- Amazing hill climber, Impulse mid drive motor leverages eight speed internally geared hub
- Premium commuting extras including fenders, enclosed chain guard and dynamo powered LED lights
- Comfortable, smooth and durable with upright positioning, gel seat, swept back handlebars and suspension fork to smooth out the ride
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