Looking for the best e-bikes? Until this week, Polish company Velotton was largely known for its backpacks and e-bike kits, which allow you to turn a pushbike into an electronic bike. But now, it’s taken the logical step and launched two new e-bikes of its own.
The Velotton Road and Velotton Mixte are very much ploughing the retro-chic path being pursued by the likes of Harley Davidson right now, but with a more traditionalist, minimal and, well, European twist. Most distinctively the front basket, made of recycled plastic, gives the bikes a very family-oriented appearance.
If you like the look, you'll be pleased to know these e-bikes are pretty affordable, although you'll probably end up paying more than the headline price, once you've added on everything you need (more on that later).
Both e-bikes are now available to buy on the Velotton site. Beyond looks, both are pretty similar, other than the Mixte has a step-through frame.
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Construction and capabilities
Starting at €1,390 in price (about £1,177), each bike offers powered speeds of up to 25km/h (about 15mph), and features a removable 360Wh battery that weighs just 1.6kg.
That keeps the total weight of the bike down to 16.9kg, including the battery and the front basket, allowing for a range of up to 110km (about 68 miles), or up to 60km (about 37 miles) with a child and a trailer.
The bikes are build with a strong Cr-Mo (chromium-molybdenum) steel frame and fork, while the bottom bracket is made up of a forged steel axle, sealed bearings, сups and corps made of forged aluminum alloy.
You also get two layers of protective coating, a maintenance-free rear hub with a coaster brake, a light front hub motor with sealed bearings, double-walled rims with eyelets, a comfort saddle with springs, and tyres with puncture-proof tubes. Plus, as you’d expect in this day and age, there’s an integrated mobile app for stats and navigation.
The bikes can be delivered to 26 European countries, including the UK, and can be configured to your needs during ordering.
So what customisation options do you get?
The Velotton Road and Velotton Mixte come in two sizes: S for riders of 162-175cm in height, and M for riders of 175cm-185cm in height. Colours are black, blue, red and pebble gray. Beyond that, though, further customisation options may incur extra charges.
For example, if you wish to mount the battery inside a pannier bag rather than the front basket, it’s an extra €190. To raise it from single-gear to three gears is €115 (about £97). And to add a front handbrake to the one on the rear wheel, it’s €35 (about £30).
Just in case you missed that last point, we'll stress it again. This bike comes without a front brake, unless you add it to your order. That seems like a weird concept for a bike that's being marketed as family friendly. It's also worth pointing out that in the UK at least, it's illegal to ride a bike without a front brake on a public highway, under the The Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations Act 1983.
Velotton's bikes don't come with lights, either, unless you add them for an extra €48 (about £40). These lamps are powered by the main battery, which is great, but again we're surprised they don't come as standard. (And again, it's illegal in the UK to ride at night without lights.)
The bike also comes without mudguards, which cost an extra €36 (about £30). So we really are talking EasyJet-style pricing here, and depending on your needs, the cost is quickly going to add up.
You’re also going to have to wait a while to get your hands on one. Like their e-bike kits, the new e-bikes are assembled by hand in Velotton’s Krakow factory, and only once an order is received.
For that reason, the Velotton Road and Velotton Mixte are both currently estimated to ship within six to nine weeks. The bikes come with a two year warranty, and are available to order from Velotton today.
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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in tech, design and sleep products. Over the years he's tested a number of mattresses, duvets and pillows, and as a back pain sufferer, has a keen interest in finding ones that offer maximum support. Plus, in running a successful Airbnb business, sleep hygiene and providing the right bedding for guests has become a big part of his day-to-day life. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books.