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Haro FLC 29 Pro
The New Haro FLC 29 Pro $4,129
Review By Randy Archer
On first look, the chrome and black frame is outstanding. It looks like lightening and rides the same. The paint and finish are superbly applied, leading edge, with graphics that jump off the bike. It's eye candy. As shown, the whole bike, less accessories, weighs less than 20 pounds. The key to a good cross-country bike is a laterally stiff ride, with no crank flex or frame twist in the corners, translating into full forward motion with each pedal stoke. This new FLC 29 does just that. It is so fast that I hardly had time to snap a picture before it blew away. The Sram XD 1X12 drive train is flawless and accelerates the bike to Mach 1 in seconds. When climbing up ledges, the bike is nimble and easy to loft.
As shown, the Reynolds TR309, 30mm tubeless rims, compliment the package, making the bike corner accurately, with no hint of large-wheel flex. The wide rims allow the Saguaro tire a very confident contact patch, even at 25psi, resulting in unparalleled acceleration when climbing, with 100% power transfer to forward motion. Simply stated: this is the fastest cross-country mountain bike I have ever ridden.
Sram has made a great drive train with the X01 12-spd. 34 teeth up front and 10-50 teeth in back is phenomenal. Gear spacing is perfect, allowing a perfect match of cadence and effort, no matter what terrain. Crisp, precise and smooth as silk. Sram's X01 is effortless and sublime, performing flawlessly, even when downshifting on a climb. I never needed a lower gear or higher gear. Simply amazing.
Naturally, ground clearance is outstanding, exactly what you want from a 29er hard tail. I experienced no pedal strikes on my entire first ride out. However, the pedals do come equipped with boots to protect the crank arms from inadvertent rock encounters.
With a perch mounted fork lockout, on the Rockshox Reba, flowing trails are a real treat. The Reba performs very well and even with the fork set at 25% sag, has no hint of bottoming out, or harshness. When descending, the fork does its job, managing chop and sharp edges, with a subtle feel mid-stroke, yet no sense of sticktion. The Reba is a great choice with this frame. The frame is forgiving, but still retains the rigidity you would expect from a cross-country hardtail. Together, they instill confidence and predictability when riding under the worst conditions.
Equipped as shipped, for $4,129, the FLC 29 Pro is an outstanding value. If you are looking for a super-sharp-looking, cross-country racing bike, you must ride the FLC 29 Pro. You will not be disappointed by the performance and delighted by the craftmanship of this Haro jewel. It deserves to be called Pro.
- Haro FL Carbon Series frame, tapered head tube, BB92 shell, thru-axle
- RockShox Reba RL taper fork, 100mm travel, thru-axle, Onelock remote
- 29" frame, fork, hubs and crankset feature Boost specs
- Ritchey WCS Logic Zero Drop-In headset w/ AC bearings
- Sram X01 Eagle 34t crankset
- Sram X01 Eagle 12-spd rear derailleur & Trigger shifter
- Sram XG 1275 10-50T 12-spd cassette
- Ritchey WCS cockpit and Lock-On grips
- Ritchey WCS Streem V3 saddle
- American Classic Onward 29" wheelset, sealed bearings w/ thru-axles
- Kenda Honey Badger XC 29" x 2.2" 120 TPI folding tires
- Sram Guide RS 180 / 160mm disc brakeset
- Frame: 2018 Haro FL Carbon 29" series w/ tapered headtube, BB92, 12mm rear thru-axle, Direct mount front derailleur, Boost rear hub compatible (17", 19" & 21")
- Fork: RockShox Reba RL 29 tapered, Boost 15mm thru-axle, 100mm travel w/ Onelock remote Lock-out
- Cranks: Sram X01 Eagle 34t
- Chain: Sram X01 EAGLE 12-spd
- Bottom Bracket: Sram GXP Press Fit BB92
- Rear Derailleur Sram X01 Eagle
- Derailleur Shifter Sram X01 Eagle Trigger 12-spd
- Freewheel/Cassette Sram X-Glide 1275 EAGLE 10-50T cassette, 12-spd
- Tires Kenda Honey Badger XC 29*2.20" 120TPI folding
- Wheels/Rims American Classic Onward AM28, 29" (15X110 front, 12X148 rear)
- Brakes Sram Guide RS 180 / 160mm
- Brake Levers Sram Guide RS
- Grips Ritchey WCS Lock On
- Handle Bar Ritchey WCS Flat bar
- Stem Ritchey WCS stem
- Headset Ritchey WCS Logic Zero Drop-In, tapered 1-1/8" / 1.5", w/ ACB sealed bearings
- Saddle Ritchey WCS Streem V3
- Seat Post Ritchey WCS 27.2mm
- Seat Clamp Alloy for Carbon post, 31.8mm O.D.
As shown above (extras and upgrades not included in base price):
- Reynolds TR309S 30mm tubeless carbon rims
- Shimano XT brakes
- Vitoria Saguaro 29X2.2
Haro i/O - The Payoff
Haro Shift I/O 9
First impressions on the Haro Shift electric mountain bike (PAS)($5,899)
By Randy Archer
The New Haro Shift I/O 9 e-MTB is an incredible machine. Haro really outdid themselves with the combination of cutting-edge technology, superior geometry and a classy look on this edition of their I/O lineup. Plus, it's outfitted with the industry leader in bicycle technology, Shimano controls and motor. This is identical to the I/O 7, except for color and no Di2.
- Shift Plus I/O X6 Aluminum frame for Shimano STePS E8000 motor, tapered head tube 1-1/8"-1.5"
- Rockshox Monarch RL 200mm rear shock, DebonAir, LL Tune, 430 lbs. lockout force, 140mm travel
- Rockshox Revelation RC 27.5" Boost fork, 35mm stanchions, 15mm Stealth Maxle, Solo Air, 150mm travel, w/ hydraulic lockout
- Shimano STePS E8000 drive unit / 250 Watts / 70Nm Torque, 500 w/h STePS E8000 battery
- Shimano XT Di2, 11-spd, Shadow Plus rear derailleur & shifter
- Shimano XT 11-spd, 11-42T cassette
- Shimano E8000 crankarms, forged, 38T chainring
- Shimano SLX M7000 hydraulic disc brakes, Pads w/ fins, 180mm rotors
- TranzX Internal dropper post 100mm x 31.6mm
- New Kenda Havoc 27.5" x 2.6" Folding tires, Pro EMC, Tubeless Compatible
- Wheels/Rims WTB i35, Tubeless Ready, 27.5"x40mm, Double Wall
As always, before starting out, I set the SAG (35% in front and 30% in back), tire air pressure (15psi in front and 17psi in back, tubeless), and the seat height and perch set to my liking. The fork and shock selection are good, but the Revelation fork is a little finicky. I found the Revelation a bit too progressive, with poor small bump compliance and excessive bottoming resistance (and a lot of "sticktion," where the fork grabs the stanchion too tight, causing the fork movement to stick in place). There was one token installed in the fork, which I removed, improving total travel use. To moderate and soften the action, I set the SAG softer and the rebound slower and left the compression full open. After everything was set, the overall fork performance was good. It also improved as it warmed, sliding more freely. (Follow-up: once the fork had a few miles on it, it started to smooth out significantly and works quite well now.)
Overall, this is a very nimble, fast and responsive bike. The geometry and frame are geared for cross-country (SAG at 25%) and all-mountain (SAG at 33%). The frame is very stiff laterally, giving a predictable feel and lively response on flowing, fast trails. For an e-MTB, it's very light. The basic geometry is responsive, with a light, flickable feel in technical terrain. The most outstanding highlight is the Shimano STePS E8000 motor. It is very compact, yet quite powerful. Once in motion, the centralized mass of the battery and motor, makes the added weight disappear. At speed or in the slow technical sections, the bike responds like any non-powered bike. The center of gravity is very low, making the bike well balanced. Many e-bikes have excessive flex, may feel tippy or top heavy, but this bike is stiff and predictable. The Q-factor is optimal, where the width of the crank arms are quite narrow, or closer together than any other center drive system I have tested. I could squeeze through some very narrow gaps and experienced a great lean angle, without the pedals hitting the ground.
The application of power by the STePS E8000 is impressive. Torque and power is remarkably smooth, especially in setting one, "Eco" mode. I never felt the front wheel push the turn, climbing is a snap in "trail" mode and "Boost" is really only necessary for fun. Compared to other motors in this class, The E8000 seems to have a broader RPM application, with the sweet spot between 55-90 rpm - an incredible range. The display is bright and easy to read, while the levers for changing power levels are simple and accessible on-the-fly, neatly tucked under the left side. Next to the power buttons is the dropper lever. The lever is compact and easy to reach and use. I love the TranzX dropper, it's definitely one of the best. On the right hand is the Di2 shifter. The Di2 is outstanding, with crisp and precise shifting in every gear. It's a real technology treat (although not quite as much fun as Syncro Shift when combined with a front derailleur). Plus, when coupled with the STePS, it displays your gear selection on the power meter. The STePS system also comes with Bluetooth and an App the allows the user to change settings, such as which button shifts and power application. Very cool. I did try the walk assist option and was delighted with how well it worked and how easy it was to use. Simply pressing and holding the power level lever activated the walk mode. It works fantastic!
The wheel and tire choice is well matched for a cross-country bike. The tread pattern is excellent on the decomposed granite found in the desert, yet they are very forgiving on the choppy sharp edges on some rock faces. The steering worked great on tight, slow, technical sections, giving a confidence boost when things got dicey. The combination of a 40mm rim with a 2.6 plus tire, yields superior traction and cornering performance, without the large tire penalty (rolling resistance). Great choice.
The Haro Shift I/O 9 is market-leading, technically competent, e-MTB, that is packed with excitement and applicable features. I can find no other bike that is better in this segment (all mountain / cross-country). Production bikes are reported to be available in December. See you on the trail.
Haro Shift R9LT
Riding the 2018 Haro Shift R9 LT Dual Suspension mountain bike ($2,829)
By Randy Archer
The New Haro Shift R9 LT MTB is, no exceptions, the best possible combination of features and components of any mountain bike in this price level. Modern and detailed, superior fit and finish, marks this MTB as outstanding in its class. The frame is stiff, yet forgiving, light, agile and very predictable. Combine this with top-of-the-line components and you have the new R9 LT.
- Shift R LT 6061-T6 alloy 4-Bar Linkage frame, 140mm rear travel, tapered head tube, 73mm BB shell, Boost 12mm thru-axle dropouts
- New RockShox Revelation RC Boost fork, 150mm travel, RockShox Monarch 140 rear
- Praxis Cadet forged crankset w/ 32T alloy chainring
- Shimano XT GS 11-spd Shadow Plus rear derailleur
- Shimano XT 11-46T cassette
- WTB STP i29 DW rims
- Kenda Nevegal X 27.5x2.35 120 tpi tires, Aramid beads
- Shimano SLX 7000 Hydraulic disc brakes w/ fins
- TranzX internal dropper post 31.6x100mm
- Frame 2018 6061-T6 series alloy dual suspended 4-Bar linkage frame, 140mm rear travel, tapered 1.5" head tube, 73mm BB shell, Enduro bearings, Boost 12mm thru-axle dropouts
- Fork 2018 RockShox Revelation RC 27.5, 1-1/8 - 1.5in tapered alloy steerer, 35mm stanchions, Solo Air; 150mm travel, w/ 15mm Maxle thru-axle included
- Cranks Praxis Cadet w/ 32T 1x, Forged alloy Chainring, Boost
- Chain KMC X11-1 NP/GY, 1 x11 specific w/ Missing Link,
- Bottom Bracket Praxis Cadet 73mm sealed cartridge
- Front Derailleur N/A, w/ Mr. Control alloy direct mount plate cover & upper chain guide
- Rear Derailleur Shimano XT RD-M8000 GS 11-spd Shadow Plus design
- Derailleur Shifter Shimano Deore XT, SL-M8000-R, Right, 11-Speed, Clamp w/o gear display
- Freewheel/Cassette Shimano XT CS-M8000, 11-spd 11-46T
- Tires Kenda Nevegal X, 27.5*2.35, 120tpi, Aramid beads
- Wheels/Rims WTB STP i29 TCS 27.5" x 35mm alloy DW rims, Tubeless Compatible
- Brakes Shimano SLX hydraulic, BR-M7000, 180/160mm rotors
- Brake Levers Shimano SLX hydraulic, BL-M7000
- Grips Ritchey MTN Trail WCS LockRing, 135mm
- Handle Bar Ritchey MTN Trail Low Riser, 20mm rise, 740 / 760mm wide; 9 Deg. sweep
- Stem Ritchey MTN Trail, 3D Forged, 0 DEG, 60/70mm
- Headset Ritchey Comp Logic Zero Press-Fit 1-1/8" / 1.5", Semi-Cartridge bearings, for 44/56mm head tube (28.6/41-39.8/56mm)
- Saddle WTB Rocket Comp
- Seat Post Tranz-X Internal Dropper post w/ shifter-type remote, 7000 alloy, 31.6x100x360MM / 80x315MM for 14.5" frame
- Seat Clamp Pivit alloy 35mm quick release
As with any mountain bike, setting up the shock and fork SAG is critical to ensuring a good ride (setting your SAG - scroll to the bottom). I did find a pre-installed bottoming token in the Revelation fork, which I removed. The token is unnecessary for me because I want the full travel and don't weigh a lot (175). The Revelation fork matches well to the Monarch RL rear shock, working harmoniously together, especially when full open, on the technical downhill sections. I also converted the tires to tubeless, since they came ready, including valve stems and tubeless ready tires (although, I did have to tape the rim to ensure a good seal). The Nevegal's do have a fairly stiff sidewall, so I ran at 23psi in the front and 24psi in the rear. I made a few test excursions to fine tune all the settings, ending with 33% (front) and 30% (rear) for the SAG and 25/23psi on the tires. I did find the Nevegals to be a good all-around tire, but for the desert, would prefer something a bit larger (>2.3 - the Nevegal's seem on the small side of their rating) and smaller block (like the Maxxis Chronicle or Vittoria Saguaro). The real star of this show is the Monarch shock. It's just outstanding in every respect. It's plush, providing fantastic small bump compliance, yet even at 30% SAG, did not bottom out. On climbs, in lockout, the Monarch still gives short-travel action, with no squat or squishy pedal strokes. In the full open position, the fork and shock track chop and sharp edges like a long-travel downhill racer (I do use a faily slow rebound). Even with the rebound set slow, I felt no packing or harshness. Both the front and the rear are near flawless, instilling confidence and no hint of chatter.
The Haro linkage is remarkably efficient and predictable, delivering a progressive feel and great bottoming resistance, despite a 30% SAG. I think this is primarily driven by the Haro Progressive Linkage Ratio (PLR) and the main pivot position (fulcrum), being slightly in front of the crank, providing fantastic anti-squat and a plush action throughout the entire stroke. Big G-outs and hard landings are soaked up by the shock and fork, however, neither bottomed out, attributed to the PLR and the shock. The entire suspension, coupled with the head angle and overall geometry, made the bike handle and ride like a premium class bike, costing much more than the unbelievable $2,829. Lateral strength is important for a mountain bike. Too much flex can make the bike feel unpredictable in the turns and lose traction suddenly. The frame on the R9 is quite stiff, yet still has some give, making the bike fast, but responsive and comfortable. Fine touches, like the Shimano SLX brakes, using the finned brake pads, make this bike an unusual bargain. It even comes with a Trans-X Dropper. I really put the bike to the test, navigating hard, steep, rocky descents and flowing, banked turns, punctuated by some pretty brutal climbs. In every case, the Shift R9 LT shined.
Don't be fooled into buying that entry-level carbon frame bike, some starting at under $3k. Not only are the frames heavy, they make a lot of compromises on the wheels and other components to keep the price low. I weighed the Shift R9 LT and was surprised to find it under 31 pounds (20.5-Lg/no pedals/tubeless). I have weighed some of the cheaper carbon frames and seen up-wards of 36 pounds, with many compromises on components. To get the same quality in carbon, you would have to spend way more than the R9.
In any case, if you are a novice to intermediate rider looking for a great handling bike, at an unbeatable price, go ride the Shift R9. The R9 is best suited for all mountain, yet versatile enough to handle some aggressive downhill, and lockout for fast sweeping cross-country. I consider myself an advanced rider and tested the R9 on some of the gnarliest trails in the area. I have some very expensive mountain bikes and the R9 is a great all around bike. On a budget, the R9 would serve even an advanced rider's requirements.
Haibike XDURO All Mt 8.0 Review
Riding The Haibike XDURO All Mountain 8.0 (Demo In Stock - $6,999)
By Randy Archer
I took this new Haibike out on its first trip to some of the gnarliest trials in Mesa. Rocks, sand, steep climbs, fast swooping downhill curves, it had it all. I really took it to the limit. Clearly some sections favored the bike's design, such as the Plus size tires and long travel. Sand and rocky descents were a breeze. It felt planted and predictable, especially in slower technical sections. The fit and finish is top quality. I renamed the bike: Mountain Goat. It climbs and corners like an Arizona Big Horn.
But before I begin, a note on courtesy. I always pull over for equestrian users, yield to pedestrians, letting them pass me with no less than a polite greeting. As well, I move over for oncoming traffic and do let others get by from behind. And lastly, I never go blasting up the hill or pass others in haste. We all share the trail, so be polite and courteous to others, setting a good example for e-bikes.
Fork: Magura Boltron air 150 / Fox Float DPS - Moving mass is important to small bump compliance. Magura came through with a great design in the Boltron, providing good trail feedback, combined with super tracking and compliance over the chop. With the Plus-size wheels, the added stiffness of the motocross inspired design, makes these a perfect match. It would be nice to have damper control for the climbs, but is not an issue with an e-bike. The rebound is very positive and provides a lot of clicks for fine tuning. I ended up at six-clicks out for a solid track. This combines with the Fox Float for a very good combination. I did try the damper selector climb and trail positions, but ultimately found that the descend position is fine everywhere (mainly due to the pedal assist). Again, rebound on the shock was set at a well-dampened, five clicks out. SAG front and rear was set to a plush 30%. I did go over a few drops and ledges, checking the bottom resistance, and found my SAG setting on the lighter side of the manufacturers chart (60lbs up front and 160lbs in the back – I weigh 175).
Brakes: Magura MT7 (203/180) - I’m a Shimano XT/XTR fan. I think there the best. Given that position, I gave the Magura brakes a real test. I did take care to bed-in and adjust the brakes for optimal performance. After that, I rode hard, used one finger on the lever and gave the MT7s a real workout. I expected they would be no match for Shimano, but found they performed just as well. The levers were a little large and reach to the bar could be closer. But a few adjustments made them very comfortable. Lever feel and modulation was superior. Stopping power felt solid. The four piston caliper and 203/180 disc were sublime. No fade and no squeal. After that, I had to admit, Magura has made a great brake system. Sweet.
Drive train: Sram EX1 (1X8 11-48) - Everyone is going to the extreme, such as 1X11. The problem is durability throughout the drive train. With pedal assist, the drive train can take a beating. This new setup, 1X8, solves the durability issue completely. It is solid. Shifting is precise and snappy. Most notable, the chain is robust and ready for torque. If you ride without pedal assist, it is a bit "gappy" – you need more gears. However, I ride with assist, so the gaps are not perceptible. I could always find a gear keeping me in the sweet spot, 60-80 rpm. Rear wheel strength is enhanced too, as the wheel does not need as much dish. I was skeptical at first, but on the trail, this setup is perfect. The front chain ring is integrated to the Bosch motor, so the tooth count up front is not relevant. On the trail is the real test. With the 11-tooth cog, I did have plenty of "big gear" and never felt a need for more climbing potential with the 48.
Wheels: Plus Size Schwalbe 3” mounted on DT Swiss XM1501 (27.5) - The tires were a breeze to setup tubeless. Once inoculated with four ounces of Stans, these tires popped into place in a snap (literally). After experimenting with a few pressure alternatives, I settled at 12psi. That seemed to be just right for efficiency, grip and no bounce. Schwalbe makes a good tire and these are no exception. They are very grippy and felt predictable. Some tires roll at the sidewall at lower pressure, but the DT Swiss rims are wide and provide a solid base for the sidewall, making corners fast and stable. The final tire/rim combination is light and feels a bit conservative, not lively, but planted and in control.
Plus size tires are heavy and stodgy. They do give a bit of over steer and want to stay in a straight line. The advantage is, they roll over anything. In the rocky Arizona desert terrain, they are good at taking the extreme edges found on some trails. Once I got used to the feel, I did begin to test the boundary of traction. They don’t slide like a 2.3, but do give a predictable track and connection to the trail. Tubeless and lower pressure is the only way to go. You get much better performance and freedom from most flats.
Drive Motor: Bosch Performance CX - The Bosch motor is the highlight of the entire bike. Bosch has created a motor and software package that is far superior to any other design. The RPM sweet spot (60-80rpm) is broad and versatile. The torque sensor is exquisite. At lower levels of assist, technical terrain was a dream. However, Turbo mode is way too much for tight, slow sections. I did try out Turbo, but found that it was best suited for flowing cross-country runs.
The wide pedal profile, about an inch wider than most mountain bikes, takes a bit of getting used to. It is harder to squeeze past rocks without catching a pedal. But that is the sacrifice for a center drive. The reward is center of mass. It’s incredible. When you ride, the extra weight is imperceptible. Most of the weight gain is right at the center, so gives little in the way of the unbalanced feeling of other configurations. In fact, center drive is the only configuration that provides a mountain bike feel and ride. Other setups are for casual rides.
The most incredible software programming in the CX is the shifting. It is amazing. On hard climbs, with full torque applied - without letting up - I downshifted. Normally, this abuse would be met with a dropped chain or worse. In this case, the shift was smooth and precise. What the heck? How can this be? Remarkable, yes, but it is all in the programming. The Bosch motor senses the shift and changes the torque instantly, then ramps back up. That is sophisticated programming.
If I had a complaint, it would be the speed limit of 20mph. Going downhill, when you hit the limit, you really feel the motor disengage. Admittedly though, there is no reason to need pedal assist over 20mph. After a while, I got used to the motor fading out at full assist, and anticipated the letup with more pedal power from me. 20mph is fast, but on many trails it is easy to hit that limit. And, there is plenty of gears left at the top to pedal over 20mph (one-way, closed course, prepared race route).
Overall, it is the Bosch motor that makes this bike stand out. Everything else is great, but the CX is beautiful. It’s incredibly crafted, solid as a rock (thanks to its automotive pedigree) and very efficient – I barely used the battery life on a grueling 20-mile ride. Overall, I would rate this as the best all mountain e-bike available from any manufacturer: The Mountain Goat.
UPDATE: The stock Schwalbe tires are great for the loam, but not so good on the hard pack and desert terrain. I changed to the WTB Trail Boss TCS Light. The WTB has a more compliant sidewall and round profile, combined with a closer knob pattern, making a significantly improved linear feel in the corners. These tires run better at a higher pressure,18f & 16r (cold), which does go up 2psi once you get out in the heat. The WTB performs way better on the flowing, fast, sections. I also added air to the rear shock (175), lowered the fork (55) and run mostly in the "Medium" shock position. The tires soak up the fast chop well, and I do have the setup very plush (rebound at 5 - front and rear), so I put the "Open Mode Adjust" at 3, to keep the shock higher in the stroke over rough sections. This helps eliminate that wallowing feel on turns (due to excess rebound) and makes the bike feel livelier on faster courses. Fox calls this a slow compression adjuster, basically adding progressive compression (more at 3, less at 1), especially in the open mode. Remember that an e-bike has more static weight than a regular bike, so your weight shifting (body English) does need to be more dramatic to have the same effect as on a lighter bike. I prefer the extra rebound to help control the bike (5). Fox recommends a lot less rebound at 175psi (8, in this case). But a faster rebound gives the bike an unbalanced feel with the front fork and it's a bit bouncy. The Magura Boltron fork is fantastic, but may be too plush for some. It's really strong and predictable, but only when the sag is set properly (at least 30%). This allows the fork to work in the middle third of the stroke, which is much more stiff, negating the flex. Specially designed for e-bikes, it is a very good match with the Fox Float shock and the Haibike Xduro weight. It's exceptionally stiff when compressed, but with less un-sprung weight, very compliant, and has great bottoming resistance.
Randy Archer, President, Archer’s Bikes
Copyright 2017 ©
Haibike XDURO FullSeven Review
Riding The Haibike XDURO Fullseven
The transition has been made and Electric Motors are the future. Call it motor assist or a helper motor, either way, the Haibike Xduro is the next big thing. No longer is an electric mountain bike an unusual, awkward, and often failed, combination of motor and bicycle.
The bike is absolutely a pure mountain bike, which happens to have a motor. It is complete with all current features, such as hydraulic brakes, air fork and shock, tubeless ready and 650b wheels.
Though, I was skeptical on my first ride out, I rode from the trailhead to the first waypoint, without any motor assist. I thought the bike would be heavy, unbalanced and a challenge to ride, especially without the motor assist. Wrong. The bike pedaled up and down hills, handled even aggressive terrain, just like my regular mountain bike.
The suspension was plush, predictable and compliant. The weight balance, perfect. The biggest surprise was that, once acclimated, it did not feel heavy or sluggish. The gearing was more than adequate. True, not as fast and flick-able as my trusty, full-suspension, carbon racer, but darn close.
Now it was time to turn on the motor. One word: wow! I started out at the lowest assist setting. The power delivery, due mainly to the Bosch mid-mounted geared motor, with torque, cadence and speed sensing, came on subtly and was simply a gentle companion. It smoothed out the inclines, making any weight gained from the motor and battery, unnoticeable.
Next up, the big climb. My first attempt at a steep incline was astonishing. In Eco mode, the lowest assist setting, I still had to work and crested the hill winded, but it was no more or less strenuous than my regular bike, In fact, all the terrain was very normal feeling with the motor set on the Eco mode. You do have to pedal, even in Turbo mode. But then, if I didn't want to pedal, I would ride a motorcycle.
Descending the hill, the bike felt planted, predictable and stable. I hit several jumps and found the balance very centralized around the bottom bracket. The 27.5 wheel size was a perfect match for the bike, tracking corners precisely at speed, while maintaining good control in the slower technical sections. Being a motorcycle dirt bike rider as well, I pushed the limits of traction, just to see how well the suspension handled the chop and how it came out of the corners.
The wheels were not flexy and the frame was stiff when I pushed the bike over, deep into the turn. The bike digs in, does not push the corners or under steer and, with the sag set at 30% (front and rear), exists the turns comfortably.
With 203 front and 180 rear rotors, there is ample braking power. I was concerned about the extra weight. Being cautious, after a particularly long decent, I stopped to check the hydraulic brake calipers. They were only warm. I never felt any softness or fade as they tackled the downhill. I expected some packing of the front fork during braking, given the extra weight and big front rotor. But the Rock Shox are sweet, with excellent small bump compliance and superb adjustability on the rebound. Equally, the Fox Float rear was never nervous or spongy and never faded from the demand.
Interestingly, after 25 miles of riding, in all modes, over the course of three hours, the battery was still at 50%. With the motor at 36v/350w, and an 11ah battery, I expected either a lack of power or diminished range. Performance tells it all. Bosch has come up with the perfect balance of weight and power. Don't get caught up in the battery or watts spec game.
This is a very strong motor and power combo. Mid-mounted motors, especially the Bosch, are far superior to wheel mounted configurations. The Bosch design uses the power efficiently and effectively, feeling smooth and natural, even in the Turbo mode.
In summary, no doubt, this is the next big thing.
Electric is the future and technology is at the point that it can be mainstream. The Xduro is definitely not a motorcycle or even and electric bicycle. It is a competent and environmentally compatible addition to the mountain biking sport. Ride one for yourself. I'm confident you'll agree.
Randy Archer, President, Archer’s Bikes
Copyright 2016 ©
Populo Sport Review
In this price level, I have found no other bike to compete. The Sport is fast, light and a delight to ride. In the under $1,000 price point, especially as a commuter, the Sport is amazing. A very stylish bike - and surprisingly peppy - is perfect for urban riding, commuting, casual rides and is available in three frame sizes and three colors. Wiring is internally routed, resulting in a very clean look. It even has two USB charging ports for a quick connect of your phone or an LED light. Even with the 36v, 7Ah battery locked in place, the bike only weighs 36 pounds. The geared hub provides superior torque, revving up to a top assisted speed of 20mph, very quickly. I especially liked the display and easy access to the pedal assist level control. I even rode the Sport uphill without assist and was surprised at how easy it was. Normally an electric bike is super heavy to ride without the battery. Not the Sport. It rides like any pedal bike. The key to the Sport's efficiency is its emphasis on a clean design, leaving off all the heavy accessories. This also means there is less to maintain and less to repair.
If you are looking for a clean, light and affordable commuter, ride the Populo Sport before you make your buying decision.
Randy Archer, President, Archer’s Bikes
Bolt to work or play on today’s modern, lightweight, and eco-friendly Populo Sport Electric bike. This new gateway electric bike will get you to work or a social gathering, without the sweaty mess of a traditional bike. Let the 250-watt motor effortlessly energize your day with speeds up to 20 MPH, and a range of 30 miles or more! Your choice of 8 electric assist levels will give you just the right amount of effort you desire. Forgot to charge your phone or light? Well, no problem; both the Smart LED screen and the 36 volt Panasonic battery come equipped with USB charging ports to plug and play! With all these features combined, you are ready to take on the city with style and confidence!
We've recently updated Populo Sport with new features:
- 4 sizes instead of 3 so you can fine-tune the fit
- Frame features a braze-on for rear racks; forks have eyelets at dropout for fender
- We've added a water bottle boss on the seat tube and included a side-entry bottle cage
- New stylish metal head tube badge
- Heavy-duty kickstand that easily handles the extra weight of an electric bicycle motor and battery
- Wider 700x28 tires for more comfort and control on rough surfaces or gravel roads
- Cartridge brake pads for faster, more accurate pad changes
Panasonic Lithium-ion 36V8.7Ah
Smart LED Screen w/USB Charge Port
|MAX ASSISTED SPEED
20Mile/h or 32Km/h
=30 Miles or 48KM
Black Alloy Linear Pull Brake Lever
With Sensor Control Design
Single Speed Gear w/8 Assist Levels
Double Butted 6061
31.8mm 3D Forged Alloy
Forged Alloy 31.8*22.2mm Riser Bar
Forged Alloy 27.2*300mm
KMC Z410 Anti-Rust
13G Stainless Spoke
36 Lbs/16.5KG (M)
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