Why We Like It: This is a very capable mountain bike that just about anyone can ride and enjoy. It has great suspension, a smooth ride, and amazing tires that grip everything. The charge time and the battery’s odd position on the frame are our only gripes, but those things aside, you can’t argue with the power and quality of this fat electric bike. It makes a heck of a beach cruiser. You’ll love everything from the front hub to the back hub.
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In our view, e-bikes are approaching a crossroads in concept and design. Heading off in one direction are longer travel, enduro-style e-bikes, which are largely designed for cruising up and then blasting back down. Plotting a slightly different course is the idea of a lightweight model that rides much more like a normal mountain bike, but requires more work from the rider. Of the two approaches, both have their benefits, but it’s the latter that gets us the most excited. Once the overall weight falls into the 16-17kg range (the lightest bikes are currently19-20kg) it’s going to be really hard to tell the difference between an e-bike and a regular trail bike on the descents and the flat, but you get the benefit of a gentle push up the climbs.
I’m sat here absolutely knackered after being out this morning for a 3hr session round my local trails, including some much needed trail work which is quite amusing as i tend to stumble and fall on my arse quite a lot but over the past month i have managed to clear pretty much all of my old trails with the aid of a flask of tea, quality tunes on my jambox speaker along with my rake, mini shovel and Silky Zubat saw – I’ve managed to regain that totally exhausted feeling you get at the end of a days riding n” trail grooming so i’m a very happy bunny indeed! – albeit sitting here with aches n’ pains that make me wince if i reach for anything but i wouldn’t have it any other way.
Not sure if there’s any in Southampton but there’s a couple of specialist electric bike shops in the Brighton area that sell them and they seem happy to let people do test rides. Probably the best way to decide if they’re the right thing for you and what you want to do. Would happily accompany you for a ride round Stanmer if you came over this way for a test.
It was easy, good tools were shipped with the bike. The instructions are nearly useless, though. Like other reviews state, the front fork is backwards in the picture and shipped backwards. The disk brake should be on the port/left side. Flip the handlebar clasp around and leave the dirt guard facing forward. All the cables should flow naturally this way. Pedals were ok to put on, one of the pedals took a minute to get threaded but eventually got tightened.
The bike comes partly disassembled for shipping, so you'll have to attach the handlebars, pedals, front light, quick-release saddle and front wheel. In all, it'll take you around 30 minutes including removing all the cable ties and packaging. The tools to do this are included, but you might prefer you use your own screwdriver and spanners as the supplied tools are poor quality.
Before this test we thought more travel on an e-bike would obviously be better. After all, with the motor flattening out the climbs, why not have the extra suspension firepower to smooth out the descents? Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But in the case of the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert, the extra travel and weight make the bike less effective and less engaging on all but full-on downhill tracks. And if that’s your bread and butter, the Kenevo could well be the perfect topping. Here in the UK though, the Vitus proved more versatile, just as capable and way better value.
The furthest i’ve been so far is near enough 50 miles and 3500ft of climbing and i returned home with 1/5 left on the battery – the motor is loosening up nicely so i expect i have a genuine 60miles+ of off road ability if i take it easy, I managed a full lap and a bit at kirroughtree with a decent pace without having to place a foot down once and returned to the car park just as the battery fell form 3/5 to 2/5.
It is not a off-road motorbike with an electric engine and a throttle. Electric mountain bikes have motors that only work when you’re pedalling. The motor tops-up your pedalling input. It’s called ‘pedal assist’. There are differing levels of assistance (called things like ‘eco’ and ‘turbo’) that you select via a handlebar-mounted control unit. The motor also cuts out once you reach 25km/ph (or faster). There are strict limits on the power of electric mountain bikes; 250w is the maximum nominal power. More powerful than that and the bike requires tax and insurance (like a car/motorbike) and is also not allowed on bridleways at all.
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