Focus JAM² Plus Pro Review

Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Electric Bike Review
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Maxxis Rekon Plus Tires Boost Setup
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Shimano E8000 Mid Motor Electric Bike
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Power Button Shimano Display Panel
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Rockshox Revelation Rl Air 140 Mm Suspension Fork
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Internal Cable Routing And Airflow Vents
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Shimano Deore Xt Hydraulic Disc Brakes 203 180
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Kind Shock E30i Dropper Seatpost
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro 11 Speed Shimano Xt Di2 Electronic Shifting
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Rockshox Deluxe Rt Air 140 Mm Rear Suspension
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Ebike Battery Charger
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro 4 Amp Electric Bike Charger Energy Bus Magnetic Plug
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Optional Tec Pack Battery 378 Wh
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Internal Battery Tube External Tec Pack
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Electric Bike Review
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Maxxis Rekon Plus Tires Boost Setup
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Shimano E8000 Mid Motor Electric Bike
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Power Button Shimano Display Panel
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Rockshox Revelation Rl Air 140 Mm Suspension Fork
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Internal Cable Routing And Airflow Vents
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Shimano Deore Xt Hydraulic Disc Brakes 203 180
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Kind Shock E30i Dropper Seatpost
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro 11 Speed Shimano Xt Di2 Electronic Shifting
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Rockshox Deluxe Rt Air 140 Mm Rear Suspension
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Ebike Battery Charger
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro 4 Amp Electric Bike Charger Energy Bus Magnetic Plug
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Optional Tec Pack Battery 378 Wh
Focus Jam Squared Plus Pro Internal Battery Tube External Tec Pack

Summary

  • A full suspension trail style e-mountain bike with 140 mm air suspension, available in four sizes and several configurations including 27.5" boost, 29er, and Shimano Di2 electronic shifting
  • Excellent weight distribution, standard 175 mm Q Factor, super short chain stay length for snappy nimble feel, stealthy design with battery completely encased in the downtube
  • Optional TEC Pack battery mounts on top of the downtube and doubles range for $699, bottle cage adapter uses the same mount for stock single-battery riding, comes with a dropper seat post
  • Faster 4 Amp charger, excellent two-year comprehensive warranty, all-Shimano drivetrain + drive systems using a single compact display, cannot remove the display or battery easily for protection off-bike

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Focus

Model:

JAM² Plus Pro

Price:

$5,999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Trail, Mountain

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Europe

Model Year:

2018

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

46.3 lbs (21 kg)

Battery Weight:

4.7 lbs (2.13 kg) (Optional TEC Pack 4.9 lbs)

Motor Weight:

6.35 lbs (2.88 kg)

Frame Material:

7005 Hydroformed Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

16.14 in (40.99 cm)17.32 in (43.99 cm)18.50 in (46.99 cm)19.68 in (49.98 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium 44 cm Specs: 17.75" Seat Tube, 22.25" Reach, 30" Stand Over Height, 30.25" Width, 75" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Mineral Green with Matte Black Accents

Frame Fork Details:

RockShox Revelation RL Air, 140 mm Travel, Compression Clicker with Lockout, Rebound Clicker, Boost Hub 110 mm Length, 15 mm Thru Axle Maxle

Frame Rear Details:

RockShox Deluxe RT Air, 140 mm Travel, Compression Lever, Preload Clicker, Boost 148 mm Hub, 12 mm Axle with 6 mm Allen Key

Attachment Points:

Bottle Cage Adapter

Gearing Details:

11 Speed 1x11 Shimano XT Di2 Derailleur with Shadow Plus, Shimano SLX 11-46T Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano Deore XT Di2 Electronic Triggers on Right

Cranks:

Shimano FC-E8000, Aluminum Alloy, 170 mm or 175 mm Length, 34T Narrow Wide Tooth Chainring with Plastic Chain Guide, 175 mm Q Factor

Pedals:

Concept Plastic Platform

Headset:

Acros 1-1/8" to 1-1/2", Threadless, Internal Cartridge Bearing, Sealed

Stem:

BBB, 0° Rise, 55 mm Length, Two 10 mm Spacers, 31.8 mm Clamp

Handlebar:

BBB, Flat, Alloy, 730 mm Length, 9° Backsweep, 30 mm Rise

Brake Details:

Shimano Deore XT Hydraulic Disc with 203 mm Front Rotor and 180 mm Rear Rotor, Two-Finger Shimano Deore XT Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Ergon GA2, Flat, Locking

Saddle:

Fizik Tundra Trail

Seat Post:

Kind Shock E30i Dropper Post 150 mm Travel

Seat Post Length:

200 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

31.6 mm

Rims:

DT Swiss H1700, 40 mm Width, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, DT Swiss Hubs, 32 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14G Diameter, Adjustable Nipples

Tire Brand:

Maxxis Rekon+, 27.5" x 2.8"

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

17 to 35 PSI, 120 TPI

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Rubberized Slap Guard, Downtube Bottle Cage Adapter, Optional TEC Pack 378 Watt Hour Battery $699

Other:

Internal Downtube Battery Pack, 2 lb 4 Amp Charger, Maximum Weight 285 lbs (180 kg), Magnetic Energy Bus Charging Standard, Airflow Channels (To Cool Battery and Motor)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Shimano STePs E8000

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

70 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Focus

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.5 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

378 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

50 miles (80 km)

Display Type:

Shimano Di2, Fixed, Color LCD, Backlit, Adjustable Brightness (Hold Circle Button to Enter Settings, Use Left Shifters to Navigate)

Readouts:

Battery Indicator (5 Bars), Assist Level (Off, Eco, Trail, Boost), Speed, Odometer, Trip Distance, Range, Trip Time, Avg Speed, Max Speed, Cadence RPM, Clock, (Advanced Settings: Clear Trip Meter, Bluetooth Pairing, Ant+ Pairing, Lights, Brightness, Beep On and Off, Change Units, Language, Shifter Quickness Adjust + and - 16, Rear Derailleur Protection Reset)

Display Accessories:

Trigger Shifter Buttons on Left (Small is Up, Large is Down, Can Reverse in Settings), Optional Shimano E-TUBE Bluetooth App

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Off, Eco, Trail, Boost 300%)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The JAM² platform is a full suspension, trail style, electric mountain bike built around the same geometry as the non-electric Focus JAM. The idea here, is that Focus is “focusing” on building a well-balanced, high-quality bicycle… that can be utilized in two different ways, with or without pedal assist. Of course, the electric version will cost more because of the motor, battery pack, and I’m guessing lower production volume. The Pro version covered here retails for $5,999 but you can opt for the lower-specced LTD model which is closer to $5k and in my opinion, that is not bad at all, considering they both utilize the brand new Shimano E8000 mid-motor and a custom-made downtube integrated battery pack from Focus. Note how clean the frame looks with internally routed cables, the hidden battery, and that compact centerdrive motor. In my opinion, Focus made a smart move going with black as the base color because it matches and hides the motor casing and cable housing, but the grey and blue accents are carried through the fork and rims so it retails a sporty fun feel. The bike comes in four frame sizes, so you can really dial in fit, and is offered with plus sized 27.5″ wheels or taller 29″ that will raise the bike, lower the attack angle, and offer more of a cross country feel. Both suspension components are highly adjustable, with compression and rebound clickers, and use air vs. springs. To me, the best parts of this electric bike in order of importance are the way it looks, how lightweight it is (just 46 lbs thanks to the lower capacity primary battery), and how reputable both Focus and Shimano are (selling through top dealers only and offering a two-year comprehensive warranty). A few nice-to-have features are the dropper seat post (which makes mounting easier and is important for trail and light all mountain riding), large 203/180 mm hydraulic disc brakes with adjustable reach levers, the optional Shimano Di2 electronic shifting that works with the main display panel (this option comes with the Pro model only), an 11 speed drivetrain with traditional chainring and no reduction gearbox (easier to swap to different sizes, less pedaling drag), and the nifty click-on bottle cage adapter (which also works with mini-pumps and folding locks). In so many ways, this looks like the future of electric assist bikes. It’s beautiful, modular, focused on fit and performance, and it’s extremely capable. Note that I was testing, measuring, and weighing the 44 cm Medium sized frame for this review.

Driving this e-bike is a Shimano E8000 mid-drive motor that was specifically designed for mountain riding. It offers up to 70 Newton meters of peak torque and some of the highest RPM support I have ever experienced. Where Bosch, Brose, and some other brands are able to deliver up to 120 RPM (allowing you to spin faster and still get power, not having to shift as frequently to hit high speeds), the Shimano E8000 was still helping at 140 RPM… Maybe not very much, but it was definitely on par with or slightly ahead of the Bosch CX motor and a step beyond the new Yamaha PW-X in my opinion. It’s not the quietest or loudest motor, the noise being produced really depends on your RPM as shown in the video review during my pedal tests. The motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque to offer a dynamic and satisfying experience, but it wasn’t as smooth to start as Brose or Bosch. I definitely noticed, and actually felt, when the motor kicked in. There seems to be a torque threshold where pedaling without much effort (say, if you were coasting and just gently pedaling) won’t activate it right away. Once your pedal torque is increased, it feels like there is a click or a catch and then the motor feels fluid from there on out. Having tested both the European specced 25 km/h models (that’s 15.5 mph top speed) and then the US version specced at 32 km/h (up to 20 mph), I definitely preferred the US and found that I enjoyed riding in Eco and Trail mode… whereas, I was constantly in the highest Boost mode on the European models. Take this feedback with a grain of salt however, because I was riding all European models with some software updates for the “US” spec, and perhaps there was even some tinkering with the Shimano E-TUBE app to adjust Trail and Boost settings before we rode. I can say, I tested two versions of the JAM² as well as the hardtail BOLD² model. What you get with this motor system is a compact design, possibly the prettiest I have seen, high RPM support, no shift detection (so ease off when shifting to reduce mashing and chain wear), and a standard 175 mm Q Factore (the distance between the crank arms).

Powering the JAM² is a custom, internally mounted tube battery that Focus designed and manufactures. Many of the other Shimano motor partners are using a downtube mounted pack that resembles a black box (similar to the Bosch Powerpack) offering 36 volts and 11.6 amp hours… You can see a picture of this pack with the older Shimano STePs E6000 motor on the Trek Neko+ here. So, you can really see how it cleans up the look and lowers the weight by going with the tube battery. The downside is that this pack only offers 36 volts and 10.5 amp hours of capacity, it’s not going to take you as far… but it weighs less. And this is where the really interesting stuff comes out. You can double the range of the Focus JAM² by purchasing an additional battery pack called the TEC Pack (Tailored Energy Concept) which connects on top of the downtube and uses a magnetic EnergyBus Rosenberger plug to sync with the bike. The 378 watt hour TEC Pack weighs 0.2 lbs more than the integrated downtube pack and costs $699. Once connected, it completely switches the bike’s power source, so the bike is not trying to balance both. This could be a welcomed feature if you plan to bring several TEC Packs along on a bikepacking trip and want to keep the integrated tube battery as a reserve… however, my understanding is that Lithium-ion batteries will last longer if you keep them between 20% and 80% vs. fully charging and discharging all the time. The way the modular battery design on the Focus bikes is setup, it’s like you would drain the TEC Pack or main battery and then switch to another pack for a more series type approach vs. parallel. It’s a minor consideration, but becomes increasingly relevant when you notice that Bosch has gone with a parallel design for discharging and charging. It’s more obvious that at least charging is a win with parallel connections because you can plug the bike in once and see both batteries filled vs. charging them one at a time. In addition to powering the motor, the battery system on the Focus Squared models also powers the color, backlit display panel, and electronic shifting (if you get Di2 Pro model) as well as lights if you work with a shop to have them installed. It’s so cool to see a Shimano drivetrain, motor system, battery, display, and app… but I do feel that theres some opportunity here for the shifting system to tell the motor what is going on so you can opt for some sort of drivetrain protection. Some of the older Focus models running on the in-house Impulse drive system offered great shift protection. You didn’t have to worry about the motor grinding your gears if you weren’t adept at shifting… but given the high-performance use case of this mountain model, maybe it’s not a big deal because riders should have more experience shifting and climbing simultaneously?

Operating the bike is fairly straightforward, but physically separated at times. What I mean is, after you have charged the battery or batteries, and are ready to turn the bike on, you have to hold this power button on the top tube for a couple of seconds until it slowly lights up. At this point, the Shimano Di2 display panel blinks on in color, and shows your battery level with five bars, current speed, and assist level. It’s clean, stays out of the way, but is not removable, does not have a Micro-USB charging port for accessories, and is very far to reach if you want to switch views. There’s a little rubber circular button on the base of the display that lets you cycle through trip distance, average speed, timer and some other readouts… but there’s no way to reach this while riding unless you completely remove your right hand and reach over very carefully to press the little circle. It’s a far cry from most of the other major display and control pad designs which are easy to reach. Usually, you can adjust assist and menus by reaching over from the left and pressing an i or mode button. Even this can be sketchy if you’re on rough mountainous terrain, which is exactly what the JAM² is built for. So, I probably would never use these sub readouts unless I was fully stopped. The good news is, you can easily change assist levels by pressing the trigger shifter buttons on the left. Navigating from no-assist to Eco, Trail, and Boost is satisfying because you feel and hear this click, like shifting gears on a traditional bicycle. It’s just an illusion, a skeumorph, no cables are being pulled, just electronic signals being sent to the display panel control system. For those who wish to adjust shifting speed on their Di2 derailleur, set the clock, adjust brightness, turn off the beeping noise or explore other options, just hold the rubber circle button on the display for several seconds to get into the settings menu and then navigate up and down with the left shifter buttons. You can get even more options by downloading the Shimano E-TUBE app for your smartphone and syncing it, and you can also connect ANT+ devices to track biometric data. All things considered, the cockpit on this electric bicycle is one of the cleanest and simplest I have tested but it’s not the most convenient. The display isn’t always easy to read because of its small size, dark smoked plastic lens, and fixed position (think glare) but the tactile click of the shifter buttons works great once you know the bike is turned on. And again, the fact that you have two buttons near the left grip, one tiny button near the center, and the big power button on the top tube just seems spread out and unnecessary to me. For an e-bike that looks so stealthy in some ways, why do they think I need a big circle like I have on my old computer tower? Even my new laptop just has a power button on the keyboard, blending in and within reach like all of the other buttons. Yes, I have a MacBook Pro laptop for those wondering.

Focus is building the future with their squared series and I think the JAM² would be an excellent option for people looking to ride below the radar on trail or cross country terrain. The lightweight low-resistance design is ideal for active riders who enjoy pedaling and might want a short range setup that is fun to pedal even when off. The 140 mm air suspension offers plenty of adjustment with compression and rebound clickers, plus sized tires pair nicely with the longer boost axles and a 15 mm front 12 mm rear thru-axle setup for stiffness and strength. The back wheel does not have quick release, which surprised me, but the front does. You get all of the design features you might expect from a “real” mountain bike such as tapered head tube, shorter stem, locking Ergon mountain grips, and an upgraded wheelset. It even comes with some decent plastic platform pedals from Concept (the Focus in-house brand). Also note, the narrow-wide tooth pattern on the chainring and full-surround chain keeper that will eliminate drops. I cannot say for sure because I was unable to test this in muddy terrain, but I’m guessing the traditional chainring will also eliminate problems with chain suck that some riders have had with the smaller Bosch chainring in the UK. I don’t think this happens to a lot of people, but I know at least one that rides long distance races who has mentioned it. Anyway, big thanks to Focus for partnering with me on this review and helping to answer as many questions as they could at Interbike. And to Chris Nolte from Propel Bikes who was on hand at Interbike to help me with a deep-dive. He has attended Eurobike and other international events and had a deeper perspective on this bike, so it was nice to get feedback. I also tried to get as many questions answered by Shimano as I could, but feel free to share your own thoughts and questions in the comments below and forums as well.

Pros:

  • The Shimano STePs E8000 motor is compact, tightly integrated into the bottom bracket area of the frame, it blends into the black colors, it’s also narrower than many other ebike centerdrives right now with a 175 mm Q Factor so your leg and feet position feel more like a traditional bike, the spindle is positioned further back so it supports a shorter chainstay length for snappy ride feel, and it spins well above 120 RPM which is slightly better than the other leading motors such as the Bosch Performance Line, Brose, and Yamaha PW-X which assist up to 120 and then back off
  • The battery is completely hidden and protected inside the downtube, it might go undetected for those who prefer a stealth looking electric mountain bike, Focus and Shimano have a close relationship and this battery design is unique to these bikes (the JAM² and BOLD²)
  • Weighing in at ~46 lbs, this is one of the lightest full suspension electric mountain bikes being sold right now in the US, especially with such a capable motor and battery pack, the optional TEC Pack doubles range and only adds ~4.7 lbs
  • Focus is refining their product lineup in such a way that you can opt for electric or non-electric but get the same geometry, look, and ride feel… The JAM² and JAM provide this option
  • The charger puts out 4 Amps, making it about twice as fast as most standard chargers, and it’s compact and lightweight at ~2 lbs, the plug connector is magnetic and will pop off vs. bending or tipping the bike if tripped over
  • You shouldn’t have a problem with chain drops on this e-bike because the front sprocket uses narrow-wide teeth to improve grab and reduce slip, there’s also a plastic full-surround chain keeper where in place of a front derailleur
  • I like that Focus is using a traditional sized chainring because it makes switching sizes easier than the proprietary rings offered by Bosch and TTIUM, there is also very little resistance when pedaling because there’s no reduction gear gearbox to match a stepped-down chainring
  • For those who opt to pay more for the Pro model with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting, it’s neat that the Shimano display is used for both assist level and shifting and is powered off of the main battery pack vs. an independent cell like some other e-bikes I have see (specifically, the Stromer ST2 S)
  • I reviewed the Plus model here which uses 27.5″ x 2.8″ Maxxis Rekon+ tires that offer improved traction, comfort on rough terrain, and rolling momentum for a nice all-mountain feel, Focus used Boost length axles with 15 mm and 12 mm thru-axles for stiffness, to accommodate the wider tires, and strengthen the spoke angle, they also offer the bike with 29er tires that are a bit narrower and more for cross country or light trail riding
  • Great aesthetics, blue and grey accents cover the frame, fork, and wheelset, I appreciate the thick rubber slap guard on the right chainstay to reduce nicks and scratches
  • There are air channels built into the upper section of the downtube that are designed to promote cooling of the battery pack and motor, it’s like a sport car with a hood scoop! I was told that water and dust can get in here without wrecking any of the electronics, they let out near the motor
  • The display offers a good range of power adjustment (three assist levels) and readouts on its own, but you can use the smartphone E-TUBE app from Shimano to further refine and adjust the two higher assist levels or your Di2 shifting setup, or pair the bike with an ANT+ heart rate monitor for biometric feedback
  • Powerful, high-quality hydraulic disc brakes from Shimano, the two-finger levers offer adjustable reach (tool free on the Pro model) to fit different hand sizes and since this e-bike comes in four frame sizes, it’s great that you can really set things up to fit right
  • It’s really neat that the downtube railing system can be used for a bottle cage adapter if you aren’t using the TEC Pack battery, so many electric bikes are not able to fit bottle cage bosses or they just skip them… so it’s cool that the JAM² solved this in a way, note also that the downtube mount is adjustable and could work with a folding lock, mini pump, or other accessory using the same plastic plate
  • I’m a big fan of seat post droppers, they make it easier to mount the bike and more comfortable to transition from bumpy or downhill sections and jumps to cross country or road… so it’s nice that you get one with this electric bike
  • Focus developed a new rear suspension design that is used on the JAM series called Fold, it allows for 30% travel on smaller bumps and and reserves 70% for larger hits, it should reduce bobbing and compete well against standards like Horst Link four bar
  • The Shimano E8000 is a relatively new motor design to hit the US market and it was designed with short chain stay, high clearance, and narrower Q Factor from the start, so they don’t have to tip the motor up and forward like Bosch and can achieve a snappy fun feel more easily
  • The Shimano X2 Di2 derailleur comes with a Shadow Plus one-way clutch (the little grey lever on the side) that can reduce drops and chain slap when clicked into the up position, it’s a mountain-specific feature but more and more electric bikes are using it since they tend to ride faster and on more varied terrain
  • I’m not sure on exact pricing, but it seemed like the LTD (base model) JAM² model was only a couple hundred dollars more than the hardtail BOLD² (in the $5k range) which is awesome, I prefer full suspension on e-bikes because of sensitive back and neck, it’s nice to not see a huge price increase for this even though the frame is more complex
  • The motor was designed to create very little pedal resistance and I found that I could pretty easily pass the top assisted 20 mph speed without feeling drag as I would on some other gear reduction mid-drives
  • More brands are opting to use color LCD displays and trying to make peripheral communication possibly by associating a color with each assist level so you don’t have to look down, you can see that here with white for off, blue for eco, green for trail, and yellow for boost
  • Minor detail here but both battery packs have an integrated battery capacity readout LED system, so you can tell how full they are when off the bike, it’s particularly relevant and useful for the TEC Pack
  • Weight is balanced well here, both the motor and battery are placed towards the center and low on the frame for improved handling and they are both sprung, there is very little unsprung weight on these electric bikes so the suspension can perform optimally

Cons:

  • Many of the Bosch, Brose, and Yamaha display panels are now offering Micro-USB ports so you can plug in portable electronic devices and get power on the go, this would be handy and nice to have if you use your phone for GPS or maybe the E-TUBE app from Shimano, but this display did not have any sort of USB port that I saw
  • The primary battery is not designed for easy removability, it can be removed for replacement but this requires taking the motor unit off and sliding the pack down through the bottom bracket area, the downside is that you’ll need to park the bike closer to a power outlet or use an extension cord to charge vs. bringing the pack inside (keep the bike and optional extra battery in cool dry locations to optimize battery life, extreme heat and cold can be hard on them)
  • It felt like a bit of a missed opportunity that the motor does not offer shift detection, especially if you get the Pro model with electronic Shimano Di2 shifting, it seems like having all Shimano systems could allow them to do something special here like talking to each other to reduce mashing and drivetrain wear
  • Only the front wheel offers quick release, I was a little surprised at this because trail maintenance and portability are easier with both wheels having quick release but maybe this was due to the electronic shifting? You only need a 6 mm Allen key to get the back off
  • Even though the display is nice looking, compact, runs electronic shifting as well as assist level, it is not removable and might take increased wear at the bike rack or when parked outside compared to one that could easily be clicked off, also, for me the tiny round button at the bottom could be a bit difficult to press when wearing gloves and the display is a bit small and not as bright in full light
  • Minor consideration here, it sounds like the bike uses one or the other battery pack, it doesn’t try to balance them like Bosch has done with their double-battery setup, and this could mean that you cycle your frame battery more frequently and wear it down a bit quicker if you aren’t occasionally clicking in the TEC Pack power cable and trying to balance them yourself manually, my understanding is that batteries like to stay between 20% and 80% for maximum charge cycles (this is partially why many smartphones have a big alert when they start to get to the 20% mark), you’re also going to have to manually connect the charger to the TEC Pack and then the bike to charge both packs vs. Bosch and some others which allow for dual-charging by connecting to just one port on the bike (you can see this with the Riese & Müller models like the Charger GX)
  • If you want to adjust which menus are being shown on the display panel (odometer, trip distance, range, time, average speed, max speed, cadence RPM, clock), you have to reach way over to the tiny circular button on the bottom of the display panel and this is just inconvenient when riding… by default, the display switches back to speed or will stay on Cadence RPM if you have clicked to it, considering how easy the trigger shifter buttons are to use, this “mode” button is not so easy
  • For me, the Shimano E8000 motor doesn’t go from zero to on quite as smoothly or as seamlessly as Bosch, Brose, or Yamaha, it seems like there is a cliff where you push with enough torque to get it to respond and then it sort of clicks on and you notice and even hear it, it still works great but seems to have a torque threshold or power cliff just up from zero
  • I wish the display readout for battery level showed 10 bars or maybe a percentage estimation vs. the standard five bars which represent big 20% drops, but at least there is a range estimate menu for more precision

Resources:

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Rakesh Dhawan
21 hours ago

Dear Mr. Nelson,

Thank you for your interest in Falco.

Mr. Harry forwarded this thread to me. I thought it necessary to clarify few points as you have some knowledge about Falco.

I am afraid to say that Your facts are incorrect and outdated about Falco. That Dealer you refer to was a great friend of mine in the UK. I miss him everyday. We were like two brothers from different mothers. We were starting in Electric Bike business and he chose to become a dealer. He was trying to get into electric bike business with little or no resources and no ability to provide after sales support. Also, He and his staff thought they knew a lot about electric bike business and they dictated the specs of how the system should be used in spite of our repeated warnings. We learnt a great lesson. We do not allow that kind of discretion to any of our dealers today unless you are an OEM. When that Dealer faced a medical problem, he chose to get out of electric bike business. That was back in 2013.

Other fact is called Product evolution. Here are some questions for you to think about which could provide you some insight into Falco as a brand, as a philosophy and as a way to engineer.

1. Is BionX still in business?
2. What year did they start?
3. What customers do they have?
4. What problems did they face?
5. How did their product evolve over the years?
6. How many times did Bosch do a recall of their products in Europe?
7. Why Bosch is still in Business?
8. What year did Falco start?
9. What products Falco offered before and now?
10. How has Falco product evolved over the years?
11. What other products does Falco market or sell?
12. And the last but not the least, which company has the highest warranty in the world?

Answer to these questions will lead you to how Falco thinks about Electric Bike industry and how we plan to move forward.

Otherwise, please try not to downplay our tremendous sacrifice, blood and sweat, passion, commitment and entrepreneurship in making a small difference in the electric Bike space.

We have over 150 dealers in the US and several small OEMs. We specialize in converting Trikes, Recumbents, Tandems, Cargo bikes etc.

Our journey, Mr. Nelson has been to stay focused and deliver an extraordinary product to the market. We learn and improve every day and we have a very long list of extremely passionate and committed fans who use their Falco everyday for last several years. These fans know about our tremendous passion and staying power.

We have succeeded in making a difference in the life of countless number of our seniors and we will continue to do so.

I do not wish to sell my product to you or anyone. I do care about making a difference in people’s lives using our technology. That has been our driving force and our greatest passion.

I am happy to answer any additional questions or comments you may have.

Sincerely,
Rakesh Dhawan
President
Falco eMotors Inc.

Dmitri
1 day ago

I have had a good experience so far. I don't experience any major drain -- of course, I have 1kWh overall so perhaps if you only have half that it's another story. The only real issue with M99Pro is that it's driven directly by the battery, which is why the on/off switch on the Bosch bike computer does absolutely nothing.

Interestingly enough, my rear light (Toplight) is also unaffected by the switch, which is weird because I would suspect it runs through the ordinary motor based port. Not 100% sure if that's the case though... actually, I plan to change the rear light to have directional indicators. I'm surprised ebikes don't do this by default. I would maybe be tempted to install Magura's MT?e lights, except that I found Magura brakes to be generally terrible, so this particular option isn't tempting right now. Maybe will just build some sensors that attach to existing brakes, not sure yet.

I suspect R&M swapped to the smaller light due to sheer effing greed. Did they reduce the price when swapping to the simpler light? I don't think so. I can maybe buy the reasoning that people complained about inability to switch off the M99 while the bike is running. But whose fault is that? That's right, a bike maker could go the extra mile and either detect the Bosch switch and relay it to the light or, you know, maye a separate switch. But I guess that's too much work when you're beeing fed ready-made engineering schematics; you can just focus on the frame. (Don't want to sound bitter here; I am also spoon-fed Bosch engineering schematics and I kind of enjoy them.)

Oh, I'm awaiting delivery of a new fatbike (Haibike FullFatSix) and guess what front light I will install on it. Manufacturers might skimp on good light but I won't.

NeilCruz
1 day ago

@evhead

It doesn't mater the "size" (i.e. 12aH, 17ah, 19.2ah) - all 48 Volt systems use the 48V columns, so you just need to use the above post from @karmap and just focus on the 48V columns.

:)

Over50
2 days ago

I've generally been reading that pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in general are on the rise in the US and hit-and-runs are soaring. I feel like I'm seeing news stories of a hit-and-run with a fatality in my area on a weekly basis. Sure can't help that my area has almost zero traffic enforcement. I think someone posted this in another thread:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hit-and-run-fatalities-soar-as-more-people-bike-to-work-1524735001

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/with-bicycle-deaths-rising-theres-a-renewed-focus-on-sharing-the-road

christob
6 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!

Chris Hammond
6 days ago

So I can offer you a bit of perspective. My commute is 30 miles each way. I historically did this on my road bike, but fighting headwinds on the way home alot had me taking the train far more than I wanted. I began researching ebikes late last year, I quickly zeroed in on the Juiced CrossCurrent S as being a great value for high speed, long distance commuting. I continued researching for a good while, and flip flopped between the idea of building a bike, or buying a pre-built. I obviously finally settled on the CCS with the 52V/ 21Ah battery option. I received my bike May 9th, and have put over 1000 miles on it since.

Here are some things I would place priority on in your search:
1) Battery, battery, battery!
Any bike with a 500 Wh battery or less should be crossed off your list. On my commute I average ~ 500 Wh each way; high use days fighting headwinds have had my use over 600Wh. I only charge my battery to 80% to promote longevity of the pack, and have yet to drop it below 30%. Any ebike will experience a drop in performance as the voltage in the pack drops. I can notice this as well, but its not dramatic as my pack voltage remains relatively high. Dropping batteries below 20% negatively affects longevity as well.
Plan on a minimum of 20 Wh / mile, more if you want to be travelling over 30 mph. Higher speeds require exponentially more power due to the poor aerodynamics of the riding position.
2) Bikes designed as class 3, high speed commuters should be your focus. These bikes tend to have a more forward seating position improving aerodynamics some; they also tend to have better brakes; and tires that are bigger to absorb high speed bumps, etc.
3) Mid-drives are less advantageous as high speed commuters. The basic physics of the design dictate that the motor cannot apply full motor torque to the rear wheel when you are using the higher gears in your cassette (smaller cogs). The Bosch Performance Speed motor is the best mid-drive in this regard as it uses an internal gearing to allow for a small front charinring.
Hub drives do not experience this loss in torque at high speeds and are in fact at their most efficient when operating at high motor speeds. Many individual builders actually use direct drive hubs for their high speed builds, as it is where they become their best. However, a geared hub motor with a high speed winding is a great option in this regard as well.
4) Go test ride several bikes if you can. The Trek SuperCommuter 8S is a great bike that I really enjoyed riding. If it had a bigger battery and lower price, I'd have been happy to own it. You will find out quickly, just because a bike says Class 3, doesn't mean you can maintain or even attain 28 mph on level ground. The Magnum Metro+ is a great example. On paper it looks very similar to my Juiced CCS. The ride performance is like a family sedan versus a Corvette.

Good luck in your search.

Reid
1 week ago

My overall ebike experience is life-changing in an extraordinarily good way.

I first had an ebike a little over ten years ago. It was not very good, a cheap commercially produced bike with lead acid battery. It was not very satisfactory. A year later I got a front wheel geared hub motor kit from Canada, bought locally a basic cruiser bike, and ordered direct from China, a Ping brand battery.

I soon crashed the bike! I did not know how to ride a cruiser bike! Went head over the bars when I foolishing pedaled while going through a roundabout, and the low-hung cruiser bike pedal hit the pavement and pogo'd me a number of feet though the air, landing me on grass and then the bike went just over me and landed on the grass too. Well! That caused me to lose interest in ebiking.

But I watched and waited many years. I knew what I wanted to wait for: A lithium battery bike with pedals that will never accidentally touch the pavement. I recognized the value and performance of the Juiced Bikes https://www.juicedbikes.com/products/crosscurrent-s.

My CCS arrived late last December. I have ridden it every day since. I gave up driving the car and use the bike for most all my needs. For the occasions when I cannot ride I will very reluctantly use our family car. When I go and tune and repair pianos I may summon a rideshare.

But, daily I ride my ebike manually for exercise. And when I want to go fast or far and not break a sweat, electric assist is there.

I have ridden manual bicycles casually since 1960 when I was six.

With an ebike I can confidenly state I will ride a bike productively and for my health, for my remaining life.

We all just want to get by. An ebike and some fortitude, enjoying that car traffic can be ridden around, and yes, recognizing that car drivers today are particularly dangerous because they are less attentive to their death dealing vehicles than ever before, I will still ride my ebike for health and for practicality, and extoll its virtues to every person I meet while rolling the bike.

"What a beautiful bike," is the universal compliment I get from every person who sees the bike, whether I am cresting a bridge and they are on foot looking at the bridge view, or in the store like our local Home Depot, where the bike and its fold-out basket in the rear serves as a shopping cart, "What a beautiful bike. Is it an ebike? I am afraid to ride a bike because of the traffic, it's crazy."

The more of us who exemplify the the lifestyle of the Dutch and just ride a bike, manual or electric assist, the more we help those poor drivers understand that yes, they can do it too.

I am trying to encourage other riders. Do you agree with my posting of this video?

The more people will ride a bike, the healthier we all will become emotionally and otherwise. There is safety in numbers of more people riding bikes.

bob armani
1 week ago

Vasu-If I can suggest you also try some different rear hub driven E-bikes. You will find that some of them are very zippy and take little effort getting up inclines, etc. My preferred brand is the 350 or 500 watt Dapu motor that companies like Easy Motion use with a torque sensor. They have also improved the responsiveness of the sensor on later models. I have a 2015, and the sensor is extremely sensitive and gets you up to 20mph in a matter of seconds on flats. I have to add that I am 135 lb rider, so heavier weight riders are better fit for the 500 watt hub motors.
Good luck and happy shopping. :D

Alaskan
1 week ago

Mike, I went through this process back in January. I spent loads of time reading Court's reviews, watching his videos and then test riding bikes in four different bike shops in Seattle and one on Vashon Island.

I live in Bellingham, have been ebiking since February and just love it. I am 67 and peaked out at 238 lbs last year. I now ride my bike almost every day for at least averaging 17 miles. The only time I drive my car is if it is raining or I need to haul something too big for the bike. I am now down to 208 lbs. I wake up every day and look out the window to see if I can ride. The feeling of freedom, health and vitality is addicting.

Keep up the good work doing research. There are a wealth of shops to visit in Seattle. Resist the urge to buy until you do some more test riding. You will find one that feels right for you soon enough.

Make your next trip to Seattle Electric & Folding Bikes in Ballard http://electricvehiclesnw.com/ They have been around longer than anyone else in the area, are very helpful and friendly.

Next go up to G&O Cycles at 85th & Greenwood https://familycyclery.com/. They are the Riese & Muller dealer and have a good number of demo bikes to ride...nice people as well.

Seattle Electric Bike https://seattleelectricbike.net/ is nearby. They carry Cube, Bulls, Raleigh, Felt , Focus and others. My experience with the owner was quite offputting though. PM me if you want details.

After you have visited these three shops, the style of bike that will work best for you should begin to emerge.

vasubandu
1 week ago

I am totally new to electric bikes and find myself torn between finding a good mainstream product and taking a flyer on something different. I am trying to think of the last thing I did normally and am coming up empty.

My bike will be have a primary function as a commuter. The commute will be 7.5 miles each way, and each direction has a hill 300 feet high over a mile. I am 53 and in decent physical shape. I think I want a mid-drive bike. I am focused on pedal assist, but the idea of pedal assist plus throttle is just the kind of idea that gets me going.

The BikTrix Monte 1000 is currently sold out, but I have patience. Even with the max battery, it still looks like it would come in under $3k.

If the bike had issues, I could not fix them. I would have to pay someone else to do it.

So would this bike for someone like me be a colossally stupid idea or just a situation that had manageable risks?

michael mitchell
1 week ago

I live in the area, so maybe I can contribute my 2 bits. If you want an easier trip, you should look at bike which only uses cadence sensing. So Something like a Rad Rover, or a regular bike with a luna cycle type of kit. I have a cadence sensing bike, which can get me up Cougar Mountain with minimal pedaling effort, but it obviously slows down on the steeper stretches. In west seattle, you could get a bike without a front suspension, but I'd highly recommend adding a redshift shockstop in that case. It won't be as cushy as a front suspension or fat tires, but it'll take the painful jolt out of streets around here. That dude who told you to hop curbs is a clown. Don't do that on an ebike.

I also have a torque+cadence sensing 28mph bike. With more effort, it climbs faster than my cadence only bike. But the key is more effort. That may sound like a negative, but over time, you'll find yourself pushing a little harder, because you know you'll be rewarded even more. Sort of like when parents tell a kid they'll match whatever $ the kid saves.

It comes down to what your long term goals are. If you simply want to avoid the hassle of parking and sitting in a 5 mph misery box (that's what cars are around here), I vote cadence only. If you see yourself one day riding around mercer island, I vote torque sensing.

vasubandu
1 week ago

My wife took our sons to Oregon for her grandmother's funeral and to visit her mother for a few days, and i stayed behind to take care of the dog and not spend time with her mother. That will give me the chance to do what everyone is telling me to do, namely get out there and try so some bikes.

Today's stop was Seattle E-Bike, which seems to be the most prominent electric bike store in Seattle. When I went in the store, I was surprised at how massive all the bikes looked. I have seen plenty while driving around, but when I looked at them as something to ride, they suddenly seemed very large. They looked so wide that the pedals seemed too far apart. The salespeople were all busy, which gave me some time to wander the store uninterrupted. I now know enough to recognize that many of the bikes were slightly older models, and at the lower end of their ranges. They have some very nice bikes, but the focus is on the under $2,000 market.

They do carry Stromer, which has been of some interest, and I was surprised at how the size and mass of the bikes increased as you moved up the line. The ST 1 looked fine, but the ST 2 felt bigger than what I would want to ride. A salesman finally came up to me, and I explained my interest in a commuter and the nature of my commute. He immediately suggested looking at their entry level bikes, and I told him my focus was higher.

SInce I was familiar with them, I asked to test the ST 1. It was a nice looking bike, but had neither front nor rear suspension.

The the guy walked me through how to use the bike, I was surprised that it did not have a throttle. Somehow I had gotten into my head an expectation that electric bikes would have a throttle. It just seemed like an electric bike should go on its own, and I had images of just motoring up the big hills in my commute.

The controls that he showed me were disappointing.

There is a small monochrome box on the right side that controls the amount of boost. To change it, you have to press a toggle switch on the side to cycle through the options. It would cost $50 to have a 3x5 color touch screen instead. The ST 1 has derailleurs on both wheels. I asked what the purpose of the front derailleur was, and he could not say. I don't think that there is power to the front wheel, so I really don't get why its great would matter.

Armed with this knowledge and nothing more, I took the bike outside and took off into the street. It was one of the oddest sensations I have ever had. I pedaled, and the bike surged ahead as if it had a mind of its own. It was very unsettling. I understood what was happening, but it was just an odd sensation. It took me several blocks to become comfortable with it. And then over a few more, I started to be able to anticipate the boost, and it became welcome. Over about 10 minutes, I started to get a sense for how it works and its potential. With experience, a person would develop a good sense of the bike's capabilities and would learn to use them in different situations. You could create a sudden burst when you needed it, and you could maintain a very easy steady pace on level ground. The possibilities became clear.

My ride included a moderate hill, and I was pleased to see how the bike essentially turned the hill into level ground. It would eliminate the drag of coming to a long hill, and I thought about how when I do go biking, there always seems to a hill to climb at the end, that burns me until I get off and walk. That would go away. I saw no difference shifting the front gears. Still have no idea what that is about.

I stopped to take a picture of the bike, and when I did, a guy asked if I wanted a picture of me with the bike. I told him I was just testing it, and he said, "I know, I saw the tag." We got into a discussion about the bike and electric bikes in general. He was very knowledgeable and helpful. His first comment was that it was a very stiff bike, and he explained that it had no front suspension. He said that in Seattle, you frequently have to hop up on a sidewalk, and that without a front suspension, you would pop a lot of tires. I asked him about a rear suspension, and he said that it was a matter of choice, but that he has a hardtail. He said that he rides his bike hard, and that there is dust on his seat because he never sits on it. If he had a rear suspension, it would absorb some of power from his pedaling. We talked for quite a while, and he had many insights that I thought made sense.

As an aside, I am struck by how friendly and helpful electric bikers have been. You might think it odd that I would be surprised by that, but the media tends to portray electric bikers as rude people who cut everyone off and disregard traffic rules. The laws and regulations that are being adopted seem to be based on this perception. My own experience has been just the opposite. Hard to imagine a nicer bunch of people. I am sure there are jerks too, but not greater percentage than any other group.

When I got back to the shop, I asked if they had a throttle bike I could try for a comparison. They had a few, but they were low end bikes of little interest. The guy told me (1) there are almost no mid drive bikes with a throttle, and (2) E3 28 mph bikes cannot have a throttle without being treated as something else and having equipment like blinkers, etc. Both of those statements were news to me. I have since done some more research, and there are a few mid drive bikes with a throttle, but it creates issues, and an E3 bike can have a throttle that is regulated to 20 mph. As a general rule, however, what he said seems to be true. It certainly changed some of my basic expectations and gives me even more to research.

After checking out their other bikes, I next decided to test an Easy Motion ATOM DIAMOND WAVE PRO. I liked the way it looked and it had a back rack.

I also thought that its controls were more intuitive and friendly, but it was 8 speed, rear derailleur only.

My experience with it was going to be different because now I had some idea what to expect, but for me this bike was immediately vastly preferable. If felt lighter and quicker to respond to my control, and the power level control made more sense. Most of it was just that "right fit" that people have talked about.

I took the same route as I did with the Stromer, and I learned a valuable lesson. I do not know if it was because the Easy Motion was an 8 speed, but when going up the hill, I did reach a point where I started to really struggle like I would in a normal bike. The comments that people have made about shifting suddenly made a lot more sense, and I realized that even with an electrical bike, you still have to be mindful of our riding. I was in 6th gear because I thought I could just cruise on up.

Overall, I now realize that electric bikes are about making biking more efficient and easier, not little motorcycles to cruise to work. The experience itself is still biking, and people who don't want to ride a bike likely will be disappointed. Electric bikes also are more complicated than I thought in that to extract the maximum benefit, you have to pay attention to what you are doing and know how to use a bike in the first place. There are so many different kinds of electric bikes because there are so many different kinds of bikers. Which bike of a specific kind you get may not matter much, but getting the wrong kind of bike would be like wearing your shoes on the wrong feet. The advertised speeds for bikes are complete BS. It would take a lot of effort for me to get either of those bikes to 20 mph, and in my current shape, I could not sustain that kind of speed for very long. In city traffic, there are lots of stops and starts. Bikes don't start like cars do, further reducing the effective speed. The perfect feature set cannot be found on a single bike because the features are found only on certain kinds of bikes, and when you pick a certain kind of bike, you lose the incompatible features.

All of this may sound very negative and disappointed, but my reaction is just the opposite. Becoming a happy electric bike commuter is going to require some significant changes in my thinking, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I am going to have to plan on a 30 minute commute, not a 15-20 minute one. In the beginning, I may not be able to go all the way up my big hills without taking a break or walking part of it. I can get there, but I am going to have to work up to it.

But I spend too much of my life sitting at my desk, and I need a more active lifestyle. I am not going to to a gym, and biking is more engaging than walking, plus it offers a broader range. So now, it is half back to the drawing board and half testing more bikes. What an adventure.

Mark Lemon
3 months ago

I have been shopping for a ebike for 3. Years since breaking my leg. I found it impossible to find this bike on the west coast so...I called Chris and ordered it from him. Going to ship it myself. Thanks to both of you for making it a great experience. Ps. I'm also getting the Specialized S-works turbo levo.

YellowEpic
7 months ago

Great review! Is this e-bike available in any dealerships within the SF Bay Area yet?

The New Wheel Electric Bikes
4 months ago

We’ve got them in stock

Cesar Bermudez
7 months ago

Good day. I’m in the need of a electric bike to get to & from work. Searching for reviews I found this channel. Very good work sir...very informative. Unfortunately each and every one of your reviews are for bikes that are out of my price range. So could you kindly give me your opinion on the Ancheer folding bike? It’s available on Amazon for only $650. I just need it to get to/from work which is 1.7 miles away.

MIKE REACTS
7 months ago

Why do you only review over expensive underpowered bikes my god

Paintbrush 1962
7 months ago

Kickbacks

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

I try to review a bit of everything but spend a lot of money and time to go to events... which tend to mostly have expensive fancy ebikes, because they can afford to put on a display (most of these companies are based in Europe where the market is bigger). I will have a few less-expensive models coming up, one Schwinn for $1,200 soon

Andrew Hunter
7 months ago

Night trial rides are very popular in Britain. This time of year it's dark when I go to work and dark when I finish work so I use a strong light on my handlebars and a second smaller light on top of my helmet. If you get the chance try a woodland trial it so much more intense.

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

Sweet! Thanks for the suggestion Andrew, that sounds like a blast :D

Vitor Nuevo
7 months ago

$6k bicycle? WTF !!!

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

It's interesting to see more expensive bikes like this, they have been around as non-electric bikes using fancy titanium or carbon fiber for many years. The new electronic shifting makes it expensive (as martin points out) but some of it is the brand new battery design, brand new motor, custom frame, lightweight materials, and branding which includes the shops that carry it and post-purchase support. I'll have some less expensive e-bike reviews coming soon :)

Martin Schmidt
7 months ago

Vitor Nuevo there are less expensive ebikes available. This one has automatic shifting which is high end and has Its price.

1650million
7 months ago

Court, there´s more and more bikes with dual-battery systems (Focus, Riese&Mueller, Haibike...) which is a massive advantage for those of us interested in range. How about including "dual-battery" bikes as an option in the filters of your web?
Cheers

1650million
7 months ago

Good to hear! That would be super-useful. About new ideas, I have a good one every couple of years or so, but hey, I´ll do my best... ;)
Thanks man.

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

Hmm, that's a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion... I might be able to do that on the next release of the site. I'm always open to suggestions so if you have other ideas feel free to share

Joey Love
7 months ago

Fantastic review.

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

Thanks Joey! I do my best to connect the dots and was very impressed with the creativity of the new Focus battery designs :)

wordupmag
7 months ago

33:16 AIR

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

Indeed ;)

Seb K
7 months ago

Oh that's sooooooo expensive . I could buy a car for that or a motorbike or a house or an island .

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

Dude, tell me more about this island! I want in... as long as it's got some high points for when the water rises :D

Martin Schmidt
7 months ago

Seb K or a high end ebike with Electronic shifting. ;)

Honky Tonk
7 months ago

This Chris guy is everywhere.

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

Yeah, there are a few ebike people from shops or expos that I see a lot. Chris and I work together well, we are friends, and he is okay going on camera so I feel like including him can make it fun and possibly catch things I miss. He has been in the industry since 2011 before I even knew what electric bikes were, I started in 2012, he also works directly with customers and sees what works and doesn't beyond an initial review which I think is a valuable perspective to share... he also is somewhat reserved, so it's not like we are competing or talking over each other :)

james eagle
7 months ago

Honky Tonk Chris is his go-to guy.

ForbinColossus
8 months ago

@36:11 I was a little worried about you descending that rocky slope!

ElectricBikeReview.com
7 months ago

Thanks, I was taking it slow enough to feel safe, it doesn't look super steep in the video but it was VERY steep in person. I had descended once before when wearing a lighter helmet and not filming. Was bummed that I laid the bike down... but it's all good :)