- Light weight, efficient city style electric bike with mid drive and internally geared 8 speed hub
- Ready to ride with fenders, lights, chain guard, bell and a simple LED console interface
- Stiffer to ride, no seat post shock or suspension fork but the ergo grips and adjustable stem are nice
As the video review shows, it was raining and getting dark when I spent time with this bike. As a result, this review will be based more on my observations and research. Feel free to comment below if you own or have spent time with the Pro Connect C8! All in all, this is a budget focused city bike with good features but a weaker motor and battery system. It’s a German made by coming from Kalkhoff and their parent company Derby Cycle Werke. It uses Panasonic drive systems (motor, battery and controller) that’s known for being high quality and a bit peppier, though less responsive, than the Tasman Tour C8 (also by Kalkhoff). Compared with that bike, the Pro Connect is a bit stiffer to ride as it lacks a suspension fork and seat post shock. Still, the fenders, lights, ergo grips, bell and internally geared hub make it very functional and despite the lower power, the middrive system can be a capable climber with a bit of pedal assistance and it gets pretty good range.
The motor driving the Pro Connect C8 is a 250 watt geared mid-drive that leverages the same chain that the rider powers when pedaling. As a result, the rider and motor get to leverage the gear system and that makes climbing easier and the overall ride much more efficient. I must say, it’s quite a bit less satisfying than a hub motor (as those act independently on the wheel regardless of which gear the rider is in) but the lower weight distribution and front to rear stability of middrive is a big benefit. One big benefit of this particular system is that gears can be changed at standstill making stop signs and street lights on inclines much easier to deal with. So many times I’ve been pedaling hard only to put on the brakes and then realize I’m in a hard gear. With a system like this, I can change the gear at rest and start off again without straining my legs and knees.
The battery pack on the Kalkhoff Pro Connect C8 isn’t all that impressive numbers wise but it is positioned well and removable for charging. These are key features for commuting or reducing weight when hauling an ebike around. The pack locks to the frame and is positioned just behind the seat tube near the bottom bracket. The specs are 25.2 volts of power and 12 amp hours of capacity. Most US made ebikes offer 36 volts and 10+ amp hours so obviously this isn’t going to be the most thrilling ride but power is maximized by the gearing system and the overall reduced weight of the bike itself is nice. The Panasonic cells are high quality and Lithium-ion chemistry will last well if taken care of (kept out of extreme temperatures and topped off every month or so if not being used).
In conclusion, this is a pretty generic bike but it does the job well. If you’re looking to save a bit of money, get something that is reliable and well built and don’t mind pedaling along then the Connect C8 could be a great choice. I like the bell design, the addition of a micro-pump and the standard rack tubing size for adding a pack or panniers. While the computer console isn’t all that impressive and lacks an LCD monitor for reading top speed, range and precise battery capacity it is easy to reach and simple to use. Finding this ebike in the US may be tricky as it’s primarily sold in Europe but at least one shop does carry it and I’ve linked to them below in the Resources section. I do love the dynamo powered LED lights on this thing and all things considered it is in a way different league than some of the less expensive mass produced imports and that’s part of why it commands a higher price.
- Front and rear lights are powered by Shimano Alfine dynamo so they will continue to work even if your main battery runs out
- Good range due to limited top speed and mid drive system that leverages rear gears
- Middrive motor and battery pack mounted behind seat tube keeps weight low and centered on the bike
- Solid combination of extras including front and rear fenders and lights, bell, tool-free adjustable stem and handle bars, chain guard, standard size rear rack with built in pump and kickstand
- Available in three frame sizes with step-through to make getting on and off easier
- Solid two year warranty, bike is made by Kalkhoff which is part of Derby Cycle Werke, one of the largest German ebike manufacturers with a solid reputation, drive system and battery are by Panasonic – another trusted manufacturer
- Mid-drive motor is fairly quiet and works seamlessly with internally geared hub, a bit peppier and easier to activate than some other ebikes
- Key unlocks the battery which can be removed and charged separately from the bike
- Limited comfort features, no suspension fork or seat post shock, normal seat
- Offers pedal assist mode only, no twist or trigger throttle
- Lower powered 25.2 volt battery and smaller overall battery capacity for medium range
- Bolt-on style rack requires proper assembly and maintenance to avoid rattling loose over time vs. welded but the Kalkhoff hardware seems very high quality
- The built in pump is neat but could get stolen
- Simple LED computer console does not show top speed or range and offers a more basic capacity indicator but is easy to reach, understand and use
- Very limited availability in the USA, harder to test ride and service as a result