VoltBike Elegant Review

2017 Voltbike Elegant Electric Bike Review
2017 Voltbike Elegant
2017 Voltbike Elegant Basic 7 Speed Shimano Tourney With Derailleur Guard
2017 Voltbike Elegant Downtube Mounted 48 Volt Lithium Ion Ebike Battery
2017 Voltbike Elegant Intelligent 800s Electric Bike Display Lcd
2017 Voltbike Elegant Sr Suntour Xct Coil Spring Suspension Fork With Led Light
2017 Voltbike Elegant Tektro Novela Mechanical Cs Disc Brakes 160 Mm
2017 Voltbike Elegant Plastic Fenders With Mud Flaps Rear Kickstand
2017 Voltbike Elegant Welded On Rear Rack With Integrated Led Light
2017 Voltbike Elegant Lightweight 2 Amp Ebike Battery Charger
2017 Voltbike Elegant Shipping Packaging
2017 Voltbike Elegant Electric Bike Review
2017 Voltbike Elegant
2017 Voltbike Elegant Basic 7 Speed Shimano Tourney With Derailleur Guard
2017 Voltbike Elegant Downtube Mounted 48 Volt Lithium Ion Ebike Battery
2017 Voltbike Elegant Intelligent 800s Electric Bike Display Lcd
2017 Voltbike Elegant Sr Suntour Xct Coil Spring Suspension Fork With Led Light
2017 Voltbike Elegant Tektro Novela Mechanical Cs Disc Brakes 160 Mm
2017 Voltbike Elegant Plastic Fenders With Mud Flaps Rear Kickstand
2017 Voltbike Elegant Welded On Rear Rack With Integrated Led Light
2017 Voltbike Elegant Lightweight 2 Amp Ebike Battery Charger
2017 Voltbike Elegant Shipping Packaging

Summary

  • An exceptionally affordable, feature rich electric bike, built around an approachable frame that's easier to mount and stand over, offers pedal assist and throttle override operation
  • The battery pack is protected by the top tube, positioned low and center along the frame for balance, can be charged on or off the bike, and has a USB charging port for accessories
  • Fairly comfortable thanks to a basic suspension fork, adjustable angle stem, and ergonomic grips, the Kenda tires are basic (no reflective paint or puncture protection) but offer a good PSI range and hybrid tread
  • Entry-level derailleur with a bulky shifter, basic mechanical disc brakes that require more hand strength to actuate than hydraulic, bouncy and somewhat noisy fenders, only one frame size

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

VoltBike

Model:

Elegant

Price:

$1,299 ($70 Flat Rate Shipping)

Body Position:

Upright, Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

55.6 lbs (25.21 kg)

Battery Weight:

7 lbs (3.17 kg)

Motor Weight:

5 lbs (2.26 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum

Frame Sizes:

19 in (48.26 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

19.25" Seat Tube, 23.5" Reach, 22" Stand Over Height, 25.5" Width, 74.5" Length

Frame Types:

Mid-Step

Frame Colors:

Matte Black with White Accents

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour XCT Coil Spring Suspension, 100 mm Travel, Individual Stanchion Preload Adjust, 100 mm Hub Width, 10 mm Axle with Bolts

Frame Rear Details:

135 mm Hub Length, 10 mm Axle with Bolts

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

7 Speed 1x7 Shimano Tourney Derailleur, MF-TZ21 Cassette 14-28T

Shifter Details:

Shimano SiS Index Thumb Shifter on Right

Cranks:

Aluminum Alloy Crank Arms, 170 mm Length, Square Taper Bottom Bracket 38T Chainring

Pedals:

Wellgo LU-C25 Alloy Cage Style Platform

Headset:

1-1/8" Threadless, Internal Cups

Stem:

Promax MA-579, Tool-Free Adjustable Angle 0° to 70°, 110 mm Length, 25.4 mm Clamp

Handlebar:

Promax Alloy, Low-Rise, 630 mm Length

Brake Details:

Tektro Novela CS Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotors, 5 Star Levers with Motor Inhibitors and Rubberized Edge

Grips:

Generic, Rubber, Ergonomic, Black

Saddle:

Selle Royal Freccia

Seat Post:

Promax, Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Samson Champion, 6061 T6 Alloy, Double Walled, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Silver with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Kenda Small Block Eight, 26" x 2.1" (54-559) (650x52B)

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

30TPI Casing, Wire Bead, 30 to 80 PSI

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Plastic Fenders with Rubber Flaps, Plastic Chain Cover with Reflector, Integrated Blaze-Lite LED Headlight with Reflector, Integrated Generic LED Backlight with Reflector, Flick Bell, Adjustable Length Kickstand Rear-Mount, Free DOT Approved Helmet

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube Mounted Battery Pack with LED Charge Indicator, 5 Volt Full Sized USB Charging Port on Right Side of Battery, 1.1 lb 2 Amp Charger, KMC Rust Resistant Z Chain, Steel Derailleur Guard

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bafang, BFSWX02

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Motor Peak Output:

750 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung 18650

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

499.2 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

45 miles (72 km)

Display Type:

Voltbike Branded, Intelligent 800S, Fixed, Grayscale, Backlit, LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Avg Speed, Max Speed, Battery (5 Bars), Assist Level (0-9), Trip, Odometer, Timer

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad (+, -, Power), Double Press Power Button for Settings Menu, Hold + for Backlight and Integrated Lights, Hold - for Walk Mode

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist (12 Magnet Disc)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph) (Adjustable Top Speed)

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Written Review

The VoltBike Elegant was massively updated for 2017, the price rose by $200 over the original but this is still one of the most affordable, feature-rich electric bikes I have tested. And now, the rear rack is quieter, stronger and better looking. It no longer has to support the battery box, which has been integrated into the downtube for improved frame balance. The motor is twice as powerful and has been spoked into the rear wheel vs. the front which improves steering and traction. The bike still has integrated LED lights for safety but the tires are not reflective like they used to be. You can get the Elegant in two colors however, including a matte white which is more reflective. But the matte paint has a funky look to it, in my opinion, and the white could show more dirt and become an off-white or yellow with use over time. Even though this upgraded VoltBike Elegant model does not offer the super low-step wave frame design, I feel that it’s very approachable, easy to stand over and handle, and is a lot stiffer and stronger. The wheels offer 36 holes vs. 32 and use a 13 gauge spoke thickness for improved strength which could accommodate larger riders or heavy rear-rack loads. The rear rack is rated up to 55 lbs and is setup with pannier guards and a loop towards the base of the support arms for use with a bungee cord. There’s a whole lot to cover with this e-bike and I want to praise the inclusion of a derailleur guard, which also protects the motor power cable, and integrated USB charging port on the battery pack. These are little things that can sometimes get overlooked. Areas that I feel are average or below average in terms of build and performance are the square tapered spindle vs. splined which isn’t as strong, the entry-level Shimano Tourney derailleur and thumb shifter which might require more tuneups and don’t shift as quickly, the loose chain and lack of chain guide and slap guard, the limited adjust suspension fork which can dive or bob (especially for heavy riders), the plastic fenders with basic support mounts which rattle quite bit on bumpy terrain and may even rub on the tires, and the basic mechanical 160 mm disc brake hardware vs. hydraulic. That said, the brakes work well enough and the levers are comfortable and smart, with integrated motor inhibitors that cut power to the motor when pulled.

Driving this bike is a 500 watt nominally rated, Bafang hub motor. It’s a planetary geared hub motor, which is more compact and zippy feeling than competing gearless models. VoltBike may have adjusted the Amp flow in the controller however, because it accelerates smoothly and does not feel as surprising and on/off as some of the other Bafang hub motors I have tested. You can still get a strong burst of energy by using the trigger throttle to override assist, but the 12 magnet cadence sensor works very well on its own and I actually like how smooth it feels. Hub motors operate independently from the chain and cassette that you power as a rider. This means that you won’t have to worry about shifting gears to maximize power, and you won’t encounter as much mashing as you might with a mid-drive. But, the downside is that the hub motor dosn’t benefit from the shifting either, and likely will not achieve the same range or climbing strength. I only weigh ~135 lbs but was very impressed with the climbing strength that the motor did offer when testing up an incline in a grassy section of a park in downtown Vancouver Canada. The bike was able to move me from near standstill and accelerate up a small hill. I didn’t have to worry about pedaling and was instead, able to focus on balancing and steering. This is exactly the kind of setup I prefer on an ebike, full control and power at anytime. The trigger throttle does offer variable-speed activation, so if you push it just a bit, you will only get a little bit of power. It isn’t active at the zero level of assist, but 1-9 can be overridden with full power which is handy for a last minute boost when climbing or a quick zip up to catch some friends or pass another cyclist. Be careful not to bump the trigger when mounting or dismounting the bike, it’s a good idea to arrow down to level zero or simply turn it off, especially when loading the bike on a rack or putting it away in your garage. Thankfully, the trigger throttle is small and mostly out of the way. Given the very basic seven speed drivetrain on this bike (that you pedal with), I love how versatile the motor operation is. You can basically leave the bike in assist level three, the drivetrain in gear four, and just use the throttle to start and then pedal without ever changing gears or switching levels. And again, that’s nice because nine levels of assist is a bit excessive and can be tedious to click through.

Powering the Volt Bike Elegant is a very capable 48 volt 10.4 amp hour battery pack that uses Samsung cells. Weighing in at roughly seven pounds, it’s about average in terms of size and is very easy to click on or remove from the frame. This battery is the biggest upgrade and improvement over the earlier Elegant model because it positions weight where it should be, low and center on the frame. I like that it can be charged when mounted or removed, because that’s useful for commuting situations where the bike might be locked up at a rack outside. The charging port is a bit vulnerable, situated low and near the left crank arm, and the charger is a bit average, putting out 2 Amps vs. 3 or 4, but it gets the job done. I do wonder if it would have been possible to put the battery even lower on the downtube, near the bottom bracket vs. the head tube, to further maximize stability, but perhaps they had to put the controller there in the downtube where the wiring would be easier to run to the motor? In any case, many of the shifting, braking, and power cables are internally routed through the frame for an improved aesthetic and reduced snag potential. They practically disappear on the black frame, because they have black plastic covers. One final highlight about the battery is the integrated full-sized USB charging port positioned near the top of the right side. This could be useful for keeping a mobile phone charged when using GPS or playing music on the way to work. I would recommend the use of a right angle USB adapter to keep your wires from getting kicked however. And again, you don’t have to use this port for add-on lights because the battery is already powering the two included lights. They aren’t the fanciest, and in fact the headlight may bounce as you ride because it’s positioned on the moving part of the suspension fork vs. the head tube or handlebar, but they are way better than no lights.

Operating the VoltBike Elegant is straightforward, in fact, it’s using the exact same display system and button pad as before. The LCD is large, backlit (if you hold the up arrow), and adjustable angle to reduce glare. It is not removable, but there does appear to be a disconnect spot for easy replacement if you experience damage at some point down the line. All of the standard readouts about current speed, battery capacity, and assist level are shown, and if you tap the power button (the little rubber button on the remote pad) it will cycle through advanced readouts like average speed and max speed. Holding down on the button pad activates walk mode, and double tapping the power button opens a menu where you can adjust the maximum speed of the bike, though you’ll need a password from VoltBike to do so. This cold be handy for people who want to ride slower for safety reasons… but you can always just arrow down on assist for less power. The real consideration is how fast the throttle will get you going, because it’s always offering up full power when pushed all the way down. I was able to reach just over 20 miles per hour in the highest assist level during my tests. I would have been happy with a five level assist vs. nine because I don’t love clicking through so many levels when trying to focus on riding. At least the display is within reach and easy to learn (there are only three buttons). After a bit of practice, it’s easy to click up or down without even looking at the display for feedback. The one thing I have noticed about this particular button pad is that if you snag the buttons with fabric or somehow bump them when parking, the plastic cover can get bent up and become vulnerable to breaking off. I have only seen this once, but I have never seen the rubberized buttons get broken, so I consider it a point of consideration and extra care. A secondary four-LED display is built into the top of the battery box, and this allows you to get a quick idea of how full the pack is, even when it’s not mounted to the bike.

I went extra long on the video review above and have included a very detailed list of pros and cons below because I feel like this ebike would be a great fit, at the right price, for a large audience of people. It’s not perfect, but it delivers a lot of value and is more than good enough for the majority of use cases. I’d love to see a matte/gloss mix, maybe a satin paint job in the future to reduce fingerprints, and maybe some reflective tires like the original VoltBike Elegant had. You don’t get quick release here, so consider bringing along a tool and some flat-fix supplies. There’s also no bottle cage and I have listed a few bag options in the pro/con section below to help address this with a holster or a bar mount cup holder like this if you can fit it on. It’s neat to see a well thought out electric bicycle that comes with a basic warranty that is sold online. There are these extremes with kits and super cheap bikes that have zero support… and I find that they usually require extra time and effort that can cost more in the long run. I have seen some very cheap electric bikes being sold on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that only have one gear or require hundreds of dollars of shipping and make you buy an LCD display separately. The VoltBike Elegant comes with everything you need and is being sold by a company that I have been reviewing for several years now, I trust them to stick around and uphold their product more than a lot of others. Big thanks to VoltBike and the founder George for partnering with me on this post and showing me the free helmet that comes with the bike and the big box that that they use to ship it in. It’s nice to get a deeper look, even though I did not unpack the bike myself as an end-customer might. I welcome your feedback and comments as always.

Pros:

  • VoltBike has a shipping facility in the US and Canada, the price for shipping one of their electric bikes is only $70 USD (possibly even less in Canada ~$50) and that’s very low compared to most other manufactures that sell online
  • The VoltBike Elegant is one of the most affordable e-bikes I have seen, and it comes with a full set of accessories for commuting such as fenders, a chain cover, and stand-alone LED lights
  • I would call this a mid-step frame, it’s approachable, easy to stand-over, and the battery is well protected between the top tube and downtube, weight is also well balanced front to rear and kept fairly low
  • Great positioning and hardware choice on the kickstand, it supports the rear-end of the bike and stays out of the way of the left crank arm vs. a bottom-bracket mount design, if you load the cargo rack it should support the weight securely
  • Comfort is a bit consideration for me with electric bikes because I tend to ride further and at higher average speeds… so I really appreciate the ergonomic grips, adjustable-angle stem, and suspension fork… though the fork is very basic with only preload adjust (that has to be adjusted on each stanchion independently), lockout can be nice for solid paved surfaces to reduce bobbing and dive when stopping, it’s especially nice to have compression adjust with lockout if you’re a heavier rider
  • An integrated USB port on the right side of the battery pack allows you to charge phones, music players, and other portable electronic devices on the go or at home with the battery off the bike, it’s a useful feature but I’d recommend using a 90 degree adapter like this to keep the wire clean and safe from being kicked or bumped
  • Weighing in at about 55.6 lbs, this isn’t the heaviest nor lightest weight electric bike, but at least you can take the battery pack off for charging or transporting the bike, it locks securely with a key and slides in from the left vs. clicking down, this enables the lower top tube design
  • Since the derailleur and motor power cable are both positioned on the right side of the bike, near the right axle, it’s cool that VoltBike has added a derailleur guard to keep them from getting bumped in shipping and if the bike tips or is parked at a crowded rack where people might kick it accidentally
  • Even though the mechanical disc brakes are a little basic, the brake levers look and feel good because they are black and have a rubberized edge, they also have motor inhibitors built in to cut power to the bike when you make an emergency stop
  • When you purchase an electric bike from VoltBike, they throw in a DOT approved helmet for free, it’s a neat policy and the helmets come in a few different colors, as someone who cares about safety, I like this
  • I have a sensitive back and neck so the front suspension and possible upright bar position helps, but I might also swap the seat post with a 27.2 mm diameter suspension post like the Suntour NCX or Thudbuster ST but keep in mind, this raises the minimum saddle height by a few inches so it might not be the best plan for people who want to keep that saddle super low
  • I was really impressed that the LED lights are both integrated! This makes them less of a target for theft and reduces the time you have to spend when starting and stopping (turning them on and off)

Cons:

  • The matte black and matte white color schemes look unique and maybe trendy but they seem to show fingerprints and dirt more (especially the white), but I like that the white will be more visible at night vs. black
  • I like that the side of the chain cover has a section of reflective material (like a sticker) but wish that the tires also had some reflective accents, especially for the black frame, it’s a minor gripe but consider upgrading to the affordable Schwalbe Marathon GG RLX or the Schwalbe Marathon Plus which also has some puncture protection qualities
  • Minor consideration here, both wheels use bolts vs. a quick release system and this means that changing flats and performing maintenance requires more tools and time, consider using a small trunk bag like this for the charger and a multi-tool, and consider upgrading the tubes to pre-Slimed ones like this if you get flats frequently and bring a mini pump like this
  • There are no bottle cage bosses, so consider using a trunk bag with a bottle holster like this so you can stay hydrated… it’s not as easy to reach your water with a bag or pannier setup but there are drink holders like this to consider as well which might fit on the handlebar
  • The Elegant only comes in one frame size but I was able to raise the seat and use the adjustable stem to get full leg extension and a comfortable body position, I’m 5’9″ tall
  • The display panel is large and the control pad is easy to reach and use while riding but you cannot remove the display when parking so it could get scratched and faded over time, also, I have seen this specific button pad get messed up with clothing snagging the underside of the button cover and bending it up, just be delicate with it because it just doesn’t seem as tough as a fully rubberized pad or a different plastic design
  • Minor considerations here but worth mentioning, the Shimano Tourney drivetrain is the most basic low-end derailleur and cassette package and the shifting mechanism is pretty big and bulky on the handlebar, I also feel that the disc brakes are very basic and don’t allow for reach adjust or the same power as hydraulic brakes would, they are however, an upgrade from mechanical rim brakes and should stay cleaner, avoid touching the rotors so they don’t squeak
  • The plastic fenders produce a bit more noise when riding on rough terrain, the rear fender seemed a bit high above the wheel and did not connect to the rack hardware for extra support like some higher-quality solutions I have seen, some shops have told me that this type of fender can come loose or rub on the tires a bit more over time
  • Because of the more entry-level derailleur, the chain seemed a bit loose and bouncy, I also noticed that the chainstay did not have a plastic slap guard sticker on it and may chip (but the frame is Aluminum so it won’t rust, and it probably won’t be visible because of the chain cover)
  • Some of the electrical cables and wires were exposed at the bottom bracket (which isn’t uncommon, but one was a bit longer and seemed vulnerable), there’s not chain guide so the chain could still bounce off and would be tricky to re-seat because of the chain cover
  • Since the headlight is mounted on the sliding lowers of the suspension fork vs. the head tube or handlebar, it will bounce up and down on rough terrain which could create a bit of distraction or flashing view vs. steady and consistent, it might also bounce out of place or change the aim over time
  • The bike offers nine levers of assist by default… which is more than I prefer, especially with a basic urban bike like this with a 20 mph cap, the nine levels just mean you need to click more frequently which can be tedious, I love how the throttle overrides assist with full power at any level however

Resources:

More VoltBike Reviews

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2015 VoltBike Elegant Review

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VoltBike Interceptor Review

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Gerard
8 months ago

I noticed this bike replaced the Crosscurrent Air in the ‘Best Affordable Electric Bikes for 2016/2017’ category. Two questions: why? And how do you think they compare with one another, given the base model Crosscurrent Air is cheaper?

Reply
court
8 months ago

For me, the lights, fenders, approachable frame, and still relatively low price point made this a standout. Also, I swap bikes in and out as the year progresses based on what’s new. As we get into 2018 I will continue to make adjustments and am always open to feedback and input! You could make your own list of standouts and post it in the forums. I feel like both companies are growing and doing a good job with customer support. Also, I had heard about some hardware issues with some Juiced Bikes this year but had not heard that about Voltbike.

Reply
Brendan
8 months ago

So is the Cross current still a good bike?

Bennett
7 months ago

So I live on a very steep hill and it is horrible trying to walk to school every day. I just get all sweaty and it just sucks. Anyway I want to get a bike but something not too pricey. It’s not too long of a walk it’s just strenouos. I’m a very fit guy and biking up steep hills isn’t really a problem but would this help me out on steep hills?

Reply
court
7 months ago

Hi Bennett! Yes, definitely… the best way to utilize a hub motor powered electric bike on hills is to gather a bit of momentum going in because the motor is most effective once it’s moving. If you have to start from standstill like halfway up the hill, make sure you’re in the lowest gear and maybe start riding at an angle to the hill so the motor can kick in and get you going. I was impressed with the power on offer for such an affordable bike and feel that VoltBike really improved upon the Elegant from a few years ago. This ebike does use some cheaper parts, but the drivetrain and frame are just fine. It’s going to make your trip home quicker and keep you cooler because air will be moving over your body. You may have to pedal for some of the steep parts but if you use a low gear, it won’t be an issue :)

Reply
Francis
7 months ago

Hi Court, your reviews are hands down the most informative and in-depth Ive come across the net. They’ve been instrumental in my purchase decision for the Voltbike Elegant.

I plan on riding the bike in winter conditions, and there will be days where it will need to be left outside. I will be taking the battery indoors with me, but how sensitive are the connection points of the battery bay, with the battery removed? will cold, wet conditions damage them? Ive asked my LBS and they recommend tying a plastic bag around the empty battery bay when leaving outside. Do you have any reco or input on this? Francis

Reply
court
7 months ago

Thanks Francis! It sounds like you have a great plan, I have also been advised to cover sensitive parts with plastic bags… but also heard that if you leave the bag air tight then condensation can form and get into the electronics. I’d position something to cover the sensitive bits but not fully surround or enclose them. Does this make sense? The bike should still be very water resistant on its own, just try to keep water from pouring down on/into the sensitive bits and then leave enough air space so that it can breathe :)

Reply
Christopher Cramer
7 months ago

Putting the utilities that the Elegant comes with aside, what benefits does it have that makes it a better urban commuter bike than the Enduro? The Enduro has better wheels for rougher terrain and for snow as well as full suspension, but if the Elegant couldn’t have the fenders or the rack then would it still be a better choice for an urban bike? The Yukon 750 is not classified as an ebike in Alberta because the motor output is above 500 watts, so I am looking at the Elegant or the Enduro for urban transportation.

Reply
court
7 months ago

Sounds like those two could be a good fit for you, I was excited by the affordability of the Elegant and the completely updated frame compared to what I had seen before. Voltbike has done a great job offering a range of products, and I understand that the laws are a bit different in Canada regarding motor power.

Reply
JJ
5 months ago

VoltBike Elegant or RadPower RadWagon or RadPower Step Through City Bike in your opinion? They are now within a few hundred dollars of one another. Thoughts? I’m thinking for those strictly on a budget then then VoltBike and if money is not an issue than the RadPower options. Thanks! J

Reply
court
5 months ago

It’s really a close call, nice to have such similar options to compare. I was very impressed with the price and performance of the VoltBike Elegant. I like the zippy feel of the geared hub motor verses the gearless from Rad. There’s a ~7 lb weight difference between the step-thru City and the Elegant, so that might be a deciding factor for you? I like them both, for the price and would lean towards a single bike vs. the RadWagon unless you really need the extra space :)

Reply
Bernd Kopp
5 months ago

My wife and I (two couch potatoes in their early fifties) are planning a road trip of Canada. 2,000 kms in Canada (ON to NS). Do you think the bike is a good choice for that kind of endeavor?

Reply
court
5 months ago

Hi Bernd, this is one of my favorite electric bicycles for the price… but it’s a cheaper build with value components. If you’re going to mount two of them to a car rack, I’d suggest removing the batteries to make the bikes lighter, keep an eye on the tire pressure, be careful with the lights and fenders, but otherwise they should work great in all sorts of environments. If the lower price point gives you some peace of mind about leaving them locked up in foreign places or left on your car overnight then it could be worth it. I would suggest using a couple of locks and cables to secure all of the parts. You could get some basic trunk bags like this and put a handheld pump, extra flat-resistant inner tubes, tire levers, a water bottle, and a folding lock in there and easily take the bag off to carry along with you inside the car or when you park the bikes :)

Reply
Bernd Kopp
5 months ago

Hi Court, thank you very much for your fast response. The trip would be bikes only, no car. Do you still think the bikes can bring us home?

Ray
4 months ago

Is the Elegant suitable for someone that is 6 ft – 1 inch tall? Thanks.

Reply
court
4 months ago

Hi Ray! The frame size is 19″ which is about Medium. The smaller 26″ wheels lower the frame a bit and make it more approachable and sturdy but slightly less comfortable and stable to ride. I am 5’9″ tall and felt very comfortable on it… you could definitely raise the handlebar position with the adjustable stem and then max out the seat post to get good leg extension (or get a longer 27.2 mm replacement post like this for ~$20). Be careful not to have the stock post raised so high that it’s beyond the minimum insertion height stamp… especially if you weight a bit more, because it could damage the seat tube. I hope this helps, the short answer is “you’re probably fine” and the long answer is that you might feel a little squished with close reach… but at least the handlebar isn’t swept way back. I’d love to hear how it actually feels if you decide to move forward. It seems like a pretty solid ebike for the price :)

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Ray
4 months ago

Hey Thanks! It seems like a fair introduction for a first time E-bike buyer and 60+ age, 185 lb. rider. I think I might remove the fenders as I really try to avoid foul conditions. I would wait to see if they have a rattle issue. I will let you know.

PS. Volt’s price on the Elegant is now $1349 with $49 shipping. They say March orders have been very high causing delays in shipping.

shaun
4 months ago

My wife and I would like to share 1 bike. Im 5’9 and she’s 5’4. Too big for her in your opinion? Im sure adjustements to the stem and such might accomodate. Thanks

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court
4 months ago

Hi Shaun! I’m 5’9″ as well and this bike felt pretty good. The photos and video here were all shot with the saddle adjusted for my height (to get full leg extension) and there appears to be a lot of space below for it to drop down. With the step-thru frame design here and the ability to also raise it, I feel that this would be approachable enough for her to deal with and also comfortable for you. There are many similar products out there and I think the VoltBike Elegant might actually be backordered. Here’s another very similar ebike with hydraulic brakes (which might be easier for her to pull), it has a slightly lower top tube and the reach is about two inches shorter.

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Kathy
3 months ago

Hi Court – your review is one of the most detailed and informative that I’ve seem! You are very good at what you do. Based on your review, I have purchased an Elegant and am very confident that I will be able to quickly ride like the wind! (So to speak). Thank you!

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court
3 months ago

Wonderful! Thanks for taking a moment to share your excitement, Kathy. I hope the bike works out great, it sounds like the company has made some improvements since I last looked and I welcome further comments and feedback as you receive and begin to ride and enjoy the bike :D

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Larry Maydonik
2 months ago

Just got the “Elegant” today. It is all I expected and more. Very heavy duty and high quality. The only shortcoming was that the instruction on setting up the stem (steering) was NOT as per the instructions. Still charging my initial, but did test it out for a few minutes… WOW what a lot of power even in the 1st assist level.

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court
1 month ago

Hey Larry, sound like the VoltBike Elegant is working really well for you, congrats! Do you feel like the first level of assist is too powerful or do you like the zippy feeling?

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Kevin P
1 month ago

Hi Larry, do you live in an area with big hills? If so, have you had a chance to test the Elegant on them? Thanks

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Larry
1 month ago

Kevin, yes Vancouver Island has hills and mountains. There are some long and challenging hills, just as you describe. But the Elegant eats them up with the 500-watt motor. I am 220 lbs and over 70… there is no hill that will stop me! I have never gone beyond the need for power assist level 3… there is 6 more in my arsenal.

Kevin P
1 month ago

Thanks for the info, Larry!

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Kevin P
1 month ago

Thank you so much for all the amazing information you provide! A new law just went into effect last week in Washington State that allows e-bikes to use sidewalks (unless bikes are otherwise disallowed by local municipalities), which makes the idea of me commuting to work far less scary, as about half my 6.5 miles commute would be on busy suburban streets without bike lanes. I’m torn between the RadCity and the Volt Bike Elegant at this point, but I’m leaning towards the Elegant, as I live at the top of a big hill and it sounds like a geared motor would be preferable for my price range of $1300-$1500. Coming home after work, after a nice flat 6 miles, there’s an elevation gain of approx. 350 ft. in 0.6 miles, with an average grade of probably 9-13%, starting out at a stop light at the bottom (no opportunity for gaining momentum). Do you foresee any problems with either bikes getting up the hill with a moderate amount of pedaling on my part? I’m 220 lbs and 5’10”, so a bigger boy (hopefully less big soon). I don’t mind breaking a sweat after work, but I don’t want to dread coming up the hill or only be able to climb it at 5 mph. Thanks!

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court
1 month ago

Hi Kevin! I’m a bit lighter at 135 lbs but have found that most ebikes can top mid-sized hills with just a bit of pedaling. The key is to bring some speed into the hill and shift to lower gears before climbing (so you don’t mash and grind gears shifting at the last minute). The RadCity uses a gearless motor that is heavier but also very reliable and quiet. The VoltBike Elegant is lighter overall and the gearned motor is zippy, but might struggle and wear down faster if you’re really pushing it. My experience with both models is that the work great if you just pedal along and listen to the bike, just care for it :) but you could always go the route of a fancier mid-drive and get an increased mechanical advantage for the motor. You’ll be spending more, but the quality is great on something like the Trek Verve+ which comes in step-thru, has fenders, lights, rack etc. and uses the Bosch motor. If I had to choose from Rad Power Bikes vs. VoltBike, I’d go with Rad in your case because they are based in Washington. You might be able to take a road trip to Seattle to visit their shop and even test ride before buying! I hope this helps and welcome your feedback when you do choose one or the other, I’m sure it would help others as well :)

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Kevin Poole
1 month ago

Hi Court,

Thanks for the great info! I will indeed be visiting the Rad Power Bikes store this weekend (‘m only about 30 mins from it), and I’ve already spoken with someone there about the hill capabilities. He assures me the RadCity won’t have any problems getting up my hill. The Trek Verve+ does indeed look like a nice setup, but it’s beyond my current budget.

My #1 goal with the purchase of an e-bike is to get more exercise. I used to ride my conventional bike a lot before I lived on the hill (12 years ago), and an e-bike will finally make it possible to get back into it, since there’s no way in heck I’m going to try to tackle my hill without one (or walk a bike up it). Plus, now that I work so close to home, I can use the bike to commute, and about half the route is on a shady riverside trail that’s not terribly busy. I’m super excited about that.

I’ll provide a review/assessment on the RadCity page if/when I acquire one. If I take a test ride and don’t love it for some reason, I’ll go with the VoltBike Elegant.

Thanks again!

Kevin

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court
1 month ago

Sounds great Kevin! I’m excited for you, sounds like an ebike is going to make riding fun and approachable again. Looking forward to your next update :D

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Kevin P
1 month ago

Hi Court,

So, I test rode both the RadCity and RadCity stepthrough this morning, and while I felt they were good quality bikes for an affordable price, I determined that there was no way they were going to get me up my monster hill, even with major assistance on my part. As I mentioned, we’re talking about a half mile of continuous slope, and it turns out that a portion is actually a 20% grade. When I took the RadCity up a moderately steep hill near their store, it did OK, but the motor was already at over 600+ watts, and I know you’re not supposed to exceed 550 or so continuously on a hill. Additionally, all both models are out of stock for at least 10 days.

Afterwards, on a whim, I visited the Seattle E-bike store downtown, pretty much only expecting to see bikes out of my price range. But it turns out that they just put all of their Kalkoff bikes on clearance at 40% off! They’re not carrying the brand anymore, as Kalkoff wasn’t paying the labor for their warranty work. I test rode two models, both with mid drive motors, and took them both up a long and steep hill (Yesler Way). The Connect Pro Impulse S10, which was marked down to $2300 from $4400, performed the best, and it had an amazing amount of power. I could immediately see that it was a deal I couldn’t pass up, even if it was more than I’d budgeted. After reading and watching your various reviews, I felt very educated on all aspects of e-bikery, and it was clear that the S10’s components were light years ahead of any of the entry-level bikes, let alone any others in the $2300 price range. Yes, it’s an older model (2016), but it has a massive battery (17aH) that uses the same Panasonic cells as current models. It’s also a beautiful piece of German engineering. I ended up getting a more comfortable seat, but other than that, it’s totally ready to go as my commuter bike.

Once I got the bike home, I tested it from the bottom of my hill from a full stop, and while I had to put a good amount of peddling in at lower gears, I made it all the way up without issue. And I’m in pretty poor shape right now, so that’s saying something. I’m super excited to take the bike to work on Monday. Once I make it through some city streets, I’ll have a beautiful ride along the Green River Trail, which will drop me right to my office’s front door.

Thanks again!

Kevin

Reply
court
1 month ago

Fantastic! It sounds like you found an excellent bike for your needs, Kevin. Thanks for sharing your experience with both Kalkhoff and Rad Power Bikes… this is the kind of user feedback that will really inform others and it brought me a smile :)

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Matanumi
35 mins ago

2 grand for this now...

Gear Gadgets and Gizmos
3 weeks ago

I do believe although very convenient the reality is making it a quick release makes it much easier to steal and this was designed to be a commuter that will get locked up outside.

Big Ed
1 month ago

I'm guessing the 7 morons that voted thumbs down have those out-dated coal-powered bikes. LOL

pie189
3 months ago

Hopes the build quality compared to the Mariner?

Jesus H Medrano
4 months ago

which would u reccomend for the price, this or the radcity?? it would be my first ebike and am interested in range and power and overall quality.

Ginette Gagné
4 months ago

Jesus H Medrano ☹️ I guess he is busy with other things. I don't mind looking elsewhere and trying to find some answers. He does great work, so I guess everyone is trying to get to him... 😉

Jesus H Medrano
4 months ago

Ginette Gagné yea, he has chimed in though, i have asked in another of his videos with no response

Ginette Gagné
4 months ago

Jesus H Medrano I am asking myself the same question... Comparing the RadCity Step-Thru....

harveyboy45
4 months ago

No mention of wheel locks on this one. Zefal do a great wheel hub and quick release lever seat post lock.

Smurdle450
8 months ago

Quick note; the pedal assist levels can be adjusted. You can program it for 3,5, or 9 levels of assist, in that little setup menu you talked about.

David Macdonald
8 months ago

To be honest court I think you were a bit critical of this bike it seems to be a lot a very reasonable price very nice frame and quite frankly you are pretty nit picky.

Jacques Gravelle
9 months ago

geez, cort , i cant find any specs on the battery, volts, amperage.

fromkentucky
9 months ago

A narrow-wide chainring would keep it secure.

ElectricBikeReview.com
9 months ago

Great point

xyrenx
10 months ago

Hello, I'd like to start off by saying thank you for all your videos! I'm on the verge of buying my first electric bike and your vids are helping to narrow down my choices, but before I take the leap I was curious how well this bike fairs in rain? I live in Seattle and unfortunately being the rainy city it's almost guarenteed I'll be stuck in a wet spot at some point.

Smurdle450
9 months ago

No prob. VoltBike was very good, and responded to my question within the hour of asking. These guys seem to care about their customers.(Or, even people like me: Soon-to-be customers.)

xyrenx
10 months ago

Smurdle450 Dude really appreciate you finding that info! I'm getting this on my next paycheck and a little nervous about dropping the bills, but this brings some reassurance.

Smurdle450
10 months ago

I reached out to Voltbike with the same question, and this is my response, quoted. "VoltBike Elegant is using waterproof components and is fine to ride in rain. The battery is partially build inside the frame.
I would not recommend however to store under the rain. Always store your bike under cover. Otherwise it will be fine to ride in the rain."

So it looks like that it can be ridden in the rain!

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

Great question, I cannot say for sure because I only tested a new model, but sometimes the cheaper bottom brackets and headsets aren't sealed and can start to squeak after getting wet. If you use some lubricants it could help, I think there are sprays and also just some cleaners... at least this model is a bit more affordable so as it wears down naturally you can afford to fix parts or maybe even replace it sooner. Maybe people in the forums would know if they own it: https://electricbikereview.com/forum/forums/voltbike/

Raj Singh
11 months ago

how many price in indian price, & how can get i

Ginette Gagné
4 months ago

Go to voltbike.ca

Raj Singh
11 months ago

and automatice recharge systam it

Raj Singh
11 months ago

and accessories

Mexica, Eagle Warrior
11 months ago

Nice bike, with a few upgrades this will still be Way under name brand bikes

daMacroGuy
11 months ago

Good review as always. That rear fender was all over the place when traveling on uneven surfaces. With the crappy asphalt roads here in Hawaii, I'd have to re-engineer that fender before it drove me nuts. Front fenders are a non-starter for me since the bike carriers on Honolulu's transit buses clamp down on the front wheel. I'm sure Volt could have done a better job on the fenders and still kept their $1299 price point. Still, I'd consider this Volt before spending nearly a $1k on a DIY with a Golden Motor Edge rear hub conversion kit on my existing Trek FX 7.2. I think I'll hold out a little longer until I see the Cross Current S at the local dealership. Got to get it right for my first ebike!

edwin pringle
1 month ago

If you wanna get it right you dam sure don't want a juiced anything, left a bad taste in my mouth.

daMacroGuy
10 months ago

Hawaii residents definitely get screwed on shipping fees. The good news is I emailed VoltBike and George Krastev in Sales and Technical Support informed me they would ship to Hawaii for an additional $50 on top of their usual shipping fee of $70. In comparison, I was looking at the RadRover ebike and Rad Power Bikes wants $400 because they ship by UPS Air. The "Ship To Hawaii" freight forwarding service is not an option because they won't ship ebikes with Lithium Ion batteries.

Jon Neet
11 months ago

daMacroGuy, since you live on Oahu, and I live on the big Island near Hilo, we both deal with very wonky shipping fees. Some ebike makers DON"T SHIP TO HAWAII period. And probably not to Alaska either. More and more Amazon stuff won't ship to me in Hawaii too. I'm also looking at bikes like 3-4 Vilano ebikes from Walmart. But Walmart doesn't do the ship to store on Hawaii Island (maybe the whole state).

daMacroGuy
11 months ago

Any plans on updating your reviews on the bikes from Prodecotech? The Phantom XR was another one I was strongly considering.

ElectricBikeReview.com
11 months ago

I'll be reviewing the CrossCurrent S soon (filmed, but holding since they are low on inventory), it's a great ebike :)

William Aung Leyraud
11 months ago

Thanks for your review Court, I ended up ordering their urban folding bike. Can't wait to receive it. Have you seen the Loud Bycicle Horn? It's like a car horn for bycicles. Looks good stuff. Keep on making great reviews!

Jon Neet
11 months ago

One consideration when you live in the states of Hawaii and 'or Alaska is shipping. In my case, I don't have mail delivery to my house, and use a Post Office box. The Post Office has limits on size and weight that they will deal with. If I order something from Amazon, and it's too large to put in my little PO box, they hold tha package at the post office and i pick it up. Here is what I'm getting at. If I tried to order, say an Everly 202 non-folding bike, the size of the package would probably be too large for the Post Office to deal with. BUT, some of these more compact folding bikes, I bet could be ordered to my Post Office box, and they would hold it for me to pick up. The Everly would have to be shipped UPS or Fedex, and the cost would probably be much higher for the shipping. Just one other consideration.

ElectricBikeReview.com
11 months ago

Hey William, I heard about those horns! Be careful not to blow your own ears out XD and yeah, I hope the folding VoltBike works great for you once it arrives, feel free to post about it in the EBR forums, I think I reviewed the fat folding model from them and liked it

Lynn Recker
11 months ago

Court, you mentioned that the software controller allows a person to lower the speed for the bike (in all or select?) levels of pedal assist. May I suggest a reason why that might be desirable. You often mention often that you enjoy the idea of using the throttle to get that 'push' off of a stop (stop sign/light, etc). There could be people for whom an electric bike in a level of pedal assist (as chosen by the user) offers that same boost to their cycling experience. Such a person might be able (and happy) to move their ebike at 10-15mph without any pedal assist in a commute or well-travelled circuit and only desire any motor pedal assist from standstills or on the occasional hill at a lower speed. It's sort of more to the human side of the human/electric hybid idea in using an ebike. The only thing I would hope that the bike would allow would be that one could lower that top speed in just one (any one) selected pedal assist level. And with 9 this bike would allow for a good selection in which one could tailor your commute/circuit (or multiple circuits) to the pedal assist level and if a higher speed is neccessary one could simply change the pedal assist level (if changing the speed doesn't do it in all). Just an idea about lowering that speed.

ElectricBikeReview.com
11 months ago

Interesting, thanks for the feedback, I think that each control setup has a different strength (like safety, full power, instant control) but there's always a trade-off. I try to communicate consistently from my own point of view, and it's okay if that is different from what someone else wants, maybe seeing or hearing "my way" helps to establish what different is and why something else might be better. Anyway, thanks for sharing Lynn :)

NFmangatoo
11 months ago

This bike has a lot of features. I think it’s a nice bike. Nice video.

Jon Neet
11 months ago

Do you ship to Hawaii 96749?

ElectricBikeReview.com
11 months ago

Thanks! I do my best to be thorough and fair when reviewing :)

VoltBike
11 months ago

Yes, Voltbike Elegant is great commuter. It comes with large LCD screen, Badang motor, Tektro Disc brakes...all well recognized components.

Olivier Sourie
11 months ago

Will you be visiting Chris in NY again this autumn? Have you seen the new Delite and Supercharger form R&M? It would be nice to see a review of these bikes form you!

Olivier Sourie
11 months ago

Hi Court, yes I did see that episode with Heiko Müller. Very nice to see him and his wife visiting NY and talking about the philosophy and future of R&M!! You really should come to Europe and see how all these ebike brands do in our region.

ElectricBikeReview.com
11 months ago

Hi Olivier! Yeah, I'm pretty sure we'll be hanging out again soon, filming the latest and greatest. R&M has been easy to work with and I enjoyed meeting Heiko at the event in Brooklyn that Chris put on. Did you see that video?

vernon gordon
11 months ago

I thought this was a Surface 604 Rook at first glance, however the differences are quite obvious.Great review again. Keep up the good work.

VoltBike
11 months ago

Yes, the frame is the same as on the Rook model which is using down-tube battery. However our main purpose was to build more affordable bike while still using brand name components like Tektro, Shimano, Bafang and Samsung. Customers can always upgrade those down the road if required without spending twice as much.

ElectricBikeReview.com
11 months ago

Yeah... the build quality is different, I still think Surface 604 offers great value and has a beautiful product (I like their paint jobs better) but it's nice to see a cheap alternative as well

Dave's Outdoors Adventures
11 months ago

Hi Court,Nice buget class 2 bike for the newbie in to the electric bike community .The tires are cheap but you can get schwable tires 26x2.0 with k guard from £12-£16 / $15-$20 each (not a deal breaker ) from ebay/amazon.Nice head unit/motor,many standard parts from any bicycle outlet.cheap as chip = many happy miles......... :) ATB,Dave

Dave's Outdoors Adventures
11 months ago

Hi Court,Yes.true.The last pair of Maxxis tires I had was back in the day,about in 2002 when I was 32yrs old(yes,32yrs old) was 26x 3.00.. on a kind of predecessor to 4" fat tire of modern day.
I bought a alloy "custom" plain yellow frame and built a custom bike with rear flaired chain stay,16" hard tail,ridge 1" black forks(not 1/8"),Wide flat 1/8" handlebars,2 finger V brakes with 1"to 1/8" quill,32 "ish" tooth front single cog,a rear 7 speed std free wheel,a tiny selle royal seat at the lowest setting (being only a 5f 4" power lifter,then) ,all black accessories, shimano sis gears,26" all black alloy wheels.
Not electric,mmmm..... Electric,that was just a dream back then,a very expensive idea.Carrying lead acid batteries ,NO thanks.
I suppose compared to today's bikes it was a slimmed down version of a fat bike/ jump bike/ beach cruiser style ,15 years ago.costing me about £500/$650+ from just a frame,a 1 off build.
I built my first frankenstein bike in the late 1970's,I was about 8 years old with my dad's help out of 3 or 4 other bikes.
my latest creation is on my youtube page,my electric bike class 1 conversion kit
ATB,Dave

ElectricBikeReview.com
11 months ago

Thanks Dave, yeah! I think reflective tires and those with K-Guard would be worth considering but the Maxxis tires here have Silkworm protection, so at least it's not super basic hardware