First Impressions

Bikes I have ridden but not yet fully reviewed.

eZee Torq. Just a quick spin for impressions. This is a workhorse bike that has been designed and built with range, comfort, longevity and serviceability in mind. Drive is on the front hub so it can have a rear hub gear system (Alfine) which is great for commuting. It’s relatively fast too, about 38 km/h ie fast enough for most of us. It’s a cadence sensor system so it’s controller is effectively a speed controller. Has a throttle.

Focus Aventura (2016). $4399. A Euro spec bike with 250W mid-drive and a massive 17Ah (600Wh) battery. While the battery looks to be in an awkward place behind the seat tube, it works really well. This is a tried and tested approach used on Focus and Kalkhoff bikes. The bike has a really nice feel to it, and overall I’d say this is a bike most commuters will enjoy if they prefer a bike that feels like a regular bike. The one I rode (on a there and back commute total 55km) was hacked to go faster than 25kmh (by changing wheel size to 20″ – it tapped out around 38kmh), but in so doing it the distributor had also modded some other settings that made it feel a bit unrefined. In particular, it has a built-in pause when you shift gears to protect the drive train that was set to be a bit OTT. In normal mode this is only barely noticeable and would be better after a bit of tuning. The Focus bikes are a bit ugly duckling, and the colours are a bit off-putting especially in the women’s versions. But it’s a nice bike at a reasonable price point, especially with that giant battery capacity which even at high speed (I averaged 33km/h) would have comfortably allowed me to travel the 55km to and from work.

Moustache Samedi 29/7 (2015). Bosch Performance Line, 400Wh battery. This is a MTB hardtail with nice componentry including Fox forks and a ‘soft’ seatpost. It is a super comfortable and smooth bike suited to the type of riding we put it through, which was trails in the Hawkes Bay. It handled the hills admirably, doing 21-22km/h up the Tukituki hill. It’s a shame though that like all the Bosch motors it cuts the motor at around 26km/h. We rode 60km in the day and had perhaps 10km left in the tank.

Scott eSpark 710 (2016). $7499. Bosch Performance Line CX. This is a grunty e-MTB with full suspension and 27+ wheels. It accelerates rapidly up to its 25km/h cut-out. If only it didn’t… because it is a stunning bike.

Smartmotion Catalyst and Pacer (2016). $3500. These are essentially the same bike with different configurations to be either MTB (Catalyst) or Commuter/Tourer (Pacer). The Catalyst is being pitched as the hero bike but I think it should be the other way, the Pacer is the more practical bike. However the Catalyst has suspension forks which the Pacer does not have. The choice of forks on the Catalyst means that you can’t easily mount proper mudguards or a rack. They both have a nice component choice with Tektro Auriga hydraulic disks doing the stopping, and reasonable wheel and tyre combos. The motors are geared rear hub and offer enough power for most riders. They have a nice feature allowing selection between cadence and torque sensors, offering two different ride styles. They feature a big colour display on the top tube which looks nice and will be protected from harm, but in an awkward place for visibility. I rode very early production bikes that had some quirks about them – I trust these will get ironed out.

One comment

  • I have had two catalyst now. Rubbish! mite as well call them no motion. First one gave up with less than a 1000k second replaced fared a little better before it died 1500k.
    And forget customer service .

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