One of the real surprises to me during my e-bike frenzy at Press Camp was Kalkhoff. The German e-bike brand is extremely popular in Europe and has been at the e-bike game for years, so it probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Where as many bikes in the category still seem to be tacked together, the Kalkhoff bikes I saw and rode were relatively integrated, dialed in spec, and stood out visually. The Impulse 2.0 technology is extremely quiet and the batteries have relatively long ranges compared to others in the category. Both will be available to consumers later this month. See the new e-bikes invading this side of the pond after the jump…
The Kalkhoff Tasman Classic Impulse 8
This was easily a highlight of the show for me, e-bike side. It is Class 1, meaning pedal assist only, no throttle, with a maximum speed of 20mph. It was beautiful, it had a Brooks saddle and matching grips. The motor and battery were integrated into the overall design with the battery cradling the rear wheel. It was powered by an Impulse 2.0 250W mid-drive motor with a 36V, and a whopping 17Ah battery, giving this bicycle an impressive 127 mile assisted range.
Other features include an integrated rear lock, which uses the same key as the removable battery. There is also a frame pump with a holster on the rear rack, a robust rear-axle located kickstand, and a chain guard. The Magura HS11 hydro rim brakes provided a ton of stopping power on the descents. The rack and fenders are painted to match the frame, and the bike had Busch & Mueller dynamo powered front and rear lights. This bike really felt tied together overall.
Impressions: This bike climbed like crazy, probably the best climbing e-bike I rode. While I would have rather seen this bike with Ergon grips for comfort, the Brooks leather grips were beautiful and definitely made the riding experience feel more luxurious. It is the kind of bike that I could see getting my 80+ year old grandmother riding around town, as well as my mother commuting to work (she’s a school teacher with a ton of papers and books to haul around and a penchant for classy bikes). Actually, this would be a city bike for a lot of people who need a work horse day to day but don’t want to look and work and dress (and smell) like an aggro urban commuter.
The Kalkoff Sahel Impuse 8
Another Class 1 e-bike, the Sahel has a maximum speed of 20mph with pedal assist power from its mid-drive motor, no throttle. This bike utilizes a partly die cast front triangle (something Kalkhoff uses on several models, including their new Integrale). The headtube, downtube, and bottom bracket shell/motor interface come out of a single mold. Impressive because they do this over multiple sizes and frame configurations (step thru and step over). It features an Urban Centershock fork for a little bit of suspension. Otherwise, the Schwalbe City Lite tires do a pretty good job of soaking up bumps on the road. It also features a 36V Lithium-ion battery and the same Impulse 2.0 250W motor, though a smaller battery (11.6Ah). This facilitates a still pretty decent 87 mile range. Again, it came with dynamo powered lights, fenders, rack, and Magura HS11 hydro rim brakes.
Impressions: Overall styling and touch points of this bike was more sporty than the Tasman Classic. While less luxurious, I appreciated the flat saddle and ergo grips from a practical level- they felt better while riding. I tested the step-over “Diamond” frame style, I could see the “Wave” being extremely practical with its extremely accessible low clearance.