Velotric Summit 1 E-Bike review: The fast, lower-cost torque sensor eMTB I’ve wanted


Velotric Summit 1 E-Bike review: The fast, lower-cost torque sensor eMTB I’ve wanted

I’ve been on the hunt for an electric mountain bike that would give me much of the performance of the fancier, high-priced models, yet without their major downside: that higher price. The Velotric Summit 1 rolled in at the perfect time, and while the bike itself isn’t perfect, it’s darn near exactly what I’d want from an eMTB that focuses on keeping prices down.

The bright orange e-bike is even more fun to ride than it is to look at. But you’ll want to watch too, so make sure you take a gander at my riding video below to come along with me. Then keep reading for even more, below!

Velotric Summit 1 Video Review

Velotric Summit 1 tech specs

  • Motor: 750W (1,300W peak-rated) rear hub motor with 90Nm of torque
  • Top speed: 28 mph (50 km/h)
  • Range: Claimed up to 70 miles (up to 112 km)
  • Battery: 48V 14.7Ah (705.6 Wh)
  • Weight: 62 lb (28 kg)
  • Load capacity: 440 lb (200 kg)
  • Frame: Triple-butted aluminum alloy
  • Tires: Kenda 27.5×2.6″ fat tires
  • Brakes: Dual-piston Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
  • Extras: Color display, 15 pedal assist levels, front and rear LED light with brake light, front suspension, kickstand, internally routed cables, removable battery, Apple FindMy, torque sensor, UL-compliant battery and e-bike system

What does this e-bike offer

First of all, since Velotric is known more as a street-focused brand, the Summit 1 retains a lot of what makes the brand’s other models great for cruising the roads. That means you still get features like built-in LED lighting, Apple FindMy location tracking, and the ability to add fenders/racks for city and utility riding.

But of course, the main purpose of Summit 1 is trail riding, and that’s where the bike feels most at home.

The 750W rear motor puts out a peak power figure of closer to 1,300 watts, which along with the 90 Nm of torque is where your true hill-climbing potential comes from. For those of you with flat terrain like me, that also translates into powerful off-the-line starts, so it’s not wasted on us coastal sea levelers.

The battery is rather average-sized at 700 Wh, but is easily removable for charging either on or off the bike. Since the bike weighs 68 lb, you also might want to take that battery out when you lift the bike, such as into the back of a truck.

And another note on the battery: it’s UL-compliant. In fact, the entire e-bike is UL-compliant also, giving riders added peace of mind.

When it comes to range, Velotric says you’ll get 60 miles (100 km) on throttle or 70 miles (112 km) on pedal assist.

That pedal assist range sounds about right, considering the 15 levels of pedal assist can provide either powerful or soft assist, and that lower power end of the spectrum is where your best range will come from.

But the 60-mile throttle range seems quite lofty unless you’re cruising around at leisurely speeds of 10-12 mph. And if you’re riding off-road nature trails, there’s a chance you will be. But suffice it to say that with 700Wh of capacity, the bike has roughly average battery capacity and will hang with or surpass just about any other eMTB in its class when it comes to range.

Torque sensor for the win!

On bikes that are designed to be pedaled frequently, such as electric mountain bikes, a torque sensor is a beautiful piece of equipment to have. As we’ve talked about before, the torque sensor basically makes the power delivery a lot more natural and intuitive by giving you more or less power based on how hard you pedal instead of how fast you pedal.

On a bike designed for cruising in the bike lane, the lack of a good torque sensor is less noticeable. But when you’re trying to climb up a steep mountain bike trail, having instantaneous power on tap is a great advantage to have.

I’m also glad to see the bike is well-made, including using a strong through-axle for the front wheel and frame welds that look solid.

The bike is tested to exceed standard ISO tests used for electric mountain bikes, which is how the company can claim that higher weight capacity for a type of bike that is expected to live a rough life handling tough trails and bumpy rides.

The battery is even IPX7-rated, which means it can be submerged in water. I tested that very claim by tossing a Velotric battery in a tub of water, and lo and behold, it worked just fine when I took it out. So if the storm clouds move in during your ride, you may have to worry about traction, but you won’t have to worry about the safety of your battery.

And if I’m being a bit superficial, I’m also glad to see the nice, vibrant color options there are. Obviously that’s not a key performance differentiator, but since many people like to choose a bike color that matches their personality, having bright oranges and blues in addition to the more muted grayscale is nice to see.

What are the downsides?

Look, the bike rides great. The 120mm hydraulic suspension fork does a great job on the bumps and the bike is comfortable to flick around a trail. But no bike is perfect, and it’s fair to say that Velotric had to cut some corners compared to the fancier “true eMTBs” you’ll see in the bike shops.

For one, there’s no mid-drive motor, which the more lycra-minded riders often tout as the pinnacle of eMTB drives. Yes, mid-drives give great balance and usually mean a fancy German motor, but they also come with fancy German prices. So you’re giving up that mid-drive in favor of a rear-heavy hub motor, but saving a lot of green!

Next, the 8-speed derailleur is a simple Shimano Altus. It’s not bad, but it’s not a great piece of kit, either. It’s fine for recreational riders, but it won’t take the same beating or have the same lower maintenance as higher-end derailleurs.

And those tires? They’re Kendas, not something fancier like Maxxis. But here again, it feels fine for normies like me. I was hitting sandy singletrack without any traction issues, and I haven’t gotten a single flat… yet.

So sure, there are some modest parts mixed in here to help keep the price down to just $1,999, compared to the higher dollar eMTBs out there. But I think the right compromises were made in the right places, saving areas like safety and build quality as the main points where Velotric invested more heavily.

Sum it up for me!

The Velotric Summit 1 is a great riding e-bike that can handle mountain bike trails the way they’re meant to be ridden, but doesn’t carry the same $4-6k price tag of many more pro-level electric mountain bikes. At just $1,999, it’s a lot easier for a casual rider to justify.

I’ve had a blast riding trails on it the way I’d use a fancier hard-tail electric mountain bike. Sure, a mid-drive motor and higher-end transmission would upgrade the bike, but I’m happy to make those sacrifices in favor of more recreational-focused components that get the same job done at a fraction of the price.

With the build quality and safety that’s been engineered into the bike, I’m giving this one a solid recommendation for newer riders and enthusiasts alike. Just don’t think you’ll catch big air on the massive jumps you see $8,000 full suspension eMTBs handling.

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