Wisper Wayfarer Mid Drive

This is a new range from Wisper and distributed in New Zealand by the good folks who bring us Smartmotion – this means an experienced team who provide good support. They will complement the Smartmotion range and add some additional choice to their retailers and customers. There are mid-drive and hub-drive options, but I expect that the mid-drive will be the popular choice. They are also available as ‘his and hers’ combos and aim at the 50+ casual rider, with both on-road and light off-road capability. In our testing we rode a mixture of trails including Grade 2-3 trails around Wanaka — and they handled the rough without stress.

The bikes come standard with top notch mudguards and nice wide Kenda puncture-resistant tyres for confidence and grip. They are more biased towards the road, but don’t suffer much offroad. Gravel tracks are no problem at all. Sturdy racks and lights round out the package. There was no rattling on the rough which inspires trust. They seem well built.

The drive is from a motor tuned specifically for Wisper. It has ample power for most purposes and won’t do anything unexpected. There is a thumb throttle too for when you want to take a break. While the motor claims torque of over 100Nm I would dispute that, seeming more like ~65-70Nm comparatively, putting it on par with perhaps a Bosch Active Plus. It seemed quite efficient on battery; the 450Wh battery on mine lasting well and the 700Wh on ElectricMeg’s step-through lasting for ages. It’s nice to have the choice of a long-range battery for an extra $500. Other options include the sturdy front basket as shown on the step-through.

The ride position on both variants is ‘forward’. We both found that it put pressure on our forearms, so be sure to get a good bike fit from your dealer. However they are one-size only so they might struggle to get get you that perfect fit.

Priced at between $3999 (for the smaller battery) and $4499 (huge battery) the Wispers represent reasonable value. You would pay $500-1500 more for a main brand (Giant, Trek, Specialized, Cube etc) but you’ll be able to pick your size. However if the shoe fits… you could get just what you want for less. This is a versatile bike that deserves a good look.

Who should buy this bike?

  • You want a versatile bike that is mostly used on-road but also a bit of rail trail or light trail riding
  • Your local dealer stocks Wisper and Smartmotion and provides good service
  • It fits you well and you feel poised and balanced

Who isn’t it for?

  • You want something will rear suspension (you need a full-suspension eMTB)
  • Big hills feature in your regular rides – the motor isn’t as powerful as the premium eMTB motors
  • You are very small or tall and you can’t find a good fit

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