2014 KTM E-CROSSp

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Firstly can I thank KTM Bike Industries UK for allowing me the use of a 2014 KTM E-CROSSp to review.



Whilst I'll be writing a singular review about this bike, I thought that I'd also share an open review for it.
When I have worked out how to attach them, as an overview for the bike, I will add pdf's covering the hub motor and cycle parts.

An overview of the bike.

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As I settle into the bike, both my thoughts and experience of it shall be added to this thread.
The bike arrived two days ago, and after unpacking it, checking it over and making sure that the battery was fully charged, it seemed silly not to take it out for a short spin to familiarize myself with it.
My first impressions of the bike are exceedingly favourable, and whilst I had already anticipated a high quality finish for the frame, it still surpassed my expectations.

As a whole the cycle parts are very good, with some very nice touches, such as the adjustable steering stem, and the superb Selle Royal Freccia saddle, which is comfortable from the off and stays that way.
I'm also a fan of the OE Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tyres fitted to the bike, and as usual they handle very predictably and safely.

The Shimano Deore/XT drive train feels instantly correct, with precise and smooth changes throughout. Whilst the bike is fitted with a triple set of 48-36-26, I think that if I was to own the bike, then I'd swap out for a double (size to be listed). This opinion might change as riding time rises.

Again as expected, the Tektro Auriga brakes do a superb job of pulling the bike up safely and predictably. I can't say that I like the white colour of them, but that is just my personal taste.

Forks! As you will know I'm not a fan of Suntour coil only sprung forks, but whilst the SF14 NCX-D LO 700C forks fitted to this bike do rattle slightly, they still perform an adequate job. They also seem to lack the gravity magnet of the similarly equipped Haibike eq Xduro cross forks, and the front end is surprisingly light and nimble.

On the subject of the Haibike, I'll 'try' to save comparisons between the two bikes and that of the BH with its hub drive until the end of the review period.

Over the next couple of weeks, I shall also add details and thoughts in relation to daily practicalities of the bike, but I already have a feeling that this bike would make a good all-rounder, from lengthy road rides, to shopping trips and commuting, as well weekend trips along bridleways and cycle paths.
I shall take an in-depth look at the motor and battery aspect of the bike as well, but for now, here is my first ride experience of the bike.

After familiarizing myself with the console, I decided to first set off with no assist, in order to see how the bike rides as a regular pedal-only bike. It hides it's weight of 21.4kg very well, and at no stage did I find myself needing the granny ring. Obviously that is a situation that cannot be predicted though, and it's handy to know that it's there should it be required.

For this first ride, I just played with settings, so it is too soon to format a realistic appraisal of each mode.
Setting off for my first ride, brought back that lovely familiar feel of a quality hub drive, and the near silence was a once more welcome note. After initial setting off, only the noise of the tyres could be heard.
I had only intended to put in a few miles, and was completely shocked when I returned with near on half the battery left, and a distance of 29 miles covered. I felt like I'd only ridden to the top of the road and back.
The hill climbing ability of this bike is quite phenomenal, and blows the Bosch mid drive into the weeds, and even slightly embarrasses the Dapu motor as fitted to the BH. I'll put some stats for this up as well at some stage, but what I will say is that on a 1 mile climb that rises 124 meters with an average gradient of 7.8% with a steepest section of 14% I found myself accelerating up it, changing up through the gears laughing to myself. It's that good.

One interesting aspect of the hub drive that I hadn't previously been aware off, is how well the system puts power to the ground when conditions become muddy/greasy.
The KTM with its Panasonic hub motor, makes far better use of grip than the Haibike with its Bosch mid drive.
This comparison was noted, as I rode the same route the day before on the Haibike with its Bosch mid drive, and it span up everywhere struggling for grip, whereas today's ride on the KTM even after a nights rain, gave a predictable and sure footed ride, with scarcely any loss of traction.
Whether the torque is being directed better I'm not sure, but there is certainly a noticeable difference between the two.

I realise that the bike is not intended for off road use in the full sense of the word, but this bike really does try to bring out the dark side in you. Something that I'm just about managing to contain! It's very agile, reacts very quickly to even the slightest input on the bars, and inspires great confidence. Despite the greasy mud on the tracks that I rode, along with the various wet and surface tree roots, at no stage did I feel the need to unclip from my pedals. I simply trusted that the bike was going to track true, and it did.

My initial thoughts in relation to riding the bike on the road are that the bike as supplied is slightly too small for me, as I somehow felt cramped. This wasn't something that I noticed off road.
With a very nice adjustable steering stem, and the availability of adjustment for saddle position, I hope to try to sort this out.

Okay, that is the first very enjoyable ride out of the way, which has already shown me what a good bike that this is. I have spotted a few design details that could be worked upon, but again, I'd rather save these for later reading.

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James

Well-Known Member
Great review Eddie! Leave it to KTM to have a motor that kills it. I used to race motocross and the KTM's were always the most powerful (per CC) bikes on the track. Only recently has the rest of the bike caught up to the advanced motor but they sure were fast!
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
It's amazing to see such a small motor (Panasonic Nabenmotor) churning out so much power and torque. I couldn't even notice the motor from one of the side angles. It is smaller than the Dapu motor!!
With a downtube integrated battery, this bike would be totally stealth.

Great bike and review, Eddie. I'll look fwd to your reports as you vet this bike in different conditions.
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Ravi, taking some comparison measurements of the motor is on my list of things to do. :)

Like you, I'd much prefer to see an integrated battery. That was the main draw for me when I bought the BH. My opinion about it still hasn't changed.

There are three other design details that I'm not so struck on, but I'll wait until I've taken photos before showing these.

Not relevant to this review, but one odd conclusion that I did arrive at this evening though whilst out on the Haibike, was that I'm beginning to get quite attached to the Bosch mid drive. I never thought that I would, but I was suddenly missing the extra workout that the mid drive motor gives you. I now thing that if I was to ride hub drive only, that my fitness level for taking part in mtb events would drop.
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
I took advantage yesterday evening to drag a very keen road cyclist out with me, to help format a comparison between the KTM and the Haibike.
The lads average weekly road mileage is close to 300 miles, and one thing is for sure, he didn't need the assist of either bike, and certainly 'tried' to put the regen to the test.
We rode 28 miles of mixed terrain, and I made full use of having the extra rider along to prove that my theory of the either the KTM having better frame design, or that it makes better use of available torque when things get slippery.
I didn't tell the lad that was with me what I intended to do, but one part of the route consisted of a 14% gradient 1/2 mile long bridleway, that was hard packed, but due to rain the night before last, had become very slippery on the upper 25mm or so of top surface.
I was on the Haibike and him on the KTM. Setting off from the bottom the KTM just shot off with scarcely even a hint of wheel spin, whilst the Haibike almost failed to move, and just span up. The lad instantly commented on the amount of spin from the Haibike, and from this point, we kept stopping and starting, using different power settings for each bike, and the result was the same with each try. We also swapped bikes and carried out the test again, with exactly the same result.
To me the results of test spoke for themselves. The Haibike eq cross is not efficient at putting its power down.

The on road appraisal was more tricky to gauge due to the lads fitness, and I simply struggled which ever bike that I was on, and couldn't even begin to make ground on him.

We did both agree that the Haibike, made a better road bike, from the perspective of un assisted riding, and it's certainly faster when it comes to free wheeling. Again we tried this time and time again swapping bikes, and each time it wasn't very long before the Haibike made good ground.

Sitting outside the pub, I asked the lad for his feeling over which bike that he would buy, if he had to choose one.
We had both already come to the conclusion that the KTM is a better bike in any off road situation, and that rider fitness or lack of it aside, the Haibike made for a better road bike. I have to say though, that I was always relieved to jump onto the KTM after riding the Haibike, simply because it requires so much less effort to ride, and I could have a bit of a rest! :)

We both reached the same conclusion though, that on build quality alone, the KTM would be the bike to buy. Owning the Haibike, it certainly lacks the quality of finish and durability feel that the KTM has.

This isn't to say that the KTM doesn't have it's faults though, and one of them is common with both bikes. Suntour forks!
The brake hose mount is to the rear of the fork leg, and on both bikes, the brake hose then rubs on the moving fork tube. After 470miles, wear is already showing signs of happening to the brake hose on the KTM. On the Haibike, I removed the hose mount on day one of ownership, and simply used a cable tie re positioning the hose to the side, and so avoiding hose rub.
I'll take photos later, but the top of the fork crown on the KTM isn't fairing any better, and the cables that run to the rear have already removed paintwork and are starting to wear into the alloy below.
The jury is still out in respect of the KTM control console, so I'm not currently going to comment on that, other than to say that not being able to remove it has both plus points and minus points.
The plus point being that it eliminates an extra join, and potential water ingress point. The negative being security and vandal damage, plus there is potential risk of damage in the event of the bike being turned upside down for puncture repair.
There is also a possible design issue with bikes electrics, but again I'd rather investigate this further before commenting.

Weather permitting, I'm off on the South Downs Way tomorrow, to complete a 30 mile ride to gauge battery duration. :)

A lovely evening, e-bikes, and a pint of St Austell, Tribute.. :)

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MarcD

Active Member
Looking good Eddie! And a great test. I can't wait for e-bikes to really take off here and see where this sort of direct competition takes things Stateside.
 

Vern

Active Member
Eddie,
Thanks for the ongoing and outstanding review. True side by side comparisons over a longer period of time is something I have always wanted to see on this site. I know that Court only has limited access to one bike at a time, but perhaps we users/contributors to this site can fill this void. It would be neat if owners of similar bikes could meet up, swap bikes for an extended ride, and both give impressions of the bikes on this forum. I would personally love to see a battle of the speed pedelecs Dash vs Neo Carbon/Cross vs Sp Turbo vs Stromer vs??

Thanks again and I look forward to your ongoing review.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Eddie,
Thanks for the ongoing and outstanding review. True side by side comparisons over a longer period of time is something I have always wanted to see on this site. I know that Court only has limited access to one bike at a time, but perhaps we users/contributors to this site can fill this void. It would be neat if owners of similar bikes could meet up, swap bikes for an extended ride, and both give impressions of the bikes on this forum. I would personally love to see a battle of the speed pedelecs Dash vs Neo Carbon/Cross vs Sp Turbo vs Stromer vs??

Thanks again and I look forward to your ongoing review.
This kind of through examination of bikes is going to be very valuable for future ebikers.
Excellent job, Eddie.!!

PS: Just coax KTM to exchange your Xtrem for this bike :D
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Thanks Ravi, it would have to be the MTB version, and preferably full suspension. :)

I still haven't got used to the control panel yet, and from looking at other reviews, I'm not alone in finding it fiddly and awkward. On today's ride, and previous rides, I'm finding that I keep turning it off when switching between modes on bumpy terrain. It become a pain in the backside today, and I'm currently not sure that I could poke up with it, if it were to happen all of the time.

I went out today with the sole intention of trying out the battery performance., and WOW springs to mind after todays 42mile off road ride.
The terrain was very mixed, with some particularly nasty climbs. I was riding in standard and auto for most of the ride, with no assist on much of the downhill sections, although I did intentionally leave it in auto, to let the regen do the braking for me.
After the 42 mile ride, there was still 2 bars left showing on the console display, which is very impressive, given that I also threw in a fair bit of high mode towards the end.
I'm desperately hoping that the BH battery is returned to me this week, as I am going to do the same ride again next Friday afternoon, but without my countless wrong turns!!! The KTM will trounce the BH on battery duration, but I'd really love to run a few side by side comparisons in relation to hill climbing.
Sadly these won't be that accurate though, given the major weight loss that the BH has undergone, and also the fact that it sits on off road tyres.


The long winded route.

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Start of the ride showing the first major hill in the background. From this the next two photos are of the ascent. I've now completed this climb three times, but today nearly killed me. It's steeper than looks!

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As usual the rest of the views were stunning, and the riding superb, despite me making countless wrong turns.

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How about this for an overgrown track!

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Now this is an interesting one. I was standing looking at this dew pond, when I was approached by a girl who took an interest in the bike. She knew a thing or two about e-bikes, and spotted the Panasonic hub straight away. She then asked a few questions, exchanged emails, and then kindly took the photo.

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And finally something that bought a lump to my throat and made me feel very humble and emotional.


I hadn't spotted The Chattri War Memorial on my last trip on The South Downs, but made a point today of visiting it.

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It was a very odd feeling being there in bright blue sunshine, and with birds signing.
I felt kind of guilty for being able to do such activities, and yet very grateful at the same time.
Sometimes it's good to reflect upon the ultimate sacrifices that others have made, so that we can enjoy the life that we have. Thank you.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
In spite of the all history between India and British, I still like your reports and reviews, Eddie :D
Are you taking this KTM to your next MTB event and planning to kick everyone's arse?
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Hi Ravi,

The KTM has to be back the day before the event, but I wouldn't have wanted to risk it, just in case. :)

I did have a bit of fun on it yesterday though, blasting past every single rider that I came across.
It must have been an impressive sight to all of the various walkers.:D

Three unsuspecting victims.!!!:D

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And this is the reason that I try to stay away from the main track, and go off onto countless side trails that no one else uses.

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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Mamma mia..!!
Eddie Corleone, those countryside looks very much like the Sicilian ranges.
Every lycra roadie will sleep with the fishes....
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
It is interesting that the Haibike mid drive was spinning out. Did they have the same tires?

The mid drive may have more torque and be overcomng the slip resistance?

It would be interesting to compare on a dry path, up a hill.

Thanks for the report. excellent.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
It is interesting that the Haibike mid drive was spinning out. Did they have the same tires?
The mid drive may have more torque and be overcomng the slip resistance?
It would be interesting to compare on a dry path, up a hill.
Thanks for the report. excellent.
That's exactly what I thought, Dan.
KTM might be gaining traction due to extra weight on the rear wheel.
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
I thought that I had added that both bikes are running the superb Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, with the same size wheels, but I seemingly hadn't.
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Being self employed, I'm able to be a bit flexible about how I use my time, so decided that as it was so nice last Friday, I'd bunk off work and take my cycling cousin, back up on the South Downs, for a late afternoon/evening 34mile ride. The sole intention of the last couple of rides has been to see how the Panasonic battery life compares with the Bosch battery. After completing several rides of similar length over the last week, the result surprised me, as I had anticipated that the Bosch would come out on top, but it didn't. There wasn't much to separate them, but the Panasonic had more battery life showing after each ride than the Bosch. I have to say that both are exceedingly good though, and I'd be 100% confident that neither would disappoint. Had the BH battery been back, I know for sure that it would require close to two charges to have matched both of the above.

The ride was once again a superb one, and oddly once again I found someone that that gave me an interesting bit of info. They were working on a component for a prototype e-bike, that Williams Grand Prix are in the process of developing. It was quite an interesting conversation, and it'll be even more interesting to see how the project works out.

Managed not to get lost this time!

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A few shots from the ride.

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8.30pm still sunny, and still 10 miles to ride.

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My time with this bike is now drawing to a close, and although the bike has been slightly too small for me, I have still had a brilliant time with it, and rate it way over the Haibike. The build quality is in a different league, and I'm certain that the Haibike will long be dead and buried, before the KTM gives up.
Having this bike over the last couple of weeks, has also inspired two other people, and all being well and good, KTM will have secured two new customers, and possibly a third. ME. :)

Throughout this test, I've been very aware that neither of the bikes were designed for where I have taken them, and accordingly both have been ridden with due care, and both have proved to be very versatile bikes. It's also been good to have an excuse to skip work for once, and get out enjoying my favourite hobby.
It would have been nice to have performed comparisons with the hub drive of the BH as well, but as usual BH warranty is absolutely rubbish. With one week to go until the next Wiggle mtb event, this is a complete pain in the backside.

The next stage of this review will see the bike being serviced and cleaned. I'm a very fussy git when it comes to things like this, and also see it as a very good way of really getting a thorough feel a bike and it's flaws. Plus I enjoy cleaning them as much as I do riding them.

One thing that makes me smile, is how people say that hub drive rear wheels are a pain to change when you get a puncture. Out on a ride, I can change the BH rear wheel in just under 5 mins, and today with the KTM suspended, it took me 20 secs to un plug everything and 48 seconds to remove the rear wheel, and exactly the same time to re fit. I can't imagine that it would take much longer than that if you needed to do it when out on a ride.
The bike is now serviced up, and looking pristine again.

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I have every reason to believe that long term, this bike will wear exceedingly well and would prove to be a very reliable purchase.

What is frustrating, is that now that it's all boxed up again, and waiting to go back, I have just thought of two more people that I'd have loved to have shown it to.

After just my short spell with the bike, I'd certainly recommend the Brand to anyone, and I'll complete a summary of the bike over the next day or so. :)
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
The good thing is James, that all being well and good, a friend of mine is going to be buying the review bike, so I might even get to ride it some more. :)