Watt Wagons Ultimate Commuter - My Initial And Informal Review

Ayl

New Member
I ordered an Ultimate Commuter with a custom frame from Watt Wagons, and it arrived last Friday, October 25th.

A little back story on my order. I converted my bicycle into an ebike using a BBSHD mid drive motor. Unfortunately the peripherals didn't hold out, notably the rear wheel, and I decided to get an ebike where the peripherals were designed/selected to handle an electric motor. While shopping around for an ebike, I reached out to a bike builder on the west coast, but the starting estimate for what I was requesting was at ten thousand dollars. I ended up sending an email inquiry to Watt Wagons with a question as to which bicycle size would give me a more upright riding position. I was pleasantly surprised when Pushkar replied in a short amount of time, and gave me three options for an upright position, two of which did not require an additional cost. I ended up going with the third option of having the titanium frame customized to my preferences, and this was accomplished with only an additional $300 dollars. I ended up trying out an ebike with the dimensions close to what I was wanting at a LBS nearby, then double checking my ebike at the time, then sending those dimensions over to Pushkar to get the custom order started. Along with the frame, I was given other no cost options being made available, such as handlebars, and bicycle seats. I traded out the electric horn for a commuter bell, as well as going with the default rear rack instead of a Topeak model.

So yesterday morning I finalized the tweaking of the handlebars, and other peripheral items and took my Ultimate Commuter out for a 14 mile shake down. Here are my thoughts:
  • My Ultimate Commuter is fun and addictive to ride
  • Acceleration, maneuverability, and stopping power is noticeably better than my first ebike
  • The front shocks, and seat post suspension has made me realize I will never go back to an unsuspended bicycle, EVAH
  • Accelerating from a dead stop is smooth and quick with the Bafang Ultra's torque sensor
  • I've always enjoyed cycling, but my perineum nerve doesn't like bicycle seats, however the Brooks Saddle B-17 Imperial model appears to be an exception since I'm not feeling numbness
  • The Rohloff Speedhub, Bafang Ultra, and Gates Carbon belt drive is the ebike version of a happy successful ménage à trois
One interesting safety item I'd like to point out is the rear brake light. It turns on when either brake is applied, and when the bicycle lights are turned on, the red brake light will flash. Here's a couple of links to a video demonstrating this:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Mud3JPDdhgSuKkBh6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/4ehiqVS5JQVCepzZ6
I think this assisted the vehicles behind me when I was in traffic. With the red light flashing they were signaled that I'm slowing down, and gave them time to do the same as opposed to not having the signal and slowing down because I'm suddenly larger in their field of view.

I'd like to mention that when I arrived home last week I was up late unboxing my Ultimate Commuter. I had questions for Pushkar that he quickly answered even though it was late and he's one hour ahead of me on the east side of the US on a Friday night. He's always given me a high level of Customer Service from the start of my inquiry, as well as during the construction of my Ultimate Commuter, and even now after delivery of my ebike. I'd say his professionalism was a large factor in my purchase of the Ultimate Commuter.

I'd like to do more reviews in the future when I've hit certain miles or time periods, but in the interim I hope this review is found helpful.
 

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Feliz

Well-Known Member
Hi Ayl, welcome to the club! Nice review, thanks.

There is nothing not to like about Pushkar and his bike, it's a ensemble of the best in ebike commuting. I've really been enjoying mine and I have several hundred kilos on her now, I'm not anal about checking my odo but I think it's getting close to 1,000 by now.

I'm glad your unboxing went well, shipping bikes can turn out disastrous but mine was well boxed. I still have a couple of bugs on mine I'm going to work on this winter. My Rohloff cables were damaged and are still connected backwards at the hand dial so I'll order cables and fix that up. Turns out the torque sensing on my Ultra motor has never worked so I'll work on that. One thing with the Watt Wagon is the range is awesome, I find with most of my bikes as the temperature cools the range shortens but I had a long ride today with the WW in 10C temperature and the battery never changed on the display.
 

Ayl

New Member
...
I'm glad your unboxing went well, shipping bikes can turn out disastrous but mine was well boxed. I still have a couple of bugs on mine I'm going to work on this winter. My Rohloff cables were damaged and are still connected backwards at the hand dial so I'll order cables and fix that up. Turns out the torque sensing on my Ultra motor has never worked so I'll work on that. One thing with the Watt Wagon is the range is awesome, I find with most of my bikes as the temperature cools the range shortens but I had a long ride today with the WW in 10C temperature and the battery never changed on the display.
Hi Feliz,
Thank you for the greeting.
Sorry to hear about shipping messing up your cables, and your torque sensor. On my shipment the frame got a little scuffed, and the battery was at the bottom of the box, but fortunately wasn't damaged.

I'm impressed by the number of Kilometers you've put on your ebike, and I hope to follow suit. I'm a little envious on the colder temperatures you're riding around in. Where I'm at we tend to have triple digit heat, then it gets cooler for a month or two, then back to being hot, but I'll keep in mind that when the weather around here drops it'll shorten my range a little.
 

pushkar

Active Member
Hey @Ayl Thanks for the great review.

I want to highlight a couple of additional things here

1. I build a custom frame - to spec. This is a very special build for me - it was a tad hard to get the battery mount clearance on the frame but @Ayl was very patient through the process. Thanks!

2. Part of this build was the process of establishing a timeline for custom builds like I have with some other clients. I am happy to say that for custom builds, the time for frame is 6-8 weeks from the time we finalize the design. I can customize the stack and reach within reason for most geometries.

Adding @Ravi Kempaiah @taco799 @KellyH @Timpo for visibility into new stuff! :)
 
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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
So yesterday morning I finalized the tweaking of the handlebars, and other peripheral items and took my Ultimate Commuter out for a 14 mile shake down. Here are my thoughts:
Looks great! I think you can fix the angle of that front light ;)

The front fork is super heavy duty and is actually spec'd for MTBing. Overall, the bike is very versatile and capable.

The Rohloff Speedhub, Bafang Ultra, and Gates Carbon belt drive
Yes, makes for a very low maintenance and high performance machine and one of the very few bikes with throttle control on a mid-drive with the belt setup.

Since the bike geometry was customized for you, I think you will enjoy it immensely. Let us know the full report once you put few hundred miles on it.
 

Ayl

New Member
Thanks Ravi. The angle on my light is due to the bats and low flying drones where I ride. ;)
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
Hi Feliz,
Thank you for the greeting.
Sorry to hear about shipping messing up your cables, and your torque sensor. On my shipment the frame got a little scuffed, and the battery was at the bottom of the box, but fortunately wasn't damaged.

I'm impressed by the number of Kilometers you've put on your ebike, and I hope to follow suit. I'm a little envious on the colder temperatures you're riding around in. Where I'm at we tend to have triple digit heat, then it gets cooler for a month or two, then back to being hot, but I'll keep in mind that when the weather around here drops it'll shorten my range a little.
Hi Ayl,
I average around a hundred kilos a day, I'm retired and I've had to move on from my other hobbies due to poor vision ( riding, racing, and restoring vintage motorcycles and flying RC planes and drones ) so it's all bike riding now. I currently have seven eBikes and try to spread the mileage between all of them. Do you ride a lot?

The cables weren't messed up due to shipping but rather due to damage from improper installation, I'm going to have to get new cables from Rohloff. I can ride the bike okay but shifting is difficult and a bit of guesswork.

I just bought an EggRider display which will let me adjust all the parameters on the Ultra, I wish I would have know about them earlier they work on all the Bafang mid drives and apparently on the rear hub drives. Real nice tool if you like to tinker with the Ultra. I've been riding my WW without a working torque sensor and the cadence sensor isn't tuned very well, it sometimes takes two complete revolutions to get going, needless to say I've been using the throttle a lot.

You're lucky you can ride all year where you live, are there good riding lanes/paths?
 
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pushkar

Active Member
I just bought an EggRider display which will let me adjust all the parameters on the Ultra, I wish I would have know about them earlier they work on all the Bafang mid drives and apparently on the rear hub drives. Real nice tool if you like to tinker with the Ultra.

You're lucky you can ride all year where you live, are there good riding lanes/paths?

hey let me know how you like the egg rider. I haven’t tried it yet but keep hearing good things.
 

Ayl

New Member
Hi Feliz,
I don't feel I ride often enough, and probably only doing about 15 to 20 miles a week time permitting. I'm still working a 9-5 job, and when it comes to commuting I can either go 23 miles directly to work from home, or jump on a light rail and spend a couple of hours in transit before riding 12 miles to get to the office from the rail station. When I think about it, I'd rather be riding directly to work and spend the two hours of transit on the ebike instead of sitting in a train. I'll probably change my mind if it's thundering out.

Thanks for the info on the EggRider. I'll google that when I have time later, but the display sounds promising. Have you tinkered with the Bafang Ultra settings?

My previous ebike was built using a BBSHD mid drive, that also lacked a torque sensor. Taking off from a dead stop at a traffic light would require a revolution or two of the pedals before the motor kicked in, so the thumb throttle came in handy quite often.

There are a decent amount of bike trails available in my part of Texas. In 2020/2021, the needed bike trails will be connected so I could go from Dallas to Fort Worth via this route. I think I'll make a day trip of it when it's available.
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
hey let me know how you like the egg rider. I haven’t tried it yet but keep hearing good things.
I have the EggRider thanks to forum member Tom who told me about it and then helped me get one. It replaces the display on any bike using a Bafang mid drive, I managed to use it to tune Bafang rear hub drives as well. You just have to download the app on your phone and you're good to go. It would be perfect for you tuning bikes on the go. As far as I can see it has the same capabilities as if you used the Bafang cable and software with the benefit of being portable. There's different versions for different controllers, KT for example. It's available from California eBikes for $110 US or from the manufacturer in the U.K. who I believe is the maker of the batteries on the WW.
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
Hi Feliz,
I don't feel I ride often enough, and probably only doing about 15 to 20 miles a week time permitting. I'm still working a 9-5 job, and when it comes to commuting I can either go 23 miles directly to work from home, or jump on a light rail and spend a couple of hours in transit before riding 12 miles to get to the office from the rail station. When I think about it, I'd rather be riding directly to work and spend the two hours of transit on the ebike instead of sitting in a train. I'll probably change my mind if it's thundering out.

Thanks for the info on the EggRider. I'll google that when I have time later, but the display sounds promising. Have you tinkered with the Bafang Ultra settings?

My previous ebike was built using a BBSHD mid drive, that also lacked a torque sensor. Taking off from a dead stop at a traffic light would require a revolution or two of the pedals before the motor kicked in, so the thumb throttle came in handy quite often.

There are a decent amount of bike trails available in my part of Texas. In 2020/2021, the needed bike trails will be connected so I could go from Dallas to Fort Worth via this route. I think I'll make a day trip of it when it's available.
Ayl, changing the settings on the Ultra is the same as the BBSHD only the Ultra has a torque sensor. I have a Biktrix Juggernaut Classic with the BBSHD and it's my favourite bike, I run both the Juggernaught and the Watt Wagon at 1600 watts. I would probably enjoy the Ultra more if it had a functioning torque sensor😒

Yes, I would rather ride a bike than ride the train, that's an easy decision. I'm in a smaller town, pop 50,000, we have excellent riding, great lakes, nice weather, but from a larger city. I was going to immigrate to the US in the sixties but when they told me I would be drafted and sent to Viet Nam I rescinded my offer😊 If you can find the time come on up, we have lots of bikes and beds.
 
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jono1331

New Member
my WattWagon (#21) is thus far flawless. not too many miles on it yet, but everything seems to work fine. it's a well put together collection of top shelf parts. low maintenance too. I have too many bikes but I intend to keep this one in the rotation until it snows. Pushkar was easy to work with and accommodating. EggRider you say.........I'll look into that
 

pushkar

Active Member
my WattWagon (#21) is thus far flawless. not too many miles on it yet, but everything seems to work fine. it's a well put together collection of top shelf parts. low maintenance too. I have too many bikes but I intend to keep this one in the rotation until it snows. Pushkar was easy to work with and accommodating. EggRider you say.........I'll look into that

Jon
Thanks for the kind words. I look forward to your review as well. :) Oh -and if you are looking for snow / spiked tires, please let me know. Id be happy to hook you up.
 
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Ayl

New Member
Ayl, changing the settings on the Ultra is the same as the BBSHD only the Ultra has a torque sensor. I have a Biktrix Juggernaut Classic with the BBSHD and it's my favourite bike, I run both the Juggernaught and the Watt Wagon at 1600 watts. I would probably enjoy the Ultra more if it had a functioning torque sensor😒

Yes, I would rather ride a bike than ride the train, that's an easy decision. I'm in a smaller town, pop 50,000, we have excellent riding, great lakes, nice weather, but from a larger city. I was going to immigrate to the US in the sixties but when they told me I would be drafted and sent to Viet Nam I rescinded my offer😊 If you can find the time come on up, we have lots of bikes and beds.
@Feliz besides running your WW at 1600 watts, what other settings did you modify? If there's a profile you copied online and it's easier to send a link please do.

I'm a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and I freely enlisted out of high school. However I think it would have sucked balls to have been drafted and sent to Vietnam back in the sixties. Good on you for saying "nope." :) If I ever make it up to Canada, I promise I'll reach out and we'll go riding.
 

Feliz

Well-Known Member
@Feliz besides running your WW at 1600 watts, what other settings did you modify? If there's a profile you copied online and it's easier to send a link please do.

I'm a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and I freely enlisted out of high school. However I think it would have sucked balls to have been drafted and sent to Vietnam back in the sixties. Good on you for saying "nope." :) If I ever make it up to Canada, I promise I'll reach out and we'll go riding.
Good on you for serving! I served in the Canadian Army out of high school and never regretted it.

I tweaked a few settings but nothing earth shattering. When you get around to making changes send me a PM and I can help you if you need it. Did you use the cable and software on your BBSHD to tune it? You're younger and would have no problems using the EggRider display and app it's great you can make changes during a ride or trip. Here's a link to the thread where I found out about it. Tom on there is a good guy and the most knowledgeable poster on this forum, I wouldn't be surprised if he shows up here.

 
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Ayl

New Member
Hi jono1331,
I totally concur regarding the Ultimate Commuter. When my previous ebike started having problems I contemplated just replacing that part, but then realized as a whole it wasn't designed for ebike use and probably better off replacing the whole bike for one designed for an electric motor.
 

Slowpoke

Member
Hi Ayl, welcome to the club! Nice review, thanks.

There is nothing not to like about Pushkar and his bike, it's a ensemble of the best in ebike commuting. I've really been enjoying mine and I have several hundred kilos on her now, I'm not anal about checking my odo but I think it's getting close to 1,000 by now.

I'm glad your unboxing went well, shipping bikes can turn out disastrous but mine was well boxed. I still have a couple of bugs on mine I'm going to work on this winter. My Rohloff cables were damaged and are still connected backwards at the hand dial so I'll order cables and fix that up. Turns out the torque sensing on my Ultra motor has never worked so I'll work on that. One thing with the Watt Wagon is the range is awesome, I find with most of my bikes as the temperature cools the range shortens but I had a long ride today with the WW in 10C temperature and the battery never changed on the display.
Sorry to here your bike arrived in this condition.I'm excited to learn more about this bike,and also I like to see how well the company provides customer service and the handling of warranty issues.
 
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Ayl

New Member
Sorry to here your bike arrived in this condition.I'm excited to learn more about this bike,and also I like to see how well the company provides customer service and the handling of warranty issues.
Hi Slowpoke,
I have nothing but positive reviews for Watt Wagons and their customer service. My Ultimate Commuter arrived without any mechanical problems. The worst thing was a scuff on the frame that came about via transit. This buffed out easily.

When it comes to answering questions I've always received a timely answer without a need to follow up. Also, my Ultimate Commuter is a custom frame, and the customer service I received for the build and measuring process was at the very least outstanding.

If you have any questions from a customer perspective please let me know.