2016 Woosh Karoo

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
I realise that this isn't ever going to be a bike that is destined for the US market, but it does use an XB5WXH 8fun motor, optimised for 185rpm.

A short review of the 2016 Woosh Karoo http://wooshbikes.co.uk/?karoo

Bike kindly supplied by Woosh.

ebr 1.JPG


The Woosh Karoo arrived extremely well packaged within two cardboard boxes, and had a plentiful amount of protective covering to all exposed parts of the bike. The bike was removed easily, and took very little in the way of assembly. The user guide and assembly instructions were easily the best that I have seen supplied with any bike. I was also very impressed by the quality of the paint finish and graphics. That aspect was also commented upon by my bike shop owning friend.

I spent a little time changing the handle bar control layout to suit my needs a little better. I happen to prefer my brake and gear shift control, angled considerably lower than the standard configuration allows. This is why the throttle control cable runs above the handle bars in the photos, and not below, which is the standard configuration. Running it this way, to me gave a more natural reach position to the brake and gears.

I also opted to use my own spd pedals for the first couple of uses of the bike as well.

First impressions of the bike were highly favourable, especially given it’s highly competitive price.

Being honest, I hated the chrome finish on the handle bar grips, and felt that they let the bike down.

After giving the bike a very thorough check over, and charging of the 13ah battery, it was time for the first ride.

I was pretty unfair with the chosen route, and it was far from what the bikes intended purpose actually is. I have a set first ride route, which covers 18 miles of some pretty mixed and taxing terrain, with an elevation gain of 1,485’. The ride also takes in a Category 4 climb, which can be seen below at approx the 11 mile point.

Ride one..JPG

The cat 4 climb can be seen in this clip. (not mine)


Rightly or wrongly, I feel that if an ebike cannot complete this 18 mile ride in it’s highest power setting and still return with reasonable amount of battery life left, then the bike isn’t worth bothering with, and has failed. I intend to extend this route for future tests, as I consider it not unreasonable to expect any ebike marketed, to complete 30 miles minimum.

Woosh state the following in respect of the bike and it’s intended use “The Karoo is best if: You are tall, slim and live in a flatish area and are used to fast pedalling.” The area that I live in is far from flat, and straight from home I am faced with riding either up or down a 14% gradient hill, so any test of the bike was always going to be far from ideal.

Pedalling down hill away from home, the bike felt very twitchy with it’s narrow bars, and also very compact and stiff. Owning and riding e-mtb’s has spoilt me. I’m a massive fan of rigid front forks on a road biased bikes, and the forks and frame of this bike felt very compliant and natural. The roads in this area, like so many, are riddled with potholes and rough tarmac. The pot holes are avoidable but the rough surfaces aren’t, but this seemingly didn’t present too much of an issue to the bike, and it wasn't long before I had settled into things, loving the experience.

The bikes intended use, and it’s gearing did mean that I had to work reasonably hard on some of the climbs, and the Category 4 climb had me working very hard. This is certainly no reflection upon the bike, and a change of gearing to better suit the area that I live in, would have helped greatly, and is an easily achievable modification to carry out.

Reading another recent review, comment was made as to how uncomfortable that the saddle was. It was quite an interesting comment, and goes some way to showing how we all have different opinions of the same product, as I’ve found it to actually be the best saddle that I have ever sat on.


The bike returned from this first ride, having only used one bar of the batteries capacity. Something that also impressed me.

ebr3.JPG

Ride two was far more suitable for the bikes designed use, which I feel is as a fast cross town commuting bike. A role that it performs exceptionally well. The ease that this bike covers cross town commuting does make me question the fitting of a throttle to the bike though, and I don’t think that it is needed on a bike such as this.

The bike was really good fun to ride in traffic, and fast progress could be made away from traffic lights. Gear selection wasn’t the smoothest though, but what can reasonably be expected in this price bracket, and I’m certainly not going to be judging the bike on that.

ebr4.JPG ebr2.JPG ebr1.JPG


Sadly I didn't have as much time as I would have liked with the bike, due only to the fact that the bike wasn't mine, and I didn't want to use it the adverse weather conditions that prevailed at the time.
What really did impress me was the bikes range from an intentional mileage test, using the highest power setting for the full duration. The bike managed an incredible 75 miles, with an elevation gain of 5,796'


To summarize.. This bike makes a great cross town fast commuter, and whilst cities still clearly have hills, I’m not certain that they would be particularly long enough to present some of the struggles that I had with my terrain. Even living where I do, careful planning could make the bike a viable and cheap solution for popping to the train station and back. Mudguard and rack mounts add to the practicality of the bike, and at the price that it is currently being sold, it’s hard to see how potential purchasers could go wrong.

If I were to own the bike, I would make a couple of changes. I’d remove the throttle and change the grips, possibly fitting an ergo type design. I’d lower the gearing to suit the very hilly terrain that I have here, and that is about it. Once set up, the cable brakes do a their job more than well enough, and whilst hydraulic brakes are more appealing, I see no point going to extra expensive of changing things just for the sake of it.

Rider profile.

Age - 50yrs
Weight - 75kg
Fitness level - Average to good.
Annual cycling mileage - 3,700miles, with 90% of it ridden off road
Pedelecs/cycles currently owned - KTM Macina Lycan (Bosch Performace Line motor) and KTM Macina Race ( Bosch CX motor) and KTM Ultra 1964 pedal mtb

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