BESV CF1 Review

Besv Cf1 Electric Bike Review
Besv Cf1
Besv Cf1 250 Watt Internally Geared Hub Motor
Besv Cf1 Downtube Integrated 36 Volt Battery
Besv Cf1 Adjustable Angle Stem Leather Stitched Grips
Besv Cf1 Diamond Cut 40 Lux Headlight
Besv Cf1 10 Speed Shimano Deore Drivetrain
Besv Cf1 Ilumonex Led Backlight On Rack
Besv Cf1 Abus Cafe Lock
Besv Cf1 Wellgo C227 Pedals Mid Kickstand
Besv Cf1 Electric Bicycle White
Besv Cf1 2 Amp Ebike Charger
Besv Cf1 Electric Bike Review
Besv Cf1
Besv Cf1 250 Watt Internally Geared Hub Motor
Besv Cf1 Downtube Integrated 36 Volt Battery
Besv Cf1 Adjustable Angle Stem Leather Stitched Grips
Besv Cf1 Diamond Cut 40 Lux Headlight
Besv Cf1 10 Speed Shimano Deore Drivetrain
Besv Cf1 Ilumonex Led Backlight On Rack
Besv Cf1 Abus Cafe Lock
Besv Cf1 Wellgo C227 Pedals Mid Kickstand
Besv Cf1 Electric Bicycle White
Besv Cf1 2 Amp Ebike Charger

Summary

  • An approachable urban or neighborhood style electric bike with beautifully integrated non-removable battery pack, hidden motor, and built-in headlight
  • Available in two frame sizes, each with a different size wheel diameter, the smaller wheels lower the standover height while the larger are more efficient
  • Custom rack keeps bags clear of the saddle when lowered, plastic fenders keep you dry and clean, an ABUS frame lock secures the bike quickly
  • In addition to the headlight, there is also an integrated backlight and the tires have reflective tape for increased visibility, available in three colors

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

BESV

Model:

CF1

Price:

$1,799 (Optional ~$5,000 Model, Smaller Motor and Limited 20 mph Top Speed)

Body Position:

Upright, Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

5 Year Frame, 2 Year Motor and Battery, 1 Year Pats

Availability:

United States, Mexico, Panama, Europe

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

49.5 lbs (22.45 kg) (51.2 lbs for Large)

Battery Weight:

6.5 lbs (2.94 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

17 in (43.18 cm)19 in (48.26 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

17" Frame: 17.25" Seat Tube, 21.5" Reach, 14" Stand Over Height, 69" Length, 24.5" Width, 19" Frame: 19" Reach, 22.5" Reach, 15.5" Stand Over Height, 72.5" Length, 25" Width

Frame Types:

Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

Gray, Gloss White, Gloss Black

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Aluminum Alloy, 9 mm Skewer with Quick Release

Frame Rear Details:

11 mm Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x1, Shimano Deore Derailleur, 11-34T

Shifter Details:

Shimano Deore Triggers on Right Bar

Cranks:

Prowheel Alloy, 170 mm Length, 44T Chainring with Alloy Bash Guard

Pedals:

Wellgo C227 Alloy Platform

Headset:

Sealed 1-1/8"

Stem:

Tool-Free Adjustable Angle

Handlebar:

Alloy, Flat, 24.5" Length

Brake Details:

Tektro Aquila Mechanical Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Tektro Levers with Rubberized Edge, Integrated Bell on Left

Grips:

Ergonomic, Stitched Leather, Locking

Saddle:

Velo, Leather, Integrated Plastic Handle

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

300mm, 350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

Alloy, Double Wall, Eyeletted, 32H Front and 36H Rear

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14G Front and 13G Rear, Silver with Nipples

Tire Brand:

17" Frame: Schwalbe Big Apple, 26" x 2", 19" Frame: Duro Easy Ride, 28" x 2"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

35 to 65 PSI, K-Guard Puncture Protection, Reflective Sidewall Stripe

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve (MAXXIS 29" x 1.9" / 2.35", F/V 48 mm)

Accessories:

Integrated "Diamond Cut" LED Headlight (40 Lux, 600 mA, 3.3 Volt, K-MARK Certified in Germany), Integrated ilumenox LED Backlight, Custom Alloy Rear Rack (20 kg / 44 lb Max Weight), Plastic Fenders, ABUS Cafe Lock, Adjustable URSUS Kickstand, Neoprene Slap Guard, Embedded InterLock Cable Lock in Seat Post

Other:

2015 China Cycle Creative Award and Golden Pin Design Award, 2016 Taipei Cycle d&i Gold Award and German Red Dot Award, Battery is Removable for Replacement, 1.1 lb 2 Amp Charger

Electronic Details

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

8.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

302 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

40 miles (64 km)

Display Type:

Fixed, LED Console

Readouts:

Assist Level (0-3), Battery Level (Blue, Orange, Red)

Display Accessories:

On/Off Button on Downtube, Independent Control Pad (Headlight, +, -)

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist

Top Speed:

18 mph (29 kph)

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Written Review

The CF1 is an approachable electric bike… the power button is easy to see and press, the control pad only has three buttons, and the frame is highly adjustable for balance and comfort. The frame is a deep step-thru or “wave” design with low stand over height. It’s easy to mount, hold up at a stop sign, and the geometry allows you to sit upright when riding. In my opinion, it succeeds at balancing utility with style and price. It’s not the cheapest e-bike around but you do get something for the additional $300 to $500 here, including a great warranty. BESV is a stand-out in the industry because all of its bikes are custom, they are artistic and clean. Notice how the wires run through the frame instead of being tacked on, check out the matching fenders and rear rack, the headlight is almost art… but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The headlight doesn’t turn with the bike as you steer, it just always points forward which is a bit unusual, though not completely unheard of. In practice, most turns are gradual and the majority of time spent pedaling is going straight forward, but maybe turning is when you need to illuminate the path most? Anyway, I love that they are producing this model in three colors and two distinct frame sizes. And they designed the two sizes to fit two different wheel diameters for a shorter more balanced ride or a taller more efficient one. That’s almost unheard of in the electric bike space and part of why the price isn’t $1,500. From the premium Schwalbe tires to the cute compact charger, the matching saddle and ergonomic grips, and the solid metal pedals, there’s a lot to appreciate here when you really look close.

Driving the bike is an efficient 250 watt internally geared hub motor. It’s so compact that it basically disappears between the 180 mm disc brake rotor on the left side of the bike and the 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain on the right. During my ride tests, the motor felt smooth and did not produce a lot of noise. This is really nice in a world where so many other ebikes are pushing for faster, zippier, and ultimately end up louder. The fenders did not rattle because they were reinforced with solid support arms and connectors on the rear rack. The bike is efficient and I found that it rolled smoothly on pavement but felt a little jarring on large driveway cracks because the air pressure was pretty high on the tires for the demo bike. You can lower them to 35+ PSI to improve comfort but it will decrease range slightly and if you go too low, the inner-tube could get pinched and spring a leak more easily. Note the rigid suspension fork and those Aluminum pedals, they transfer power from your body and from the motor directly into the ride. And at ~50 lbs, this thing is on the light side with weight kept low and spread out. Many other city e-bikes feel rear heavy or have frames that flex because of how and where weight is positioned.

The CF1 feels tight and is lightweight in part because it just doesn’t offer the power or range that some other models do. For a guy like myself, that’s just fine… I prefer having 10 gears, an efficient motor, and a smaller battery pack that I can work with to enjoy active riding vs. sitting back and letting the bike do all of the work. This is a Class 1 electric bike so you do have to pedal, there is no throttle mode. But the way the pedal assist sensors work, you don’t have to push hard when you pedal in order to get full motor support. I had to guess on the range but I’d imagine that this ebike could get 20 to 40 miles per charge depending on the conditions and level of assist chosen. That might be on the generous side however because cadence sensors don’t make you work as hard as torque sensors and the battery offers a modest 36 volts 8.4 amp hours for a total of 302 watt hours vs. 360+ watt-hours on most other ebikes. And the battery is not easily removable for charging. It’s basically only removable if you need to replace it someday. For people like me who like to commute to work and cannot store the bike inside, that means I cannot charge the battery during work hours. The bike rack just doesn’t have a plug close enough and I’m not sure I’d want to leave my charger sitting out there for someone to potentially trip over even if it did. So again, it’s nice that the drivetrain is specced with higher end parts and gives you extra gears. The bike feels great even when it’s shut off.

And that brings us to the control systems. Once the bike has been charged up, just press the round silver button near the top of the downtube. It’s easy to reach and lights up blue once the system has booted up. Now, you can arrow up or down between the 0, 1, 2, and 3 assist levels to increase or decrease power by using the thin black button pad located near the left grip. This pad is easy to reach and simple enough that you could probably operate it without even looking. The top button activates the headlight, cycling through off, low, and high. I love that BESV chose to include lights and wired them to the main battery vs. using stand alone or skipping lights altogether. They improve the usefulness of the bike and keep you safe all without attracting thieves, hassling you with separate on/ff steps, and wasting disposable battery cells. Once it’s time to shut the bike off, you can either do nothing and let it automatically time off after a few minutes or hold the round silver button again and watch as it changes from blue to orange and then red. Or, if you’ve been draining the battery down enough, the light may have already changed to orange or red. This is the only feedback about battery charge level that you get and to me, it leaves something to be desired. I would much prefer a precise battery percentage or 10-bar infographic so I know whether to lower assist or get ready to charge. This is especially important with a smaller battery pack as the CF1 has so that’s a bit con for me.

If you’re riding in the neighborhood or commuting through the city, the CF1 offers a lot of value and style for the price. It comes with all of the accessories you need for safety, hauling, and staying clean and they look great. It’s quiet, adjustable to fit, and comes in those two sizes. The motor isn’t is capable for steep climbs but tends to be more of a battery sipper, which is great considering the modest pack size, and I loved how quiet it was. Note how the rear rack is positioned further back to give room for the saddle to go further down and how there’s a little handle built in to help you move the bike. I do have some other little grips about things like the kickstand being in the way of the crank arm and the charging port, motor power cable, and chain guard vs. a chain cover… and I outline those down in the cons section, but overall I was impressed with this electric bicycle and love that it can be found at a network of dealers for in-person test rides. I have seen BESV e-bikes several times in person at shops and trade shows over the past few years and appreciate their wide selection of models. I’d like to acknowledge and thank BESV and ELV Motors in Santa Clara for partnering with me on this post and inviting me out for rides. It was awesome to see both sizes back to back and get some insight into how the latest version has changed slightly from the original. I welcome your feedback if you bought one of these or have used one yourself at a shop.

Pros:

  • The frame is unique and functional, it’s easy to mount and there aren’t as many wires or battery boxes floating around to look ugly or get bumped
  • Available in two sizes with separate wheel diameters to optimize efficiency or lower center of gravity, this is really going above and beyond
  • You get three frame color choices and I like that white and gray were mixed in because they will stand out more in dark riding conditions, the reflective tire stripes and integrated lights are awesome for safety too
  • The accessories were really thought out on the CF1, the rack is painted to match other accessories and is set back to stay clear of the saddle, the saddle has a built-in handle to make lifting and positioning the bike easier, the fenders are wide and also color matching (plus, they are reinforced by the rack to reduce rattling), the pedals are stiff and sturdy with good grip, the grips match the saddle, and the adjustable angle stem makes the bike comfortable or sporty with just a quick lift of the clamp
  • Premium Schwalbe tires with puncture protection lining won’t go flat as easily, the front wheel has quick release which makes changing flats easier, I like that you can lower the PSI to 35+ for improved comfort since the bike doesn’t have suspension
  • Minor points here but I like the neoprene slap guard (to keep your paint looking great) and the alloy chain guard which helps your pants or skirt stay clear of the chain and reduces drops… though a double sided chain guide and chain cover would have been even better
  • Considering all of the accessories on this e-bike, it doesn’t weigh as much as some similarly specced products, in part due to the lack of suspension fork, smaller motor, and lower battery capacity
  • Good stopping power with 180 mm disc brakes and I like the levers, the integrated bell on the left lever is useful, easy to reach, and less likely to break or get bumped out of place than aftermarket bells
  • The battery charger is super small and light, it would be very easy to toss into a trunk bag or panniers for commuting… but you’ll need a plug near the bike rack because the battery is not removable (except for replacement)
  • The front spokes are a bit thinner at 14 gauge, which improves comfort, the rear wheels have 13 gauge which is stronger to support the rack, cargo, and the hub motor forces
  • Geared hub motors are nice because they are usually compact, lightweight, and independent from the pedaling drivetrain which makes shifting smoother, they do not tend to get as good of range, however
  • This bike uses cadence sensing pedal assist which means you don’t have to work as hard to keep it moving with motor support, for relaxed riding and people with knee or hip sensitivity that could be a nice thing
  • The bike rides smooth and quietly, I didn’t hear the fenders rattling or the motor humming as loud as some others
  • 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain is two or three steps above similarly priced models, I was surprised it didn’t have a more basic seven or eight speed and appreciate that this would be more reliable and easier to work with for climbing or going faster with the extra steps
  • BESV told me that the bike was rated up to 18 mph and then later (after filming) they said it could go 19 mph and during my ride it felt like I was going 20 mph or more… so I don’t know what to think, it’s capable but difficult to observe with such a basic display
  • If you forget to turn the bike off, it automatically powers off after a few minutes, I like this sort of feature and found myself appreciating the minimal design even on the control pad, it might be less distracting and confusing and less prone to damage
  • The fork is angled out a bit to create some clearance for your feet to not hit the front fender, it also makes the bike more stable and relaxed feeling

Cons:

  • The headlight doesn’t point where you steer, the built-in design is well protected and glows from the sides a bit but leaves something to be desired when making tight turns
  • This isn’t the end of the world but I don’t love the center-mounted kickstands because they can get scraped up by the left crank arm and make walking the bike backwards a pain (which happens to me in shops and garages all the time)
  • No suspension means more jitter but the tire pressure can be lowered a bit (also lowring your range due to increased rolling resistance) and you could get a 30.9 mm suspension seat post, the ergonomic grips and wider saddle help a little
  • The wire that connects to the hub motor didn’t have an obvious quick-disconnect point, this could make it difficult to service and add time and complexity to servicing the rear wheel or fixing a rear flat, it was also a bit more exposed to snags or bends if the bike tipped onto its left side
  • You get a cadence sensor here vs. advanced or torque+cadence and it doesn’t start or stop quite as quickly… and the brake levers don’t have motor inhibitors built in which surprised me, considering the lower power of the motor and big brake rotors it’s probably not a huge deal, I also like how compact and solid the cadence sensor they chose is
  • No fancy display panel with speed, precise battery level, odometer, or other stats, you get three LED lights showing assist level and a three-color indicator for how full the battery is (which could lead to range anxiety, especially with a non-removable battery, I prefer a precise percentage readout on a display)
  • The charging port is located near the left crank arm which makes the cable easier to get snagged and possibly bent, it wouldn’t be as much of a concern if the plug was magnetic and could pop out without bending the pins but it is not

Resources:

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