NCM Aspen Review

Ncm Aspen Electric Bike Review
Ncm Aspen
Ncm Aspen Das Kit Hub Motor
Ncm Aspen 48v Battery System
Ncm Aspen Cockpit View
Ncm Aspen Grips Rubber Edge Brake
Ncm Aspen Display Controls
Ncm Aspen Rigid Fork Fat Tire
Ncm Aspen Triple Chain Ring
Ncm Aspen 500 Watt Hub Motor
Ncm Aspen Shimano Altus System
Ncm Aspen Battery Charger
Ncm Aspen Stock High Step Black
Ncm Aspen Electric Bike Review
Ncm Aspen
Ncm Aspen Das Kit Hub Motor
Ncm Aspen 48v Battery System
Ncm Aspen Cockpit View
Ncm Aspen Grips Rubber Edge Brake
Ncm Aspen Display Controls
Ncm Aspen Rigid Fork Fat Tire
Ncm Aspen Triple Chain Ring
Ncm Aspen 500 Watt Hub Motor
Ncm Aspen Shimano Altus System
Ncm Aspen Battery Charger
Ncm Aspen Stock High Step Black

Summary

  • A minimalist yet capable value priced hard-tail fat-tire ebike with a proficient drive train both electrically and mechanically, lower price point allows for more financial freedom to customize and add things to the bike
  • Pretty lightweight at under 60lbs total, has a responsive and aggressive ride feel, comes with locking ergonomic grips, slap guard, fender bosses, and bell
  • Driven by a 500watt hub motor, Shimano Acera system with 24 gears total thanks to the triple chain ring up front
  • Lacks bottle cage, rack, and kickstand provisions, aggressive feel may not be for all riders, charging port is next to the crank arm

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

NCM

Model:

Aspen

Price:

$1,699 ($2,199 CAD)

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Trail, Sand and Snow

Electric Bike Class:

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

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany

Model Year:

2019

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

59.3 lbs (26.89 kg)

Battery Weight:

9.2 lbs (4.17 kg)

Motor Weight:

11 lbs (4.98 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

18.25 in (46.35 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

18.25" Seat Tube, 24" Reach, 28.5" Stand Over Height, 33" Minimum Saddle Height, 27.5" Width, 74" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Satin Black with Blue Accents

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Aluminum Alloy, 135mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

170mm Hub Spacing, 12mm Keyed Threaded Axle with 20mm Nuts

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

24 Speed 3x8 Shimano Altus Front and Acera Rear Derailleur, Shimano Cassette 11-32 Tooth

Shifter Details:

Shimano Triggers on Left and Right (One-Way High Lever, Three-Shift Low Lever)

Cranks:

Shimano FC-M311, Forged Aluminum Alloy Arms, 170mm Length, Square Taper Bottom Bracket Spindle, 48-38-28 Tooth Steel Chainrings

Pedals:

Wellgo B087 Aluminum Alloy Platform with Fixed Pins, Black

Headset:

Neco, Integrated, Threadless Internal Cups, Tapered 1-1/8" to 1-1/2"

Stem:

Promax, Alloy, 110mm Length, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter, One 15mm Spacer, Two 10mm Spacers, One 5mm Spacer

Handlebar:

Flat, Aluminum Alloy, 680mm Length

Brake Details:

Tektro MD-M280 Mechanical Disc with 180mm Front Rotor and 160mm Rear Rotor, Four-Finger Levers with Rubberized Edge, Integrated Bell, and Motor Inhibitor on Left

Grips:

Velo, Ergonomic Rubber, Locking

Saddle:

Velo, Active

Seat Post:

Promax, Aluminum Alloy, Forged Head

Seat Post Length:

300 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Walled, Punched Out Ovals, 80mm Outer Width, 36 Hole, Black

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Silver with Nipples

Tire Brand:

CST C1752, 26" x 4" (100-559)

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

5 to 30 PSI, 2.0 BAR

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Integrated Flick Bell on Left, Sticker Slap Guard, Steel Derailleur Guard

Other:

Locking Removable Semi-Integrated Downtube Battery Pack (Reention Cylinder and Key), 9 Mosfet 18 Amp Current Controller, 1.5lb 2 Amp Charger, Sine Wave Controller, Basic Assembly Toolkit, 275.5lb Max Load

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Das-Kit X15F

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

80 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Dehawk H12 (Made by DLG)

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

624 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Nickel Cobalt Manganese (Li-NCM)

Charge Time:

6 hours

Estimated Min Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Estimated Max Range:

65 miles (105 km)

Display Type:

Das-Kit L7, Fixed, Backlit, Monochrome LCD, Buttons: +, M, -, (Hold + for 2 Seconds for Backlight, Hold + for 3 Seconds to Clear Trip Distance, Hold - for Walk Mode, Hold + and - for Settings and Enter Code 8018)

Readouts:

Amperage Power Meter, Battery Capacity (6 Bars), Speed, Assist Level (0-6), Total Distance, Trip Distance, Travel Time, Max Speed

Display Accessories:

Full Size USB Type A Port on Right Side of Battery (5 Volt, 500 mA)

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle (Sealed 12-Magnet Sensor)

Top Speed:

25 mph (40 kph)(20 MPH Throttle, Adjustable)

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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 NCM. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of NCM products.

The NCM lineup of bikes so far have been value bikes with purpose built offerings. Such is the case with the Aspen, a powerful hard tail fat-tire mountain bike. The bike may be missing a few things like a kickstand or provisions, bottle cage bosses, or rack bosses, but it makes up for in a drivetrain that delivers and an extremely competitive price point. The bike is $1,699 in the US and $2,199 in Canada. What you do get are these nice 26” x 4” fat tires rated for 5-30psi and these punched out rims to save weight. As a matter of fact, the bike is pretty lightweight overall, we weighed it at 59.3lbs total with battery and all. Some of that weight savings may be due to the rigid fork that provides a responsive feel to the turf. The aggressive stem reach adds to that feel as well, so you really get this feeling of being on top of the trail. The frame is reinforced well and even has a sloped top tube to reduce the stand-over height. You also get a sticker slap guard which I really appreciate to keep the paint clean. Looking around, I see an integrated bell and locking ergonomic grips too. I think it is important to keep that $1,699 price point in mind, with that savings you could add a lot of things to this bike you may want like a suspension seat post or a dropper seat post. There is also a set of fender bosses, so you could add fenders too. The bike really shines on the drivetrain, so let’s jump into that right here.

Driving the bike is a fat-tire specific 500 watt hub motor from Das-Kit. I found the motor to be really responsive with it’s 80nm of torque and it performed well on the ride test. Engagement of that motor is done either via the slim thumb throttle on the right, or through the sealed 12 magnet cadence sensor for pedal assist. I love that the display has a deep menu too so you could crank up the settings to make this a fast Class 3 ebike, or even remove the throttle to make it a Class 1 to comply with more jurisdictions. Mechanically, the bike has an 8 speed Shimano Acera system in the back with a 11-32 tooth cassette. I love that they went with Acera, typically on value priced ebikes, companies spring for the lower-end Tourney derailleur. In the front, you have a 28, 38, and 48 tooth triple chain ring. This makes for a large configuration of 24 gears altogether. Combined with the electric system and trigger shifters, it feels like this can tackle just about anything! Stopping the bike is a 180mm mechanical disc brake rotor in the front and a 160mm disc brake rotor in the rear. Mechanical disc brakes are easy to maintain as well as adjust, however, they lack the immediate stopping power that hydraulic brakes offer. Mechanical brakes are still quite capable, but they take a little bit more hand actuation compared to hydraulic brakes.

Powering the bike is a 48v 13ah hour Lithium-ion battery pack, mounted semi-internally to the downtube. During the filming, Virgina tells me there may be battery upgrades available too. This is a pack I have seen on many, many, many, other electric bikes. It locks in securely and has a little lever on the left which helps to pop it off the frame and can be used as a fairly secure way to transport. You can charge the pack when it’s mounted to the frame or separately, and I’ve heard that extreme heat or cold can be hard on Lithium-ion cells, so charging in a neutral environment if the bike has to be left outside in a snowstorm or inside a non-insulated garage during a heat wave is advisable. Charging completely from empty may take 6+ hours, but I’ve been told that it’s best to keep batteries from dropping below 20% because that can stress the cells… and you should still be able to get fantastic range with the top 80% of the pack. Of course, it all depends on how much you weigh, what the terrain is like, the wind, even the tire pressure being used. I’m a lighter guy, and I don’t always use the throttle, so I get pretty good range even if I drop the tire pressure (for comfort), and the recommended PSI range is listed above in the stats. The battery has a little rubber button on the top that illuminates a 4-LED charge level readout (handy if you’ve stored the pack away from the bike and cannot remember if it’s charged), and there’s a full sized USB port on the right side of the pack (presumably offering 5 Volts and 500 mA of power for charging phones and other portable electronics). If you decide to tap into the USB while riding, consider using a right angle USB adapter and some zip ties to keep the cables tight to the frame and away from your legs as you pedal. Similarly, the charging port for the pack itself is near the left crank arm, so if you leave the battery on the bike when charging, the cable could get snagged or bent, be careful.

Operating this bike is simple and straight forward. There’s a control panel that’s made by Das-Kit (the same company that makes the motor) called the L7. It’s an all-in-one LCD display with three rubberized buttons near the left. To activate the bike, once the battery has been charged and mounted to the frame, just hold the M button in the center. I think this button stands for “mode” and doubles as a screen readout selector once the display is on. The default readouts include battery level, current speed, and assist level (0-6). I really appreciate how the battery infographic has six bars instead of just four or five, this gives you more precise feedback about capacity so you can plan trips accordingly. Many times, ebikes just have four or five levels of assist, but here again there are six. The really cool thing about changing assist levels (by pressing the + or – buttons) is that the levels loop from six back down to zero and also the reverse. This saves you time and finger fatigue. Unfortunately, the display panel is not easily removable, and may take scratches and sun fade over time. It cannot be swiveled easily to reduce glare (and if you leave the mounting bracket too loose, pressing the buttons will spin the display and be frustrating). I hear owners talk about covering their displays with their helmets, and some have used plastic sacks when it rains or snows, but you don’t want to trap water in with the display either because it can vaporize and get inside the electronics as the temperature heats up. I don’t mean to be alarmist, I’m just digging in deeper here since the review was in Canada where it snows in more locations, and where it rains in Tornoto specifically. Worst case scenario is that you order a replacement screen, mount it to the bar, and plug it into the quick-connect wire that was used for the original display. Other quick tips here include holding the + button for backlighting, and holding the – key for walk assist. This can be very useful for a heavier ebike when walking up a hill, through grass in a park where bikes shouldn’t be ridden, or if you get a flat tire and need to walk home.

If you check out the video, you can see we had some fun in some muddy and grassy terrain, and I really think the bike performs well. I just think some of the tradeoffs would be the things it is missing such as bottle cage bosses, or rack bosses. As I said earlier, it is also missing not only a kickstand, but kickstand provisions as well. Probably the biggest tradeoff for me personally was the aggressive geometry. Virginia seemed to like it and do just fine, but I think if I bought one of these the first thing I would do would be to swap out that stem with something more upright. But I think that is the beauty of this bike, with such a low price-point, you can afford to add things to it or customize it however you please. A big thanks to NCM for letting me ride the Aspen, I am excited to see the rest of their lineup.

As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own 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 Other Brands ebike forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)

Pros:

  • A minimalist yet capable value priced hard-tail fat-tire ebike with a proficient drive train both electrically and mechanically
  • The bike is $1,699 in the US and $2,199 in Canada, the savings leaves room for customization or configuration to set it up exactly how you want it
  • I love the nice 26” x 4” fat tires rated for 5-30psi and these punched out rims to save weight
  • Speaking of weight, the bike is pretty lightweight overall, we weighed it at 59.3lbs total with battery and all
  • The bike has a very responsive feel when riding, most of this is because of the rigid front fork and the aggressive stem angle, you get a riding position that keeps you on top of the terrain and it works great for this
  • Features a sticker slap guard, integrated bell, fender bosses, and locking ergonomic grips
  • Driven by a fat-tire specific 500 watt hub motor from Das-Kit, I found the motor to be really responsive with it’s 80nm of torque and it performed well on the ride test
  • To propel the bike electrically, you can do so either via the slim thumb throttle on the right, or through the sealed 12 magnet cadence sensor for pedal assist
  • The display has a deep menu too so you could crank up the settings to make this a fast Class 3 ebike, or even remove the throttle to make it a Class 1 to comply with more jurisdictions
  • 8 speed Shimano Acera system in the back with a 11-32 tooth cassette, in the front you have a 28, 38, and 48 tooth triple chain ring, this makes for a large configuration of 24 gears altogether, combined with the electric system, it feels like this can tackle just about anything
  • You get a high capacity 48v 13ah battery with a USB port for charging, LED charge level readout light, and the battery can even be upgraded to a higher capacity

Cons:

  • Personally, I was not a fan of the aggressive geometry, Virginia seemed to like it and do just fine, but I think if I bought one of these the first thing I would do would be to swap out that stem with something more upright
  • Not only is there no kickstand, but there are no kickstand provisions, so that doesn’t leave you with a lot of options to add one down the road
  • I should also mention there are no bottle cage bosses or rack bosses, so again, your options are limited if you wanted to add stuff in the future
  • The display is not removable and I do worry it can be exposed to the elements when parked outside, some riders put their helmet over it to protect it, so do be aware of that

Resources:

More NCM Reviews

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Comments (9) YouTube Comments

Élaine
2 months ago

Bonjour, J’ai un fatbike Aspen et j’aimerais ajouter des garde-boue (fender) avant et arrière malgré que je vois le dispositif pour en ajouter je ne trouve pas d’endroit où je pourrais en acheter. merci de bien vouloir m’indiquer où m’en procurer.

  Reply
Cory
1 month ago

How would I go about installing a kickstand on this bike?

  Reply
Court
1 month ago

Hi Cory, there are a number of aftermarket kickstands that are sold on Amazon where you can clamp them onto the left chain stay. Some ebikes come with special holes near the back of the left chain stay where you can direct mount a kickstand, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with this particular bike (unless they’ve updated it since I filmed it a while back).

  Reply
Mike
1 month ago

The latest version of the Aspen is the Aspen PLUS. Its a heck of deal in fat tire ebikes.

It has front RCT Guide suspension fork, Tektro hydraulic brakes, the powerful Das Kit motor, same type of DAS Kit c7 display that is on the Magnum ebikes that are priced around $1999 to $2250 (non fat tire versions), and 24 speeds. And it has a WHOPPING 16 AH, 48 Volt battery !!! And upgraded Shimano Acera derailleur.

Its priced at $1599. Pricing has changed for these NCM ebikes since this review. Available now here at some dealers in the US, besides already Canada.

You have all the quality here of the huge selling volumes of Magnum ebikes, but priced at $600 to $700 lower than Magnum would be selling these products for. Similar frame style as the Magnum Peaks, but with fat tires and all the bells and whistles of the power motor, 6 level assist, quick acceleration, 3 additional modes of power beyond the 6 levels of PAS, for effectively 18 levels of pedal assist. It’ll have a kickstand when sold through dealers. I like where and how they mount the controllers, with full ventilation, but well protected, and easy access for servicing.

  Reply
Court
1 month ago

Sweet! Thanks for the summary and thoughts on their updated Plus model, Mike. Sounds like you’re loving it… hope we get an opportunity to check it out sometime soon. I do feel like NCM has done a good job with their products, and offer a lot of value. Where did you buy from?

  Reply
Robert Amyot
2 weeks ago

Got my NCM Aspen a month ago at Amazon for a much lower price than the one mentionned in your review. I am new to both fatbike and ebike, so I don’t have much experience with the product. I did try it around on muddy grounds and it was pretty stable. I liked your suggestion of lowering tire pressure for a better grip, it does get slippery on hard ice.

  Reply
Court
2 weeks ago

Sweet! Congrats on finding the bike a bit cheaper on Amazon, glad it’s performing well. Yeah, lower pressure is great for soft terrain, just don’t hit hard angles with a lot of speed or you could blow out the inner tube or get a pinch flat. Yeah, bikes on ice can be super sketchy, lol. Have fun :D

  Reply
Chad Poelman
6 days ago

I’m pretty new to biking. I’m 6’0″ tall and I found when I raised the seat to the appropriate level that the handle is uncomfortably low. Is there a way to adjust the height of the handles?

  Reply
Court
6 days ago

Great question Chad, you can do three things! Get a stem riser (which adds height to the steer tube), get a longer stem that has a steep 45-degree angle so it raises the bar (there are even adjustable angle stems, just make sure you get a good one that won’t rattle loose), and get a new handlebar with some rise and backsweep… just make sure you get the right size of everything, look for 31.8mm bore on the handlebar, same for the clamp diameter of the stem. I hope this helps!

  Reply

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