Tempo Carmel First Ride

Update: I've posted pictures and updated the review here.

I had test ridden and researched quite a few ebikes lately in search for a bike that had most (if not all) of the following specs (much like scrambler's thread):
  • mid-drive, class 1
  • traditional high-step frame for extra stability
  • upright seating posture for comfort, keep weight off my hands as much as possible
  • front suspension
  • hydraulic disc brakes
  • NuVinci transmission with Harmony or H|Sync automatic shifting
  • Gates belt drive for long term durability, quiet/smooth, and (potentially) lower long-term maintenance
  • integrated light(s), if possible
I happened across a 2016 Tempo Carmel at a small local bike shop and gave it a test ride. I wasn't expecting or even looking for the bike, but there it was. And it was a lot of fun. After testing out a few more bikes, I decided the Carmel was the bike for me, so I purchased it for what I felt was a very good price and rode it 11 miles home, the last couple up a relatively long hill. Google Maps says it's 262 feet over 1.5 miles, which makes it a 3.3% grade. I currently weigh 98 kg and I was carrying at least 5 kg on my back. For the steepest part of the hill (4.8% grade over 0.4 miles), the bike kept up a solid 7 mph in maximum assist. I am 5'10" and the large/48cm frame fits me nicely. Granted, I still had to work, too, but it didn't kill me and I'm not in great shape (yet). I wasn't sweaty by the top of the hill.

I believe the motor is the MPF 6c, which the spec sheet says is 75 Nm of torque and 250 W nominal, 500W peak. The motor itself is incredibly responsive and quiet, about as quiet as the Brose motor on the Bulls Lacuba Evo E8 I tried. I believe it might be limited to the international 25kph standard? (More ride research is needed here.) The bike doesn't have brake inhibiters but doesn't need them because the motor stops a fraction of a second after you stop pedaling. Also, the belt drive makes this bike very quiet and smooth. Honestly I couldn't hear the bike that much at all working up the hill in 100% assist mode. The motor was responsive enough to highlight my own faults as a cyclist: inconsistent delivery of power to the pedals. I'll get better over time. :)

The bike came with the N360 hub and the 3-button base controller (H3). The preprogrammed cadence speeds are approximately 40, 55, and 70 rpm (see here for more details on the system). I have not tried a bike with the advanced controller yet (H8), but so far I am happy with the three speeds. I might eventually change out the controller. I typically stayed with the middle 55-rpm mode and was pleasantly surprised how steady my cadence was. One time after I decelerated more rapidly than normal, I started pedaling again and was in a much "lower gear," or faster cadence, than I expected. I think I fooled the controller into believing I was going to come to a complete stop. It quickly recovered. Since I had several stops and intersections on my route home, I was glad not to have to constantly shift down. In fact, It was nice not thinking much about shifting at all, and even though I am totally capable of managing that part of the ride, I was able to spend my mental energy elsewhere.

The handling of the Tempo was quite nice on dry pavement and I felt more confident with this bike than my previous bikes (of course, that's not saying much given my previous models). It corners nicely and is stable at 30+ mph downhill. The tires have a nice hybrid tread pattern for pavement and packed gravel trails, and they have a reflective sidewall as well.

On to the controls: There is a five-button controller near the left grip with +, -, light, mode, and walk. The MPF-branded computer doesn't give an estimated range remaining display, but it does have odometer, trip distance, trip time, average speed, max speed, and clock. Always on the display, from left to right, are assist level (10 levels!), speed, cadence rpm, and 5-segment battery meter. There is a backlight and a micro-USB port on the controller, and the only button on the display unit is the power button. It is detachable and has its own coin cell backup power supply.

There are hydraulic disc brakes on both wheels and the front light is wired into the controller and runs off of the main battery. The rear light is battery powered and only blinks (at least I can't get it to do anything else). It's probably more energy efficient to blink a battery-powered LED anyway. Walk mode works by holding down the dedicated walk button. There are the typical bosses for fenders and racks, although it might be tough fitting a fender to the front fork since there is little clearance between it and the tire. Also, the front suspension is a single-spring system with pretension adjustment and no lock-out. I figure it's fine for my purposes and may even be more reliable long-term than a more sophisticated dual-piston system. The seat post also has suspension on it. I found myself sinking into it after riding for a while. Maybe there's an adjustment on it, I'll have to look.

My other top contenders were the Felt Verza E 10, the Bulls Lacuba Evo E8, and the Wallerang. The Felt uses the Bosch system and both the local dealers that I tried were having trouble with some of the the display/head units. The Bulls is a nice bike but I really wanted the NuVinci automatic shifting for a truly brain-dead biking experience. :) Also the Wallerang Di2 auto-shifting with the Alfine 8 was really cool.

Please ask away any question(s) you may have about this bike! I'm excited to have a more modern and responsive ebike. My last one is/was a Currie eZip Trailz that I converted from SLA to Lithium.


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Thank you for the write up as this is the type of bike I am looking for :)

Will love to hear more about your experience using the H|sync system.
I understand the H|sync has the ability to run in Automatic cadence mode (what you tried so far), or in manual mode with simulated gears. If you have a chance, I would be curious to know if you can easily change between auto cadence mode and manual simulated gears while riding, how many simulated gears there are, and how it feels to basically electronic shift using that.

Looking forward to your experience.
To clarify: the Tempo Carmel doesn't have H|Sync, but rather a separate basic 3-button controller for the NuVinci with 3 different cadence presets. It feels really cool, though. It's basically slow, medium, and fast, and the change is nearly instantaneous.