Review from motorcyclist perspective

Buz11

New Member
I commute 10 miles to work through a busy city with not great roads, and have always taken my motorcycle in non-freezing weather. I've been wanting to not be stuck in traffic as much, and have a mountain bike but that's a bit too far both ways for my comfort, so after doing research on ebikes took a shot on the XP.

My biggest concern going in was the lack of suspension, which proved to be valid at tire pressures above 20 psi. Lowering it to 17 psi is a good tradeoff between diminishing the bumps and feeling drag when just pedaling. It's still too bouncy off road but don't want to lower it further for the road.

My next question was how pedal assist worked and felt. At this price (which is great!) I knew it didn't have a pedal-strength based system, but hadn't seen any good descriptions of it. I've worked on control systems, and my description of how it works on the XP is that each assist level has a target mph and maximum amperage, and applies assistance up to that maximum proportional to how far you're below the target, as long as you are pedaling more than 1 rpm. Level one targets about 11 mph and applies up to 1 amp, level 2 targets about 14 mph and applies up to 4 amps, level 3 targets 20 mph and applies up to 20 amps (full power), level 4 targets 24 mph and level 5 targets 28 mph (if the speed limit is overriden). There's a couple second delay for assistance to kick in when pedaling and turn off when coasting, but it turns off immediately when you brake. There are overrides for when assistance kicks in and the proportional assistance strength, which I tried tweaking but then left at defaults.

While I generally rely on pedal assist, the throttle is terrific to get moving quickly from stops while leaving in a high gear, and hides the pedal assist delay so you can let go after a couple seconds and maintain speed. Note the throttle will only take you up to 20 mph even if you override the speed limit--you need pedal assist to get up to 28 mph then. That's a pretty crazy speed to go on a bike this size, with this gearing, so I only use assist level 4 and 5 for the increased power going up steep hills or on completely open roads.

Speeding up is one thing, but in a busy city good brakes are more important for safety than anything. The XP's brakes work fine but, not surprisingly, don't give the same level as confidence as motorcycle brakes. You need to watch your speed and surroundings even more. That advice also comes with riding in bike lanes between traffic and parked cars who's doors can open quickly. The one issue I still have is that the brakes are squeaky, which I haven't tried anything yet to address.

The geometry of the bike allows for quick and tight turns, which I didn't expect but feels safe with the fat tires. There's zero play in the foldable handlebars and frame which inspires confidence. The kickstand is far enough to the rear to not interfere with pedal rotation, which is nice for backing the bike up short amounts with the kickstand down.

On a motorcycle I always need storage, and the bonus panniers that came with the XP are nice quality. But I prefer the look of an unobstructed rear wheel and had a motorcycle tank bag that I fixed to the rear rack, which is great for carrying the charger, cable lock, small groceries, helmet, etc. I could add the panniers for even greater storage but haven't had to yet.

Riding at night, I wish the front headlight were brighter, but it and the taillight are enough to alert cars to my presence. On wet roads the fenders have kept me completely dry.

One reason I got the XP was to fold and transport in cars, to take to destinations I'd want to ride around, that I can't for whatever reason motorcycle to. But I've found another use for folding is to ride it to meet people with a car that I need to ride back with. The XP is easy enough to fold, and drag around by its handle with both wheels on the ground, but it's pretty tricky to lift and turn sideways into a car while keeping it from unfolding. Also you don't want to lay on the handlebar side, which means laying it on the shifter side, and that puts pressure on the shifter guard. When I got my bike, I had to unbend the shifter guard a half inch to permit 7th gear, so am wary about it rebending. Fortunately a folded XP also fits upright into the backseat of any car, and is easier to lift and remove that way. The handle also makes it convenient to carry unfolded up and down steps, which I have to my office so can store inside.

Besides the shifter guard, the other issue my bike had on unpacking was a bent chainring. Pedaling a few hundred yards caused the chain to come off. I wrote the company and Christian immediately mailed a replacement chainring and pedal, which I had no trouble installing with a crank puller and wrench.

I've been riding every day for a few weeks now and generally digging it. For the price there doesn't appear to be anything close to the XP in terms of power, range, build quality, convenience, looks, and extras. The ride and controls have some things better and some things worse than I hoped. But altogether I'm happy with it and haven't thought about going back to the motorcycle for my commute.
 
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poorplayer

Active Member
I commute 10 miles to work through a busy city with not great roads, and have always taken my motorcycle in non-freezing weather. I've been wanting to not be stuck in traffic as much, and have a mountain bike but that's a bit too far both ways for my comfort, so after doing research on ebikes took a shot on the XP.
Thanks for the nice write-up!