Every now and then we'll get someone ask us: what's the minimum you can build a decent e-bike for? The lower the price point, the harder it is to fit the pieces of the jigsaw together and come up with a workable machine. We've tested a few bikes at around the £800 mark and generally we've found that's the point at which the benefits of a bike being cheap aren't outweighed by any major compromises. So we're excited to be having a go on the Cyclotricity Revolver, which comes in at some £150 below that mark and looks on paper to be a pretty decent spec.
It's not the only sub-£800 bike out there and indeed the b'Twin Elops 500e that we had a go on a couple of months back is even cheaper than this bike, at £599, and first impressions were pretty good. The Revolver is a a bit of a different beast to that: the b'Twin's 210Wh battery will limit its range a bit whereas the Revolver gets a 36V motor system with a 324Wh battery, which should mean you can go further for your money.
The Revolver shares the same five-assist-level motor system that we've tested aboard its sibling, the Cyclotricity Sahara. The motor is a 250W front hub unit; it's bolted into a Zoom suspension fork and you get cable disc brakes front and rear for stopping. Cyclotricity reckon the motor system is good for 20-35 miles of assistance, which doesn't seem unreasonable; here in hilly Bath we're always at the lower end of any estimate.
The Revolver gets 6-speed Shimano Tourney gears. one of our main bugbears of the Sahara when we tested it was that it was overgeared, and the Revolver looks to be running a very similar drivetrain, but we'll reserve judgement on that until we've put the miles in.
For a bike that's so cheap, you're still getting a heap of finishing kit. There's a chainguard, mudguards, front and rear (battery) lights, a kickstand and a rear rack: you don't need to add anything out of the box. Getting the bike built to the £649 budget does mean some component compromises, of course: there's quite a lot of steel where you might normally find aluminium alloy, including the seatpost, rear ub and chainset. That's adding a bit of weight but it remains to be seen whether there are any performance problems.
We're going to turn the Revolver on and give it an outing on Bath's mean streets (they're not really that mean) to see how it fares. We'll post a full review soon!