There are some sound physical and financial justifications for this unusual semi-DIY approach. The majority of companies simply paint over the welds that are used to join aluminum-framed ebikes together rather than taking the time to smooth them out. The weakest link in the chain, so to speak, is typically the welds connecting aluminum pieces.
The frame is put together using Vanpowers’ special assembly method, you trade welds for a string of bolts, but overall, it looks very clean and even distinctive. This weld-free LEGO- or IKEA-style assembly method just feels incredibly sturdy as you put it together. I was also better able to adjust minor comfort features during bike assembly, such as where the brake handle should be placed and how far forward the seat should be.
When it comes to ebikes, I typically avoid lengthy assembly tasks because I’ve built a lot of them over the years and prefer to put them together quickly so I can start riding. However, the City Vanture by Vanpowers had an intriguing twist, and they sent one along a few weeks ago.
The City Vanture arrived in a small box, tightly packed with parts, as opposed to the typical just-add-bars-front-wheel-and-pedals routine that takes 15 to 20 minutes on most bikes. Make no mistake, this is not a foldable or small-wheel compact bike; it is a full size urban-style single-speed ebike with 26-inch wheels, a regular duo-triangle frame, aero fork, and more. For our ride-on opinions in this complete review, keep reading.
|Frame||Aluminium Alloy. 21inch, 700C Wheel Size|
|Colors||Shining Black, Infinite Silver, Neon Purple, Chalk Blue, Ruby|
|Brake Lever||Tektro HD-M285|
|Motor||36V 350W (US)/36V 250W (EU)|
|Assist Speed (US)||Up to 25 mph (40 km/h) (5 levels of assist)|
|Assist Speed (EU/UK)||Up to 15 mph (25 km/h) (5 levels of assist)|
|Battery||36V 7Ah/252Wh LG Cell|
|Mileage||50-80 miles/80-130 km|
|Charging Time||2-3 Hours|
|Net Weight||34.17 lbs./15.5 kg|
|Max Load||120 kg|
Vanpowers City Vanture: Design and Build Quality
The quick-release bottle-style battery for the Vanpowers City Vanture sits discreetly on its downtube and has a single-speed drive and rear hub motor. Using the single button on the battery, which also turns the bike on, these combine to provide two levels of assistance, called normal and eco.
The charge level is displayed on a tiny LCD screen, which is incredibly simple. In addition to keeping costs low, the absence of a traditional display or controller leaves the handlebars pleasingly uncluttered.
Vanpowers City Vanture’s one-size-fits-all philosophy is also straightforward. The step-through frame version is better suited for riders under 5 feet 6 inches, while riders over 6 feet will end up with a slightly odd fit.
It is sleek and lightweight due to the aluminum frame and traditional commuter bike profile. I found it to be reasonably simple to lift and maneuver as a smaller rider. A running logo light is etched into the tamper-proof ABS hard shell case that houses the battery.
Vanpowers has made sure that the bike maintenance is minimal. 700C x 28C Kenda 26-inch tires have an anti-puncture feature. The hydraulic brakes, gearing, suspension, tyres, and bearings, among other components, are all quickly and easily serviced across the country, and spare parts are easily accessible.
The typical sport saddle is one of the bike’s weaker points. After a long day of commuting, this was uncomfortable, so spend money on the padded saddle with dual suspension springs.
Vanpowers City Vanture: Motor and Battery
A 250 watts rear hub motor powers the bike, and after a few pedal strokes, it becomes moderately responsive on the throttle. The motor makes sure that all of the power is directed toward rotating the rear wheel, rather than stressing your chain or crankset as mid motors can.
Shimano hydraulic brakes are included on the bike, and the comfortable acceleration—there is no jolt when the motor engages, enables you to safely navigate traffic and pedestrians.
With its ability to travel up to 25 mph with little pedal effort and the fact that we only needed to charge the Vanpowers Bike every few days, it’s obvious that it was designed for the commute. A slightly more responsive throttle would be helpful when track-standing at traffic lights.
The bike has five power pedal-assist modes that can be selected using the handlebars. We discovered that the fourth setting was ideal for achieving maximum speed with the least amount of effort and allowing us to switch to PAS 5 when going uphill.
The tires are sturdy traditional road tires, but I thought they were a little too narrow. If you’re new to bike commuting or seeking a little more road presence, you might want something chunkier, like the tenacious Rayvolt Torino. Despite this, the Vanpowers X is one of the most comfortable and enjoyable e-bikes to ride right now thanks to its inventive mechanical and electronic design.
The electronics will be discussed first. The Vanpowers City Vanture’s drive system lacks some of the oomph of some alternatives with a 36-volt motor and 7Ah or 252Wh battery. This implies that getting it moving will require some pedal effort. Fortunately, the power that it does supply is added very naturally using the bike’s built-in computer. The Vanpowers City Vanture never feels like it’s edging away from you, enhancing what your legs are doing. The only time we wished for more power was when accelerating away from traffic lights.
While the claimed range of 50-80 miles only applies if you do most of the work yourself, the charging time is reasonable at about three hours, and it will handle both legs of the majority of daily commutes on a single charge.
Now for the parts. The ergonomic saddle and grips are comfortable and unobtrusive, and the aluminum frame and fork are lightweight. Importantly, the tires are relatively puncture-proof, which is a big advantage since a rear flat requires that the motor be disconnected in order to remove the wheel.
What then don’t you get? Mudguards are lacking compared to earlier iterations, so you’ll need to add them unless you want a soggy behind. Even though there is only one gear, we appreciate this feature. The brakes, however, are less appealing to us. The Vanpowers City Vanture does not use disc caliper brakes, preferring to save money by using v-brakes. The issue is more how they’ll wear out more quickly while also eating into the bike’s rims, leading to higher and more frequent servicing costs despite suffering slightly in the wet but still being reasonably powerful.
Vanpowers City Vanture: Conclusions
The Vanpowers City Vanture has the extra power of electrical assistance while still having the agile hybrid ride. It looks much better than you’d expect given its low price, and it is lightweight to move around with or carry.
Although somewhat overtaken since being introduced, it remains a good value. If you don’t mind the slightly average amount of extra oomph and lack of disc brakes, it’s still a good budget option for shorter trips.