- Stylish design with great computer but less power and range than other ebikes
- Front mounted hub motor balances out rear mounted NuVinchi continuously variable transmission CVT hub
- Mid-frame battery keeps weight low to the ground but key becomes vulnerable
- Beautiful fenders, front and rear lights and entry level shock add utility
The Bodhi Step-Through is a beautifully designed but fairly weak electric bike. Its bambu fenders and balanced hubs remind me of the higher end Faraday Porteur which has similar specs but is much lighter. Both of these bikes are perfect for afternoon rides in flat relaxed conditions. Where the Bodhi really shines is with its easy to use computer that offers both pedal assist and throttle mode. The integrated lights, fenders, adjustable neck and shock make it safe, comfortable to ride and perfect for low-stress applications.
The LCD computer unit on this bike is one of my favorites. It was used on some of the earliest Pedego City Commuter test bikes and only requires three buttons to navigate, which are mounted on the left handlebar. When set to zero, the throttle trigger can be used to run the bike. When arrowing up in the menu, the rider can select from multiple levels of increasingly powerful pedal assist modes. Unfortunately, throttle mode and pedal assist mode are mutually exclusive meaning they can’t both be used at the same time. All things considered however, they work well enough and if you do choose to ride in pedal assist mode, the battery will go much further.
The Bodhi bike uses a pedelec sensor mounted on the bottom bracket to trigger pedal assist mode. As the rider pedals along, magnet sensors trigger the motor to start helping out at a certain level based on mode selected on the LCD. The alternative to this type of design is torque sensing pedal assist which requires more force to be applied by the rider to activate the motor. That makes sense for off road or high performance biking but for cruising around town pedelec is perfect. I have a hurt knee and don’t always want to push hard when riding around so the pedalec sensor lets me barely push on the pedals but still get lots of help from the motor.
The motor on this bike offers 250 watts of power which is at the lower end of the spectrum, especially in the United States. It’s not going to pull you up large hills or carry heavier riders with ease. It really shines in pedal assist mode and performs much better under strain with rider input. A smaller motor was used here because it’s mounted to the front fork, which has a shock built in. By contrast, a larger motor would add extra weight that could adversely impact steering and handling and potentially compromise the integrity of the shock. One benefit of a front-mounted motor here is that the rear hub becomes less complicated and in fact has been upgraded with a NuVinci hub in this case.
The NuVinci “continuously variable” hub system replaces traditional chain rings on this bike and allows the rider to shift gears at standstill and choose from an “infinite” number of settings. This is a neat feature that works pretty well and comes in handy at stop signs or going up hills. If you buy this bike, be careful how hard you crank the gears because I’ve heard that going too far up or down can break the cables and wreck the gearing system. The benefits of any geared hub system is that they stay cleaner and run quieter than chains since they are sealed. Also, they allow the chain to stay tighter since it doesn’t require a derailleur to work. Ultimately, the chain falls off way less often, if at all, and doesn’t bounce around, chipping the chain stays.
The battery pack design on this bike looks wonderful and fits into the downtube solidly but requires that the key stay inserted while riding. That’s a real bummer because it’s mounted in a vulnerable spot that can get kicked and broken. Not only could the key get messed up, the pack itself could get damaged and that’s an expensive fix! The battery uses high end Lithium-ion cells and offers 24 volts of power with 8.7 amp hours of range. I believe there is also a 36 volt battery pack option available if you want to increase power and range on the bike.
All in all, this is an entry level bike “around town” kind of bike. It has all the right features but some of them are more about checking the box than actually being useful. The integrated lights work but the rear LED is small. The fenders look pretty but they rattle a bit when riding and the flat shape doesn’t shield side-splash as well. The NuVinci works okay but can be prone to over-twisting issues. While it does have a front shock, which adds a lot of weight to the bike, it lacks adjustability and is very low end. Again, the bike works fine but I feel like it could have been lighter and less expensive.
- Beautiful design with integrated battery pack
- Balanced weight front to rear with hub motor, hub gearing and central battery
- Fancy bambu fenders keep you dry, mounting points for an optional rear rack
- Front shock, soft medium sized tires and ergonomic grips add comfort to the ride
- Adjustable neck allows custom positioning of handlebars
- Available in 18″ and 20″ frame sizes for different rider body types
- Rear hub gear system by NuVinci is quiet and can be shifted at standstill
- Integrated front headlight and flashing rear LED in seatpost
- Swept back handlebars and upright seating are good for heads-up city style riding
- Hydroformed 6061 Aluminum alloy fram is reinforced at the downtube and seatpost for extra strength
- Wires are integrated into the frame, the LCD computer is intuitive and the control buttons are conveniently placed
- Battery requires key to be left in when riding, vulnerable to bumping and breaking
- Weaker 250 watt motor running off of 24 volt battery, not great for hills or larger riders
- NuVinci can be over-shifted and get broken more easily than traditional derailleurs and chain rings, it’s also heavier
- Overall weight of bike is higher than some others, this is a drawback when considering the lower power of the motor/battery system
- Relatively expensive when compared with similar offerings
- Pedals are kind of basic and can get slippery in wet riding conditions, I prefer all-metal Wellgo pedals
- Official Site: http://www.bodhibikes.com
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/6JXCNGdfx9YYTNB89