2020 Surface 604 Boar Hunter Review

Highlights

Technical Specs & Ratings

General

2020

Boar Hunter

$2,499

Class 1, Class 2, Other

High-Step

26.0

9

Hydraulic Disc

Hub

500

499.2 Wh

499.2 Wh

67 lbs / 30.42 kgs

Components

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

UNO, 70 mm Length on S/M and 90 mm Length on M/L Frame, 45° Angle, One 15 mm Base, Two 10 mm Spacers, One 2.5 mm Spacer

Aluminum Alloy Low-Rise, 680 mm Length

Flat Rubber, Black

6061 Aluminum Alloy, Single Bolt Clamp

30.4

Selle Royal Royalgel Nebula

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform with Reflectors

Hydraulic Disc

Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Dual Piston Calipers, Two-Finger Tektro Auriga Levers with Adjustable Reach

More Details

Trail, Sand and Snow, Mountain, Bikepacking

United States, Canada

1 Year Comprehensive, 3 Year Frame

7 lbs (3.17 kg) (7.7lbs for 14ah Battery)

8 lbs (3.62 kg)

17.5 in (44.45 cm)19 in (48.26 cm)

Medium/ Large 19" Frame: 23.75" Reach, 28" Minimum Saddle Height, 34.5" Minimum Saddle Height, 27.5" Width, 76" Length, 45.5" Wheelbase

Matte Kryptek Camo

175mm Hub Spacing, 12mm Threaded Keyed Axle with 18mm Nuts

Rear Rack Bosses, Front Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Integrated Spanninga Axendo 60 Headlight (Dual Beam LED, 60 Lux), Flick Bell on Right, Aluminum Alloy Front Rack (Removable, 25kg 55lb Max Weight, 13" x 9" Dimensions, Pannier Hangers for Front Bags), Aluminum Alloy Rear Rack (Removable, Standard Gauge Pannier Hangers and Bungee Loop at Base, 25kg 55lb Max Weight, Flat Slats on Top for Trunk Bag), Rear-Mount Adjustable Length Kickstand, Optional Steel Fenders (Black, 120mm Width), Optional Spanninga Solo Rear Light

Locking Removable Downtube Semi-Integrated Battery Pack with USB A Port (5V 1A), IP65 Water Resistant Display Panel, 1.8lb 2 Amp Charger, Maximum Weight Capacity of Bike 136kg 300lbs

Independent Button Pad near Left Grip (+, -, Light, Information, On/Off), Hold - for Walk Mode, Hold + and - for Settings Menu

Battery Percentage, Current Speed (With Infographic), Power Meter, Trip Distance, Odometer, Max Speed, Avg Speed, Trip Time, Assist Level (0-5)

Torque Sensing Pedal Assist (TMM4 Strain Sensor at Rear Dropout)

20 mph (32 kph)(Unlockable to 28mph for Off-Road Use)

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This in-depth review was sponsored by Surface 604 Bikes. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Surface 604 products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below and the Surface 604 electric bike forums.

Observations:

  • Official Kryptek brand camouflage paint on the frame and fork, heavy duty custom-made racks, extra large 4.5″ fat tires, and unlockable high-speeds make this a very unique platform… especially when you consider that it’s available in two frame sizes. Very few other ebikes are so perfectly designed to fill a niche, and I feel that this would be an excellent platform for hunting, bikepacking, and camping
  • Two USB charging ports (one on the display and one on the battery pack) let you run portable electronics on the go or separate from the bike at your camp. Since this bike comes with two battery size options, and the upgrade is only $200, I’d definitely recommend the higher watt hour! The heavier weight, throttle, and unlockable higher speed will drain the battery faster than most competing products
  • All of the 2020 Surface 604 products utilize the same Reention battery pack design, and the batteries are interchangeable. This is a nice feature if you are exploring a his and her setup or want a city and trail bike… being able to take a second pack with you on the rear rack of the Boar Hunter would significantly extend the range

Pros:

  • The frame and fork are custom painted with Kryptek camouflage matte paint to help the Boar Hunter blend in to its surroundings, there are very few shiny parts and many of the black accessories are also matte
  • I think it’s pretty cool that owners can unlock the top speed of this ebike to go above 20mph because there are lots of open spaces in North America that allow ATV and motorcycles where a more powerful high-speed ebike would be allowed. This is a quiet and lightweight alternative to a motorcycle, which could be ideal for hunting or camping because it won’t frighten animals away. For those who want to convert to Class 1 for daily riding or use on restricted trails, the throttle has a quick-disconnect and the speed can go to 20mph or even lower if desired (which might extend the range). Keep in mind that higher tire pressure will improve efficiency, but low PSI is required for comfort and use in soft terrain like mud, loam, and sand
  • The display has a password option where you can set a four digit pin to deter tampering and theft. This is great if you’re leaving the bike at a public bike rack and don’t want people messing with the throttle while you’re away (especially since the throttle is active at all times with the bike on), and it might also help to secure the bike if you leave it at a campsite and continue on by foot
  • Between the Selle Royale gel saddle, riser stem, and high volume extra-large 4.5″ wide fat tires, the Boar Hunter is comfortable to ride, even on rough terrain and without a suspension fork (as long as the tire PSI is lowered a bit). For me personally, the suspension seat post is a great upgrade and worth the money if you plan to go far or fast
  • Considering how custom this thing is, I was surprised and delighted to see that it comes in two frame sizes!
    That means more people can fit or ride comfortably and still get the custom camo design and racks seen here… most competing fat bikes don’t even have the option to buy racks like these that will fit correctly
  • The curb weight of ~67lbs may sound like a lot, but I actually think it’s pretty good given the extra-large tires and dual-rack setup, note the hollow spindle, punched out rims, and narrow rigid fork that all save weight
  • SRAM X5 is a pretty good component level, so the derailleur feels tight and shifts quickly and reliably. It’s equivalent to Shimano Alivio or Deore, which is five steps up from the bottom (X5, get it?) so it’s a great choice for an off-road rugged bike like the Boar Hunter
  • Great pedals, they offer a large and stiff platform with good traction so you won’t slip off. They have holes in the middle so mud can squish through, and they come stock with removable reflectors so you can go for safety or be more hidden
  • Large, powerful, hydraulic disc brakes are exactly what you need for heavier bikes (and times when the bike is loaded up with gear), disc brakes stay cleaner in dirty and wet terrain because of their higher placement, and the adjustable-reach levers can fit large or small/gloved hands comfortably. Note that both brake levers now include motor inhibitors for extra safety and control when stopping… some of the older Boar models did not include this
  • Not every electric bike offers throttle on demand, but I think it could come in very handy for getting started with a heavy load on this bike, or getting unstuck. The throttle allows you to get help moving forward while simply trying to balance the bike vs. having to do both things at once, and I’ve found that to be super useful in soft sand
  • Surface 604 offers a battery upgrade path for just $200 which increases capacity from ~500 watt hours to ~672 watt hours. This is definitely worth it for people who want to go further, navigate through more rigorous terrain, or ride at high speed. Both batteries use the same case that is cross compatible with all other 2020 Surface 604 models and the larger pack only adds one pound of additional weight because it uses the same number of cells with a higher energy density
  • The display panel has a full sized USB charging port built into the right side which is very convenient for powering a smartphone with GPS. Additionally, the removable battery pack has a full sized USB Type A charging port built into the top right corner, so you can charge and run portable electronics separate from the bike itself. This could be useful in a camp setting or even inside your car or home when the bike is mounted to a rack or parked in a shed or garage
  • The new color display looks great and has an intuitive button pad interface. I love the dedicated light button, the fact that the display has an ambient light sensor, that the brightness auto-dims when you activate the lights (so it won’t ruin your night vision), and that it swivels to reduce glare
  • I spoke with the bikes designer and he showed me how they designed the rear rack with fender support mounting points so they wouldn’t have to add additional holes on the bike frame itself… very smart! And if the rear rack is removed, I think you can use the mounting points for the fenders only
  • Most of the time when electric bike companies are using a hub motor and trying to save money they will use a simple cadence sensor, but Surface 604 opted for a fancier, more responsive, torque sensor and that combines really well with the power-on-demand trigger throttle to make the bike more capable in varied conditions, it goes and stops exactly when you intend
  • Surface 604 designed the frame with an aggressively sloped top tube to lower stand over height, this could really save your crotch if you had to hop forward unexpectedly and stand in soft terrain where your feet sink in. In order to make the frame strong enough to handle that sloped top tube, they added a tall gusset where it meets the seat tube

Cons:

  • Despite having a fairly powerful 500 watt 80nm geared hub motor, this bike just doesn’t feel as zippy or powerful as some competing models (some with 750 watt motors or mid-drives). I asked the design team about this and was told that they optimized for reliability and are also complying with Canadian regulations that limit nominal motor wattage. I found that the motor produced the most power when I was pedaling in assist level 5 vs. relying solely on the throttle
  • The motor mounts to the rear dropout using a keyed axle and slotted washer. It seemed reliable while riding, but I didn’t see any additional torque arms to spread axle pressure out into the frame. This is an area where durability and reliability could be improved, given the power of the motor and weight of the rear wheel. If the rear axle isn’t kept tight, it could rock back and forth and chew into the aluminum alloy frame over time
  • The chainring doesn’t use a narrow-wide tooth pattern (which would lock the chain on more reliably), and there’s no chain guide system (plates or a plastic guide), so I feel that the chain could bounce off more easily on this bike… and I’d consider finding an aftermarket 34 tooth narrow wide chainring as an upgrade or a cheap plastic guide like this
  • There’s no chain protector, so your pants could get dirty or snag on the chain and chainring. I also didn’t see a slap guard for the chain stay. This means that the paint could get chipped up over time, but the alternative (a shiny clear sticker) could reduce your camouflage. Consider a neoprene wrap slap guard if you want… but know that nicks on the chainstay won’t cause rust and shouldn’t impact the structural integrity of the bike
  • The optional steel fenders are pretty nice, but they do produce a bit of noice when riding over bumpy terrain. The rear fender doesn’t mount to the rack near the middle, and seemed especially bouncy there. Steel is sturdy, but if it gets scratched, it can rust vs. aluminum or plastic
  • The front rack design is pretty cool, especially with the standard gauge tubing on the sides for panniers, but it is fork attached vs. frame attached. This means that it adds weight and momentum when steering, and the cargo could tip out as the fork swivels to the side while making sharp turns or parking the bike. It’s probably best used for lightweight gear like clothing or sleeping bags
  • The straight 1-1/8″ headset design limits the option for aftermarket suspension forks. Most nicer ones, like the RockShox Bluto, require a tapered 1-1/8″ to 1-1/2″ headset. Still, the high volume tires and optional suspension seat post go a long way towards improving ride comfort, and I suspect that most owners won’t want to mess up the cool and stealthy camo look of the frame+fork by replacing it with suspension that could have shiny stanchions
  • It’s a minor thing, but I appreciate the two-way high lever shifter design that Shimano offers on their products while SRAM seems to only have a one-way high trigger. On the plus side, the low lever offers four-shift action to really dump the gears, and you won’t mash gears on this bike very easily because it uses a hub motor vs. mid-drive
  • Minor gripe here, but I wish they had been able to squeeze in bottle cage bossed on the seat tube, even if they were only used for smaller items like folding locks, it’s nice to have that option and some newer bottle cages offer side-entry so they could be made to work… at least you’ve got plenty of rack options
  • The rear derailleur and power cable (that feeds into the axle) are a bit vulnerable on all bikes, but that really comes to mind here because of the off-road use case. I would like to see a derailleur guard at the back to help protect these delicate parts
  • The included ebike battery charger leaves something to be desired because it only puts out 2 Amps (vs. 4 Amps on some competing chargers) and the plug-in spot on the battery is very close to the left crank arm which means you could snag the wire or bend the end piece if you trip over it. You’ll have to go to the non-drivetrain side of the bike and bend over to reach the charging port… minor complaint, but worth highlighting
  • I haven’t experienced this issue with the Boar Hunter, but while riding some of the older BH Easy Motion electric bikes, that use a similar TMM4 torque sensor, the chain would some times bounce around and activate pedal assist. This happened infrequently, and only on very bumpy terrain while I was in the highest gear… You can reduce the impact of this by keeping your hands on the brake levers and pulling in a bit to cut motor power while descending on bumpy sections

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