MOD BIKES Berlin Review

Mod Bikes Berlin Electric Bike Review
Mod Bikes Berlin
Mod Bikes Berlin Sheng Yi Mid Drive
Mod Bikes Berlin 48v Battery Pack
Mod Bikes Berlin Cockpit View
Mod Bikes Berlin Locking Grips Display Controls
Mod Bikes Berlin 700c Tires Mono Suspension Fork
Mod Bikes Berlin Front View Integrated Headlight
Mod Bikes Berlin Comfort Saddle Rear Rack
Mod Bikes Berlin Shimano Altus 7 Speed System
Mod Bikes Berlin Rear Led Light Fenders
Mod Bikes Berlin 2amp Charger
Mod Bikes Berlin Stock High Step Silver
Mod Bikes Berlin Electric Bike Review
Mod Bikes Berlin
Mod Bikes Berlin Sheng Yi Mid Drive
Mod Bikes Berlin 48v Battery Pack
Mod Bikes Berlin Cockpit View
Mod Bikes Berlin Locking Grips Display Controls
Mod Bikes Berlin 700c Tires Mono Suspension Fork
Mod Bikes Berlin Front View Integrated Headlight
Mod Bikes Berlin Comfort Saddle Rear Rack
Mod Bikes Berlin Shimano Altus 7 Speed System
Mod Bikes Berlin Rear Led Light Fenders
Mod Bikes Berlin 2amp Charger
Mod Bikes Berlin Stock High Step Silver

Summary

  • A speedy electric commuter bike that is supported by a passionate company, comfortable, capable and comes in two tire size options
  • Great 7 speed Shimano Altus setup as well as hydraulic brakes, torque and cadence pedal assist, smooth Shengyi mid-drive motor, and a powerful 48v 8.7ah battery
  • A lot of nice features like the front mono suspension fork, kickstand mounted away from the pedals, password protected display, suspension seat post, fenders, rack, efficient tires, and bottle cage bosses
  • No slap guard, a bit of a limited drive train, no shift detection or 120rpm pedal support, and the smaller tire version lacks puncture protection and reflective sidewall stripping

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

MOD BIKES

Model:

Berlin

Price:

$2,590 (Free Shipping in Continental US)

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1), Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

18 Months Comprehensive

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2019

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

54 lbs (24.49 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.5 lbs (2.49 kg)

Motor Weight:

9.8 lbs (4.44 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

21.5 in (54.61 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium: 21.5" Seat Tube, 22.75" Reach, 30.5" Stand Over Height, 34.5" Minimum Saddle Height, 27.5" Width, 71" Length, Large: 21.5" Seat Tube, 22.75" Reach, 31.5" Stand Over Height, 35.5" Minimum Saddle Height, 27.5" Width, 72" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Gloss Brushed Aluminum, Matte Black

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Aluminum Alloy, 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

135mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

7 Speed 1x7 Shimano Altus Derailleur, 11-28 Tooth DNP Nickel Plated Cassette

Shifter Details:

Sun-Race M4 Trigger Shifters on Right (Two-Way High, Three-Shift Low)

Cranks:

Lasco, Aluminum Alloy, 170mm Length, Square Tapered Spindle, 42 Tooth Steel Chainring with Alloy Guard

Pedals:

Wellgo K79 Aluminum Alloy Platform with Fixed Pins and Reflectors

Headset:

Neco, Threadless, Internal Cups, Sealed Bearings, Straight 1-1/8"

Stem:

Aluminum Alloy, 90mm Length, 10-Degree Rise, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter, Three 10mm Spacer, One 20mm Spacer

Handlebar:

Aluminum Alloy, Low-Rise, 690mm Length

Brake Details:

Tektro HD-E350 Hydraulic Disc with 160mm Rotors, Dual-Piston Calipers, Three-Finger Tektro Levers with Motor Inhibitor on Right and Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Faux Leather, Stitched, Flat, Locking

Saddle:

Selle Royal, RoyalGel HZ, Comfort

Seat Post:

EXA Form 525 Suspension Seatpost, 40mm Travel, Preload Adjust

Seat Post Length:

400 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.4 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Walled, 34mm Outer Width, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Silver with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Kenda, 26" x 1.75" (47x559) or Kenda Kwick Bitumen, 28" x 1.5" (700x38c)

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

45 PSI, 3.2 BAR or 50 to 85 PSI, 3.5 to 5.9 BAR, K-Shield, E-BIKE 25km

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Steel Fenders, Integrated Unbranded LED Headlight (1 Bright Center LED, 30 Surrounding LED's, 300 Lumen), Integrated Star Union WD129 LED Backlight (2 LED), Aluminum Alloy Bolt-On Rear Rack with Spring Latch (25kg 55lb Max Weight), Flick Bell on Right, Rear-Mount Adjustable Kickstand (40mm Mounting Tab), Zippered Cable Wrap

Other:

Locking Removable Semi-Integrated Battery Pack, 1.5lb 2 Amp Charger, 265lb Maximum Weight Rating

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Shengyi CMT01N

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Motor Peak Output:

550 watts

Motor Torque:

90 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Samsung, 18650 Cells

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

8.7 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

417.6 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

60 miles (97 km)

Display Type:

KEY, Fixed, Adjustable Angle, Backlit, 3" Grayscale LCD, Integrated 5 Volt 2 Amp USB Type-A Port Below Display

Readouts:

Battery Charge Level (5 Bars), Lights Indicator, Assist Level (0-5 or 0-9), Power Output (Watts), Current Speed (MPH or KMH), Trip Distance, Odometer, Maximum Speed, Average Speed, Ride Time

Display Accessories:

Independent Control Pad on Left, Buttons: +, i, -, Walk, Lights: Hold +, Walk Mode: Hold -, Cycle Readouts: Press Power, Settings: Hold + and - (Clear Trip, Wheel Diameter, Speed Limit, Set Voltage, Set Power, Set Backlight, Set Password)

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Rear Wheel Speed, Crank Torque)

Top Speed:

25 mph (40 kph)(20mph or Lower in Settings Menu)

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Written Review

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Mod Bikes. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Mod Bikes products.

Mod Bikes is a new company to me, and I can’t help but admire their vision. EBR began in Austin, Texas out of a need to save the environment and money. To my surprise, that need has grown so much that Austin now is home to Mod Bikes, a company based here that sells locally as well as online. Their fonder tells me they plan to expand too. It is easy to see why they are doing well with a combinations of great bikes, commuter options, and a customer centric approach. Make sure to check out the video review to meet him and the team at their flagship store in Austin. Today we are checking out the Berlin, a high-step mid-drive commuter bike with a sleek look and capable system. The bike comes in just 1 frame size, but they do have 2 wheel options which would change that standover height by about an 1”. The wheel sizes are a 26” wheel or a 700c wheel (about 29”). The larger wheel makes the bike roughly an inch taller and wider… it also gains reflective sidewalls and puncture protection. This is the option we are reviewing today and it weighs about 54lbs. Sadly though, that 26” does not have those tire features. Each version does have quick release in the front and rear however, which makes maintenance nice and easy. There is a lot of creature comforts here, like the comfort gel saddle, locking faux leather grips, suspension seat post, and mono shock up front. The seat post does have preload adjust, but no adjustment on the mono shock. Both of them do offer just 40mm of travel, so it is a little limited, but I am still glad they are here, they make the ride more comfortable regardless. I love the battery integrated lights here, they have them both in the front and the rear. The front is this really cool custom 30 LED light with a large single LED in the middle while the rear has 2 LED lights. Safety has always been a priority for myself and other cyclists, so it’s nice to see that more and more companies are including these on ebikes. You also get fenders and a rear rack taking that commuting aspect even further. The rear rack is rated for 55lbs of cargo and has this spring latch to hold stuff down. Other features include bottle cage bosses, branded cable wraps, adjustable length kickstand mounted in the rear to eliminate annoying pedal lock when reversing, and Wellgo wide pedals with fixed pins.

Driving the bike is a Shengyi 350 watt mid-drive motor. This has about 90nm of torque and you really can feel it kick in, it is rather satisfying. Unfortunately, there is no shift detection and the max pedal support is about 100rpms, so it may not be as fancy as a Bosch mid-drive, but I think it does quite well here. The reason being, it offers both pedal torque and pedal cadence as the system measures on multiple sensors. So, still a step ahead of many basic mid-drives out there. It is almost a speed pedelec, since the top speed is 25mph and the whole experience is quite quiet, I was impressed. Mechanically, the bike has a 7 speed Shimano Altus (so a nice step up from entry level), but a somewhat limited drivetrain. It is using an 11-28 tooth cassette, but it is nickel plated, so it should hold up a bit better. In the front, you get a 42 teeth steel chain ring with an aluminum alloy guard. Everything works smoothly and I love the trigger shifters here too, makes for a much better commute if you ask me. Stopping the Berlin is a set of 160mm rotor hydraulic disc brakes. These feature dual pistons and a motor inhibitor on the right brake. Not needed as much for mid-drives without a throttle, but it is there if you need it.

Powering the bike is a 48v 8.7ah lithium ion battery pack that weighs about 5.5lbs. The pack is removable via lock and key and I am happy to say it also has a USB port. This can be used to charge items on the bike, or you could even take the battery off the bike and use it as a mobile power bank for a picnic or camping or something. Charging here is done with a bit more basic 2amp charger, but at least it will maintain the battery cycles a little better than burning it out with a super fast 5amp charger. To really care for this and other lithium-ion packs, I have heard that storing in a cool dry location vs. extreme heat or cold will extend the life, and try to keep it about 50% full when not using for long periods so you won’t stress the cells. Try not to let it run down to zero, because that’s really hard on the cell chemistry.

Using the display is pretty straight forward. The display is grayscale, backlit, but I don’t think it is removable. Once the battery is in place, press ‘i’ on the controls to turn it on. You will notice the display come on and ask for a password. That’s right, this bike is password protected, meaning others can’t activate the system unless they know the code. A great feature and I wish they had it on more bikes. Once you see the main screen, it will show battery read out in 5 bar infographic, mode of assist you are in (0-5) wattage read out and speed. If you press ‘i’ it will cycle through readouts from trips, max speed, average speed, and ride time. To turn on the lights, hold +. Now if you turn those lights off and on 3 times in a row, it will active a flashing mode for the front headlight. Pretty cool! Holding + and – together will take you to a settings menu where you can change things like the max speed or even how many levels of assist you want (can go all the way up to 9). Once in this menu, hold the ‘i’ button to save the settings and exit. There is a walk mode too, with a button on the bottom, just underneath the main controls. Finally, I love that they put a 2v charging USB port on the display so you don’t have to charge off the battery down below. It is in a much better spot for charging a phone or GPS and has the right amount of juice to charge new devices like current generations iPhones.

When it is all said and done, it is easy to see the commuter centric approach on this bike. It seems to have all the boxes checked. At $2,590, it is not a bad price and local customers in Austin even get a government rebate on top of that as well as some free tune-ups. The 18 month comprehensive warranty is great too. But there are some tradeoffs to consider. For example, there is no slap guard, so that paint will get nicked. I recommend getting an aftermarket slap guard on Amazon or at least putting some clear box tape on that area. The 5 bar battery infographic is getting long in the tooth, now-a-days, a lot of displays have battery readouts in percentages so you don’t have to guess if you have 1% or 20% battery left at 1 bar. Probably the biggest trade off is the synching of the drivetrain and motor. Both are great, and they do work well here. I just worry that without shift detection or 120rpm pedal support, you could be harder on that cassette. Thankfully, they thought ahead and made that a DNP nickel plated cassette so it should last pretty well. All in all, it is a great bike and they even have a ton of accessories available for it and even offer free shipping in the US. I want to thank Mod Bike for inviting me out to Austin and letting me check out their shop and bikes!

As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own a previous version of the bike, have taken a test ride, or are brand new to the space, my goal is to provide an objective and honest resource. You can also join the Mod Bikes ebike forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)

Pros:

  • A speedy electric commuter bike that is supported by a passionate company, comfortable, capable and comes in two tire size options
  • Uses a Shengyi mid-drive with 350 watts, 90nm of torque, torque and cadance based pedal assist, and a trigger throttle
  • Commuter ready with rear rack, fenders, lights, mono suspension fork, suspension seat post, adjustable kickstand, and gel saddle
  • Mod bikes focuses on commuting so they have a lot of available accessories, they also have an 18 month comprehensive warranty and free shipping in the US
  • Features a unique 40mm travel mono suspension fork in the front, makes the ride comfortable and aesthetically clean too
  • Assisting in a controlled feeling are these shorter length handle bars and this low rise stem which give the body geometry a more aggressive feel
  • An included suspension seat post with 40mm of travel and even preload adjust, a great addition to any bike
  • I love that they included battery integrated lights in the front and rear for safety, the front light is really cool with 30 LEDs and a single large LED in the middle, this is something we are starting to see more often on bikes and I am glad it is here
  • A nice 7 speed Shimano Altus system with trigger shifters, 11-28 tooth DNP nickel plated cassette, and a 42 tooth chain ring up front
  • A commuter like this should be easy to stop for both safety and performance, luckily, they added a great set of 160mm rotor Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with a motor inhibitor on the right to handle the job
  • The kickstand is mounted away from the crank arm, this is great since it reduces pedal lock, an occurrence where the pedals strike the kickstand when reversing
  • The 48v 8.7ah battery is removable and even has a USB port on it if you want to use it to power devices or as a portable power bank
  • The display is easy to read, backlit, can password locks the bike, adjust many settings, and even has a 2v USB for charging all sorts of devices
  • Local customers in Austin get some free tune-ups as well as a government rebate just for buying an electric bike

Cons:

  • There is no slap guard, so that paint will get nicked from the chain, I recommend getting an aftermarket slap guard on Amazon or at least putting some clear box tape on that chain area
  • The 5 bar battery infographic is getting long in the tooth, now-a-days, a lot of displays have battery readouts in percentages so you don’t have to guess if you have 1% or 20% battery left at 1 bar, a minor gripe, but an electric upgrade some bikes are not picking up on
  • I worry that without shift detection or 120rpm pedal support, you could be harder on that cassette, so you really need to switch gears to hit higher speeds, thankfully, they thought ahead and made that a DNP nickel plated cassette so it should last pretty well
  • The smaller tire size version of the bike will likely speak to a lot of riders looking for a smaller bike, it is too bad this version has tires that are missing both puncture protection as well as reflective sidewalls for safety

Resources:

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