Vintage Electric Scrambler Review

Vintage Electric Scrambler Electric Bike Review
Vintage Electric Scrambler
Vintage Electric Scrambler Crystalyte 750 Watt Hub Motor
Vintage Electric Scrambler Custom Alloy Battery Box 52 Volt 13 5 Amp Hours
Vintage Electric Scrambler Handlebar Regen Button Throttle
Vintage Electric Scrambler Led Battery Indicator Trigger Throttle Brooks Leather Grip
Vintage Electric Scrambler Integrated Cree Led Headlight Number Plate
Vintage Electric Scrambler Mrp Inverted Suspension Fork 20 Mm Thru Axle
Vintage Electric Scrambler Schwalbe Black Jack 26 Tires
Vintage Electric Scrambler Brooks Leather Sprung Saddle 3 Led Backlight
Vintage Electric Scrambler Single Speed Drivetrain Alloy Rear Fender
Vintage Electric Scrambler 6 Amp Fast Charger
Vintage Electric Scrambler Review
Vintage Electric Scrambler Electric Bike Review
Vintage Electric Scrambler
Vintage Electric Scrambler Crystalyte 750 Watt Hub Motor
Vintage Electric Scrambler Custom Alloy Battery Box 52 Volt 13 5 Amp Hours
Vintage Electric Scrambler Handlebar Regen Button Throttle
Vintage Electric Scrambler Led Battery Indicator Trigger Throttle Brooks Leather Grip
Vintage Electric Scrambler Integrated Cree Led Headlight Number Plate
Vintage Electric Scrambler Mrp Inverted Suspension Fork 20 Mm Thru Axle
Vintage Electric Scrambler Schwalbe Black Jack 26 Tires
Vintage Electric Scrambler Brooks Leather Sprung Saddle 3 Led Backlight
Vintage Electric Scrambler Single Speed Drivetrain Alloy Rear Fender
Vintage Electric Scrambler 6 Amp Fast Charger
Vintage Electric Scrambler Review

Summary

  • A motorcycle-inspired electric bike with two drive modes, 20 mph stock and optional 36 mph "Race Mode" for use on private property or off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails, one frame size and color
  • Powerful gearless hub motor is durable and near-silent, pure sine wave controller delivers fluid power without buzzing and a special regen button allows you to re-capture energy when stopping
  • Oversized inverted suspension with 20 mm thru-axle, powerful hydraulic disc brakes with 203 mm front rotor, premium Brooks leather saddle and grips, integrated LED lights, variable speed trigger throttle
  • Priced at ~$7k this is an expensive e-bikes, fairly heavy at ~81 lbs, the battery isn't easily removable so charging may be less convenient, very limited display readouts, throttle is hot when the battery is turned on, headlight is difficult to reach to turn on
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Vintage Electric

Model:

Scrambler

Price:

$6,995 (Up to $6,845 with Accessories and Upgrades)

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Urban, Cruising, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

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

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Australia, Europe, Worldwide

Model Year:

20172018

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

80.7 lbs (36.6 kg) (74 with Rear Rack)

Battery Weight:

20 lbs (9.07 kg)

Motor Weight:

16 lbs (7.25 kg)

Frame Material:

Hydroformed Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

18 in (45.72 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

18.125" Seat Tube, 24.5" Reach, 30.5" Stand Over Height,29.5" Width, 74.75" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Root Beer with Gold Accents (High Grade Powder Coat)

Frame Fork Details:

MRP Inverted Coil Suspension, Dual Crown, 60 mm Travel, Rebound Adjust, Compression Adjust, Boost 110 mm Hub Length, 20 mm Thru-Axle Clamped

Frame Rear Details:

Stainless Steel Dropout Inserts, 135 mm Hub Length, 12 mm Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Mount, Rear Fender Mount

Gearing Details:

1 (Single Speed), 16 Tooth Sprocket

Cranks:

FSA CK-633 F. Gimondi Crank Arms, Aluminum Alloy, 170 mm Length, F. Gimondi 36 Tooth Chainring

Pedals:

MKS, Aluminum Alloy Platform, Silver

Headset:

1-1/8" Straight, Integrated, Sealed Cartridge

Stem:

Direct Mount, 25.4" Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Chromoly Steel, Chrome Plated, 750 mm Length, Low-Rise

Brake Details:

Shimano Alfine Hydraulic Disc with 203 mm Front Rotor and 160 mm Rear Rotor, Shimano Alfine Levers with Tool-Free Reach Adjust

Grips:

Brooks Plump Leather Ring Grip, Locking

Saddle:

Brooks B67, Hand Crafted Leather, Sprung

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

200 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 50 mm, Satin Black, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, Hand Laced and Tensioned, 14 Gauge Front, 12 Gauge Rear, Adjustable Nipples

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Black Jack, 26" x 2.25" (57-559)

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

30 to 55 PSI (2.0 to 4.0 Bar), Active Line K-Guard Puncture Protection, Black

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Single Side Chrome Plated Kickstand, Aluminum Alloy Rear Fender Color Matched, Integrated CREE LED Headlight (600 Lumens), Integrated Supernova E3 Backlight, Optional Rear Carry Rack with Integrated Leather Accents $289, Optional Rear Rack with Two Brooks Panniers $579, Optional Brooks Challenge Bag $100 Extra, Optional Race Mode Pin $149

Other:

3 lb High Speed 6 Amp Magnetic Charger with Rubber Cap (EnergyBus Rosenberger Standard), Maximum Weight 300 lbs, Limited Edition Line (50 with Badges)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Crystalyte

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

750 watts

Motor Peak Output:

3000 watts

Motor Torque:

90 Newton meters

Battery Voltage:

52 volts (55 Amp Continuous)

Battery Amp Hours:

13.5 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

702 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt

Charge Time:

2 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

40 miles (64 km)

Display Type:

Fixed LED Console

Readouts:

Battery Level (Green, Yellow, Red)

Display Accessories:

Regeneration Button on Left

Drive Mode:

Trigger Throttle, Torque Sensing Pedal Assist (Pedal Assist is Optional and Costs ~$130)

Top Speed:

36 mph (58 kph) (Default 20 mph Mode, Off-Road Race Mode Pin ~$150 Extra)

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Written Review

Vintage Electric was one of the early e-bike companies to launch in the US and actually make a product from scratch vs. importing and rebranding something from Europe or Asia. Their first models hit the market in 2013 and have been continuously refined and reworked over the years, but the prices have remained high. There’s a sense of quality engineering and artistic styling that really sets these things apart. Most of them resemble vintage gas-powered motorcycles of yesteryear, and you can see this in the new Scrambler model. The Scrambler is their first off-road product and I was impressed with how well it performed on dirt and gravel during this review, shot in in Norther California, near the company’s headquarters in Santa Clara. For nearly $7k, you get a Class 2 electric bicycle with one gear that pedals most comfortably around 10 mph. The trigger throttle on the right will take you up to 20 mph and then the motor will ease out. In this configuration, the bike can be ridden on the side of streets and some bike paths. You don’t need a license or insurance, it’s basically treated like a bicycle in most locations and falls under federal regulations that specify 20 mph and 750 watt motor limits. However, for those who wish to ride on private land, in races, or in some forest park spaces that also allow ATV’s, motocross bikes, and snowmobiles, Vintage Electric sells a Race Mode pin that unlocks the system to perform at up to 36 mph and 3,000 watt motor limits. I was able to test both modes and had an absolute blast… with both. The standard 20 mph operation is smooth and quiet, you get the same fluid, solid feel of a lightweight motorcycle because the bike weighs ~80 lbs, and the thick knobby tires and inverted suspension pair nicely with the sprung saddle and fat leather grips. As nice as this thing looks, it’s no slouch on performance or comfort. The biggest considerations I had were that the kickstand allows the bike to tip pretty far over, and the stand might sink into soft terrain and allow for a full tip. Some of the wires and brake lines are exposed below the downtube vs. internally routed. The display is very basic, with only red, yellow, and green lights to help you estimate charge level, and the headlight requires a manual push on a recessed and hard-to-reach button to activate. It’s a beautiful toy, but the optional rack and pannier turn it into a luxury commuter or all-around go getter.

Driving this bike is a gearless, direct drive, hub motor from Crystalyte rated from 750 to 3,000 watts. That’s much higher than the average electric bike which usually peaks at 500 or 750 watts. It’s physically larger and much heavier than a standard gearless or geared hub motor at ~16 lbs, but it’s super durable and incredibly quiet. I never felt like the bike was struggling to help me climb, and it takes off so smooth with the variable speed trigger throttle or optional torque-sensing pedal assist. I would probably skip on the pedal assist unless your hands and right thumb are sensitive to reaching and pushing a trigger throttle setup. That’s because, it can be difficult to pedal beyond 15 mph without the single-speed getting outpaced. I felt most comfortable pedaling around 10 mph. There are benefits to having just one speed however, including reduced weight, longer service intervals, no bounce or chain slap, and a cleaner cockpit without shifter mechanisms. If getting up to speed is important to you, then stopping must be equally matched… especially with a larger, heavier platform like the Scrambler. The bike comes with beautiful Shimano Alfine hydraulic disc brakes. I say beautiful, because the levers are silver to match the bar, seat post, and other accents. Each lever has a tool-free adjustable reach knob allowing you to bring them in close, which could be useful if you have smaller hands or like to ride with gloves. The rotors are not matched, the front is extra-large at 203 mm (as you would see on a downhill mountain bike) but the rear is a more traditional 160 mm. I would have liked a 180 mm in the rear, but I think the caliper mount and motor interface and wiring might not have fit. Most stopping power comes from the front brake anyway, and it will be cooling faster and providing a greater mechanical advantage… it worked great during my tests.

Powering that awesome motor, the 3-led display panel, and both integrated LED lights is a fully custom high-capacity Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt battery pack. You get 52 volts and 13.5 amp hours for a total of 702 watt hours of capacity. Most electric bikes range from 350 to 500 watt hours… but most electric bicycles I see today only weigh 50 lbs. The extra juice is used quickly by the throttle, in large part because of how much torque it exerts if you really gun it. Since pedaling is neither comfortable or efficient at a full range of speeds, I found that most of the time I was using this like an electric scooter, and that means the motor is doing all of the work. I’d estimate range between 20 miles and 40 miles per charge depending on terrain, how hard you run the bike, your weight, even the wind speed and ambient temperature outside. Colder weather tends to limit range but extreme cold and heat can actually degrade the cells inside if you’re parking in a less-insulated shed or something. Note that the custom alloy battery box is not designed to come off of the bike. It weighs ~20 lbs and is securely bolted in place, which means you need to bring the bike to a wall outlet to charge. The included charger is very capable, it can fill the bike in roughly two hours because it puts out 6 Amps vs. the standard 2 Amps on most generic e-bike chargers. the end that plugs into the battery is magnetic, which is great if you trip over it because it pops out, but can pick up Iron filings over time if you leave it on the floor. There’s a little rubber cap that fits over the battery plug interface which is also magnetic, and this is easy to lose because there’s no leash system or handy place to stick it. Just keep an eye out for it so you can protect the interface when riding in dirty or wet terrain. Note that the battery is rated to IP67 water and dust protection, so even without the cap it should be alright. Again, the battery powers both lights which is very convenient and improves safety. the three-LED rear light is always on and positioned so it will not be blocked by the rear rack, but may be covered if you wear a long jacket that hangs down. The light is made by Supernova, a very reputable German company, and the power cable that supplies it is run through the seat tube, so be careful if you’re adjusting height or swapping the rigid hardware out for a suspension setup like this.

Operating the bike is is a two-step process and there is some sensitivity in how and when you mount and dismount. First, you charge the battery up, then insert a small key into the lock on the left side of the pack, turn the key and then you can remove it… At this point, the bike is powered on and the throttle is hot. It’s that simple, it’s like starting a motorcycle except you might not be on the motorcycle when this step takes place. I started the bike while standing next to the left side of it and then when I started to mount up into the saddle, I had to be extra cognizant that the trigger throttle was there on the right and could be pressed if I wasn’t putting my hand in the correct place. Depending on the drive mode you chose, this could result in a lot of power being sent to the motor and either a low-speed crash or bike tip. I never really felt in danger, I have never had a problem with this type of setup, but there are times when I was working with a friend on other similar electric bikes and handing off or maybe dismounting when I did bump a throttle and had a quick “oops” moment as I caught the bike. When the bike costs $7k and looks as nice as this one, the level of awareness and care goes up. So anyway, the cockpit is clean and the controls are simple, but they don’t provide as much feedback about how fast you might be going, how far you’ve traveled, what time it is, or even how full the battery really is. Do the three lights represent 30% steps? I can tell you, trying to pedaling this thing home after a range miscalculation might be enough to make you get off and walk or want to bring the charger along on all future rides. And with the optional rack and Brooks pannier, the 3 lb charger would be very easy to stow and bring.

The Vintage Electric Scrambler is a thing of beauty. It’s capable, lots of fun to ride, and sturdily built. It comes with a two-year comprehensive warranty and I have seen Vintage servicing older products and even upgrading them. The latest controller has improvements that prevent overcharging and actually stop the regeneration button from working if the battery is already full… but this is such a cool feature when it works, because it saves your brakes and makes you feel like you’re helping to extend range by adding back some power. As much as this looks like an old-fashioned motorcycle, it runs a lot more like a next-generation automobile. The silence is beautiful, but it does not sacrifice zoom. And if you want to carry the style through to protection, Vintage offers custom branded motorcycle style helmets. They did a great job carrying the leather touch points through to the rack and fork bumpers. The reinforced the front wheel with a 20 mm thru-axle, which is larger than I have seen on any other electric bike to date. And even though the headlight can be difficult to reach, requiring a manual press vs. being wired into a display panel or switch system on the bar, it does offer three modes of operation (bright, normal, and flashing). I want to get across the point that if you like how this thing looks and can afford it, it’s very satisfying. However, there is room for aesthetic improvement with the wires. I think a custom display that could control the lights and provide a bit more feedback while still being compact and sleek would be nice (also for safety, like starting in the off position and then requiring a press before the throttle goes active). The Vintage Scrambler started as a limited edition run but was so popular and striking, with it’s number plate and metallic root beer paint job, that they kept it around. The gold accents are cool and I love how the rear fender is setup to be functional and quiet, even on rough terrain, but adds so much to the look of the bike and is paint matched. Big thanks to Vintage Electric for partnering with me on this post and for taking me to some private areas where high-speed use was safe and legal. I do my best to encourage safe riding and respect for other riders and pedestrians.

Pros:

  • All of the Vintage Electric e-bikes look beautiful, and even though I never raced a scrambler style motorcycle, I can feel the nostalgia and appreciate the artistic quality of this bike, it’s capable but also special in its own right
  • Sturdier, almost motorcycle-grade, hardware was used to build this electric bike including a 12 mm rear axle and 20 mm thru-axle at the front, wider 50 mm rims with 14 gauge spokes in the front and extra-thick 12 gauge spokes in the rear, and a custom Aluminum alloy frame, I was told that it’s rated to 300 lbs but I’m guessing it can hold even more than that if used on mild terrain
  • I really like the metallic root beer color with gold accents, and the number plate is unique and cool while also being functional… because you can actually race this thing, the “race mode” pin unlocks higher speeds up to 36 mph for off-road use
  • Premium touch points that match, are functional, and unique to this bike style including a sprung Brooks leather saddle (that rides pretty comfortably) and matching Brooks leather grips as well as MKS alloy pedals
  • The inverted MRP suspension fork looks tough and offers increased strength compared to most traditional suspension hardware I have reviewed, more weight is kept unsprung with an inverted shock and this one has some compression and rebound adjust to suit the terrain, your ride style, and your weight
  • Note the leather accents at the top portion of the fork between the double-crown mounts, these keep the tubes from marring the side of the frame where it says “Vintage Electric” when you turn sharp or park the bike
  • Premium Shimano Alfine hydraulic disc brakes offer the stopping power needed for high-speed riding and a heavier build, the 203 mm front rotor will do more than half of the work, cool quickly because of the size, and provide a mechanical advantage over the 160 mm rear disc brake rotor, silver adjustable-reach levers match the other accents and let you dial in hand reach without the need for tools, this could be handy if you occasionally wear gloves
  • The rear fender is sturdy, does not rattle when riding on rough terrain, and adds a splash of style to the bike because it’s paint matched, it will also keep your back cleaner when going off-road
  • The motor on this bike is seriously powerful, it offers strong acceleration for climbing, a unique regeneration feature (when you press the red button on the left) and can go up to 36 mph if you get the race mode pin but otherwise complies with the 750 watt 20 mph Class 2 regulation for low speed electric bicycles
  • For those who enjoy pedal activated assist, you can have Vintage install a torque sensing pedal assist feature which could be a neat option for those with sensitive wrists or fingers who just want to ride like a traditional bike
  • Decent weight distribution, the bike may be heavy but at least the battery box is mounted low and center on the frame, this improves handling and keeps the frame stiff compared to e-bikes with rear-rack batteries
  • For those who wish to use the Scrambler around town to run errands, Vintage Electric has a beautiful and sturdy rack option that works with a Brooks pannier system that you can pay a bit extra for, I like that this does not block the rear light
  • The headlight is super powerful and has three modes of operation including low, high, and strobe… which is very attention grabbing but possibly almost too fast in my opinion
  • Vintage Electric has refined their battery controller a bit since the early days, it won’t allow for regen if the battery is full, and this helps to prolong battery life
  • Given the higher capacity for the battery pack at 702 watt hours, it’s great that they provide a faster 6 Amp charger (most ebikes use a 2 Amp charger), but keep in mind that the battery isn’t designed to be removed so you’ll need to park near a power outlet to charge and possibly bring the bike into a garage or inside, which would be good from a care standpoint because extreme heat and cold can degrade Lithium-ion cells faster
  • The motor is very quiet and durable, these gearless hub motors don’t have any rubbing inside, and when used with a pure sine wave converter controller (which Vintage Electric uses) they feel smooth and don’t buzz, they even adjusted the software to reduce cogging when the bike is powered on (so you don’t get electromagnetic drag unless you push the red regeneration button)

Cons:

  • I mentioned strength as a pro, but the trade-off is weight, and this electric bike is much heavier than average at ~81 lbs, the high power motor and extra large battery pack with custom casing contribute a lot
  • The heavier a bicycle is, the harder it usually is to pedal, and this thing only has one gear?! It’s setup a lot more like a moped than something you’d want to pedal frequently, especially with the less-efficient knobby tires (but I love that the tires have a puncture protection liner integrated to reduce flats)
  • The kickstand looks nice and is sturdy but functionally, leaves a lot to be desired, it is not adjustable length and the end tends to sink into soft terrain, it is positioned near the left crank arm and can collide when down (like if you back the bike up with it deployed because the cranks turn backwards)
  • Minor con here, considering this is setup more like a motorcycle in terms of style, but there is only one frame size and the high-step top tube could make it difficult to mount and stand over for some… however, it’s much lighter and easier to handle than a real motorcycle
  • As beautiful as most of this ebike is, the exposed wires that run beneath the downtube look a little tacky, they are also going to take more wear with mud, tiny rocks, and water being kicked up off of the front tire… however, the motor power cable is actually really well protected as it runs along the left chainstay and is tucked in near the disc brake rotor compared to most hub motor powered electric bikes that let the cable stick out through the end of the axle (which could snag or bend more easily)
  • The display panel leaves something to be desired, there are just three LED lights that show green, yellow, and red to indicate capacity… no fancy infographics or range estimates, no current speed, odometer, trip meeter etc.
  • Priced at roughly $7k, this is one of the most expensive electric bikes options I have see, but it’s definitely unique and much more powerful than than the mainstream products
  • The headlight is controlled by a rubber button on the back side of the light housing and it can be difficult to reach, I show this in the video review around 1:40
  • Once this bike has been powered on (by inserting the key and twisting to on) you can take the key out, but the bike will be “hot” and ready to roll, there is no other on/off switch and it would be easy to accidentally bump the trigger throttle when mounting or dismounting and it could tip you or take off and crash… be careful!
  • I was told that the magnetic charging interface (at the end of the plug) can gather Iron filings if dropped into sand or left on a shop floor, the charger itself weighs more at ~3 lbs (most chargers are under 2 lbs), and the charging port on the side of the battery has a little magnetic cap that is easy to misplace because there’s no leash system to keep it with the bike (so keep an eye on it)

Resources:

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fourday
4 days ago

Hello I have been lurking, researching E bikes for the last 6 months or so, since I realized I will not be able to ride as I used to, due to a recent medical issue. I have been riding bikes all my life, since retiring, wife and I would load bikes on motor home and go. I am 68 years old, and my wife is 69. Retired from the fire service after 35 years, and was recently diagnosed with cancer, which has affected my endurance but not my will to get out and ride. wife was a nurse for 40 years, and knees are not as strong. E bikes seem to be the answer for us. some must have's include throttle and assist . looking at the 3 to 4 k range, but must admit i rode a classic ebike scrambler and loved it, but 7 k is too much especially when i am looking for 2 bikes. I have been looking specifically at the Evelo galaxy, for my wife and the delta for myself. We have also been looking at the Luna brand. my wife likes the Evelo due to the ease of mounting,and the Nuvinci N380 transmission. some riding includes dirt roads bike trails, no extreme mountain biking any more. especially looking for quality and good service. thanks Bob

MoreyFan
4 weeks ago

If you are manufacturing any product that has to be sold by a dealer network that dealer network will devour your profit margins.

I can go buy a Versys 300 X for $800 less than a Trek Super Commuter+ 8S. The Kawasaki does 100 mph has way more storage range and less maintenance. The reason is not dealer network related.

I think that Ebikes, like fancy mountain bikes are a luxury item, so they can charge a premium for it.

Someone was talking about profit margin and eBikes by the large manufactures are on luxury item profit margins compared to the paper thin profit margins they have on their bikes. You can pay full retail for a Trek hybrid with your choice of 5 frame sizes and LBS support for less than $400 OTD.

I think the large manufactures don't want an eBike market mostly because at the end of the day 70-90% of the value added is just the drive motor and battery. They would be turning their entire marketing and sales into a vehicle to move Shimano and Bosch product.

For eBikes to go mainstream I think it will be a different set of companies that sell the majority of them.

Dave F.
2 months ago

OK, after a month's absence and several test rides, we are narrowing down the bike search for my wife. Here's some of the observations and conclusions to date:
1. After testing several different frame styles from several different manufacturers, the FULL step-thru frame is a strong favorite. (This is called a "Wave" frame by some brands.) My wife finds it significantly easier to manage than the semi-step thru design (strangely called the "Ladies" frame by some brands.)
2. After riding several models with Shimano Steps, Brose, and Bosch drive systems, we both prefer the Bosch system, but for different reasons; I like the Bosch technical features, she likes the Intuvia display (finds it easier to read than the Shimano.) I am aware that some newer Bosch models come only with a newer 'Purion' display, which is smaller.
3. She has tested a bike with the Shimano Di2 "auto-shifting" feature and did not like it due to "harsh-sounding" gear changes. My interpretation is that when you shift yourself you know it's coming, but when the computer chooses the time and place for a gear change, it comes as a surprise. (Personally, I have a Di2 shifting system on my Specialized Roubaix, and I absolutely LOVE it!...but then again, it's not auto-shifting.)
4. The Bosch drive system comes in five different "power levels" and with two different battery sizes. Due to our many hills and longer group rides, we prefer the 'Performance' or 'Performance CX' motor and the 500 wh battery. This, of course, rules out several models which only have the smaller motor and/or the smaller battery.
5. My wife has ridden the R&M Nevo Duvinci model and found it to be a high quality, powerful, and comfortable bike, albeit quite expensive. (Scrambler: you are correct that the Harmony auto shifting is not available on this bike

GVbike
2 months ago

>Can you let us know which fork you put in and if you had any issue with the replacement.
I used Manitou minute expert 140mm travel fork Tapered Steer, QR15, 650B, disc - paid around $220 in amazon.

That said, any Tapered steer Disc fork for 27.5 wheel should fit fine.
There were a couple of issues:
1. I wanted full fenders on the front. This is a truly great bike to ride but the front fenders were awfully short (the only negative in an otherwise terrific bike).
I opted for planet bike speed EZ fenders and they fit perfectly).
2. Rather than forking off more money to have a suspension fork with integrated light mounts, I moved the lights to handlebar and secured it with a nice clamp - looks and fits great now.

I didn't end up changing the rear fender because I love the daytime running lights on this bike and rear fender has the necessary wiring for the integrated rear lights. For now, functionality prevails over aesthetics and the rear fender stays.

>I had inquired with Karmic about doing something like that as well as other possible customizations, and was politely told I should go look elsewhere.
I did and I got the same reply as well. I also realized that this bike is nearly perfect and even when you spend extra dollars to bring this bike closer to perfection, you would still end up saving lot more than buying either a stromer st1-x or a turbo vado 6.0.

koben s + tubless conversion of the included wtb horizon tires + suntour suspension seat post + ergo grips + manitou fork + speed EZ fender = bike that is nearly $1000 cheaper than vado 6.0 but rides so much better than a specialized vado.

>Happy to see Hong is welcoming your customization :)
If only Hong adds these options as standard in a price range between $3.5 to $4k, many potential buyers of st1-x , vado and riese & muller charger/delite would be riding a better bike (koben s) for a cheaper cost.

Also, if he offers larger capacity battery options (800kwhr or more) for an additional fee in the future - this would be the perfect e-bike on the market IMO.

comradecasey
2 months ago

Bafang Ultra Max will give you a much better pedal assist mode if that is important to you.

It is, but unfortunately I haven't been able to track down a production bike that uses that drive.

Hong
2 months ago

I had inquired with Karmic about doing something like that as well as other possible customizations, and was politely told I should go look elsewhere.

Happy to see Hong is welcoming your customization :)

IIRC you asked about a list of changes you wanted done to the bike, and I politely said it wasn't possible. You're welcome to do whatever you want to the bike once you own it. :)

Flatstone
2 months ago

You may want to contact these people, they can probably assemble any size you require
http://www.boston-power.com/products

I contacted Boston power but they aren't taking any orders. Not sure if it's going out of business. The assembly kits look great. Shame you can't just but the kits and do it yourself. I found the swing 5300 batteries on aliexpress and they aren't a bad prices. I can't find any details of their chemistry however, they say they're safe, but don't they all say that.

Thanks again for the info.

zap016VOLTAGE
2 months ago

Thank you both @harryS and @scrambler for sharing. :)
Delfast seems to be positioning their bike as an on-road commuter rather than an off-road eMountain bike.

JayVee
2 months ago

What I really like is that it has auto downshift when you stop (shifting these 14 gears was a bit of a workout) and also that it can shift 3 gears at a time, which on an e-bike with 14 available gears is kind of a must.
Remains to see how fast it goes into that mode so it can be used quickly. You don't want it to take as much time to get in that mode as it would take to click 3 times. It could also be nice if you could actual set how many gears to shift with one push, like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Basically letting people set any number of virtual gear within the 14.

It would also be nice if it could integrate with the Bafang Max (& Ultra) drive motor controller...

It shifts the entire range in 3 seconds using the 3 gear shift shortcut. But only a subset of the gears will be necessary to get up to speed as it has a 560% gear range. I doubt you'd need to go through all of those very often.

I agree with you about the custom sequences. If you're stopping at a red light on a flat terrain, you might only need to jump down into 2nd or 3rd gear. But if you're starting off on a hill, you'd most probably want to start in first gear.

I'm excited about the system because it integrates drive and transmission, which will probably get other IGH manufacturers to rethink their current products and takes things a step or two further. The E-14 is eagerly awaited by professional users in the cargo e-bike segment, and it will no doubt trickle into high end recreational e-bikes too. I expect the price tag to be fairly consequent, but it's a proof of concept type of product, which is probably why Bosch has embraced the association with Rolhoff. The idea here seems to be to encourage other manufacturers to adopt e-shift.

BTW, did you find a bike with the Nuvinci that fits your needs? I certainly hope you'll find something sooner than later. Choosing an e-bike can be really difficult and frustrating.

scrambler
2 months ago

@scrambler Does electricbike-expo have a current list of expos? That web site gives a list of 2016 expos. Maybe they have quit doing expos.

Not sure why the site does not list 2017. I found the article below that has 2017 dates. You would want to confirm of course
https://electricbikeassociation.org/events/

I am also putting a hand throttle on my must-have list. I'm thinking, what if one of these knees gives out? Would I be able to exert enough pressure, or keep up the cadence to keep the motor-assist going?

That will narrow your selection further, as only a small percentage of companies are offering throttle and Pedal assist.
Koben has an Xlarge (21") frame, but no suspension and no throttle. But they may be able to add a throttle, as the Bafang Max drive motor does support it.
http://www.karmicbikes.com/shop/koben-s

Amflautist
2 months ago

@Mark Peralta You video of the 'BodyFloat' is mesmerizing. But I keep wondering - what happens of it breaks? I'll probably go for a big soft cushy seat with springs. Having kids makes those men's seats too uncomfortable.

@indianajo Great stories! You are a supreme scavenger and fixer.

@scrambler Does electricbike-expo have a current list of expos? That web site gives a list of 2016 expos. Maybe they have quit doing expos.

I am also putting a hand throttle on my must-have list. I'm thinking, what if one of these knees gives out? Would I be able to exert enough pressure, or keep up the cadence to keep the motor-assist going?

Dewey
2 months ago

"110 miles is a long distance for an ebike, if you were to attempt to ride that distance in one go you would need to either carry a spare battery, or a battery with a very large capacity"
Riese & Muller also has several models that have two 500W batteries connected at once.

True and they look very nice but they are also twice the price.

Mark Peralta
2 months ago

Many thanks for all your suggestions:
JayVee - Thanks for the Wallerang suggestion, it looks like a good bike, and I've found a dealer and scheduled a test ride.
Scrambler - Thanks for the NuVinci CVT suggestion. I had not thought of that, but it looks good. I am familiar with Felt as my wife previously rode a Felt road bike and liked it. I'm not familiar with Evelo but will look into it. I also found the Reise & Muller Nevo which uses the NuVinci/Bosch combo and I've scheduled a test ride of it.
IRA - Good suggestion of keeping the weight low by mounting the battery on the downtube rather than the rack. I will let my wife's feedback after test rides determine whether this is a high or low priority.
86 a.s.k. - You're right that a throttle would remove the need to shift much, BUT we've pretty much decided on a mid-drive pedal-assist model. (our recreational road bike group would likely allow a long-term member to keep riding if she was pedaling like everybody else, but I don't think they'd accept somebody just sitting there on what might as well be a motorbike!)
Thanks to all for your help.
Hi, you might want to check out Corratec LIFEBIKE with nuvinci h/sync. You just set the cadence (like 75 RPM) and the bike will automatically sort out the ratio for you, regardless of speed and effort. You don't have to think if you're in the right gear and just focus on the joy of riding.

Here's the full review and info by Court, EBR moderator.
https://electricbikereview.com/corratec/lifebike/

Here's another step through with nuvinci h/sync.

1/1
Dave F.
3 months ago

Thanks, Scrambler...I had not realized the R&M Nevo USA models did not have auto-shift. Fortunately, as it turns out, We're Canadian snowbirds who spend approx. six months of the year in Canada and the other six months in Arizona. We're in Canada right now and the Canadian model definitely has the auto-shift feature. I had not yet decided whether to buy in Canada in September or wait until we are in the USA in October. If the R&M Nevo becomes the choice model, then we'll buy it here. Thanks.

Dave F.
3 months ago

Many thanks for all your suggestions:
JayVee - Thanks for the Wallerang suggestion, it looks like a good bike, and I've found a dealer and scheduled a test ride.
Scrambler - Thanks for the NuVinci CVT suggestion. I had not thought of that, but it looks good. I am familiar with Felt as my wife previously rode a Felt road bike and liked it. I'm not familiar with Evelo but will look into it. I also found the Reise & Muller Nevo which uses the NuVinci/Bosch combo and I've scheduled a test ride of it.
IRA - Good suggestion of keeping the weight low by mounting the battery on the downtube rather than the rack. I will let my wife's feedback after test rides determine whether this is a high or low priority.
86 a.s.k. - You're right that a throttle would remove the need to shift much, BUT we've pretty much decided on a mid-drive pedal-assist model. (our recreational road bike group would likely allow a long-term member to keep riding if she was pedaling like everybody else, but I don't think they'd accept somebody just sitting there on what might as well be a motorbike!)
Thanks to all for your help.

PhilRW
3 months ago

Update: I've posted pictures and updated the review here.

I had test ridden and researched quite a few ebikes lately in search for a bike that had most (if not all) of the following specs (much like scrambler's thread):

mid-drive, class 1
traditional high-step frame for extra stability
upright seating posture for comfort, keep weight off my hands as much as possible
front suspension
hydraulic disc brakes
NuVinci transmission with Harmony or H|Sync automatic shifting
Gates belt drive for long term durability, quiet/smooth, and (potentially) lower long-term maintenance
integrated light(s), if possible

I happened across a 2016 Tempo Carmel at a small local bike shop and gave it a test ride. I wasn't expecting or even looking for the bike, but there it was. And it was a lot of fun. After testing out a few more bikes, I decided the Carmel was the bike for me, so I purchased it for what I felt was a very good price and rode it 11 miles home, the last couple up a relatively long hill. Google Maps says it's 262 feet over 1.5 miles, which makes it a 3.3% grade. I currently weigh 98 kg and I was carrying at least 5 kg on my back. For the steepest part of the hill (4.8% grade over 0.4 miles), the bike kept up a solid 7 mph in maximum assist. I am 5'10" and the large/48cm frame fits me nicely. Granted, I still had to work, too, but it didn't kill me and I'm not in great shape (yet). I wasn't sweaty by the top of the hill.

I believe the motor is the MPF 6c, which the spec sheet says is 75 Nm of torque and 250 W nominal, 500W peak. The motor itself is incredibly responsive and quiet, about as quiet as the Brose motor on the Bulls Lacuba Evo E8 I tried. I believe it might be limited to the international 25kph standard? (More ride research is needed here.) The bike doesn't have brake inhibiters but doesn't need them because the motor stops a fraction of a second after you stop pedaling. Also, the belt drive makes this bike very quiet and smooth. Honestly I couldn't hear the bike that much at all working up the hill in 100% assist mode. The motor was responsive enough to highlight my own faults as a cyclist: inconsistent delivery of power to the pedals. I'll get better over time. :)

The bike came with the N360 hub and the 3-button base controller (H3). The preprogrammed cadence speeds are approximately 40, 55, and 70 rpm (see here for more details on the system). I have not tried a bike with the advanced controller yet (H8), but so far I am happy with the three speeds. I might eventually change out the controller. I typically stayed with the middle 55-rpm mode and was pleasantly surprised how steady my cadence was. One time after I decelerated more rapidly than normal, I started pedaling again and was in a much "lower gear," or faster cadence, than I expected. I think I fooled the controller into believing I was going to come to a complete stop. It quickly recovered. Since I had several stops and intersections on my route home, I was glad not to have to constantly shift down. In fact, It was nice not thinking much about shifting at all, and even though I am totally capable of managing that part of the ride, I was able to spend my mental energy elsewhere.

The handling of the Tempo was quite nice on dry pavement and I felt more confident with this bike than my previous bikes (of course, that's not saying much given my previous models). It corners nicely and is stable at 30+ mph downhill. The tires have a nice hybrid tread pattern for pavement and packed gravel trails, and they have a reflective sidewall as well.

On to the controls: There is a five-button controller near the left grip with +, -, light, mode, and walk. The MPF-branded computer doesn't give an estimated range remaining display, but it does have odometer, trip distance, trip time, average speed, max speed, and clock. Always on the display, from left to right, are assist level (10 levels!), speed, cadence rpm, and 5-segment battery meter. There is a backlight and a micro-USB port on the controller, and the only button on the display unit is the power button. It is detachable and has its own coin cell backup power supply.

There are hydraulic disc brakes on both wheels and the front light is wired into the controller and runs off of the main battery. The rear light is battery powered and only blinks (at least I can't get it to do anything else). It's probably more energy efficient to blink a battery-powered LED anyway. Walk mode works by holding down the dedicated walk button. There are the typical bosses for fenders and racks, although it might be tough fitting a fender to the front fork since there is little clearance between it and the tire. Also, the front suspension is a single-spring system with pretension adjustment and no lock-out. I figure it's fine for my purposes and may even be more reliable long-term than a more sophisticated dual-piston system. The seat post also has suspension on it. I found myself sinking into it after riding for a while. Maybe there's an adjustment on it, I'll have to look.

My other top contenders were the Felt Verza E 10, the Bulls Lacuba Evo E8, and the Wallerang. The Felt uses the Bosch system and both the local dealers that I tried were having trouble with some of the the display/head units. The Bulls is a nice bike but I really wanted the NuVinci automatic shifting for a truly brain-dead biking experience. :) Also the Wallerang Di2 auto-shifting with the Alfine 8 was really cool.

Please ask away any question(s) you may have about this bike! I'm excited to have a more modern and responsive ebike. My last one is/was a Currie eZip Trailz that I converted from SLA to Lithium.

1/1
jmcdono362
3 months ago

I agree with scrambler. A few weeks ago I was speed pedaling like a maniac around 32MPH (road speed rated at 35MPH) on a flat surface for a good minute or 2 and didn't notice a cruiser was following behind me the whole time. He eventually rode past me, never said anything to me. Perhaps he was more interested in the bike itself rather than my speed.

Hong
3 months ago

Does anyone know of a bike shop in the San Francisco Bay Area that can source and install the NuVinci system on an electric bike?

Adding the NuVinci to a bike with regular gearing will be difficult (you have to tension the chain). Adding a Gates Carbon Belt Drive would be nearly impossible.

Luckily we've already got both on our Koben S. Feel free to email me when you'd like to try one.

Cheers,
Hong

Court
3 months ago

Don't know if others are experiencing that, but on Microsoft Edge, the forum pages frequently refresh all white, no way to get them to display.
Interesting, thanks for the head's up! We are working on a stability update that might fix this. Sorry for the inconvenience.

JayVee
3 months ago

Well Scrambler, I hope you find something to demo.

This is what I've been riding around on:

It's made by Flyer, so a Swiss brand. They're a bit expensive, but popular with dealers here in Switzerland because of the extended 5 year guarantee provided on many drives, and rapid availability of spare parts.

1/1
JayVee
4 months ago

Now that you are able to shift more easily by easing up on the pedals, do you see some benefit to the Continuous gear ratio shift versus the stepping up and down if an IGH, or overall, you find the stepping up and down of the IGH easier?

Also, imagining a harmony controller, where it is electronic so no effort twisting it, and shorter twisting range, Would you then see more benefit to the CVT versus the IGH?

I see great potential, but there are a couple of things that would prevent me from buying a Nuvinci today:

Start/stop situations. Maybe a shorter travel distance for the twists would help. I’d have to try it out.
The weight of the system. I need to carry my bike up a flight of stairs every day. I’m really struggling to carry this bike up a flight of stairs due to the Nuvinci.
Hill climbing ability. Below are 2 videos of the same hill climb. One with a Nuvinci drive and the other with a typical derailleur. Video 1 with the Nuvinci + Bosch Performance, Video 2 with my Sduro Trekking.

Over 12% grade things start to get difficult for me with the Nuvinci. When I reached the 14-15% grade section of the hill my speed had dropped to 7km/h and I decided to bail out and turn on to a side road to gain some momentum again (which caused the GPS in my phone to go a little haywire). To be fair, I think if I had insisted a bit I might have been able to make the climb but at 14% grade I’m stretching the ability of man and machine here. As for the climb with the Sduro Trekking and the classic derailleur, I made 7 gear changes... It takes practice to climb with a classic derailleur.

An important note: It should be pointed out that these videos are misleading as far as sound goes because they were made with different microphones. The first video was made with an external microphone whereas the second one was made with the GoPro’s internal mic. The internal mic amplifies the drive noise and doesn’t pick up my breathing, whereas the external mic accentuates the breathing sound and doesn’t pick up the drive noise as much. So you shouldn’t assume that the bike in video 1 is ultra quiet and the one in video 2 ultra noisy. You also shouldn’t assume that in video 1 I’m struggling because you can hear me breathing whereas in video 2 everything is easy. All this has to do with microphone placement. I also realise the sound quality isn’t that great in video 2. I’m having some trouble with my external mic.

Video 1 Hill Climb with the Bosch Performance & N380

Video 2 Trekking Sduro hill climb (skip to 2:30 for the hill climb)

Sonoboy
4 months ago

@scrambler - I doubt I'll be able to get any different adjustments done as this is a loaner bike. My Trekking Sduro was in for a revision and it turns out part of the rear axle is broken. So they've lent me this bike and I suspect I'll only have it for a couple of days. It's absolutely brand new and I have the impression that this is the 'factory setting' for the Nuvinci. I'll be sure to ask the mechanic if the sensitivity/travel length of the twist mechanism could be adjusted to be more reactive when I take it back.

I went for a ride and a thought occurred to me: the max assist speed of the drive system might have an influence on the Nuvinci. I've observed that if I want to reach 25km/h (the standard EU Pedelec speed), I have no problems. All I need to do is twist the lever once under load and I will reach that speed. And twisting the lever for the 'first twist' offers fairly little resistance. But I have a 45km/h bike and I'm attempting to reach a higher speed, which is why I have to 'twist further'. So I'm now wondering if this particular transmission system is really optimal for a Speed Pedelec. Or if the more advanced electronic versions are better suited to that.

From what fredi says, the Harmony sounds much more sophisticated than what I have. And my blistered fingers agree. :D
Since the loaner bike is new, the LBS might not be aware of the problem, and that it may just be incorrectly adjusted from the factory. Also, I recall reading somewhere that the Nuvinci needs to 'wear in' for a number of miles, so these two things may explain your problems with this particular bike. I will be receiving my own bike with this system in the next couple of weeks, so I may post of my own experience at that time.

JayVee
4 months ago

@scrambler - I doubt I'll be able to get any different adjustments done as this is a loaner bike. My Trekking Sduro was in for a revision and it turns out part of the rear axle is broken. So they've lent me this bike and I suspect I'll only have it for a couple of days. It's absolutely brand new and I have the impression that this is the 'factory setting' for the Nuvinci. I'll be sure to ask the mechanic if the sensitivity/travel length of the twist mechanism could be adjusted to be more reactive when I take it back.

I went for a ride and a thought occurred to me: the max assist speed of the drive system might have an influence on the Nuvinci. I've observed that if I want to reach 25km/h (the standard EU Pedelec speed), I have no problems. All I need to do is twist the lever once under load and I will reach that speed. And twisting the lever for the 'first twist' offers fairly little resistance. But I have a 45km/h bike and I'm attempting to reach a higher speed, which is why I have to 'twist further'. So I'm now wondering if this particular transmission system is really optimal for a Speed Pedelec. Or if the more advanced electronic versions are better suited to that.

From what fredi says, the Harmony sounds much more sophisticated than what I have. And my blistered fingers agree. :D

C Henry
4 weeks ago

7K for limited range and speed, when I can get a TW200 for a starting MSRP for 5k, unless electric is your priority and you like the styling enough to pay 2-3 times as much as other e-bikes this would be a hard sell. Its even approaching the price point of some electric motorcycles.

Le Lu
4 weeks ago

I would consider this a mopped with pedals rather than an electric bikes

Mr Rob
1 month ago

$7K is a really nice motorcycle
With $7K worth of parts and material

Stayshtum68
1 month ago

Way over priced but very nice looking bike. I know bikes very well and the cost of parts,and the most I would be willing to pay for it would be around £3000. I don't know what that equates to in US dollars but I am pretty sure it will be a lot less than $7000. I guess though,that there are rich people out there who would throw that sort of money at something a little bit unique.

DiGiTaLGrAvEDiGGA
1 month ago

way 2 much for an e bike and no mid drive motor!? I hope this bike comes with a lifetime warranty and free labor/part replacement!!! this guy is charging way too much his clientele must be upper middle class!!!

Shoe Salesman Of The Year 1992
1 month ago

The over pricing is strong with this bike. Probably cost them 1,500 to make. There is no reason for them wanting to make that kind of profit from the bike. It's all greed. I doubt they will keep in business if the prices stay the way they are, Specially with other ebikes starting to come down in price.

JME WILLIAMS
1 month ago

If I was doing a commuter it would definitely be this bike. Stunning machine.

Atticus Remus
1 month ago

I definitely appreciate the engineering and aesthetic but for 7k you could build one hell of a Ebike yourself! This bike wouldn't make it down a mountain but for even half that 3.5k you'd have a powerful rock hopper.

Rc With Foxy
1 month ago

A $9 LED headlamp, really? For that price I'd expect the best!

Atticus Remus
1 month ago

Rc With Foxy Hell yes where's my Xenon lights that turns with the direction of the handlebars am I right?

Silly Wabbits
1 month ago

So that's the 7k definition of a Custom eBike, nice

123bigred
1 month ago

I like the simplicity of no gears and no rear suspension....just go....

Blue Monkey Bicycles
1 month ago

Value is in the eyes of the beholder.

Blue Monkey Bicycles
4 weeks ago

I think the bike is cool.
Different strokes for different folks. Whatever floats your boat, or finds your lost remote.

Martin Schmidt
4 weeks ago

Blue Monkey Bicycles Yeah thats what ppl say if Its overpriced. For 7k you get much better ebikes than this China parts, heavy and cheap built "vintage" bike. For this price i get a Carbon ebike with Electronic shifting. I hope ppl dont buy this crap. :)

William Wonder
1 month ago

You always review the coolest bikes. You should ask the owner if he can put a banana seat and chopper bars on one just for the hell of it. Of all the bikes you've reviewed, I think I'd like that one best.

TheRealTraumatize
1 month ago

Good Bike but def they make 3x what they spent to make it. Taxing!

Martin Schmidt
4 weeks ago

TheRealTraumatize greed Not taxing. ;)

benzoesan sodu
1 month ago

7K USD when production cost is about 1,5-1,7K USD.
Its probably the biggest overprices ebike on the market :D
Cheap chinesse indicator of battery which costs 2 USD on Aliexpress.. Thats crazy cost cutting.
People should know also that model of front suspension has more than 6 years. Vitage electric just make them new life ;) but good looking with that bike.

Martin Schmidt
4 weeks ago

Jeronimo M :D :D :D

Jeronimo M
1 month ago

1.7 without motor and batteries, yes.

Bruce Ballad
1 month ago

really nice video. but $7k come on..

Adam Alon
1 month ago

Nice vid!

LongIslandADED.
1 month ago

Dope!!!

Jamie Johnston
1 month ago

I find myself saying just ride it ffs...

John Moura
1 month ago

Love the motorcycle style front fork.