Corratec LIFEBIKE Review

Corratec Lifebike Electric Bike Review
Corratec Lifebike
Corratec Lifebike Bosch Performance Line Cruise Mid Drive Motor
Corratec Lifebike Rear Rack Battery Bosch Powerpack 400
Corratec Lifebike Stabilizing Bar Weights Intuvia Display Panel
Corratec Lifebike Rockshox Air Fork 100 Mm Travel Lockout
Corratec Lifebike Integrated Axa Blueline Headlight Led
Corratec Lifebike 180 Mm Front Disc Brake Rotor 4 Piston Calipers Hydraulic
Corratec Lifebike Pletscher Kickstand Rear Mounted
Corratec Lifebike 25 Kg Rated Rear Rack Racktime Axa Led Backligt
Corratec Lifebike Chan Cover Cranks Pedals
Corratec Lifebike Nuvinci Harmony Electronic Auto Shifting
Corratec Lifebike Bosch 4 Amp Charger
Corratec Lifebike Electric Bike Review
Corratec Lifebike
Corratec Lifebike Bosch Performance Line Cruise Mid Drive Motor
Corratec Lifebike Rear Rack Battery Bosch Powerpack 400
Corratec Lifebike Stabilizing Bar Weights Intuvia Display Panel
Corratec Lifebike Rockshox Air Fork 100 Mm Travel Lockout
Corratec Lifebike Integrated Axa Blueline Headlight Led
Corratec Lifebike 180 Mm Front Disc Brake Rotor 4 Piston Calipers Hydraulic
Corratec Lifebike Pletscher Kickstand Rear Mounted
Corratec Lifebike 25 Kg Rated Rear Rack Racktime Axa Led Backligt
Corratec Lifebike Chan Cover Cranks Pedals
Corratec Lifebike Nuvinci Harmony Electronic Auto Shifting
Corratec Lifebike Bosch 4 Amp Charger

Summary

  • A deep step-thru wave style electric bike that's easy to approach, mount and control but sturdy enough to handle 350 lbs (rider plus gear)
  • Powerful Bosch Performance Line Cruise motor offers 63 Nm of torque for moving heavy loads and climbing, it's extremely responsive and efficient
  • Upgraded hydraulic disc brakes are specced at the mountain bike level, the front caliper has four pistons vs. two to distribute power and stay cool
  • Integrated LED lights that run off the battery pack, decent fenders and a chain cover keep you seen and clean, available in four frame sizes, adjustable lightweight air fork

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Corratec

Model:

LIFEBIKE

Price:

$3,999 ($4999 for NuVinci Harmony Version)

Body Position:

Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

7 Year Frame, 2 Year Motor and Battery

Availability:

United States, Europe

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

58 lbs (26.3 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.4 lbs (2.44 kg)

Motor Weight:

8.8 lbs (3.99 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

16.54 in (42.01 cm)18.50 in (46.99 cm)20.47 in (51.99 cm)22.44 in (56.99 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium 47 cm: 18.75" Seat Tube Length, 23" Reach, 17.5" Stand Over Height, 74" Length

Frame Types:

Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

Matte Silver, Matte Black

Frame Fork Details:

RockShox Air, 100 mm Travel, Lockout, Rebound Adjust, 100 / 9 mm Skewer with Quick Release

Frame Rear Details:

130 / 10 mm Threaded Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

1 Speed 1×∞ NuVinci N380 CVT with Harmony Automatic Electronic Shifting (30 to 120 RPM), 18T Cog

Shifter Details:

NuVinci Harmony Electronic Shifting, Bosch Intuvia Button Pad on Left, Automatic or Manual (Hold i Button)

Cranks:

Corratec, Alloy, 170 mm Length, 18T Chainring

Pedals:

Aluminum Alloy with Rubber Tread

Headset:

Tapered, 1-1/8" to 1-1/2"

Stem:

Alloy, Adjustable Angle 0° to 60°, 60 mm Length

Handlebar:

Zzyzx, Aluminum Alloy, Swept Back, 27.5" Length, 31.8 mm Diameter

Brake Details:

Magura MT5 Hydraulic Disc with Shimano 180 mm Front Rotor and 4 Piston Caliper, Shimano 160 mm Rear Rotor and 2 Piston Caliper, Magura MT4 Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

SQlab, Ergonomic, Rubber, Locking

Saddle:

SQlab 621 with Airflow Pivot, Active Saddle Technology

Seat Post:

Post Modern Suspension with Shim

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

Zzyzx, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 36 Hole, Reinforcement Eyelets

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 12G, Black with Silver Nipples

Tire Brand:

Continental Ride Tour, (54-584)

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

Extra Puncture Belt, Reflective Sidewall Stripe, 65 PSI

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Flick Bell on Right, Plastic Fenders (65 mm Width), Alloy Rack with Racktime Interface (55 lb / 25 kg Max Weight), Plastic Chain Cover, Integrated AXA Blueline30 LED Headlight (30 Lux), Integrated AXA Blueline LED Backlight, Pletscher Adjustable Rear-Mount Kickstand, Vibration Dampening Bar-End Weights, Clear Sticker Slap Guard

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack with LED Charge Level Indicator, 1.4 lb 4 Amp Charger, Fusion Tube Edge (Downtube Reinforcement), 350 lb Max Rider Weight

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bosch Performance Line Cruise

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Torque:

63 Newton meters

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

396 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

55 miles (89 km)

Display Type:

Bosch Intuvia, Removable, Adjustable Angle, Grayscale, Backlit LCD, (Hold Reset and i for Settings Menu)

Readouts:

Speed, Assist Level (Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo), Battery Level (1-5), Odometer, Trip Distance, Estimated Range, Clock, Max Speed, Average Speed, Trip Time, Shift Assist Recommendation

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad with Tactile Feedback on Left, 5 Volt 500 mA Micro-USB Port on Display

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 50% 40 Nm, Tour 120% 50 Nm, Sport 190% 55 Nm, Turbo 275% 63 Nm)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Corratec LIFEBIKE presents itself almost like a medical device… a product that can improve heart rate, flexibility and even address obesity in a safe and fun way. And in my opinion, yes, it and other electric bicycle products do offer these benefits if used properly. You still get a workout with pedal-assist (you have to pedal along to make it go after all) and the feelings of being outside with other people and nature can improve mood (at least for me). This is a product that could help you to lose weight but not all ebikes are up to the challenge. What Corratec has done here is blend accessibility with ruggedness. The deep step-thru frame makes mounting and dismounting easy. You can stand over the frame easily at stops and control the bike even if the rear rack is loaded with work supplies or groceries. And when you’re on it, even if you’re overweight, the bike feels stiff thanks to a double downtube design and internally reinforced tubing. They call it “Fusion Tube Edge” but basically it’s just an additional layer of perforated Aluminum running through the larger downtube to improve strength. From a utility perspective, this ebike checks the boxes but it goes one step further by addressing comfort. The saddle, for instance, is very unique. Instead of two rubber bumpers or inverted springs, it has one large rubber pad that allows the saddle to flex and almost pivot side to side. This reduces thigh rub and allows people with sensitive hip joints to pedal more comfortably. Many other e-bikes with “comfort” saddles take the fun out of pedaling by positioning you far back and keeping knees bent. This bike is still comfortable and relaxed due to a large sweeping handlebar, suspension fork and medium tires but it can be setup for a more active and enjoyable “cycling” experience and I love that. I actually had a blast riding this bike… Between the adjustable angle stem, ergonomic grips and four frame size options (the medium fit my 5’9″ body very well) it just felt smooth and comfortable, even on the bumpy New York City streets and the Williamsburg Bridge. One other very unique feature on this bike was bar weights. These inserts fit into the end of the handlebar and actually add weight to act as a counter to vibration. They stick out a little at the ends but are rounded and not sharp… certainly not far enough out to make fitting through doors a limitation. If are willing to spend a bit more, this is an electric bicycle product that truly delivers. You get comfort, durable hardware and a solid two year warranty. And while Corratec has limited distribution in the USA right now, it uses the Bosch drive system here on the Life Bike which is widely supported with easy to find battery and display replacements.

The motor powering this bike is a Bosch Performance Line Cruise offering 63 Newton meters of peak torque output. In terms of watts, it offers 250 to 500+, but don’t let that fool you. Yes, in the USA many ebikes tout 500 to 750 watt motors… but they are usually hub motors that aren’t as efficient or zippy as this. Some ebikes have throttles and that might sound appealing too, but the Bosch pedal-assist is so quick and powerful (in the highest level) that it almost feels like a throttle. You get more range and are able to qualify as Class 1 here meaning that the bike can be used in more locations (including New York City where they have a strict law about throttles on unlicensed vehicles due to delivery cyclists). The motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence and pedal torque one thousand times per second and turns an 18 tooth chainring 2.5 times for every crank revolution. It’s very fast and does produce a bit of electronic whining, but it’s my favorite drive system at the time of this review because it can support up to 120 pedal rotations per minute. This is great for someone like me who prefers to pedal light and fast vs. slow and heavy due to a knee injury. But don’t worry, it does just fine for slow pedaling too. I like that Corratec was able to paint the motor casing silver to match the bike. You can get the LIFEBIKE in black as well but it might not stand out in dark conditions as well and I’m a safety nut. With reflective tires, standard plastic reflector accessories and pedals as well as integrated LED lights. This is an ebike that will help you stay visible and feel safe even if you aren’t a seasoned cyclist.

Powering the bike is a rack-mounted Bosch Powerpack 400 battery. It offers 36 volts and 11 amp hours for nearly 400-watt hours of capacity which I’d call average. That energy is used very efficiently if you shift properly and the Bosch display has a little up and down arrow indicating when you should shift. This can be de-activated by holding reset and i on the display and navigating through the settings (where you can also change from mph to km/h and adjust the clock). The battery is compact and light at ~5.5 lbs and fits inside the rack tubing which keeps it safe if the bike tips. The kickstand is not generic but an adjustable length Pletscher branded stand mounted near the left dropout at the rear. It does not get in the way of pedaling and supports the weight of the bike well. Weight is one area where this ebike compromises a bit… and it really is just a bit. The Medium I test rode with the optional upgraded NuVinci Harmony was about 61 lbs with the pack attached. But you can easily remove the battery, display panel and front wheel to reduce weight. So the pack can be charged on or off the frame and has a solid locking core to keep it from being stolen or tampered with. You don’t need to leave the keys in while riding but I did, just to keep track of them. The battery locks into place automatically when pushed all the way back. Bosch only uses high-quality cells and the Lithium-ion chemistry is known for being resilient and long lasting.

Operating the Life Bike is pretty straight forward, don’t let the large display intimidate you. This thing is actually cool because it’s easy to read, automatically backlit for use at night and has a Micro-USB port on the top right edge. I do wish it put out more than 500 mA though because not all devices can charge with this lower current. Samsung devices seem to work alright and with a phone mount you could cruise the city using GPS without concern for phone life. Anyway, to activate the bike just press the power button at the lower left edge of the display then press the i button on the display or the button pad near the left grip to cycle through trip stats… and hold the i button to get to the NuVinci Harmony settings. This menu allows you to specify a pedal cadence which is automatically matched, no matter the terrain or bike speed. Having tried the Shimano STePs electronic auto-shifting product, I have to say I prefer the NuVinci. What a cool feeling, no more thinking about shifting gears, it automatically shifts and even downshifts when you stop! The handlebar area of this bike is very clean without the need for shifters and you don’t have to worry about mashing gears or losing your chain the way you do with the less expensive 10 Speed Shimano Deore drivetrain. Is it worth $1,000 and ~3 pounds extra for the Harmony? It’s a tough pill to swallow but I’d say yes. It’s just so cool, durable and clean compared to a chain and this is the perfect ebike to have it installed on.

Despite looking kind of average or even slightly ugly… this is one of the more exciting electric bikes I’ve tried recently. It feels great, even compared back to back with the step-thru Kalkhoff Agattu (shown in the video review). Both bikes are step-thru, both have Bosch motors (though the Kalkhoff uses a weaker Active Line version) and both are setup for recreational cruising or commuting, but the LIFEBIKE just feels smoother with its mountain-level suspension fork, large hydraulic disc brakes, zippy mid-drive and handlebar weights. Until this review, I had never heard of Corratec but I love what they’re doing here and I’m excited to see this product in the USA. If you’re a fat person (and I don’t mean to use that word insensitively) or someone with a knee injury or just feeling a little timid about cycling with friends… keeping up and climbing hills, ebikes can be a great solution and this would be one of my top choices. It’s intimidating to spend a lot of money at once but there is a huge potential for buyers remorse from getting a cheap product with a limited warranty, too weak of motor and the possibility of no replacement batteries down the line. Bosch will be there even if the LIFEBIKE evolves and their rear rack battery is used on many models. I do wish they had squeezed in some bottle cage bosses for fluids or a folding lock but that might have compromised the stronger frame. I’m not going to put myself at risk saying the bike can hold more than 350 lbs but it’s probably a better candidate for experimentation given the reinforced rims, thicker spokes and sturdy frame. I hope this helps more people enjoy the outdoors and gain the confidence and fitness to get healthy. Sincerely.

Pros:

  • The downtube is extra stiff and sturdy thanks to their “Fusion Tube Edge” design, the downtube is not hollow, there is an extra layer of Aluminum alloy bisecting the tube
  • In order to make the bike strong enough to handle ~350 lbs of rider+cargo weight the LIFEBIKE has a supporting top tube that follows the downtube, thicker 12 gauge spokes, reinforcement eyelets on the rims, a tapered steering tube and a thicker seat post
  • I had never seen handlebar weights before but they did reduce vibration while riding,
    the handlebar itself is swept back and the ergonomic grips feel good, the weights extended the bars a little but carry inertia and flex the bar vs. transferring all movement into your hands
  • Excellent safety features including reflective tires, integrated LED lights at the front and rear, standard plastic reflectors and the option for a higher visibility frame color (silver)
  • Wide-coverage fenders and a plastic chain cover help to keep your shoes and pants clean and dry
  • Sturdy rear rack with pannier blockers and battery enclosure that offers up to ~48 lbs of capacity (~6 lbs is taken up by the battery pack)
  • I Love that you can charge the battery on or off this bike, that you get a fast charger putting out 4 Amps vs. just 2 on most ebikes and that the display is removable and has a little Micro USB port for charging portable electronics
  • The suspension fork on this ebike is nicer than most other “city” or “cruiser” products,
    being an air fork vs. coil it weighs less and you can set the compression by adding or removing air to suit a wide range of rider sizes
  • With four frame sizes to choose from and a deep step-thru “wave” design, this electric bicycle is approachable for short and tall riders alike, the adjustable angle stem takes it even further by extending or reducing reach length
  • Minor detail here but the motor casing is silver! most of the time Bosch centerdrives are black which wouldn’t blend in as nicely as this one does, it also has a plastic scuff guard on the bottom for protection
  • The NuVinci Harmony system is very cool… you can choose an “automatic” cadence between 30 to 120 RPM or select from virtual gears all using the Bosch Intuvia button pad on the left… hold the “i” button at any time to get to the NuVinci RPM selector then hold “i” again to switch from automatic to 9 manual gearing settings
  • Powerful hydraulic brakes offer the kind of stopping power you need for heavier loads,
    these would be good enough for mountain biking (the front rotor is 180 mm with four pistons vs. two on most ebikes), adjustable reach levers should accommodate large or small hands well

Cons:

  • Unfortunately, I have been unable to reach the founder of Corratec Life since this review was created. The founder did not honor a service fee that we had agreed upon to help make the trip to New York possible and I have not been able to reach him since, this gives me pause as to how he will treat customers who may experience issues with the product and of course, it feels bad to have spent so much time and energy trying to make this right, even lowering my service fee, without a response
  • The pedals on this bike feel stiff and work okay in dry environments but might slip if your shoes are wet, they aren’t very large or grippy, consider something like this if you’ve got big feet but note that if you slip the knobs can cut your shins more easily
  • Owing to its overbuilt frame and optional NuVinci drivetrain, this electric bike can weight a bit more… it ranges from 56 to 62 lbs depending on the options you get
  • The fenders were alright but I noticed the front one did not extend past the suspension fork, this surprised me because water can sometimes flick up and get blown back into your face (you could always swap this fender for a different one I suppose)
  • The rear-rack battery positions some weight up and back which is not as great for balance and takes some of the carrying capacity while further raising your cargo
  • The Micro USB charging port on the side of the Bosch Intuvia display only puts out 5 Volts at 500 milliamps vs. 1 Amp so it doesn’t work perfectly with all devices, like iPhones
  • If you get the NuVinci Harmony with electronic shifting, you may need to charge the unit at the plastic housing on the right side of the bike using a Mini-USB (apparently not very often though, like once a year from what Phil told me?!)
  • Despite the long top tube and seat tube with plenty of room, there are no bottle cage bosses (perhaps to maintain frame strength), consider using a trunk bag like this with a bottle holster, you could also carry the charger with this very easily to extend your range
  • The lalrger saddle is comfortable but could collide with the carry rack if you lower it all the way down… and some short riders might need to lower it for a proper fit, this could require scooching saddle forward or using the rear rack without a trunk bag (side-mounting panniers only)
  • Keep an eye on the adjustable angle stem, these can come loose over time with lots of bumpy riding or powerful use, you might want to swap it out with a rigid stem if you encounter this

Resources:

Comments (6) YouTube Comments

Mark
2 years ago

Hi Court, I always hear you say that the mid drives are limited by the assist cut off at a not-so-high cadence RPM, so you have to upshift if you want to go faster . Bosch has a more favorable feel since the cut off is 106 RPM so you can pedal fast enough if you want to. The assist cut off in Yamaha, Brose, and other popular OEM brands are in the 80-90+ RPM. However, things have recently changed and you should really check it with a cadence meter especially when you tested the recent Giant ebikes since they now use the new Syncdrive that has higher cadence cut off of 110-120 RPM.

This is from the E-mountainbike magazine here: ” The pedal-assist on the SyncDrive Pro works in the three strongest support modes with a cadence up to 120 rpm, and up to 110 rpm in the lower two modes. This is another diversion from the Yamaha PW-X, which only supports up to 120 rpm in the most powerful pedal-assist mode.”

So your preconceived notion on Mid drives does not apply anymore to this newer models. The newer Giant ebike has a cadence meter on it’s display panel so the more reason there is no excuse not to check it.

  Reply
Court
2 years ago

Hi Mark, great feedback and data… I appreciate your link as well. The Bosch Performance Cruise and CX motors off offer drive support up to 120 RPM while the Active only reaches 100 RPM. I’ve noticed this drop while reviewing and tried to call it out but it still beats other drives which hover around the 80-90 as you mentioned. There are times when I’ve been sloppy and simply recited my experience with Yamaha or Shimano, generalizing, but I strive to always explain how the specific ebike I’m riding feels and performs. Part of my service here is being qualitative and heavy bikes, those with frame flex etc. are described as such. I described the nimble feel of recent Giant reviews that use SyncDrive branded Yamaha but still did not match Bosch in terms of RPM support. In short, I’ll try harder and be more thorough… I appreciate your feedback and welcome you to chime in anytime. Comments like yours add a lot of value here and I depend on them with my own limitations.

  Reply
Mark
2 years ago

I know you love Bosch mid drive but please use cadence meter (standard feature in the Giant anyway) to determine the top end of the assist, to be more objective when comparing different mid drives.

On my 2015 Tekoa with ttranzX mid drive, it has a top end of 80 RPM at PAS 1 all the way to 100 RPM at PAS 4. I have to vigilantly watch the cadence meter or else I will lose my momentum if I outpedalled the top end.

Although I also have a cadence meter on my BBSHD, I don’t have to be vigilant since I cannot outpedal the motor with a rated 150 RPM.

In effect, since I am not limited by the top end in the BBSHD, it feels similar to a non powered bicycle (only faster). It also feels similar to my direct drive (Izip Dash) but with the climbing ability.

Mark
2 years ago

Hi again, I could be wrong since there are 3 varieties of the syncdrive and only one of them (Syncdrive Pro) has 120 max cadenc, the 2 other varieties only has 100 max cadence. The pro also has 5 assist levels while the rest only have 3 assist levels.

  Reply
Court
2 years ago

Hi Mark, thanks for responding! I found this page as well after reading your last comment and am on the verge of publishing a review of the Dirt-E+ 1 with the updated info. I was able to get a lot of great footage for the video showing my cadence and maxing it out… then shifting up to the highest 2 or 3 gears to get 20 mph. It’s a great system, I don’t mean to be overly critical of one company or another, just describe the differences. I’m very excited to try the Pro model and yeah, I heard it has five levels of assist vs. just two :)

  Reply

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