Motiv Sleek Review

2017 Motiv Sleek Electric Bike Review
2017 Motiv Sleek
2017 Motiv Sleek 500 Watt Internally Geared Motor
2017 Motiv Sleek 6 Speed Shimano Tourney Derailleur Cassette
2017 Motiv Sleek Wide Cruiser Bars Rubber Grips
2017 Motiv Sleek King Meter J Lcd Console
2017 Motiv Sleek Battery Options 48 Volt
2017 Motiv Sleek Tektro Novela Mechanical Disc Brakes
2017 Motiv Sleek Electric Bike Review
2017 Motiv Sleek
2017 Motiv Sleek 500 Watt Internally Geared Motor
2017 Motiv Sleek 6 Speed Shimano Tourney Derailleur Cassette
2017 Motiv Sleek Wide Cruiser Bars Rubber Grips
2017 Motiv Sleek King Meter J Lcd Console
2017 Motiv Sleek Battery Options 48 Volt
2017 Motiv Sleek Tektro Novela Mechanical Disc Brakes

Summary

  • A stylish electric cruiser available in several unique colors (metallics and matte finishes), mid-step frame is easier to mount but feels solid, simplistic and easy to work on
  • Long swept back handlebar and oversized comfort saddle give this ebike a relaxed ride quality, balloon tires with go-anywhere tread let you explore packed-dirt paths
  • Mid-mount battery keeps weight low and centered, available in a range of sizes targeting range and power or lower price and lighter weight, zippy motor with assist and throttle operation
  • No fenders, rack or lights but you could add your own... less refined than some competing models from larger companies but also easier to repair and upgrade

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Motiv

Model:

Sleek

Price:

$1,750 (Upgraded Battery $2,650)

Body Position:

Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Cruising

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2), Speed Pedalec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Electronics and Battery, Lifetime Frame

Availability:

United States, Australia

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

55.8 lbs (25.31 kg)

Battery Weight:

8.8 lbs (3.99 kg) (Optional 7.2 lb)

Motor Weight:

7 lbs (3.17 kg)

Frame Types:

Step-Thru

Frame Sizes:

16.5 in (41.91 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

16.5" Seat Tube, 23.5" Reach, 24" Stand Over Height, 74" Length

Frame Material:

6061 Hydroformed Aluminum

Frame Colors:

Green, Black, Red, Light Blue, White, Orange

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Steel, 9 mm Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

10 mm Threaded Axle

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

6 Speed 1x6 Shimano Tourney TX, 15-36T

Shifter Details:

Shimano SIS Index Thumb Shifter

Cranks:

Aluminum Alloy, 170 mm Length, 44T Chainring

Pedals:

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform

Headset:

Neco, 1-1/8"

Stem:

Promax Alloy Quill, 90 mm Length

Handlebar:

Promax Alloy Cruiser, 28" Length

Brake Details:

Tektro Novela Mechanical Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Tektro Levers with Motor Inhibitors, Rubber Edges and Integrated Bell on Left

Grips:

Flat Rubber

Saddle:

Velo Comfort with Rubber Bumpers

Seat Post:

Promax Suspension Shock

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Paint-Matched, Alloy, Doublewall, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 12 Gauge, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Kenda Small Block Eight, 26" x 2.35"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

Puncture Protection, 30 to 50 PSI, 30 TPI, Wire Bead

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve, Puncture Sealent

Accessories:

Adjustable Length Kickstand, Color-Matched Steel Chain Cover

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, 1.7 lb 2 Amp Charger, Motiv is Branded as Crooze in Australia

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bafang

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Motor Peak Output:

900 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

48 volts (Optional 36)

Battery Amp Hours:

16 ah (Optional 11)

Battery Watt Hours:

768 wh (Optional 396)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

60 miles (97 km)

Display Type:

King-Meter J-LCD, Fixed, Monochrome, Backlit LCD

Readouts:

Battery Level (4 Bars), Clock, Assist Level (0-5), Speed, Odometer, Trip Meter

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Twist Throttle

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph) (Up to 26 mph with 48 Battery)

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Written Review

Motiv hasn’t changed their electric bikes much since I first saw and reviewed them in 2014. The brand is cool, their color options are unique and stylish vs. cutesy and the founder is very attentive to his dealers and customers. This is predominently West Coast brand that only sells through shops. Some use the Sleek as a rental bike because it’s approachable, being mid-step, and simplistic in design. The battery box isn’t built into the frame and the hub motor doesn’t require any customization beyond a uniquely-spoked wheel. And yet, this is still a purpose-built ebike. One with internally routed cables, reinforced frame sections and two specific chargers (one for 36 volt and one for 48 volt setups). that’s a big point actually, the Motiv Sleek is available with four different battery options to help you save money and weight or go further and ride longer if you’re willing to spend more. While the bike isn’t super cheap, it’s definitely on the more affordable side of the spectrum. You don’t get fenders, a rack or lights here but all of the provisions for adding them yourself post-purchase are present. Perhaps the biggest update with the Sleek as compared to earlier iterations is that it now offers an LCD display panel with speed, assist level numbering, battery charge level and trip stats vs. the old basic 3-LED display. Early Motiv e-bikes were throttle only but the latest round offer pedal assist as well and the throttle is setup to override at any level so you can zip up a hill or blast off from a stop sign. I had a great time reviewing this bike with Sam and went into it being more critical because he’s so positive about it. I certainly appreciate Cameron (the founder of Motiv), Sam (onwer of Electric Bicycle Center in Fullerton) and enjoy the product myself, but it does have some shortcomings.

Drivin the Sleek is a 500 watt internally geared motor from Bafang. It’s pretty standard, almost generic, but offers great power and doesn’t interfere with the drivetrain the way a mid-drive might. Expect 20 to 30 miles using the throttle only depending on what size battery you get. With lower levels of pedal assist, you’ll go much further but it’s not as efficient as a torque-sensing ebike. This one uses a cadence sensor for on/off response. It means you don’t have to push on the cranks as hard but the bike ends up doing more work. As someone with sensitive knees, I love the instant throttle operation and throttle override with independent assistance. It means I can pedal gently and stretch my legs and still go fast and feel smooth. The flip side is that the power ramp is a little jerky (on/off feeling in higher levels) and the battery drains faster. Also, be careful with the motor power cable when parking the bike or taking the rear wheel off for service. It protrudes a bit at the right rear dropout which is where the shifter cables and derailleur are as well. It’s a little crowded and some other companies have started putting the cable on the left side to diminish this, but it works well enough.

Powering the bike is a Lithium-ion battery mounted inside a “silver fish” battery case. The case is Aluminum, has a little handle and LED power readout on top and a charging port and keyed ignition slot on the left. This battery design has been around for years but sometimes it mounts to frames in ways that are vulnerable… a plastic sliding track. With the Motiv Sleek, it’s much more secure and has a metal surround at the sides and back. You probably will have to take the seat and seat post off the bike to get the battery completely off but it can be charged on or off the frame so that’s not a huge issue. My bigest hangup is that the key must be inserted and twisted to on (and left in) to get the bike going with electric power. If you have a keychain, this can mean extra jingling and potentially scratching on the beautiful paint. Ultimately, the battery keeps weight low and centered on the frame, keeps the price of the bike lower and fits four different sizes of packs so I can’t complain too much. In some ways, I appreciate that it’s generic in design because it could be repacked by a company like Renewable Power Energy more easily down the line or even replaced. Props to Cameron for getting a black battery casing that matches the spokes, saddle, grips and other accents vs. going with the half black half silver basic one.

Operating the Motiv Sleek has become a little more time consuming and advanced than with the original models because of assist… but it’s on par with any other ebike now. Charge the battery and mount it, insert the key and turn to on, hold the power button on the display panel and then arrow up or down to select an assist level… or twist the throttle immediately for instant power. The LCD display is combined with a column of buttons that are fairly easy to reach, even with your hand on the grip. I wish it showed a battery percentage instead of a four-bar infographic because there’s a big drop going from two bars (up to 50%) down to to just one bar (up to 25%) and it’s nice to have more precision on long rides. The charger is compact and light weight enough to bring along but again, you need to add your own rack or wear a backpack to do so. One of the cool features of the display is being able to enter into the settings and slightly raise or lower your top speed. This is handy for rental shops that want to keep customers safe, wobbly riders that want to reduce risk of crashing or getting hurt and on the flip side… daring riders who want to zip along at higher speeds, possibly for commuting.

All things considered, Motiv is doing a great job delivering a bike that has become iconic. It was born on the West Coast and reflects some of the values and styling that people love… Sam had a ton of good things to say about it including reliability. I have seen the founder of Motiv, Cameron, come in and help Sam and even deliver bikes to customers or just get any problems solved. He offers a one year warranty and the cool thing about a consistent product like this is that he has lots of parts available. While some of the parts are more basic, like the kickstand and grips, the motor-inhibitor brake levers with a bell integrated and the larger grippier pedals are great upgrades. The steel fork and larger tires smooth out the ride and optional Kevlar-lined tires are a cool upgrade. You can pop the front wheel off easily (as it has quick release) and take the battery off to reduce weight if you’re hauling it around in your car and since the bike also comes in a high-step design and all of those colors I feel like you could fit a range of riders and sort of have your own thing while still being able to swap batteries and stuff (as long as you keep the same voltage level ie. 36 volt or 48 volt systems).

Pros:

  • Larger tires, saddle, swept-back handle bar and suspension seat post deliver a cushy ride
  • To me, this cruiser is a bit more stylish and “mean” than some of the others, from the colors to the studded tires and handlebar angle it just looks different
  • Mechanical disc brakes are a step up and allow for quick stopping rain or shine vs. rim brakes that can squeak and scrape the rims (color matched rims in this case)
  • Steel fork is sturdy and has a nice rake forward to stabilize the ride, it dampens vibration more than Aluminum
  • Older Motiv electric bikes only offered throttle mode but now you get pedal assist and a much nicer LCD display panel with trip stats and a battery level indicator vs. three LED lights
  • The kickstand is cheap but I like where it’s mounted, staying out of the way for your crank arms to move freely and keeping the main weight of the bike well supported
  • Despite being a step-thru / mid-step frame design, there’s very little frame flex thanks to the battery position and double-tubing
  • I really appreciate that Motiv offers two separate chargers (one for the 36 volt system and another for the 48 volt system) this reduces the possibility of using the incorrect one and damaging the pack
  • You can lower the top speed of the bike through the display panel, this is popular for places that use Motiv bikes as rentals
  • Motiv offers a tire upgrade to Fat Franks from Schwalbe which have a puncture protective lining, I noticed that even the normal tubes came with some puncture protectant goop inside which is cool
  • The throttle is always active and overrides pedal assist, this is useful for when you want to pedal and save the battery but need a quick burst of energy to catch up with a friend, start from rest at a stop sign or top a hill… I like that both brake levers have motor inhibitors so you can stop the bike immediately if an issue comes up
  • Several nice little upgrades including stiff, large Wellgo platform pedals and a little bell built into the left brake lever

Cons:

  • You don’t get fenders, a rear rack or bottle cage bosses here but the chain cover is nice (I like that it and the rims are paint-matched to the frame)
  • Only available in one size, sold exclusively through shops and the dealer base is somewhat limited (mostly on the West Coast at the time of this review)
  • Entry-level drivetrain (shimano Tourney) with just six speeds… but it works for this type of bike and keeps the price down
  • The key must be inserted and left in the battery pack for it to run, not a huge deal given the battery location (not likely to snag) but it could jingle and is one extra thing to check vs. many new systems that just have an on/off switch at the display
  • The power cable for the hub motor protrudes out of the right side of the rear axle and adds to the clutter of the derailleur and shift cables, it’s a sensitive part so try not to let the bike tip or snag there
  • The cadence sensor / controller wasn’t as responsive as some other’s I’ve tested but it is very compact and sealed so it probably won’t get bumped or have issues as easily

Resources:

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Alex M
1 week ago

Love these curves ;) Not cheap. $1750 basic model with 10AH36V battery, add $800 for 16AH48V.

Court Rye
1 week ago

Yeah, considering the bike hasn't changed a whole heck of a lot for several years I was surprised that it's still on the pricier side (given the hardware) but the style is cool and there's a lot of passion from the founder Cameron who offers good support :)

Post a Comment

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Ann M.
2 weeks ago

Keith, I will respectfully disagree with your opinion. Riding an ebike helps people who are not in the best of shape to become more healthy. In our part of Texas, the humidity, heat and hills can be daunting particularly for those who have health issues. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be working to improve their health. In my 16 years as an ebike dealer & repair center we've had quite a number of folks specifically buy an ebike because their doctor told them to get more exercise, loose weight, etc. and the ebike was one way for them to achieve those goals, plus have some fun outdoors.

As someone who is petite but has a heart condition that makes it potentially dangerous to overstress myself in the heat, ebikes have been my path to continued freedom and regulated exercise. One of my most notable customers was a very overweight Orthopedic Surgeon who was just coming home after having triple bypass surgery. He told me he wanted to be around for his kids and it was a tremendous wake up call for him. For the following year, he would check in with us to say hi and get regular maintenance on his ebike. He was happy, losing weight and didn't have to be fearful of getting stuck somewhere if he got too fatigued; he had the safety net of his electric bike so he could ride daily. After that year he stopped in one day but with a very sleek lightweight regular bike; his health and weight were so good now that he had the strength and endurance to safely ride a non-electric bike! And as an Orthopedic Surgeon, he felt that ebikes would be helpful to many of his patients to aid their recovery from surgery or to prevent joint or ligament degeneration.

jason howes
6 days ago

Can the batteries be bought aftermarket? And if so do you know where and how much?

Bob A
1 week ago

Court-This is incredible, you are her in Cal with Sam, but then you are with Chris in NY within a day! Not sure of the timeline, but did you fly? What a great gig! This looks like a great cruising bike for a very relaxing ride with a lot less exertion.

Seb K
1 week ago

The reason why I removed the crank sensors from all my Ebikes was because of the delay . I removed all the cabling from the magnet and sensor itself and just trashed them . Absolute rubbish .

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

Pedelec technology has gotten better, I like the smaller sealed sensor in use here, but it's not as good as the more advanced multi-sensor systems. For some people I can understand how it might be distracting or annoying. Sounds like you've got a solution... especially if you don't plan to resell it someday. Perhaps it could be reinstalled if you keep the parts

R D
1 week ago

Sam helmet is cool

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

I agree, looks like a motorcycle helmet or something... he has pretty good style ;)

R D
1 week ago

Very cool, neat & clean design paint is awesome thanks for the review 👍🏻🇨🇦

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

For sure, appreciate the props!

Michigan Mister
1 week ago

good review. finally, you mentioned weight cap. believe it or not most guys don't weigh 160ib. I'm @ 225 and STILL shopping for something like this. strong/simple/quality without all the gizmo's.

Michigan Mister
1 week ago

wonder why they would do that? anyway, thanks for getting back. still shopping, hope for one by the time our weather breaks here in the great lakes. thanks for all.

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

Yeah, I'll try to do that more often... sometimes the info isn't available to me and I don't want to mislead. Often times, ebikes are rated up to 250 and many are 300 so it sounds like you should be good! Some manufacturers/resellers also lowball the stated max weight but talk about how the bikes can handle much more.

John 246
1 week ago

I bought one of these for my wife two years ago she loves it hundreds of miles and still running strong

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

That's awesome John! Thanks for sharing your experience! Sounds like it matches what Sam has seen, where did you get yours?

Abdelaziz Mazouar
1 week ago

Can you pleas review the Luna 5000w rhino cargo bike.mthere are non videos on YouTube that review it. It is from Luna Cycle

Abdelaziz Mazouar
1 week ago

Ok love your vids. Thanks for replying

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

Hey Abdelaziz! I've been in touch with Luna and considered reviewing but when I visited their space in LA there was a range of kits and products and my time was limited. This was a while back and I had a hard time identifying which product was going to be solid, like for sale as-is for a long time. I've reviewed bikes that change before and people became frustrated with my differences vs. what was available. The other question mark for me is that Luna does their own videos and has their own forum at ElectricBike.com so my energy has gone towards bikes like the Motiv Sleek or Giant or Haibike which are more independent and have clear make/model offerings. I may do Luna stuff in the future but I can't say when or if for sure. Thanks for letting me know which bike you're interested in :)

Ft. Lauderdale Beach Life
1 week ago

fwiw...Sam's helmet rocks. What brand and model and does he sell them online from his store? Btw...cool cruiser ebikes.

Thanks

terry oneill
1 week ago

NICE BIKE CHEERS

SuperPapadzul
1 week ago

6:08 "I'm a motorcyclist"   I saw the same problems with Ebikes.  So I got me a Yamaha 1300 runs great!!

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

Cool, I grew up with friends who had dirt bikes... fun to ride but they weren't street legal and we didn't have licenses. Later on, I got my license but didn't want to ride a bike in traffic. For these reasons, I got into electric bikes as a sort of in-between solution

David Macdonald
1 week ago

Good to see sam again .

David Macdonald
1 week ago

True but I think he is a pretty straight guy.

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

I agree, he's a good guy and it's fun to hear his perspectives... I like his enthusiasm but try to keep us on Earth with my little critiques and stuff so it doesn't become an electric bike promotion as much as an overview/review ;)

Marcy Cami
1 week ago

w&at abot the erw wheel?
can one install it or are they offer in it?

Clothed in shadows
1 week ago

And the ebike screen actors guild award goes to; Courtney. (applause). Great filming man. I love it. Keep 'em coming.

Clothed in shadows
1 week ago

ElectricBikeReview.com As always you did a good job.

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

Ha! Thanks... I was trying to keep up with Sam, not get hit by a car and enjoy the ride and sunset, good times ;)

samuel Townsend
1 week ago

You know the roads we were riding on were full of pot holes and cracks you can hear how solid and quiet that bike is you put another electric bike on that type of road you'll hear all kinds of rattles and banging going on it goes to show how well built the bike is we also like the fact that Motiv is local to us right here in SoCal. Well there's another one for the public to check out I know Motiv has been a total winner here in our store we rarely have to work on them and that goes back to getting it right the first time when it comes to manufacturing an electric bike.

Camp Runamuck
1 week ago

SAM you could of stared in Sons of Anarchy

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

Great feedback, thanks again for shooting this with me Sam :)

moinsen mann
1 week ago

Sad that Motiv is not active in EU/ Eurasia.

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

Maybe someday :)

BOB NIEVES
1 week ago

Both bike they are beautiful, I probably will buy one soon.

BOB NIEVES
1 week ago

Yes, you're right.

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

I think so too, their take on a cruiser is unique, it just looks a little different and cooler than the others :)

George Herman
1 week ago

That red one is beautiful, simple is the way to go, Sam is cool.

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

I agree with you George, feel lucky to spend time with Sam checking out all of his cool bikes :D

Mike James
1 week ago

Not a cruiser guy but it looks awesome

ElectricBikeReview.com
1 week ago

Me neither... but this one gets me interested, just having something basic to hop on and cruise around with. I like how open the systems are, like assist or throttle whenever you want, simple interface :)