The first thing that struck me about the new Volt Pulse hybrid e-bike, as it appeared on my doorstep for testing, was its stylish looks.
Although it still has e-bike lines, it has a classic and, at the same time, a modern look. Something you notice immediately is that battery is now attached to the frame and not behind the seat post, giving it a sleeker appearance.
The Pulse has all the benefits of an electric bike with the ability to still ride without powered assistance thanks to its eight gears (although I think you’ll enjoy the power modes immensely).
The fame sizes available are 18 inches or 19.4, with the smaller frame having 27.5in wheels and the larger, 28in, fitted with Schwalbe puncture resistant tyres.
Built in as standard are the mudguards, LED lights, kick-stand and rear rack (designed for weights of up to 25kg), as well as a Dutch-style lock.
There’s a chain lock which connects to the lock on the bike itself which allows you to secure the Pulse to a bike rack. However, there is no GPS or built-in tracking available with the Pulse. It is something to think on and maybe invest in as sturdy a bike lock as you can find.
As mentioned earlier, you can ride the Pulse without using the motor, the eight-speed Shimano Alivio gears are smooth and easy to use. However, you’re buying an e-bike for a reason!
The Pulse comes as standard with a Panasonic 36v standard lithium polymer battery with an optional 36v X-Large battery upgrade.
The standard battery can give a range of 60 miles (dependant on how heavy you are on the motor) with the larger battery giving a range of 80 miles.
One thing to consider is that the larger battery comes in at 4.4kg as opposed to 3.2. The standard bike weighs in at 21.5kg without the battery, so a trade off between distance and weight is up to you. The bike is hefty, if your route involves carrying it up steps it is one thing to consider.
A great feature is that the battery is detachable to make it easier to recharge.
Ready to ride
To get the rear-mounted Bafang 250W SpinTech motor ready for action you need to turn the system on by pushing the button located near the battery. Then hold your fob over the controller’s LCD screen on the left-hand side handlebar to activate and you’re good to go. Remember not to leave the fob behind, if need to restart you’re just left cycling a normal, if a bit chunky, bike!
The four-speed SpinTech computer display can be used to control the pedal assist motor modes - Low, Normal, High, Power - along with monitoring speed and distance. The screen can be difficult to see in strong sunlight but that can be said of most bike computers.
The power modes can be controlled by the plus and minus buttons on the computer unit. Power transfer is easy, you won’t notice it unless you use High mode and then you can feel a little push in the back.
The motor can give you a top speed of 15mph/25kph and kicks in quickly when needed.
The assist lever (or boost button as I like to call it) is one of my favourite features. Getting you to max power, it allows you to get a quick getaway at junctions and traffic lights, as well as added umph if you need to overtake anything slower in your path.
The ride itself is comfortable, thanks to the Velo Sport Comfort saddle, and smooth, with the SR Suntour NCX Tapered front fork absorbing the, what can only be described as, varied conditions on the roads travelled!
And you will be glad to know that the Tektro hydraulic brakes have great stopping power.
The Volt Pulse is a great commuter bike and tourer. It’s sturdy and holds up well on the roads, with a smooth and comfortable ride. It is an excellent e-bike with top specs, design and components.
The only things you feel might let it down are the inability to track the bike, it’s slightly on the heavy side and if you want any other colour than grey then you’re out of luck.
But that aside, coming in at £1,949 it’s reasonably priced against similar bikes considering what comes as standard.