Optibike Pioneer Allroad Review

2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Electric Bike Review 1
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad 500 Watt Motor
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Lithium Battery Pack
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Lcd Display
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Suntour Suspension Lockout
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Shimano Derailleur
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Mechanical Disc
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Chain Rings
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Electric Bike Review 1
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad 500 Watt Motor
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Lithium Battery Pack
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Lcd Display
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Suntour Suspension Lockout
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Shimano Derailleur
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Mechanical Disc
2014 Optibike Pioneer Allroad Chain Rings

Summary

  • Sturdy, well balanced mid-drive electric bike that's capable on roads or medium grade trails
  • Improved motor strength and efficiency, this latest version is also quieter than the original
  • New LCD display panel, updated frame design and suspension fork with lockout for better handling

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Optibike

Model:

Pioneer Allroad

Price:

$2,795 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2014

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

49 lbs (22.22 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.5 lbs (2.49 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

19 in (48.26 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Grey-Blue

Frame Fork Details:

Suntour XCM Suspension with Lockout

Gearing Details:

24 Speed 3x8 Shimano Acera

Shifter Details:

MicroSHIFT Triggers on Left and Right Bar

Pedals:

Aluminum Alloy Platform

Brake Details:

Shimano Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotors

Grips:

Ergonomic

Tire Brand:

CST MTB, 26" x 1.95"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Accessories:

Kickstand

Other:

90 Day Satisfaction Guarantee with 6 Month Upgrade Path

Electronic Details

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Battery Voltage:

37 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.5 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

390 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Display Type:

King-Meter KM6S-LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Distance, Battery Capacity, Assist Level (5 Settings)

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Twist Throttle

Top Speed:

22 mph (35 kph)(Up to 20 mph in Throttle Mode)

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Written Review

This second iteration of the Optibike Pioneer Allroad improves on the original in several key ways while keeping price constant. You still get the power and efficiency of a mid-drive motor (in fact it’s torquier now) and it’s quieter to operate. The suspension fork has been upgraded for improved strength and performance along with an frame which features a reinforced seat tube, curved top tube and lower seat stays. The original Allroad featured an all-in-one LCD panel with integrated buttons that was mounted to the left. This new version utilizes a larger King Meter LCD mounted in the center with an externalized button pad placed on the left handle bar for easy reach. Ultimately, this is a refined version of Optibike’s most affordable electric bike that’s designed to be capable on roads and light trails alike.

The motor on this bike offers 500 watts of power in a mid-drive configuration that is one of the smallest I’ve seen. There’s not plastic case protruding below the chain rings in the front and the design on the left side really blends in with the cranks. Compared with some other mid-drives on the EVELO and iGo bikes this one has a higher range of speeds and is simply more powerful. It’s also one of the only systems I’ve ever seen that combines a rear cassette with multiple chain rings in the front! Now, it’s not sophisticated enough to sense when you shift gears and that could lead to some mashing if you throttle and shift at the same time but with proper use it works fine. I like that the brake levers have integrated motor cutoffs because that’s a good way to disable the motor just before shifting. As mentioned previously, this updated motor design offers higher torque and efficiency while reducing noise when riding compared to the original Pioneer Allroad.

The battery pack used here hasn’t changed much since the original Allroad, it’s still mounted to the downtube for improved balance and weight distribution. You get 37 volts of power and 10.5 amp hours of capacity which is slightly above average for ebikes. The cells are Lithium-ion which tend to be lighter weight and longer lasting than Lithium polymer or Sealed Lead Acid. The casing is part aluminum which has a nice aesthetic, offers good heat dissipation and solid protection. At either end is a plastic cap that clicks into the mounting point on the bike (this is also where the controller is located). Being able to remove the battery is handy for charging, storage, extended range (with a second pack) and reduced weight for transport if you’re driving to a trailhead. The only downside of the Pioneer Allroad battery design is that it takes up the space where a water bottle might fit and also stand out more than a truly integrated pack. This keeps the bike more affordable and ensures you’ll have an easier time getting a replacement but means you might need a CamelBak or seat post bottle cage adapter.

This ebike has a busier cockpit than some due to the 24 speeds and pedal assist plus throttle mode but they’ve done a great job fitting everything in and the LCD is very easy to read and navigate with the break-out button pad. You’ve got two standard brake levers that have built-in cutoff for the motor and two sets of trigger shifters. On the right side, next to the grip is a trigger throttle that stays out of the way and on the left side, next to the grip is a three-button pad. The middle button turns the bike on and changed display output and the up and down buttons let you navigate five levels of assist. To use the throttle you have to be in one of the pedal assist modes, if you got to zero the display stays on but no drive systems work which is kind of a bummer in my opinion but fairly common. I like that they included ergonomic grips with this bike because that adds comfort when riding long distances. There’s no adjustable stem here but that preserves strength and speaks to the off-road heritage of Optibike.

Whether you plan on adding a rear rack and using this bike around town for errands or taking it off-road for some light trail riding, the system performs well. The weight distribution is excellent, the motor is powerful and now quieter than ever and the components are solid. This is Optibike’s starting model but you still get a suspension fork with lockout, mechanical disc brakes, ergonomic grips and twenty-four speeds! I love the removability of the battery pack, solid pedals and a kickstand because they add utility and convenience. The medium frame size worked well for me (I’m ~5’9″) and the overall aesthetic was nice. I don’t think this frame is any shorter than the 2013 version of the Allroad but the curved top tube might be stronger. I wish there was somewhere to mount a bottle cage but that’s a common grip with mid-drive bikes like this. I would also like a throttle-only drive mode but am happy with the trigger throttle design (twist grip throttles can weaken your grasp on the handle bar when riding rough terrain) and am stoked that the throttle operates all the way up to 20 miles per hour whereas some other mid-drive bikes either lack a throttle altogether or cut power prematurely like the IZIP E3 Peak. The one year warranty, 90 day return policy and 6 month upgrade path are awesome and Optibike has excellent customer service.

Pros:

  • Improved torque and efficiency of mid-drive vs. original Allroad, this one is also quieter
  • Upgraded suspension fork and LCD display panel with break out rubberized button pad
  • High end cadence sensor is built right into the mid-drive motor casing for protection and seems to be more responsive than other pedelec sensors I’ve ridden
  • Trigger throttle can be used simultaneously with pedal assist mode (five levels to choose from)
  • Reinforced mounting points on seat stays and suspension fork for adding fenders or a rear rack
  • Solid 160mm mechanical disc brakes, metal pedals and functional kickstand work well
  • Battery is removable, can be charged on or off the bike and locks to the frame and key can be removed when riding
  • Mid-drive motor leverages the same gear settings that the rider pedals with making it very efficient, extending battery reach and aiding in climbing situations
  • Higher top speed of ~24 mph in pedal assist mode at setting 5 when pedaling in faster gears
  • Lithium Cobalt battery pack chemistry is very energy dense and offers ~1,000 charge cycles, additional batteries available for extended range
  • The Pioneer Allroad is the first ebike in the Optibike range to offer both pedal assist and trigger throttle mode
  • Cables are built into the downtube, look nice and stay out of the way, this version of the bike has an updated frame with curved top tube
  • Very easy to service flat tires, wheels and gears since there are no hub motors getting in the way

Cons:

  • This mid-drive motor is slower and less powerful than the one used on the SIMBB and R-Series electric bikes, delivers a steadier feel that is capable but may require rider input for steep ascents
  • Mid-drive motor pulls the same chain as the rider and can make changing gears a bit jarring which may wear chain and sprocket teeth more quickly than a hub motor design, the brake levers cut power to the motor however and can help you shift more smoothly
  • No built in lights or fenders here, the LCD computer display panel is backlit but is not removable for safer storage
  • Built overseas vs. in the USA like many of the original Optibikes, this keeps price lower

Resources:

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Comments (7) YouTube Comments

Melchor Alpizar
5 years ago

Dear Sirs

I would like to know if this bike can be deassembled to carry it on the plane.

thanks

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Hello Melchor, this bike can be disasembled just like any other to be transported via plane. In fact, it’s easier than many electric bikes because it uses the mid-drive system vs. a hub motor. You could loosen the handle bars and turn them sideways, remove the seat and wheels and take off the pedals to make this very small and compact. The biggest concern would be shipping the battery (which is also removable) and checking with the airline that it would be alright to check such a large pack (it is a 37 volt, 10.5 amp hour 390 watt hour Lithium-Cobalt).

  Reply
ED Gehl
5 years ago

Court, How does this Allroad bike compare with Volton Elation 500 on hill climbing? Thanks, Ed

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Hi Ed, the Allroad electric bikes use mid-drive motors that can leverage the rear cassette so they will perform quite well in hill climbing applications but tend to ride slower when you shift down. By contrast, the Volton Alation is available with a 500 watt geared hub motor and 48 volt battery that offers massive power and torque. So… If you pedal along a bit and don’t try to climb a hill at rest with the Alation it will do great. If you were to completely stop on an incline the Allroad would climb better if you were shifted down to a lower gear. Honestly, these two bikes both perform quite well for climbing so it’s a very close call.

  Reply
Larry S
5 years ago

I have ridden neither bike, so this is as an educated opinion and as much a question to Court Rye for comment as a response to Ed Gehl For a lighter rider as Court and/or less steep hills, the Volton Alation would be a good climber because the 500 watt motor even with it’s fixed gear ratio would have sufficient torque to not lug down, and it is simpler to operate because the motor continues to power the wheel even when shifting to lower pedaling gears if one chooses to assist the motor. On a steep enough hill with a heavy enough rider the Volton Alation would lug down, but in the same situation the Optibike Pioneer Allroad could be shifted to a lower gear for both the motor and your legs and continue to ascend the hill, albeit at a reduced speed (roughly inversely proportionate the the increased torque) which is preferable to walking the bike up the hill. So I believe the the answer is “it depends” on the weight and physical ability of the rider and the steepness of the hills. If you are light or if on an unassisted bike you can almost peddle up the hills you would normally face, then you will probably be happy with the Volton Alation. If you are heavier and there is “no way” you can peddle unassisted up hills you would normally face, then Optibike Pioneer Allroad appears the better choice.

  Reply
Jack
4 years ago

Optibike’s models escaped my notice until I came across two excellent interviews with the Optibike USA owner, Jim Turner, about batteries, motors and their differing contributions to a bike’s efficiency. (Court’s ‘All Bike Update’ channel is like peeling an onion. Something always seems to be popping up that I’d previously missed. Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkuJzOV9VFs if you’d like to view the first one). But to broaden the discussion about Optibike beyond the bike’s abilities, it’s fair to point out they seem to suffer from a chronic case of late deliveries, as discussed in the various Optibike threads found in the ‘Community’ section of this website. Customer support seems to consistently receive praise, but that’s a mixed blessing when it’s due to being responsive to delayed deliveries. The cause isn’t identified: biz under-financed, preventing in-stock inventory? biz decision to keep price lower by avoiding flooring/inventory financing? unreliable manufacturer production? competing demand from distributors in other countries? some mix of the above? Just be prepared for a long’ish wait and uncertain delivery time. It’s also worth mentioning that a *somewhat* similar appearing product, branded Bofeili and also sourced from China like Optibike, now sells on eBay for about one-half the Optibike Allroad – $1700 incl. shipping from Oregon. But buyer beware: steel frame, smaller battery, only one size (26″) offered, and the seller hard to identify (as will perhaps be the level of customer service). Hard to get more than one pays for…

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Thanks for sharing your insights and thoughts on this topic Jack! I’ve seen the Bofeili online and had people ask about it but haven’t tested it in person. I admire the work Jim has done and the history of Optibike (they’ve been around longer than most companies) but I agree there have also been some snags and the market seems to be evolving in new directions with more mid-drives from Bosch, Impulse, Yamaha etc. but Optibike is still a leader with throttles and higher power if you are willing to pay more for it.

  Reply

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