2015 VoltBike Elegant Review

Voltbike Elegant Electric Bike Review 1
Voltbike Elegant
Voltbike Elegant 250 Watt Internally Geared Motor
Voltbike Elegant Rear Rack With Battery
Voltbike Elegant Lcd Display Throttle And Pedal Assist
Voltbike Elegant Basic Suspension Led Light
Voltbike Elegant Full Length Plastic Fenders
Voltbike Elegant Plastic Chain Guard Alloy Platform Pedals
Voltbike Elegant Removable 36 Volt Battery Pack
Voltbike Elegant Electric Bike Review 1
Voltbike Elegant
Voltbike Elegant 250 Watt Internally Geared Motor
Voltbike Elegant Rear Rack With Battery
Voltbike Elegant Lcd Display Throttle And Pedal Assist
Voltbike Elegant Basic Suspension Led Light
Voltbike Elegant Full Length Plastic Fenders
Voltbike Elegant Plastic Chain Guard Alloy Platform Pedals
Voltbike Elegant Removable 36 Volt Battery Pack

Summary

  • A very affordable city style electric bike with lots of useful accessories including integrated lights, fenders and rack
  • Only available in one frame size ~19" but the adjustable stem and seat hight help to dial in fit, basic suspension fork, seat post shock, sprung saddle, swept-back bars and ergonomic grips offer good comfort
  • Voltbike mostly sells online direct so it may be difficult to take a test ride, they have been in business since 2012 and offer a generous one year warranty, the motor and batteries are from large trusted companies (8Fun and Samsung)

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Voltbike

Model:

2015 Elegant

Price:

$1,099

Body Position:

Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Cruising

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

20152016

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

54 lbs (24.49 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.2 lbs (2.35 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

19 in (48.26 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Seat Tube Length: 19", Head Tube to Seat Tube Reach: 23"

Frame Types:

Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

Black with Red Accents

Frame Fork Details:

Basic TopGun Suspension

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

3 Speed 1x3 Shimano Nexus Inter 3, Internally Geared Rear Hub

Shifter Details:

Grip Twist

Pedals:

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform

Stem:

Adjustable Angle

Handlebar:

Swept Back, Aluminum Alloy

Brake Details:

Mechanical V-Brake Front, Shimano Nexus Band Brake Rear, Artek Levers with Motor Inhibitors

Grips:

Rubber, Ergonomic

Saddle:

Faux Leather, Sprung

Seat Post:

Promax Suspension Post

Rims:

High Power, Double Wall, Aluminum Alloy

Tire Brand:

CST Tracer City Classic, 700 x 38c

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

Reflective Sidewall Stripes

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Front and Rear Plastic Fenders with Mud Flaps, Rear Carry Rack (25 kg Max Weight), Plastic Chain Guard, Integrated LED Lights, Compass Bell, Single-Side Kickstand, Free DOT Approved Helmet

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, Shipping to US ~$70, Locking Removable Battery Pack, 2 Amp Charger Weighs ~1.5 lbs, The Inter 3 Hub Has a Gear Range of 186% and Weighs 1220 Grams

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

8Fun

Motor Type:

Front-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung ICR18650-26F Cells

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

374.4 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

15 miles (24 km)

Estimated Max Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Display Type:

Intelligent, Fixed Monochrome Backlit LCD, Swivels to Reduce Glare

Readouts:

Speed, Battery Level, Assist Level (1-9), Average Speed, Max Speed, Odometer, Trip Time, Lights (Hold Up Arrow), Walk Mode (Hold Down Arrow)

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle (12 Magnet Sensor Disc)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Voltbike Elegant is a low power, value-driven electric bike that’s designed to be affordable but feature-complete with everything you’d need to get around town or commute to work. It comes with lots of useful accessories, an impressive one year warranty and even some name brand systems (an 8Fun motor, Samsung battery and Shimano drivetrain). For someone looking to ride on mostly flat, paved terrain it could be an excellent choice! Though it only comes in one medium-ish sized frame, the seat can be dropped pretty low and the handle bar angle is highly adjustable. Wires and cables are mostly concealed within the frame and the gloss black and red paint is classy. I was impressed with the integrated LED lights and removable battery pack (with removable key!) because even some more expensive ebikes fall short in these areas. For an average sized rider, someone who wants to extend their cycling range, cut through wind more easily or get help up hills, this can be a fantastic product. It’s very comfortable thanks to the swept-back handlebars, ergonomic grips, suspension fork AND suspension seat post and this is great considering the more efficient, narrow 700c city tires. The aluminum frame is relatively light and the front mounted motor helps to balance the rear mounted battery but there is noticeable frame flex and the bike could become rattly and inefficient if you used it off-road.

Driving the bike is an efficient but minimal 250 watt internally geared front mounted hub motor. Usually hub motors are mounted in the back wheel because it tends to bear more weight than the front (especially as the bike accelerates) and this improves traction. For the Elegant, they put it in the front so they could use an internally geared three speed hub in the rear (for pedaling with). Geared hubs tend to be more durable than derailleurs and they keep your chain tighter because there is only one rear sprocket vs. an entire multi-speed cassette. Another benefit is that you can shift gears while standing still and this comes in handy when riding around urban environments where there are lots of stop signs and lights. Imagine pedaling at high speed using the third gear then coming to an abrupt stop… instead of struggling to get back up to speed (or at least move a bit to enable shifting) you can shift down to first gear before you even take off. It’s a cool setup and the Shimano Nexus Inter 3 hub is a decent piece of hardware. So, back to the motor… I like how small and light weight it is because this reduces the impact on steering and doesn’t interfere with the suspension fork as much. Still, this unsprung weight is going to slow rebound a bit due to increased inertia and it definitely puts more stress on the fork going over bumps. Even though 250 watts sounds small to US riders, it’s the standard in Europe and equates roughly to the power output of a pro distance cyclist. The motor operated smoothly and fairly quietly during my tests (but you can hear some whirring). It freewheels efficiently so if you decide to take an unpowered ride (by removing the battery) or perhaps you run out of juice, you’re not fighting the motor. Under full power it got me up a medium sized hill and through the grass without issue. I like that the power cable running to the motor has a disconnect point so you can completely separate the wheel from the bike when doing maintenance. One gripe about both wheels is the lack of quick release, it’s not a big deal, it just means you’ll need some tools to do work and change flats if/when they occur.

Powering the Voltbike Elegant is a nicely sized slide-in battery pack. It mounts directly into the rear carry rack and is protected by metal tubing most of the way around. The tubing is standard-gauge and should work with most clip-on panniers, it even has pannier blockers on the sides for added strength and reduced exposure to the tire and spokes for attached bags. The battery pack offers an average amount of electricity with 36 volts of power and 10.4 amp hours of capacity… but that’s compared to 350 watt ebikes. With a 250 watt motor here you get extended range and a bit more pep due to the higher voltage. The cells inside are made by Samsung and use a Lithium-ion chemistry known for being light weight and longer lasting. You can care for the pack by storing it inside or in another cool, dry location. If you aren’t going to be using it for a while I suggest storing at ~50% charged and make sure the power switch on the pack is off! This is one of my few gripes with the Voltbike Elegant, the battery has its own on/off switch in addition to the system on/off button up at the control panel (near the left grip). Not only does it take more time to start the bike, it’s much easier to accidentally leave it powered on. Anyway, I love that the pack can be charged on or off the bike and that it’s also covered by the one year warranty. It’s fairly light weight and easy to manage and it blends in well with the black colored rack.

Operating the Elegant electric bike takes a bit of extra energy to start… just charge the pack, lock it to the rack then press the on switch there and at the front. From here, the display gives you lots of useful feedback about battery level (there are five bars), your current speed and the pedal assist level you’re in. Note that this ebike does not have a “throttle only” mode meaning that whenever it’s on, if you pedal the motor is going to activate. It’s not such a big deal if you’re in a lower level of assist (there are 9 to choose from) but if you accidentally pedal forward in a higher level and forget about the motor it could surprise you. Again, given the weaker 250 watt motor this isn’t a huge deal but it would be nice to have a zero level so you could pedal without thinking about the motor and just use the display panel to manage the lights and get feedback about your speed, distance etc. like a cycle computer. I do love that this e-bike has a throttle and that it can be activated at any time to override assist. It comes in very handy for boosting up hills or whooshing past fellow cyclists out on the road. Given the efficient tires on this bike you should be able to get a decent range, especially when using the lower levels of pedal assist with occasional throttle use. I’d estimate 20+ miles per charge on average this way.

In closing, the Voltbike Elegant aims for affordable utility. It’s not the most exciting electric bike I’ve tried but it is feature rich… You’ll stay dry and clean, be visible at night, have a way to transport some gear around town or to the office or school and you’ll be comfortable. As long as you’re not a super tall or heavy person, the frame should work fine. Given the online-only distribution of Voltbike you may not be able to take a test ride before purchase. I’ve provided some frame measurements in the details section of this review and hopefully that helps. In the future, it would be neat to see a 26″ wheel version of this model to bring the frame even lower and closer to the ground for improved balance and lower saddle height. The red and black are nice but I think white, silver or light blue would be popular colors. In many ways, the technology on this bike is the same as what ebikes were using two or three years ago in 2013 but it’s been refined and is offered here at a great price point that could appeal to users looking for a deal. If you take care of it, keep the stem tight and adjust the rack if it starts to rattle or come loose, if you don’t go off-road, this thing will do just fine and become an enjoyable way to cruise around town.

Pros:

  • The internally geared three speed hub requires less maintenance than a derailleur, keeps the chain tight (and quieter, it wont’ slap the chain stay as much) and can be shifted at standstill
  • It’s easy to dial in the fit and ride position here thanks to a quick release seat tube and the adjustable angle stem, I also like the gull-wing bars, ergonomic grips, suspension fork and suspension seat post for added comfort
  • Step-thru frame is very approachable, easier to mount vs. swinging your leg over the back wheel (which could accidentally kick the rack)
  • Integrated LED lights both run off the main battery pack so you don’t have to worry about turning them off after each ride or replacing individual cells
  • Extremely affordable considering you get fenders, lights, a rack and name brand battery (Samsung) with a one year warranty
  • Voltbike has been in business since 2012 and has a decent reputation for replacing parts and offering good customer service, they are expanding the number of models and types of ebikes being carried
  • It’s neat that they offer a free helmet with the purchase of any ebike and that the helmets are Department of Transportation (DOT) approved, for me the helmet was a bit heavy but the straps were easy to adjust and felt secure
  • Clean aesthetic with integrated wires and cables, this should reduce the potential for snags, there is also a disconnect point for the front motor which makes wheel maintenance easier

Cons:

  • Being a step-thru design with rear mounted battery pack this frame flexes more as you ride, it probably isn’t well suited to off-road use and loses some power and performance as you pedal
  • The rear band brake doesn’t work nearly as well as the front v-brake, I recommend using both brakes to stop efficiently
  • The bike only comes in one frame style (step-thru) and one frame size ~19″ which fits small to medium sized riders (which is probably fine given the weaker motor system), no quick release on either wheel
  • The adjustable angle stem can get loose over time if you ride off-road or go off curbs, check in on it and tighten to avoid loosening, consider carrying the appropriately sized allen key hex wrench in your toolkit
  • Only available online, you’ll have to do some assembly and adjustments yourself and you cannot try it before purchase, keep in mind it only comes in one size
  • No bottle cage mounts on the downtube or seat tube, you might want to add a saddle rail adapter or seat tube cage
  • The battery pack has its own on/off switch along with the display panel, basically you have to press “on” two times to ride and it’s easier to forget to turn the pack off after a ride (which could slowly drain it over time)

Resources:

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John Walters
1 year ago

On the voltbike Elegant what is the ground to seat measurement with the seat in full down. Also the Urban. My wife is very short. Thanks John

Reply
Court Rye
1 year ago

I’m not exactly sure John… but that’s a great question! George (owner of the company) is very responsive if you reach out via email and request some help. I bet he’d get back to you in a day or two. If you go that route please share here as I’d love to know too and don’t have access to the bike myself to check first hand.

Reply
VoltBike
1 year ago

Hi John, VoltBike Urban lowest seat position is at 23.5″. (This is not mistake. It goes really low because of the frame design). For VoltBike Elegant the lower seat point is at 33″. Let me know if other questions.

Reply
Court Rye
1 year ago

Excellent, thank you so much for chiming in with the official measurements!!

Reply
Mark
1 year ago

I run a dog walking business, and all my clients are within 2 km of each other. I want a bike that my employees can ride all day, including up hills, and down one stretch of gravel between houses. The area is on a gentle hill. Would you have any reservations about choosing this bike for this purpose? From a business point of view, the bike seems like a good fit due to the price. I wonder if it could be ridden between client’s homes all day (sometimes up to 16 hours a day when shared between employees) if we could charge through the day.

Reply
Court Rye
1 year ago

Hey Mark! I could see this working for your needs, especially with ongoing charging… but it’s definitely a value electric bike with a less stiff frame and a weaker motor. I’m not sure it would hold up well on the gravel bits over months and years of use without becoming a little rattly. But then again, it would be cheaper to replace if an employee lost or crashed it than a “super tuff long lasting” type model. If I were in your position I’d get one and try it out for a bit. My experience with friends and from what shops tell me is that people get a cheap bike like this and see what it’s capable of (or what a slightly nicer one is capable of) and then upgrade pretty quickly. The VoltBike Elegant would be a good way to dip your toes in and see if ebikes are viable for your business but if it works I’m sure you’d want a nicer more durable one… especially for use with a business at 10+ hours of use per day! This was my own experience with my first ebike, I immediately had buyers remorse and bought a nicer one and felt a little bad for wasting money. The truly tough electric bikes are from Kalkhoff, Haibike, Bulls and others that use Bosch or Brose motors and you can get some last-season deals now if you ask your local shop in the $2,800 range I’d guess. Use the contact form to reach me directly if you’re struggling to find one and want to go this route. But again, I’m sure the VoltBike Elegant would work fine for a while, especially if your team takes care of it :)

Reply
Diego Carrington
1 year ago

Hi there! I am just beginning to enter the entire ebike world and I have to say I am beyond impressed on how much effort you give to each and every one of your reviews. The quality of your content is in the level of very big Youtube channels and I hope your effort gets rewarded with many more subscribers!

That being said I would like to ask you the following. I am about to move to Boston, a very bike friendly city from what I know and since I will be selling the car I am currently using to cover some education expenses, I have some money I would like to invest in a way to commute to my future work and college visits. I am a good bicycle rider but I have never been a bike commuter whatsoever so a good, affordable but reliable option is what I am currently looking for. I value the accesories, warranty and overall aestethics of the voltbike Elegant but the lack of comments and reviews made me go out and try to reach for your opinion.

Do you think this would be a good entry for what I am looking for? I am a 6´2, 202 lb guy and I will be commuting 10 miles aprox to work everyday. I am also considering the Rad Power Bikes RadCity as a second option. Do you think the 400 dlls price difference is worth the investment considering my personal needs? The difference in the motor (250 compared 500), a more stable frame and more reviews and comments made me consider the RadCity. I think that if I am going to make an investment now that my budget is tight, I better make the best decision and maybe pay a bit more if it is needed.

Congratulations on your channel and thanks for all your reviews and attention!

Reply
Court Rye
1 year ago

Hi Diego! Thanks so much for your compliments and well-worded comment. It’s exciting that you’re moving to a bike friendly city and looking to replace your car with an ebike. I really appreciate the value that VoltBike offers and they have excellent customer service but in my opinion, given your height and weight, the RadCity is probably a better fit in this case. Not only does it have the more powerful battery and motor but the frame comes in two sizes and you’re probably best suited to the large 20″ model. I’m sympathetic to your financial situation, especially since you’re a student, so I reached out to Rad Power Bikes and asked about any discount programs or specials. They have a refer a friend program that will save you $50 if you use this code
Tell-a-Rad-Friend-e3fctf6b which might help out a little. This is not meant to hurt VoltBike and this is not an affiliate thing where I get paid… just trying to help given that in this case you’re probably better off with their bike and on a limited budget :)

Reply
Ken Sobel
7 months ago

Court, I’m still looking to find an appropriate bike for my 5’1″ wife. I see that the 2017 Voltbike Elegant is a totally different bike than the one that you reviewed in the past. It has most of the features that I’m looking for, especially the 500w Bafang 8Fun motor. The older iteration was 250w with lights, however, the newer version doesn’t seem to have any lights at all. I’m also wondering if the front brake has a motor shutoff in the lever. You’ve been so helpful to me in the past couple of weeks. Could you take a look at this bike too?

Thanks in advance, Ken

Reply
Court Rye
7 months ago

Hi Ken, I’m sorry but right now I’m traveling and focused on processing new footage. I won’t have a chance to look into the VoltBike Elegant but the owner of that company, George, has been very responsive via email and phone in the past. I suggest reaching out to him to share your questions. I just sent an email to Magnum to ask about the brake lever thing for you and am waiting to hear back, will respond to that question separately.

Reply

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TruTru9
7 months ago

@TruTru9

Have you looked at the Volt bikes.
I think @Court will have the most accurate suggestion for you.

I like that the Volt bikes come assembled. I like their new Elegant model for 2017. Good price.

Court has such a ton of information. I'm just spending all my day going through his website :D I really like the look of the Turbo. I know it hasn't changed much since 2015 but for $2500, I really like the looks of it. I'm not sure how "loud" the turbo is. I can't buy the turbo online but there is a local dealer about 20 miles from here that has one to test drive. I'm thinking about going down there and giving it a try.

MotorheadRedo
2 years ago

They connected the brakes up to the wrong levers. Left lever should be connected to the front brake, and the right lever for the rear. I think Shimano calls the Nexus hub brake a roller brake, and I think it works a little differently than a band brake. Hard to believe the brake works as poorly as shown in your vid. I bet it wasn't serviced or adjusted properly.