Piaggio Wi-Bike Active Plus Review

Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Electric Bike Review
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Piaggio Mid Motor 60 Nm Torque
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus 37 Volt Lithium Ion Battery 11 6 Amp Hours
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Removable Display Panel Handlebar
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Axa Nano50 Headlight Monoshock Fork
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Shimano M315 Brake Levers Flick Bell
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Nuvinci Harmony Cvt Drivetrain
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Integrated Supernova E3 Tail Light
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Kickstand Tubular Alloy Fenders
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus App Drive Modes
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus App Gps Navigation
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus App Handbook Battery Motor Display
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus App Profile Setup
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Smartphone App
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Tire Pressure Seat Height Recommendations
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Display Panel Connection
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Ebike
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Optional Piaggio Axa Frame Lock
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus 4 Amp Battery Charger Bag And Manual
Piaggio Wi Bike Custom Motor Specs
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Electric Bike Review
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Piaggio Mid Motor 60 Nm Torque
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus 37 Volt Lithium Ion Battery 11 6 Amp Hours
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Removable Display Panel Handlebar
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Axa Nano50 Headlight Monoshock Fork
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Shimano M315 Brake Levers Flick Bell
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Nuvinci Harmony Cvt Drivetrain
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Integrated Supernova E3 Tail Light
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Kickstand Tubular Alloy Fenders
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus App Drive Modes
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus App Gps Navigation
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus App Handbook Battery Motor Display
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus App Profile Setup
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Smartphone App
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Tire Pressure Seat Height Recommendations
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Display Panel Connection
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Ebike
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus Optional Piaggio Axa Frame Lock
Piaggio Wi Bike Active Plus 4 Amp Battery Charger Bag And Manual
Piaggio Wi Bike Custom Motor Specs

Summary

  • A beautiful looking, feature-complete, well balanced, Class 3 speed pedelec (capable of ~27 mph top speeds) from Italian automotive company Piaggio, the same brand that makes Vespa scooters and Aprilia motorcycles
  • Custom alloy frame has been sculpted with smooth welds and some blade accents that double as gussets for strength, the frame is longer to accommodate the battery mounting position, perfectly matched mono-shock fork and chain cover
  • NuVinci continuously variable transmission works well with the belt drive and custom mid-motor, shifting is done automatically and you set a desired cadence using the LCD display and smartphone app, lots of features to explore
  • Available in two frame sizes and with the NuVinci CVT or 10-Speed Shimano Deore (which is lighter and less expensive), optional rear rack, premium integrated lights, no bottle cage bosses, only available in high-step for now

Search EBR

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Piaggio

Model:

Wi-Bike Active Plus

Price:

$3,999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedalec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, France

Model Year:

20172018

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

60.1 lbs (27.26 kg)

Battery Weight:

6.1 lbs (2.76 kg)

Motor Weight:

9.9 lbs (4.49 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy, Hydroformed

Frame Sizes:

19.7 in (50.03 cm)21.65 in (54.99 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Large 55 cm: 22" Seat Tube, 23.5" Reach, 33" Stand Over Height, 26.5" Width, 79" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Matte Aluminum Opaco, Matte Verde Opaco

Frame Fork Details:

Aluminum Alloy with Integrated Head-Tube Shock, 20 mm Travel, 100 mm Hub Spacing, 9 mm Security Lock Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

135 mm Hub Spacing, 10 mm Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

1 Speed 1x∞ NuVinci N360 Harmony Electric Continuously Variable Transmission (Fully Automatic Electronic Shifting System), 20T Rear Sprocket

Shifter Details:

Independent Button Pad on Left (The Same as Assist and Display Interaction)

Cranks:

FSA, Aluminum Alloy, 175 mm Arm Length, 42 Tooth Beltring

Pedals:

VP Large Plastic Platform

Headset:

FSA Threadless, Sealed Cartridge, Internal Cups, 1-1/8" Straight

Stem:

Aluminum Alloy, 100 mm, 17° Angle, 31.8 mm Clamp Diameter, Two 10 mm Spacers, One 5 mm Spacer

Handlebar:

Aluminum, Flat, 680 mm Length

Brake Details:

Shimano M315 Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Front Rotor and 160 mm Rear Rotor, Dual-Piston Calipers, Two-Finger Leers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Flat Leather, Locking, Black

Saddle:

Velo Active, Leather, Black

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

340 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

31.6 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, Deep V Design, 36 Hole, Red or Black

Spokes:

Stainless Steel,14 Gauge Front and 13 Gauge Rear, Black with Adjustable Nipples

Tire Brand:

Continental E-Contact, 28" x 1.6" (42 x 622)

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

Reflective Sidewall Stripe, Puncture Resistant, 73 PSI, 5.0 BAR

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Proprietary Aluminum Alloy Tubular Fenders (45 mm Width), AXA Nano50 Integrated LED Headlight (40 Lux), Supernova E3 Integrated LED Backlight, Paint-Matched Plastic Chain Cover, Flick Bell on Right, Water Resistant Small Canvas Backpack for Charger, Optional Piaggio Branded AXA ART 4001 Cafe Lock

Other:

IP67 Rated Electronics (Highly Water Resistant), Locking Removable Seat Tube Mounted Battery Pack, 2.4 lb 4 Amp Battery Charger, Multi-Language User Manual

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Piaggio

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Motor Peak Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

80 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

37 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11.6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

417.6 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Estimated Max Range:

75 miles (121 km)

Display Type:

Continental, Removable, Backlit, Greyscale, LCD

Readouts:

Battery Level (5 Bars), Clock, Speed, Assist Level (Off, Eco, Tour, Power), Infographic Gear (Human and Motor), Range, Battery Percentage, Odometer, Trip, Max Speed, Avg Speed, Watt Hours, Watt Hours Per Mile, Timer, Settings

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad, USB Type A 2.0 Female Plug 5 Volt 0.5 Amp, Bluetooth Smartphone App and Diagnostics

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Rear Wheel Speed, Pedal Rate, Left-Pedal Torque, Pedal Acceleration)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)

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Written Review

I’m most familiar with the Piaggio company because of their gas powered Vespa scooters, which were launched in 1946… but the parent company is actually a lot older than that! dating all the way back to 1884. Their latest product offering is a line of electric bicycles called Wi-Bike. The Active models, that I’m focusing on with this review, offer Class-3 speed pedelec performance with up to ~27 mph pedal-assisted speeds that are activated through advanced cadence and torque sensors. The bikes feel smooth and stable, pedaling is efficient, and the motor is relatively quiet. If you opt for the belt drive system, it will produce even less noise and stay cleaner. The video review above shows several different models but I focused in on the Active Plus, which pairs the belt with an auto-shifting continuously variable transmission hub from NuVinci, called the NuVinci N360 Harmony. This model retails for $3,999 vs. the stock Active model which uses a still-good Shimano Deore 10-speed derailleur and traditional metal chain for $3,499. The standard Active model seems to be setup more for commuters because it includes a rack, adjustable-angle stem, and suspension seat post. If you’re looking for luxury, aren’t so worried about hauling cargo, and appreciate the latest auto-shifting technology, then the Active Plus model is perfect. And of course, you can always swap the stock rigid seat post with a 31.6 mm suspension post like this to match the dual-suspension feel of the standard Active model. In my opinion, what sets the Wi-Bikes apart from other ebike products on the market right now is their style, premium accessories (like tubular alloy fenders, integrated lights, and color-matched chain guard and battery casing), along with the service you will get from Vespa dealers who will begin carrying the bikes in 2017/2018. Actually, it sounds like some independent electric bike dealers will also be stocking Wi-Bike… Similar to most other high-end ebike brands, the Wi-Bike products come with a two-year comprehensive warranty, and there’s a line of optional accessories like racks, bags, and locks designed to fit perfectly. During the ride test portion of this review, I noticed how evenly weight was distribution across the frame. It felt stable and coasted easily even when I took my hands off the bar, thanks to larger 700c 28″ wheels. All current Wi-Bikes models are longer than most competing electric bicycles I’ve covered, by about seven inches, due to the battery position behind the seat tube. I love that they offer this bike in two colors (silver being my favorite, for improved visibility at night) as well as two frame sizes. The black spokes, deep-dish rims, reflective tires, and leather touch points make this product look and feel more like a Vespa than a bicycle, and I was amazed at how many features were built into the optional smartphone app. It’s quite good… and you can charge your phone while riding the bike because the display mount has a USB Type A port on the left side! The app has GPS tracking and alerts built in, so you can rest easy that your investment is safe at the rack during work… or at least, somewhat findable if it gets stolen. This service is included free for the first two years but then costs something like $35/yr, which seems very reasonable to me. Helping with this review was a gentleman named Andrew, from Vespa Brooklyn, who was dressed very nicely in a long sleeve shirt. He talked about riding the bike to work without getting sweaty but also mentioned how it can be used to get a workout when paired with a heart rate monitor! You can tell the bike to adjust electric assist to help you hit and maintain a set heart rate, which is very unique. Also helping with this electric bike review was the Wi-Bike Project Lead for North America, Larry Ferracci, and my friend, Chris Nolte, from Propel bikes (a competing ebike-only shop located just down the street in Brooklyn, NY). I tried to be comprehensive with the specs, measurements, and ride test which are all available as part of this review. And, you can explore the lower-speed Wi-Bike Comfort model in this review, as it costs less and is available in step-thru frame style for riders with hip and knee sensitivity.

Driving the bike is a 350 watt nominally rated mid-drive motor that has been designed, developed and produced by Piaggio in Italy. This is a company which has been producing gas powered motors for over 100. For people who live in Europe and have access to the Wi-Bike line, the motor may be rated at 250 watts to comply with local legislation. The motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque to provide a responsive and natural feel. It can produce up to 80 Newton meters of torque, according to their literature, which is above average for mid-drives. I cannot confirm, but perhaps the lower speed motor only offers 60 Nm of torque, as this is what I was told during the preparation phase of the review, and that is still about average and very capable if you shift appropriately for climbing. These motor units are a bit heavier than the competition, at about 9.9 lbs. I found that the Cruise model motor started and stopped with a bit of delay compared to the Active Line which is more zippy. You can see the chainring activate and spin down after I stop pedaling in the video above, and you can hear the high-pitched electronic whir soften as I pedal slower. Considering that this bike is rated up to ~28 miles per hour, I found that it mostly stayed in the ~26 mph range, and that may be due to the auto-shifting of the NuVinci compared with traditional gearing. I did not have difficulty climbing hills, and I rode mostly with a higher cadence of 74 RPM vs. the default 60 RPM because I come from a road cycling background where spinning is common, and I have a sensitive knee. It was easy to change RPM settings once I was at the appropriate menu on the display, but wasn’t as immediately intuitive or fast as using a traditional physical shifter. Shifting gears with the NuVinci N360 Harmony is a unique experience, and it caught me by surprise as the bike naturally adjusted to the way I was pedaling… If I pedaled harder, the bike went faster, but my RPM remained fairly constant. The motor on this bike does not have shift detection and if you were pedaling hard in the highest level of assist (perhaps while climbing) and tried to shift down using the cassette and derailleur (stock on the standard Active model), it would mash and bang a bit as shown in the video, causing wear on the drivetrain. So, while the NuVinci is heavier by ~3 lbs and more expensive, it does seem very durable and well suited to this motor. My favorite part about the motor is actually how hidden it is. Piaggio has done a great job matching the plastic covers and protectors around the motor and battery to make it stealthy.

Powering the bike is a 37 volt 11.6 amp hour battery pack mounted just behind the seat tube. I would call the 417.6 watt hour capacity somewhat average for the 2018 timeframe, where many products are hitting the 500 watt hour mark without being any heavier. The pack itself weighs about 6.1 pounds and can be charged on or off the frame. The charge port cover has a spring built in and works very well, there’s much less screwing around with a dirty rubber flap like on other e-bikes. If you decide to remove the battery for safe keeping or more convenient charging, there’s a large comfortable handle built into the top. The battery locks onto the bike frame using a trusted AXA locking core and then tips out to the left when being removed. I think it would be neat if AXA offered a keyed-alike program for this lock so that you could match it to the optional cafe lock from Piaggio (also made by AXA) or other folding/u-lock accessories like this. As it stands, you may end up dealing with several unique keys. In closing, the battery gets the job done and its capacity will be spent efficiently if you shift gears thoughtfully or set the cadence at a medium or quick pace. Mid-drive motors are frequently praised for their ability to go further with the same energy as a hub motor… and while I could not range test the bike during this review, I have no reason to think that it would not be comparable or even better than the zippy Bosch Performance Line Speed motor which is rated very similarly in terms of specs with 75 Nm of torque and 350 to 570 watts output. I do wonder how the plastic casing around the battery pack works, and if it can be transferred to a different battery pack if/when it starts to run low and requires replacement after several years of continuous use? That could increase the price and complexity of replacement, but if you store the pack in a cool-dry location and keep it at ~50% capacity when not in use, it should hold up very well over the long term. Perhaps the paint-matched shielding can be re-attached to a new battery?

Operating this electric bike is potentially more involved than other products, but that’s only because it provides so many cool features AND handles shifting (if you get the Active Plus model)… You don’t have to use the fancy app features if you don’t want to. The included LCD display is removable, backlit, and easy to activate on its own. Just press the power button on the control pad near the left grip and then cycle through the three levels of assist, watch as the speedometer changes, keep track of your battery capacity, and keep an eye on the gear info-graphic which communicates motor power and rider pedal power back to back, so you can see how much the bike is helping. The Mode key lets you cycle through trip stats as well as the NuVinci pedal RPM settings which is how you “change gears”. If you’re off the bike and walking it through a crowded space or pushing it up a hill… or possibly dealing with a flat tire, you can use walk-assist by arrowing down to the no-assist level and then then hold the walk mode button. If you hold the mode key on the display, you can enable bluetooth in the settings menu and connect your Android or iOS smartphone using the Wi-Bike App. This is where the real fun begins! Rather than just three levels of assist, the app provides ten power steps and four different ride modes including Fitness, which can sync with a heartrate monitor (as mentioned earlier). The app even lets you create a profile and will recommend tire pressure and saddle height all based on your body measurements like height and weight. It can even do GPS route planning and remember you “home” to make it easy to get around. I love that the app has a battery percentage readout as well as the five-bar infographic to really let you track and plan rides, and avoid getting stranded. I’m glad that the bike charges pretty quickly with the four-Amp charger, it’s just a little bulky and heavy compared to some others I have seen and I really cannot imagine carrying along a secondary battery pack because of the bulkiness of the design and big handle ontop. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a simple display to work with and other times it can be fun to geek out and dial the settings in. I like that you can completely remove the stock display and use your phone as both the key fob and settings adjuster for the bike if you want. This entire system feels more like an automobile or just a premium scooter to me, the hardware feels durable and the software is deeper, this helps to justify the higher price point.

All things considered, I really enjoyed the Wi-Bike Active and Active Plus. They offer the unique belt drive + CVT combination which is smooth, quite, and durable. The motor seems like a good fit in terms of performance and stability while also being durable and efficient. I trust Piaggio, so even though this is a relatively new motor for the United States market, I feel that it will be well supported and probably very durable. I like all of the integrated accessories, especially the lights, and am a big fan of hydraulic disc brakes. Performance was good, style was great, and the app was fantastic. Depending on your needs and tastes, this could be a great bike to consider. There is room for improvement with the addition of bottle cage bosses, and as Chris mentioned in the video, you might want to stock up on some long-stem inner tubes because the deep dish rims require something like 60 mm presta valve stems vs. the stock 48 mm. I feel that 10-speed Shimano Deore version of standard Active (vs. the Active Plus) would be lighter, shift quicker, and allow you to hit slightly higher speeds. At the time of this review, there were nine dedicated dealers of the new Wi-Bike products in North America, but that number is growing. Some of the final little highlights I noticed were guides on the rear sprocket and chainring to keep the belt on track, excellent motor assistance at higher RPM pedaling (at least 120, and possibly even higher), and just how smooth the motor started and stopped. Big thanks to Vespa Brooklyn and the Piaggio team for meeting me with several bikes and partnering with me on this post. They helped to pay for my travel and accommodations to make this review possible and provided support in figuring out all of the technical nuances of the app.

Pros:

  • Very nice integrated lights, the headlight points where you steer and is aimable while the backlight is positioned out of the way for a rack or clothing that might hang down, the silver frame color option would stand out at night and the tires have reflective sidewall strips to further increase the visual footprint of the bike
  • Sturdy dual-layer tubular Aluminum alloy fenders will keep you dry and clean without rattling and the chain/belt cover is also sturdier than I usually see, it will keep your pant legs grease/snag free
  • Belt drives tend to be quiet and durable because they maintain a fixed length, many ebike shops have told me that belts don’t require as much service or tuning as chains
  • The frame is beautiful, look at the smooth welds and unique bladed accents near the base of the downtube and just behind the seat tube (where the optional rack would connect), this thing is purpose-built and all of the wires and cables are neatly tucked away, the fork and chain cover are perfectly paint-matched in color
  • Battery and motor weight are kept low and center on the frame, which improves stability and handling, the wheelbase is a bit longer which isn’t as snappy and maneuverable, but it still rides comfortably (most ebikes I measure are ~72″ long and this one is ~79″ long because the battery is behind the seat tube which makes the chain stays longer)
  • The NuVinci continuously variable transmission can be shifted at standstill and isn’t as susceptible to damage or wear when combined with a mid-drive like this (compared to a geared hub or traditional cassette with sprockets), it does weigh more and cost more though
  • Most of the standard NuVinci CVT drivetrains I see use mechanical shifting where you have to grip hard and twist to adjust gearing ratios, but this one is purely electronic (using the Harmony system and the ebike display), it shifts itself automatically to keep you pedal cadence RPM constant so you can focus on steering and enjoying the ride
  • I love that the battery pack is removable, for convenient charging and protection (store away from extreme heat and cold), and that the display is also removable and acts as a key to unlock the bike, the front wheel is attached with a security bolt vs. quick release so it’s going to be tamper resistant if you’re commuting and park at a public rack
  • Nice Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, the adjustable-reach levers are going to be easy to pull and hold whether you’ve got long or short fingers
  • The battery has a large, comfortable handle at the top which makes it easy and safe to carry around, I like how it tips into the mounting position and appreciate the design that WiBike is using for the charging port cover (a little plastic spring loaded door to keep dust and water out when riding), just be careful with the bike if you charge the pack mounted because the cable will be near the left crank arm and could get bent or sheered off
  • Nicer flick bell to signal pedestrians while riding, upgraded and enlarged plastic platform pedals for improved grip and traction compared to the Comfort models
  • Hydraulic disc brakes from Shimano provide good stopping power, note the larger front rotor, it’s good to have this sort of brake setup because the bike is a bit heavier than average at ~60 lbs (in part because of the NuVinci CVT drivetrain on the bike I reviewed)
  • It’s neat that Piaggio has created an app to let you plan routes, get diagnostics, and even learn how to set your tire pressure and seat height correctly, but you don’t need to use this if you prefer to rely on the LCD display only, one other cool feature is GPS tracking to help recover bikes if they get stolen and Piaggio offers two years of free data with the purchase as I understand it
  • Piaggio sells a branded line of accessories, such as the trunk bag, so you can maintain the beautiful look and brand consistency across the bike, the trunk bag had some reflective fabric on it as well as zip-down panniers on both sides
  • I believe that the Wi-Bikes are only sold through dealers, but it appears that Vespa has a large network of dealers so finding and test riding the product could be easier, as well as getting help with the two-year warranty should something go wrong
  • The motor is custom made for Piaggio but seemed very high quality (comparable to the Yamaha or Bosch Active Line motors in terms of build and performance for me), it measures four signals including rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, pedal speed, and pedal torque for fluid operation
  • The mount for the display has a full sized USB Type A female port built in so you can charge portable electronics and maybe keep your phone full while using the app and riding

Cons:

  • All of the Active Line Piaggio Wi-Bike electric bike models are built around a high-step frame, this adds stiffness and is a good choice for higher speed riding, but might be difficult to mount and stand over for petite riders… at least they offer two frame sizes here and if you get the standard Active model there’s an adjustable-angle stem for upright or forward body position
  • The headlight is very nice, I love how the top portion is cut off and the beam is aimed down so you don’t blind oncoming cyclists or traffic, however, they did mount this light to the lower moving portion of the suspension fork and it could bounce around more as a result
  • The sleek mono-shock offers a bit of comfort but isn’t as plush as full size suspension forks with two stanchions, the deep-dish rims could ride stiffer and there’s no suspension seat post… even the flat bar, flat grips, and active saddle are a bit sporty, consider adding your own 31.6 mm suspension seat post aftermarket if you ride on bumpy terrain frequently
  • This bike is priced a bit higher than average considering it is using a proprietary drivetrain, but the frame had to be custom made to work with the belt (since it cannot be unlinked like a chain) and you do get a feature-complete setup here with an excellent two-year warranty and dealer support
  • The motor casing is larger than many of the other mid-motors I have seen and test ridden, the motor itself weighs more as well at ~9.9 lbs vs. 6.61 lbs for the Brose Drive T and 8.8 lbs for the Bosch Performance Line
  • This bike does weigh a bit more than average at ~60 lbs, and I think that has to do with the custom mid-motor, NuVinci CVT drivetrain, metal fenders, and the longer frame
  • It looks like they thought of everything, except for bottle cage bosses, even on the high-step frame! That’s a bummer because sometimes I like to ride without bags or a backpack but want to bring some fluids to drink or maybe a folding lock, and there’s nowhere to mount that here by default, you might have to use an aftermarket adapter and those just aren’t as sturdy or good looking
  • The battery charger is quite big and weighs more than average at ~2.4 lbs, this could make it difficult to bring along (taking up more space in your backpack) but at least it fills quickly with 4 Amps vs. a lot of basic chargers that just fill at 2 Amps
  • I wasn’t able to figure out how to de-activate backlighting on the display, it’s a minor gripe, but sometimes the bright light can be distracting and it would be nice to have some adjustability there
  • I wish they offered the AXA frame lock option keyed-alike so that you didn’t have to use two sets of keys if you plan on locking the bike frequently that way, or even three sets of keys if you also get a u-lock or cable lock to be very secure
  • Because this bike is longer than average, it could be difficult to fit through angled spaces or store in small sheds and closets, it has an addition ~7 inches to deal with and the rear fender could get bumped (or the light that’s mounted lower on it)

Resources:

More Piaggio Reviews

Piaggio Wi-Bike Comfort Plus Review

  • MSRP: $3,699
  • MODEL YEAR: 2017, 2018

A blend of active and comfort riding with unique drivetrain options such as a belt drive and continuously variably transmission from NuVinci or traditional 9-speed Shimano Deore derailleur. Available in two frame sizes and two frame styles (step-thru or high-step) as well as…...

Mike
5 months ago

Does this ebike have a throttle ? You say its Class 3, and maybe I missed it, but no mention of throttle.

Reply
court
5 months ago

Hi Mike! No, the Piaggio ebikes do not have throttles at this time. The different classes are like this: Class 1 is pedal assist up to 20 mph, Class 3 is pedal assist up to 28 mph, and Class 2 is throttle (and maybe pedal assist) up to 20 mph. If an electric bike goes faster than 20 mph with a throttle, it is Class 4 and illegal to use in public places other than off-highway vehicle trails or roads. I hope this helps! Here’s a deeper article about ebike classes and regulation.

Reply
AJ
4 months ago

Hello Court.

I am very close to putting down a deposit on a Piaggio Wi-bike Active Deore here in Vancouver, Canada. I have a huge case of range anxiety. I weigh 180 lbs. Here is a link to a map of what would be the type of ride I would expect to complete with lots of assist on the hills.

Is there anyone or anywhere that I can get someone to tell me yes or no? That I can expect to do that ride without worrying about running out of juice? I can’t be expected to plunk down $4,000+ on a bike that might not be able to do what I am buying it to do. To me, THIS is the problem with the current electric assist bike market. AJ

Reply
court
3 months ago

Hi AJ, I have sent your comment to the Piaggio Wi-Bike rep from the videos, Larry Ferracci, and asked him to comment. In the meantime, you can try using an ebike range estimator tool like this to get some idea of range. I hope this helps, each bike is different but mid-motors tend to be very efficient. It depends on your weight, your height, what you’re wearing (if it catches the wind), how windy it is, how full your tires are, how smooth the terrain is, how many hills, how fast you accelerate, if the street is wet etc. but you should be able to get decent range in the lower and mid levels of assist :)

Reply
AJ
3 months ago

Thanks Court. I appreciate all the information you provide with this website.

MarkB
3 months ago

Can you clear up the amount of Newton output The Active model outputs? Some say 60 but you put down 80 in your description! Want to compare this to the Bosch Performance Line Speed. Thank you!

Reply
court
3 months ago

Hi Mark, I got the feedback from the guys at Piaggio but am never able to measure this stuff myself. I cannot say one way or another, could you please link to the other sources that say 60 Nm? I could have also made a typo. Sorry I cannot be more specific or offer more insights right off the bat. Maybe compare the two videos when I ride, I feel like the Bosch Speed motor is a real leader in the space in terms of power and torque but it definitely fades near 27 and requires some real pedal effort to hit and exceed 28 mph on flats. Compared to the Stromer models, it feels weak, compared tot he Piaggio Wi-Bike Active Plus, it probably feels similar.

Reply

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markybolton
3 weeks ago

I did see some tracking tools you could add to your bike maybe stick inconspicously under your Cobi unit. You can use the same cord to charge your phone to charge it or get a splitter. You could detect activity on your phone in case someone steals it. I doubt most thieves would know what it was and most would think it had something to do with the operation of your bike. It could mimic the Piaggio system.

kev312
3 weeks ago

Thanks for clarifying!

markybolton
3 weeks ago

No because there is no sim card to notify you like the Piaggio system.

Dewey
2 months ago

Klever B Speed - Klever Mobility is the European ebike division of Taiwanese scooter company Kymco. This is a full suspension ebike, one of the few currently on sale alongside the Riese and Müller Delite/Homage models and like them is sold as European equivalents to a Class 1 ebike or a Class 3 speed pedelec. Kymco joins Yamaha and Piaggio as a motorcycle/scooter manufacturer offering a pedelec ebike without a throttle. The Biactron direct drive rear hub motor has regen capability.

tompat
3 months ago

If you have a Piaggio dealer nearby, please go for a test ride. Never trust only one review. You might feel the bike entirely different than the reviewer.

markybolton
3 months ago

Wow! Piaggio is crossed of my list until next generation! Back to looking at the Haibike!

tompat
3 months ago

Run through OCR and Google Translate (less than perfect but readable, edited some), here you go:

"
SUV-feeling on heavy Piaggio

Strong stylish frame weighted down by engine and battery. Hard to get service on the Piaggo engine.

Plaggio has sold millions of vespas and mopeds.

So when they started to manufacture Wi-Bice Active, they probably thought they made a really easy vehicle. But the bike is more likely to feel more about the moped than a smooth electric bike.
At the PAPER, everything looked so promising. A strong bicycle frame with belt drive and Stageless NuVinci gear with wide range. A perfect combo with minimal maintenance for those who intend to cycle all year round. In addition, excellent and good theft protection that allows a stolen bike to send its position via the mobile network and can be tracked. Awesome!

BUT ALREADY, Piaggio is basically no bicycle company. When I'm going to lift the bike for the stairs from the editors, I notice that it's really heavy. 27.2 kg is much in a narrow steep staircase. The last extra kg really makes a difference. I happen to bump the back panel against the wall and the reflexes behind the fender are lost from their plastic support. It was placed on a high unprotected plastic holder wider than the fender. Bike designers usually put slim reflexes that do not stick out. The next discovery is that the big engine. It weighs their brave 4.5 kilo and sounds real. Once on the bike it feels like when you borrowed dads bike when you were small. The hydropressed aluminum frame is stiff but the bike feels heavy trampled and turned to swing. Even with the engine turned on, it feels just sluggish. On the paper, the proprietary Piaggiomotor has the same maximum torque as Shimano Steps (50 Nm). But feels much more tired.

EQUIPMENT
Slim semi-soft elegant black alloy fenders that are nice long. but not enough to protect shoes and motor. NuVinci rigid gear, here with a 360% changeover range. Belt drive is quiet and no oil is needed. The light connected to the bicycle's battery is switched on with a simple push on the display. The front lamp is very elegant in plastic with good light, but looks bright. The bicycle support slides laterally. Sporty straight handle that sits on. A steady adjustable steering wheel without any slip. The steering column can only be adjusted to a height of 2.5 centimeters, but with different angles of the steering column, you can get a more upright or forward position. Really sturdy package holder well-tied with strong stag. No lock is included. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes of not specified model. Shimano has a large model program and these feel a bit cheaper.

ENGINE
The engine has three power programs, but does not feel very spicy even at its highest power. Very strange engine control to be a mid-engine, which usually follows slavery as hard as you are stopping. Here I can get the engine to pull, even though I only air tramples without getting in. It feels like a simple hub engine without moment sensor. It takes more power 1 engine when I take in but not very distinctly. Can also control the engine from an app with many more possibilities, but does not fundamentally change engine problems. Exceptional engine that the very few bicycle mechanics can make. The display is removable but has a darker field over half the screen, because the removable display has labels on the underside which partially obscures the diodial light from the bracket. How did you think now? The screen is big and easy to read. But when you get into the settings you get tricked up with long and short pressures. Heavily navigated mildly said. But if you find the right information and settings you need. Estimated remaining distance is calculated dynamically according to the amount of current used. Good! The screen also has usb sockets for charging mobile, etc. The battery is a heavy lump and holds 418 Ah, with a large fixed handle that protrudes to the side.
Big charger, must be fanless, I think. But when I plug in, it sounds like a industrial fan. Worthless if you want to chargein an apartment, at work or on a get. Clearly not good.

BUILD QUALITY
Super strong frame in fine design with inner cable tie. The fenders are held by solid stays. Mounting with the screen is unusual with bolt and a nut that is close to the wheel. On two occasions, the nut dragged against the tire and started to sound like a jet plane. No play in bearings. Plastic pedals are easiest kind and kick stand has play. The choice of reflex mount on the rear fender is subpar.

BIKE SENSE
Without a motor, Wi-Bike is heavily trampled. With the power turned on, it still feels quite heavy and tired. Midmotors tend to be so compliant that you forget them and just feel strong. This engine produces such an odorous response to the pedaling and makes it so much that the bicycle feeling is suffering. The weight plus the big wheels make the bike feel sluggish. Only two storylines on the frame make it difficult to find optimal size for active cycling in the right position.

PRICE VALUE
There is a nice frame, belt drive and NuVinci gear which can cost more than this plus unusually good anti-theft protection with gps / gms. But the charger with fan, sad engine, doubtful display / menu system and a heavy-lumped bumpy bike drag down the rating.

APPEARANCE
The actual frame with rear luggage carrier and fenders is really stylish. But the clumsy battery and the clumsy engine ruin much of the appearance unfortunately."

LimboJim
3 months ago

As a 100% pedelec eMTBer that many MTBers don't want using "their" trails because "Motor + Bike = MotorBike," I'm not thrilled that ebikes are being promoted and sold by motorsports retailers alongside 100% throttled motocross machines and ATVs.

I recently learned that "http://www.mc508.com/newandusedcars.aspx?clearall=0&specialfilter=true" here in Massachusetts has recently become an "http://www.bicycleretailer.com/industry-news/2018/01/18/ana-releases-new-omnichannel-program-ibds#.Wrk1DYjwaUl" Haibike dealer, which indicates to me some impatience for Europe-like ebike sales in the USA now. It's going to take time for pedal assist to become mainstream here - these are bicycles, not motorcycles, and I seriously doubt they'll appeal much to the powersports crowd.

Dewey
3 months ago

Talking to my local bike shop owner, he sells Giant brand and in the past year began selling ebikes starting with an Evo with Bionx and now focusing on Giant's Yamaha powered ebikes. Formerly he also sold Breezer pedal bicycles but after the owner ASI http://www.bicycleretailer.com/north-america/2016/08/16/asi-buys-performance-bicycle#.WrkrRMPwbcs Performance Bicycle they dumped non-selling stock online as a result it's now possible to get a $700 Breezer with an 8-speed Shimano Nexus IGH new with warranty for under $400 wiping out any dealer margin, so my LBS gave up on the brand. The same story has happened with Raleigh pedal bicycles after the owner Accell Group split off the ebike side of the business and http://www.bicycleretailer.com/north-america/2016/12/01/accell-expands-omnichannel-distribution-raleigh-amazon#.Wrkq78Pwbcs selling Raleigh pedal bicycles on Amazon.

Smaller local bike shops are being squeezed by online retailers and decisions by pedal bicycle companies that are not one of the big three Trek, Specialized, or Giant, into expanding their focus on specialty markets: racing, ebike, cargo bike, MTB, etc. This is why my local bike shop now has half its window space occupied by ebikes for the first time, and to be honest a spin off benefit is that it advertises their openness to ebike conversion & servicing that never got the recognition they deserved until now. The gamble for shop owners is to choose the right specialty area for the local market, one high end racing shop closed recently in my area (DC inner suburb) but to no loss because they were utter snobs refusing to cater for the non-Rapha wearing crowd, whereas all the local bike shops are earning decent margins selling ebikes.

I wonder if Piaggio selling their ebike in some of their scooter stores influenced Yamaha's decision to sell their upcoming ebike line in their PowerSports retailers selling and servicing them in the same store that works on power boat engines, lawn mowers, ATV's, as well as motorcycles. Maybe this will give a shot in the arm to ebike sales in the US?

John from Connecticut
3 months ago

Hello AndyJH,

The Norco VLT R1 looks like a really fine bike, solid components and the Bosch Performance Line Power System is as good as the come.
I have two Trek e-Bikes with the same Bosch system and they perform flawlessly, powerful and extremely smooth. Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour tires... I think they are great...

One of my bikes is a Trek XM 700+, with similar lines to the Norco VLT R1. I cannot say enough good things about my bike, I have over 1400 miles and just love it. If you haven't checked the Trek out and depending the price point of your Norco VLT R1, you might take a look. The link is below.

I can say first hand that Trek service is fantastic. I had a chain guard issue and my LBS and Trek solved the problem providing free parts.
Good luck in your endeavor.

Here's Court's review of the trek XM 700+ .....

John from CT

andyJH
3 months ago

Hello everyone.

After a couple of months of thinking/learning/dreaming along with a few short test rides, I am ready to buy.

I am going to rent a 2018 Norco VLT R 1 (I know Court would prefer the S 1) from my LBS for a day to calm my range anxiety issues. If everything checks out they will apply the rental fee to the purchase of a new bike.

There are no reviews to be found on the bike. I like Norco as a brand. My main ride right now is a (non-electric) Norco. They have not attempted to integrate the battery (or motor for that matter) into the frame but I still find the look pleasing to the eyes. It comes with the Bosch Performance CX motor and the 500 Wh battery.

It is fairy competitively priced. The other two bikes that I was considering were the Brose powered Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 and the Piaggio powered Wi-bike Active (Deore).

Is there anyone out there who has some real life experience with this bike or a bike of similar components that would be willing to give some advice?

Thank you.

andyJH
4 months ago

Hello Dfstarman.

Congrats on the Wi-Bike. I am going to check out my local Vespa/Piaggio dealer tomorrow. The Piaggio website says you get 24 months of gps network included. Do you know how much it would cost after that? Thank you.

e-boy
6 months ago

Piaggio Wi-Bike Active Plus
GEAR SHIFTER AND TRANSMISSION
NuVinci HSYNC Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission with Continental belt final drive
http://www.wibikenyc.com/activeplus/

Mike Mas
4 days ago

As always perfect review Thanks!

juppan
2 months ago

What about charging the battery separately? Indoors?

Matt LeMond
2 months ago

I own a Piaggio Wi-Bike Active Plus model, like the one you review here, with the NuVinci but without the electronic shifting. However, here in Europe, these bikes are not speed pedelecs but are limited to 25km/h (15mph), which is not really enough, considering the high price. Do you know whether the European bikes have the same motor as the US bikes but are just electronically limited or are the US motors upgraded?

Snowflake1
3 months ago

On a bike that costs at least $4,000, the components should be "better than nothing".

Robb Chastain
5 months ago

I always enjoy your reviews, Court. You are really into these ebikes and you thoroughly present them with fascination and enthusiasm. And with other cycling channels doing a weekly show, you might think about hosting one--maybe call it Courtside with Court. And in this review, you mentioned removable components, and that is a nice feature, but is anyone really parking a 4k ebike at the subway rack? One of the GCN channels--GCN Tech, a new channel with a weekly show and almost daily features--mentioned a product being funded on Kickstarter, a $400 front-hub motor with a bar-mounted battery basket, and that low cost would start to make it reasonable to convert a bike into an ebike and leave it at a rack all day. And with Piaggio, maybe they could brand their ebikes as Vespas, or at least some of them, and do a modern retro something like the Super 73 mini-bike ebikes. That'd be cool.

Robb Chastain
5 months ago

Hi Court, Thanks for your reply and you do such a great job with all of this, a weekly show could start as simply a recap of your busy week and the bikes you reviewed and maybe some viewer questions and comments and a look at the latest news and developments. And you could probably do it all off the top of your head as Bob Roll seems to do with his presentations--and I'll have to check out your podcasts and, for that matter, more of your reviews. And for sure, Vespa should do something with ebikes,and c'mon, talk about brand recognition. And maybe they'd send you on a Roman holiday to test one :)

ElectricBikeReview.com
5 months ago

Hey Robb, that's a really cool idea! I like the Vespa-styled ebike concept a lot... as long as they could keep it relatively lightweight. And yeah, I do think some people park expensive bikes outside during the day, but it's a big risk overnight. Thanks for the positive words, I'll keep the show format in mind. GCN is doing some great videos, I guess I'm just trying to help people dig into the nuts and bolts of ebikes and feel that this is something that can really help with choosing. I have done a couple of podcasts in the past, did you like those?

abbaby555
5 months ago

leave it to piaggio to make such an artsy ebike, great review Court thanks for sharing.
I'm really going to make an effort to go test ride this one, its a runner on my list for a new ebike this year

ElectricBikeReview.com
5 months ago

Sweet! You're welcome, glad you enjoyed the video... would love to hear your thoughts if you get a test ride!

David Keenan
5 months ago

Admire the design, beautiful work .Not for me , others with more familiar motors more appealing.

Mark Elford
5 months ago

Very nice to see Piaggio step into Ebikes, its a looker.

Shane Crowley
5 months ago

Hi Court any other circa 2k bikes u know of with a percentage battery indicator??

ForbinColossus
5 months ago

Def an epic review, Court. Nice nice mix of footage. Would love to have that app on a full susp. haibike. Although, I still think ebikes should have removable displays just to tell you speed and battery percentage - you wisely emphasized the importance of actual batt % . Overall, very groovy features on that Piaggio, especially the anti-theft. Will all that innovation, a big company like Piaggio is beneficial to the e-industry and may force the laggards to up their game.
BONUS cool action shots (the belt angle) are appreciated!

herman lewis
5 months ago

Nice come a long way pretty soon go n to be like the space shuttle. Great job

Kaden Karuna
5 months ago

3840x2160

D Danilo
5 months ago

I just KNOW that somewhere, in a dark, damp, cobweb-filled basement room, there's a totally mad engineer feverishly working on a "separator-link" of some sort for belt drive systems. It will eliminate the need for frame-weakening joints on the rear of our bicycle frames. Just sayin'......

Ddr Hazy
5 months ago

Electrical components are not more than $1k. $3k for a custom frame from Piaggio. Overpriced.

Roger Unwin
5 months ago

That shifter cable dangling by the drive belt really needs tying to the frame.

David Macdonald
5 months ago

This is a lot better than anything els out there , with the app Tec.

Adog828
5 months ago

Where are the bottle cage bosses

Jone Gomez
5 months ago

I love absolutely everything about this bike, I wouldn't add or take off anything, gorgeous. As for the price, man dunno we got to the point that these prices don't sound absurd anymore, so guess the market has finally settled an we know what is crazy high, cheap and this mid high price... So yes, me want 😁👍

Meno Passini
5 months ago

Wow, 2018 is a game changer. Will be interesting to compare 2017 E bike of the year, Trek's Super Commuter to the 2018 E bike of the year. Amazing progress in one year. The App, self diagnosis, theft warning and 2 year warranty are great selling points. Just 18 months ago it was rebranded Chinese bikes.

Rotormatic
5 months ago

Gorgeous frame!

ElectricBikeReview.com
5 months ago

I agree, beautiful design and clean welds, the cutout on the right seat stay for the belt drive was done very well too