New Moscow Plus - my mini review

blueskyca

New Member
How I spent my summer with a Moscow Plus...
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I’ve really appreciated the reviews and comments I’ve read here on this site and they have significantly influenced my buy decisions. At least I’ll know who to credit or blame…

I’d like to add my (somewhat lengthy) review of my latest electric 2 wheeler.

I recently bought an NCM Moscow plus directly from Leon Cycles, Seattle. Although their website showed out of stock for the model I wanted, Ryan was able to perform some stock exchange manipulations and my 27.5” model was soon on its way.

My comments:

  • FedEx sucks. Waited all day for signature-required box only to be notified at 8 PM it was delayed until the next day. Waited all day again, bike arrives with a beat-up box and a broken front fork. Leon rushes a replacement fork to me. Another day of waiting for a signature-required package. 8 PM called FedEx but they didn’t know where it was and put out a “tracer” and would call me back. They never called, waited another day and the replacement fork finally showed up. The bell was smashed too and Leon Cycles sent me a replacement, but it didn’t fit the bars.
  • NCM support, at least in the US from Leon Cycles, has been great. Very responsive.
Finally got the bike on the road and these are my thoughts:

  • I’m 6’1” but I’m glad I ordered the 27.5” model to give me a little more stand over height as I do a fair amount of off-road and gravel roads.
  • The motor is pretty quiet. Got up to 24 MPH on flat ground in a burst in PAS 6. Motor power goes to zero at 22 MPH at PAS 6 and drops about 2 MPH for each PAS reduction. About 8 MPH in PAS 1.
  • The derailleurs were pretty well adjusted right out of the box. It shifts pretty good, maybe better than expected for Acera components. Longevity will be the real tale.
  • I really like the grips – great palm support for long rides. I may get some for my other bikes.
  • I adjusted the bars to place the brake reservoirs vertical and this felt pretty good for my height.
  • The tools it came with are actually decent. Too bad there were no wrenches for the rear axle.
  • As others have noted, the battery holder mounting screws were loose and the battery rattled and thudded over bumps. The tiniest of screws are used to hold a rather substantial battery so I’ll be checking these often.
  • I have a rear disk squeal so I cleaned the pads and rotor with alcohol and realigned the caliper – with no significant improvement.
  • The front disk brake was weak out of the box but improved to fully adequate after 20-30 miles. Not as strong as my Trek Cobia, but this is a much heavier bike.
  • I set off up some SoCal mountain roads, gaining about 1500 feet in 4 miles, mostly paved. The bike had no issues with the steep grades and the motor and controller were only warm at the top. Pretty impressive although a fair amount of the fully charged battery was consumed.
  • Even though I tightened the headset after installing the new fork, it was now loose. Be sure you can’t spin the headset spacers by hand.
  • Walk mode is pretty cool, but I found myself simply using the throttle carefully on some technical off-road uphill sections.
  • The cadence sensor can be abrupt at low speed and I found myself gently pulling the brake lever (disabling motor power) to execute tight 180’s or using throttle only to get started. PAS 1 is a little gentler in serious technical stuff but still seems to deliver full power on steep low speed uphills.
  • I had several loose spokes, as others have reported. Finding a 3.7mm spoke wrench wasn’t happening in my area so I sacrificed a Park wrench and made one.
  • There’s not much you can’t climb with this bike, but you have to be in the right gear and wailing on the pedals.
  • The display battery voltmeter isn’t especially accurate, measuring 0.3 to 0.8 volts lower than actual.
  • The speedo is pretty accurate – I measured about 0.7 MPH optimistic.
  • The USB port is handy but would have been better located at the display.
  • The C7 display is nice. Bluetooth would have been nice too for mods and stats. I also would have liked to see amp-hr or KW-hr consumption along with the battery meter. This may be a future upgrade I add as I have one on my e-motorcycle.
  • The manual says to charge then fully discharge the lithium battery. Bad advice for lithium, as confirmed by Ryan at Leon Cycles. I fully charged then rode until just 1 bar, a total of 23 miles with a lot of hills. A 3rd ride with a fully charged battery got me to 11.3 miles in about an hour with 1 battery bar flashing, but his included a lot of hills. With a 768 W-hr battery, this suggests motor power is higher than the 500 W rated, but there are lots of variables. I was at 24 miles by the time I got back down the hill. I’m not optimistic range will improve after more cycles. Flat land cruising may be closer to their 40 miles or so rating.
  • I’m not sure who makes the batteries for this, but NCM/Leon Cycles appears to stand behind them, at least for a year. I’ll be doing capacity testing periodically.
  • The charger is nameplate rated at 48V and 3A. I measured 54.5V open circuit (~4.19V per cell, if balanced) and 2.94A at 46.5V battery voltage while charging. Current tapers off as it charges but I haven’t measured the green light cutoff current yet. I’m charging on a timer via a WiFi smart plug so I don’t keep the battery at max voltage for longer than needed. I’m not sure if this charger completely cuts off when full or not.
  • The battery charger runs pretty cool as the fan in on continuously. But it’s not especially efficient. I measured 82% efficiency which is on par with other cheap Chinese 120V chargers. I have DC-DC converters which push 97% efficiency that I use on my electric motorcycle, running off my solar charged power wall. I’ll switch over at some point but an extra 5 cents per charge is in the noise.
  • I’m not crazy about having both 18mm and 19mm nuts on the rear axle. I’d like to find some common nuts.
  • I didn’t think I wanted a bike with 3 chainrings but I’m warming up to it. A wider ratio cassette and single chainring, like some others use, might have been a better choice. If you’re at PAS 6 on flat ground you’ll be on the big chainring.
Upgrades in progress:

  • Since I’ve been drinking the Topeak KoolAid for some time now, I installed an Explorer MTX rack and quick connect EX bag. Works great.
  • This also leaves the seat stay mounts free for a future ABUS frame lock, if I’m still in the mood.
  • And since I’m occupationally obsessed with measuring everything, I’ll add an accurate Hall ammeter, voltage, power, and energy display, similar to my electric motorcycle.
  • I’m also working on a charge-while-ride mode from an aux battery to boost my range when I want it. I’ve got several M365 scooter batteries that I’m pretty impressed with. Integrated BMS and great cycle life from LG batteries.
Overall, I’m happy with the bike. I realize this is not intended for Slick Rock Utah trail crashing and jumps, but it’s hard to argue the value compared to other eBikes.
 
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Good review, thanks.

I don't know if you were unlucky or it's a US thing but my rear wheel nuts are both 19mm on my Australian bike. Having said that the wrench that I carry in my toolkit is 19mm at one end and 18mm at the other. I agree about the three chainrings. I climb about 500m (total) in a 37km commute and I never use anything but the largest chainring - I think a good 1x10 setup might be a good way to go. I put fenders and a rack on mine and "upgraded" to GP3 style grips but otherwise very pleased with the non-plus Moscow.
 

RGOLD

New Member
Nice real world review. Regarding battery life, I noticed that range improved after about 15 charge cycles. I'm able to average 50 miles with total of 3300 ft climbs. I let the battery drain to 44 - 45 volts and charge it to about 53V with the smart plug. Happy with this bike, no issue after 870 miles. I live near Portland OR so I drove to LEON store (They assembled it for me) in Seattle WA since I didn't want FEDEX or UPS to deliver the bike...
 

blueskyca

New Member
Nice real world review. Regarding battery life, I noticed that range improved after about 15 charge cycles. I'm able to average 50 miles with total of 3300 ft climbs. I let the battery drain to 44 - 45 volts and charge it to about 53V with the smart plug. Happy with this bike, no issue after 870 miles. I live near Portland OR so I drove to LEON store (They assembled it for me) in Seattle WA since I didn't want FEDEX or UPS to deliver the bike...
That's good to know about the range as I could certainly use more. I'm currently at about 5-6 cycles on my battery. I get a flashing one bar low voltage indicator on my display at 44.9V (indicated). This is probably closer to 45.4V actual, about 3.5V per cell, which is pretty conservative for a low battery warning if the cells are reasonably balanced. I'm not sure where the low voltage cutoff kicks in, but I also noticed I recovered about 0.3V on my downhill coast.
 

blueskyca

New Member
I'll also add that I was pretty bummed about the 20 MPH top speed, but since most of my riding is a mix of on and off road I don't often feel the need for more speed. If this was more of a commuter I'd probably be pursuing the other NCM and Magnum display options that bump the speed up a few MPH.
 

lankox

Member
My Moscow cut offs power to the motor around 43.1 volts. Also, changing the tire size to the lowest setting gets you about 2-3 mph more in speed.