The Tasman Tour C8 Premium is one of the most refined, utilitarian electric bikes I’ve ridden! Produced by one of the largest German ebike manufacturers, Kalkhoff (and its parent company Derby Cycle Werke) this thing comes with all the bells and whistles you could ask for in a city bike from fenders, dynamo powered LED lights, a fully enclosed chain, responsive and quiet torque sensing system that’s smooth. It’s got a quick adjust stem, gel seat with suspension seat post and suspension fork, beautiful swept back handlebars, a solid kickstand, a Dutch style o-lock that secures the rear wheel and a removable battery pack for easy charging. And while the motor and battery spec may seem small, the bike gets excellent range and is a champ when climbing hills due to the middrive which leverages the eight speed internally geared Shimano Nexus hub. You get 40 Nm of torque at the crank vs. 40 Nm at the wheel with hub motors.
In the US, regulations state that electric bikes may not exceed 20 miles per hour in throttle mode or have a motor that exceeds 750 watts. Some new ebikes here even go up to 28 miles per hour in pedal assist mode! In the EU things are a bit different, their regulations state that ebikes may not exceed 15 miles per hour, may not offer a throttle mode or have a motor that exceeds 250 watts. And these are exactly the specs that the Tasman Tour hits. Before any snap judgements are formed, consider the massive popularity of ebikes in the EU and the refined nature of their hardware… This is actually a very capable ebike and the secret is the middrive system that offers torque and efficiency for extending range. The motor itself is built right into the bottom bracket (where the pedals and cranks connect to the frame) and it helps to pull the same chain that the rider is powering. This model in particular is quiet, very responsive and smooth when shifting gears.
Instead of running a geared cassette in the rear, this bicycle features a Shimano Nexus 8 speed internally geared hub. Some of the benefits of internally geared hubs include tighter chains that don’t fall off as easily (the chain doesn’t to be so long to change gears), quieter shifting, cleaner gears (since they are enclosed) and the ability to change speeds at rest. One of the interesting features I found on this hub in particular is that it prevented me from changing gears when climbing a steep hill, pedaling hard. This is neat because it’s actually protecting itself from grinding! One of the downsides to an internally geared hub is the added weight and indeed, this bike is average in terms of weight but just fine for commuting purposes. It’s actually very stable and the weight is well distributed across the frame with the motor and battery mounted near the center.
The battery driving this ebike is a 36 volt 11 amp hour Lithium-ion custom design by Impulse. Compared with the boxy nature of some American ebikes this thing is georgous! It’s actually curved to follow the lines of the rear wheel (and be as unobtrusive as possible). It sits super low as mentioned previously and locks to the frame with the same key used for the o-lock and you don’t have to leave the key in when riding (as with some other bikes out there). The battery is easy to remove, tipping out to the side when unlocked, and this is perfect for charging inside or at the office. It also makes the overall bike lighter for transportation purposes. Considering the average size of this battery pack it actually offers superb range when paired with the efficient motor/gearing system and lower top speed of the bike.
The Kalkhoff Tasman Tour C8 Premium is indeed a high quality product and one that’s well suited to transportation. The torque sensing pedal assist is extremely responsive, smooth and quiet. There is a certain beauty in just how polished and purpose built these systems are but most people will probably just see it as a tool and nothing more. Considering how sophisticated some features are on this bike I was surprised that it doesn’t have an LCD console to communicate speed, range, battery capacity… time or anything else. The computer is very basic but then again, this bike isn’t built to go fast or look cool. I think one of my favorite features is the dynamo powered LED lights that work even if the main battery is completely dead… This is another EU regulation designed for safety. They even stay illuminated for a while after you stop the bike, just in case you’re waiting on the side of a road or other hazardous location.
Note that most Kalkhoff bikes are sold in Europe but the New Wheel in San Francisco does sell them here in the USA (linked below) and they offer the two year warranty mentioned in the specs. I enjoy test riding ebikes before pulling the trigger (especially before spending #3,399) and that could make this a tricky sell.
Front and rear lights are powered by Shimano dynamo so they will continue to work even if your main battery runs out
Extremely 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
Perfect combination of extras including water bottle braze on mount, gel seat, suspension fork, front and rear fenders and lights, bell, tool-free adjustable stem and handle bars, fully enclosed chain guard, standard size rear rack, seat post shock and kickstand
Available in three frame sizes with step-through to make getting on 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
Mid-drive motor is very quiet and works seamlessly with internally geared hub, the gears don’t grind even if you try to shift while climbing a hill (due to a torque protection system) and the chain doesn’t fall off
Key unlocks the battery (which can be charged off the bike) and also works with the o-lock, dutch style wheel lock, on the rear wheel
Torque sensor is highly responsive with fast on and off motor controller that feels smooth
Offers pedal assist mode only, no twist or trigger throttle
A bit expensive for a medium powered commuting style ebike
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
Simple LED computer console does not show top speed or range and offers a more basic capacity indicator (but it is easy to reach, understand and use)
Very limited availability in the USA, harder to test ride and service as a result
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9 years ago
Swwet specs on this bike! They are sold-out on this model at New Wheels in San Fran. I figure if a bike can scoot around San Fran hills, it would serve me right here in the California foothills just as well. Once the price climbs over 3k, a person has some great options!Reply
Court Rye9 years ago
Yeah, the New Wheel has some awesome bikes from Kalkhoff and Focus that not many other shops have. You could check with Long Island Electric Bikes in New York and keep an eye out in 2015 because I believe more shops will begin carrying them as well. Once you cross that $3,000 mark the bikes definitely step up in terms of quality and these German made bikes from Derby Cycle Werke are very refined. I also like the stuff from Haibike available through Currie Technologies.Reply
paul8 years ago
I have a 3 year old Tazman with the old Panasonic drive, not the new Impulse 2.0 that this one has. It has turned out to be the best purchase I have ever made. I ride my bike at least 3 times a week sometimes more, on 20 mile commutes. The downside to this bike and most e-bikes is weight as I will not be moving to a two story apartment. The other downside with the Kalkhoff design is that you won’t be able to put this on the front of a bus rack because of the extended length needed for the battery. I am able to wheel it on light rail or trolleys depending what you call them in your part of the country. My advice for people looking at buying an ebike is do not get a bike with a throttle unless you have a short commute or serious health reasons or a huge hill that you need all the help you can get. If you are like me you will just hammer down on the throttle and never peddle. That was the mistake I made with my first bike. My last piece of advice is to get the 8 or 11 speed internal gear hub and of course upgrade to the biggest battery you can afford as battery life is the only concern you will have after you get the perfect bike. I now have 2 batteries the original 10 amp hour and a 17 amp hour. I can go anywhere, and I do.
Kalkhoff is now making e bikes with the Harmony automatic drive and Gates carbon fiber chain along with heart rate monitor that automatically shifts the bike to your target heart rate or the cadence you set.Reply
Court Rye8 years ago
Great tips Paul! Thanks for sharing what has worked for you and also a bit about the future automatic drive systems. It’s an exciting time in the ebike space :)Reply
Frank8 years ago
Court – I tried New Wheel out and test rode the 2015 Agattu 8 ($3500) and the 2015 Sahel ($3800). They say the Sahel is the new top of the line. True? They say its more comfortable and zippier than the Tasman. True? In the test the Sahel was zippier up steep hills than the Agattu… maybe because it’s lighter? The computer is now in the center and simple and cool. The accessories and snap-ons to the rear rack were impressive and well worth it I think. The seat still isn’t as comfy as pedego but maybe one thin gel overlay would do it? I wasn’t sure if I really wanted a throttle as well, like the pedego, although it really took the hills nice and felt more like a bike than a scooter. But still… a throttle could be really nice at times…. and the Pedego City Commuter was pretty nice too. The 2015’s show a Tasman Classic in red. Have you seen that? how’s it compare to Sahel? I still want a classic comfortable bike and hard pressed between these and Pedego City. Thoughts? and answers to the above is always much appreciated.Reply
Court Rye8 years ago
Hello Frank! Great to hear about your fun ride tests at the New Wheel. I haven’t tested any of the 2015 Kalkhoff ebikes but am planning to do so early this week. I’ll wait to share my thoughts in the reviews once I feel more well informed on the topic :)Reply
Ed8 years ago
@Frank – I too am trying to decide between the Kalkhoff Agattu and the Pedego City Commuter. I really like the City Commuter but have not been able to test it on long steep hills. I have been spooked by what I have read about hills and hub motors. Have you ridden the City Commuter on hills that are long and have steep grades? How did it perform? Where I live and want to ride is in the Seirra foothills and I want something that I can offload some of the work to for 20 or 30 mile trips.Reply
Frank8 years ago
This is to a message I received from Ed : @Frank – I too am trying to decide between the Kalkhoff Agattu and the Pedego City Commuter. I really like the City Commuter but have not been able to test it on long steep hills. I have been spooked by what I have read about hills and hub motors. Have you ridden the City Commuter on hills that are long and have steep grades? How did it perform? Where I live and want to ride is in the Seirra foothills and I want something that I can offload some of the work to for 20 or 30 mile trips.
Ed – I have looked at a lot of bikes now that meet the criteria I am looking for. I really started with Court’s review site as its awesome and I trust its objectivity and the comments section per bike. For me, and with Court’s help and guidance, I really am down to the same bike manufacturers. The Pedego City Commuter and the Kalkhoff Sahel i8 (not Agattu 8). I almost want one of each. If I have to choose based on feel and looks then its the Sahel. It feels like a bike plus its beautiful and the accessories that just clip on are quite cool. The bike is a lot lighter and when I just turn it all off it still feels like a bike. The Pedego in all off feels like the tires are too low, i.e. its sluggish. Maybe the design but probably the weight. The Sahel also feels wonderful on hills and steep ones at that, but you do need to work at it and thus riding the bike seems to produce more of a workout feel then the pedego. I feel my quads on the Sahel. Not like a normal bike if I’m using any assist, but more than the pedego. I say that because of the following: the pedego is almost like a scooter…the power is awesome and there will most likely be no hill it won’t attack comfortably where you will work more on the Sahel. Thats good or bad depending on what you want to be doing and achieving. I loved the Sahel on the flats and slight hills because I could work out on a real bike and kick in assist when I wanted. With the pedego, because its sluggish or heavy with all off, I couldn’t ride it as a real bike so I was always in assist 1 at the minimum. That made the flats a breeze but little effort was exerted. At level 2 it was almost two much power and more a scooter unless on slight hills. The steepest hill I could find in SF with level 5, it was again a breeze. It was work on the Sahel but totally undoable on a regular bike.
So what did I like about the Pedego? The ride is cushy and comfy. The upright feel about the same as the Sahel. I loved the throttle tho. But ended up mostly using it from dead stops and that allowed me to keep the gear in a higher number. That was important because the pedego derailer isn’t as cool as the Sahel internal rear hub. I loved that feature alot. I could change gears at a dead stop. Very cool. But if I was going to be on a lot of hills vs the flats and long hill climbs as you seem to suggest, then I think I’d go with the Pedego. Since I’d always be in at least level 1 assist anyway and the throttle can help me thru any changes ( I really never just used the throttle….and that surprised me but that didn’t feel right as I wasn’t buying a scooter and it doesn’t have that kind of power anyway), the pedego would feel good and I could still get a workout with less assist if I wanted or breeze along with little effort if I was tired. Anyway this are some of my thoughts. Make sure if you get a Sahel ( I liked it so much better than the Agattu 8 which was heavier and a bit less the real bike feel) that there’s a Kalkhoff dealer near you to service it. The guys I’ve met at New Wheel Brett and Karen, are really great and very helpful and I’d trust they’d do great service. Good luck.Reply
Court Rye8 years ago
This is great information Frank, I really like how you described the difference in ride between the Kalkhoff and Pedego. You are right, Pedego tends to be heavier and more sluggish due to the large balloon tires and it’s less nimble given the rear-mounted battery but the power and zip of the rear hub motor is great. By comparison, Kalkhoff is much more like a bicycle and you get a workout but also feel more active (even the saddle design is more active and comfortable to move on). Good stuff :)Reply
Ed8 years ago
Frank, I can’t thank you enough for the time you took to answer my question. I have read (and watched) everything I could find on these 2 bikes. Your answer was very direct and concise to addressing the one outstanding question in my mind. I am still undecided but am much closer to making a decision having read this comment. Thanks again, EdReply
Frank8 years ago
Court will you be reviewing the Pedego City Commuter 2015 and also the Kalkhoff Sahel i8 2015? you mentioned “shortly” for both. When would that be? Thx, FrankReply
Court Rye8 years ago
Hi Frank, yep! Those bikes are on my list but it’s difficult to set a delivery date as I try to stagger reviews and currently traveling and connecting with family which is important but disruptive to my output schedule. The Pedego electric bikes in particular won’t be reviewed for at least three weeks. The Sahel i8 may go live in a week or two :)Reply