Flash V1 Bike Review

Flash V1 Electric Bike Review
Flash V1 Bike
Flash V1 Shimano Tourney Tx Derailleur
Flash V1 Bike Shimano Mechanical Disc Brakes 180 Mm
Flash V1 Bike Ergonomic Grips Clean Handlebar Flat
Flash V1 Bike Mechanical Disc Brake Levers
Flash V1 Bike Integrated Headlight Tube
Flash V1 Ebike Headlight
Flash V1 Selle Royale Active Saddle
Flash V1 Bike Rear Disc Brake
Flash V1 Bike Shimano Tourney 12 34t Cassette Derailleur
Flash V1 Bike Tail Light
Flash V1 Integrated Lcd Control Center
Flash V1 Electric Bike Profile Left
Flash V1 Electric Bike Review
Flash V1 Bike
Flash V1 Shimano Tourney Tx Derailleur
Flash V1 Bike Shimano Mechanical Disc Brakes 180 Mm
Flash V1 Bike Ergonomic Grips Clean Handlebar Flat
Flash V1 Bike Mechanical Disc Brake Levers
Flash V1 Bike Integrated Headlight Tube
Flash V1 Ebike Headlight
Flash V1 Selle Royale Active Saddle
Flash V1 Bike Rear Disc Brake
Flash V1 Bike Shimano Tourney 12 34t Cassette Derailleur
Flash V1 Bike Tail Light
Flash V1 Integrated Lcd Control Center
Flash V1 Electric Bike Profile Left

Summary

  • A sleek, urban electric bike with motion-sensing alarm and tracking through the app, single-tube design is reinforced for strength, integrated lights and turn signals
  • The 500 watt planetary geared hub motor is zippy but light and compact, the bike only weighs ~45 lbs but the battery pack is not easily removable, quick release on front wheel
  • Responsive 12-magnet cadence sensor and twist throttle, maximum assisted speed of 28 mph for quick commutes and errands, basic 7-speed cassette, 180 mm mechanical disc brakes
  • The unique touch-screen display looks cool and cleans up the handlebar but requires more head movement to look down, button pads on left and right are intuitive, no bottle cage bosses, mid-frame kickstand can get in the way

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Flash

Model:

V1 Bike

Price:

$1,999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2), Speed Pedalec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive, 2 Year Components

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

20172018

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

45.7 lbs (20.72 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

21 in (53.34 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

21" Seat Tube Length, 23.5" Reach, 24” Stand Over Height, 25.75” Width, 71” Length

Frame Types:

Mid-Step

Frame Colors:

White, Silver, Charcoal

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Aluminum Alloy, 100 mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Quick-Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

135 mm Hub Spacing, 11 mm Threaded Axle

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Cafe Lock Bosses

Gearing Details:

7 Speed 1x7 Shimano Tourney Derailleur, Hyperglide HG 12-32T Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano SIS Index Thumb Shifter on Right

Cranks:

Sugino, Aluminum Alloy, 170 mm Length, 46T Chainring with Aluminum Alloy Chainring Guard, Square Tapered Bottom Bracket

Pedals:

VP 560 Plastic Platform with Raised Plastic Teeth

Headset:

Threadless Internal, 1-1/8" Straight

Stem:

Aluminum Alloy, 60 mm, 17° Rise, 31.8 mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Aluminum Alloy, Low-Rise, 655 mm Length

Brake Details:

Shimano Mechanical Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Four-Finger Levers with Motor Inhibitors

Grips:

Ergonomic Rubber, Locking, Black

Saddle:

Selle Royale, Active, Black

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

300 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

34.9 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Kenda Kranium, 26" x 2.1", (54-559)

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

40 to 65 PSI, 2.8 to 4.5 BAR

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Integrated LED Headlight, Integrated LED Taillight, Optional Custom Plastic Fenders ($59), Optional Custom Rear Beam Rack ($69), Optional Front Bar Mount Basket ($59), Optional Bar Mount Cup Holder ($18)

Other:

Non-Removable Integrated Downtube Battery Pack, 1.14 lb 2.0 Amp Sans Electronic Charger

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bafang

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Battery Brand:

Panasonic

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11.6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

417.6 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Display Type:

Flash Branded, Top Tube Integrated, Non-Removable, Greyscale Backlit LCD

Readouts:

Battery Level (7 Bar), Current Speed, Pedal Assist Level (0-4)

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pads: +, -, Left Turn Signal on Left Clicker, Lights, Horn and Right Turn Signal on Right Clicker, Bluetooth App

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Twist Throttle (12 Magnet Cadence Sensor)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)

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Written Review

The Flash V1, priced at $1,999, is the first offering from Flash Bike and comes with some pretty cool tech as well as a sleek, urban frame that is surprisingly sturdy despite it’s single-tube design. It feels like the V1 is a great choice for shorter rides in an urban environment, especially because of it’s integrated GPS tracking system that keeps an eye on the bike whenever it’s armed. The V1 has a 500-watt geared hub motor, a top pedal-assist speed of 28 mph and estimated max range of 50 miles. I personally like the look of the V1 – the front and rear frame-lights remind me of a Vanmoof and the control center on the down tube looks like something you’d see on a Stromer, which is cool since those rides can run $5k+. In fact, I think the biggest selling point of the V1 is the tech itself. The control center, which is located on the top portion of the down tube, displays current speed, battery level via a seven-bar battery indicator and pedal-assist level. There’s also an app that can be used to sync to the bike, which displays a few more bits of information like trip time and a tripometer. But more than that, the bike also has GPS and cellular, and when synced with the app can tell you exactly where the bike is at any given time and also alerts the owner if someone is tampering with or trying to steal the bike. When the V1 is armed (as opposed to “off”) the motion sensors and GPS are activated. If the bike is jostled, a mild alarm sounds, and if it’s jostled again or moved from it’s current location, the bike emits a much louder beeping noise and also alerts the owner via a push notification to their cell phone. Very cool. There is, however, a downside to this tech: it’s always drawing power from the battery. This means the battery is always being drained just a little bit, and after a week or so of not riding, the battery can lose as much as 50% of its charge. So if you go on vacation and come back, you may have to charge the V1 back up a bit before riding. It’s important to note the V1 will still lose charge over time even if it is left plugged in since the charger shuts off once the bike reaches 100% charge. In other words, it doesn’t trickle charge.

The V1 has some other really interesting tech that I haven’t seen on other electric bikes before. Most notably, it has integrated front and rear running lights, a powerful 450-lumen front headlight with three power modes, turn signals, an 85 decibel horn and even a brake light that activates whenever the brake levers are depressed. I love this feature as I feel it provides some serious layers of added safety. The running lights are on whenever the bike is on, but the main headlight can be toggled off to save battery. The main headlight is great as far as beam pattern goes – it has decent spill and throw – but because it’s integrated into the frame itself, it can’t be adjusted. I think this is fine as Flash did a good job of setting the beam angle, but for those that want to angle it up and down themselves to help with different types of terrain, that won’t be possible. The V1 also has motor inhibitors, which automatically cut power to the motor whenever the brakes are activated. This is a great feature to save unnecessary wear and tear on the motor and to keep you safe and in control. The brakes themselves are relatively powerful thanks to the 180 mm rotors, but the brake levers are a bit basic, requiring more hand strength and not being adjustable like hydraulic levers. It would be great if the V1 had hydraulic brakes, or at least the option to upgrade to them, but even with the mechanical brakes I believe the stopping power is more than ample, especially since the V1 only weighs 45.7 pounds. It’s always a challenge trying to balance expensive premium parts against a reasonable price point and I feel that Flash has done a great job here overall.

Technically, the V1 has a top speed of 28 mph with pedal assist, but with the 500-watt hub motor, I found it difficult to reach that speed, even on flat terrain. Granted, I weigh 200 pounds and was carrying about 30 pounds of camera gear with me. Lighter riders may be able reach the top speed more easily. Having a throttle on an electric bike is great, but a potential issue with that can be accidental activation when at a standstill. However, with the V1, the pedal-assist mode always starts at 0 whenever the bike is turned on. So neither the pedal assist nor the throttle will activate until the rider manually increases the pedal assist mode to a positive setting. Just another cool safety feature with the V1. I was worried that with a top speed of 28 mph and a single-tube frame I would get some serious frame flex, but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. I think this can be attributed to the three gussets on the frame that add to the overall rigidity and structural integrity. The 12-magnet cadence sensor on the V1 is quite sensitive and activates with even the slightest pedaling. The motor also shuts off relatively quickly once I stop pedaling or pulled the brakes. Pedaling from 0 to almost 28 is efficient and the seven gears were just enough to cover it, but the drivetrain is another area that has been specced down to save money. The derailleur is an entry-level Shimano Tourney and the shifter is a big thumb design that stays out of the way of your button pad and throttle but isn’t as quick or easy to reach. Note that because there are button pads on both the left and right side along with brake levers that have motor inhibitors and the shifter piece, the cockpit is a bit crowded… so this even though the display panel is way down on the top tube, at least that isn’t adding more clutter up top.

So what’s the overall paradigm or philosophy of use for the V1? I initially thought it would be a good commuter bike, but there are a few aspects of this bike that, after some consideration, make me think it would be better suited for shorter jaunts through the city. First and foremost, while the battery is technically removable, it’s not at all easy to do so. In order to take out the battery, the rear wheel must first be taken off, then the cap on the end of the frame must be removed and finally the battery itself – probably not something you’d want to do while standing at a bike rack outside your favorite coffee shop. Because the battery isn’t super easy to remove, it means that (generally speaking) the bike must be taken inside to charge. For some, this may not be an issue, but I suspect not every office space and coffee shop would allow a bike inside. So because of this one feature, I really think the V1 is better suited for shorter treks as opposed to commuting long distances. The V1 also lacks suspension, which can make longer rides a little uncomfortable, and while you can opt for fenders from Flash, they don’t come stock. And as I’m sure you know, no fenders can equate to wet and dirty pants. There doesn’t appear to be any fender bosses, although there are some threaded eyelets on the back of the frame that look like they can be used for a cafe lock (or maybe a rack if you really get creative, based on where they are positioned). Of course, one could always go for aftermarket fenders that attach to the seat post but those rarely look as good as factory fenders, and they can be difficult to keep straight. All this to say, while the V1 could certainly be used for commuting in certain circumstances, it probably would be better for shorter trips.

The V1 has some seriously cool tech that can usually only be found on much more expensive bikes like the Stromers, but with a price tag of $1,999, it makes sense that Flash would have to save money somewhere. And it looks like they did this by going with mechanical disc brakes as opposed to hydraulic, an entry-level Tourney derailleur, non-adjustable brake levers and plastic pedals. Sure, you can replace those pedals for $25 with some Wellgo alloy platforms off of Amazon (and I would totally do this as I have larger feet) but even still, I think the V1 is a good bike for the money – it looks great and rides just as well, it has some really cool safety features like the turn signals, brake lights, headlight, horn and GPS and cellular and even even has a throttle, something I always like to use to get going after lights and stop signs. Big thanks to Flash for partnering with me on this review and to Nick for heading all the way out to California to talk about the V1 with me.

Pros:

  • The V1 has an integrated control center in the down tube that displays current speed, battery level and pedal-assist level, and when paired with a smartphone via the Flash app, can notify the owner whenever the V1 is being tampered with as well as provide an exact location thanks to the integrated GPS and cellular (which is free!)
  • Integrated front and rear lights look clean and function well, with flashing running lights whenever the bike is on, three-mode front headlight, brake-activated back light and turn signals
  • Motor inhibitor automatically cuts power to the motor whenever the brakes are activated, preventing extra wear and tear on the motor itself by accidentally fighting against it while braking
  • The V1 offers both pedal-assist and throttle override, which means riders can pedal it like a traditional electric bike or just use the throttle if they want to treat it more like a scooter or moped (but the maximum speed of 28 mph is only achievable with the throttle)
  • Three gussets on the single-tube frame add tons of rigidity to prevent frame flex and speed wobble even when traveling at high rates of speed
  • large 180 mm mechanical disc brakes do a good job at providing ample stopping power, the cables can stretch and the brake levers require a bit more hand strength than hydraulic but they help to keep the cost down
  • The buttons on the left and right side of the handlebars make it easy to switch pedal-assist modes as well as toggle the front headlight on and off and use the horn
  • Smaller 26-inch tires add to the overall compact look and feel to the V1 and contribute to low standover height, which is great for people like me with shorter inseams
  • Price tag of $1,999 isn’t bad considering the tech that comes with the V1, there’s only one frame size but you do get three color choices

Cons:

  • The integrated control center, while nice, is on the down tube, which can make actually viewing it while riding difficult and even dangerous, you have to really tilt your head down to see it and that obstructs the view in front of you
  • The battery isn’t easy to remove, limiting options for charging on the go, for those that want to treat this like a commuter bike they may find it difficult to bring the entire bike indoors to find an outlet… but it least it’s relatively lightweight at ~45 lbs whereas most competing products are 50+ lbs
  • It looks like the fork and rear portions of the bike have bosses for adding fenders or racks, but the pattern was unique so I’m not sure all aftermarket parts will work (the rear bosses were on top of the seat stays vs. the sides)
  • The front headlamp provides ample illumination for riding at night, but because it’s integrated into the frame itself, the beam angle can’t be adjusted up or down
  • While the gussets do stiffen up the bike and reduce frame flex, riders that weigh more than 200 pounds may experience some frame flex, this is just a side-effect of not having a more traditional triangle-frame bike that is renown for it’s structural integrity and rigidity
  • The GPS and cellular are awesome features, but they are constantly draining the battery and after a week or so of not riding the battery can lose as much as 50% of its charge, this can’t be avoided unless the bike is periodically unplugged and plugged back in to trickle charge it
  • The kick stand is located in the middle of the frame and interferes with the pedals when deployed, this can make pulling the bike backwards – like when it’s tightly stored in a garage – difficult
  • No suspension makes for a stiff ride and after long distances it can become uncomfortable, especially when riding at higher speeds! Consider swapping the stock post with a suspension seat post for more comfort (the ergonomic grips and saddle are nice)

Resources:

court
7 months ago

Hi Dani! Nice to meet you, thanks for reaching out and great job on your website! I cannot read it or understand the language spoken in the videos but I can tell you’ve done a great job, very similar with weighing the scooter and showing the different parts. Yes, I’d love to remain in touch and possibly review the different products coming from your customers who are going into the USA. You can reach me directly using the contact page on EBR here.

Reply
Mike
6 months ago

Not picking on the Flash here, but there are just too many brands out there now, that are not paying attention to what ebike customers want, feel they NEED, and why they choose ebikes vs alternate moods of transport or physical recreation. The Flash’s fatal flaws are going to be: 1) no easy removal of battery, and 2) no throttle.

Anyone (at least in the midwest, and likely many other geographies for other reasons Im about to cite) is going to want an EASILY removable battery, for when the bike is not in use during winter months, AND many will want that for being able to carry a spare battery to gain distance or range for a trip on the ebike. The draining by the added features of GPS and motion detection, makes the need even greater. The benefit of those two, aren’t likely to off-set the downside of non-easy removal.

Most ebike riders also want a throttle here in the US. There are many uses for it, that include even safety reasons or purposes, such as (one example) in situations as being stopped on a hill, and wanting the quick ‘boost.’ This applies both to regular people, and ones who just aren’t up to physical fitness that they used to be, and want to get back biking again. (hence the purpose of ebikes for many in the first place). Just pedal assist doesn’t cut it for many buyers.

So what is happening here, is a dilution of the market for all ebike OEM entrants (i.e. meaning that each OEM doesn’t get enough volume to become sustainable, thus not helping the market to grow or buyers becoming disenchanted with their products and not advocating them enough to others), and fatal flaws taking an e-bike’s ranking from what could be a ‘9’ or ’10’ rating, on a scale of ‘1 to 10’, down to a 4 or 5. If the market has more than 50 brands out of 100 with these sorts of fatal flaws, it really slows the adoption of the ebikes into mainstream. It maybe hasn’t for Europe, but the market drivers for buying here in the US, are far different than there, with European people NEEDING/wanting them for transportation, and REALLY wanting them, as cars simply aren’t as viable there as they are here, and gas prices are 4 to 5 times what ours are here.

Its as if OEMs selling into the US keep hoping they can ‘shove’ these mid drives (which usually have no throttles) or throttle-less ebikes down the throats of the US consumers, and expect sales to really grow. I think they are over-estimating the fickle and highly particular US consumer. Its too bad, because a lot of these 100 or so brands could be much more than just ‘me-too’ offerings with some cool features, if they didn’t have the one or two fatal flaws.

Reply
court
6 months ago

Thanks for sharing your opinions and insights here Mike, I agree that there are some glaring opportunities for improvement, important features like off-bike charging and the draw of GPS etc. on this bike. Some of the brands are really starting to refine their offering and lower the price point, which is helping to drive adoption, reliability and the overall reputation. I’m excited to now see Bosch powered ebikes in the $2.5k range and many hub motor options (with throttle) in the $1.5k like Juiced Bikes, Rad Power Bikes, Populo, and E-Glide. Magnum is doing a great job in between the lowest price and higher price point while still making their bikes available through shops vs. online direct.

Reply
Jeff
6 months ago

I agree about the battery issue, but the bike does have a throttle. I just used it last night. :-)

Reply
David Breininger
4 months ago

My wife bought our Flash about a year ago in pre-production phase, so she got it at a super discount price. The bike just arrived recently, so we are still discovering the nuances of ebike riding. She has asthma and finds the pedal assist invaluable for hill climbing and riding into the wind. I am 6-5 and 245, and the frame is heavy enough and seat post high enough to accommodate me. The reviews by others are pretty much spot-on in their assessment and criticisms. We are older (65+) so less likely to push the bike to its limits. That said, it’s a gas to ride and the pedal assist really gives you a boost, even at Level 1! I can ride it 20+ mph with little pedal effort, 24+ into a strong wind the other day, and I have a lot of frontal sail area. We will be raising the handle bars to adopt a more upright posture so as to relieve stress on shoulders and neck.

Reply
court
4 months ago

Great feedback David! I’m glad to hear that you and your wife are enjoying the bike so much. Ebikes are a wonderful way to spend time together and overcome physical challenges and changes throughout life. Thanks again for saying hi and sharing :)

Reply

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john csokmay
10 hours ago

I got my Como 3.0 in January 2018 and have about 1200 miles on it. I live in central Florida and usually ride a pretty flat road most of the time. I mainly run in the ECO mode (1 bar), but occasionally boost higher when needed (wind, hills, etc). I keep a log of time and mileage. In ECO mode, I typically get about 3 1/2 hours of ride time and average about 40-45 miles per full charge. Occasionally I can get 50+ miles if the wind isn't too bad. I usually run until the battery is down to one bar, although sometimes it gets down to the flashing mode before I get home. With the battery full, I have found that I get about 45-50 minutes of ride time for each of the first two battery bars. It seems like I get less ride time per bar when it gets lower. That last battery bar is tricky. I may get 20 minutes of ride time before it starts flashing. I wish there was a better way of knowing how much time or mileage I have left before I have no assist. I hope that the Vado/Como Mission Control App will help us get a better handle on what is happening when the battery is low.

Electrarider
1 day ago

Well I got back home from the bay area. Went for a ride today still trying to hit my 40 mile goal, once again I fell short. I did log 35.2 miles today but the high winds were killing me, I could've never rode that far on my regular bike. So the real reason for this post is to ask if anybody actually ran out of power with their Como 3.0. I did make it home but was a little worried, battery life was going faster than usual (because of the wind I'm sure) The Battery was down to the last mark and it started flashing just wondering how much longer I had. I have 85 miles on the Odometer now and it is less than a week old, not too bad for missing 2 days of riding. So far I've been through high heat and now super high winds, still very happy with the Como 3.0. Also I haven't seen any posts from jhorrick really would like to hear if he got his Como 3.0 fixed.

Nova Haibike
1 day ago

I moved the button pad from the left shifter/grip area up to the front of the bar, next to the light. So now I have room for my hands inboard of the shifters, giving me four different hand positions in total. If feels great! Especially since I received and installed a PearTune MSO module a few days ago. The verdict on the PearTune MSO? It works! It was an easy install, but the motor on my bike will not swing down after removing two of the motor mounting bolts, which is what the instructions and installations videos I have seen call for...I have to remove all three bolts. Other than that, it is relatively straightforward, although plugging it in is ever-so-slightly confusing.

The PearTune MSO activates with a short press of the walk mode button (which is normally disabled on my bike; you can also choose a version which is activated by the light button). The assist level indicator on the display flashes to let you know it is active. I don't know what the upper speed limit is; I personally run out of steam at 32 mph. Other than that, I can ride cruise at 22 mph, and 26-27 mph at a harder pace.

Seeker
3 days ago

Ok I ran mine basically all the way down. The display was flashing empty at around 18 miles on the display. I rode around 2 more miles before I could check voltage and it read 48 .2. Also the led's on the battery showed 3 lit.

I kept riding using the throttle a lot. I past the 24 mile mark with 20 mph still there. At around 28 miles mine cut out with no throttle or assist available.

Turning off the display and back on the throttle and assist would come back. If I used throttle past around 16mph it would die again but would work at slower speeds for awhile. I never had the slow mode unless I kept it slower myself.

Before I got home I could not use the throttle at all without the cut out problem but peddle assist got me home ok.

The voltage when I got to the house was 44.5. I only made 30 miles and this is with the 14Ahr pack.

DaveS
5 days ago

I don't think there is much parasitic load on the pack when it is on the bike, so taking it off doesn't help.

Well if it has a half a packs worth of charge in it, it could go really long time. Oh, and to be clear, it's not the pack that starts flashing, it's the fuel gauge on the display. It goes like this ...
ten bars in a solid outline of a battery
nine bars in a solid outline of a battery
...
one bar in a solid outline of a battery
zero bars in a blinking outline of a battery (this is when my bike started getting slow)

This caught me off guard, so I wan't thinking straight, but when I get close to zero again, I'm going to see if there is a hard transition between one bar and zero (indicating more of a energy conservation mode kicking in) or if it's gradual indicating more of a real battery depletion, which I don't expect.

I don't know what the value is for the low voltage cutoff on the Shred.

Seeker
5 days ago

Testing battery pack vs display is going to take awhile for me more then likely. Dave will hopefully get his done sooner.

I charged mine 100% today and fully charged voltage was 54.6 and that is what it should be. I let it sit for 1 to to 2 hours (not on bike) and voltage was 54.4.

Went for short 6.4 mile ride half of which was on a trail I had never been on. There were lots of downed trees I either had to almost drag bike under or over and it was hot so it cut my ride short.

Display showed 9 bars and voltage was 52.8 so that's about right I would think.

I am taking the pack off after every ride for the first testing.

Do have a questions. After the battery starts flashing and bike slows down any idea how far on level ground before bike cuts off? Also does display have bars left when the pack starts flashing?

Also any idea what low voltage cutoff voltage is? 20% should be around 42.1V.

Hope can get out in a little while and finish draining the pack.

Nova Haibike
6 days ago

Has anyone here watched Cobra Kai, the YouTube Red series about the continuation of the Karate Kid saga? Today I binged-watched all 10 shows of the premiere season yet again. :p In the show there is a flashback scene which is supposed to be set in 1979, where future rival to Daniel LaRusso...Johnny Lawrence...is riding his BMX bike. There is where I noticed the problems. First, the front brake lever is not even connected to the front brake. But even worse, the brake levers are Shimano Deore LX Servo Wave V-brake levers, which were not invented until the late 1990's! :eek:

christob
7 days ago

Following other forum members, I wanted to share my observations now that I’ve accumulated 1,000 miles on the Café ebike from https://www.vintageelectricbikes.com/ Vintage Electric Bikes (“VEB”) of California.

Background: In January with my 50th birthday looming in August, being out of shape and at least 75 pounds overweight, I suddenly decided I would pursue an ebike. I hoped it would introduce enjoyable (and sustainable) exercise into my too sedentary lifestyle. I tipped the scales at 303 pounds (6 feet 2 inches tall) when I received the ebike on March 2. I figured the ebike would comfortably get me back into biking (with Assist eliminating the pedal-bike “miseries” such as hills I couldn’t tackle, range/fatigue limitations, etc.) And with a 6.7-mile one-way office commute on paved trails, I had no excuse not to attempt biking to work – which would then introduce at least 50 ‘unavoidable minutes’ of some level of exercise into those days.

I assumed the riding experience would eventually be fun – based on a throttle ebike rental years ago for a Golden Gate Bridge ride. But it has exceeded all my hopes & I’ve ridden nearly every day the weather permitted since early March 2nd (including some commutes on mornings in the low 30’s.) I now take a long detour after work to triple the ride home. With 1,000 miles and 22 office commuting days so far, I’m optimistic this has gelled into a new, enjoyable habit -- exactly what I wanted an ebike to do. I love that I can’t wait to get back on the bike – I’ve *never* looked forward to exercise, ever…! Even when I actively lost weight in the past... Now, it feels good getting home dripping sweat, as I see the pounds melting away…!

This is my first ebike, and my first sustained bike riding in at least 20 years. I took advantage of a deal on a demo bike VEB had – 74 miles clocked on the master odo plus a very minor scuff and a tiny dent on the rear fender – was enough for them to offer an attractive discount. (This was after a lengthy round of emails to answer my many newbie questions about ebikes. Eddie in Sales was very helpful and responsive.) The bike was shipped to Velofix, a mobile outfit, to do final assembly and deliver to me.

Key bike specs; 750w rear hub motor, 5 pedal-assist levels (no throttle mode), Class 3 / assist to 28mph, 48v 10.4Ah battery, chromoly steel frame, stocked tires 29x2 Schwalbe Fat Frank w/ Kevlar Guard, Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes, metal fenders in matching paint, Supernova 6v headlight and saddle-integrated red LED lights.

Likes / Positives (in no particular order):

[*]Looks, style and finish! I was immediately drawn to the style of this bike when searching. Test rode 3 other brands, but this kept calling me back. I find it a very handsome bike with a nostalgic character that reminded me of bikes from childhood memories. I really like the “Skyline Bronze” paint color vs. the ubiquitous black. The bike draws positive comments from folks on the trail, at the local bike shop and the office.
[*]VEB’s “small shop” outfit; I liked that the VEB team is a small, bike-enthusiasts-turned-makers outfit in the USA. I realize there can be pros & cons to a smaller size (vs. a huge player like Trek) but it held an appeal for me and hasn’t posed any problems (see Issue, later on.)
[*]2 - 3 hours full recharge. The charger (now) is 5 amps.
[*]Power. Level 4 and 5 are impressive and a lot of fun on an empty stretch of road. I’m not a speed junkie on the bike; I tend to hit max trip speeds for brief intervals, somewhere around 22-26mph on commutes or leisure rides (usually a downhill run.) Since I want exercise from most rides, I tend to stay in Level 1 whenever possible (gear-shifting regularly) while reserving Level 2 or 3 for when losing steam or on more serious / extended grades. In hindsight, I probably would have been fine with a 20mph ebike (VEB doesn’t have one in their lineup) – but I do like having that punch of power when I need it, and when I want the rush of that smooth speed!
[*]Leather-wrapped Velo saddle had integrated LED tail light. (Though I lost that in a saddle-change.)

Dislikes / Negatives (in no order):

[*]No suspension elements available; makes for a stiff ride over pavement cracks, tree-root buckled asphalt, etc. I sort of wish I had focused on this more, during my research & trial rides.
[*]Certainly not a lightweight ebike at 56lbs w/ battery. (But feels solid as a tank.)
[*]No mounting lugs anywhere on the frame for a water bottle cage!
[*]The included Supernova headlight only has steady-on; would like a daytime flash/pulse mode.
[*]I sort of wish the display panel offered more detailed battery / energy data (as EBR Forum posts have made me more curious about all that. Although I’m honestly not sure how long I’d sustain interest in those detailed figures, realistically!) The display panel does provide: Current Speed, Avg Trip Speed, Max Trip Speed, Master Odometer, Trip Odometer, Trip Time Duration, a 5-bar battery gauge, plus an active ‘graphical, segmented arc’ bar-meter as a visual depiction of motor input in real time.

Gear Updates:

[*]My initial purchase added a rear VO Campeur rack, Abus Bordo Centium lock & Spurcycle bell.
[*]Replaced the stock, leather-wrapped cylindrical style grips with Ergon GP1 leather.
[*]Added Mirrycle mirror and Topeak cage-mount accessory onto handlebar.
[*]Banjo Brothers canvas pannier bag; not weatherproof, but I’m not riding in rain (at least, not deliberately, yet!)
[*]Replaced stock perforated Brooks-leather-clad Velo saddle with a Brooks B67 spring saddle, which meant losing the integrated LED rear light of the stock saddle; so…
[*]Added strap-on rechargeable LED’s – seatpost-mounted rear red flasher, and handlebar mounted white flasher for daytime.

Issues and Outcomes:

[*]A chirping rear-wheel squeak developed in the first couple weeks of riding. Between calls to VEB and investigations at my local shop, they couldn’t eliminate the sound (regardless of Assist level, pedaling or coasting.) VEB eventually sent me a whole new rear wheel / hub motor assembly, assuming it might be something faulty with the motor itself, after exhausting everything else.
[*]Curiously, the first full day of riding after the new wheel was installed (which by the way, did eliminate the chirp!) the Assist died completely, perhaps after 15 miles tallied that day on the new wheel. (This was at about 815 total miles on the bike.) It stopped assisting in any Level, on any terrain. (Although Walk Mode still worked to spin the rear wheel.) Later that same evening, the display panel would no longer power on.
Speculation was that the new wheel’s install could have inadvertently loosened or damaged wiring inside the controller (all within the metal battery-mount-bracket on the downtube.) So VEB sent a new controller / battery-mount, installed by my local shop. That restored the power-on capability and Walk Mode but did not resolve the Assist issue. At that point, VEB decided it was time to send a brand new replacement Café bike.
I found this outcome especially impressive since I’d purchased the first bike at a nice discount for being slightly used.

I personally suspect an electrical short occurred while riding after the new wheel went on; a short that fried the pedal-assist sensor at the bottom bracket. (I’m not a mechanic by any means!) That would seem to explain why Walk Mode worked (hub got juice from battery) yet Assist did not, with both the old and new controller. The pedal-assist sensor was the only thing that was NOT replaced during VEB’s troubleshooting… And during this failure period, the bike was behaving exactly as if it didn’t know I was actively pedaling. (I.e., it is a pedal-assist only, no throttle.)

I’m waiting on VEB’s autopsy of the first bike. But the “something shorted” idea may also be supported by what appeared to be slightly-melted plastic surrounding 2 of the female sockets on the battery mount receiving socket of the old controller. I only discovered the melted-looking bits the night Assist died, when I did an inspection of the bike at home to check all wiring connections while VEB prepared their trouble-shooting plan. I’m 99.9% sure that same plastic area was pristine when I got the bike; though it wasn’t an area I regularly examined since it was frequently covered by the installed battery.

Summary: So – now 1,000 miles in (all miles from both Café bikes) 14 weeks after delivery. (Winter weather, some travel, and finally the Assist failure left about 53 bike-able days in that 14 week span; though I managed about 25 pedal-only miles during the “no Assist” time; quite a different workout experience! ;) ) At this point, I’d say the lack of suspension is the only serious shortcoming I’ve got with the bike. Although I do plan to try out a suspension seat post (and maybe even the Redshift Shock Stop stem?) after I drop 25 more pounds… I’m thrilled to share I’ve already lost 26lbs in those 14 weeks – yay, ebikes!

VEB support and service has been exemplary during the troubleshooting and ultimate replacement; I’m happy to say their “small outfit” presented no challenges! (At one point I called their HQ to check on the latest action plan – a new guy I’d not spoken to before answered. As I said my name, he knew instantly who I was – turns out it was the owner of the company who’d answered; while I was appreciative of his apology about the situation, I was even more relieved that he was completely in the loop on my case. I’ll never know whether I would have received this level of resolution and smooth handling from one of the larger manufactures, but I’m glad I don’t have to find out, either!

Sweetwater
1 week ago

Did the Nyon conversion with tallpaul and Alaskan, new chain (tried the e11 but switched to the e10 for durability), new brake pads, new tires. Bike is running great with a ride up the local canyon last Wednesday. My rear light has burned out, any ideas on a replacement for the Haibike stock system? I'd like a flashing light back there if available.

MisterBritcom
1 week ago

I like the low profile of just being an old dude on a bike with a ratty milk crate. Nothing flashy to see here, just move along.
And it provides lots of space for extra reflectors or tail lights, as well as a ton of bungee points.
My wife crinkled her nose at it, but what could be more elegant? I like those collapsible wire panniers also, I'll have to see if Santa might bring some this year.

Bruce Arnold
2 weeks ago

Nice videos, @Reid , and thanks also to @TForan and @Asher for sharing their set-ups.

I use the Wald baskets too. I don't notice any rattle at all. I've used zip ties at strategic locations to snug them down.

The first two pictures show them on the bike, one open, the other folded. I never take them off. I got some https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXW28IP/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 from Amazon that fit the baskets perfectly. Put a quick square knot into the handles, and there is zero danger of anything bouncing out. Or I can use the https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003X5JF1Y/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 to strap something in.

You can see the Rok straps in their usual mode, securing my U-lock and cable and one canvas tote onto the rack.

So long as I'm doing Show and Tell, I may as well point out some recent mods.

First, you can't be too visible. I put this tail light under the seat. It will burn steady, or has two flashing modes. It will do turn signals, although I don't use this feature. And it will put those laser lines down on the pavement; they show up pretty well in dim light.

Second, I started getting a grinding noise when pedaling. At first I wondered if I was about to have bottom bracket problems, but then I decided that the bearings in the right pedal were going bad. I liked the look of the red pedals on Reid's bike (we've been trading ideas back and forth for months now) so I bought these. Grinding noise ceased.

Finally, the front fender got trashed so I tried another similar set. Amazon sent the wrong size (too narrow, just could not get them to stop rubbing the tire no matter how I fettled them.) Sent them back to Amazon and bought this mountain bike fender instead. It won't give as much protection to my lower extremities and I may have to add an extension, but I like the looks and it works well enough.

Gator
2 weeks ago

I am considering buying one of these bikes. Did you ever install the Giant Rack-It Metro E? Would love to see a pic if possible?

Mark Peralta
1 month ago

With all the trend and excitement about "torque sensing" and "proportional assist" technologies on ebikes, I still miss the old fashioned cadence sensing only hub motor for 3 major reasons.

First, on cadence sensing only, you can easily spin at high RPM providing a good cardio exercise (without sacrificing speed).

Second, you don't have to push your knees hard to attain the high cadence (no torque sensor to activate), thus, avoiding the grinding wear and tear of your knees.

Third reason is the thrill and adrenaline rush when spinning at the high cadence (it feels like driving a sports car in high rpm, getting ready to speed up or slow down at any moment).

The other advantage of this ebike setup (hub motor with cadence only sensor, + throttle) is that these are superior in stop and go city commuting with unmatched acceleration from a dead stop.

Unfortunately, there are only very few makers remaining that offer cadence sensing only hub driven ebikes.

The good news is that these ebikes are generally cheaper (less than 2 grands) and tend to be shunned away by many supposedly "sophisticated" buyers. Here is a list of hub driven ebikes that still offer the old fashioned cadence only sensor:

1. Magnum
2. Rad Power
3. Smartmotion (torque sensor can be switched off)
4. Juiced Bikes (torque sensor can be switched off)
5. Other less recognized Chinese sourced ebikes, like Electric Bike Company Model S, Flash V1 Bike, PIM Bicycles, Blix, etc..

However, you have to be careful in choosing, since the cheaper ones (rock bottom prices) have sacrificed quality, reliability, and safety. Besides, they have zero warranty and aftermarket support.

JRA
4 months ago

The only QR Front Hub is the Grin one. It is adaptable to 9mm standard QR, 15 and 20 TA and is the lightest Direct Drive hub on the planet of its watt class. It also includes a built in torque arm that makes a very positive connection and in all my miles on the bike it has held the 9mm QR in place.

You are right about the 1mm axle size difference that all the other nutted axle hubs have which people mainly pull out the file for as you suggest. Taking 1/2mm off each side of the dropout is not that big a deal if it is done correctly. But there were incorrect procedures done that did result in failures that have obviously tainted the front hub system forever it seems. That said my V1 bike has a 9c motor with a nutted axle that I had the dropouts widened on. Oh, and they are carbon fiber. Using the proper washers and locking it all down with a torque arm has worked on that bike for a couple thousand miles also with no ill effect.

And the use of carbon is about weight but not flexibility. It is about its ability to dampen vibrations and have a softer ride quality than aluminum but are as or more stiff torsionally.

I did a group road ride a few weeks ago on my mid drive MTB just to see if I could hang and in the lowest mode and 15psi in the tires I was able to keep up just fine but they were only averaging about 20mph. I missed my hub bike though and the ability to vary my cadence without varying my speed.

Kilopip
2 years ago

I was really excited about the sale of the Stromer ST1 V1 bikes and picked the Elite version last Tuesday. Drove it out the store and not even 2 kilometers in to the ride the chain snapped off. Got it back to the store and they installed a new chain. Took it to work and back next day and I have to say riding this bike was the most uncomfortable ride I ever had. My lower back and my shoulders were killing me. Next day I took it to work (12km ride) and on my lunch break I wanted to go and pick up some food and some 50 meters in to the ride I get No_Comm error, showing battery empty (it was at 80%). Had to pedal the thing back to the store with no assist and leave it there overnight. They were really great about it and gave me a loaner to tie me over until they fix the issue. Next day I called in to check what the issue was and they told me that the motor needs to be replaced. At that point I returned the loaner and got a full refund. I was quite disappointed and was expecting something more reliable from Stromer.

I found the riding experience to be lacking. I am not sure why the bike has 4 assist levels because city/tour/power all felt the same. I could bring the bike to it's max speed on city with very little exertion and could not see any difference in other 2 modes. It came with 14Ah battery which is supposed to give you longer range but I found the rate of discharge after my daily commute does not support that claim. After doing my commute of some 24 km the battery would be almost down to 50% and I never changed in to higher assists than City.

Pașca Alexandru
3 weeks ago

$2K bike with a $3 shifter...

F15Ranger
4 weeks ago

looks like something billy bob made in the shed

norman groves
2 months ago

I own one of these bikes, and I'll have to agree with almost everything said here...except the top speed. He mentions 28mph at least twice, and that is also what the company claims. However, in my experience, only Lance Armstrong, going downhill could ever hope to obtain 28mph. The power, even at level 4, seems to shut off at around 22mph. The best I've been able to achieve, for a very short downhill burst (like maybe 3 or 4 seconds) (with the wind at my back) was 25mph. Hopefully Flash will offer a software patch to fix this.

vick mora
4 months ago

is this bike good for hills

bogs harris
4 months ago

How heavy is it

Rick Gross
4 months ago

what does max estimated range mean? Is that will low pedal assist medium assist or no assist? Also are these legal where speed is limited to 32 km per hour or 20 MPH?

Fredrik Abbors
4 months ago

What types of tires are on the bike? Looks like Kenda but I am not sure.

Chad Wszolek
5 months ago

Whoa just realized you're reviewing this just a few minutes from where I live!

Marlinspike Mate
6 months ago

Looks like a great bike for urban center bike rental slots.

DementedDistraction
6 months ago

I really dig the minimalist look, the stop/turn signals, and I especially love the security system...but a non-removable battery, a computer display you have to look down to access, and the lack of a suspension fork pretty much kills this one for me.

Ddr Hazy
6 months ago

Lojack on the bike? That's cute.

TK Rozen
6 months ago

in the future it'd be nice if you set your camera down and rode past it so we can see what the bike looks like being ridden. Would have been nice with this bike especially with the smaller tires and compact design. I reckon the reviewer probably looked like a cramped up doofus on that thing

NFmangatoo
6 months ago

This bike has descent features and functions, it is very stylish. Nice review.

james eagle
7 months ago

Where can I get a new battery?

Jessa Phillips
7 months ago

that right handlebar is way too busy... most of those buttons should be on the left side so you can use your right hand to focus on running the throttle.

bparkinson1234
7 months ago

What happened to court?

ForbinColossus
7 months ago

On second look at this vid, it's interesting how those simple headlight/taillight extensions really make the cool look. Without that tubular can-light design note, it would appear as an average low end ebike. There should be some name for that design - it's a top tube overhang

james eagle
7 months ago

So no charging port?

Jay Gurung
7 months ago

Another good review Brent.

Bob A
7 months ago

Hello Court-Missed ya! Nice bike, but the non-removable battery is a deal killer. I would have liked to see if the bike can reach the 28 mph mark without too much effort or otherwise. Some ebikes have a 250 or 500 watt motor, but seem to cutout to 50% power at certain speeds. I do like the design and features in bike color white for my preference. Easier to be seen in traffic.

norman groves
2 months ago

He can't..it simply will not go 28mph. I have one, and the power seems to shut off at 22mph.

Steven Schwartzstein
7 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. If you've got a 28 MPH speed pedelec, show it going 28 MPH.

james eagle
7 months ago

Bob A the battery is removable!?