Outrider Alpha 4 Series Review

Outrider Alpha 400 Series Electric Bike Review
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Recumbent Electric Trike
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Astroflight Motor With Custom Cooler
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Allcell 48 Volt Battery Charging Port With Cap
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Steering Speed Switch Cockpit
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Cycle Analyst V3 Shimano Alfine Electronic Shifter Display
Outrider Alpha 400 Series 4 Inch Ground Clearance
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Front Suspension With Sway Bars
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Carbon Belt Drive
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Custom Carry Rack 75 Lb Max Load
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Custom Vented Neoprene Seat
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Plastic Rear Fender
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Schlumpf Drive 42 100 Equivalent
Outrider Alpha 400 Series
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Electric Bike Review
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Recumbent Electric Trike
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Astroflight Motor With Custom Cooler
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Allcell 48 Volt Battery Charging Port With Cap
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Steering Speed Switch Cockpit
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Cycle Analyst V3 Shimano Alfine Electronic Shifter Display
Outrider Alpha 400 Series 4 Inch Ground Clearance
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Front Suspension With Sway Bars
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Carbon Belt Drive
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Custom Carry Rack 75 Lb Max Load
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Custom Vented Neoprene Seat
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Plastic Rear Fender
Outrider Alpha 400 Series Schlumpf Drive 42 100 Equivalent
Outrider Alpha 400 Series

Summary

  • A high speed capable (20 mph to 45 mph top speed settings) recumbent electric trike with full suspension (three RockShox Monarch shocks) and a custom foam seat for maximum comfort, highly adjustable body position and angle
  • The tadpole configuration (2 wheels in the front and one in the back) provide complete stability when mounting and starting, a custom designed rear rack offers 75 lbs of storage capacity and a bright LED whip pole greatly enhances your visual footprint
  • Impressive 22 speed drivetrain with a carbon belt drive, internally geared rear hub with electronic shifting (can be shifted at standstill) and a two speed internal crankset from Shumpf Drive lets you keep up at any assisted speed
  • Throttle only operation, the motor produces noticeable noise, heavy and somewhat laborious to move around and transport, very pricey compared to most ebikes I review, requires a bit more time to understand and operate properly
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.

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National eBike Shops

Electric Cyclery
900 N Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach,  CA  92651
Propel Bikes
134 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn,  NY  11205

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Outrider

Model:

Alpha 4 Series

Price:

$14,985 (Options up to $22,600)

Body Position:

Recumbent

Suggested Use:

Road, Touring

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2), Moped or Motorcycle (Class 4)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Limited

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2016

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

117 lbs ( 53.07 kg ) (Up to 148 lbs)

Battery Weight:

12 lbs ( 5.44 kg ) (Per Kilowatt Hour, Ships with 2 Packs)

Motor Weight:

6 lbs ( 2.72 kg )

Frame Types:

Trike

Geometry Measurements:

~32.5" Width, ~82" Length (Shortest Boom Setting, 6" Length Adjustment), ~34" Tall, 4" Ground Clearance

Frame Material:

4130 Chromoly Steel, 5042 Series Aluminum)

Frame Colors:

Black Wrinkle Powder Coat or Four Free Colors: Sage Green, Powder Blue, Military Tan, Military Green (Custom Colors $250)

Frame Fork Details:

Two RockShox Monarch R with Adjustable Rebound and Compression 200x51 mm, Independent Control Arms and Sway Bar

Frame Rear Details:

RockShox Monarch R with Adjustable Rebound and Compression 200x51 mm, Swing Arm

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Seat Frame Bosses,

Gearing Details:

22 Speed 2x11 Electronically Shifted Shimano Alfine Internally Geared Hub

Shifter Details:

Electronic Push Button on Right Bar End, Heel Shifter on Crank Axle

Cranks:

Schlumpf Drive Integrated Planetary Chainring 42T to 100T Equivalent

Pedals:

Origin8 Two Sided (SPD and Flat) Aluminum Alloy Platform, Optional Wellgo or Funn

Handlebar:

Custom Vertical Push Pull Steering, 22 mm Alloy Tube

Brake Details:

Shimano Deore Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Shimano XT Levers

Grips:

TSI Silicone, Flat, Gray

Saddle:

Adjustable Position (Forward Back and Tilt, Vented Neoprene Enclosed Cell, Waterproof, Optional Neckrest from ICE

Rims:

Sunwrangle Envy Rims, Origin8 36 Spoke J-Bend Standard, Optional Industry 9 Straight-Pull Aluminum (6 Color Choices)

Spokes:

14G Rear, 13G Front, Stainless Steel Black

Tire Brand:

Maxxis Hookworm, 20" x 1.95"

Wheel Sizes:

20 in ( 50.8 cm )

Tire Details:

Kevlar Belted

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Right and Left Handle Bar Mirrors, Trouser Guard on Front Chain Ring, UHMW Chain Tubes, SKS Plastic Rear Fender, Custom Rear Carry Rack (75 lb Max Load), Glow Whip 4' LED Whip (White Standard, Optional Orange, Green, Red, Blue Where Legal $15), Optional Arkel Orca 35 Waterproof Panniers $239, Optional 1,000 Lumen LED Headlight $150, Optional Electronics Accessories Package: 240 Watts at 12 Volts with 4.8 Amp USB Ports and Direct Tap for 12 Volt Accessory or Inverter (Required for Solar Charger) $575, Optional Solar Charger $575, Optional Parking Brake System $280 (Requires Mechanical Disc Brakes), Optional ICE Brand Head Rest $140

Other:

Carbon Belt Drive Step-Down System from Motor to Rear Wheel, Integrated 1,000 Watt Onboard Battery Charger with Load Balancer, Delrin Skid Rails on Battery Box, Bash Guard on Front

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

AstroFlight (Customized 3220, Runs at 12,000 RPM, 93% Efficient)

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

750 watts

Motor Peak Output:

4200 watts

Motor Torque:

104 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Allcell (American Made), Integrated BMS

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

46.4 ah (Optional 92.8)

Battery Watt Hours:

2227.2 wh (Optional 4454.4)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Polymer

Charge Time:

2 hours

Estimated Min Range:

65 miles ( 105 km )

Estimated Max Range:

170 miles ( 274 km )

Display Type:

Backlit Monochrome LCD Display by Cycle Analyst V3, Fixed Backlit Multi-Segment LCD Shimano Alfine for Electronic Shifting

Readouts:

Volts, Voltage Cutout, Current Limit, Watts, Amps, Speed, Speed Limit, Distance, Time, Drive Mode (Low, Medium, High), Gearing

Display Accessories:

Electronic Gearbox Switch

Drive Mode:

Twist Throttle (On Left Bar)

Top Speed:

45 mph ( 72 kph ) (Limited to 20 mph in Economy Mode)

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Written Review

For this review I was able to meet with a lead designer from Outrider, Zach Thomas, who walked me through the different specs on their updated Outrider Alpha 4 Series which he helped to create. We demoed the 420 trim level with a few minor upgrades but otherwise this is a fairly stock, base level electric recumbent trike… that retails for around $15k. That may sound like a big number but these are high speed, off-road capable, light electric vehicles that are custom made ~85% in the United States. The 400 Series are their fastest models, geared for speed vs. power, being capable of 45 mph operation. They feature a two-speed electronic gear box that changes the motor phasing on the fly to emphasize torque up to 25 mph and then speed up to 45 (this is activated manually with a simple button pad that’s easy to reach while steering). Depending on your state and city regulations, this may need to be operated on private land or forest area but some users have added turn signals and used them as actual vehicles with the ability to match neighborhood traffic speeds. The trikes ship with a 750 watt 20 mph maximum setting in order to comply with Class 2 electric vehicle laws but may be adjusted by the end user. As far as recumbent electric trikes go, the Outrider models are some of the highest power, highly adjustable and most finely engineered products I’ve tested.

Compared with the earlier 422 Alpha that I tested in 2014, the new models feel more comfortable thanks to full suspension and a thick Neoprene seat. Even though it looks similar to the old models which were built on modified KMX trike platforms, nearly every aspect has been tweaked or refined to deliver a better experience, be it hauling gear with the custom rack (rated for 75 lbs), braking easier with 180 mm Shimano Deore XT hydraulic disc brakes with heat sinks (they also have burn guards to protect your legs), shifting gears (22 combinations with an internally geared hub and electronic shifting for the rear which can be shifted at standstill and a Shlumpf drive up front) or being seen (updated LED whip and optional integrated headlight and optional turn signals). They can function almost like a velomobile and you could add wind fairings with a bit of effort or working with Outrider to improve efficiency and stand up to different environments where rain, particulates and bugs are an issue (the Outrider folks always ride with full face helmets and goggles). I was incredibly impressed to learn that the electronic shifting display and servos are wired into the main batter. This is something that even the Stromer ST2 S (which is a $9,500 ebike from a major brand) wasn’t able to offer. Everything from the tiny cord leashes on the battery and heat exhaust caps to the custom belt tensioner and integrated tool is functional, smart and great looking.

Comfort is a big deal when you’re going far and fast… or using this for light off-road, and I was impressed with the fit provided by the adjustable length boom (offering 6 inches of travel), adjustable seat (with position and angle adjustments) and the optional headrest. Most of the Outrider team was wearing full face helmets during the demo rides in the video review and if you planned to unlock this thing and use it at high speed for yourself, a full face helmet would probably be a good idea… but it does add weight and strain on your neck, hence the optional head rest and thick padding. I mentioned full suspension earlier but the Outrider team has done it right by building in a sway bar so you’re not just floating around and losing control. The Alpha 400 series is a decidedly on-road focused bike and that’s emphasized with smaller slick tires and the higher speed gearing. I definitely felt the bumps and heard some rattling when riding at speed through the dirt mountain trails but it would have been unbearable without the three RockShox Monarch suspension elements (which offer rebound and compression adjustment to suite your weight and terrain). This thing is like a high speed electric go kart and the recumbent seating improves aerodynamic efficiency a lot compared with more traditional upright electric bikes.

Some of the hang ups and challenges I faced when testing the Alpha 420 were the lack of a bottle cage mount (though the rack would solve this if you mounted a hydration pack), having to pedal up to speed in order to activate the motor (a safety feature but still challenging sometimes given the 117 lb weight) and moving the trike… again, due to weight. You’re supposed to lift the bike up using the rear wheel and then swivel it around. The turning radius isn’t great on this thing, it takes about the width of a single lane street otherwise you have to do some backing up and multi-point turn work. Transportation can also be an issue as well as locking up if you were commuting to work. It’s a unique beast but one that is supremely engineered and hard not to love. Depending on your needs and budget this could either be a lot of fun or an actual car replacement. Big thanks to Outrider for partnering with me for this review.

Pros:

  • Available in different battery configurations to maximize range, the most affordable and lightest weight is the 420 (with 20 designating ~2 kilowatt hours) up to 430 and 440 maximum
  • Amazing custom design and manufacturing work starting with the monocoque Aluminum chassis which houses the batteries (two holes with screw caps allow for the charging port and heat dissipation, there’s an integrated kill-switch in one cap to make sure the vent is open)
  • The trike comes stock with some great safety accessories including bar end mirrors, an LED tail whip, optional headlight and turn signals as well as multiple or custom color choices for improved visual footprint (all powder coated for durability), the stock color is a green/gray color with wrinkle black support arms
  • The motor runs at up to 12,000 RPM and has a 5 to 1 step down (compared with 9:1 and 15:1 on the Nomad and Horizon respectively), it also has active fan cooling and will automatically reduce power if it senses overheating
  • Most of the chassis and support structures around the seat and rack are folded Aluminum which is light weight and rust proof, for areas where more stiffness was needed like the front steering rods and rear swing arm they used 4130 chromoly steel
  • The onboard charger fills at a rate of about one mile per minute! It’s an 1,100 watt system from Mean Well that is well protected inside the battery box and means you only have to carry a plug vs. a big box around (though it does increase the weight of the vehicle itself)
  • The circuit board on the charger and some other electronics is conformally coated to repel water, humidity and other moisture which could damage it
  • In addition to electronic upgrades, Outrider sells and recommends the Arkel Orca panniers for storing gear, food and things like your cell phone… which can easily fall out of pant leg pockets when you’re riding recumbent bikes ;)
  • The wheel size is the same for all three wheels making replacement easier and the bike comes stock with Maxxis Hookworm tires that use Kevlar belting to reduce punctures and flats (because changing a flat on this thing would be more work than light weight traditional bicycles)
  • Relatively narrow 32.5″ track width means you can get the Outrider Alpha Series through most standard doors, great for storing inside or bringing into shops for repairs, apparently some of the owners can fit them into the back of their station wagons with the seats folded down
  • The carbon fiber stranded belt they use is clean, quiet, designed to not stretch and there’s a special tool mounted on the left side of the swing arm so you can get the wheel off and then tighten the belt again easily… very well thought out
  • The seat design is now custom (vs. the stock KMX seat on their older bikes), it’s soft, designed not to soak up water and works with an optional headrest, this combined with the full-suspension and 120 mm travel offers excellent comfort compared to the older build which had no suspension
  • Lots of attachment points including some drilled holes on the rear rack platform, the sides of the rack and even the sides of the seat, there are also larger loop holes for side bolsters or straps if you want to secure yourself a bit
  • The Cycle Analyst, Di2 electronic shifting and tail whip (and LED lights if you get them) are all powered off the main battery pack and there’s a custom power connector point called the “dog house” to the rear left of the saddle where they plug in, this makes repairs and replacements easier… it’s modular
  • The Cycle Analyst and Shimano electronic gear LCD are both backlit and the Cycle Analyst can swivel to reduce glare… it has a bunch of great readouts including voltage, amp hours used, speed, odometer and power setting… as well as a state indicator (showing which mode you’re in and interacting with the toggle button on the left grip). it’s custom programmed by Outrider and Grin Technologies which makes the Cycle Analyst
  • Underneath the battery box there are several plastic slider strips “skid rails” and at the front there’s a metal bash guard so the bike won’t get beat up over rough terrain, even though the Alpha is more geared for on-road use
  • Solid two year warranty covers everything except for consumables (brake pads, tires etc.), Outrider has been in business since ~2009 and has a solid track record
  • Highly water resistant systems and hardware, the trike is designed to stand up to rain, snow and mud and is tested rigorously by the team in multiple locations around the county at events like the adaptive ride festival
  • The team has grown from ~3 people in 2014 to ~8 people in 2016 which means they can offer better support and is part of why so much has changed and improved, they successfully funded a different model called the Horizon using Kickstarter in 2015
  • They’ve created an arm/disarm system so that when the bike is sitting at a standstill, you can’t accidentally twist the throttle and have it take off (which is important given how heavy it is), you have to arm the bike with the button pad and then pedal up to 4 mph before it wills tart, the smaller 20″ wheels provide a torque advantage for pedaling and being able to shift at standstill really helps…
  • The handlebars and cockpit area are pretty clean and all of the buttons for shifting, changing the electronic gearbox, the throttle and even braking are easy to reach and use, it’s intuitive and comfortable

Cons:

  • Outrider used to offer front fenders to compliment the standard rear fender but no longer does due to the rattly noise they produced and somewhat limited coverage (apparently they also got in the way and made mounting difficult at times since you use the wheels as a hand rest when sitting down), just keep in mind that you might get wet and dirty from the front wheels depending on the terrain and weather you ride in
  • All of the Outrider recumbent electric trikes are going to be heavy at 100+ lbs, this makes moving and repairing them more time consuming and difficult, fixing flats on the go can be an issue so bring some tools and get good tires
  • Most recumbent trikes are incompatible with hanging and even platform bike racks, consider a small trailer to pull behind your car or a ramp if you’ve got a truck or station wagon so you can put it inside with the seats folded down
  • All of the Outrider models I tested had limited turning radius so it took roughly the width of a two lane street to do a 180, they quoted it at ~17 feet, I had to do a multi-point turn on several occasions where we were because the sidewalk was narrow… however, because they offer independent braking (on the front two wheels) you can “bias brake” and turn sharper if you have some momentum, this happens when you activate the inside brake harder than the outside
  • Expensive… the trike starts at ~$15k and can range all the way up to ~$23k depending on the features you add and the setup desired (including more battery capacity)
  • In my experience testing the trike, traction was the biggest limiting factor (and stability at low speed if you turn hard on a hill, it can roll onto its side), unlike traditional bicycles where the powered wheel is more directly below your body weight, the Outriders have a rear wheel that’s pretty far back so it can spin a bit on loose terrain, it helps to load the rack up to improve traction
  • There’s a .5 second delay in the electronic gear box (going from low speed high torque to high speed operation with lower torque), it’s not a huge deal… just acknowledging it, easy to activate with the blue button on the right near the red “arm” button
  • When pedaling, there is some chain drag through the long plastic tubes (designed to keep you clean and snag-free) it’s noticeable and feels like a loss of efficiency, I guess it’s a trade off with most recumbents and ultra-long chain bikes
  • When accelerating quickly with the motor and pedaling at higher speeds if you don’t shift correctly it’s easy to have your foot position slide on the pedals (I think clip-in pedals would help), I also snagged my shoe on the chain cover tube a couple of times
  • The motor produces a high pitched electronic whining noise that could be distracting to other riders or wildlife depending on where you ride, still much quieter than an internal combustion motor
  • No traditional water bottle cage mounting points but there are lots of holes on the seat, side racks and back rack where you might be able to tie down a bladder or mount a cage
  • More complex computer system and charging routine than traditional electric bikes with two caps to remove, it has improved a lot since the original Outrider recumbent trikes and the charger is very fast
  • 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
  • Replacement or additional batteries are $1,500 but if you upgrade to a larger pack at the time you purchase the bike they are less expensive and will be pre-installed… in order to install batteries later you have to send the entire bike back to North Carolina which is expensive and time consuming

Resources:

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Start a new alpha 4 series thread on the Outrider Forum page .

kev “kevgi” gi
2 weeks ago

awesome!!!

Relient Kid
2 weeks ago

I like to think the 420 battery has everything to do with Colorado heha

RettTV
4 weeks ago

ride test begins at 31.34

Sinisa Milisavljevic
1 month ago

$10,000 ??? For what? For big words?
No, thanks.
For less than $2,000 you can buy car on Craigslist. Or very good for under
$5,000.
For $1,800 you can buy electric motorcycle from India.

TheRosa63
2 months ago

is this okay for off road sandy gravely etc? price?

lilsdafranchise
2 months ago

nahhh.

adam roy
3 months ago

Congratulation on this nicely designed trike. I guess it could be
configured to start on electrical power even at 0 mph?

madogblue
3 months ago

I have to say the Engineering is well thought out. Can wait to see the next
gen

madogblue
3 months ago

Recumbent trikes are perfect for electric street vehicles as long as they
look stealthy. the three wheels can support the extra weight and gear. Get
rid of the big box below the seat so that no authorities get bent out of
shape. If the Recumbent is stealthy, no one will know as they mostly don't
see many trikes anyway. The range could be huge again due to the trikes
capacity

Jan Hendrik Franke
3 months ago

MADE IN USA is this the new made in Germany?

ViceVersa Musik
3 months ago

I think the Suspension should be a little more softer from seeing it in use
in this video, I dont know how much travel the rear shock has but it looked
like it was only using about a half inch to an inch of travel, Which Im
sure it probably felt just as bumpy if it didn't have the shock at all. Im
just saying it can probably feel alot more softer than yall have it, Its
not like the bikes for racing and needs stiff suspension to stick on high
speed corners LoL, It just seems like more of a comfort ride....

ViceVersa Musik
3 months ago

$15,000!!! Good Lord!!!! Why do they charge so much for something that
doesn't cost much to build?! I mean I was just looking at New and Used cars
recently and you can get a brand new Honda Civic Si for the price of one of
these!! Or a used, Low miles...30k miles, Ford Focus ST Turbo for $15,000
Exactly!!! And Im forsure about these two priced vehicles because they were
the vehicles I was looking for at the Time!! Jeeezzz.... Its just crazy for
someone to pay that much, You can get a real bike for that much, Buy a
motorhome or a trailer for that much, maybe even a house for $20k!! Jeeez

Ken Bessler
4 months ago

Zack you remind me of Wesley Crusher. lol.....

skeeter sullivan
4 months ago

why not have a golf cart or moped ? Electric motors defeats one of the main
advantages of owning a commuter bicycle, excersize. Riders will end up
using the motor all the time instead of when going up hills.Take the motors
off and pedal on!

MrJareth
5 months ago

26" inch 4.0 tires would be nice, and a beer holster, perhaps, and an
ashtray. just in case a roll of wipes, and medical weedios, and some
funions.....

MICHAEL MACHACEK
5 months ago

there isnt a thing called chromemolly its eather chrome or molly you cant
mix chrome and molly together its eather chrome or molly dumb mother
fuckers

Adam Pirillo
5 months ago

Pretty cool but at that price tag I think velomobile is more intriguing.
Although this is more EPV then HPV.

Zachariah West
5 months ago

In the way of the gearing, I would think it would actually be a lot quicker
to figure out. Just for the fact that when you're usually riding a
recumbent trike, you have to think backwards when it comes to the shifting.
Also, the fact that all of the shifting being put right next to each other.
Makes for an easier setup. So, that you have better functionality over all.

mark nicholas
5 months ago

all these people are using outdated battery tech. when are they going to
catch on to the lifepo4 batteries. advantages of fast charging, no heat,
high output, and long life 2000 charges with no memory and excellent
recharge resilience. titanium frame seems like an obvious advantage of
corrosion resistance. i love the belt drive.

Glendale Walter
5 months ago

How much is that 100 grand lol.

Rastafari Jah
4 months ago

15k