- A trail-capable speed pedelec with flared drop bars and gravel grinder 650b tires, it's relatively lightweight at just 46.3 lbs and the drive system weight is all positioned low and center
- The battery pack hides in the downtube and the Brose TF motor is compact and quiet, making this a stealthier electric bike that won't attract unwanted attention, only one color scheme at this time
- Three frame sizes ensure a comfortable fit for high-performance riding, lots of threaded eyelets for adding fenders, a rear rack, and bottle cage or folding lock, quick release wheels are easy to remove or service on the go
- Magnetic charger tip won't get bent or tip the bike as easily if tripped over but the rubber cap on the battery itself is easy to misplace, the battery must be activated with a button press before riding, removable display can be stored safely and has a full sized USB port on the mount for charging accessories on the go
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The Raleigh Tamland iE is a gravel grinder bike with Class 3 electric assist performance. It’s fun to ride on pavement, gravel, and packed dirt trails, because of the wider tires and flared drop bar. While it may look similar to a road bike, the geometry is more upright and the components are tougher. You get powerful hydraulic disc brakes instead of dual-pivot caliper brakes, which press into the rim and might get caked with dirt and water in off-road settings. Sturdy thru-axles, front and rear, offer the necessary strength to handle the heavier rims and tires at work. An alloy chain guide doubles as a bash guard, protecting the motorized bottom bracket while significantly reducing the potential for chain drops. Large alloy platform pedals offer reliable traction with sport shoes if you choose not to setup clipless, and threaded eyelets abound… offering support for fenders, a rear rack, and bottle cage or folding lock. It’s a fast, fun, extremely capable electric bike that felt a lot more comfortable than it looked at first. I associate drop bars with stiff road bikes that transfer every crack and deviation into the frame and ultimately, your hands, shoulders, back, and neck. The Tamland iE doesn’t come with any sort of suspension by default, but even then, it feels pretty good if you lower the tire pressure a bit. The 650b tires offer much more air volume than most road or city bikes with 1.85″ diameters. For those who are especially sensitive or simply prefer a suspended feel, consider purchasing a 31.6 mm suspension seat post from Kinekt or SR Suntour. I love that the bike comes stock with a kickstand for those who intend to do mostly on-road riding, and that the display is removable to reduce tampering and wear in urban bike-rack settings. The battery did rattle a bit when riding off-road, but a few foam stickers could solve that. And, the magnetic cap on top of the battery is a little vulnerable, so make a conscious effort not to misplace it when charging the bike. Otherwise, it’s one of the fastest, quietest, and stealthiest trail bikes I have seen in a while. Do note however, that some geographies and trails do not allow Class 3 products to be ridden. They limit ebikes to Class 1 which offer pedal assist up to 20 mph (32 km/h).
Driving this electric bicycles is one of my favorite current generation mid-motors. Brose offers a few products at this time, and all of them offer up to 90 Newton meters of torque, weigh about 7.5 lbs, and produce very little noise because of a Gates carbon belt drive implementation. Rather than using only plastic gears to create a reduction and generate power, this motor transitions from one gearing system to the pedals with the belt, and the result is a smoother ride feel. So, this is the Brose Drive TF which I believe stands for “Trekking Fast” because it offers support up to ~28 mph (~45 km/h). Stepping back for a moment, Brose offers a similarly specced Drive T which caps at ~20 mph and maintains a consistent 80 Nm of torque (like the TF) and a Drive S which also limits to ~20 mph but consistently hits 90 Nm of torque for sporty off-road use. In my experience, the Brose motor (T, TF, and S) is one of the most natural feeling systems on the market right now. It feels similar to the Bosch CX motor in eMTB mode. Unlike that motor, the TF motor controller does not offer shift detection. But, it does measure the rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque, so you can manually ease off when shifting to reduce drivetrain wear. This motor does not hang down or forward as much as some other mid-drives, and blends naturally with the Tamland iE frame. I didn’t have a problem with power when climbing, but did lose traction when I slowed down and stopped on a softer dirt incline because the tires are more slick than knobby. In order to climb most effectively or hit and maintain the top speed, you will have to shift gears actively. The SRAM APEX derailleur performed well and the cassette offers plenty of range with an 11 to 42 tooth sprocket spread. I didn’t feel like I had to struggle at the low or high speeds, even without much motor support, and was impressed with the relative light weight of the bike at just ~46.3 lbs. The derailleur has a roller clutch that can be activated to keep the derailleur in the down position when removing the rear wheel, it’s a little circular button with a lock icon on it… just push the hangar down (or stretch it down) then press this button to have the derailleur stay fixed.
Powering the motor and beautiful backlit display, as well as a full sized 5 volt 500 milliamp USB port on the base of the display panel, is a 36 volt 13.8 amp hour Lithium-ion battery pack. The capacity is quite good, slightly above average for the 2018 season, and the battery casing felt solid and tough. Because the casing is made of aluminum alloy and not plastic, the pack does weigh slightly more than average at 6.4 lbs (compared to ~5.7 lbs for the Bosch Powerpack 500). Thankfully, this weight is sunk into the downtube, which improves handling and keeps it hidden. I love how this opens up the middle triangle of the frame, providing plenty of space for a bottle cage on the seat tube. I feel that Raleigh could have added a second set of bosses on top of this battery pack or maybe below the top tube, but that’s a minor consideration. At least the wires on this bike are mostly hidden and the base of the top tube is smooth, making it safer to hang on certain styles of bike racks. The battery did vibrate and rattle a bit during my ride test off-road, as mentioned earlier, but it was easy to charge on the bike and to remove for off-bike charging. I love the faster 4 amp battery charger because it’s not especially heavy or large (but not quite as light or compact as Bosch), but I do worry about the magnetic cap at the top of the battery. Just try not to misplace the cap or the electrical connector points will be exposed and get messy with dust and water over time. By comparison, Stromer electric bikes use a very similar Rosenberger charging port design but have included a plastic leash to keep the cover from getting lost. I’d love to see that from Raleigh and others in the future. The other gripe I have with the battery pack is that it must be physically turned on before the display and ebike will work. The power button is located way down near the base of the seat tube, and could be tricky to reach if you forget before mounting. Once it has been activated, however, the display can be turned on and off with a separate power button for a two hour stretch. Also, be careful when unlocking the battery pack because the key cylinder is positioned very close to the left crank arm and could get snagged or bent if a keychain is attached.
Operating this bike is fairly intuitive in terms of button and display arrangement, but the position of the button pad isn’t quite as reachable as with other bikes that also use the Brose Classic display. I have done an in-depth guide and video on the display in the EBR Forums here, but will also go into some detail here. Once the battery is activated, the display automatically powers up as well. It’s a grayscale LCD that has a dim mode and a bright mode that activates automatically when you press any of the navigation buttons. There’s a power button at the top right edge of the display that basically puts it to sleep but does not de-activate the battery, you can do that by holding the button for several seconds. On the right edge, there’s a light button that would activate a bicycle headlight and taillight if they were present. And, I do think that some shops can help wire in aftermarket lights for you if you’re willing to buy the lights and pay for service. Just below that button is a menu button that cycles through readouts, and this button is duplicated on the remote pad which is mounted in front of the display on an accessory bar. On this button pad, the center circle button is what changes menus. Above the circle is an up arrow and below is a down arrow. These arrows let you navigate the three levels of assist (Cruise, Tour, and Sport), or you can go all the way down to Off and then hold the down arrow to activate walk mode. I love that the bike has a functional walk-mode because some big companies have disabled it on their US products. The walk assist only goes up to ~4 mph (~6 km/h) but is useful for pushing the bike if you get a flat tire or have to climb up a steep section of trail that isn’t rideable. All in all, this display is elegant, simple to use, and offers more precise battery charge level feedback than a lot of competing devices. You get a 10-bar infographic with each bar representing a 10% step. I’ve been told that you can maximize battery life by storing it in a cool, dry location and keeping it charged above 20% at all times (apparently 20% to 80% is the sweet spot). The Brose Classic Original display is removable, easier to find and replace than some custom proprietary solution, and provides most of the menus I like, but didn’t seem to have a dynamic range estimate like Bosch, Shimano, and some others.
There are only a handful of electric bikes on the market in the US right now that offer drop bars, and only a couple with larger tires, hydraulic disc brakes, and such a clean integrated aesthetic. The Raleigh Tamland iE does cost a bit more than a traditional flat bar city bike or trail bike, but the premium drive system from Brose, capable 11-speed drivetrain, tough chain guide, flared handlebars, thru-axles, and three frame sizes really set it apart. I love this e-bike, and could see myself riding it to work, across dirt paths, and even off-road a bit (like we did in the video review above). I appreciate that the motor supports higher cadence levels (up to 120 RPM) and doesn’t fade as much as some other drive units, because I like to spin when riding on road. The bike is just so quiet and fluid, it feels stable when approaching the max speed, and I didn’t mash gears much at all because of how responsive the motor is and because I am careful about how and when I shift (usually when coasting for a moment as I ease back on the pedals). I’m sure that you could swap the smoother tires here for some knobby ones if you intend to do mostly trail riding, and I’m always a fan of seat post suspension products… there are even some suspension stems now that take the edge off of your wrists and arms (both aggressive or upright stems). Big thanks to Jim Maher who represented Raleigh and took me to this special place to ride off-road, and of course, thanks to the Accell Group for partnering with me on this post. I’ll do my best to answer comments below and you can connect directly with other riders in the Raleigh electric forums.
- It’s very unique, I haven’t seen many gravel grinder e-bikes with drop bars that are also speed pedelecs! You can take this thing on pavement, gravel roads, and even some light trail sections and still maintain control and comfort
- Despite the more aggressive geometry and lack of suspension, the Tamland iE feels pretty comfortable, the fatter knobby tires reduce vibration and offer a good pressure range, you can choose from three body positions by changing where you grab the handlebar (upright flats, forward hoods, aggressive forward drops)
- The hydraulic disc brake levers are easier to pull than mechanical and the 180/160 mm rotor setup provides great stopping power, especially since the wheel size is 27.5″ vs. 28″ on many other gravel grinders and road bikes
- Relatively wide and sturdy alloy platform pedals provide a reliable surface for your feet and should grip well in wet or dirty ride conditions, good power transfer but the larger platform could endure more strikes so keep the inside pedal raised when turning
- I didn’t experience any issues with chain drops or shifting, the SRAM APEX 11-speed drivetrain offers good range for the ~28 mph top speed and the alloy chain guard keeps things on track while also protecting the mid-motor
- The Brose motor system is incredibly smooth and quiet because it uses a Gates belt drive inside to transition reduction gearing vs. plastic gears on gears, it doesn’t vibrate as much as most other mid-motors
- The Brose motor is relatively lightweight at just ~7.5 lbs and blend into the downtube neatly, it doesn’t stand out as much as some larger performance middrives from Bosch and Bafang
- I love that the frame includes provisions for mounting a rear rack as well as bottle cage bosses on the seat tube! This means you can outfit the bike for commuting, bikepacking, or just basic urban riding and keep an accessory within reach, it looks like the fork even has bosses for mounting a fender or possibly a pannier rack
- Both axles are thicker than normal, the front is a 15 mm thru-axle and the rear is a tapered 12 mm to 10 mm that should provide stiffness and control for off-road, higher speed rides, and larger riders
- You can get the Tamland in three frame sizes and really dial in fit and comfort which is important for longer rides and off-road use
- Most of the electric bike systems (motor, battery, wires) on this bike are positioned low and center on the frame, they won’t impact handling as significantly and practically disappear into the bike making it stealthy
- The display is large and easy to see, fairly simple to use, and removable for protection when parking the bike outside for extended periods or in public places, I do wish that it showed a dynamic range readout but at least it has a full sized USB port for charging portable electronics like Garmin or smartphones on the go, you might even be able to mount your devices on the included accessory bar (which holds the button pad by default)
- The drop bars are flared out towards the bottom in order to increase handling leverage and slow steering when off-road, they are still much narrower than true mountain bike bars and that allows them to fit between cars and other tight spaces in urban settings
- It’s nice that the bike comes with an adjustable kickstand, and they positioned it well towards the back of the bike so it won’t interfere with the cranks as you pedal or walk the bike backwards, if you find that it rattles too much off-road, simply remove it with an allen key
- The shifter, brake, and electrical wires are mostly internally routed which keeps them safe and makes the bike look nicer, it’s especially nice that they are not exposed below the top tube because it makes lifting and hauling the bike on some racks a bit easier and less vulnerable
- Both wheels are setup with quick release levers so you can perform trail maintenance easier, or break the bike down quicker to get to the trail :)
- Weighing in at ~46.3 lbs, I would call this one of the lighter electric bikes, especially given the sturdy thru-axles, higher capacity 500 watt hour battery, and wider 650b tires
- It’s nice that walk mode hasn’t been disabled on this bike, this feature comes in very handy if you get a flat tire or have to walk a section of trail that isn’t rideable, many other companies have removed or disabled the feature for the North American market unnecessarily in my opinion
- The Brose TF motor does not offer shift detection, so be thoughtful about how and when you change gears (especially when climbing or pushing hard), the motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque, so just ease off on the torque as you shift to reduce mashing and drivetrain wear
- Minor consideration, the Tamland iE is only available in a high-step diamond design (which keeps it stiff and sturdy) but might be a little too aggressive or tall for some riders, they also only see it in one color at the time of this review
- The battery offers good capacity but weighs about half a pound more than some competing designs that are built into plastic cases vs. alloy, perhaps it is tougher? and it does loo beautiful and seamless when inserted into the downtube
- Activating the bike requires a press on the circular button at the base of the battery pack which could be a stretch if you’ve already mounted the bike, it would be nice if you could just start it up by pressing the buttons on the control pad up by the display panel
- I appreciate the faster 4 amp battery charger with magnetic tip (which won’t tip the bike or bend if you trip over it, should just pop out) but wish that the rubber cap that protects the charging port at the top of the battery pack had some sort of leash so it wouldn’t get lost as easily… you can see how Stromer solved this issue on their ST5 model (left side of the downtube, 6th picture in) by using a flat plastic cover with plastic connector so it wouldn’t get knocked off or set down and forgotten
- I didn’t see a slap guard on the right chainstay and would probably add one to keep the paint looking nice, you could use a strip of clear packaging tape or buy something like this
- For people who want even more comfort, you could easily add a 31.6 mm suspension seat post from Kinekt or SR Suntour without changing the geometry, paint scheme, or handling of the bike itself… I listed this as a con because the bike already costs a lot and I’m surprised it didn’t come with something like this stock
- Be careful with the pedals if you’ve got the key inserted and are removing the battery pack because the locking cylinder is very close to the left crank arm and could snag or bend the key if you have a keychain connected, this is shown in the video at 8:33
- It’s nice that the button pad and display don’t compromise the flat grip section of the bar, but it’s not as easy to adjust assist levels or change trip readouts on this bike depending on where your hands are, it seems more like a “set it and ride” experience than one you can comfortably or safely interact with while pedaling and steering
- Depending on the terrain, I could definitely hear the battery box rattling around in the downtube and would consider using some foam stickers to try to reduce this (but make sure the battery still locks in securely, be careful with how much you use if you try this yourself