- A mean looking high speed urban electric bike with comfortable plus sized tires, sturdy thru-axles with wider Boost hub spacing, and lightweight 120 mm suspension fork from RockShox
- Available in three frame sizes and designed with a lower top tube for approachability, you could swap the slick tires out for knobby and use this as a cross country electric mountain bike
- High performance Bosch Speed motor with shift detection, larger PowerPack 500 battery provides excellent range, great 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain with one-way clutch to reduce chain bounce
- Powerful and consistent Magura hydraulic disc brakes with larger 203 mm front rotor and quad-piston caliper for consistency and cooling at high speed, great locking ergonomic grips, solid Wellgo platform pedals, wider 31.6 mm seat post, comfortable saddle, matching black accents all around (including rims, spokes, and hubs)
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The Raleigh Lore iE is a brand new model for 2018 that blends high speed ~28 mph Class 3 performance with urban toughness and a mean aesthetic. I love the metallic matte grey paint job with comprehensive black accents. There is very little silver on this e-bike, just the steel disc brake rotors, and this darker theme compliments the default-black Bosch battery and motor casing. The Lore iE is comfortable and stable because it uses 27.5″ x 2.8″ plus sized tires. You can optimize rolling efficiency by raising tire pressure to the 45 PSI max or emphasize comfort and traction by lowering pressure to the minimum 20 PSI. As a relatively lightweight rider, and someone with back and neck injuries, I tend to suffer when terrain gets bumpy or speeds increase because of vibration. I prefer a more upright body position but this impacts aerodynamics and handling on steeper terrain. What the Lore iE does here is merge cross country mountain bike geometry and hardware, like sturdy thru-axles and Boost hub spacing, with urban accessories and touch points like the slick tires and ergonomic grips. For me, the highlight is a 120 mm air fork from RockShox with compression lockout and rebound adjust. This fork offers black anodized stanchions that look great and attaches to a tapered head tube, so you could swap it out for any other leading suspension fork with tapered 1-1/8″ to 1-1/2″ tapered design, like the Lauf Trail Racer (which accepts Boost and plus sized tires). With a price tag of roughly $3,500 it might not strike you as a value offering, but the high capacity Bosch battery, premium motor, upgraded brakes, multiple frame sizes, vast dealer network, and excellent two-year warranty really set it apart in my mind. It’s not a perfect product… there’s no bottle cage or kickstand mounting provisions for one, but the seat stays do have threaded eyelets for adding a disc brake compatible rack. The compact Bosch Purion display panel looks clean but isn’t removable, doesn’t offer USB charging (despite having a Micro-USB port built into the side for diagnostics), and isn’t as precise on battery capacity feedback. And, the rear brake line and shifter cable are not internally routed. There’s a lot to dig into with this electric bicycle and we’ll jump into the motor next.
Bosch offers three Performance Line motors at the time of this review and they all produce a bit of electronic whirring noise, use energy faster, and produce some reduction-gearing drag compared to the Active Line motors (and many competing products). What you get in exchange is higher torque output, up to 63 Newton meters in this case, and high-speed pedal support. As someone who enjoys spinning quickly (pedaling fast) it’s nice that the Bosch Performance Line Speed motor can keep up and won’t fade out. In practice, it means that you don’t have to shift as frequently to hit and maintain higher speeds. Imagine that you’re pedaling towards a hill and begin downshifting in anticipation, to make climbing easier, the motor will simply spin faster without dropping support as you make this shift… and you probably won’t stress the chain, sprockets, and derailleur as much when you do. This is because the Bosch motor controller, which measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque 1,000+ times per second, also listens for shifting and reduces pressure automatically. Given the mid-level Shimano Deore drivetrain with ten gears and wider range of supported speeds here, zero to 28 mph (45 km/h) you may be shifting more frequently than a Class 1 or Class 2 product, which only supports up to 20 mph (32 km/h). The gear spread on the cassette is 11 to 42 tooth, which is a step up from the default 11 to 36 tooth cassettes I see on most Class 1 & 2 products. This balances with the slightly larger 18-tooth chainring (45 tooth traditional chainring equivalent). I was able to climb efficiently in the lowest gear and keep up with the motor above 28 miles per hour. Even though part of me would like to see a Deore XT derailleur instead of just Deore, it’s great that Raleigh opted for the Shadow Plus version, which is tucked in closer to the wheel to avoid rock strikes off-road, and also got the one-way clutch. There’s a small grey lever on the side of the derailleur that tightens the chain for high-speed riding and off-road use, to keep it from bouncing off and banging the chain. As a second layer of protection, the right chain stay has a thick rubber slap guard attached. As you can see, many of the parts and design choices for the drivetrain have been borrowed from cross country mountain bike models. The one area that could have been just a little nicer with this particular motor choice is in how it interfaces with the frame. The Bosch Performance Line Speed motor can be tipped up to raise ground clearance and blend with the frame nicer, as seen with this Bulls Cross Mover Speed. Finally, it’s interesting to see longer 175 mm crank arms on the medium sized frame (which was the frame I reviewed in the photos and video above). The increased length could result in pedal strikes if you go off-road but works with the larger 18 tooth chainring to slow pedal strokes for more comfortable high-speed riding… this may be why Raleigh did not opt for a 20 or 22 toot chainring here as seen on some other Bosch Speed motorized electric bicycles.
Powering the Lore iE is a high-capacity Bosch PowerPack 500 offering 36 volts and 13.4 amp hours for nearly 500 watt hours of capacity. It’s one of the most widespread electric bike batteries in the world and uses the same form factor and mounting interface as the older, lower capacity, Bosch PowerPack 400. This means that finding replacements, borrowing additional packs, or renting packs when traveling becomes much easier. The plastic casing is durable but lightweight, especially compared to the new PowerTube 500 which weighs ~6.2 lbs verses ~5.8 lbs. PowerPack batteries do stand out a bit visually because they mount on top of the frame tubing, but Raleigh has done their best to sink the battery down a bit and wrap the lower portion of tubing around to help it blend in. The pack clicks down and secures with a high quality ABUS locking core. I noticed that the core is spring loaded, so you don’t need to insert and twist the key when mounting the pack… just be sure to push down until you hear it click. Raleigh dealers (and really any Bosch certified ebike dealer) can help you adjust the mounting interface over time if you notice rattling or loosening, it’s a sturdy long-lasting design. And, that goes for the charger as well. With half a kilowatt-hour of capacity in this battery, the faster 4-amp Bosch charger allows you to spend more time riding vs. waiting and yet it’s about the same size and in some cases lighter than many generic 2-amp chargers included with cheaper e-bike systems. I like the wide proprietary plug design, which isn’t likely to be mixed up with other chargers or get broken as easily. You can charge this battery on or off the bike frame, making it great for commuters who need to charge inside at work, and you won’t be as likely to drop the battery during transport because it has a big plastic loop handle at the top. To maximize the life of this and most Lithium-ion batteries, try to keep it above 20% capacity and avoid extreme heat and cold.
Activating the drive systems on this ebike is fairly straightforward. You charge and mount the battery then press the power button on the top edge of the little display panel, which is mounted within reach of the left grip. This is the Bosch Purion display, one of the nicer compact offerings on the market right now. It cannot be swiveled to reduce glare easily, is not removable for protection, does not show as many menus, and does not have an active Micro-USB charging port like the larger Bosch Intuvia display. However, it does keep the handlebars open for adding a GPS or phone mount, and may not get damaged as easily if the bike tips (no kickstand, remember) or is parked at a crowded rack. This is a very popular display panel for electric mountain bikes, which often strive for stealthiness to fly “below the radar” visually. I have grown to accept the Purion, but do have a few tips for use… The + and – button pads, which raise and lower assistance, are designed to click in at an angle. They are attached near the left edge of the control pad and pivot in towards the LCD. With practice, I’ve found that the right edge is really the sweet spot and I’ve noticed that sometimes the lower left and middle can be inconsistent. The screen itself glows faint white at all times, which shouldn’t draw much power, and is handy when it’s early morning or later at night and you need to read it. Once you get the hang of things, you really don’t have to look down at all, because you can feel and hear the clicks of the button pad. Holding the + button will turn lights on and off if you have a shop wire them in. This will of course cost extra, but it’s nice to know that it’s possible and fairly easy to do (from what I’m told by many electric bike shops around the US). Without a rack, fenders, or lights by default… this bike is more of an urban fun machine than a commuter or trekking platform by default. Holding the – button will cycle through trip distance, odometer, assist level, and range. And, the range menu is dynamic, so you can see the bike calculate how far it thinks you can go before the battery completely drains based on the last mile of riding, your current state of charge, and the chosen level of assist. This helps to make up for the very basic 5-bar charge indicator on the left side of the battery and the display which isn’t as precise as a 10-bar or percentage readout seen on some competing displays. On the lower edge of the control pad is a walk-mode button. Press it once and then hold the + button to have the motor slowly assist you when walking the bike (you must be in Eco, Tour, Sport, or Boost for walk mode to work). It’s useful for crowded non-bikeable areas, or if you get a flat tire, and not all companies have it enabled, so props to Raleigh. Changing flats is easier with the quick release wheels and the premium Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires have RaceGuard puncture protection to help minimize cuts and thorns.
To me, the Raleigh Lore iE just looks amazing. I love how the top tube slopes down and continues on visually, blending with the seat stays. The oversized tires add comfort, stability, and traction if you need to jump onto a dirt or gravel trail for part of your ride, and the high-speed motor it tons of fun. Handling does feel a bit different with the larger tires, it almost feels like riding a motorcycle where you push outwards as you lean and turn in. Even though the bike weighs nearly 50 lbs (22.7 kg), it zips up to speed very quickly and climbs well because of the Bosch Performance motor and wider range of gears. It balances urban and trail features, delivering something sturdy and capable that will get you just about anywhere that’s paved or sufficiently packed down in a delightful hurry. I trust Raleigh because they are one of the oldest bicycle brands in the world and have recently become part of the Accell Group (which includes Haibike, IZIP, Diamondback, and others). You can get this bike setup right by visiting a Raleigh bicycle shop or order direct from their new website. I mentioned fenders earlier and want to point out that with the plus sized tires, there may not be room for adding traditional fenders here. So, you may want to experiment with plastic mud guards, as used on cross country and mountain bikes. I’ll do my best to answer questions in the comment section below and invite you to connect directly with other users and share your stories/photos in the Raleigh ebike forums as well.
- This is one of the coolest looking, best outfitted urban speed pedelecs that I have seen for 2018, it comes in three frame sizes and has an angled top tube so it’s very approachable
- Satin metallic grey was an excellent color choice, it compliments the black rims, tires, seat post, stem, handlebar, fork, pedals, and drive system components (battery and motor casing)
- Comfort becomes more of an issue at high speed, so the high-volume plus sized 2.8″ tires and 120 mm air suspension fork are really good upgrades, the bike feels steady and plush
- Thru-axles and boost hub spacing provide strength to the wheels and wider 45 mm rims, you could easily swap out the Schwalbe Super Moto-X slick tires for some studded Nobby Nic or Rocket Ron tires and use the Lore as a cross country mountain bike
- The downtube is stepped in a bit to bring the battery weight low on the frame and make it easier to remove (since the Bosch pack seats down from the top), this looks nicer than if the pack was mounted directly on top of a round downtube, the little metal cup at the base of the battery is also a nice touch
- Excellent hydraulic disc brakes, Magura levers actuate consistently and are lightweight, I love that Raleigh opted for a larger 203 mm front rotor with quad piston calipers since this is a speed pedelec, braking is smooth and powerful which reduces hand fatigue
- It’s great that this ebike comes with the highest capacity battery available from Bosch for the 2018 season, the PowerPack 500, because faster riding tends to drain batteries quicker (due to wind resistance), but the interface is backwards compatible for use with the PowerPack 400 if you already own one and want to extend your range which is neat
- Larger batteries mean longer charge wait times so it’s great that the Lore iE comes with the fast Bosch 4 amp charger vs. a default 2 amp charger
- Mid-drive ebikes tend to be very efficient if you shift gears appropriately (lower gears for climbing and higher for reaching high speeds), the Raleigh Lorie iE has a decent 10-speed drivetrain with a one-way clutch to keep the chain tight and the Bosch motor controller offers automatic shift detection to reduce mashing and premature wear
- Both wheels offer quick release, this is another benefit of using a mid-drive motor, maintenance and transport are much easier with quick release axles but it also means you need to lock both wheels when you park each time, consider a u-lock for the frame and long cable for both wheels which I demonstrate in this forum post
- Upgraded rubber slap guard to protect the right chain stay, large sturdy alloy platform pedals vs. narrow delicate cages or plastic, matching black rims, spokes, and wheel hubs, lightweight alloy chainring guard to reduce drops and keep pant legs clean
- Clean cockpit, the Bosch Purion display panel is small but deep and easy to understand, I like the locking ergonomic grips that Raleigh chose here
- I love that Raleigh opted for a 3.16 mm seat post size because it makes upgrading to a dropper post or getting a suspension seat post much easier, the thicker size is sturdier as well
- Pedaling with assist on a Bosch Performance Line motor feels very responsive and fluid, the motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second, it’s one of the most advanced drive systems around
- You can charge the battery on or off the bike frame and it has a big loop-handle at the top for secure transport, the charging port on the bike is near the left crank arm which could collide but the proprietary Bosch plug is very sturdy compared to most other chargers so that’s less of a concern here
- Even though the Bosch PowerPack battery doesn’t look as beautiful and seamless as the new PowerTube integrated batteries (like this) it does weigh less, is less expensive, and is easier to borrow or rent because it has been out longer and doesn’t use a proprietary shield design for each different bike, here’s a Bosch battery comparison video I did a while back
- Another feature of the Bosch Performance Line motors that I really appreciate is how they can support higher pedal rates without fading out, you can reach 120 RPM (pedal strokes per minute) and the motor is still there for you, this means you don’t have to shift gears as frequently if you prefer to spin instead
- Bosch Performance Line motors tend to produce more noise because of the power on offer and reduction gearing design, the 18 tooth chainring here will spin 2.5 times for each crank revolution and that produces a bit of drag if the bike isn’t powered on or you’re tryin to pedal beyond the maximum supported ~28 mph top speed
- As clean as the Bosch Purion display is, it isn’t removable and doesn’t offer an active Micro-USB port like the larger Bosch Intuvia display, you can sometimes pay e-bike shops to upgrade the display for you
- I really like this ebike but you definitely pay for the Bosch drive systems, name brand Schwalbe tires, upgraded hydraulic disc brakes, and multiple sizes… it’s nice that you can buy Raleigh products from dealers and take test rides + get service over time (and that also contributes to the higher price)
- The larger tires and comfortable and stable but also heavier and less efficient, the increased surface area (especially at lower tire pressure) changes the way that turning feels, it reminded me more of a motorcycle where you almost have to push out as you turn
- It appears that there was not room in the main triangle for adding bottle cage bosses and Raleigh opted not to add them on the top tube or below the downtube… but at least they did include rear rack bosses so you could get a disc brake compatible rack for commuting and add a trunk bag with a bottle holster for fluids
- The bike doesn’t come with a kickstand and there are no provisions for attaching one, it would be nice if there was a tab on the left chain stay for bolting on a nice kickstand for those who don’t have a great place to lean the bike, perhaps an adjustable stand like this could be made to work with the bike
- Minor gripe here, some of the wires are not internally routed through the frame and the motor casing is a bit large and old looking compared to some of the newer designs where it’s angled up and blended into the frame