This is the best value ebike in New Zealand right now. At $2799 for a bike that can climb like a champ and cruise at 40km/h with a good parts selection, it carries a strong “buy” recommendation.

There are two models in the new sixth-generation Magnum “Metro” range. This is the ‘plus’ with a traditional diamond frame and 700c (road bike) wheels. The other is the plain ‘Metro’ which shares its design with the previous generation UI5, a very popular and much imitated model for good reasons. The Metro has ballon 26” tyres and wheels with a low-step frame making it more suited to the smaller rider. ‘Peak’ is the knobbly-tyred variant.

Magnum – a USA-based brand – has gone for a 48V configuration. Compared to the typical 36V, this allows a third more energy to flow through the electronics and motor, boosting effective power. This translates into speed and torque. What’s great is they haven’t then cheaped out on the rest. The battery is a healthy 13Ah, or 624Wh. That’s going to give a good range. At full speed, probably 30-35km, substantially more at lower speeds.

The display and motor as labelled Das-Kit. This comes from Magnum’s design and manufacture partner Leisger Gmbh and has been used in ebike kits. Hence “The Kit” in German. It looks like a Bafang motor so probably is. The display is easy to read and tells you what you need to know. A nice feature of this setup is that there is only a single wire from the display to the rest of the bike, so it avoids the nest of wires that some bikes suffer from.

It is a cadence -sensor bike, which means it takes a half-pedal cycle typically to get going. The throttle had been removed from my demo bike which reminded me how hard it can be to get started without one. It has 6 levels of assist (ElectricMeg refers to this as a “level set” system), and all 6 are useable. The 48V system has heaps of power so 5 and 6 are the levels above most other bikes. It is hard to control speed at slower speeds on a “level set” bike. My feedback to Magnum is that levels 1 and 2 are still too fast.

In my hill climb test, the Magnum+ smoked the course, recording the fastest time to-date of 1:55, beating bikes more than twice its price. Peak speed was 41.6km/h. Very impressive for $2799. If you consider this is a USD1999 bike, it should be selling around $3400-3500 here.

Other features include hydraulic brakes, suspension seat post, suspension fork, a sturdy rack and mudguards, large Wellgo pedals, Schwalbe Marathon tyres, adjustable stem, and lights. The lights are the only not-so-bright feature on this otherwise great bike. The front light is powered from the battery but has to be manually activated. The rear light is powered by a AAA cell and also has to be manually turned on and off. If those are the only faults, they are almost forgivable. [Actually I have decided that it is unforgiveable]

The bike rides confidently including in corners. I’m not sure if I’d want to do a rail trail with these skinny tyres – the Metro with its balloon tyres might be better – or perhaps the Magnum Peak the equivalent MTB-styled bike also with 48V.

Who should buy this bike?

  • The taller rider (probably male) who wants a fast and powerful commuter (the smaller rider should try the low-step Metro)

Who shouldn’t buy this bike?

  • The light off-roader. It’ll do it, but there are more comfortable choices (like the Peak)
  • You are dead-set on a Euro mid drive. Fair enough, be prepared to pay a lot more and to go slower.
  • You want something with a torque sensor.
  • You are going to be a heavy user, like every day. This is a bike built to a price point so you can’t expect it to match a Stromer for quality.

What else should you consider?

  • Onya SH-1
  • Smartmotion e-Urban
  • eZee Forza/Torq (slightly more $ but more robust)
  • Avanti e-Inc (mid-drive, belt drive, $2999 on special – but 25kph)