I’ll be completely honest, whenever I’ve thought of an electric bicycle I’ve often thought of those bikes little old men often ride into town. Either that, or those odd looking foldable bikes people try and squeeze onto trains in the middle of London. So when we were contacted by Volt Bikes, I was a little apprehensive. Did we really want to review an electric bike? Then I saw their catalogue, and the answer to that question was “hell yeah!”
Volt Bikes are a UK company that specialises in electric bicycles, or e-bikes. While they do have a fairly popular range of the aforementioned foldable commuter-focused bikes, they also offer plenty of modern and stylish cycles suited to almost anyone’s tastes. A little before Christmas we had the pleasure in checking out Volt’s Pulse model. This model, is a pretty standard-looking mountain bike, except it comes packed with all of the mod cons you’d find on a much higher-end bicycle. Though priced at £1499 you’d expect no less.
My initial impressions of the Pulse were impressive, it was well built and featured top of the range parts from Shimano, Tektro, and more. While it was a little tall, the seat was easily adjusted for comfort, and within minutes I was off. As far as bikes go (honestly, I’m no bicycle reviewer) it was a great ride, everything functioned as it should and it was a pretty light ride, even with the huge battery wedged underneath the seat. The seat could have been more comfortable, but when are bike seats ever comfy?
While there is nothing overly remarkable about the bike alone, the wow-factor came when I switched on the power.
Once you’ve given the bike a good 24-hour charge, you’re pretty much set for around 60+ miles of power. All you need to simply do is switch the power on the battery and either set the little LED screen to a speed you prefer, or alternatively push the throttle trigger in, and start peddling. And oh my god did this shatter my initial thoughts about electric bikes.
Capped at 15 miles per hour, The Pulse certainly gives you a boost when needed and actually made cycling great distances a breeze. As someone who rarely likes to walk down the road to the shop (yeah, I’m that lazy), I decided for the sake of the review to take an 16-mile round trip to a friends house powered solely by the bicycle, and I was just blown away by the sheer pulling power this bike can offer, especially to those not so athletic riders out there. Not once did I feel out of breath or incapable of making the trip back, in fact I was actually happy to make the journey.
If you’re a regular cyclist you’re probably wondering what the point of having an electric bike do all the work, and the answer is simple, it provides a more gentle exercise while getting you out into the world. It’s actually a really nice option for those with disabilities who can’t necessarily ride bikes for long distances. And at the end of the day, you can choose when the motor kicks in. If you want to attempt to ride up the hill without being aided, then do so.
The LCD screen on the handlebar not only lets you choose from six different power modes, it also has a trip computer, speedometer, as well as a meter to show how much power you’re drawing. What’s more, the battery also powers both the front and rear lights so there’s no need to change batteries.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that if you’re not a fan of having a bicycle sitting in your living room, you can remove the battery from the bike to charge indoors, however this requires removing the seat post each time, which is a little awkward.
Overall, the Volt Bikes Pulse was an incredibly impressive bike to spend time with. Not only was it a suitable mid-range bike with a blend of both street and mountain biking capabilities, the sheer power behind the bike itself and the fact that it doesn’t look like an e-bike in the traditional sense, completely blew me away.
My only real concern is the price. At £1499, I personally couldn’t justify spending that much on a bike, especially considering it’s something I’d rarely use. However, if you commute to work or cycle long-distances and need an extra little push, it might be an investment worth considering.
You can look at the Pulse and other Volt Bikes via their website.