a more powerful motor and more gears. The flex is an attention getter, lots of people asked me about it and my Mom thought it was really cute on first sight. I love that it includes quality fenders and the high quality removable Wellgo pedals are something I’ve never seen.

My big takeaway with this bike is stability, it works best as a little scooter when the pedals are both down like pegs. Pedaling felt uncomfortable and less effective than a traditional folding electric bike. This is all fine, scooting is great and the larger battery provided good power and range with upwards of 15 miles per charge, but the system is definitely limited to achieve that “ultra-portable” size. Yes, it’s easy and fast to fold and the reduced weight does make a difference here… so it’s really all about your intended use. You can get folding ebikes with front suspension and two 20″ wheels like the EZ Pedaler X350 for a similar price but it’s heavier and larger. As mentioned in the first paragraph, you could improve the comfort of the Flex with a Thudbuster and 30.9 mm shim adapter to smooth things out a lot and the company seems to be offering their own solution with the Pro and Expert versions. These fancy posts will add a bit of weight and height when folded but for me it’d be worth it because I go up and down a lot of sidewalks on my daily rides. If you like the look of this bike, need the weight and space savings and don’t mind the limited pedaling options then go for it! You get a nice bell, the option of a single side and a very capable and durable electric drive system. One of the big wins here is the upgraded battery mount an how easy and fast it is to remove the pack compared with the internally mounted designs on some of the competing designs. You could pop a couple lights on this thing and easily use it for commuting and probably get away with bringing it into the office more frequently than other options because of how small it appears. When compared to something like the VeloMini or URB-e (which are similar weight) you get a much better ride but you also pay more.

Pros:
Extremely compact and light weight, this is one of the few electric bikes I’ve tested that will fit into the trunk of smaller cars like the Mercedes Smart Car, it would also stow well on boats, RV’s or in dorm rooms
Clever pedal design converts to footrests for a more stable and relaxed seating position, considering the Revelo Flex only offers throttle on demand (no pedal assist) this is a cool option for ergonomics
Standing over this frame is pretty easy and feels stable, it seems like your feet can reach the ground easily because the pegs/pedals are further forward vs. directly below with more traditional bikes
I like that the handlebars can swivel 90 degrees for easy fit through doors and other tight spaces… they also slide down completely and the bike folds in half
Reminiscent of the Penny Farthing bicycle from the 1880’s where crank arms are attached directly to the wheel axle, The Revelo Flex is much easier to pedal than an actual vintage Penny Farthing bicycle because the front wheel is so much smaller
No chain, sprockets or derailleur which add weight and require more care and maintenance over time
I love the optional pannier mount that they offer, if you add a bag like the Axiom Seymour DLX 20 shown in the review it provides space for the charger plus some gear and there’s even a water bottle sleeve mounted at the back, this bag has nice integrated reflective tape, clips securely at the bottom and top and has a quick release lever that disengages when lifted with the handle
Great color options (black, white, red and green), even though this ebike only comes in one standard size it is very adjustable with the seat height and bar height and should accommodate a wide range of body types up to 220 lbs
These “Frog” style battery packs can sometimes be mounted to seat posts and crack when going off curbs but the Revelo design is reinforced and feels very secure, overall I like the battery and feel that it delivers good power and capacity for a mini sized electric bike
I like that you can completely de-activate the throttle by pressing the red switch near the right grip, this makes mounting and dismounting safer
Cons:
The key must remain in the battery pack mount in order to activate the bike, it can jingle around a bit when riding but stays out of the way of feet and legs
Only one gear to pedal with but there’s no chain or derailleur which reduces weight and the frequency of tuneups
The smaller wheels, forward-mounted cranks and lack of suspension with the default model make this bike less comfortable for riding over cracks, potholes and bumps (the padded saddle helps and you could swap the rigid seat post out for a Cane Creek Thudbuster or Suntour NCX Suspension Post and use a 30.9 mm shim adapter to get it to fit correctly)
Pedaling definitely impacts steering, with each forward stroke the handle bar pulls to the corresponding side… I was able to keep it straight by tightening my arm muscles but preferred not to pedal at all
Rear heavy design with both the motor and battery towards the back of the bike, the smaller wheel allows the battery to be mounted lower so that helps to improve stability
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Saturday, March 28, 2020

VoltBike Yukon Review

A value priced electric fat bike with a six speed drivetrain, integrated headlight and optional fender + rack kit
Available in two flavors (350 watt motor or more powerful 500 watt motor), sold online only so there is some assembly required but Voltbike offers a one year warranty
Quality Samsung Lithium-ion battery pack, sturdy mechanical disc brakes with motor inhibitor, responsive 12 magnet cadence sensor (offers five levels of assist and throttle-only operation)

Several improvements have been made to the VoltBike Yukon for 2016 and the price has remained. Those include: battery cells are now by Panasonic vs. Samsung, they were chosen due to the better discharge rate (c-level) which is important for zippy throttle performance. The tires have been upgraded to Kenda Juggernaut Sport 26″ x 4″ with wire bead for better seating. The disc brakes have been upgraded to Tektro Novella ebike specific for reduced squeal and smoother operation.

The Voltbike Yukon is a value priced electric fat bike that comes in two flavors, a modest 350 watt or powerful 500 watt capable of ascending moderate hills, slogging through snow or dealing with sand and other soft terrain. Fat tire designs have become popular in recent years because they tend to be very stable and capable off-road. You can inflate the tires to ~30 PSI for efficient use on road (or at least semi-efficient… the knobs definite produce some sound and drag) or you can drop them down to ~5 PSI for some cushion and improved traction. The tires on the Yukon are standard 26″ x 4″ but end up closer to 29″ in diameter when inflated, which is the size of many mountain bike tires. Voltbike is a Canadian company that sells several electric bike models direct online and they ship to America for ~$70 and offer an impressive one year comprehensive warranty. Given their more northern, coastal location (near Vancouver), Voltbike has designed each of their models to work in snow or rain. For an additional $150 they will toss in some matching extra-wide aluminum fenders and a rear carry rack with an integrated LED light for the Yukon! In my opinion that a pretty good deal. I could see myself commuting with one of these during the week and then taking it out on trails for some weekend fun. The biggest complaint I have with this bike is the lack of a suspension fork… but for the price I completely understand. You could always add a Thudbuster and comfort gel saddle to smooth out the ride and I’d probably also explore cruiser handlebars just to bring the seating position up and back a bit. As it ships, the bar is fairly far forward and only offers low-rise which is fine for off-road trail type of riding but can create some back and neck discomfort on longer rides.

Driving the bike is an internally geared 8Fun hub motor spoked into the rear wheel. It’s black, which matches the frame, battery and other accessories, and there’s a disconnect point in the power line which makes maintenance easier. 8Fun (manufactured by Bafang) is a higher quality part and one that I’ve seen on many ebikes over the years. It would have been nice to have matching black spokes and quick release on the wheels could be useful (the tires are so big, sometimes you have to take the wheels off to transport this thing unless you have a truck). As mentioned earlier, there are two motor choices. The standard version comes with a 350 watt motor which is enough for flat paved surfaces and a bit of gentle climbing (especially if you pedal along). For an additional ~$210 you can upgrade to a 500 watt motor and in my opinion it’s definitely worth doing. This isn’t the lightest ebike at ~56 lbs and with the knobby tread, fenders, rack and potentially some gear added on the larger motor will come in handy… but it will also drain the battery more quickly. To get the best range out of this thing I recommend riding in level 1, 2 or 3 pedal assist then occasionally boosting power using the trigger throttle. Pedaling along is fun and comfortable here because the Yukon has a six speed drivetrain. The components are definitely entry level (Shimano Tourney TX) but they’ll hold up if you keep them clean and occasionally lube the chain. I like that the bike ships with a metal derailleur guard, this part will help to protect the shifting mechanisms as you assemble the bike and also if it tips or comes into contact with terrain later on.

Powering the bike is Lithium-ion battery pack that uses higher quality Samsung cells. It offers 48 volts of power and 10.4 amp hours of capacity which is above average for normal sized e-bikes but probably just ride for the 500 watt version of this fatbike. The battery mounts to the downtube and includes a locking core for security but you don’t have to leave the key in when riding which is nice (some cheaper bikes don’t have this option). The pack can be charged while seated on the frame or separately if you want to store the big (potentially dirty) parts in your garage. I love that the pack has a built in strap for carrying and that it has an LED power level readout… this can come in handy if you haven’t ridden for a while, have the pack in your closet and want to know whether it’s full. If you do plan on storing the pack (maybe for the off-season?) I suggest filling it to 50% then leaving it in a cool, dry location. Just behind the pack (on the bike frame) is another black box and this thing is the controller. It receives, interprets and sends signals to the battery and motor. Often times controllers are integrated into battery mounts or sometimes even built right into motors but that’s not the case here. It definitely adds some clutter to the frame but it probably helps to keep that price low and at least it’s black. The battery, controller and wires all blend in with the frame and look pretty good in my opinion. I believe Voltbike does sell additional battery packs (to extend your range or as a replacement) and those go for ~$500.

Operating the Yukon electric bike is a cinch. Once the battery is charged and mounted to the frame you simply press the power button on the display pad. From here, you can see your battery level (with six bars for more precise interpretation), your speed and your assist level. The bike offers five levels of pedal assist along with a zero level for throttle-only operation. This is awesome! Basically you can operate the bike however you want without compromising… some of Voltbike’s other models do not have this zero level and that means you have to think about how your pedaling might impact the motor vs. just using the throttle. If you are in pedal assist mode here the control system responds very quickly (both to starting and stopping) because it uses a 12 magnet sensor disc. When it’s time to stop and you pull the brake levers another signal is sent to the system to cut motor power. I feel like they did everything correctly with this design and used good parts. in addition to the derailleur guard mentioned earlier, there is also a nice aluminum bash guard mounted to the front chainring and the pedals are decent Wellgo aluminum platform designs… maybe not quite as wide as I’d like. Consider these extra-wide grippy magnesium pedals with adjustable spikes also from Wellgo. I’ve purchased several of these for my bikes over the years and they come in a bunch of colors so you could get white or red to match the highlights on this frame as well.

They Yukon is Voltbike’s most popular model and I can totally see why. It looks good, delivers a lot of value and uses some high quality parts where it counts. You don’t compromise with a single speed drivetrain like the Sondors and you can easily upgrade the motor for more power without spend a lot of money or screwing around trying to do it yourself after purchase. You get a nice display system with lots of drive options. Safety is taken care of with the included LED headlight and really emphasized if you get the rack and have that second light. The optional fenders fit the frame (fat-bike fenders can be difficult to find and fit after-market) and you’ve got the necessary stopping power of disc brakes. I can’t really think of anything else you’d need to get here besides those ergonomic adjustments (seat post shock, saddle, bars etc.) and that’s just based on my own ride preference. I could see this bike being an awesome addition to a cabin or maybe as a Burning Man bike. I attended the festival for the first time this year and saw an amazing selection of bikes… with fat bikes being some of the most popular and comfortable for the sandy desert terrain. Keep in mind the Yukon frame is a bit large at ~20″ and you’ll have to swing your leg over (especially high if you get the rack, don’t hit your knee…) maybe in the future we’ll see more colors or a second size in this thing… or maybe a quick release on the front wheel ;)

Pros:
The matte black paint looks good, matches the large black tires, rims, hub motor, battery and controller box… it also helps to hide the wires and make the bike more stealth
One of the most affordable fat electric bikes I’ve seen, you can get the super-cheap 350 watt version or upgrade to a 500 watt motor for ~$210 more
Awesome extra-wide full length fenders and carry rack sold as a $150 option, they look great and add a lot of utility if you live somewhere that it rains or you plan on commuting with the bike, I like that the rack has an integrated tail light!
I really appreciate the six speed cassette, even though the component line is more entry level (Shimano Tourney) these gears will help you start, climb or keep up at higher speeds (especially with the larger front chainring, it’s nice to have some low gears), the large thumb shifter (SIS Index) is a bit easier to use if you’re wearing gloves… riding in the snow perhaps
The battery can be charged on or off the frame (and has an integrated LED charge level indicator!), if you’re transporting the bike it’s best to take the pack off to reduce weight by ~7 lbs, the pack includes a keyed lock for security (the key is not required to be in while riding)
The high-step frame offers a lot of strength and stiffness, this is good considering the larger, heavier tires and it also makes hanging it on some car racks easier
Voltbike has been in business since 2012 and has a decent reputation for replacing parts and offering good customer service, they are expanding the number of models and types of ebikes being carried
It’s neat that they offer a free helmet with the purchase of any ebike and that the helmets are Department of Transportation (DOT) approved, for me the helmet was a bit heavy but the straps were easy to adjust and felt secure
The disc brakes do a good job of stopping this bike and staying clear of mud and rocks vs. rim brakes, I like that the levers have motor cutoff switches built in
Cons:
The controller unit is not integrated into the battery mount and takes up some extra space on the downtube, adds a bit of clutter to the frame but blends in alright since it’s black (like the frame)
No bottle cage mounting points, pretty much all of the space on the downtube and seat tube are taken by the battery and controller, you can always upgrade with the fenders or rack and use a trunk bag for your water bottle or get a saddle adapter
Fairly aggressive stem, low-rise handlebars and saddle create a more active-forward ride that can be less comfortable going over bumps… there’s no suspension fork, seat post or springs but you can deflate the tires a bit (which will also decrease range) or add a basic seat post suspension of your own or a really fancy long-travel one
Only available in one color and one standard size at ~20″, you can’t adjust the stem or bar angle much… just the seat post height, I’d consider swapping out the handlebars for something with a little more rise and sweep back, this bike might not fit shorter riders (it felt alright for me and I’m 5’9″ tall)
There’s not quick release for either wheel (which would be handy for transport given how large the tires are) but there is a quick-disconnect point in the power cable for the hub motor making rear wheel maintenance easier
Only available online, you’ll have to do some assembly and adjustments yourself and you cannot try it before purchase, keep in mind it only comes in one size
The display panel doesn’t swivel very easily (to reduce glare) and isn’t removable (to deter theft or wear from weather) but it’s fairly easy to reach and is backlit
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Friday, March 27, 2020

Biktrix Juggernaut Review

An affordable fat tire electric bike delivered through Kickstarter 2014-2015, now available for direct purchase
Powerful BBS02 mid-drive motor system keeps weight low and center for improved balance, also makes maintenance and transport easier (quick release on both wheels)
Upgraded drivetrain, sturdy aluminum fenders, integrated LED headlight, optional suspension fork on the 2016 model, only available in one size and sold online (difficult to test-ride or service directly)

The Biktrix Juggernaut made its debut on Kickstarter in November 2014 and was successfully delivered to all backers by July 2015. It’s a fat electric bike that’s a step up in terms of components and features but still aiming at that value market. For ~$2k you can get the base model which uses a more standard sized battery with good Samsung cells and Tektro mechanical disc brakes… or for ~$500 more you can get the larger battery with higher quality Sony cells and hydraulic disc brakes. Both models use the 8Fun BBS02 mid-drive motor that keeps weight low and center, offers great torque for climbing and enables quick release and easier tune-ups on both wheels. The motor is using custom firmware but does not offer shift sensing which means the chain, cassette and derailleur will endure more force when riding. You could get this same motor and battery with shift sensing from E-RAD but the kit alone would cost ~$1,700. Thankfully, the Biktrix Juggernaut offers an upgraded KMC chain (emphasizing strength and rust resistance) and a Shimano Alivio derailleur which is two steps up from most other value-priced electric fat bikes I’ve reviewed recently includign the RadRover and Voltbike Yukon which both use Tourney TX. For me, the centerdrive motor is really the star of the show here but the included fenders, lights and adjustable stem all add value.

Driving the Juggernaut is a 500 watt nominal, 750 watt peak mid-drive motor from 8Fun. I’ve reviewed this motor on its own here but some improvements have been made since then including better power activation and durability. As mentioned earlier, Biktrix worked with the firmware a bit to optimize it for their fat ebike and it felt very smooth and responsive during my test ride. Instead of powering the wheel directly like hub motors, this centerdrive pulls the same chain that you do as you pedal. In so doing, it leverages the seven speed cassette in the rear allowing it to operate more efficiently. Basically, this motor will climb better and go further than an equivalent hub motor and it keeps weight low and center on the frame instead of at the rear. This is a huge benefit when going in for tuneups, changing tubes on the trail or simply transporting the bike. Both the front and back wheel offer quick release, this benefit cannot be overstated on a fat bike platform which traditionally tend to take up more space and often do not fit in the back of cars or as easily in garages. The Juggernaut is easier to manage in this sense and it handles well.

Powering this electric bike is one of two battery options (both offering higher quality Lithium-ion cells). The base model is a 48 volt 10.4 amp hour design with Samsung cells… It should get you 20 to 40 miles per charge and offer a good sense of power. The upgrade is a 48 volt 11.6 amp hour design with premium Sony cells that offer a higher C-Rating. This pack will get you 20 to 50 miles and might feel zippier. Energy can flow into and out of this pack more quickly and with a higher capacity, it lets the bike ride longer. The caveat here is that if you accelerate faster and ride at higher speeds longer on the larger pack it will drain quicker and that’s why I estimate both will get 20 miles per charge at the highest level of assist or using the twist throttle. Also, depending on which version of this ebike you get, the battery pack itself may look different. The Kickstarter and 2015 model use a nice downtube mounted pack that has an integrated LCD and on/off switch. This pack has to be activated before you can turn on the display. I’m told that the newer pack does not have to be switched on independently and for me that’s a nice improvement because it means you’ll be less likely to forget to de-activate the battery once your ride is over.

Operating the Biktrix Juggernaut is fairly simple and very standard. I’ve seen similar Bafang LCD displays on other electric bikes and they tend to hold up well. Once the battery pack is charged, mounted to the frame and switched on (if you’ve got a first generation build of this ebike) you can switch on the display by pressing a rubber power button on the remote button pad. This pad is easy to reach, even when you’re hand is on the left grip while riding. Once activated, the display console comes to life showing battery level, speed, assist level and a few more readouts. You can cycle through max speed, average speed, odometer, clock and trip distance by pressing the power button again (and hold it to turn the bike off). You can also go into the settings and choose from either 3, 5 or 9 levels of assist. The additional levels don’t offer more power, they are more like finer increments offering more choices so you can find a perfect speed instead of going from low, medium and then high with the three level configuration. Physically speaking, the display can swivel forward to back to reduce glare if not overtightened but it is not removable. Because the bike is predominantly sold online you’ll have the opportunity to set things up just how you like them (or work with a local shop to do so upon arrival) and the handlebars may be adjusted forward or back to change reach and ride position. The adjustable stem used is fairly short which will reduce the strain it endures when riding off-road but I’m guessing that it may still begin to rattle over time if not tightened… that’s just what happens with this style of stem. I tend to prefer a more upright ride and sometimes go for cruiser bars which you could add on but the low-risers that are provided work well enough. One final and important note here… when ordering the Juggernaut from Biketrix you can request that they “unlock the throttle” meaning that you will be able to twist and go at pedal assist level zero and override all other levels beyond their default setting. The bike will still only go up to 15.5 mph or 20 mph (depending on your geography) but the throttle will be active at all times when the system is powered on. I personally prefer this type of riding but it does increase the risk of accidental activation and because a twist throttle was used vs. a trigger throttle, if you accidentally bear down on the right grip during a tense moment you could accelerate when you really intended to stabilize or even prepare for braking. Keep this option and its potential consequences in mind when ordering.

I really enjoyed the Juggernaut and was impressed with the custom frame work that was done to accommodate the BBS02 mid-drive motor system. They had to bend the chainstays in to accommodate a standard sized 73 mm bottom bracket here but reinforced the tubing by creating dimples and gusseted the top tube near the seat tube as well. It felt solid, weighed less than comparable options, has an upgrade path for increased power and range and just looks really good. The black frame, spokes, motor and battery and other accessories work together nicely and most wires are internally routed to reduce snags. For 2016 you’ll also get a tapered head tube which is stronger and can accommodate a RockShox Bluto suspension fork for improved comfort. While this electric fat bike is only available in one color, it looks pretty good. It’s also limited to just one frame size but you can adjust that stem, swap out the handlebars, quick release the seat post and that all contributes to better fit. Keep in mind the $150+ shipping cost and on-site assembly you’ll need to do. I’ve rated this bike based on the MSRP but it appears they offer sales and you can get it even cheaper than ~$2k which is exciting. It’s a great platform for fun neighborhood riding if you like the fat style but it’s actually quite capable on light trails or in sand and snow due to the increased torque of the mid-drive.

Pros:
Great aesthetic… the spokes, kickstand and pedals are black, the motor and battery are black, the frame and fenders are black… everything matches and the integrated wires blend right in
Higher end drivetrain, the derailleur is Alivio which is two steps up from Tourney TX which most other value priced ebikes use, should last longer and stay in tune
The 2016 model will offer an oversized tapered headtube so you can add a RockShox Bluto suspension fork (and Biktrix will offer this as an upgrade for ~$700), the battery pack on this newer model will also not require independent activation
You can request that Biktrix unlock the throttle so you can use it in level zero and override assist, the stock setup only lets you use throttle power when in pedal assist mode and only up to the level of pedal assist you’re currently in
I like the optional hydraulic disc brake and battery size upgrades… the mechanical brakes work fine and 180 mm is a good size for the rotors but hydraulic are easier to pull and for people who want to go further these upgrades are nice at ~$500
The included fenders are pretty cool… aluminum alloy is solid and since they aren’t full-length you don’t kick the front fender as easily or get the same rattling as some other options (though there is still some ratting if they aren’t adjusted properly)
Front and rear lights are included with the bike, the front is nicer because it’s integrated (meaning it runs right off the main battery pack) the rear light is more standard (using AA batteries) but definitely good to have vs. not
Pedal assist is smooth and responsive (the cadence sensor is built right into the bottom bracket/motor area)
Cons:
The adjustable stem helps different sized riders fit the bike (since the frame only comes in one size) but it can get loose over time, especially if riding off-road, keep an eye on it and tighten it if it becomes loose
Only available in one standard ~19″ frame size but the top tube is sloped making it easier to stand over
In order to power on the Kickstarter and 2015 version of the Juggernaut you first have to activate the battery pack and then press power again on the button pad, this adds time and makes it easier to forget to de-activate the battery after a ride
The battery pack takes up most of the space where a bottle cage might mount… consider a saddle rail adapter or something like a Camelbak
I noticed that there wasn’t a slap guard on the right chain stay, this means the chain could bounce into the frame and chip it if you’re riding on rough terrain, consider adding one like this yourself, also I noticed that the rims aren’t punched out like a lot of fat bikes (holes are not cut into the rim to reduce weight) but this bike still weighs less than many bikes that do have the punchouts
There is no shift sensing built into the mid-drive motor on this ebike which means the chain and gears can experience more force and wear if you don’t shift smoothly and carefully (ideally when you are not activating the motor) the upgraded KMC chain and Shimano Alivio drivetrain should hold up better than lower level parts
Read More »

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Daymak Vermont Review

One of Daymak's most popular electric bike models because you get power, range and comfort for a reasonable ~$2k price
I like the addition of fenders but the front isn't long enough to protect feet and shins, the bottle cage bosses and rear rack bosses could come in handy and the lights are nice but run on their own batteries vs. being integrated
The suspension fork and larger knobby tires improved comfort but with only seven gears it's more of an on-road ebike
The plastic fenders are a bit basic, you have to leave the key in the battery when riding and the brake levers don't cut power to the motor which could be dangerous in pedal assist mode

The Daymak Vermont is a mixed bag for me… I love the high power motor and extra large battery for improved zip and range but am concerned by the lack of motor inhibitor on the brake levers (you can end up fighting the motor or struggle stopping as quickly in pedal assist mode especially). Throttle mode is awesome and the inclusion of an on/off button helps you avoid accidental activation, of course I also enjoy the efficiency of pedal assist but with a more basic five magnet cadence sensor it’s just not as responsive. You get a nice suspension fork which includes rebound adjust and lockout but the fenders are pretty basic and the front one especially just isn’t long enough to protect feet and shins while riding. The battery pack is an older style that doesn’t blend in as nicely with the frame and may require you to take the seat post out (to get the light and saddle out of the way when removing the battery) so it’s not as convenient and I dislike that you have to leave the key in to activate the bike because it’s easier to snag or even forget to take out when parking in a public space.

For around $2,000 there’s a lot to appreciate with this ebike but you’re going to pay more if you don’t live near a Daymak retail outlet (or a store that carries their brand). I believe shipping in Canada is $200 and that jumps to $400 in the United States. A couple of other highlights for me were the color choices (black, blue or red) and the ergonomic grips… though they’re a bit more basic and do not have lockers to stay straight if you really bear down.

This would make for a solid commuter platform and I love that there are open bosses along the seat stay. You’d do well to work with your local shop in finding the best rack however because of the battery position again, the fact that this ebike uses disc brakes (which usually require wider racks) and the lower bosses being mounted up along the seat stays vs. down near the dropouts at the rear axle. When you get to the level of $2k for an ebike a lot of options begin to open up. There’s probably a specific group of users that appreciate the powerful 500 watt internally geared motor but it’s a generic part vs. 8Fun or some other brand name I’d recognize and yes the battery is large but it also adds weight and doesn’t fall under the year long warranty, you only get six months and I’m not sure of the cell manufacturer so just like the motor it could be more generic. I like the variety of products that Daymak offers but the Vermont is feeling a bit outdated. I would especially like to see the safety improved with fancier brake levers from Tektro and perhaps an official year long warranty for all parts as I know the company regularly supports customers beyond six months and is one of the longest standing and most well stocked ebike companies in Canada.

Pros:
While the included mud flap style fenders aren’t the highest quality offering in my opinion, they are useful for back and upper body and protection in water or mud (the front fender is too short to really keep your feet and shins dry)
I love that the Vermont ebike comes with lots of extra threaded eyelets on the seat stays and chain stays for adding a compatible rear rack (note the higher mounts vs. down by the dropouts) and that you also get bottle cage bosses to carry along a lock, pump or other accessory… like a water bottle holder :D
The battery on this bike is quite powerful and large, it lets you climb better when paired with the 500 watt motor and should also extend range, nearly doubling it vs. standard sized batteries, I like that most of the power cables are internally routed for improved aesthetic and fewer snags
The suspension fork adds comfort and pairs with the knobby tires to make this a trail capable electric bike but it also locks out for more efficient commuting (reduces energy loss from bobbing as you pedal)
For ~$2k MSRP you get a pretty solid offering here with some nice creature comforts like the shock, ergonomic grips, front and rear lights and disc brakes along with a year warranty
I like the bash guard on the front chainring as well as the metal derailleur guard at the back, the derailleur itself is closer to mid-level in terms of performance from Shimano
It’s nice that you can turn the throttle completely off if you want to (using the red button on the right side), this could be useful on bumpy terrain or when you’re maneuvering the bike into a rack once you arrive to your destination, I’ve accidentally activated throttles before while loading bikes and nearly lost control (best to turn the bike completely off if you’re moving it I suppose)
Not only do you get disc brakes here but they’re hydraulic for easier actuation, the 160 mm rotors are sort of average in terms of size and the brake fluid might gum up in extremely cold environments but overall I like this upgrade
Cons:
Only available in one standard “medium” size so it might not work for taller or shorter riders, the top tube is pretty standard and creates a higher standover height vs. some that angle down more
The battery pack isn’t integrated so the overall look is compromised a bit… but you get extra power and the weight distribution is pretty good if not a bit rear-heavy
Unless you live close to a Daymak outlet (which are mostly located in Canada) there will be extra shipping charges ranging from $200 to $400 and you’ll have to tune up the bike on arrival
Somewhat limited gear selection with just seven speeds, it’s enough for urban riding, commuting and a bit of trail use but this really isn’t a mountain bike and might be difficult to pedal up very steep terrain
They key has to be left in the battery while riding which makes it easier to snag or bounce around (if you have more keys connected to it) and nick the paint, consider a small carabiner for easy removal from other keys
The cadence sensor only uses 5 magnets vs. 6 or even 12 on some other models, this makes it less responsive (though it actually performed alright during the review)
It’s nice that the battery is removable but to get it out you might have to twist the rear light to the side or use the quick release to completely remove seat tube + light + saddle which is a bit less convenient, consider using a permanent marker on the seat tube to mark the height you prefer so putting it back on is faster and more accurate
No motor inhibitors built into the brake levers, this could be a safety issue with a heavier more powerful electric bike like the Vermont
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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Enzo Ebikes Folding Electric Bike Review

An affordable, extra-durable, folding electric bike designed for yachts, RV's and other travel applications
Magnesium wheels are rugged and protect the motor, front and rear LED lights and fenders add utility
Ergonomic grips and plush saddle add comfort but no suspension fork or seatpost here, the seat post has an integrated pump to fix flats on the go
Folding pedals, derailleur guard and included carry bag makes transport easy and clean, aluminum rear rack works great with panniers or a trunk bag, glow-in-the-dark paint is fun and unique

This electric bike was updated to include smoother more powerful hydraulic disc brakes, a 7 speed drivetrain, reflective sidewall stripes, wider softer tires (20″ x 2.125″), a more comfortable Gel saddle, an improved LCD display panel with integrated USB charger for use with portable electronic devices and an iPhone holder. The price remains the same and these improvements can be seen in the full album (the five images of the red bike at the end).

The EnzoEbike is a uniquely outfitted folding electric bike designed with boaters in mind. Rather than using steep parts, nearly every component and built material has been chosen to reduce rust… You’ve got plastic, rubber, aluminum alloy, titanium and steel. One of the first things I noticed about the bike is the cast magnesium wheels which not only resist rust but also provide more strength and durability than traditional spokes. They’re a bit less forgiving as well but on a folding bike like this with slightly wider tires and plush saddle, it works out. Some of the other creature comforts include locking ergonomic grips, full length fenders with mud flaps, a standard rear carry rack and lights. The front light is integrated (meaning it runs directly off of the main rechargeable battery) but the rear light is not, so you’ll have to remember to shut it off independently and replace batteries every once in a while. In my opinion, the ~$1,700 price tag on this folding e-bike is pretty sweet, especially considering that you get to choose from one of five colors (ranging from fun to professional) and that the paint glows in the dark (except on the black model). You get basic mechanical disc brakes here and there’s no quick release on the wheels (which might deter theft but make on-the-go maintenance more difficult) but there’s a really cool pump built right into the seat post! Lots of delighters with this bike… but keep in mind the frame is small/medium and might not be comfortable for riders over 6′ for prolonged use.

Driving the Enzo electric bike is a proven 350 watt internally geared hub motor from 8Fun. This is about as standard as they come but a step up in terms of power for a folding bike. I probably adds a bit more weight (the overall weight of the bike is ~48lbs) but you get more torque for climbing and hitting the 20 mph top speed. I love how quiet the motor operates (in part because it’s encased by the magnesium wheel) and also how it doesn’t stand out on the frame. This is the kind of electric bike that most bystanders won’t notice or get concerned about… it’s extremely stealth. One of the benefits of smaller 20″ wheels (in addition to being smaller for storage when the bike is folded) is that they are easier to turn from the center. Hub motors on smaller wheels get a mechanical advantage and that’s definitely the case here, especially with the upgraded 350 watt size. As you pedal, there are six gears to choose from and the sprocket cluster and derailleur are both protected by a metal cage guard in the rear which is nice. The Shimano Tourney TX hardware is entry level but it gets the job done and should last if you keep it clean and oil it occasionally. The front chainring is a bit oversized to offset the smaller wheels and create a comfortable range of pedaling speeds. Shifting is intuitive with the Shimano thumb levers and they are a bit larger which makes operation with gloves possible (nice if it’s cold out).

Powering this bike is a nice 36 volt 10.4 amp hour Lithium-ion pack that uses Samsung cells. It’s super small and light weight at just under four pounds. Just like the motor, the battery is basically hidden on this ebike. It slides into the downtube after you’ve unfolded the frame. It locks inside and is secured with a key… that you actually have to leave in to power the bike on. To some, this could be an advantage as it deters tampering and theft (just take the key with you when you’re not on the bike) but I usually prefer not to have to leave my keys in when riding because they can jingle around and get snagged by my legs when pedaling. I like that the key itself folds to reduce the potential for snags but I’d like the option to take it out entirely when riding. Back to the battery, I recommend storing it in a cool dry location as extreme heat and cold can damage Lithium batteries and shorten their lifespan. Also, if you know you’re not going to be riding the bike for several months, try storing it a half-full as this will reduce strain on the cells. The pack is so small, I’d probably bring it inside or take it with me when traveling but airline regulations may limit this approach (given the 374.4 watt hour size of this pack) and you could end up forgetting it at home which would be a bummer.

Operating the Enzo bike is very intuitive, once the pack is charged and locked into the frame you simply press the on/off button on the LCD display panel (mounted near the left grip). The monochromatic display shows your battery level, power use (as the motor kicks in), speed, assist level and some other stats about trip distance and time. At any time once the bike is turned on, you can press the trigger throttle and it will take off. I love that you can override any of the assist levels with this throttle because it makes passing other riders or climbing hills very easy and not distracting. You get five levels of assist as well as a “zero” level which is basically throttle only and leaves the display on as a cycle computer. I tend to ride in assist level two or three then add power with the throttle occasionally, this will extend your range and provide more of a workout. Because the trigger throttle is also mounted near the left grip, you do have to reach a bit further to adjust the display (change assist levels, turn on the lights etc.) but it’s still doable and reduces the need for a separate button pad. While many electric bikes in the US have twist throttles or trigger throttles that spin down or towards you, this one spins up and away which isn’t a huge deal but likely resulted from the addition of a bell near the right grip (and lack of room on that side to add the trigger throttle). You may be able to customize the layout a bit but it worked well enough for me. You can turn on the headlight with the display panel by pressing the Current button once and if you hold it down, a walk mode engages. Overall, great setup with all of the necessary drive modes and readouts in my opinion. One area for possible improvement is the bottom bracket cadence sensor which uses a less precise six-magnet cadence sensor. I found that there was a bit of delay for it to start and stop when riding but you can always cut it out immediately by pulling either brake lever. The levers themselves and the disc brake rotors and calipers are very basic but still do a good job and will stay cleaner than traditional pads.

I was delighted by the Enzo electric bike… I’ve reviewed two very similar ebikes over the past few years (the E-Joe Epik and EZ Pedaler X350) and both vary in terms of price, number of gears and aesthetic, but this frame style is definitely a winner in my book. This is the first electric bike I’ve tried that glows in the dark (in select colors) or that uses titanium hardware. The mag wheels are sweet and the integrated pump is very useful if you’re away from home. I’d love a suspension fork or seat post shock to reduce vibration and impact on bumps but that would add weight and likely increase the price. For what it is, I think the Enzo ebike is excellent and I could see it working very well on yachts and RV’s. I wanted to test the pink or orange model because I rarely see fun colors like these but apparently those are some of the top sellers so they were out of stock! Considering this e-bike is predominantly sold through Amazon and their official website I was excited to see the 30 day refund policy and two year comprehensive warranty. I buy a lot of stuff online and enjoy the free Prime shipping options and refund paths. So far, this is the only model on offer from Enzo but I did get a sneak peek at a possible upcoming single speed carbon belt drive edition that could be cool (quieter, cleaner and lighter) but for now, the six speeds are nice for a wide variety of terrain.

Pros:
The battery is locking and removable but very well concealed within the downtube/top-tube of the frame, this makes the bike stealthy, adds protection and also keeps weight low and centered
I love the full length fenders and integrated LED headlight, it would be nice if the rear light was also integrated but at least it’s included, these offer safety when riding in wet and dark conditions, they also don’t get in the way when folding this bike!
The integrated pump (built into the seat post) is very unique, I haven’t seen this before but it makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re traveling and get a flat (you could use Slime in the tires to help hold the air pressure if there is a leak)
Rather than using traditional spokes, the Enzo Bike uses magnesium wheels that won’t go out of true or get loose over time, they can also support more weight
I like the ergonomic grips and comfort saddle, the seat post and stem are adjustable but this is still a small/medium sized ebike
The rear rack lets you carry extra gear, a lock or water (since there’s no bottle cage on this bike) I like that it uses standard sized tubing and has the spring latch built in
The front chainring is extra large to create a comfortable range of pedaling cadences given the smaller 20″ wheelset, I like that it has an aluminum bash guard built in and a plastic chain guide so you don’t drop your chain as easily over bumps or when folding/unfolding
Enzo eBikes upgraded all of the hardware to aluminum or titanium to deter rust, this is especially useful if the bike is stored on a boat at sea
Very quiet motor… because it’s built into the magnesium wheel in the back, you can still hear a faint whine but it’s less than some similarly sized geared motors I’ve tried
Disc brakes tend to stay cleaner than v-brakes or other rim mounted linear-pull designs, I like that the levers have motor inhibitors but the quality is basic
Cons:
The battery compartment key must be left in to activate the bike, it does fold so potential snags are reduced but if you’ve got a keychain connected it can jingle and get in the way
The wider tires help to add comfort but there isn’t a suspension fork or seat post suspension on this bike so it can feel bumpier when riding over cracks and potholes
No integrated bottle cage bosses here, consider a trunk bag like this with a bottle holder, also the rear light is independent and requires its own battery cells
The cadence sensor is a bit more basic with just six magnets, it doesn’t start or stop as quickly as some ebikes I’ve tested that use 12 magnets
Folding pedals are nice for portability but these plastic ones are kind of basic and don’t offer as much power transfer or stability as aluminum ones that I’ve seen on some other models like these
Not exactly a con but no quick release on front or rear wheel… the bike already folds pretty small but sometimes it’s nice to remove wheels for maintenance, the pump eliminates that need to some extent here and without quick release the wheels might not get stolen as easily
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Pedego Trail Tracker Review

Fined fat tire electricbike with balanced down tube battery and purpose-built "extrawide" hub motor for improved drive train operation and torque
Nice LCD display panel with integrated buttons and swivel, includes a USB port for charging portable electronics, you also get an integrated LED headlight with this bike
The rims are 3" wide vs. 4" on previous models helping to save weight but the tires are still 4" for comfort and traction in sand and snow, the seat post suspension smoothes out the ride
Mid-level drive train, mechanical discbrakes, cadence sensing pedal assist vs. torque sensing, great throttle over ride and throttle-only modes ,solid warranty and support

In 2016 Pedego launched a fourth generation build of the Trail Tracker electric bike! It resembles the new Ridge Rider e-mountain bike in that the battery is designed to fit into the downtube vs. a rear rack, dramatically improving weight distribution and stability. This is a fat-tire style electric bike which works well on pavement, dirt trails, sand and even snow because of the enlarged surface area contact patch. Increased tire pressure improves speed and efficiency on packed terrain while decreased pressure improves comfort and keeps you from sinking in to soft terrain. The saddle is relatively firm and decidedly performance oriented but the seat post includes a suspension element which helps improves ride quality. Some electric fat bikes have opted for suspension forks but that increases weight and cost. The new Trail Tracker isn’t exactly cheap but for just over $3k you get a nice looking machine, solid warranty and a powerful drive system.

The motor powering the Pedego Trail Tracker is a 500 watt internally geared, fat bike specific hub motor from Dapu. In my opinion, Dapu is a leader in the hub motor space and I feel that their designs are quieter and more powerful than generic brands. Many of the Easy Motion ebikes use Dapu but this motor is special in being torque optimized and wider, pushing the cassette out and aligning the chain with the front chainring (also helping it clear the fatter tire and possibly supporting a sturdier spoke pattern). I love that the motor is black, actually has the Pedego logo stamped on it and is laced in with black spokes as well. I believe the Trail Tracker frame only comes in matte black but you can choose from four rim colors including black, blue, red and lime green. The black frame color allows brake, shifter and power cables to blend in nicely and given the integrated battery and 180 mm disc brakes I feel that this is a stealthier fat bike. It’s quite beautiful.

Every motor is dependent on a power source and the Trail Tracker delivers solid performance with a strong 48 volt 11.6 amp hour Lithium-ion battery delivering 18 Amps of electrical current. The cells inside this pack are made by Samsung and fall under the year long comprehensive warranty plus two year pro-rated replacement coverage offered by Pedego. I like that it matches the frame so well and locks in for security but doesn’t require keys to be left in while riding. At ~8 pounds the battery is worth removing if you need to lift the bike and I’d say even the front wheel could be removed to save weight. The rear wheel is a bit more complicated to take off due to the gearing and derailleur and both have pre-Slimed tubes to help maintain pressure in the event of a puncture. Slime is a self-sealing aqueous sludge that clots (almost like red blood cells when you get a cut) in the event of a leek. The one thing the wheels don’t have is quick release so be sure and bring a wrench or bike tool.

There’s a lot to appreciate from this design including rear rack bosses, a bottle cage mounting point on the seat tube, an integrated LED headlight that runs off the main battery and sturdy 180 mm disc brakes from Avid. Considering the bike is ~64 lbs, good brakes matter and these are mid-grade in my opinion, very capable. I like that they function with ebike specific levers that cut power to the system when pulled and I appreciate the tool free quick-adjust mechanism that lets you dial in the pads as they wear down over time. In terms of operation, this bike has a zero level that functions as a plain old bicycle but keeps the display active (to use as a cycle computer and to activate the headlight) as well as five levels of cadence sensing assist (great for extending range and getting a workout) as well as a throttle only sixth level. Pedal assist works well and uses a twelve magnet sensor system but doesn’t require you to push hard to get the system to activate, as someone with sensitive knees I like this design. At any point in time you can twist the throttle to get full power for passing other riders or topping a hill. It all works well together and the display especially, keeps the bar area clean and easy to interact with because the buttons are integrated into the left side near your hand and thumb and because it’s backlit. I also love that there’s a USB charging port at the base of the display (just hold Set and Up to activate charging).

Pedego is stepping up their game in the off-road category and the new Trail Tracker is much more capable than its predecessor V1, V2 and V3 models. The curved top tube makes standover more comfortable and even possible for shorter riders, the sturdy full-length kickstand is still there keeping it stable, the solid Wellgo pedals look great and deliver a wide foot placement and the locking grips and integrated bell in the left brake lever create polished professional look. It’s not the cheapest electric fat bike on the block but you get solid support and good componentry. Even the drivetrain which offers an average seven speeds uses a mid-grade derailleur (Shimano Acera) with an upgraded Shimano SIS index shifter. It’s a bit large but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when the snow begins to fall and the gloves come out.

Pros:
As with many of the Cruiser electric bikes that Pedego sells, you get several accent color choices with the trail tracker including blue, red, black and fluorescent lime green – the frame itself comes in matte black only
The control system is easy to reach from the left grip, the LCD itself is easy to read and has some great new readouts including charge cycles, battery percentage and voltage
The integrated USB charging port at the base of the display is right where you’d want it to be, easy to access but out of the way (great for powering a GPS, lights or portable music player while riding), I also like that you can see how many charge cycles have been used, battery percentage and voltage along with the more traditional readouts like speed and assist level
The hub motor is specially designed for fat tire bikes (it’s wider than normal and geared for higher torque applications), the physical design helps align the cassette with the front chainring improving chain flow and the higher torque is good for moving the heavier rims and tires through snow and sand
You get three ways to ride with this system: normal bike or “freeride mode” where the motor does not activate, five levels of cadence sensing assist with throttle override and throttle-only mode
I like that this hardtail could easily be used for commuting thanks to the rear rack bosses, be sure to get a disc brake compatible rack
There are two threaded eyelets on the seat tube so you can add a bottle cage, mount a portable pump or carry along a folding lock
Great power from the Dapu motor, I appreciate the larger 500 watt design and powerful 48 volt battery, the controller sends 18 amps through the system
The on/off switch for the battery is easy to reach and deters tampering with the display if you turn it off when parked, I like that the display is backlit
Sturdy 15 mm thru axle on the front wheel adds strength for rougher conditions and ensures alignment for the disc brake when the wheel is taken off and then re-attached
I like the 26″ x 4″ wheel size for traction in sand, snow and mud but it also just looks cool and improves comfort (depending on how full you ride them), also it’s nice that Pedego pre-Slimed the tubes to add durability for off-road use
The new Dapu hub motors have an improved power cable design which does not protrude from the axle and instead curves down behind the disc brake for better protection
Overall, good balance with the battery low and center on the frame, it blends in, locks and can be charged on or off the frame
Disc brakes are the way to go when you’re potentially going into wet and dirty terrain because they stay cleaner, these mechanical brakes are decent and 180 mm is the right size
I appreciate the kickstand so the bike won’t tip over in your garage and the inclusion of a light is nice for evening or morning bushwhacking
Cons:
At the time of this review the V4 Trail Tracker was only available in one frame size (medium ~18″) but the top tube is curved down creating a lower standover height which is more comfortable and approachable for shorter riders
The LCD control panel is not easily removable which exposes it to more hazards when moving the bike or parking outside but you can swivel it forward and back to reduce glare
I wish the wheels had quick release because they add a lot of weight and are quite large making it difficult to transport and store the bike at times without traditional tools
The head tube angle or “rake” on the bike creates a nimble and quick steering feeling but it also doesn’t feel as stable and seemed to pull to either side during brake tests
As with most fat ebikes this isn’t the lightest machine on the block but it does feel sturdy, you can remove the ~8 lb battery for easier transport but you need tools to take the wheels off
Read More »

Monday, March 23, 2020

VoltBike Interceptor Review

A value oriented electric bike available in one size (19"), one frame style (step-thru) and one color (black)
Comes standard with lots of useful accessories including full length plastic fenders, a rear carry rack, integrated LED lights, a compass, bell and ergonomic grips
Entry level 7 speed drivetrain, basic mechanical disc brakes, heavier build ~62 lbs, only sold online but offers a solid year long comprehensive warranty

The Voltbike Interceptor is a feature rich online-only electric bike that would be be useful for urban riding or commuting. It comes standard with full length plastic fenders, a matching carry rack (with standard gauge tubing so it works with most clip-on panniers) and integrated LED lights. While there’s only one frame style and size to choose from (step-thru at 19″) the stem is adjustable so you can extend the handlebar or bring it up and back and the seat post is also adjustable and actually goes fairly low. Overall I really enjoyed the bike but did notice the heavy weight ~62 lbs vs. similar bikes in the mid 50’s. I think the frame and gearless motor are the big contributors here, they reinforced the downtube to add strength (notice that it’s gusseted where it meets the seat tube). There wasn’t as much frame flex as I expected which is a good thing but there also isn’t much give when riding over bumps and cracks because the bike lacks suspension. I think if I bought this bike I’d probably add a more swept-back handlebar and possibly a seat post suspension. Thankfully, at ~$1,600 + $70 shipping to the US there’s money left over to do this sort of customization compared with other similarly specced bikes in the $2k+ price range.

Driving the Interceptor ebike is a powerful and smooth 800 watt gearless hub motor by Mxus. I’ve never heard of this company before but the motor performed as expected. Being gearless, it’s very quiet but does suffer from some drag due to cogging (the magnets inside repel the stater and cause it to slow when coasting). This type of motor could be setup to regenerate electricity when cogging (and even when braking) but it didn’t seem like Voltbike went this route as it often costs more and requires fancier controller systems. All direct drive motors I’ve tested suffer from increased weight and lower torque at slow speeds but they tend to be very durable. Once I was cruising above ~5 mph the motor began to operate more efficiently and really zipped along. One area that could be improved here is in how the motor is mounted… it would be nice to have quick release but more importantly it would be super useful to have a disconnect point in the power cable leading up to the motor. As it stands, if you have to do wheel or tire maintenance the motor will remain connected to the frame and this can become unwieldily.

Powering the Voltbike Interceptor is a fairly powerful 48 volt 11.6 amp hour battery pack. This is definitely above average compared to most other value priced ebikes I’ve tried and it enables the 1,000 watt peak output of the motor. At ~8 pounds the battery is heavier than average (most packs I weigh are ~6 lbs) but it is locking, removable and can be charged on or off the bike. I like that it has an integrated LED readout (so you know how full it is when stored separately from the bike) and that it includes a plastic handle for easy/safe transport. I also really like how the battery connects to the frame, it seats into the top of the downtube and blends in nicely with matching colors (black and white). This low, centered mounting point improves balance and handling while also “blending in” so people might not immediately recognize the bike as being electric (especially because the motor is so quiet). The only real complaint I have about the battery is the independent on/off toggle switch which has to be switched on before pressing “on” again at the control pad. This adds time and makes it easier to accidentally leave the battery pack on when parked which could slowly drain the cells. Also, this on/off switch is positioned at the left side of the pack and could be bumped more easily when pedaling than if it were at the top. To maintain this battery store it at ~50% charged and avoid extreme heat and cold, check in on it every few months if you haven’t gone for a ride and bring it back up to 50%.

Operating the Interceptor is fairly intuitive, aside from the two-step power on mentioned earlier. Once the battery and LCD display are activated you’ll see readouts for Speed, Battery Level and Assist Level. The button pad allows you to arrow up or down between nine levels of assist which is more than average (many ebikes I test have just 5 levels) and these finer increments allow you to dial in assist. Lower levels offer less power but will conserve your battery and allow you to reach greater distances. At the highest levels the bike will hit ~20 mph and given the seven speed cassette pedaling is comfortable. I appreciated the 12 magnet pedelec sensor and the brake lever motor cutoff switches (when you pull the brakes the motor will instantly cut out). one drawback to the control system is the lack of throttle-only mode. Basically, whenever the bike is on you’re in some level of assist and can override it by using the trigger throttle near the right grip. The throttle is fun to use but will drain the battery more quickly if you’re not pedaling along and I feel like the bike could benefit from a more standard sized grip on the right vs. the half-grip they went with. Overall, the display panel and inputs are easy to read and use while riding, even without taking your hands off the grips. It would be nice if the display panel could be removed easily when parking but at least it swivels to avoid glare. The cockpit is a little crowded and I’m not sure the compass+bell thing is the best use of space… maybe they could swap that out for a smaller bell and go back to full sized grip on the right.

In conclusion, the Voltbike Interceptor is an electric bike that offers a lot of value and versatility to a wide range of users. It’s easy to mount, fairly adjustable and very powerful but the limited frame size, heavier build, extra on/off step, lack of motor cable disconnect and lack of suspension make it a bit rough around the edges in my mind. There’s room for improvement but for the price it’s still a solid offering. Again, I’m 5’9″ and the bike felt good… since it’s only available online you might be taking a risk in terms of fit if you ordered it but the support seems solid. Voltbike offers several models and this is one of the most complete. It would make an excellent commuter platform or “around town” electric bike for getting groceries and running errands.

Pros:
Clean look, the matte black frame is professional and hides cables and wires nicely (many of which are integrated through the frame)
Battery weight is kept low and center, the pack locks to the frame and can be charged on or off the bike, it includes a plastic handle for easier transport
The motor is smooth and quiet (being gearless) and offers great power with 800 nominal 1,000 peak watts
Integrated LED lights both run off the main battery pack so you don’t have to worry about turning them off after each ride or replacing individual cells
Step-thru frame is very approachable, easier to mount vs. swinging your leg over the back wheel (which could accidentally kick the rack)
Extremely affordable considering you get fenders, lights, a rack and a powerful motor and name brand battery with a one year warranty
Voltbike has been in business since 2012 and has a decent reputation for replacing parts and offering good customer service, they are expanding the number of models and types of ebikes being carried
It’s neat that they offer a free helmet with the purchase of any ebike and that the helmets are Department of Transportation (DOT) approved, for me the helmet was a bit heavy but the straps were easy to adjust and felt secure
Cons:
The right grip has been shortened a bit to make room for the trigger throttle, brake lever and bell+compass, for me there is just barely enough room and I feel like the length was designed to work with a half-twist throttle vs. a trigger, maybe they could use a longer grip since they are using a slim trigger here
The adjustable angle stem can get loose over time if you ride off-road or go off curbs, check in on it and tighten to avoid loosening
No suspension here, the front fork is rigid and the seat post is fixed, consider adding a Thudbuster or cheaper suspension post to add comfort
Only available online, you’ll have to do some assembly and adjustments yourself and you cannot try it before purchase, keep in mind it only comes in one size ~19″
Limited color and size selection (black and medium step-thru), it felt good to me (I’m 5’9″) and the adjustable stem and seat hight help
There doesn’t appear to be disconnect point in the power cable running from the controller to the rear hub motor, this could make wheel maintenance more difficult
The on/off toggle switch on the battery protrudes from the left side and may be easier to bump or kick while pedaling, it may be easier to accidentally leave this on after a ride vs. the main display on/off
No bottle cage mounts on the downtube or seat tube, you might want to add a saddle rail adapter or seat tube cage
The motor does not freewheel as efficiently as a geared design (due to cogging, the magnets inside repel) and they did not take advantage of regeneration here
Heavier build at ~62 lbs due to the large battery, gearless motor and overbuilt frame (reinforced for strength due to step-thru design)
No throttle-only mode, you’ve got 1-9 assist and you can override the throttle but there isn’t a “zero” assist level so anytime you pedal when the bike is active the motor will be activated
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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Rad Power Bikes RadWagon Review

Affordable, feature rich cargo style electric bike with a stiffer and lighter frame because it's not quite as long as some others
Offers five levels of pedal assist, throttle mode and throttle override as well as regenerative braking to recoup power and reduce wear on brake pads
Standardized rear rack and runners should work with traditional cargo bike accessories, several nice extras are already included such as wood decks, plastic wheel guards, full length fenders, lights, adjustable stem, oversized kickstand, deflopilator, adjustable stem and ergonomic grips
Only available in one size and color, no quick release on the rear wheel, some cheaper components, solid one year warranty

The RadWagon is the second electric bicycle from Rad Power Bikes which started out with a fat ebike called the RadRover (crowdfunded through Indiegogo in early 2015) and has been working in the space since 2007. The Wagon emphasizes value and is one of the most affordable electric cargo bikes I’ve ever seen… To keep the price low a few components have been stepped down including the Shimano Tourney TX drivetrain, basic adjustable stem, independent rear light and cheap grips. But where it counts, things are done right and there’s a lot to appreciate including wood platforms on the rack and running boards, full length fenders, front and rear lights, oversized 180 mm disc brakes and a sturdy double legged kickstand. Compared with similar electric offerings from Yuba and Xtracycle the Rad Wagon is shorter in length and quite a bit heavier at ~75 lbs. It’s built on a steel frame that helps to dampen vibration and features large Kenda tires and a Velo Plush saddle to smooth things out further. The most impressive aspect to me is the price… which is enabled through the “online only” sales model that Rad Power Bikes uses. You will have to assemble parts of the bike on your own (or with the help of a shop) and cannot try it in person first which means the ~17″ frame may or may not fit your body perfectly (I’m ~5’9″ and it felt comfortable). You do get a one year warranty here and even though the company is relatively new I feel like they are well funded and operating in a professional manner.

Driving the bike is a quiet and smooth 500 watt gearless hub motor. Not having gears, this motor is able to offer regeneration as well as power but it also weighs more and isn’t as strong at low speeds. Many people ask “can you pedal an electric bike to charge it” but that’s not really the point here given the 10% to 15% efficiency. Basically, with a larger and heavier bike like this the regen feature just lets you save wear on your brake pads and extend range slightly if you’re coasting down hills for part of your ride. The top speed of the bike is ~20 mph and you can operate in either pedal assist or throttle mode. I love that there’s a throttle only setting (level zero) and that you can override assist at any time with full power using the twist throttle. You can also completely disable the throttle using the red on/off button near the right grip. I noticed a quick disconnect point in the wire running to the hub motor which will make tuneups and fixes easier but there’s no quick release back here… just in the front. The bike uses a sine wave controller that puts out up to 20 Amps and controls power in a smooth way.

Powering the motor and front light on the RadWagon is a high quality 48 volt 11.6 amp hour battery. Inside are Samsung 29E cells that use a Lithium-ion chemistry aimed at being light weight and long lasting. To extend their life, store the pack in a cool dry location (avoid extreme heat and cold) and if you’re not going to be riding for a while leave the pack at ~50% instead of plugging it in. Check in on the battery every few months and fill it back up if power has been draining. I like the mounting location of the battery here because it’s out of the way and somewhat protected by the frame. The pack weighs about seven pounds and that weight is kept low and center for improved handling and balance. I did notice that when braking the rear tire can skid more frequently than on shorter non-cargo bikes because there’s less weight over the rear wheel. Getting back to the battery, one of the downsides I noticed is that you have to turn the pack on independent from the display console (so that’s two on/off steps). It’s not a huge deal but there is more potential for accidentally leaving the battery on which could drain its power. Same deal for the rear light, it’s independent from the main battery and runs on separate cells… if you turn it on but forget to turn it off while parking overnight you may come back to a non-functioning light in the morning. I would prefer that all systems run off of one main battery and that there be only one on/off switch to make it fast and easy but this design still gets the job done and saves money. The battery casing is a generic “dolphin” style and the rear light doesn’t require extra wires as it would if it were integrated.

Operating the bike requires a couple of extra steps but also includes some nice extras. Once the battery is charged and locked to the downtube you press on and then on again at the button pad near the left grip. The LCD display comes to life and shows your power, assist level, speed and distance stats. At this point, you can hold mode to activate the headlight and then reach back to click the on/off switch for the tail light. At any point if you want to go, make sure the red button on the twist throttle is in and then twist! For improved range and a bit of exercise you can arrow up through five levels of assist and the 12 magnet cadence sensor (near the right crank arm) will sense movement and activate the motor. It’s great that they used a higher end cadence sensor because it’s very responsive but the brake levers are wired in to cut power to the motor so if you ever feel out of control just squeeze. Another benefit to cadence sensing vs. torque on an e-bike like this is that you don’t have to push hard to get the motor going, it just listens for movement and then puts out the specified power and speed (low for level 1 and higher for level 5). I tend to ride in level two or three and then use the twist throttle for a boost of power when passing fellow cyclists or topping hills.

In recent years, established electric bike companies have been investing more and more money into designs. Some bikes like the EdgeRunner have a smaller rear wheel for lower center of gravity when hauling and use a mid-drive motor for increased torque and efficiency. This is awesome but it also costs 2x to 3x as much money. The RadWago is a competent electric cargo bike that could empower you to haul groceries, bring kids along or completely eliminate your car or motorcycle. It’s a solid platform with thoughtful accessories, a good warranty and a lot of potential. It might not go as far as a mid-drive bike but the charger is small and light weight… in ~1 hour you could refill to ~70% and easily get home. If you’ve been considering a utility oriented bicycle but weren’t sure about the added weight and size, this bike addresses those concerns by adding electric power and being a bit shorter. It feels sturdy and stiff and also comfortable but you could add something like a Thudbuster to smooth things out even more. Just remember to turn that battery and light off when you’ve reached your destination ;)

Pros:
Compatible with many of the leading cargo bike accessories from companies like Yuba and ExtraCycle, add a child seat, sidecar, extra set of handlebars and many other utility-oriented extras
Shorter wheelbase than traditional cargo bikes, makes it stiffer to ride and somewhat easier to store if you have limited space
Durable gearless motor operates quietly and offers regeneration to help recoup energy when coasting down large hills (and save wear on your brake pads)
Quick release on the front wheel and removable battery pack (makes bike lighter for transport) there’s also a quick disconnect in the power cable going to the motor but taking it off requires a wrench because it uses standard nuts
Very stable when parked thanks to the oversized double legged kickstand, there’s also a deflopilator spring running from the fork to the downtube to keep it straight when loading gear
Protective clear plastic guards are mounted to both sides of the rear wheel, this should keep strapping from packs away from spokes and the tire (reduced rubbing and snagging potential)
Useful accessories including full length plastic fenders with mudguards, front and rear lights (though the rear light runs off of independent batteries and not the main pack) and reflectors
Comfortable saddle with integrated handle for easy lifting when repositioning the bike, larger tires smooth out bumps, ergonomic grips relax hands a bit and the adjustable stem helps to optimize body position when riding
Offers throttle only mode as well as throttle override offering full power that overrides assist, five levels of pedal assist help to conserve power and extend range
Responsive pedal assist uses 12 magnets vs. 5 or 6 on more basic ebikes, this helps it get going quicker and stop when you discontinue pedaling, I like that the brake levers have motor inhibitors and also activate regeneration mode
The steel frame helps to reduce vibration but you could add even more comfort by adding a seat post suspension like the Thudbuster (just make sure you get the 27.2 mm diameter to fit or use a shim if you buy a smaller post)
Two integrated USB charging ports! One is located on the right side of the battery pack but can get in the way if you’re pedaling so the second one is right up on the display (right side) so you can charge your phone or other portable electronic devices
Cons:
Adjustable angle stems like the one used here can come loose over time if you go off-road or ride off of curbs… consider checking it regularly
Only available in one medium ~17″ frame size, the mid-step frame and low seat post makes it accessible to shorter riders but some larger people could feel cramped
Currently only available online so it may be difficult to test out in person, the warranty is solid and Rad Power Bikes has been in business for many years
In order to start the Rad Wagon you first have to activate the battery pack and then press power again on the button pad, this adds time and makes it easier to forget to de-activate the battery after a ride
The battery pack takes up most of the space where a bottle cage might mount and the controller box is already fastened to the seat tube so no bottle cages… consider a saddle rail adapter or something like a Camelbak
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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Motiv Stash Review

An open to collapsing electric bicycle with a fundamental suspension fork and bigger breadth tires that help to disperse knocks and breaks

Strong 350 watt inside equipped center point engine from 8Fun combined with a 36 volt 9 amp hour battery Lithium-particle battery pack from Samsung

You get pedal help and throttle mode with this ebike and you can turn pedal help totally off or abrogate it with the throttle

Decent tasteful with matte dark casing, dark engine, spokes and edges and a battery that is secured and hidden in the fundamental cylinder

I've been checking on Motiv electric bicycles for quite a while at this point and the Stash is their first collapsing model. It expands on the best characteristics I've acknowledged from different producers like e-Joe, Enzo and EZ Pedalar with an inside mounted battery, the expansion of pedal help and throttle mode and bumper, rack and light pack all while keeping value low. The Stash retails for $1,549 and an extra $99 gets you the rack, bumpers and lights (incredible in the event that you ride in the downpour or around evening time) yet I tried it stripped. This is one of the coolest looking envelopes I've seen due to the all-dark completion and bended top cylinder. Tipping the scales at ~45 pounds it's not the lightest contender but rather it is one of the most agreeable and that is because of the essential Top Gun fork (with approximately 60 mm travel), the larger than usual Kenda tires and the cushioned Gel seat from Velo. I value an upstanding and "full measured" ride on the grounds that my back and neck will in general get sore on rough territory… particularly when I'm inclined forward, and the Stash conveyed on these focuses. I'm 5'9″ and the extra long seat post conveyed full leg expansion while accelerating once balanced.

Some collapsing ebikes feel powerless on the grounds that they center around weight reserve funds with 250 watt engines yet the Stash picked a 350 and that joined with the littler 20″ wheel size offers a great deal of torque. It's zippy and responsive, I generally felt in charge since I could supersede the five degrees of help with the curve throttle in a split second and the brake switches have coordinated engine off button so there were no deferrals. The brake switches are a decent touch here, they're overhauled Tektro's with elastic lined switches and an incorporated ringer on the left. Numerous other moderate ebikes like this go with flick chimes that generally don't create the equivalent noisy ring and consistently swarm the handlebars. The cockpit on the Motiv Stash is spotless and permits simple access to the control cushion on the left (up, mode and down for connecting with the showcase) and a larger than average thumb shifter on the privilege for exploring the seven speed tape in the back. One of the two quality penances made on this bicycle are the derailleur which is a base level Shimano Tourney TX and the six magnet rhythm sensor. The two of them take care of business and appear to be strong however the rhythm sensor specifically simply doesn't react as fast or cut out as right away.

Motiv has been taking a shot at this new electric bicycle for quite a while and the tender loving care truly appears. I particularly like the battery plan since it very well may be charged on or off the bicycle, can be turned off when mounted (to shield individuals from messing with your presentation) and it even has a USB charging port situated well for real use while riding! This is something I haven't seen from some other organizations up until now, commonly USB ports are standing out, obligated to get kicked while accelerating or have wires caught on your jeans. While dark probably won't be the main decision for each rider, I valued the coordinating embellishments and the way that dark wires will in general mix in. With this bicycle you're getting 160 mm circle brakes, locking grasps and a fast discharge front wheel which are redesigns contrasted with numerous different envelopes. I love that they despite everything included collapsing pedals yet the plastic isn't as firm as an aluminum fabricate (weight versus value versus roughness exchange offs here).

To date this is one of my preferred collapsing electric bicycles and keeping in mind that I wish that you didn't need to pay an extra $99 for the rack, bumpers and lights I value that you can at present get them and realize you're getting the correct fit. The front lamp is really wired in so you needn't bother with extra batteries like the back and the rack looked tough alongside the bumpers… I'm certain they'd produce a touch of additional commotion when introduced and add perhaps a pound more to the bicycle yet it's far superior to getting absorbed the downpour or wearing a knapsack on long drives. I had a fabulous time recording this bicycle at a train station in Southern California, showing how it could be utilized to illuminate that "last mile" issue of driving to open transportation spots. The Stash overlap down rapidly, effectively and has worked in outline components to secure the segments yet I didn't see an elastic band or magnets to keep it collapsed so consider bringing along your very own bungee.

On a last note, I like that you get seven speeds here as well as that they conveyed a bigger 52 tooth front chainring on the grounds that it assists with adjusting pacing and feel increasingly like a typical full estimated bike versus a jokester bike. In the back you likewise get a super-enormous ring intended for climbing. Between the bigger engine, littler wheels offering a mechanical preferred position and the larger than usual apparatus the Stash ought to have no issue with slopes.

Stars:

I truly love the suspension fork, despite the fact that it's not very flexible and doesn't have lockout, it includes a great deal of solace given the more conservative casing and littler breadth 20″ wheelset

The tires on this bicycle are genuinely enormous at 2.125″ in width and they appeared to be quite thick at the track so you get both solace and included cut opposition which is extraordinary on an ebike (as they will in general be heavier and less amusing to pedal unpowered)

To the extent collapsing electric bicycles go, a 350 watt engine is on the upper end and this one is made by 8Fun which is a brand I perceive and trust

I like that the edge, engine, spokes, wheelset and pedals are largely dark, this is a sharp looking bicycle (particularly without the rack and bumpers) and the wires kind of mix in versus on the off chance that it was another shading

You get five degrees of pedal help, throttle just mode and throttle abrogate at full force constantly, this is the manner in which I like electric bicycles arrangement, it feels like you have more authority over the frameworks

I like that the battery is somewhat covered up and ensured inside the edge, it bolts too for security and there's an on/off switch and USB charging port for charging compact hardware, the pack can be charged on or off the casing

Motiv has been around for quite a while at this point and offers a strong one year guarantee, they give great client care and I confide in them

Cons:

You need to pay an extra $99 for the bumpers, lights and rack… yet they fit flawlessly and look extraordinary as I would see it, better than attempting to locate your own and speculating on Amazon or somewhere else

The rhythm sensor circle just uses six magnets versus 12 on a portion of the more up to date ebikes I've tried, subsequently pedal help doesn't generally kick in as fast or stop as right away

This isn't the lightest collapsing electric bicycle, the suspension fork, bigger tires, all the more impressive engine and battery do include some weight yet that is not really a con given the additional solace and force

Once collapsed, I didn't see an elastic band or magnets to shield the bicycle from coming fixed, it remains set up genuinely well however could shake or scratch around additional right now
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Pedego Ridge Rider Review

A superbly able and refined 27.5" hardtail electric trail blazing bicycle with ground-breaking 500 watt engine and 48 volt battery pack

Decent redesigns on the flexible air fork with lockout, 15 mm through hub, locking holds, water powered circle brakes and composite cushions

Strong year long guarantee with magnificent seller backing and accessibility, just accessible in one size and shading, no fast discharge on back wheel

Offers four degrees of responsive torque detecting pedal help which praise the 20 speed drivetrain pleasantly, you likewise get one degree of rhythm detecting help for loose accelerating, a throttle abrogate in any help level and a throttle-just drive mode

Since late 2014 I've seen Pedego covertly taking a shot at an electric off-road bicycle and this original Ridge Rider is the summit of that exertion. To be completely forthright, it's unmistakably more skilled and specialized than I was expecting… my bias of the brand has been worked around their wide determination of solace arranged cruisers with fun hues focused on progressively easygoing riders. Pedego fundamentally concocted the sea shore cruiser electric bicycle in the USA and they've done very well as an innovator in that class, facilitating their notoriety with magnificent vendor and guarantee support. So I went into this survey with a receptive outlook, maybe anticipating that the Ridge Rider should be a less specialized, heavier and less refined variant of other e-off-road bicycles I've tried like the EVO 27.5″ from Easy Motion.

To be reasonable, the EVO 27.5″ is to be sure lighter than the Ridge Rider yet that is incompletely on the grounds that it has an a lot littler and more vulnerable battery pack. The two bicycles are hardtails with supervisors for including a back rack (ideal for end of the week warriors that drive by means of ebike during the week) yet just the Ridge Rider has bottle confine managers, both have respectable suspension forks and both offer a decent drivetrain with 30 speeds on the EVO versus only 20 on the Ridge Rider… however it offers a SLX part bunch which is more premium than Deore. My objective isn't to overemphasize Easy Motion versus Pedego or the Ridge Rider versus the Evo 27.5 here, particularly in light of the fact that the EVO 27.5″ is a 2015 model, I'm simply really dazzled that the original electric trail blazing bicycle from Pedego can hold its own contrasted and a longstanding pioneer, a second era ebike from an European organization… Actually, it's progressively similar to a third or fourth gen in the event that you tally the bicycles sold abroad by BH and these two models simply share a ton practically speaking. Both just come in one size ~18″ Evo and ~18.5″ Ridge Rider, both use Dapu engines, both have throttles and pedal help, both have custom downtube coordinated battery packs and both cost a comparative measure of cash.

So the Pedego Ridge Rider gives you a 500 watt inside outfitted center point engine from Dapu running at 18 Amps and the battery offers 48 volts with 11.6 amp hours for a 556.8 watt hour limit. That is a great deal of intensity and it's amazingly fulfilling to flash around with in throttle mode. I've for quite some time been a fanatic of contort throttles notwithstanding pedal help since it's enjoyment and outright convenient when passing different riders or fixing slopes. I like to invest the vast majority of my energy riding in help level 2 utilizing the torque sensor to get an exercise and expand my range yet the throttle can in a split second supersede this lower power yield all without looking down or changing hand position. It's magnificent, however it could prompt unplanned force flood on uneven landscape in the event that you hunker down on the grasp for adjust and inadvertently lock in. One other thought here is that the torque detecting help is dynamic at halt… so there were two or multiple times where I had braked into a stop, put one foot down and laid the other on my pedal with some power being applied. I relaxed my hold on the brakes and the engine began to enact. This has additionally occurred with Easy movement and different ebikes I've attempted that utilization torque sensors so I'm for the most part sharing to make mindfulness. This is a further developed structure and with responsiveness comes a more significant level of activity and mindfulness.

A portion of different updates and specialized highlights I adored about the Ridge Rider are the Magura pressure driven circle brakes with enormous 180 mm rotors and composite cushions! They didn't squeak during my test rides and they should work better in outrageous temperatures and moist conditions too. I adored the brisk discharge 15 mm through hub on the front wheel since it makes arrangement of the circle brake rotor simpler and includes solidness for rough terrain riding (however I wish the back wheel likewise had a fast discharge highlight and I can hardly wait for the refreshed engine structure with more tightly link coordination). The XCR suspension fork from Suntour is awesome, shockingly fulfilling and fit. You can modify the gaseous tension to oblige your weight (manage recorded above in the specs under Other) and there are a few versatile siphons for this sold on the web so you can make changes dependent on the heap you're conveying. I additionally just truly like the presentation Pedego utilizes on the entirety of their new bicycles since it has extraordinary readouts, swivels to diminish glare and has a coordinated USB charging port for compact gadgets. It would be great in the event that it was additionally removable, however it's still entirely extraordinary :)

Taking everything into account, I adored the RidgeRider and could see this performing admirably on trails, light mountain coditions or around town as an increasingly forceful worker bicycle. The 27.5″ wheel size is an incredible trade off among speed and steadiness offered on something like a 29er and deft speed offered on a 26″. The bigger 2.1″ width of the tires includes some cusion and when joined with the 100 mm of movement on the fork it makes for a truly pleasant ride, even at speed and over longer separations. This is the sort of electric bicycle I have had a ton of fun driving to work with on the grounds that it can take on any kind of landscape you experience around town and keeping in mind that you don't get lights or a rack stock, those can be included pretty reasonably… Just ensure you get a circle brake perfect rack this way and consider battery-powered lights like these from Cygolite. The back rack will function as a bumper to keep you clean however something like this could assist keep with mudding out of your eyes on the front and this will ensure the battery more. Filthy Nutz likewise offers a short back bumper that should work on the off chance that you don't utilize a rack.

Professionals:

I like that this hardtail could without much of a stretch be utilized for driving gratitude to the back rack supervisors, make certain to get a circle brake perfect rack

There are two strung eyelets on the seat tube so you can include a jug confine, mount a convenient siphon or convey along a collapsing lock

Extraordinary force from the Dapu engine, I value the bigger 500 watt plan and ground-breaking 48 volt battery, the controller sends 18 amps through the framework

The on/off switch for the battery is anything but difficult to reach and hinders messing with the showcase in the event that you turn it off when stopped, I like that the presentation is illuminated

The incorporated USB charging port at the base of the presentation is correct where you'd need it to be, anything but difficult to get to however off the beaten path (incredible for driving a GPS, lights or versatile music player while riding), I additionally like that you can perceive what number of charge cycles have been utilized, battery rate and voltage alongside the more conventional readouts like speed and help level

I love that you get responsive torque detecting help with this ebike in light of the fact that it's really valuable for specialized riding yet they likewise pack in a rhythm detecting mode for when you would prefer not to strain your legs or knees and the throttle can supersede everything just as a throttle-just mode

Solid 15 mm through pivot on the front wheel includes quality for more unpleasant conditions and guarantees arrangement for the plate brake when the wheel is taken off and afterward re-connected

I like the 27.5″ wheel size for an equalization of dealing with versus speed and strength yet the cylinders and tires can be progressively costly so it's decent that Pedego pre-Slimed them to include solidness

The suspension fork is truly OK with 100 mm of movement, it's movable as indicated by your weight (suggested settings recorded above in the "Other" area and the bounce back and lockout setting lessens sway for on-street productivity

By and large, great offset with the battery low and focus on the edge, it mixes in, locks and can be charged on or off the edge

I welcome the custom programming that the Pedego configuration/designing group accomplished for the showcase and pedal help modes, it's responsive and highlight total as I would see it

The pressure driven circle brakes are incredible however smooth and the switches are ebike explicit with ball-end highlights to improve security, the fired cushions are tranquil and work better in a wide scope of conditions, supplant with something like this as they destroy versus standard cushions

Despite the fact that this is an all the more actually proficient electric bicycle, I value the consideration of a top notch kickstand for simpler capacity and stopping whenever utilized as a suburbanite or urban ride

Cons:

Brisk discharge is incredible on the front wheel yet there isn't a simple method to recover the wheel off, you'll need additional apparatuses and this can be a bummer on the path or mountain

Because of the more impressive engine, bigger battery and aluminum outline this isn't the lightest electric off-road bicycle tipping the scales at ~56 lbs

At the hour of this audit the Ridge Rider was just accessible in one edge size ~18.5″ medium and one shading matte dark, I'd love to see a bigger edge for taller riders

The suspension fork had lockout yet didn't offer much in the method for firmness, travel or bounce back modify that you may discover on a Fox CTD

The force link for the center point engine is presently gone through the hub and might be simpler to obstacle or knock if the bicycle is tipped, later on I trust Pedego is changing to an increasingly coordinated link configuration tucked behind the plate brake rotor
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