- A powerful recumbent style trike capable of distance commuting or adventure riding, comes with panniers
- Multiple speed settings, available in seven colors, comprehensive two year warranty, made in America
- Heavier than most traditional ebikes at 99lbs, battery is not easily removable, limited suspension
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.
The Outrider 422 Alpha is a recumbent trike style electric bike that offers stability, aerodynamics and power unmatched by any other system I’ve tested. It was originally conceived as a sort of light electric vehicle capable of commanding respect from automobiles that would get frustrated with slower bikes and zip around (endangering the rider). While it is setup to comply with the national legal limits of 750 watt power output and 20mph top speed, it can easily reach 40mph and qualify as a moped in some states (or be licensed in others). With a nine speed cassette in the rear and a Schlumpf two speed planetary drive in the bottom bracket, it actually enables you to pedal and get exercise while traveling extended distances at speed in a safe and stable way.
The motor powering the 22 Alpha is a 4,200 watt direct drive three phase brushless permanent magnet DC mid drive. Compared with traditional geared or gearless hub motors this thing spins a lot faster (8,000 RPM to be exact) and is connected to a Gates belt drive system, converting the speed to torque with a step-down belt gearing system. It’s also a bit louder than traditional ebike motors and this quality is embellished because it’s mounted closer to your ears. The motor is 93% efficient, American made and relatively small and light weight. I like that it’s mounted towards the middle of the bike because it stays out of harms way, doesn’t get as wet or dirty (the recumbent seat acts as a roof) and balances weight front to rear.
The battery pack on this electric bike is like no other I’ve seen. It’s custom made and hand assembled to deliver over two kilowatt hours of capacity, enough to reach 160 miles in low power mode. The cells contain a Lithium polymer chemistry and are packed into custom frame mounted cages keeping them low and centered on the bike. It’s not a removable design so you basically have to bring the whole thing inside to charge up but the 1,000 watt charger is super fast with a full recharge requiring around two hours. In addition to the charger, the Outrider 422 Alpha comes with a battery balancer that you can use every month or so to keep the bike performing optimally and aging well. With proper care the packs should last 1,000 cycles and you can get replacements.
Steering this bike is a bit different than a traditional upright design. Instead of a long flat handlebar you get two vertical bars with a twist throttle on the left, a grip shifter on the right and standard brake levers on both. It’s a comfortable hand position (you don’t have to twist your forearms or wrists) and steering is accomplished through a pushing/pulling action. The optional steering dampener makes it even smoother, taking the edge off of turns when riding at high speed. The display is front and center making it easy to see and use when riding. It’s a Cycle Analyst v3 with LCD readout showing voltage, amp hours used, speed, distance and a couple of other stats. You use it to cycle through low, medium or high drive mode and accomplish this by holding the left button and pressing the right one.
While this obviously isn’t the most affordable electric bike out there it clearly delivers something unique and effective for commuters and adventure riders. It’s made by hand in America with a majority of domestically produced components and drive systems and has an excellent warranty with authentic support (you can speak directly with the founders). Changing flat tires (specifically on the rear wheel) is a bit more involved due to the Gates belt drive system, transporting the 99lb elongated frame can require a larger vehicle and deeper fixes may require that you ship it to Fletcher, North Carolina but these gripes are very manageable compared with trying to produce something like this on your own by hand. It’s not for everyone but those who want the extra distance and speed to command more respect from passing automobiles or those who enjoy cross country riding and need the range and body support are sure to recognize that this is a high quality, high performance machine virtually unmatched in the world of electric bikes.
- Cycle Analyst v3 shows voltage, amp hours used, speed, odometer and power setting
- Offers three drive modes from 750 watt 20mph (standard legal limit) and 2,200 or 4,400 watt 40mph (performance, light electric vehicle/moped limit) to help you zip out of harms way and perform more like a car in proximity to traffic
- In some states they can be legally used as mopeds at higher speeds
- Recumbent body position is comfortable over long distances, stable at higher speeds and aerodynamic
- Includes a standard rear wheel fender, optional front wheel fenders available to keep arms clean
- Optional steering dampener smoothes out handling when riding at higher top speeds
- Shimano 180mm hydraulic disc brakes on both front wheels provide stable, effective stopping power
- American made: wheels handmade in Asheville, NC by Industry 9, motors are hand made in Irvine, CA by Astro Flight, controllers are made in the US, trikes are designed and assembled in Fletcher, NC, drive system is manufactured in Belmont, NC
- LED flagpole whip is tall and visible to provide more safe riding when in and around larger vehicles, powered by main battery
- Ultra bright 1,000 lumen LED headlight improves dusk and night riding, is powered by main battery pack
- Bar end mirrors provide added awareness when riding
- Schlumpf high speed planetary drive in bottom bracket is convenient to reach and activate, effectively doubles gear range
- Excellent two year warranty that covers motor, drive system, frame and battery pack (everything but consumables like brake pads and tires)
- Ultra fast 1,000 watt charger and balancing system (to be used once per month or so to extend battery life)
- Enormous 2,200 watt-hour Lithium polymer battery pack is capable of powering the bike up to 160 miles (depending on power mode used)
- Powerful 4,200 watt Astro 3220 motor offers plenty torque and speed for climbing hills or keeping up with traffic, uses a step-down belt gearing system
- Grip shifter and twist throttles work well and balance out the two handle bars, the heel-activated front gear works well and is convenient
- Plastic chain covers keep your pants clean and out of harms way, also protect the chain from mud and water
- Custom made wheels by Industry 9 are designed to be more rugged at high speeds and avoid loose spokes, custom colors available
- Optional Rohloff Speedhub makes shifting at standstill possible, great for when you have to stop abruptly and may be in a higher gear
- Very stable with low center of gravity, battery pack acts as a ballast and enables hard turning at higher speeds
- Highly water resistant system is designed to stand up to rain, snow and mud tested rigorously
- No traditional water bottle cage mounting points, can add an adapter or use a CamelBak (can store in included panniers or worn on front of body)
- Motor produces more noise than some traditional hub designs, spinning at 8,000 RPM, positioned closer to rider
- No shock absorbers, smaller wheels can feel feel jarring at higher speeds if you hit a pothole or bump
- More complex computer system and charging routine than traditional electric bikes
- Harder to transport than traditional ebikes, battery is not removable, frame is heavy and long
- In the event of a fix or maintenance requiring help from Outrider they will help advise a local shop, some parts may have to be shipped back to North Carolina
- Have to pedal up to four miles per hour before motor can be activated, can be a challenge if on a hill (optional 11 speed Rohloff Speedhub helps, lets you shift at standstill)
- Official Site: http://www.outriderusa.com/422-Alpha-Outrider-USA-p/transition422alpha.htm
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/pVJGC5XgbUaUSjeh8