The Thunder 1 and Thunder 1 ST, two new electric bicycles from Velotric, will go on sale this coming April 15th. Both bikes have a subtle appearance, and if you saw them riding by you, you probably wouldn’t even realize they were electric.
Another intelligent e-road bike, the Thunder 1 ST is sort of the Thunder 1’s little cousin. The same drivetrain and torque sensor are present, and it weighs 36 lbs. It only has a 52-mile maximum range, though. The Thunder 1 ST is one of the first e-bikes to join the Apple Find My network despite lacking any Internet of Things features. The price of this class 1 e-bike, which has a top speed of 20 mph, is $1299 now.
With the Torque Sensor and Velopower E35+ drive system, the Thunder 1 is a sophisticated e-road bike. It is streamlined, uncluttered, and wire-free, with the entire rat’s nest concealed within the frame. This class one e-bike weighs only 36 lbs, has a top speed of 20 mph, and a maximum range of 70 miles, making it ideal for trips inside cities. Let’s first watch the video review, and then you can read the full and detailed review.
|Drive System||Velopower E35|
|Top speed||20 mph|
|Maximum range||52 miles|
|Smart Features||Apple Find My™|
|Sizes||S: 5'1" - 5'8"
M: 5'5" - 6'0"
|Smart Capabilities||Apple Find MyTM
Velotric Thunder 1 ST: Design and Build Quality
The Thunder 1 ST has wide handlebars and falls somewhere between a mountain bike and a commuter bike. The system has comfortable handling on the road thanks to the steel fork and those thicker, lower-pressure tires. Although the remainder of the frame is made of aluminum to help reduce weight, the bike still weighs 36 lbs or 16.3kg.
With its extra-wide handlebars and sloping top tube that almost forms a straight line with the seat stays, the Thunder 1 ST showcases some of Velotric’s mountain biking heritage. Even though it has an earthy color scheme, this bike is still designed for commuting in cities.
A 8-speed drivetrain with a variety of gears for climbing and cruising can be found on the technical side. The Velopower E35 drive system, which uses torque sensing to amplify the rider’s input effort. This is a class one e-bike and an expensive one at that because Velopower’s system can only provide pedal assistance at 20 mph.
The frame was made specifically for this system by Velotric. The downtube has a slot for the 352.8Wh battery, which snaps into place with a key lock, and the bottom bracket is designed to fit the Velopower E35 motor. The design’s specificity might prevent future aftermarket upgrades, but it has some reasonably neat internal cable routing through the downtube.
The bicycle’s frame seems solid. Although it is made of aluminum, which is somewhat flexible, it never seems to bend out of shape. For better shock absorption at the cost of a little bit more weight, the front fork is made of steel. The bike’s overall tankiness is matched by its heavier weight, which for the M model is 36 lbs or 16 kg. The bike is available in four sizes to fit riders from 5’5″ to 6’0″; there is also a step-through model.
Although they are slicker than anyone going off-road is likely to want, Velotric has fitted the Thunder 1 ST with wide. The effective hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro bring the wheels to a stop. Velotric’s custom saddle, which isn’t too plush or wide but offers a nice cushion ready for long rides in casual clothing, nails comfort. The lack of ergonomics in the Velotric Adventure handlebar grips can strain the wrist, so they could use some improvement.
The Thunder 1 ST comes equipped with eyelets and braze-ons galore ready to handle rear and front racks, fenders, and a seat-tube mounted water bottle cage for riders who prefer a fully loaded bike. Although the bike has a kickstand for those who prefer them, none of these things are included.
Velotric Thunder 1 ST: Motor and Battery
The Velopower E35 system and 352.8Wh battery pack account for a sizable portion of the Thunder 1 ST’s bulk. Together, they help you forget about the extra weight they bring by supplying up to 350W of power and possibly boosting your pedaling. It never feels like the motor is doing all the work because the system employs a fairly conservative torque sensor, but it is always obvious when the bike is assisting in lightening the load, especially when dealing with a hill or headwind.
The Velotric Thunder 1 ST is more like a long-distance runner compared to other e-bikes, which are typically built for sprinting. The system is only capable of supporting riding at speeds of up to 20 mph, but we suspect the 350W Velopower motor and its 45Nm of torque should be more than enough power to provide more assistance or reach higher speeds. This system works by amplifying the input rather than supplying the rider with free speed.
With the Velotric Thunder 1 ST, you can experience riding a bike rather than an electric moped. While driving, you can get in a good workout and choose how much cardio you want to get by turning on the assistance setting.
We were able to travel over 40 miles on a charge with a high level of assistance and still have some charge left. This is possible even with the system maxed out. If the battery does die during a ride, you won’t be left stranded with a bike that is too difficult to pedal thanks to the 8-speed drivetrain.
The $1,049 Ride1Up Roadster V2 is one of the extra-cheap options for city riders looking for a straightforward A-to-B ride, but given the Thunder 1 ST’s efficient mid-drive system and well-made frame, the price still feels well justified. The bike also succeeds in occupying a unique space. It works well for longer, more continuous rides, perhaps between nearby towns. With the new Ride1Up Prodigy, a class 3 mid-drive e-bike that costs $200 less than the Thunder 1 ST, it might face some fierce competition.
It really does end up feeling exactly like riding an analog bike because of some of the subtlety of the power coming out of this motor. When we have a stop coming up, it is our duty to shift down into a lower gear because the motor won’t just pull us out of a stop light in a high gear without a lot of work from us as well. When we want to move quickly, however, we must change into higher gears because the system doesn’t offer much assistance if we pedal quickly without exerting much force.
However, there is nothing here for speed demons. The bike has a top speed of 20 mph, but once you surpass that, the motor cuts out, leaving you in control. On our rides, we were able to do it a few times, but after enjoying comfortable assistance up to 20 mph, the abrupt decline in speed felt somewhat like being caught in a headwind. The motor didn’t seem to be working against us as much as we’ve felt many rear-drive systems do once we pushed into those higher speeds, but the weight of the bike wasn’t helping either.
Back to 16 to 20 miles per hour, which the bike is content to maintain for a considerable distance. Since we must consistently perform some work, the bike never simply drains the battery by doing all the work, which gives the system a fantastic range. The bike suggested it could run for five more miles in its highest mode after 40 miles of riding mostly at higher assistance levels, and that ranges even further at lower assist settings. With lower levels of assistance, the 352.8Wh battery’s respectable range could probably be increased significantly.
With enough stopping power from the brakes to stop in just one car length and enough traction in the wheels to do so without dramatic skidding, even for a 200lb rider, all that cruising is brought to a quick stop.
Velotric Thunder 1 ST: Conclusions
The Velotric Thunder 1 ST lowers the cost of the e-bike without making it seem like a low-cost alternative. Although it’s still not cheap, it helps with long rides that still feel like a workout – just a simpler one.
Few mid-drive systems are available on the market for this low of a cost, and Velotric has built its option quite well. Regarding build quality, there isn’t much to be concerned about, and it isn’t manufactured by a new company whose warranty and service coverage are in doubt.
The Thunder 1 ST does a good job of merely assisting your efforts without making your ride completely effortless. Cycling is enjoyable and a great way to get some cardio on your way around town.
Although the Velotric Thunder 1 ST was designed for the road, some of its geometry, particularly the handlebars, leans toward a mountain bike. You can find thicker tires and a wider grip here if you prefer.
The Velotric Thunder 1 ST doesn’t aim for top speeds, and if there’s enough gradient or wind, it might even have trouble getting there. Therefore, if you enjoy zooming, you might prefer a class three option or something lighter that you can push more quickly.
Although the Thunder 1 ST is fairly agile and simple to control, it is not a narrow city bike that can be maneuvered through city traffic. In particular, the handlebars make it difficult to maneuver between closely packed vehicles.