- Setup for urban riding or distance touring with a more active, forward leaning geometry
- High end feature set including Shimano XT drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, Continental Eco Contact tires, backlight LCD computer console with range estimator software built in
- Powerful direct drive (gearless) rear hub motor by XION says 250 watts but offers peak output closer to 750 and supports regenerative braking for extended range and battery life
The Kalkhoff Pro Connect X27 is a twenty-seven speed urban commuter bike designed for active pedaling and distance riding. I say active because the frame style is a bit more aggressive and the saddle is narrow and stiff like a road bike vs. a soft comfort cruiser. That’s not to say this model isn’t comfortable however, the seat post shock, adjustable stem, ergonomic grips and suspension fork with lockout deliver a smooth comfortable ride. This bike leverages one of my favorite drive systems by XION, similar to what’s powering the Specialized Turbo ebike. Despite its smaller stature, the gearless motor on this bike is very capable and even offers power regeneration features.
The motor powering the Connect X27 is a direct drive (gearless) design offering 250 watts of output. That said, its peak output is closer to 1,000 watts and it offers 40nm of torque making it a capable hill climber. The label is really the only bad thing about this motor as it is nearly silent, capable of regenerating electricity to extend battery range and relatively light weight. It’s even narrow enough to accommodate a nine speed cassette in the rear with Shimano XT derailleur. All of the other Kalkhoff ebikes I’ve ridden use middle drive motors that keep weight low and balance out the frame while leveraging the pedaling gears directly. I actually prefer the ride quality of hub motors as they don’t pull the chain which makes shifting smoother. They tend to be faster and are ideal for on road conditions and this was an excellent choice for the Kalkhoff Pro Connect which is really optimized for urban commuting and touring in my opinion.
The battery pack powering that motor system, and accepting regenerated power, offers 36 volts of power and 11.5 amp hours of capacity. That’s a bit above average in terms of size but it’s really maximized in use because the X27 only offers torque sensing pedal assist. So the motor will only kick in when the rider is actively pedaling. This makes it easier on the system when climbing and helps you reach distances up to 55 miles on a single charge. The battery chemistry is Lithium-ion which is light weight and long lasting. The pack is mounted directly on top of the downtube, where a water bottle cage might otherwise sit. And indeed, there re not bosses for adding a water bottle cage to this bike as a result. The pack is secured to the frame with a built in lock and can be easily removed for charging inside or at work. Removability also comes in handy when transporting the bike, making it both lighter and spacious for latching onto hanging style on racks that leverage the top tube.
The LCD computer console on this bike uses high precision backlight TFT technology and shows your speed, distance, remaining battery capacity and estimated range along with the bike’s power output and your power output as a rider! It’s very cool and easy to use with a rubberized break out button set near the left grip. The other neat feature of the XION computer display is that its got a USB charging port built right in so you can plug your phone, MP3 player or other device into your bike and charge off the main battery pack. Hypothetically you could set the bike into regen mode, mount it into a bicycle trainer stand and actually charge your devices. Neat! In addition to five levels of pedal assist this system offers regenerative braking when you activate the Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic brake levers, two levels of standard regeneration and the option to set your own regen speed. Despite the extensive feature set here I found the control system easy to use when riding.
Rounding out all of the neat electric drive systems here are the extensive list of bicycle accessories. You get front and rear fenders with mud flaps and reflectors, a sleek chain guard to keep your pants snag and grease free, ergonomic grips for improved comfort over the long haul, front and rear LED lights powered by a Shimano dynamo hub on the front and a good set of pedals and decent kickstand. The Pro Connect X27 packs a solid punch for a pretty reasonable price. To me, this kind of ebike represents the future because it’s so easy to use yet powerful at the same time. For now, it’s only available at select retailers in the US including the New Wheel in San Francisco, linked below.
- Built in seat post shock pairs nicely with Verso III Magnesium suspension fork to smooth out the ride and add comfort despite aggressive geometry and performance seat
- Front and rear lights are powered by Shimano dynamo so they will continue to work even if your main battery runs out
- Excellent range due to torque sensing pedal assist only and regenerative braking/regen mode features
- light weight Lithium-ion battery pack mounted centrally on bike, onto the downtube, keeping weight low and centered on the bike
- Amazing combination of extras including front and rear fenders, dynamo powered LED lights with daytime sensors, adjustable stem and handle bars, ergonomic grips, performance chain guard, standard gauge rear rack and kickstand
- 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
- Keyed battery pack locks to frame and is removable for improved convenience when charging
- Torque sensor is highly responsive with fast on and off motor controller that feels smooth
- Motor is extremely quiet, durable and strong with peak output close to 1,000 watts, similar design to Specialized Turbo
- Adjustable kickstand is durable, light weight and fairly sturdy
- No water bottle cage bosses or braze ons, space is taken by battery pack
- Available in just one frame size at 50cm with high step diamond configuration
- Offers torque sensing pedal assist mode only, no twist or trigger throttle
- Bolt-on style rack require proper assembly and maintenance to avoid rattling loose over time vs. welded but the Kalkhoff hardware seems very high quality
- Very limited availability in the USA, harder to test ride, service and honor warranty as a result