Scott e-Silence SE

There are not many Euro-spec 45km/h bikes available, but NZ importers are slowly waking up to the fact that commuters want speed, and that 25km/h is just too slow. This is evidenced by the number of dongled bikes being sold (a dongle tricks the bike into thinking it is going slower than it is, typically limiting speed at twice the makers limit). So kudos to Sheppard for bringing in the e-Silence SE. It appears to be a unique model to our shores, and not much other info is available on the interweb. So luckily, I got my hands on one and did some fairly thorough testing.

My first journey nearly ended in tears as I ran out of battery, fortunately only 1km from home, as a result of it not being fully charged ex shop. 4 1/2 hrs on the 4A charger and it was full again. The battery is 509 Wh (take that Bosch with your 500Wh!). I suspect at full bore it is good for 30km or so.

In my video somewhere I described this as a bike that can go fast, rather than a fast bike. It lacks the “wow, that’s fast” sensation, but it goes along at a reasonable clip – cruising at 41-42kph (indicating 43-44 on the dial). Part of that is the motor and the firmware settings and the rest is due to its good on-road manners. It handles really well, feeling confident in corners, and riding no-handed was no sweat even uphill. Its geometry is quite upright – tall headtube and relatively short top tube. It turns in nicely making it surprisingly nimble. I was worried about the lack of front suspension, but the 50x700c Schwalbe Marathon GT tyres at around 35psi handled things well. There was no jarring over potholes and road-path transitions. I’d still prefer a set of suspension forks like the super Rockshox Paragons onboard the cheaper (slower) model.

The parts selection onboard was super. Shimano XT shifters, SLX brakes, adjustable stem, FSA cranks, comfy Syncros grips, Supernova light. Mudguards and rack are quality components, no rattling. It has a built in mount for a Abus Bordo lock and a single key operates that and unlocks the battery. It’s a bit more hassle than a wheel lock but more versatile. The saddle wasn’t my personal fave, I’d prefer something wider for the upright riding position. The pedals too lacked either good grip or a wide platform to relieve pressure. These are easily remedied, and we all have our own preferences.

Ergonomics are good, with an enormous Bloks display, which is quickly removable and disables the bike if not present. It is a bit big to easily slip into a pocket. Bar graphs on the left and right show the balance of power from motor and rider respectively. In my view these are gimmicks and don’t add much to the riding experience. A neat thumb remote changes power mode and a touch in the middle changes display modes. I couldn’t figure out how to reset the trip odo or to engage walk mode, and couldn’t find a manual online anywhere. The thumb button clicks between “off” and 4 power modes. I tended to ride in 3 most of the time, occasionally using 4. It defaults to off after turning the bike on which is a bit annoying. Levels 1 and 2 were a bit anaemic, suitable for jamming with acoustic friends or touring perhaps.

Power uptake is smooth as silk, and quiet. When riding the wind noise drowns out any whirring from the motor, and it always felt like it was doing the right things, no weirdness at all. I expect the sensors are all top quality and the firmware developers have done their job well. I was hoping for a bit more grunt up hills – what there was is more than adequate but couldn’t quite match the Bosch ‘speed’ bikes, and was equalled by hub-drive bikes at half the price. Having said that it managed my Liverpool St climb with relative ease although the similarly motored Vado 3.0 beat it comfortably.

This is a premium bike with premium components and awesome handling manners. At $6500 it is not cheap, but within cooee of its direct competitors like the Specialized Vado $5800 (3.0) and $7000 (5.0), and Moustache Friday Speed ($7400). Each has it’s good points – if any of these bikes are in your price and wish range I suggest you ride them and work with your preferred dealer. Another option is to look at the cheaper e-Silence 20 which has a lower spec level, and would require that you ‘dongle’ it to get the speed – bearing in mind you are taking a warranty risk doing so, and your speed/distance display will not be accurate. I rode the e-Silence 20 and liked it’s Paragon fork, brighter colour scheme and simpler dashboard (the speed display is built into the thumb remote – really clever). The Brose motors ride nicely beyond their speed limit with no motor drag so you might find the slower version OK anyway.

The bike fits quite big so be sure to pick the right size for you. My L felt like an XL (great for me!).

Who should buy this?

  • You like quality and want a fast urban bike that handles impeccably
  • You tested the competition

Who shouldn’t?

  • You think you might like to ride a rail trail on it. Don’t.

Where can I find one?

  • I got my review sample from Bikes & Barbers Newmarket. Apparently AvantiPlus might have some, Electric Bike Hub has one as at time of writing.

More info please!

 

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8 comments

  • Well, its a fun discussion until something goes south. Sure you can build something “cheaper” but there is always a trade-off, and the single biggest one is simplicity. The bikes offered by the larger brands are fully backed with local service agents and local parts and a generous 2 year warranty. It is up to the individual to decide what that is worth. The $$$ build up pretty quick when you have to build a second or third bike in the first year because they simply don’t last.

  • HI Grant , I would have said like you – and up to about 20 months ago we would possibly both have been right. U could build at less cost – and have something of good quality -and get a good ride. We built 100’s – and we enjoyed it. BUT now that you can buy MOUSTACHE or SCOTT like above for $5500 – 6000 ( depending on model ) then i do not see the point. As i told Barry – He was riding my bike – I feel this is the best ride i’ve had in a long time. I rate it higher than the Friday speed ( which i also had the pleasure to ride ) . It’s more together than anything u -or I – could build. The SCOTT takes no Shortcuts – it’s wicked fun – handles like my old mini cooper .
    The price is less than many of the road and MTB we sell in our other shops -and they only get weekend leisure use – this bike is for all the other days of the week 🙂

    • Hi Christian,
      I’m sure the $5500 – $6000 Moustache or Scott are very good bikes, with all the bells and whistles already built in, and are no doubt great to ride. However the point – for me is about being able to build/have a very capable commuter for half that price. I don’t accept crap either.
      When I ditch our second car as my travel option, (happening very soon) I could well consider a top line bike, as you have mentioned. But I would still consider the value of spending that amount on a bicycle.

      If bicycles are your passion, then spending whatever amount you choose to, could make sense. I probably do take that attitude regarding buying guitars – my passion. For me I guess it comes down to the practicality/ utilitarian aspect versus the ‘want to have’ the best / latest viewpoint. I admittedly tend to be an ‘early adopter’ of gadgets and technology, so get that attitude, and do really enjoy using new and good quality gear.

      I’m aware from my recent research that riding bicycles or ebikes is a trendy thing to do in Auckland and other large cities. I don’t really care about that aspect of riding. I’m about improving my health, reducing my carbon footprint on our planet, and getting around my city and neighbourhood in an efficient and far easier manner.
      If I can do that, have a reliable and efficient bike, without having to spend an arm and a leg to do so – and not requiring any ‘pose value’, I would tend to do that. I also enjoy the challenge of building something practical and useful. Not everyone wants to do that, and would rather buy ‘off the shelf’ and that’s fine – especially for you in your business !!!

      Perhaps it is a matter of philosophy.

      All the best in promoting and selling bikes. It’s great that a lot more people are becoming environmentally aware, and choosing for a variety of reasons, to get on their bikes. I really hope to see bicycle riding really take off in this country. We are so far behind other countries in this aspect. Mind you, they probably have lot better roads, cycle ways, and considerate and aware motorists. end of rant !!! 😉

  • It’s amusing how Scott markets the “e-Silence” given that I find quietness is the greatest threat to my survival on an eBike. It seems I spend much of my time trying to be as noisy as possible so avoid collisions with pedestrians.
    That said, although this bike is not any more expensive than other premium European eBikes, I have to agree with the first poster that in this price range you need to consider the returned value per dollar carefully.

  • Thanks for the review Barry.
    I’m sure it has a market, and is desirable to those who must have the ‘top of the line’ bicycle to be seen on, but seeing it ridden in your review left me a bit ‘underwhelmed’.
    It is very well spec’d, but I fail to see the value in a bike of this price. I imagine I could put a Bafang mid-drive kit on a reasonable priced commuting style bike, albeit with slightly lower spec’d components and easily achieve the speed and nimbleness / handling of the Scott E- Silence SE at possibly less than half the price.

    I know that’s not the point of this type of bike, and probably not aimed at the average commuter / everyday cyclist, but I believe the price of these type of bikes is out of the range / not justifiable for the majority of urban cyclists. I could well be wrong though.

    Thanks again for your review. I’m not trying to be negative, and I know you are simply reviewing what becomes available in e-bikes. Like many others I appreciate your time and effort and the good job you do on doing demo’s of what’s on offer.
    As an aside, I could hardly hear any of your commentary while you were on the Grafton Gully part of your ride. Lots of wind noise – probably because of how fast you were going up there !!!

    Cheers,
    Grant.

    • Thanks Grant.

      The value is a bike that starts off really nice and can be ridden daily without fuss, and is easily sorted when something goes wrong. There is a difference. My own bike was a close to $6k bike that has been awesome – I am glad I spent the extra. It has paid for itself in reduction of car costs, health and happiness.

      I take your point on the commentary, I need to find a way to do the voice parts without the ridiculous wind noise. Any suggestions would be welcome.

      • Hi Barry, I’ve just started looking at ebikes and tried this bike yesterday, so was very interested in your review. I liked the bike especially as the only other one I’ve tried was the Avanti Inc rated at 25km. I definelty want a 45km rated one and want to try a moustache and maybe a Stromer so I’m looking at the higher end. Just out of interest what is your bike that you refer to above?

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