Thursday, January 27, 2011

OHM cycles urban XU700 review

I had received the OHM Urban XU700 to test a few months ago and this bike has probably seen the most abuse of any other bike I’ve tested. I’ll get into the test procedures later.

My time spent on this bike is a mixture of bike commuting to and from work, errands as well as taking the occasional Saturday morning rides through town.

The OHM XU700 offers a variety of riding options:
1.There are 3 other levels of assist from this bike. 1 being the lowest amount of assist from the motor and 4, being the greatest amount. I spent most of my time on level 4, no pedaling required.

2. Regenerative braking. You read it right. Basically what this means is you can adjust your motor from the control panel to generate electricity and recharge your batteries while going down the hill. Regeneration also works by adding resistance to your pedal stroke. This allows your to pedal and recharge at the same time.

If you take a gander at the detailed spec sheet found HERE, you’ll see that the OHM XU700 is outfitted with some decent parts such as hydraulic Tektro brakes, Shimano Deore drivetrain components and many more. I do have to note that the Suntour NCX fork was pretty plush and when combined with the Suntour suspension seat post, this bike rode like a dream. Pot holes, bumps and any imperfections of the road or trail were quickly absorbed.

Power for the headlight and tail light was generated by the Shimano dynamo hub. Keep in mind that this is more of a “be seen” light rather than one to see with.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the OHM Urban XU700. There are a few things that most people would want to know about an e-bike. I’ll break it down in various sections below:

Battery life between charges-I was averaging about 20 miles per charge. Keep in mind, that I was at the highest level of assist, meaning I barely pedaled while riding. So I relied heavily on its battery power to move my 206lb body.

How long does it take to recharge?
-Once the battery is fully depleted, I recharge it and that cycle takes about 5 hours. Typically what i do is when I arrive at my office, I remove the battery pack and charge it. By the time I head out to get some lunch, the battery is about 3/4 charged. Once I return, the battery is back on the charger. By the end of my day, it’s fully charged and ready to go.

How does it handle?
-There’s no difference in the way the OHM rides than any other bike out there. The geometry suggests a more relaxed stance and has a comfort bike feel to it.

How fast can it go?- On flats, I was able to take it up to 21mph.

How does it work?
-”In auto assist mode, the system automatically provides boost proportionate to the rider’s pedaling effort. The harder the rider pedals, the more the boost the system will provide. Alternatively, rider can use the throttle to propel the bike without pedaling. Note: throttle can only be engaged after 2 km/h.”

Stopping power?The hydraulic brakes make stopping on a dime easy.

Is it user friendly?-Yes, it’s very easy to use. Turn it on, set your pedal assist level, then ride!

Is the bike reliable? In a short and simple answer, yes. The OHM Urban XU700 has been down trails that it wasn’t meant to go on and I’ve tested its durability in more ways than one.

For starters, the bike did well on the street. Not once did I have any problems with it. The electrical system worked as designed and it made my commute easier because I hardly had to pedal. As far as testing its durability, I took this bike through various mountain bike trails as well as a Super D and Downhill course at the Southridge Challenge back in November. The photo below was taken moments before a downpour. I have purposely left the bike out in rain to see if that would cause any problems. To my surprise, everything worked perfectly. The drivetrain has never needed any sort of tuning or adjustments.

In fact, when I rode it down the Super D and DH courses, people would stop and stare because they couldn’t believe that this e-bike was able to handle the abuse I was giving it. I tried to beat up this bike, but the only thing I did to it was a pinch flat and it caused the rear wheel to come out of true. Other than that, the bike is in great shape!

I’ve gotta admit, the OHM Cycles Urban XU700 has me very excited. It’s an absolutely entertaining bike to ride. Everyone that has tried it simply falls in love with the pedal assist. During one of my Saturday morning, 15 miler rides with the OHM, I had stopped at the local 7/11 and a gentleman came up to me asking about the bike. He said that he was in the market for an e-bike, but had never tried one. So I offered him the OHM to ride in the parking lot. Much like the responses that people have when they ride the OHM, he too fell in love. He made it a point to write down the brand and model name.

Fortunately, this bike does come with some accessories that a large number of our readers love: fenders, rack, and lights!

In closing, the OHM Cycles Urban XU700 has been a very fun bike to test. It has taken me on some great adventures and its durability has been pretty stellar. But the question is, would I buy one at the price of $3299? If I had the cash laying around — yes, I would.

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