- A sporty cargo-capable electric bike with smaller mid-step frame and suspension fork options, it utilizes one of the most responsive and efficient drive systems on the market, Shimano STePs
- You get electronic shifting, automatic shifting options and tons of options in a beautiful, removable display panel, you can turn off backlighting, change the starting gear and so much more
- With an internally geared hub, you can shift at standstill and usually end up with less maintenance because it's well protected and sealed, great integrated LED Lights, reflective tires and full-length fenders
- Battery can be charged on or off the frame but requires an easy-to-lose dongle to do so, impressively light weight considering the sturdy racks, powerful adjustable hydraulic disc brakes
The Walleräng M.01 is a “modular” electric bike platform that combines sport with transport. It’s capable of acting as a light-weight cargo ebike with the dual rack system and I appreciate the way the front rack does not turn as you steer the bike. It starts out as a small out of the way platform and transforms into a larger more capable platform with the optional basket attachment. If you’re planning to do more cycling than hauling, consider the M.01X which comes with an air suspension fork… and if you’re a petite rider with shorter inseam, consider the M.02 which is a mid-step. And yes, there’s an M.02X with suspension as well. I found the bike to be comfortable and very capable, almost delightful to ride thanks to a unique auto-shifting drivetrain. Instead of of going with a standard cassette and derailleur like most bikes, the Wallerang comes with an internally geared hub that can be shifted at standstill. These tend to be reliable because they’re sealed off and don’t require external parts (like the derailleur) that can get bumped easily if the bike tips or is stored at a rack. You get eight speeds and they are shifted with an electronic button pad exactly like the one used to change assist levels. The bike feels like a robot or an electric car in some ways because the traditional levers and mechanical parts have been replaced… but that doesn’t mean it’s intimidating or complicated to use. Quite the opposite actually. the button pads have a black button at the top (for changing the display readouts on the left pad and for changing from auto to manual shifting on the right pad). From here, you can arrow up or down to get more or less power on the left and up or down to switch gears on the right… simple. And you can even override automatic shifting if you want. It’s one of the coolest ebike systems I’ve tried to date and I’ll discuss some of the more advanced options further down. Adding to the experience are matching full-length fenders, integrated LED Lights (the headlight points where you steer and stays out of the way of the rack), a chain cover, comfortable reflective tires and excellent hydraulic disc brakes with adjustable levers. This is a top-level ebike in so many ways, and while the motor isn’t rated as powerful as some competing offerings, I had no trouble accelerating or climbing a small grassy hill and found that it was super responsive.
Driving the Wallerang electric bicycles is a Shimano STePs mid-drive geared motor. It’s rated at 250 watts nominal with 50 Newton meter peak torque. This is one of the most compact centerdrive systems and I think it’s also lighter than the competition. While it doesn’t blend perfectly with the metallic-white frame color, it still looks great and you get safety points (a larger visual footprint) with the white. The motor responds to signals from your rear wheel turning, your pedal crank movement and the force with which you peadal. It’s extremely fast to start and stop so you never feel out of control. I noticed that it did produce more noise in the higher levels of assist, especially when spinning faster, but appreciate that it did not cut out before hitting higher RPM. I prefer to pedal faster and have found that the Yamaha motor cuts out before I’m ready to shift up… not a problem here.
Powering the motor, integrated lights and backlit display… as well as the shifting, is a 36 volt 11.6 amp hour battery pack. It’s fairly light at just under 6 lbs and seated beautifully on top of the downtube. Unlike some of the older Shimano STePs batteries, this one can be charged on or off the frame. Unfortunately, you need a little dongle plug adapter to charge off-frame and that can get lost easily. Perhaps future versions could have a little leash or maybe they could migrate to a single-plug standard to reduce the weight and inconvenience of hauling around ane extra part. Still, I usually leave my battery on the bike when charging and given the adjustable kickstand and overall stable build (not to mention the narrow racks that are easier to deal with than a full-sized cargo ebike) I think it works well enough. The plug for charging the pack on-bike is at the lower left side of the battery mount and has a nice rubber flap on top to keep dust and water out. I had mixed experiences seating this flap and noticed that the left crank arm passes nearby so be careful not to bump the cranks while charging or it could snag the wire and possibly bend the plug. The battery pack slides in from the left side vs. clicking down from above and that allows for tighter frame designs (you can see this with the M.02 mid-step frame). For the traditional diamond frame that I reviewed, they added bottle cage bosses below the top tube with the extra space and I’m a huge fan of that! Remember, you can easily take off both the front and rear racks for a lighter weight, sportier setup. Those bottle cage bosses could double as a lock mount or mini-pump mounting point.
Operating the bike is a one-step process once the battery is charged and locked into place. I love that the lock is automatic, you don’t need the keys in order to secure the pack. So once you’re ready to go, just press the power button on the big display panel in the center to get it to turn on. This display only has two buttons, the circular power button and a light button just to the right. They are large and easy to understand but the LCD readouts above are even larger. This is a display that you most people will be able to read from afar… with your current speed, battery level graphic and percentage, gear and assist level taking up the most space. Along the very bottom are trip stats like average speed, odometer and range. Range is very cool because it dynamically lists out how far the bike thinks you can go given the chosen power level (Eco, Normal, High) and the remaining battery capacity. Again, you navigate through these readouts by pressing the black button on the left pad. The other big feature is auto-shift which can be activated or de-activated with the black button on the right pad. I prefer to shift manually but there’s something to be said for uninterrupted cruising… it’s an experience you might have had on a single speed bicycle before but suffered through when a hill was encountered. This is your chance to get back a relaxing thoughtless ride without the struggle. And frankly, to have any sort of automatic shifting on an electric bike for under $4k is pretty impressive. It was not as adjustable as the NuVinci Harmony that I’ve tried on some Bosch powered electric bikes, but it’s not bad, and you can override with gear shifting at any time using the up and down arrows on the right pad. Perhaps the coolest feature of all is that the system will automatically shift back to a lower gear before you start riding again (if you’ve stopped for a few seconds). You can hear this happening in the background during my video review above. It’s a great feeling, it saves your fingers and reduces distraction which is critical if you’re hauling cargo and need to keep your hands steady. And it’s only possible on an internally geared hub with electronic shifting like this. To change settings like backlighting brightness, background color inversion (dark or light for easier reading) and the dreaded beeping noise… just hold the up and down arrows on the left pad for a few seconds to enter into settings. For me, this was one of the easiest to understand but still deep menu systems around. So many electric bikes hide the settings and aren’t laid out as well. They don’t give you options like the ability to turn off display backlighting but still use the headlight and tail light. This system does, props to Shimano for doing their homework. Perhaps the only complaint I have is that there dosn’t seem to be a USB charging port on the display or button pad up front… or anywhere on the bike. This would be useful for keeping a phone, music player or additional lights charged. And in the future I’d love to see larger battery options as well. The Shimano STePs motor is efficient but many competing products are now offering 500+ watt hour packs that weigh about as much as this one.
The Wallerang electric bikes do a lot of things right and the all-Shimano gearing system, hydraulic brakes and motor work seamlessly together. It’s deeper than a lot of the other ebike products I test and review without being intimidating… that’s saying something. I love that you can take the battery, display and front wheel off for easy transport (not to mention the racks). I appreciate the multiple sizes and comfort options but understand why a rigid fork might be easier to handle for front-mounted cargo vs. the suspension fork. Despite the rigid all-Aluminum frame, the larger tires improve comfort and the position of the motor and battery make it easy to handle and stable (even when I was riding with no hands). The kickstand is perfect for what it is but you don’t get a large double-side stand and that’s part of the “light weight” cargo bike setup here. The rear rack would be excellent for use with panniers but I cannot say how well it would work with a child seat given the proximity to the saddle. Even the pedals, grips and bell are upgrades here helping to justify the slightly higher price. You do get a two-year comprehensive warranty and while the bike might not be widely available in the USA, it is coming from a brand that has been selling here for the past couple of years (Blix) and utilizes leading systems from a brand everyone recognizes and respects, Shimano.
- I absolutely love that the battery pack can be charged on or off the bike, I think some of the older Shimano STePs batteries on the Raleigh Misceo didn’t offer this
- While the charger for this bike is slightly larger and heavier than some, it’s not the worst and it does charge faster than average so you can hit the road without waiting so long
- Two frame sizes (including a mid-step) both with a nice angled top-tube making this ebike approachable for different sized riders, it’s easier to mount and stand over which is important if the racks are loaded
- The racks are very stylish and capable, both can handle 55 lbs worth of gear and the front rack mounts to the head tube so it won’t slosh around as you steer
- You should be seen easily on this bike given the white frame color, reflective tire stripes and front and rear LED lights, I like that the headlight points where you steer and stays out of the way of the rack
- Rather than using a traditional derailleur and cogset, the Walleräng has an eight-speed internally geared hub that’s going to stay cleaner, require less service, can be shifted at standstill (handy if you have to stop on an incline and the bike is loaded up) and it won’t mash as much… a nice benefit given the lack of shift sensing on the Shimano STePs motor
- Whether it’s sunny or rainy out, you’ll stay cleaner and snag-free thanks to plastic fenders and a chain cover, the fenders match well and the front one is extra long to keep your feet and pants dry
- Shifting and changing assist levels is done electronically with this electric bicycle and there’s an auto mode which shifts gears for you, it’s a neat way simplify riding and it works well (though it shifts a bit soon for my tastes, I prefer to spin at a higher RPM and would like to be able to adjust this)
- Nice touch-point upgrades including alloy platform pedals, semi-ergonomic locking grips and a flick bell to signal pedestrians and other riders in a friendly way
- The display is easy to navigate and offers a bunch of settings so you can do things like turn off the annoying beep sound! Just hold the up and down buttons on the left control pad for a few seconds to get to settings, one clever option is the ability to switch the shifting and assist buttons from the left to right side so people who are left handed or tend to use one set of controls more frequently can put those controls on the dominant side, I love that they include battery percentage and fine incriments vs. four or five bar chunks
- The display has a dynamic range estimator readout that changes as you click between the three levels of assist, this combines with the battery percentage readout to really inform you and keep you from running completely out of power on rides
- I was really excited to see that the frame has bottle cage bosses in addition to the racks, they’re just below the top tube and could be used for a folding lock or mini pump if you preferred… this is made possible by the side-slide Shimano battery vs. the pop-up style from Bosch and others
- The wheelset was reinforced with eyelets to handle additional cargo weight without cracking as easily, I like the wider tires to smooth out bumps and keep gear from rattling (especially since this bike doesn’t have suspension, you can upgrade to the M.01X for $300 more if you want that which is cool)
- Weighing in at ~51 lbs for the larger high-step frame with front and rear racks attached, this ebike is light compared to similarly outfitted light cargo bikes
- The display panel is large, easy to read and great looking, you can adjust the angle to reduce glare (though you might need tools to do so) and it’s removable for protection when parking at public racks
- Great wheel size here, they chose 27.5″ vs. 700c (which is roughly 28″ and more typical of road and city bikes), by going slightly smaller, they were able to use thicker tires and still achieve the smoother more efficient ride without getting the fenders super close to your feet while pedaling, steering felt natural
- Awesome brakes and levers, you get Shimano Alfine hydraulic disc brakes with tool-free adjustable levers, this is perfect for when the weather changes and you’re riding with gloves and need to change reach or if you have smaller hands, the rotors are ice-tec with alloy centers to reduce weight and steel where the calipers grab
- The frame is very purpose built with an inset where the battery pack mounts (creating more space for the bottle cage bosses above) and internally routed cables
- With the racks being such a prominent and unique feature of this bike, I love that they are removable and that the kickstand is adjustable so you can really stabilize it for loading, the stand is also further back so your crank arms won’t collide and cause difficulty when preparing to ride
- For those who don’t want an internally geared hub and enjoy more speeds, you can upgrade to an 11 speed cogset and derailleur setup, I like how durable the IGH is personally though it does increase weight slightly
- One of the cool settings you can adjust with the display is your start gear, this automatically switches gears for you when you stop for a few seconds so you don’t have to struggle when starting out again! This is only possible with the internally geared hub
- I LOVE that you can turn off the backlight for the display if you want, I like to ride at night with my lights on but sometimes the bright screen can be distracting, this is a cool feature that not many displays (even from big companies) offer, you can even change the background from black to white depending on what’s easier to read… very cool but not difficult to figure out and adjust, the interface is one of my favorites
- The motor and battery weight are positioned right where you want them for optimal handling and lifting of the bike, they don’t take up space on the racks and are out of the way – low and center
- While it’s great that you can now charge the Shimano battery on the frame (reducing the chances of dropping it and just the hassle of unlocking it etc.) there’s a dongle plug adaptor that you need to keep to charge it when off the bike… and that could get lost easily, I’d prefer just one plug type for the pack and frame mount
- The Shimano drive system tends to be responsive but slightly less powerful than competing products from Bosch and Yamaha, I didn’t have a problem with it but also wasn’t hauling a lot of gear or climbing steep hills
- Wallerang is new to the US but somehow connected to Blix which has been here for a couple of years and has a decent dealer network, when you’re spending more for a product it’s nice to have bigger brands like Shimano connected to it and places to go for help, I’m not sure how widely distributed the Wallerang is at this point
- The rubber cover for the charge port on the lower left area of the battery mount interface just didn’t stick in very well, I’d like that to be easier to plug in so that it always gets set before rides (keeping dust and water out of the sensitive parts)
- I’d probably opt for a 31.6 mm suspension seat post if I got the non-suspension version of the Walleräng, I think it would manage cargo better not having a suspension fork but I care about comfort and might also switch to a mid-rise bar so I wouldn’t be bent so far forward (I already raised the stem and had it angled up but the flat bar is more sporty which is confusing on a semi-cargo bike)
- Much like the Bosch motor, I could hear the Shimano motor a bit more than Yamaha or Impulse (at least some of the older Impulse systems), it’s not terrible but tends to become louder when pedaling at higher RPM in the high power level
- I was riding a demo bike so not sure if this is due to wear and tear but the internally geared hub would occasional tick while trying to shift, it didn’t happen a lot but might be a signal for a tuneup