- A lightweight, understated, single-speed, electric bike made in three sizes, priced higher with many custom-made and premium parts, combined torque and cadence sensing pedal assist
- Great option as a second bike or "Sunday bike" because the narrower tires and lightweight design are fun but less comfortable at long range, unique bull horn handlebar offers two body positions
- Simple built-in control interface (on/off button with 6 LED lights indicating charge level), optional Bluetooth app with lots of features like GPS mapping, precise battery feedback, and motor performance tuning
- Battery is not designed for removal, it offers great capacity for the size and weight but you'll have to park the bike near a plug and may want to bring it indoors to protect from extreme heat and cold (which is hard on Lithium-ion cells)
EBR charges a service fee to manufacturers to produce ebike reviews and videos, this began in 2018. It’s the same flat fee for each bike, and it helps us to keep the site going while limiting ad clutter. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you with our opinions and data but respect your right to know that we receive compensation :)
Coboc is a German electric bike designer that has been in business since around 2015. The ONE Soho is a sporty single-speed model with retro looks inspired by “1960’s Swinging London”, according to the website. It’s definitely a head turner aesthetically, but the price might give you whiplash. When you consider the premium Brooks touch points, custom CNC brake levers and pedals, and the clean integrated aesthetic that’s available in three frame sizes with an advanced pedal sensor and custom Bluetooth app with motor tuning options… it starts to make sense. This isn’t the sort of ebike I’d enjoy riding over long distances, especially on bumpy terrain, because the skinny high-pressure tires, rigid alloy fork, and forward-leaning geometry offer limited back, neck, arm, and hand support. Not completely limited though, because the unique “bull horn” handlebar offers two hand positions. There’s the narrow flat section with braking and the forward angle position for aerodynamics and wrist correction. I experimented with both during the test ride, and just had a blast on the smooth bike paths near downtown London. This is the sort of lightweight, efficient, road-type ebike that isn’t a pain to pedal without assist. There’s plenty of room in the center triangle area for lifting and hanging on car, bus, or metro racks, but there’s nowhere to mount a bottle cage, no fender bosses, and no integrated lights. Perhaps this goes back to the “around town” or “Sunday ride” experience that the owner of Fully Charged bike shop proposed before our test rides. Ben has been selling Coboc products since 2017 in the UK and has even shipped them to the US. He told me that the company offers a two-year comprehensive warranty with optional upgrade to five years, which is abnormally high. The drive system is pretty simple, so I could see how this product would last well. There’s no derailleur to get bent, no fancy LCD screen to get scratched, no additional wires for a throttle, the cadence+torque sensor is integrated into the bottom bracket, the battery is basically sealed in the downtube, and there’s only one button. The Bafang motor is a tried and true product that I have seen on many other ebikes (though usually not in silver) and Coboc went above and beyond with a custom four amp fast charger with magnetic plug that will simply pop off vs. cracking or tipping the bike. There’s no kickstand here, and the single-speed drive train means you won’t have to deal with dropped chains or slapping sounds. The biggest point of failure will almost certainly be flat tubes… And given the custom deep-dish rims, I’d recommend stocking up on some 60 mm presta valve tubes right away, because not all bike shops carry them. Overall, I was impressed with the product and delighted with the aesthetic. It not only looks great, but produces very little noise. You will have to park the bike near charing outlets because the battery can’t come out easily (just for maintenance or replacement) but with such a lightweight build, lifting will not be a problem for most owners.
Driving the bike is a Bafang 250 watt planetary geared hub motor. It’s compact, lightweight, and efficient… by default. You can adjust the power delivery profile by using the optional Bluetooth app, changing the start power lever, continuous power level, and torque sensitivity (how hard you’ll need to pedal before it helps out). I’m not sure how many amps the controller is sending here, or if it’s a pure sine wave controller, but the motor felt smooth and quiet. I was told that it offers up to 40 Newton meters of torque and peaks out around 500 watts. In parts of Europe, the maximum assisted speed for a Class 1 pedelec like this is 25 km/h, but the speed can be raised for US customers who are more accustomed to 32 km/h (20 miles per hour). I cannot say how much louder the motor would be in that configuration, I didn’t actually mind that much when the motor cutout because the majority of help required for a single speed bicycle is in starting. With only one gear, I felt my pedal cadence maxing out around the top assisted speed, and I was actually able to surpass it without any kind of struggle. There’s no drag because the hub motor freewheels. I just love how the silver casing, silver spokes, and silver deep dish rims match so nicely. Even without a cassette or disc brake on this bike, the motor didn’t stand out as being overly large or noticeable. The one drawback, in my opinion, is that the Bafang motor uses an exposed power cable that enters through the right side axle and then runs along the chainstay with a quick disconnect. Dapu, and some other hub motor makers, are delivering a new wiring design that protect the cable a bit more on the left side (having it enter between the hub casing and chainstay vs. outside). The point is, if your bike tips over to the right or gets really close to sharp objects, the cable could bend or be cut. I do appreciate the quick disconnect, but the black cable stands out on an otherwise all-silver frame. Neither wheel uses quick release, so you’ll need a wrench and hex tool to service both wheels on the go… and please watch your tire pressure, because these skinny tires are fun and fast, but they lose air quickly and are prone to snake-bite flats. Coboc does sell a wide range of other e-bikes with fatter, more comfortable and less vulnerable, tires as well as fenders and racks… but I didn’t see many with bottle cage bosses? Consider the minimalist SKS Anywhere bottle adapter accessory if you get thirsty.
Powering the Coboc ONE is Lithium-ion battery pack made up of LG cells packed neatly into the downtube. It offers an impressive 36 volt 9.6 amp hour ~352 watt hour capacity, which is more than I expected. The combination of an efficient motor running off of a torque sensor with an average sized pack should allow for excellent range. In order to remove the battery, for service or replacement, you’ll need to remove the entire bottom bracket assembly. There’s a cap at the base of the downtube/bottom bracket that stops the battery, and seemed pretty well protected and sealed. There’s only one wire protruding, the power cable for the motor, and it exits towards the center of the cap vs. the front edge. The entire area is protected by a 48 tooth chainring that would stroke a curb or other high obstacle well before the cable would take damage. I see a lot of cheaper electric bicycles with a whole mess of wires near the bottom bracket and can appreciate how clean Coboc has kept theirs, with the controller likely seated beneath the battery pack, inside the downtube. The battery powers the motor and five LED lights which indicate charge level and are located near the stem (on the top tube), but there’s no way to tap into the ebike battery to maintain USB devices like smartphones, GPS, or lights. There’s also no way to remove the pack for independent charging, which would be nice if the bike was dirty or wet. You’ll have to give it a quick cleaning after each ride or store it in a shed/garage if you have access to one. The catch with a shed or garage is that it may become very cold or hot during certain seasons of the year. And, this sort of extreme temperature can be damaging to Lithium-ion cells over the long run, limiting the maximum number of charge cycles on offer. Yes, there are trade-offs with this battery, but with such a beautiful aesthetic, well-designed casing, and excellent warranty, it’s not a big hangup for me, especially since the bike is so easy to lift. I’m guessing that this is the lightest of the Coboc line because of the single-speed drivetrain, and would urge you to consider the additional kilograms of weight that fenders and gearing could add as you explore their entire lineup.
Activating and riding this electric bike is extremely simple. There’s just one button to press, and it’s well-hidden and protected below the five LED’s on the top tube. Once the battery is charged up, just press the circular power button for a second and watch as the five blue lights illuminate. They will extinguish one at a time as you drain the pack, each one represents roughly 20% fill. That’s it, there’s no additional presses to adjust power level, there’s no speed or range readouts, just those five little lights. They are positioned far down enough so as not to distract while riding at night (and you could easily place a short strip of black electrical tape over them if the brightness bothered you). The flip side here, is that you must look pretty far down and back to see the lights, which could distract from riding and steering. For people who want a more precise battery level indication, feedback on location, ride duration, distance traveled, average speed, maximum speed achieved, total ascent and descent and altitude readouts, there’s the smartphone app. It has several different views to choose from and a nice dark black background, so as not to distract. There’s even some very advanced feedback about power output in amps, battery voltage, battery temperature, and some range estimates… and each menu can be toggled on or off to reduce clutter and show only what’s actually useful or relevant to you. It looks sweet, and I wish I could have experimented a bit and shown that on camera, but the unit we had did not seem to have the correct upgraded Bluetooth firmware. Please chime in with your feedback if you own one of these ebikes and have experimented with it. It sounds like older models can be upgraded, but it can be a hassle, especially if you live far from a dealer. Coming back to the other control elements of the bike, the crank arms and pedals felt solid and offered good traction, there are no gears to shift, and the caliper brakes worked fine, but could rub grit into your rims if they get wet and dirty (this is part of the reasoning for disc brakes on trail and mountain bikes). The styling is right on here, but you may experience cable stretch over time (requiring some brake adjustment) and could heat up and pop the inner tubes with prolonged braking because the pads will heat up the rim sidewalls. Over time, if the bike is not kept clean and serviced properly, mechanical brake wires will begin to slide less easily through the housings, and I have found that you just don’t get as much power with a caliper brake compared to newer linear-pull brake designs like v-brakes. Not a huge deal given the limited speed and laid back application this bike is aimed at.
Well, I had a delightful time riding this thing around London, through the streets and parks. It didn’t stand out as being electric, produced very little noise, but did feel zippy and satisfying. If I lived in the city and had limited space, this might be a contender for being my one “do everything” bike, as long as the streets were pretty smooth and I didn’t need to carry around a lot of gear or stay dry. Coboc has an entire range of beautiful products like this, and I hope to test some of those (along with the app) in the future. I do want to call out the Tailfin rack, which seems perfectly suited to this style of bicycle. It’s also extremely lightweight and easy to install and remove. It might offer sturdier pannier support than even the default Coboc rack, which is connected to the fenders on their SEVEN Montreal model. Again, dealers may be required to help update to the Bluetooth firmware for the app if you have an older bike (but at least the app will be simple to upgrade from thereon out). Dealers can also service the battery pack, and I want to thank Ben from Fully Charged in London for partnering with me on this trip and these reviews. He’s got exclusive dealer rights to this brand for his area and was so excited about the unique qualities and style on offer. I was told that shipping to the US costs $500 USD but arrivals happen within a week or so and you don’t have to pay the value added tax. I reviewed this model back to back with the Desiknio Single Speed which did offer disc brakes, but utilized a much lower capacity battery with option bottle-style second pack, so it’s neat to have options and consider your specific needs between the two.
- Extremely lightweight (30 lbs) and minimalist by design, the Soho was inspired by 1960’s cycling culture and is meant to blend in classic vintage bicycles, it doesn’t stand out as being electric
- For such a custom design, I was very impressed to discover that the Coboc ONE Soho is being sold in three frame sizes, this allows for a more comfortable fit but may contribute to the higher price
- Coboc has been around since 2015 and Ben has carried them since 2017, I found that the company was very responsive to my questions via email and phone (they even sent a rep out to speak with us), they also have a complete lineup of other models with multi-speed drivetrains
- The chain used on this ebike is a bit larger and tougher than what I’m used to seeing, there’s only one rear sprocket so the chain stays tight and doesn’t bounce around, note the horizontal dropout with tough steel insert
- Beautiful aesthetic with attention to detail, note the silver hub motor, silver spokes, and deep dish silver rims here, even the hubs, chainring, crank arms, pedals, seat post, stem, spacers, handlebar etc. are all matching silver
- Many times, especially with a Bafang geared hub motor, electric bikes will use simple cadence sensors that produce an on/off feeling, but the Coboc ONE Soho uses a torque and cadence sensor in combination for smoother more natural starts, they are both hidden in the bottom bracket for protection
- High-quality touch points; the Brooks saddle matches the Brooks grip tape and the bull horn handlebar offers two hand positions a balance of comfort and performance while remaining narrow to squeeze between cars and through doorways in the city
- I like the charging interface design that Coboc chose uses a magnetic interface that won’t get broken as easily as a narrow plastic design and it should simply pop off vs. pulling the bike over if tripped on, that’s handy considering this bike does not come with a kickstand
- Activating and riding this bike is very simple, there’s a power button hidden neatly below the top tube and five LED lights above, that communicate your charge level… Coboc also has an app for those who want more options and feedback while riding
- Impressive battery capacity for such a hidden design and lightweight build, you get 36 volts and 9.6 amp hours and I could consider an average-sized ebike battery to be 36 volts 10 amp hours, the bike should get excellent range and just isn’t as much of a burden to pedal if you do run out (because it’s so light and efficient)
- Excellent weight distribution (with the battery in the downtube) and stealthy design that should blend in with traditional bicycles
- Apparently the pedals and brake levers have been custom CNC milled to match the color and aesthetic of the bike, there’s a lot more handmade parts that you won’t find on other products with the Coboc line
- The high-step open triangle frame is very easy to lift and carry on your shoulder up stairs, into apartments, etc. but they only make the diamond frame style… so that could be less approachable and a bit high for riders with shorter inseams
- Super quiet motor operation, geared hub motors are known for being compact and lightweight, but some of them buzz a lot, this one felt smoother
- Not really a con, just a heads up that the Coboc frames may run a bit on the large side, this is according to the owner of Fully Charged ebike shops in London
- The bike is completely stripped down and may be difficult to accessorize because it does not have fender bosses, rear rack bosses, or bottle cage bosses… I asked one of the reps about this and they said it was a conscious decision with the ONE Soho but other models including the Montreal, Vesterbro, Kanda, and Villette do have fenders
- This ebike uses caliper brakes because of the style and vintage quality they offer, but they aren’t as easy to actuate as hydraulic rim or disc brakes and the pads can get dirty and scratch the rims by comparison (even popping the inner tube if you’re braking hard for a long time and heating them up)
- The power cable running to the hub motor is a bit exposed on the right side of the frame, with a single-speed drivetrain you don’t have to worry about a derailleur in that area but the power cable could still get bent or snagged
- There’s plenty of room on the handlebar for adding a phone mount, so you can use your smartphone with the optional Bluetooth app, but no USB charging outlets to keep the phone filled over long rides
- This is a pure city bike with road-bike characteristics such as deeper rims, thin high-pressure tires, it’s not as comfortable to ride over bumpy terrain or for long periods unless you’re used to cycling a lot, you could swap the rigid seat post with a silver 31.6 mm suspension post to ease things out a bit (consider using a shim to adapt a 27.2 mm post if you can’t find the right size in silver, there are a lot more choices in that size)
- The charging unit itself is fairly large and heavy at ~2 lbs, but it does offer faster four amp charging vs. two amp on a lot of cheaper products, I would’t be excited to bring it along in my backpack because of the size so at it’s great that the battery capacity is higher here and the bike gets excellent range
- You may need 60 mm long-stem presta valve inner tubes for this bike because it has deeper rims, not all shops carry these and there’s a higher chance for getting flats because of the narrow tires, consider buying an extra set of tubes in advance so you aren’t stuck without a bike while waiting for tubes and always check that your PSI is high before riding to reduce the potential for snake-bite flats
- The bike is just really expensive because it’s so custom, you can get the same power and drivetrain a lot cheaper but it won’t look as cool and you might not have the frame size options, this is a premium product
- You cannot easily remove the battery pack for charging, it’s designed to stay inside the bike at all times unless you’re servicing or replacing it, so you might have to bring the bike into your house or office to get to a plug (or to protect from extreme temperatures, because that can be hard on Lithium-ion cells)
- Minor consideration, there’s not chain cover or guard, so your pant leg might touch and get a little greasy, consider a simple reflective pant protector like this